Sharon Stone Speaks Out About the Importance of Women's Brain Health

Women's Brain Health Initiative-Publicity-H 2019
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Stone shared why it's vital that women be strong advocates for themselves when it comes to their health care.

Sharon Stone, Rumer Willis, Andie MacDowell and Jane Seymour all gathered at the Eric Buterbaugh Gallery on Wednesday night for an event to discuss the Women's Brain Health Initiative, a charitable organization dedicated to research and discovering treatments for women's brain health disorders.

Willis spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about why it was important to bring attention to women's specific health needs. "So much of our health industry is geared toward men and a lot of what happens with women is that it becomes, 'Oh, you're just PMSing or you're emotional.' I think it's important to come and show support in this way that's about supporting women's health in general, but especially our brain health to the forefront and being supportive of that."

MacDowell told THR it was her own struggles with depression that have made her want to be an advocate for women's brain health issues. "I think that brain health is really important. Women suffer more from dementia. I want to do everything I can to protect my brain, the longevity of my brain and to be an advocate for other women as well ... I have some depression, I have since I was a child. I didn't really realize it until later in life, but my feelings of depression as a child what they were, I didn't really understand it but I've had it my whole life."

Following the cocktail hour, guests heard from Lynn Posluns, the founder of the Women's Brain Health Initiative, as well as Dr. Pauline Maki, who told the audience that while 70 percent of Alzheimer's patients were female and women were twice as likely to suffer from depression, stroke and dementia, only male brains were studied for medical science, which ignores the unique properties of a women's brains and how they are affected by hormones.

Stone, the evening's keynote speaker, shared her experience of not only suffering a massive stroke and a brain hemorrhage almost 20 years ago, but the complications of dealing with male doctors who either didn't believe she was truly sick or attempted to perform invasive procedures on her without asking her permission first. She explained why it is essential for women to be strong advocates for themselves when it comes to their health care.

"When I was in the hospital, they thought I was faking it. On day nine of my brain bleed, they told me they were going to send me home because they thought I was faking it ... Now I feel usually much safer with a female doctor. I still go to some male doctors, but when I get dismissed then I usually go to a woman in any practice. When I get dismissed, I think, 'Oh, I need to go to a woman because I need to see someone who is going to see me and experience me and discuss what is happening with me.' And they can tell me if they truly believe me, if I'm OK or not OK, but I'm not going to be dismissed ever again.”