Author Interviews, Gender Differences, HIV, Sexual Health / 09.11.2017 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 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. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Lipids, Menopause / 06.11.2017 Interview with: Marija Glisic Epidemiology, Erasmus MC 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. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Genetic Research / 02.11.2017 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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Hematology, JAMA / 17.10.2017 Interview with: Rutger Middelburg, PhD Assistant Professor in clinical epidemiology Sanquin Research and LUMC 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. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Psychological Science, Social Issues / 11.10.2017 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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Social Issues / 09.10.2017 Interview with: Rebecca Horne, MSc, PHEc MSc graduate in Family Sciences from the University of Alberta Professional human ecologist PhD student in Psychology at the University of Toronto Research area in intimate relationships What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although several studies have argued that time, money, and gender are important factors that shape the division of household labour, we know little about how these factors impact housework at different stages of the life course. Specifically, are time, money, and gender-related variables equally important for explaining housework involvement at different life stages? In our study, we compared men’s and women’s housework contributions at different life stages and explored how work hours, income (relative to one’s partner), marital status, raising children, and gender impacted housework at these distinct stages. We drew on data from the Edmonton Transitions Study, which has tracked the school-to-work and adolescence-to-adulthood transitions of nearly 1,000 Canadians for over three decades. We analyzed survey data from participants who had romantic partners during three developmental periods: the transition to adulthood (age 25; assessed in 1992), young adulthood (age 32; assessed in 1999), and midlife (age 43; assessed in 2010). We found that regardless of age or life stage, women performed more housework than men. In addition, lower housework involvement was most reliably predicted by earning a greater share of income and being male at age 25; working longer hours and raising children (for men only) at age 32; and earning a greater share of income, working longer hours, and being male at age 43. Importantly, gender was the strongest predictor of housework responsibility earlier and later in life. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences / 07.10.2017 Interview with: Adam C. Davis, MSc PhD Education student University of Ottawa Ottawa, Ontario Canada What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Charles Darwin argued that animals compete with members of the same sex for desired mates (i.e., intrasexual competition). Using this framework, evolutionary researchers have explored the variety of ways in which this kind of competition may play out across human cultures. Several researchers have argued that gossip may be an effective way for humans to compete for mates, but most of the research has been indirect up until this point. In our study, we provide evidence that the reported tendency to compete with same-sex others for mates is associated with gossiping and positive attitudes toward learning about and spreading gossip. Gossip has also been argued to be women’s weapon of choice to compete for mates; however, few studies have tested this hypothesis. We provide evidence that women gossip to a greater extent than men, particularly about social information (e.g., friendships, romantic relationships) and the physical appearance of others (e.g., clothing), whereas men gossip more about achievement (e.g., salaries, promotions). Women also expressed more favourable attitudes toward gossiping than men. (more…)
Annals Thoracic Surgery, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, Surgical Research, Women's Heart Health / 06.10.2017 Interview with: Habib Jabagi B.Sc., M.Sc., M.D. Department of Surgery University of Ottawa , Ottawa What is the background for this study? What are the main findings Response: Women with coronary artery disease (CAD) are at a significant disadvantage compared to men, as they do not consistently receive the same intensive treatment. For example, when surgery is done in men, it is more common to use arteries, as opposed to saphenous veins from the leg to complete the bypass graft. Arteries, such as the left internal thoracic artery, appear to have much better long-term patency than veins, which translates into improved outcomes. The motivation for this study was to see if our centre, which has embraced the use of arteries quite aggressively, has suffered the same gender disparities with respect to the use of multiple arterial revascularization strategies in coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Gender Differences, Mental Health Research, Sexual Health, Social Issues / 03.10.2017 Interview with: Oliver Ferlatte PhD Men's Health Research Program University of British Columbia Vancouver , British Columbia , Canada What is the background for this study? Response: Suicide, like many other health inequities, is unevenly distributed among the population, with marginalized groups being most affected. In Canada, suicide has been found to particularly affect gay and bisexual men, aboriginal