Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA, Pediatrics / 25.03.2019 Interview with: Dr. David Klein MD MPH Associate Program Director National Capital Consortium (NCC) Family Medicine Residency Fort Belvoir Community Hospital Dr. Elizabeth Hisle-Gorman MSW, PhD Assistant Professor, Uniformed Services University What is the background for this study?  Response: Our study, “Transgender Children and Adolescents Receiving Care in the U.S. Military Healthcare System: A Descriptive Study,” sought to analyze the number of military dependent children and adolescents who have a transgender or gender-diverse identity and receive medical care in the Military Health System (MHS), recognizing that the number has been increasing, but not knowing to what extent. Ultimately, in studying this data, we hoped to document the needs of transgender children in military families to support provision of adequate and appropriate high-quality care. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Mental Health Research, OBGYNE, Psychological Science / 20.03.2019 Interview with Haley Kranstuber Horstman, Ph.D. Department of Communication University of Missouri What is the background for this study? Response: Miscarriage is a prevalent health concern, with one in five pregnancies ending in miscarriage, which is a pregnancy loss before 20 weeks’ gestation. Past research has shown that women who have miscarried often suffer mental health effects such as heightened grief, depression, loneliness, and suicidality. Although much of the research on coping with miscarriage has focused on women’s health, many miscarriages occur within romantic relationships and affect the non-miscarrying partner as well. Women in heterosexual marriages report that their husband is often their top support-provider. Past research has shown that husbands suffer with mental health effects after a miscarriage, sometimes for even longer than their wives, but are not often supported in their grief because miscarriage is a “woman’s issue” and they feel uncomfortable talking about it. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, OBGYNE, Psychological Science, Sexual Health / 11.02.2019 Interview with: Dr. Alexander Lischke, Dipl.-Psych. Universität Greifswald Institut für Psychologie Physiologische und Klinische Psychologie/Psychotherapie University of Greifswald, Germany What is the background for this study? Response: We know for a long time that cyclic variations in womens' estrogen and progesterone levels affect their emotion recognition abilities by modulating neural activity in brain regions implicated in emotion processing. We also know that oral contraceptives suppress cyclic variations in womens' estrogen and progesterone levels. We, thus, assumed that oral contraceptives would affect womens' emotion recognition abilities due to the aforementioned suppression of cylic variations in estrogen and progesterone levels that modulate neural activity in brain regions during emotion processing. To test this assumption, at least with respect to the behavioral effects of oral contraceptive use on emotion recognition, we performed the current study. We recruited regular cylcling women with and without oral contraceptive use for our study. None of the women were in psychotherapeutical or psychopharmacological treatment at the time of the study. During the study, women performed a emotion recognition task that required the recognition of complex emotional expressions like, for example, pride or contempt. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA, Mental Health Research, UCSF / 31.01.2019 Interview with: Christina Mangurian, MD MAS Professor Department of Psychiatry, Weill Institute for Neurosciences Center for Vulnerable Populations, University of California, San Francisco Veronica Yank, MD Assistant Professor Division of General Internal Medicine Department of Medicine University of California San Francisco What is the background for this study? Response: This article is about the behavioral health and burnout consequences among physician mothers who are caring for seriously ill loved ones. Our work was inspired, in part, by some of the authors’ own experiences caring for loved ones with serious illnesses while also being physician mothers themselves.  We sought to determine the proportion of physician mothers with such caregiving responsibilities beyond their patients and children and the how these additional responsibilities affected the women’s health and practice. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gender Differences, JAMA, UCLA / 25.01.2019 Interview with: Dr. Ann Raldow MD MPH Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Similar to women in other historically male-dominated fields, female radiation oncologists face unique obstacles in achieving many metrics of career success, including equal salary, research funding, and academic promotion. Our study of industry payments found that female radiation oncologists were less likely than their male colleagues to receive payments from industry and that these payments tended to be of smaller monetary value. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Gender Differences / 22.01.2019 Interview with: Lloyd Brandts PhD Candidate Maastricht University Maastricht, the Netherlands What is the background for this study? Response: Although the number of people who reached old age has increased over the past few decades, in some developing countries it has been observed that the increase in life expectancy started to plateau. One commonly used argument to explain this plateauing is the growing number of obese and physically inactive individuals. Therefore, we assessed whether there is an association between these factors and the chance of reaching the age of 90 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Circadian Rhythm, Gender Differences / 18.01.2019 Interview with: Lauren Douma, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow University of Florida Department of Medicine Division of Nephrology, Hypertension, and Renal Transplantation Gainesville, FL 32610 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Our internal circadian clock not only controls our sleep/wake cycle, but also many other physiological functions including rhythms in body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. During the day when we are active our blood pressure peaks and at night when we are asleep our blood pressure dips. Certain individuals do not experience this dip in their blood pressure at night and are referred to as non-dippers. Non-dippers have an increased risk for heart and kidney disease. Previously, our lab has shown that if we knock out a core circadian clock gene (PER1) in male mice, they develop non-dipping hypertension on a treatment that mimics salt-sensitive hypertension. In the current study, we examined the effect of knocking out this circadian clock gene in female mice. We found that female mice without the PER1 gene do not develop the non-dipping hypertension that the males develop. Female mice without PER1 maintain their circadian rhythms of blood pressure, including the dip in their blood pressure at night even with the same treatment that the males received to mimic salt-sensitive hypertension. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences / 29.11.2018 Interview with: Emily J. Cross, MS School of Psychology, Science Centre The University of Auckland Auckland What is the background for this study? Response: Aggression and violence in intimate relationships is very harmful, and unfortunately Aggression and violence in intimate relationships is very harmful, and unfortunately very common. So identifying what predicts relationship aggression and why is important. Men’s hostile sexism toward women is an established risk factor for relationship aggression, but we actually know little about why these attitudes promote relationship aggression. Understanding why helps to identify how these damaging processes may be reduced. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Lifestyle & Health / 15.11.2018 Interview with: "Blood pressure check" by Army Medicine is licensed under CC BY 2.0Pallavi Bhandarkar MPH Nova Southeastern University Kirkland, Washington What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Gender based preventative health has been of interest to medical community since 1900’s with health disparities between males and females being of particular interest. United States founded National Research Institutes for female health in 1900. This led to comprehensive and systematic medical services being offered which have improved female health care significantly. Similar research programs and initiatives to improve men’s health were started only in 2000 (1). Cultural depiction of men being fearless and based on perception of masculinity leads them to underutilize the preventative health care screenings available to them or sometimes even delay care when they need it the most. Males have been found to have higher mortality rates compared to females. Life expectancy for females was 5.0 years higher than for males. The difference in life expectancy between the sexes has narrowed since 1979, when it was 7.8 years, but it increased 0.2 year in 2016 from 2015, the first increase since 1990. Death rates for males increased significantly for age groups 15–24, 25–34, 35–44, and 55–64. Rates decreased significantly for age groups 75–84 and 85 and over” (2) My research study adopted the basic survey design and conducted an anonymous survey throughout United States with men aged 18 to 40 being the participants. Our goal was to identify these gaps, analyze the reasons for underutilization and identify opportunities to improve preventative care guidelines among the male population. The main findings were almost similar to the BFRSS data obtained by CDC in the year 2016. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Gender Differences, OBGYNE / 07.11.2018 Interview with: Dr Sarah Myers PhDDr Sarah Myers PhD Honorary Research Associate UCL Department of Anthropology What is the background for this study? Response: Postnatal or postpartum depression is unfortunately common after giving birth; a figure often quoted is 15%, but some studies have found much higher numbers. Postnatal depression is associated with a range of poorer outcomes for mothers and their infants, and the financial costs of treating maternal mental ill health put health services under considerable strain. Studies have found that providing additional emotional support to at risk mothers, for instance via peer support programmes or regular phone calls with health visitors, can reduce the likelihood of them developing the condition. Therefore, it is really important that we understand the full range of risk factors that put women at greater risk of becoming depressed after giving birth. There is increasing evidence for a link between inflammation and depression, with factors that trigger an inflammatory immune response also increasing the likelihood of depressive symptoms. The opens up the possibility of finding new risk factors for postnatal depression based on known associations with inflammation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Gender Differences, JAMA, Pediatrics / 05.11.2018 Interview with: Andrée-Anne Ledoux, PhD Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute Ottawa, Ontario, Canada What is the background for this study? Response: The natural recovery processes from a pediatric concussion remains poorly characterized throughout childhood. Children’s brains go through many phases of growth during development and sex differences exist. Therefore a 6-year-old child may not have the same recovery trajectory as an adolescent because of biopsychosocial differences. Thus, this study explored symptom improvement after concussion while considering these two key demographic factors. Understanding symptom improvement at different stages of development is important in order to provide the best possible care. The study examined data from 2,716 children and adolescents who had presented at nine emergency departments across Canada and were diagnosed with concussion. We examined the natural progression of self-reported symptom recovery following pediatric concussion over the initial three months after injury. Participants in the study were aged 5 to 18 years old with acute concussion, enrolled from August 1, 2013, to May 31, 2015. We examined different age cohorts – 5 to 7 years of age, 8 to 12 years of age, and 13 to 18 years of age, and investigated how sex is associated with recovery. Our study represents the largest study to evaluate symptom improvement trajectories in concussed pediatric population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Gender Differences, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 27.09.2018 Interview with: Raghav Tripathi, MPH Case Western Reserve University MD Candidate, Class of 2021 Why did you decide to perform this study? Response: Differences in the impact of dermatologic conditions on different groups have been of interest to our research group for a long time. Previously, our group had found differences in time to treatment for patients with different skin cancers. Beyond this, we had found differences in mortality and incidence of various skin conditions (controlling for other factors) in different racial groups/ethnicities, socioeconomic groups, demographic groups, and across the rural-urban continuum. The goal of this study was to investigate socioeconomic and demographic differences in utilization of outpatient dermatologic care across the United States. As demographics throughout the country become more diverse, understanding differences in utilization of dermatologic care is integral to developing policy approaches to increasing access to care across the country.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Education, Gender Differences, JAMA / 03.09.2018 Interview with: Lia E. Gracey, MD, PhD Department of Dermatology Baylor Scott & White Health Austin, Texas What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The co-authors and I were interested in this issue as new parent leave (or the lack thereof) is increasingly being examined in many professions.  As a mother who had children during dermatology residency, I felt the pressure to take a short new parent leave to avoid having to make up time at the end of my training. I came back to work only 3 ½ weeks after having my first baby. Anecdotally, other new parent residents (both men and women) reported similar concerns and we noticed a lack of data about new parent leave policies in dermatology residency training programs. We distributed surveys to dermatology residency program directors and residents and were struck by a basic lack of awareness by residents for whether their institution even offered new parent leave.  Less than 50% of surveyed residents were aware of a written new parent leave policy for their residency program, yet over 80% of program directors stated they had a policy in place. We also found discrepancies between resident and program director perceptions of sufficiency of new parent leave and the availability of pumping facilities for breastfeeding mothers.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, Women's Heart Health / 23.08.2018 Interview with: Brad N. Greenwood PhD Associate Professor Information & Decision Sciences Carlson School of Management University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, Minneapolis MN What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There has been growing work in medicine which suggests both that a) women are more skilled physicians across a variety of ailments and b) women are particularly challenging heart attack patients (for a variety of reasons ranging from delays in seeking treatment to atypical presentation). When you coupled this with the deep literatures in economics, sociology, and political science which suggests that advocatees experience better outcomes when they share traits with their advocates, it seemed plausible that there might be differences in outcomes. The key finding is that gender concordance matters most for female patients:  female patients are about 0.7-1.2% more likely to die if treated by a male doctor, relative to a female doctor.  This number seems small.  But, if the survival rate among the female heart attack patients treated by male doctor was the same as the survival rate among female heart attack patients treated by female doctors, about 1,500-3,000 fewer of the female heart attack patients in our sample would have passed away. Our sample covers the state of Florida from 1991-2010.  