Of all the things the public is dying to know, this is probably not one of them. But here goes: According to a new study, women who are menstruating are far better at seeing snakes. Hmm...wonder how their ability to play Where's Waldo changes. While we're sure no one truly needs this information, you never know when it might come in handy. MSN has reported the details of this bizarre study that ultimately serves no purpose. It revealed:
Kyoto University researcher Nobuo Masataka had 60 women look at a nine-photo grid featuring eight neutral, non-scary flowers and one snake shot. The results showed that they could spot the snakes faster during the luteal (aka PMS-y) part of their cycles...
The study swears that this information will be of some use, since it suggests that women may be more alert during their time of the month. It also reveals that pregnant women need to be more careful when they're in snake-populated areas. Many are outraged by the study because they believe it to be a waste of time, resources, and money.
The comments sections of reports on the study have been flooded with angry comments such as:
I find this article pointless, regardless to if you can see a snake better chances are you will still get bit by the snake. I do find it interesting though that researchers are wasting time studying things, such as this, instead of something that REALLY MATTERS!
Others are just glad researchers are paying attention to female biology.
Masataka found that there was a lack of research on this particular topic and wanted to fill that void, stating:
Given the robustness and the prevalence of this phenomenon [PMS], it is surprising that there have been virtually no reported attempts to reliably assess the influence of the premenstrual hormonal changes in healthy women behaviorally or experimentally,
The study was published in Nature's Scientific Reports. So why were snakes used to conduct the study? According to Discovery News, snakes are biologically relevant threatening stimuli and therefore conjure interesting results. Live Science believes the study is a relevant one because it informs the public just how fluctuating hormones can influence the amygdala, a brain region responsible for fear and anxiety.
One interesting conclusion drawn from the study is that hormone changes in women can grant them increased awareness and the ability to avoid danger. The report reveals:
The luteal cycle begins with ovulation, the time of maximum fertility, suggesting that heightened anxiety might be adaptive in helping pregnant or potentially pregnant women stay safe.
While these newly acquired facts are somewhat interesting, it's unlikely that the state of female affairs will be greatly affected by such research. Perhaps, the time and resources used for this study could have been focused elsewhere. When it comes to women, there's no shortage of unanswered questions that, if solved, could facilitate a greater understanding of female existence.