The XX Brain Book Summary - The XX Brain Book explained in key points
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The XX Brain summary

Lisa Mosconi

The Groundbreaking Science Empowering Women to Maximize Cognitive Health and Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

4.6 (350 ratings)
26 mins
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    The XX Brain
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    Women’s health is in crisis because of inequality in the medical field.

    Imagine a meteor is hurtling toward the Earth. Thirty million people in the impact zone are about to be wiped out. You’d expect there to be a flurry of space research, urgent headlines in all the newspapers, and a concerted effort to do anything possible to stop the oncoming disaster. 

    Now consider that a similar number of women will die from Alzheimer’s disease within the next 30 years, yet no one’s doing anything about it. 

    The reason? Well, there’s a very specific type of discrimination at play, and it has very real consequences. 

    The key message is: Women’s health is in crisis because of inequality in the medical field.

    Historically, medicine has been dominated by men. Male doctors consulted male scientists who conducted experiments on overwhelmingly male subjects. Medicine has come to see the human body as de facto male.

    The problem is that the makeup of women and men’s bodies is different. For example, a woman having a heart attack doesn’t present with the same symptoms as a man. Instead of chest pain, women typically have flu-like symptoms such as sweating and nausea. And that means they’re seven times more likely to be misdiagnosed and sent home, mid-heart attack. 

    Women metabolize medicine differently to men as well. Researchers found that the recommended daily dose of the sleeping pill Ambien is actually harmful to women because – you guessed it – the dose was tested on men. 

    The medical establishment has long treated women’s health with what’s known as “bikini medicine”: seeing women as different in terms of their reproductive organs, but otherwise physiologically identical to men. But that overlooks one vital area of difference: the brain.

    Women are twice as likely as men to experience depression or anxiety. They experience four times as many migraines and are three times more at risk of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. Most worrying of all, two out of three Alzheimer’s patients are women. In fact, a woman of 45 has a one in five chance of developing the disease over the course of her life. A man of the same age has only a one in ten chance. 

    Addressing women’s health goes far beyond the “bikini.” More than a medical issue, it is an equality issue. Women deserve to have their health treated as an urgent priority – as urgent as a meteor, silently hurtling its way toward Earth. 

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    What is The XX Brain about?

    The XX Brain (2020) is a practical guide to improving women’s brain health and preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Women are suffering from an Alzheimer’s epidemic, but so far the medical industry isn’t doing much about it. The XX Brain shows you how to take your health into your own hands, demand the medical treatment you deserve, and take concrete steps to help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. 

    Best quote from The XX Brain

    Memory loss doesnt begin according to a date on the calendar – its determined in large part by all the choices we make and all the experiences we have along the way.

    —Lisa Mosconi
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    Who should read The XX Brain?

    • Women looking to proactively protect their brains from disease
    • Women who are forgetful and would like more mental clarity
    • Health professionals wanting to improve their approach to women’s healthcare

    About the Author

    Dr Lisa Mosconi, PhD, is the director of the Women's Brain Initiative and associate director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College. Her previous book, Brain Food, examined how what we eat affects our brains.

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