Florida is about 10% of the US population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences / 22.08.2018 Interview with: “Nurse gives flu jab” by NHS Employers is licensed under CC BY 2.0Katharina Block, M.A. Phd Student - Social Psychology The University of British Columbia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Healthcare workers and teachers are incredibly central to how we function as a society. We are having trouble filling these positions, and especially men are underrepresented in them. In the U.S. men represent only about 10% of nurses and 4% of pre-school and kindergarten teachers. We wanted to know how men’s more basic values play into this. Our main finding is that tend men see less importance in care-oriented careers then women do, and we find that this could be tied to the more basic values feel are important to them personally.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Education, Gender Differences, JAMA, Surgical Research / 09.08.2018 Interview with: Erika L. Rangel, MD,MS Instructor, Harvard Medical School Trauma, Burn and Surgical Critical Care Department of Surgery, Center for Surgery and Public Health Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, Massachusetts What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Although women make up half of medical student graduates in 2018, they only comprise a third of applicants to general surgery. Studies suggest that lifestyle concerns and perceptions of conflict between career and family obligations dissuade students from the field. After entering surgical residencies, women residents have higher rates of attrition (25% vs 15%) and cite uncontrollable lifestyle as a predominant factor in leaving the field. Surgeons face reproductive challenges including stigma against pregnancy during training, higher rates of infertility, need for assisted reproduction, and increased rates of pregnancy complications. However, until recently, studies capturing the viewpoints of women who begin families during training have been limited. Single-institution experiences have described mixed experiences surrounding maternity leave duration, call responsibilities, attitudes of coworkers and faculty, and the presence of postpartum support. Earlier this year, our group presented findings of the first national study of perspectives of surgical residents who had undergone pregnancy during training. A 2017 survey was distributed to women surgical residents and surgeons through the Association of Program Directors in Surgery, the Association of Women Surgeons and through social media via twitter and Facebook. Responses were solicited from those who had at least one pregnancy during their surgical training. 39% of respondents had seriously considered leaving surgical residency, and 30% reported they would discourage a female medical student from a surgical career, specifically because of the difficulties of balancing pregnancy and motherhood with training (JAMA Surg 2018; July 1; 153(7):644-652). These findings suggested the challenges surrounding pregnancy and childrearing during training may have a significant impact on the decision to pursue or maintain a career in surgery. The current study provides an in-depth analysis of cultural and structural factors within residency programs that influence professional dissatisfaction. We found that women who faced stigma related to their pregnancies, who had no formal maternity leave at their programs, and who altered subspecialty training plans due to perceived challenges balancing motherhood with the originally chosen subspecialty were most likely to be unhappy with their career or residency. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Gender Differences, Occupational Health / 02.08.2018 Interview with: “Professional waitress” by Shih-Chi Chiang is licensed under CC BY 2.0Sarah Andrea, MPH School of Public Health OHSU-PSU What is the background for this study? Response: We spend one-third of our adult lives at work, and our work-related experiences and exposures affect our health. 14 million people work in the leisure and hospitality industry, a subset of the service industry that includes food service and personal care workers. This industry is simultaneously one of the fastest growing and lowest paid. In addition, work in this industry is frequently characterized by lack of control over hours and shifts worked, as well as insufficient access to health care and other benefits. Studies have previously found the highest burden of depression and sleep problems for workers in this industry compared to others. Individuals working in the service industry who earn the bulk for their income from tips from customers face additional vulnerabilities. In many states, tipped workers are paid as little as $2.13 an hour and rely on customers to make up the difference in tips, which are inequitable and unpredictable. Prior to this study, the potential health implications of tipped work were minimally assessed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Gender Differences, Occupational Health, Sexual Health / 30.07.2018 Interview with: Brittany M. Charlton, ScD, Assistant Professor Harvard Medical School Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston Children's Hospital Boston, MA What is the background for this study? Response: Research has shown that nearly half of all sexual minorities (e.g., lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals) experience employment discrimination in their lifetime, which may lead to many other disparities, including health insurance coverage, healthcare access, and ultimately health-related quality of life (e.g., pain, anxiety). (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Geriatrics, Heart Disease / 25.07.2018 Interview with: Quoc Dinh Nguyen, MD MA MPH Interniste-gériatre – Service de gériatrie Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal – CHUM What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Randomized trials are the best