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Sex bias in medicine has high costs

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Significance

Yet women continue to be under-represented in clinical trials: a joint 2018 review of clinical trials in 2015 by the University of Illinois and University of Wisconsin (by S. Geller et al) found that only 26% of trials funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH) included outcomes which either reported a minimum of one outcome by sex or overtly used sex as an independent variable in analysis. The resulting gender data gap means that diseases and symptoms specific to women are being misdiagnosed and consequently mistreated.

Impacts

  • Scheduling trials around women’s caring duties could improve female participation.
  • Research on diseases that disproportionately or exclusively affect women, such as migraine and endometriosis, will remain underfunded.
  • Failure to disaggregate research based on sex will hamper advances in women’s and men’s health.
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