people and people living in rural and remote communities. While the populations affected by suicide are not mutually exclusive – for example someone can be a bisexual Aboriginal man living in a remote community – much of the suicide prevention literature tends to treat these groups as such. Moreso, very little attention is given in suicide prevention research to diversity within groups: for example, we know very little about which gay and bisexual men are most at risk of attempting suicide. This situation creates a vacuum of knowledge about suicide among gay and bisexual and deprives us of critical information for the development of effective suicide prevention activities. We therefore investigated in a survey of Canadian gay and bisexual men (Sex Now Survey), which gay and bisexual men are at increased risk of reporting a recent suicide attempt. The large sample of gay and bisexual men with 8493 participants allows for this unique analysis focused on the multiple, intersecting identities of the survey participants. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Gender Differences, Heart Disease / 02.10.2017 Interview with: Min Zhao PhD student Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, Clinical Epidemiology University Medical Center Utrech What is the background for this study? Response: Heart disease is still one of leading causes of deaths and disability worldwide. Management of modifiable risk factors, including both medical treatment target and healthy lifestyle, reduce the chance of new heart attack among those who survived a previous heart attack (so-called secondary prevention). Previous studies have demonstrated that the secondary prevention of heart disease is poorer among women than men. However, most studies were performed in Western populations. We aimed to assess whether sex differences exist on risk factor management and to investigate geographic variations of any such sex differences. Our study is a large-scale international clinical audit performed during routine clinic visit. We recruited over 10,000 patients who had survived a previous heart attack from 11 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Psychological Science / 27.09.2017 Interview with: Patti J. Fisher, Ph.D. Associate Professor in Consumer Studies AHRM Department Virginia Tech What is the background for this study? Response: Risk tolerance is one of the most important factors contributing to wealth accumulation and retirement. It is important to understand why women are less risk tolerant so that financial planners can better serve their needs because women, on average, live longer than men and often need more retirement savings. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Genetic Research, Sexual Health / 22.09.2017 Interview with: Steven Arnocky PhD Faculty of Arts & Science-Psychology Nipissing University Canada What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  - Previous research has linked the facial width-to-height ratio to a number of testosterone-mediated traits, primarily in men, such as aggression and achievement drive. Some research has also linked FWHR to testosterone directly, although this research is less consistent. If testosterone is linked to cranio-facial development then we hypothesized that facial masculinization should therefore correlate with other testosterone-linked traits. In both men and women, there is good evidence that testosterone increases sexual motivation. In two samples of young-adults from two Canadian cities, we found that  facial width-to-height ratio predicted sex-drive, regardless of whether participants were male or female. In the second study (the larger of the two) we also found that FWHR predicted a more unrestricted sociosexual orientation, in other words, attitudes and behavior consistent with more pluralistic mating, as well as more intended infidelity. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Genetic Research, JAMA / 29.08.2017 Interview with: Arthur W. Toga PhD Provost Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Psychiatry and The Behavioral Sciences, Radiology and Engineering Ghada Irani Chair in Neuroscience Director, USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and informatics institute USC Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics Keck School of Medicine of USC University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA  90032 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The ε4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is the main genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer's disease.  This study reexamines and corrects the sex-dependent risks that white men and women with one copy of the ε4 allele face for developing Alzheimer's disease using a very large data set of 57,979 North Americans and Europeans from the Global Alzheimer's Association Interactive Network (GAAIN). The study results show that these men and women between the ages of 55 and 85 have the same odds of developing Alzheimer's disease, with the exception that women face significantly higher risks than men between the ages of 65 and 75.  