evidence basis we have to treat patients. It is known for more than 20 years that older adults and women are disproportionately excluded from randomized trials in cardiology diseases. As the current US population is fast aging, we examined whether this underrepresentation improved or worsened in the last 20 years in the most influential studies published between 1996 and 2015. The main finding is that the women and older adults continue to be underrepresented in cardiology trials. Overall, the mean age was 63 years and the percentage of women was 29%. For coronary heart disease, women comprise 54% of the US population in need of treatment, yet are only 27% of the trial population. For heart failure, the median age of older adults in the US population is 70 years whereas it is only 64 years in the trial population. Our results indicate that the gap has very slowly narrowed in the last 2 decades. However, based on current trends, reaching proportionate enrollment would require between 3 and 9 decades. This persistent lack of representation has significant impacts on the ability of clinicians to provide evidenced based care for these segments of the population. Physicians and other health care professionals are forced to extrapolate study results from younger and male-predominant populations. This is problematic since we know that older adults and women may react differently to medications and to interventions.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Gender Differences, JAMA, Pediatrics / 22.07.2018 Interview with: Julie Silver, MD Associate Professor and Associate Chair Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and Staff physician at Massachusetts General Brigham and Women’s and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospitals What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are many documented disparities for women in medicine that include promotion and compensation. For physicians in academic medicine, both promotion and compensation may be directly or indirectly linked to publishing. Similarly, opportunities that stem from publishing such as speaking engagements, may be affected by a physician’s ability to publish. For more than twenty years, there have been reports of women being underrepresented on journal editorial boards and gaps in their publishing rates. For example, a report titled “Is There a Sex Bias in Choosing Editors?” by Dickersin et al was published in JAMA in 1998 and made a compelling case for bias. Moreover, the authors noted that “a selection process favoring men would have profound ramifications for the professional advancements and influence of women”. Despite a steady stream of reports over the years, gaps have not been sufficiently addressed, and in 2014 Roberts published an editorial in Academic Psychiatry titled “Where Are the Women Editors?”. The 2017 review by Hengel titled “Publishing While Female” highlights many of the gaps, disparities and barriers for women in medicine. Conventional reasons for disparities, such as there are not enough women in the pipeline or women do not want to conduct research or pursue leadership positions, are simply not valid. Therefore, it is important to look at other barriers, such as unconscious (implicit) bias that may affect the editorial process. In this study, we analyzed perspective type articles from four high impact pediatric journals. We selected pediatrics, because most pediatricians are women, and therefore there are plenty of highly accomplished women physicians. We found that women were underrepresented among physician first authors in all of the journals (140 of 336 [41.7%]). We also found that underrepresentation was more pronounced in article categories that were described as more scholarly (range, 15.4%-44.1%) versus narrative (52.9%-65.6%).  (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Occupational Health, Sexual Health / 11.07.2018 Interview with: Leah Halper, PhD Associate Director Office of Student Life Center for the Study of Student Life Columbus, OH 43210 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We started to run these studies in 2014 given mutual research interests that we shared. We knew that there was much research on sexual harassment that focused on the victim, the victim’s experience and the reporting process for sexual harassment. This work is extremely valuable. We noticed, however, that there was less research on the perpetrator and if there were personality variables related to the likelihood of sexual harassment. In our studies, we demonstrate that a personality variable (Fear of Negative Evaluation, or anxiety that others will see one as incompetent) is related to sexual harassment among men in powerful positions. Our results held up after taking into account other personality variables, such as narcissism and self-esteem. Also, we found that men who felt insecure in their power (i.e., those that were anxious that others would see them as incompetent) were more likely to engage in both quid pro quo harassment – asking for sexual favors in return for something else – and gender harassment – creating a hostile environment for women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA / 30.05.2018 Interview with: Julia Raifman, ScD SM Assistant Professor Health Law, Policy, and Management Boston University School of Public Health Boston, MA 02118 What is the background for this study? What methods did you use? What are the main findings? Response: The study was motivated by evidence that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people in the United States have elevated levels of depression, anxiety, suicide, and mental distress. LGB mental health