Women Obtain Fewer STEM Degrees in Gender Equal Societies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David C. Geary, Ph.D. Curators' Distinguished Professor  Thomas Jefferson Fellow Department of Psychological Sciences Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program University of Missouri Columbia, MO 65211-2500

Dr. Geary

David C. Geary, Ph.D.
Curators’ Distinguished Professor
Thomas Jefferson Fellow
Department of Psychological Sciences
Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211-2500 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

 

Response:   We were interested in international variation in the percentage of women who obtain college degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, focusing on degrees in inorganic areas, such as physics and computer science (topics that do not deal with living things).  There is no sex difference in the life sciences, but there is in these fields. The gap is about 3 to 1 in the U.S. and has been stable for decades.

We wanted to link international variation in these degrees to student factors, including their best subject (e.g., science vs. reading) and their interests in science, as well as to more general factors such as whether the country provided strong economic opportunities and its rating on gender equality measures.

Continue reading

Students Expect More Special Favors From Female Professors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Amani El-Alayli PhD Eastern Washington University

Prof. Amani El-Alayli

Prof. Amani El-Alayli PhD
Eastern Washington University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This research was conducted on the premise that people tend to view women as more nurturing, and also set higher standards for women to behave in a nurturing manner. The same pattern has been observed in past research examining how students view their female professors.  Female professors are expected to be more nurturing, such as being more available outside of the classroom, as compared to their male professors.  In the present research, we investigated whether these higher expectations of nurturing behavior would cause students to be more likely to ask things of their female professors, consequently placing higher work demands on them.  In our survey of male and female professors across the country, we indeed found that female professors received more requests for standard work demands (e.g., office hours visits or assistance with course-related matters), as well as special favor requests (e.g., requests to re-do an assignment for a better grade or asking for some form of exception, extended deadline, or alternative assignment), compared to male professors.

Continue reading

Sex Differences In Body Fat Composition Predictive of Cardiometabolic Risk Profile

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Miriam Bredella, MD Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School Department of Radiology Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA 02114

Dr. Bredella

Miriam Bredella, MD
Associate Professor of Radiology
Harvard Medical School
Department of Radiology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA 02114

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It is well known that body composition differs between men and women, with women having proportionally more fat and men more muscle mass.

But not the amount of fat but its distribution is an important determinant of cardiometabolic risk, with certain ectopic fat depots, such as visceral adipose tissue, fat within muscle cells – intramyocellular (IMCL), and liver fat, being more detrimental than others, such as femorogluteal subcutaneous adipose tissue.

We therefore wanted to study sex differences in body composition and cardiometabolic risk in men and women with obesity.

We found that at the same BMI, men had relatively higher visceral adipose tissue, IMCL, liver fat, muscle and lean mass, while women higher percent fat mass and higher subcutaneous adipose tissue. This female anthropometric phenotype was associated with a better cardiometabolic risk profile at similar BMI compared to men. However, ectopic fat depots were more strongly associated with adverse cardiometabolic risk factors in women compared to men

Continue reading

Sending That Quick Text While Driving Can Kill You

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“texting and driving” by frankieleon is licensed under CC BY 2.0Ole J. Johansson

Junior researcher
Master’s in social psychology
Institute of Transport Economics

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Many countries have bans on driving while distracted and would fine drivers for texting while driving. Furthermore, people mostly know about the dangers of not paying attention to the traffic. Still, many people do engage in distracting behaviors. Thus, in this study, I wanted to examine:

a) Who are more likely to engage with distractors?

b) Is there an easy way to help people avoid distractions?

From these two points, we developed the study to engage with distracted driving from a psychological and scientific point of view.

Specifically using the theory of planned behavior and the big five to answer point a) and implementation intentions to answer point b).

Continue reading

2015 Marked First Decline In Life Expectancy in Over 20 Years

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Francesco Acciai PhD Postdoctoral Research Associate Food Policy and Environmental Research Group School of Nutrition and Health Promotion University of Arizona

Dr. Acciai

Francesco Acciai PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Food Policy and Environmental Research Group
School of Nutrition and Health Promotion
Arizona State University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In 2015 life expectancy at birth (e0) in the United States was lower than it was in 2014. In the previous 30 years, a reduction in life expectancy at the national level had occurred only one time, in 1993, during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The decrease in life expectancy observed in 2015 is particularly worrisome because it was not generated by an anomalous spike in a specific cause of death (like HIV/AIDS in 1993). Instead, age-adjusted death rates increased for 8 of the 10 leading causes of death—heart disease, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney disease, and suicide, according to the CDC.