Further, these women showed increased risk over men between the ages of 55 and 70 for mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is often a transitional phase to dementia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Sexual Health / 17.08.2017 Interview with: Traci K. Gillig Doctoral Candidate Annenberg School of Communication and Erica L. Rosenthal Senior Research Associate Hollywood, Health & Society University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90211 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Time magazine declared America reached a “transgender tipping point” in 2014, with the media visibility of transgender people reaching new levels. While research has shown that entertainment shapes viewers' attitudes, no prior studies had explored the cumulative effects of exposure to media portrayals of transgender people. To address this gap, we worked with the TV show Royal Pains (USA Network) to assess how viewers’ attitudes toward transgender people and related policy issues were influenced by seeing a brief fictional portrayal of a transgender teen as well as other transgender TV characters and up until a few years ago the only transgender many had even heard of were the lady boy shows in Thailand, or shemales on shemale hd sex. We had advance notice of the storyline through Hollywood, Health & Society (HH&S), an organization affiliated with the USC Annenberg School of Communication. HH&S serves as a free resource to the entertainment industry, providing accurate health (and other) information through consultation with subject matter experts. Royal Pains assisted us in recruiting viewers for our study through their social media accounts. A total of 391 viewers who saw the episode featuring a transgender teen participated in our study, and we supplemented this sample with Royal Pains viewers who had not seen the episode, accessed through market research panels. Findings of our study showed that viewers who saw the Royal Pains episode featuring a transgender character had more supportive attitudes toward transgender people and related policies, compared to viewers who did not see the episode. Additionally, cumulative exposure to transgender entertainment narratives improved viewers' attitudes toward transgender people and policies. Neither exposure to transgender issues in the news nor Caitlyn Jenner’s story influenced attitudes. Further, aligning with prior research, viewers who were more politically conservative reported more negative attitudes toward transgender people and less support for transgender-affirming policies. However, seeing multiple such storylines reduced the strength of this link by one half. Political ideology also influenced viewers’ responses to the Royal Pains episode. Those who were politically liberal were more likely to feel hope or identify with the transgender character in the episode, while those who were politically conservative were more likely to react with disgust. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Gender Differences, HIV / 07.08.2017 Interview with: Dr. Tiffany Aholou Behavioral Scientist Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention CDC What is the background for this study? Response: Women accounted for 24% of people living with HIV in the United States at the end of 2013 and 19% of HIV diagnoses in 2014. Of these diagnoses, 78% were among black women and Latinas. HIV diagnoses among women are overwhelmingly attributed to heterosexual contact with a person known to have, or to be at high risk for, HIV infection. Of note, new HIV diagnoses among US women declined 40% over a 10 year period (2005-2014), yet we continue to see significant racial/ethnic disparities due largely to a complex web of demographic, individual, social and contextual factors with the environment that enables HIV risk behaviors to occur. While the decline in new HIV diagnoses among US women is noteworthy, in our review of the literature, we found research studies that specifically focus on women and HIV from a domestic perspective were scarce. To fill this gap and sharpen our understanding about sexual behaviors that are associated with heterosexual transmission of HIV, this study used data from three cycles of the National Survey of Family Growth (2006-2008, 2008-2010, and 2011-2013) to examine HIV-related sexual risk and protective behaviors - concurrent sex partnerships, non-monogamous sex partners, and condom use at either last vaginal sex or anal sex similar to what you might of seen on websites such as fulltube xxx - among sexually active women aged 18-44 years by race/ethnicity and over time. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Mental Health Research, Opiods / 28.07.2017 Interview with: Andrea M. Tilstra Doctoral Student, Department of Sociology Population Program, Institute of Behavioral Science University of Colorado Boulder and Ryan K. Masters Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology Faculty Associate, Population Program and Health & Society Program Institute of Behavioral Science University of Colorado Boulder What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  “Despair” deaths – deaths from suicides, alcohol poisonings, and drug overdoses – have been a topic of interest in recent mortality research. For instance, existing findings suggest that mortality among white Americans has increased as a result of middle-aged whites experiencing elevated levels of despair and distress. These factors supposedly are driving white Americans to cope in unhealthy ways – excessive drinking, drug use, and suicides. However, there were two major problems with the existing research that supported this narrative. First, men and women were analyzed together, despite the knowledge that overall mortality levels and trends differ significantly by gender. Second, all three of the aforementioned causes of death were pooled together and analyzed as one group. This is highly problematic if deaths from suicides, alcohol use, and drug use are not, in fact, moving in conjunction with one another. We addressed these issues and expanded previous analyses by analyzing cause-specific death rates for men and women separately, for years 1980-2014, and decomposing the trends into period- and cohort- based analyses. We find that there are huge gender differences in U.S. white mortality rates and that trends in mortality from the three causes of death are quite distinct from one another. Recent increases in U.S. white mortality are largely driven by period-based increases in drug poisoning deaths and cohort-based increases in metabolic disease deaths. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Mental Health Research / 26.07.2017 Interview with: Areti Smaragdi, PhD University of Southampton Southampton, UK What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Conduct Disorder is a psychiatric disorder that involves severe antisocial behavior – symptoms of the condition include behaviors like physical fighting, pathological lying, and serious theft. The disorder affects around 5% of school-aged children and adolescents, and is up to three times more common in boys than girls. Because of this, very little research has focused on the possible brain basis of the disorder in girls. We used MRI scanning methods to measure the brain structure of 48 boys and 48 girls with Conduct Disorder (14-18 years old) and 52 boys and 52 girls without severe antisocial behavior. We found that boys and girls with Conduct Disorder had reduced thickness and more folding in the prefrontal cortex, an area at the front of the brain which is responsible for reward and punishment processing and helping us to control our emotions and impulses. In contrast, in some other areas such as the superior frontal gyrus, which is involved in short-term memory, boys and girls with Conduct Disorder showed structural changes in opposite directions (e.g., more versus less folding) compared with controls. This suggests that there are common abnormalities in brain structure in boys and girls with Conduct Disorder, but also some sex differences that might indicate that the causes of the disorder are partly different in boys and girls. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, CDC, Emory, Gender Differences, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 21.07.2017 Interview with: EmikoPetrosky MD M.P.H Science Officer, National Violent Death Reporting System at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Emory University Rollins School of Public Health What is the background for this study? Response: Homicide is one of the leading causes of death for women aged 44 years and younger. In 2015, 3,519 girls and women died by homicide in the United States.  It is the 5th leading cause of death for women under 45 years age (defining women as 18-44 years of age). The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) links together data from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, and law enforcement reports, resulting in more information about the circumstances of death than what is available elsewhere. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Gender Differences, Pediatrics / 12.07.2017 Interview with: Jie-Yu Chuang PhD Department of Psychiatry University of Cambridge Cambridge, United Kingdom What is the background for this study? Response: Men and women appear to suffer from depression differently, and this is particularly striking in adolescents. By 15 years of age, girls are twice as likely to suffer from depression as boys. There are various possible reasons for this, including body image issues, hormonal fluctuations and genetic factors, where girls are more at risk of inheriting depression. However, differences between the sexes don't just involve the risk of experiencing depression. Men are more liable to suffer from persistent depression, whereas in women depression tends to be more episodic. Compared with women, depressed men are also more likely to suffer serious consequences from their depression, such as substance abuse and suicide. Despite this, so far, most researchers have focused on depression in women, likely because it is more common. As a result, we'd like to make people more aware of the sex difference issue in depression. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences / 29.06.2017 Interview with: Sanger Insitute - Wellcome Trust. Photo by Phil MynottDr Natasha Karp PhD Senior Staff Scientist – Biostatistician Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute What is the background for this study? Response: There is evidence that the prevalence of disease, the symptoms experienced,  the progression,  and the side effects can be  dependent on sex.  However, women are underrepresented within biomedical research and this can be seen in the reporting, design of the experiments and subsequent statistical analysis. Examples
  • A review of international animal research between 2011 and 2012 found that 22 per cent of studies did not state the sex of the animals, and of those that did, 80 per cent of studies used solely males and only 3 per cent included both males and females (
  • In a study across 10 fields of biology,  80% of the rodents were male  (Beery and Zucker 2011 Neurosci Biobehav Rev).  This rate has not changed in 20 years  (Mazure and Jones 2015 BMC Women’s health)
  • Women encounter adverse drug reactions more often than men (odds ratio 1.596 confidence interval: 1.3-1.94)( Zopf et al 2008  Eur J Clinic Pharmacol)
  • Example – cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of US women,  and women differ to men in symptoms, outcomes and risk factors, yet only one third of cardiovascular trials subjects are female and only 31% of trials report results by sex (
  • Example – It took 21 years to lower the  dosing guidelines for women for the insomnia drug Zolpidem due to differences in the clearance rate of the drug exposing women to greater health risks (