disparities have been linked to experiences of stigma based on sexual orientation, but most of this evidence comes from studies of association. We were interested in investigating how state policies permitting the denial of services to same-sex couples affected the mental health of LGB individuals. We used data that are representative of all adults in each of the nine states included in the study, from the 2014 to 2016 waves of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The main outcome was mental distress, which can include stress, depression, and problems with emotions. We evaluated changes in mental distress among LGB adults in three states that passed policies permitting the denial of services to same-sex couples compared to changes in mental distress among heterosexual adults in the same states and among LGB adults in six control states. We controlled for all state characteristics that did not change over time, as well as individual age group, race, ethnicity,  sex, educational attainment, employment, income, and marital status.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gender Differences, Lung Cancer, NEJM, Smoking, Tobacco Research / 24.05.2018 Interview with: “Woman smoking” by Pedro Ribeiro Simões is licensed under CC BY 2.0Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PHD Scientific Vice President, Surveillance & Health Services Rsch American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Historically, lung cancer rates have been higher in men than women at all ages because of the substantially higher cigarette smoking prevalence in men. However, cigarette smoking prevalences over the past few decades have become similar between young men and women. Consistent with this pattern, we previously reported the convergence of lung cancer rates between young men and young women. In this paper, we examined the lung cancer incidence rates in young women versus young men in the contemporary cohorts. We found that the historically higher lung cancer incidence rates in young men than in young women have reversed in whites and Hispanics born since the mid-1960s. However, this emerging incidence patterns were not fully explained by sex difference in smoking prevalence as cigarette smoking prevalences among whites and Hispanics were not higher in young women than young men. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research, Gender Differences / 14.05.2018 Interview with: “Faecal Coliforms analysis” by SuSanA Secretariat is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Mahiben Maruthappu Public Health Registrar What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Gender disparities in the fields of science and technology have been documented, and  it becomes increasingly apparent at higher levels of seniority. In this analysis, we found a quantifiable difference in cancer research funding awarded to female principle investigators compared to male principle investigators (PIs). Across all cancer research funding grants that we identified, male PIs received 3.6 times the total investment value, and 1.6 times the average award value compared with their female counterparts.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA, Surgical Research / 02.04.2018 Interview with: Neel Mansukhani, MD Department of Surgery Northwestern University and Melina R. Kibbe, MD, FACS, FAHA Colin G. Thomas Jr. Distinguished Professor and Chair Department of Surgery Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7050 Editor in Chief, JAMA Surgery What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: This study is a follow-up to our previous work that examined sex bias in surgical research. Previously, we examined sex bias in basic and translational science surgical research, as well as in clinical surgical research. We discovered previously that sex bias exists in basic and translational surgical research in the unequal inclusion of male and female research subjects. In clinical research, we found sex bias in the degree of sex matching of included subjects, and in the frequency of sex-based reporting, analysis, and discussion of the data. In this current work, we sought to understand the effect of author gender on sex bias in surgical research. In this work, we found that most authors are male, most authors work with other authors of the same gender, and sex bias is prevalent regardless of author gender. Most importantly, we found that sex inclusive research receives more citations after publication compared to sex-biased research.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Gender Differences / 15.02.2018 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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Gender Differences / 24.01.2018 Interview with: Prof. Amani El-Alayli PhD Eastern Washington University 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Gender Differences, Medical Imaging, Weight Research / 22.11.2017 Interview with: Miriam Bredella, MD Associate Professor of Radiology Harvard Medical School Department of Radiology Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA 02114 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 (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Gender Differences / 20.11.2017 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 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). (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Social Issues / 12.11.2017 Interview with: Francesco Acciai PhD Postdoctoral Research Associate Food Policy and Environmental Research Group School of Nutrition and Health Promotion Arizona State University 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. (more…)