Females Overlooked in Basic Surgical Research, Study Says09/04/14
THURSDAY, Sept. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Female animals or
cells are rarely used in surgical research studies, even though sex
differences can have a major impact on medical research, a new
The finding has prompted the editors of five major surgical
journals to require study authors to report the sex of animals and
cells used in their research. If they use only one sex, they will
have to explain why.
"Women make up half the population, but in surgical literature, 80 percent of the studies only use males," study senior author Dr. Melina Kibbe, professor of surgical research at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a Northwestern news release.
"We need to do better and provide basic research on both sexes to ultimately improve treatments for male and female patients," she added.
Kribbe and her colleagues analyzed more than 600 studies that
included animal or cell research and were published in the journals
Annals of Surgery,
American Journal of Surgery,
Journal of Surgical Research, and
Surgeryfrom 2011 to 2012.
Twenty percent of the studies that used animals did not specify
the sex of the animals. In studies that did state the sex of the
animals, 80 percent used males, 17 percent used females and 3
percent used both.
Seventy-six percent of the studies that used cells did not
specify the sex. In those that did state the sex, 71 percent used
male cells, 21 percent female cells and 7 percent used cells from
The study was published recently in the journal
It's known that males and females differ in how they metabolize
drugs, show symptoms of disease and respond to treatments.
"Requiring the sex of animals and cells is a very small thing to ask of authors. It should be a requirement of all medical journals," Kibbe said.
"The majority of research is based on the study of male animals and cells, and this practice does harm to both sexes," she explained. "By studying therapies and drugs in males and females, we will develop better drugs that will be more efficacious and lead to less adverse effects in both sexes."
The U.S. National Institutes of Health is developing a policy
that will require all researchers that it funds to study both sexes
in animal and cell studies.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
Copyright © 2014
. All rights reserved.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.