Continue reading

Urban Transgender Females Likely To Get HIV Testing

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adrian Juarez, PhD, RN Assistant Professor The State University of New York School of Nursing  Department of Family, Community and Health Systems Sciences Buffalo, New York 14214

Dr. Juarez

Adrian Juarez, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor
The State University of New York
School of Nursing
Department of Family, Community and Health Systems Sciences
Buffalo, New York 14214

 

 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: HIV testing is considered the initial component of HIV eradication strategies such as “seek, test, treat, and retain.” This study examines the characteristics of an urban, transgender population in western New York when volunteering for an HIV test. The use of an intersectional lens was observed in order to determine the level of influence of sexual partnership types, previous HIV and STD testing, substance use, housing status referral source and racial/gender identification on HIV testing.

Continue reading

Hormones Affect Carotid Plaque Stability and Stroke Vulnerability

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marija Glisic Epidemiology, Erasmus MC

Marija Glisic

Marija Glisic
Epidemiology, Erasmus MC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Carotid atherosclerosis is one of most important risk factors for developing stroke. Carotid atherosclerotic plaques characterized by lipid core presence and intraplaque haemorrhage are considered to be unstable, and therefore more prone to rupture and lead to consequent stroke. Sex differences have been observed in carotid plaque composition as well as in stroke incidence. Sex hormones, particularly estrogen and testosterone actions are suggested to underlie the observed sex differences in atherosclerosis. Experimental evidence suggests a direct action of estradiol and testosterone on the vascular system, affecting various mechanisms that may impact plaque composition and subsequently stroke risk.

Continue reading

With Aging, Males and Females Express Genes Differently

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Mandy Peffers BSc MPhil PhD BVetMed FRCVS
Wellcome Trust Clinical Intermediate Fellow
Institute of Ageing & Chronic Disease
Faculty of Health & Life Sciences
University of Liverpool Liverpool UK

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The project was an extension of Louise Pease’s MSc research project in bioinformatics which aimed to re-analyse existing RNA-seq data to determine age related changes in gene expression in musculoskeletal tissues that may lead to the development of degenerative diseases.  From existing literature we identified that degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis and tendinitis were more prevalent in females and became more frequent following menopause.  We looked at the biology of the cohort we were trying to assess and discovered a gender imbalance, we hypothesised that this was why few results had been obtained from the original analysis. So we developed a research proposal that detailed extending the existing data to publicly available data and merging the experiments; to increase the number of replicates available and balance the experimental design.  We conducted multiple analyses and discovered that splitting samples by age and gender obtained the most significant results, and that whilst in a lot of cases the same genes were being differentially expressed, they were changing in opposite directions.  Louise remembered her statistics lecturer Gerard Cowburn (Ged) taught her about the assumptions of statistical tests, in particular covariance analysis (which has previously been used to show that age and gender do not affect gene expression) assumed that under the conditions being tested data points were not opposites.  Realising that this assumption had been violated by the data she began to think about what other assumptions we were working with and how to test their validity.

Continue reading

Transfusions From Previously Pregnant Donors Add Risk To Younger Male Recipients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rutger Middelburg, PhD Assistant Professor in clinical epidemiology Sanquin Research and LUMC

Dr. Middelburg

Rutger Middelburg, PhD
Assistant Professor in clinical epidemiology
Sanquin Research and LUMC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Six years ago we found transfusions from female donor to be associated with increased mortality among male recipients, especially under 50 years of age. This was an unexpected observation and we considered the probability of a false positive finding (i.e. a chance association) to be relatively high. We therefore immediately started a follow-up study with two main objectives. First, we wanted to confirm our findings in an independent and much larger cohort. Second, since some complications of blood transfusion are known to be related to pregnancy history of the donor, we wanted to study a possible relationship with previous pregnancy of the blood donors.

Continue reading

Men and Women May Take Different Kinds Of Risks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Thekla Morgenroth

Preferred pronouns: They/them/their
Research Fellow in Social and Organisational Psychology
Psychology
University of Exeter
Washington Singer Laboratories,
Exeter UK 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Risk-taking is often seen as an important trait that leads to economic success – for example when it comes to investing money – and career success. For example, we often hear that leaders need to be willing to take risks. Risk-taking is also strongly associated with masculinity, which leads to the idea that maybe gender differences in economic and career success can be explained by the fact that women are just too risk averse. When you look at the risk-taking literature, it appears that there is support for this idea with many studies showing that men do indeed take more risks than men.

Our research questions these ideas. We show that current measures of risk-taking are biased. They focus only on stereotypical “masculine” risk taking behaviors such as betting your money on the outcome of a sporting event or going whitewater rafting, and ignore the many risks that women take, such as going horseback riding or donating a kidney to a family member. When this bias is addressed, gender differences in risk-taking disappear or even reverse.

Continue reading