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Horm Behav. 1987 Dec;21(4):536-50.

Female axillary secretions influence women's menstrual cycles: a critique.

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  • 1Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211.


Preti, Cutler, Garcia, Huggins, and Lawley report (1986, Horm. Behav. 20, 474-482) that women's menstrual cycles can be modulated with applications of female-derived secretions. An experimental sample of 10 women who reported that they had 29.5 +/- 3 day menstrual cycles was treated on a 22- to 25-day cycle with an extract of axillary secretions from a group of female donors. After two menstrual cycles, the mean absolute difference between the women's menses onsets and the treatment applications decreased significantly. A control sample of 9 women similarly treated with blank/ethanol showed no significant change. Reanalysis of the data indicates that four subjects in the extract sample synchronized with the extract cycles because of "errors" in the extract applications and another four synchronized as a result of experimental design, mathematical properties of cocycling menses onsets, and chance variations. After these factors are accounted for, no evidence suggests that the cycles of the subjects in the extract sample were modulated by the female-derived axillary secretion.

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