Berlin Science Week at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Sex and Gender Disparities in Medical Research and Practice

Neglecting sex and gender in biomedicine has created a data gap that endangers timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment for half of the population

Sex and gender profoundly impact medical care – women, for example, are less likely to get diagnosed correctly and be treated in time when they have a heart attack or when they report pain. Still, both in basic biomedical research as well as in clinical studies, studying sex and gender is often related to specialized niches, rather than being recognized as a fundamental pillar of understanding and treating disease. The sex-related interplay of genetic and hormonal factors influences how a disease unfolds and how the body responds to treatment. Historically, however, most research data that have guided our knowledge about disease, treatment guidelines, and drug dosing have been obtained using male cells, male animals, and male study participants. Additionally, gender identities, norms and relationships frame our interaction with the healthcare system, affecting individual health behavior, interactions with clinicians and, more broadly, access to healthcare.

Drawing from our research on cardiovascular diseases, host-microbiome interaction, neuroscience and health psychology, we aim to emphasize the critical importance of considering sex and gender in health-related contexts. Furthermore, we will discuss how these considerations influence decision-making processes by scientific journal editors, funding agencies, policy makers and the broader societal discourse.

Speakers: Sofia Forslund-Startceva | Claudia Crocini | Sabine Klaassen | Hanna Hörnberg | Gertraud Stadler (Charité Gender in Medicine)

Opening remarks: Prof. Maike Sander, scientific director of the Max Delbrück Center

Language: English

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