Aroused | Randi Hutter Epstein

Summary of: Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything
By: Randi Hutter Epstein

Introduction

Step into the captivating realm of hormones with ‘Aroused’ by Randi Hutter Epstein, a fascinating journey that reveals the incredible power and mysterious inner workings of these chemical substances. Within this riveting exploration, you’ll discover how hormones have evolved through history, from early gland grinding experiments to breakthroughs in endocrinology and modern genetic research. Get ready to delve into the world of hormones that govern our growth, appetite, moods, metabolism, sex drives, and more, all while demystifying complex ideas in a clear and concise language.

Hormones: The Master Regulators

In her book, “Get Me Out,” Randi Hutter Epstein explores the history and science behind the effects of hormones on the human body. With wit and knowledge, Epstein takes readers on a journey from early gland grinding to modern genetic research, showcasing how hormones impact bodily systems, growth, appetite, sex drives, moods, and metabolism. The book combines engrossing anecdotes with scientific data, seamlessly merging the humanity of our experiences with the intricacy of the science behind them. Siddhartha Mukherjee calls it, “A sweeping, glorious story of hormones, threaded through with sex, suffering, neurology, biology, medicine and self-discovery.”

The Body’s Information Highway

Epstein simplifies the concept of the body’s nervous and circulatory systems as an information highway and likens hormones to a wireless network. She identifies nine glands responsible for hormone production, which affect various bodily functions ranging from metabolism to emotions.

Hormones and Health

Epstein illuminates the profound discoveries of Harvey Cushing, who identified the role of cortisol in causing weight gain, facial hair, weakness, and libido loss in patients with brain tumors. Cushing’s research proves that hormonal imbalances lead to various diseases. In the early 20th century, doctors gained a deeper understanding of hormones, with the discovery of estrogen, progesterone, and the insulin shots that saved a diabetic’s life. Harvard professor Walter Cannon connected hormone secretions to mood changes, demonstrating that hormones play an essential role in maintaining our overall health.

Hormones and Gender: Medical Breakthroughs That Transformed Reproduction

In “One Doctor,” Barron H. Lerner writes about the revolutionary medical breakthroughs that paved the way for modern fertilization and transformed understanding of the role of hormones in behavior and health. Lerner credits Dr. Georgeanna Seegar Jones, Dr. Howard W. Jones Jr., and researcher Robert Edwards as the first to perform in vitro fertilization and create the world’s first test-tube baby. Jones also discovered the pregnancy hormone hCG, and scientists now recognize that hormones control nearly everything in the human body, including behavior and health. In addition, Hopkins doctors developed techniques for transforming ambiguous babies into boys or girls, and today, parents are cautioned to avoid hasty decisions regarding gender and surgery.

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