The gender gap exists everywhere–title just about any market , and you’re going to find one. But gender gaps are not always just about cover and promotions–in research, the sex gap contributes to bad health outcomes for women everywhere.
It is not enough to focus on access to care, to improve health outcomes for women –it boils down to something much more basic. “It is really important to consider sex–being female or male –from the whole biomedical research spectrum, from laboratory science, to clinical research, to people health studies, because being female or male has profound consequences on our biology,” Dr. Clayton explains.
Starting at the cellular level
It does not take a medical degree to understand that men and women are built differently–different hormonal patterns and perhaps even various lifestyle choices can impact the health outcomes for each sex (that, unlike gender, is a biological construct). “virtually every cell in your body has a sexual activity, from your liver into your lungs,” Dr. Clayton clarifies. “Being XX or XY affects the particular physiology of that tissue. Those differences have an impact on how men and women manifest ailments, how they respond to treatments, the side effects that they have and their overall wellbeing.”
Consider this such as the GPS. There’s often multiple routes you can take — distinct journeys result when you put in a destination.
The identical idea applies to diseases, Dr. Clayton explains. “Think about how women and men traveling the path to disorder as two different routes,” she says. In order to treat something like cardiovascular disease, as an example, physicians will need to understand that disease looks different in men and women that they can set up roadblocks to the routes. When clinical study goes (or more likely, heavily favors male populations) doctors are forced to operate from less than precise maps. “We’re not delivering the most suitable individualized treatment tailored to either women or to men because we are practicing naturopathic medication,” Dr. Clayton says.
For quite a very long time, researchers just simply did not realize the gender gap–aka under-representing girls in clinical studies–would really matter, Dr. Clayton explains. “We didn’t know that if you do a research in men, you can’t necessarily justify those findings in girls,” she states. However, the truth is the research results that are skewed can have severe effects.