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Research into women's health lagging behind: report

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – You don’t have to look hard to find signs that the gender gap still exists, be it in the office or at home; now, it has become plain to see in the world of medicine.

In an article called Medicine’s Deadly Gender Gap, Maclean’s Magazine writer Anne Kingston looks into how medical research still centres mainly on men’s health, rather than conditions affecting mainly women. She also discusses the potentially harmful consequences this can cause.

“Recently, there have been a lot of studies and research coming forth about how that’s hurting women,” she explains. “How using male subjects in medical research or even pharmaceutical research tends to skew the bias.”

That goes right down to laboratory testing on male rats instead of female ones.

Kingston says women should be outraged. “I think it’s important that women particularly be conscious of what’s going on and to ask a lot of questions and also to express anger or insistence that the system changes.”

One area where research is lagging behind is with peripheral artery disease (PAD), which can affect women much differently than men.

The consequences could be dangerous; since the female heart rhythm is slower, it makes certain drugs — like antipsychotics and antibiotics — harmful, and potentially deadly to women.