Sex Matters: Why Men (and Women) Are The Way They Are

33125218_d11b2957ba_zLike most creatures I’ve always been interested in sex. I’m not just talking about the pleasures of carnal union, but also the very essence of what it means to be male and female. Did you know that there are 10 trillion cells in human body and every one of them is sex specific? Recalling what we learned in biology class, we all start out as a single cell and each cell has 23 sets of chromosomes.  The first 22 pairs line up nicely and look similar.  The last pair are called the sex chromosomes labeled X or Y. Females have two X chromosomes (XX), and males have an X and a Y chromosome (XY).

According to David C. Page, M.D., professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), every cell in our bodies carries either an XX chromosome or an XY chromosome. And these differences can be important.  It has been said that our genomes are 99.9% identical from one person to the next.  “It turns out that this assertion is correct,” says Dr. Page, “as long as the two individuals being compared are both men.  It’s also correct if the two individuals being compared are both women. But the genetic difference between a man and a woman are 15 times greater than the genetic difference between two men or between two women.”

These differences can have an important impact on our health.  Marianne J. Legato, M.D, is the author of Eve’s Rib:  The New Science of Gender-Specific Medicine. “Everywhere we look, the two sexes are startlingly and unexpectedly different,” she says, “not only in their internal function but in the way they experience illness.” [Read more…]

Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget: Surprising Findings from The New Science of Gender-Specific Medicine

“Men and women think differently, approach problems differently, emphasize the importance of things differently, and experience the world around us through entirely different lenses,” says Marianne J. Legato, M.D., Founder of the Foundation for Gender Specific Medicine and author of numerous books on men and women including, Why Men Never Remember and Women Never Forget.

The field of gender-specific medicine is less than 25 years old.  In 1992, Dr. Legato  published  The Female Heart: The Truth About Women and Coronary Artery Disease and revealed that women’s presenting symptoms of heart disease are taken less seriously than men–and when women undergo cardiac surgery, they are less likely than men to survive.  Further, her team learned that heart disease often presents differently in men and women.   Men more often feel a crashing pain in their chest, while women more often experience fleeting pain in the upper abdomen, shortness of breath, and sweating.

Prior to Dr. Legato’s work, the assumption was the men and women were essentially the same except for issues specifically related to our reproductive functions.  But since Dr. Legato’s research in the 1990s the field of gender medicine has flourished.  There is now an International Society for Gender Medicine (IGM) and national societies in Austria, Germany, Israel, Italy, Sweden, and the U.S. [Read more…]

Why Sex Matters: How the New Science of Gender Medicine Can Save Men’s Lives

Long before anyone had heard of the field of “gender medicine” I was on a search to find answers to the question, “why do men die sooner and live sicker?”  I was five years old when my father tried to commit suicide.  He had, what I was told was, a “nervous breakdown.”   I didn’t know what that was, but I knew he was having trouble finding work in a down economy and he had become increasingly irritable, angry, and withdrawn.  Although he didn’t die our lives were never the same.  The year before, the father of one of my friends had killed himself.

Men were supposed to be the “top dogs,” strong, silent, and invincible.  The T.V. programs of the era told us that “father knows best” and the women and children should follow his lead and learn.  But in our family, and in the families of many of my friends, there was something clearly wrong with father.  My mother had her own problems, but she seemed to be aware of them and talk with her girlfriends about them.  But my father was on top of the world….until,  it became crystal clear that, he wasn’t.   I grew up with a hunger to find answers and a terror that if I didn’t find them I would end up facing suicide in my own life.

My first inklings of an answer came in 1976 when I read, The Hazards of Being Male Male by psychologist, Herb Goldberg.  He said, “The male has paid a heavy price for his masculine ‘privilege’ and power.  He is out of touch with his emotions and his body. He is playing by the rules of the male game plan and with lemming-like purpose he is destroying himself—emotionally, psychologically, and physically.”  It was the first public recognition that all was not right with men. [Read more…]