01 Sep Females Neglected In Basic Medical Research Studies
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Melina Kibbe, MD, FACS, FAHA
Professor and Vice Chair of Research
Edward G. Elcock Professor of Surgical Research
Department of Surgery,Northwestern University
Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine Deputy Director
Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Kibbe: We found that approximately 1/3 of all peer-reviewed published manuscripts in 5 top surgery journals did not state the sex of the animal or cell used for research. Of those that did state the sex, 80% used only males.
Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Kibbe: Yes – a large difference between research on animals and cells was uncovered. While 22% of manuscript reporting research on animals did not state the sex studied, 76% of manuscripts reporting research on cells did not state the sex studied.
Another very disturbing finding was our evaluation of sex-bias for diseases prevalent in women, such as thyroid and cardiovascular disease, in which one would expect a higher number of females being studied. That was not the case. For these two diseases, of those manuscripts that reported the sex of the animal, only 12% studied females.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Kibbe: Overall, we hope to increase awareness of this problem with patients, clinicians, and researchers. We encourage patients to ask their physicians about the medications and treatment that are being prescribed and recommended, and whether the medications and treatments have been evaluated in both men and women. Only with increased awareness can new policies and practices be followed.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Kibbe: Future research should take into account the study of both sexes, and report the results of each sex (i.e., sex-based reporting). By following this practice, better and safer therapies will be developed for both men and women.