Neuroscience Research and Premenstrual Syndrome: Scientific and Ethical Concerns

  • Stephanie J. Bird


A very small percentage of women experience severe, incapacitating, and disabling symptoms, suggestive of underlying physiological dysfunction, which is increasingly being referred to as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Other women experience symptoms which are troubling, but which do not severely limit their ability to function socially or professionally. Many women experience detectable changes premenstrually which are not sufficiently severe to be considered a syndrome, either objectively or subjectively. Some women detect changes premenstrually, such as increased energy, creativity, or sexual drive, which they consider positive. A relatively few women detect no changes at all. Discussion of the widespread occurrence of PMS based upon including all women who detect any changes premenstrually as experiencing at least mild PMS has focused professional and public attention on the topic. This has the potential advantage of increased funding for research. However, it also has the effect of labeling all women of reproductive age as likely PMS sufferers. Such a label may have a negative, stigmatizing effect. This is an example of the ethical implications of behavior linked to biology.


Social Factor Neuroscience Research Social Perception Premenstrual Syndrome Social Element 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie J. Bird
    • 1
  1. 1.Science, Technology, and Society Program; and The Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial DevelopmentMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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