What’s gender-specific medicine?
As stated in a well-known article, “Gender-specific medicine is the study of how diseases differ between men and women in terms of prevention, clinical signs, therapeutic approach, prognosis, psychological and social impact. It is a neglected dimension of medicine.” Medical research conducted over the past 40 years has focused almost exclusively on male patients.
How men and women are different?
Differences could lead to wrong diagnosis, symptoms underestimation, and even premature death. Differences appear in a variety of domains such as:
- PKPD (pharmacokinetics & pharmacodynamics): efficacy and side effects profiles as well as drug-drug interactions.
- cardiovascular diseases: risk factors for these diseases; clinical manifestations; influence of drugs (see below for more).
- cancer: incidence; aggressiveness and prognosis.
- liver diseases: epidemiology and progression.
The main goal
The main goal of gender medicine is focused on understanding the differences of patho-physiology, clinical signs, prevention and treatment of diseases equally represented in men and women.
Advocacy in this field is emerging with amazing women like Marianne Legato, Alyson McGregor and Noel Bairey Merz, whose conference and TED Talks below really show the decisive importance of this discipline.
Traditionally, research has been done almost entirely on men and those conclusions were then applied to both men and women. Even though the law requires that women be included in studies, the gender-different results are almost never analyzed. Instead, they are blended. This is detrimental to both men and women. Perhaps now is the time for everything in research and medicine to be reviewed in the light of potentially significant gender differences.
Women’s Heart Attacks Look Nothing Like Men’s – TIME – 2016
Gender-Specific Medicine in the Genomic Era – Clinical Science – 2015
Why Gender-Specific Medicine Matters in the Emergency Department – Emergency Physicians Monthly – 2015
Gender medicine: a task for the third millennium – Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine – 2013
Incorporating and evaluating an integrated gender-specific medicine curriculum: a survey study in Dutch GP training – BMC Medical Education – 2009