Groups Call For Greater Inclusion of Females in Medical Research

The Society for Women’s Health Research and the Endocrine Society are briefing Congress this week on the importance of including more women and minorities in biomedical research.

Two groups with an interest in medical research are hoping to change the way biomedical studies are conducted.

This week the Society for Women’s Health Research and the Endocrine Society are cosponsoring a Congressional briefing to advocate for the need to include more females in clinical and preclinical studies.

“Although biomedical research drives scientific discovery and innovative medical treatments, it is well known that women and minorities remain underrepresented in most research studies,” the groups said in a statement. “To truly usher in medical treatments that are tailored to the patient, women and minorities must be reflected in the research studies used to approve new and novel medical treatments.”

According to the two groups, women have higher rates of adverse effects from approved medical products, which result in the products being pulled from the market. Federally funded medical research should be structured in a way that allows for the best return on investment, the groups added.

Just last month the National Institutes of Health announced it would consider sex as a biological variable in NIH-funded research.

“Sex and gender play a role in how health and disease processes differ across individuals, and consideration of these factors in research studies informs the development and testing of preventive and therapeutic interventions in both sexes,” NIH said in a statement.

The Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, the American Physiological Society, and the Association of American Colleges were some of the organizations that submitted comments in support of the issue to NIH last year.

In its comments, APS said taking sex variables into consideration in preclinical research is a “critical first step toward the development of personalized medicine.”

SBN, meanwhile, gave the example of heart attacks and how they present differently in men and women. “It is not only a mistake but a tragedy that research on female health issues has for the most part been limited to female-specific body parts,” the group noted in its comments. “When we do study both sexes, findings more often than not indicate that the processes underlying disease are different and that different treatment strategies are called for when treating men and women.”


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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