THE XX BRAIN: The Groundbreaking Science Empowering Women to Maximize Cognitive Health and Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease By Lisa Mosconi

Lisa Mosconi’s The XX Brain summarizes the latest research on women’s brains. I learned a lot from The XX Brain. I did not know women are four times more likely than men to have headaches and migraines. Women are way more likely to have a brain tumor. Women are more likely to die of a stroke when they suffer a stroke. Women battle anxiety and depression at higher rates than men do. And, most ominously, women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. That’s the Bad News.

But Mosconi also presents Good News about women’s brains: they allow women to multi-task far better than men. Women have better verbal memory than men. Mosconi explores the latest findings on how women can protect their brains. I found The XX Brain fascinating reading! GRADE: A
Introduction: Reclaiming Women’s Health
1. The Inner Workings of the Female Brain
2. Dispelling Myths Around Women’s Brain Health
3. Unique Risks to Women’s Brain Health
4. The Brain’s Journey from Pregnancy to Menopause
5. The Age of Precision Medicine
6. Medical History and Laboratory Tests
7. Fill Out the Questionnaires

8. Hormones, Antidepressants, and Other Meds: Do You Need Them?
9. Food Matters for Your Gray Matter
10. Eight Steps to a Well-Nourished Brain
11. Supplements for Women’s Brains
12. Women and Exercise: Could Less Be More?
13. Be Mindful: Stress, Sleep, and Balance
14. More Ways to Protect Your Brain
Conclusion: Arrivederci, for Now
Appendix A: Where to Find Help
Appendix B: Diet Plan and Recipes

23 thoughts on “THE XX BRAIN: The Groundbreaking Science Empowering Women to Maximize Cognitive Health and Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease By Lisa Mosconi

  1. wolf

    Sounds interesting, but a bit sensational to me …
    Somewhere I also read that the natural degeneration of the brain with age doesn’t happen as fast with women as it does with us poor men.
    Of course that also happens with the body – here in the Hungarian village that we moved to earlier this year there are so many houses where widows live whose husbands died many years ago – and most of them are not only very friendly but also still very active and in contact with my wife, exchanging recipes, bringing presents from their cooking and their gardens like onions and cherries …

    1. wolf

      If the brain degenerates that is a really sad story. I remember many years ago when a friend came into our favourite bar and ordered a liquor with her usual beer. We all looked at her and she told us that she just had a patient, a 50 year old woman who thought she had problems. She couldn’t rememer smple aspects of cooking – like adding salt to the water for cooking noodles …
      So she anyalyzed her and found that she had the beginnings of Alzheiemers ,,,
      I’ve probably told that story before. in my German hometown on the way from the bus station to our bar there is a proud sign on one of the houses:
      here lived Alois Alzheimer …

      1. wolf

        Sorry, my word processing software didn’t detect the stupid spelling mistakes I just made – or is it Alzheimer’s?

      2. george Post author

        Wolf, every time I forget something I have that chilling thought that it might be the beginning of Alzheimer’s.

    2. george Post author

      Wolf, women are much more social than men in my opinion. Diane and her friends text and call each other daily. Diane and her Book Club plan to hold their next meeting in a park (with masks and social distancing). Maybe that’s one reason women tend to outlive men.

  2. Deb

    I can attest to the migraine statistics. Mine were hormonally-related, which is the case for about 70% of all female migraine sufferers. I had them twice a month for almost 30 years. I was finally prescribed Imitrex in my late thirties—what a blessing! Thankfully, I have “aged out“ of the hormonal-migraine years.

    I do have to wonder, however, how much the preponderance of female depression & anxiety is related to social/cultural, as opposed to brain chemistry, issues. Of course, it could be a case of being able to separate the dancer from the dance.

    1. george Post author

      Deb, you make some excellent points. We have some women friends who battle depression constantly. Part of their depression might be due to their circumstances: the sudden death of their husbands, their wayward children, their economic problems, and their health issues.

  3. Jeff Meyerson

    Wolf, there was a two part show on HBO here a few years ago about Alzheimers, which, in the end, was not all that hopeful about progress being made, The one story that got me was a family of eight children (I think it was 8; definitely a large family) in which every one but one sister had not only Alzheimers, but early onset of the disease, starting in their 50s or even 40s. What a nightmare.

    George, I’d say there is a lot more bad news in your summary than good, especially for women. I did know some of the facts – that women are much more likely to get migraines than men (my mother had them), also more likely to have depression and Alzheimers.

