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Logo of jepicomhJournal of Epidemiology and Community HealthVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
J Epidemiol Community Health. 2007 December; 61(Suppl 2): ii25.
PMCID: PMC2465772

Aphorism of the Month

“I believe that women‐centred, physiologically accurate knowledge of what is normal related to our female bodies, menopause, menstrual cycles and many other aspects of our health does not exist” Jerilynn C Prior

Jerilynn Prior made this statement during the First Congress on Women, Health, and Work (Barcelona, 1996). She is one of the first researchers who, over 20 years ago, realised that to avoid perceiving women as victims of their bodies or their culture an alternative approach was necessary. She thought it necessary to studying their health while taking biological, psychological and sociocultural factors into account. She also realised that this approach required taking what was “normal” in women's biology as a starting point. When early in her career Jerilynn Prior had begun researching the role of the healthy menstrual cycle in the entire body's functions, both during the reproductive period and during the transition towards menopause, she assumed that this “normalcy” was already defined in science, even if it was ignored or not applied. However, what she discovered was that this basic, necessary information simply did not exist. She has been devoted to this task ever since.1,2,3,4,5


1. Prior J C, Vigna Y. Conditioning exercise and premenstrual symptoms. J Reprod Med 1987. 32423–428.428 [PubMed]
2. Prior J C, Vigna Y M, Schulzer M. et al Determination of luteal phase length by quantitative basal temperature methods: validation against the midcycle LH peak. Clin Invest Med 1990. 13123–131.131 [PubMed]
3. Prior J C, Vigna Y M, Schechter M T. et al Spinal bone loss and ovulatory disturbances. N Engl J Med 1990. 323 pp 1221-7 Erratum in: N Engl J Med, 1993. 3281724. [PubMed]
4. Prior J C. The ageing female reproductive axis II: ovulatory changes with perimenopause. Novartis Found Symp 2002. 242172–186.186 [PubMed]
5. Prior J C. Ovarian aging and the perimenopausal transition: the paradox of endogenous ovarian hyperstimulation. Endocrine 2005. 26297–300.300 [PubMed]

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