As a result of these observations, multiple bodies have called for sex to be considered as a biological variable in preclinical research.  The largest funders of biomedical research (National Institute of Health) made inclusion of sex a requirement of funding with a few well defined exceptions.  There was some push back on this,  particularly that scientists should be trusted and would know when sex was a variable and it was a waste of resources. I felt there was a knowledge gap on the role of sex.  We have had published studies of individual examples where sex had a role but no large scale study. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Gender Differences, JAMA, Pediatrics, Surgical Research / 13.06.2017 Interview with: Mackenzie M. Herzog, MPH PhD Candidate, Injury Epidemiology The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill What is the background for this study? Response: In 1999, a study by Arendt et al. reported that women were more likely to tear their ACL than men while playing the same sport. Since then, numerous studies have investigated this sex difference in ACL injury, and many prevention programs targeting youth athletes have been developed and tested. Although randomized trials have demonstrated the value of injury prevention programs in reducing the risk of ACL injury, the overall impact of these programs has not been examined in the general population. Our study investigated the net impact of research and prevention efforts over nearly 20 years in reducing ACL injuries by assessing time trends of ACL reconstruction, a consequence of ACL injury, among commercially-insured individuals in the United States. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences / 12.06.2017 Interview with: Olivia Choy Ph.D. candidate in Criminology Department of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The higher rate of offending among males compared to females is a well-documented phenomenon. However, little is known about what accounts for this gender difference. As males have been found to have significantly lower heart rates than females and lower resting heart rates have been associated with higher levels of offending, we tested whether low heart rate may partly account for the gender gap in crime. Resting heart rate at age 11 accounted for 5.4% to 17.1% of the gender difference in crime at age 23. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Gender Differences, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 05.06.2017 Interview with: Carl G Streed Jr. M.D. Pronouns: he, him, his, himself Fellow, Division General Internal Medicine & Primary Care  Brigham & Women’s Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has underscored the need to better understand the health of gender minorities, including transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. Prior investigations of gender minorities are limited by the lack of national gender identity data. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a gender identity question for the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS); states had the option to administer this module beginning 2014. Our study aims to examine the health status of gender minorities in the US compared to cisgender peers. Compared to cisgender adults, gender minority adults are younger, less likely to be non-Hispanic white, married or living with a partner, have a minor child in the household, or be English speaking; but are more likely to have lower income, be unemployed, be uninsured, have unmet medical care due to cost, be overweight, and report depression. Gender minority adults, compared to cisgender adults, are more likely to report: poor or fair health; difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; and being limited in any way. These outcomes remained significant after adjustment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Pediatrics / 05.06.2017 Interview with: Michael S. Dunbar, PhD Associate Behavioral Scientist RAND Corporation What is the background for this study? Response: Sexual minority college students suffer from mental health problems like anxiety and depression at higher rates than their heterosexual peers. If they aren’t addressed, these types of issues can have serious negative effects on things like academic achievement, employment, and quality of life –among others. This study analyzed information from a survey about mental health needs and use of mental health services. The survey was completed by over 33,000 students from nine University of California campuses, nine California State University campuses and 15 California community colleges. The results were weighted to help reflect California’s college student population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, UCLA, Weight Research / 22.05.2017 Interview with: Arpana Gupta, Ph.D. Assistant Professor G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience Ingestive Behavior and Obesity Program Vatche and Tamar Manoukin Division of Digestive Diseases David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA What is the background for this study? Response: Past studies have demonstrated how an imbalance in the processing of rewarding and salient stimuli results in maladaptive or excessive eating behaviors. However, stress and drug use are known to affect how sex and sex hormones modulate responses of the dopamine system involved in reward, and are thought to underlie sex differences in the pathophysiology of drug addiction and treatment response. These results suggest similar sex effects on the mesolimbic reward system may also