    So, where’s the good news then?

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, I’ve never experienced a migraine (thank Goodness!) but know plenty of people who are plagued with migraines on a regular basis. Deb’s observation of the effects of social/cultural factors on women’s health comes into play. Along with the promising pharmacological research, improving the general environment for women (and men) would go a long way to addressing these problems.

      1. Jeff Meyerson

        The brain tumor and stroke statistics are pretty scary. I used to get severe headaches (much less often these days) but they weren’t migraines.

        I know former DAPA-EM member Kate Derie was plagued with constant migraines for years. It is very debilitating.

      2. george Post author

        Jeff, most of my headaches came from my allergies. Sinus pressure used to trigger painful headaches. A combination of Zyrtec and ibuprofen fixed that problem. And, I learned to stay in A/C during the worst of our pollen season. That helped, too. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  4. Michael Padgett

    I probably wouldn’t want to read the book but this does sound interesting. Everyone knows that statistically women live longer than men, and some of this seems true anecdotally. Clearly women suffer from headaches more than men, and I don’t believe I’ve ever known a man who suffers from migraines. The stuff about strokes, brain tumors, and Alzheimers is new to me. Even though there really isn’t any statistical evidence, I keep reading that women make better leaders than men, citing Germany and New Zealand as examples. And there’s always the fact that men are much more likely to support an ignorant asshole like Trump than women.

    1. george Post author

      Michael, the latest polls show men support Trump over Biden by 8 points, 50 percent to 42 percent. Biden holds a 19-point edge over Trump among women, a margin that fuels the Democrat’s 11-point advantage in the overall ballot test. That, in itself, proves women are superior to men.

  5. Beth Fedyn

    I read, play video games, and do sudoku every day.
    I hope I’m good.
    I think it will be the rest of my body that lets me down.

  6. wolf

    Re migraine:
    We sometimes bring tablets called Formigran from Germany to a Hungarian friend (a woman in her early 40s) because they are not availyble here – just lloked it up, it’s Naratriptan , sold in the USA as Imitrex, and it really helps her, though it’s not cheap …

    Re the superiority of women leaders in politics:
    I read an article that listed several more countries with women presidents or prime ministers besides Germany and New Zealand and what they had in common:
    They managed the Covid pandemic much better than other countries …

    1. George Kelley

      Wolf, the politicians in the U.S. have made a false dichotomy with the Economy and the Coronavirus. Actually, the Economy and the pandemic are intertwined. If you can beat the coronavirus, you can resume your Economic activities. If you don’t beat the coronavirus, the Economy is constantly disrupted and impaired. The women Presidents and Prime Ministers seem to understand that while the clowns running this country don’t.

    2. Deb

      Wolf—as I mentioned above, Imitrex was the migraine medication that helped me. The first time I used it, I couldn’t believe that the migraine just evaporated. It was amazing. There were several other migraine medications at the time, but iirc Imitrex was the only one you could take as soon as you started getting the migraine “pre-cursors” (unlike most other types of headaches, migraines start with non-headache-related discomfort—I would get tenderness in the back of my neck and an achy sensation around my eyes), all the other meds required you to have a full-blown migraine before they could be effective. The one side effect of a Imitrex that I remember as extremely vivid dreams, even nightmares. But I’d take nightmares over the dreadfulness of a migraine any day!

      /I think I read recently that Botox is now being marketed as a migraine reliever. I suspect that might just be a way to get insurance to pay for it—they certainly wouldn’t if it was just being used to prevent wrinkles.

      1. wolf

        Deb, thanks for the feedback!
        So following your experience and that of our friend Imitrex really seems to be a kind of wonderdrug. What’s the price in rhe USA? Did I get that right that it’s paid by your insurance?
        Of course I still would prefer if my wife doesn’t need it – well, she made 75 years without migraine … 🙂

  7. Patti Abbott

    I suffer from anxiety. I don’t know what the relationship between anxiety and depression is but as my therapist says, that’s what we trying to discover each week.
    If there is anything to worry about, I will find it. So you can imagine what Covid has done to me. Especially after Phil’s death. And especially living alone now. There is no one to talk me off the ledge.

    I think my mother was deeply depressed. I am sure it was because she had such an awful secret to keep her whole life. Or maybe because she had such a demanding mother. I have many friends who get migraines. It must be horrible.


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