Borat Was Right, Those Feminists Were Wrong

Monday, December 11, 2006

Borat Was Right, Those Feminists Were Wrong

In its Sunday magazine, the New York Times asked Dr. Louann Brizendine, a professor of neuropsychiatry and an author, several questions in an article about differences in the male and female brains. It was pretty interesting.

For starters, Borat of Kazakhstan was right. The male brain is bigger than the female brain — by about 9 or 10 percent. But Dr. Brizendine notes that the size of one’s brain is unrelated to one’s intelligence, and she points out that "the female brain has more connections between the two hemispheres."

And did you know that a woman's brain actually shrinks by 8 percent during pregnancy and doesn't return to its normal size until six months after the pregnancy?

Definitely interesting stuff, but this exchange annoyed me a little:
Q: Although your book draws heavily on other scientists’ research, you don’t do any clinical research yourself. Isn’t that a drawback?

No. I don’t like doing clinical research because of placebos. In a “double-blind placebo-controlled study,” as they are called, neither the doctor nor the patient knows what the patient is taking. I don’t want to give patients a placebo. It’s cruel.
But she doesn't mind basing her book on research that she considers "cruel." (That's no more principled than the person who declares: "I won't personally test potentially deadly chemicals on rabbits, but I'll use the test results as the basis for a book I'm writing.")

In any case, I don't understand why she brands them as "cruel." Unless I've overlooked something, patient participation in these clinical studies is voluntary. My understanding is that nearly all of the drugs used in these clinical studies are not otherwise available to patients.

If it weren't for double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, we would have a pretty difficult time confirming which drugs work and which don't.

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