be at play in obesity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences / 07.05.2017 Interview with: Moran Gershoni PhD Senior intern, Molecular Genetics Weizmann Institute of Science Ben Gurion University Rehovot Area, Israel What is the background for this study? Response: The background for this study is the question why "bad" is common? More specifically, we asked why the prevalence of some unfitted traits, like diseases and infertility, is sometimes much higher than intuitively expected? Several years ago we hypothesized that, at least in some of the cases, the relatively high prevalence of a morbid phenotype is directly arises from the fact that humans are composed of two ‘kinds’, men and women. This is since men and women share nearly the same genome but differently utilize some of it. Thus, the very same genetic code might affect men and women in a different and even in an antagonist manner. Therefore, disease-cause mutations in one sex can be neutral, or even beneficial, to the other sex. This allows such mutations to be sustained and propagated to relative high population frequencies. (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, Education, Gender Differences, JAMA, Pediatrics / 01.05.2017 Interview with: Professor Jill Pell MD Director of Institute (Institute of Health and Wellbeing) Associate (School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing) University of Glasgow What is the background for this study? Response: The novelty of our study lies in its scale and scope. In terms of scope, it reported on six educational outcomes and three health outcomes in the same group of children. In terms of scale, it is the first study of a whole country to compare educational outcomes of children with treated ADHD with their unaffected peers and is more than 20 times larger than previous studies on similar educational outcomes. The only previous countrywide study on health outcomes, included only children with very severe ADHD who were in psychiatric hospitals. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, PTSD, Stanford / 25.04.2017 Interview with: Laramie E Duncan, PhD Stanford University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that some people experience after a traumatic event, like a terrorist attack, military conflict, or violence in the home. When people have PTSD, they may experience flashbacks to the traumatic event, nightmares, and other recollections of the event that can interfere with their day-to-day lives. Before this study, not everyone was convinced that genetic factors make some people more prone to developing PTSD than others. Using a study of over 20,000 people and analyzing over two hundred billion (200,000,000,000) pieces of genetic information, we demonstrated that developing PTSD is partly genetic. We also found that genetic factors seem to play a stronger role for women than men, though for everyone, experiencing trauma is still the most important factor. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Gender Differences, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 20.04.2017 Interview with: Shakia Hardy, MPH, CPH. PhD Department of Epidemiology The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies characterizing blood pressure levels across the life course have relied on prevalence estimates at a given age. Our study was interested in identifying critical ages at which net transitions between levels of blood pressure occurred. We used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007-2012) to estimate age-, race-, and sex-specific annual net transition probabilities between ideal blood pressure, prehypertension and hypertension. We found that African Americans and men were more likely to transition from ideal levels of blood pressure in childhood or early adulthood compared to white Americans and women, which puts them at increased risk of developing prehypertension and hypertension earlier in life. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Social Issues / 05.04.2017 Interview with: Madeleine A. Fugère, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology Eastern CT State University Willimantic, Connecticut What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous research has shown that both daughters and their parents rate many traits as more important than physical attractiveness in a potential mate (for daughters), including traits such as respectfulness, honesty, and trustworthiness. Previous research also shows that women rate physical attractiveness as more important in a mate for themselves than parents do in a mate for their daughters. In our research project, we experimentally manipulated the physical attractiveness of male targets (using photographs) and we experimentally manipulated the traits associated with each male target. The trait profiles included the “respectful” trait profile which consisted of the traits respectful, honest, and trustworthy, the “friendly” trait profile which included the traits friendly, dependable, and mature, and the “pleasing” trait profile which contained the traits pleasing disposition, ambitious, and intelligent. We found that both women and their mothers were strongly influenced by the physical attractiveness of the men and preferred the attractive and moderately attractive targets. Both women and their mothers rated the attractive and moderately attractive men most favorably, especially when they were paired with the most positive trait profile (the “respectful” trait profile). However, the unattractive man was never rated more positively than his more attractive counterparts even when he possessed the most favorable trait profile. (more…)