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article imageSurgical studies are biased against using women

By Tim Sandle     Aug 30, 2014 in Science
An analysis of papers published in several surgical journals has revealed an overwhelming reliance on male subjects and male-derived cells, and consequently less female subjects or female cell lines are used.
Researchers from Northwestern University analyzed more than 2,300 papers from five surgical journals. They found that sex biases are evident in many areas of science. This was from clinical trials in humans to basic neuroscience studies on animals. The bias is towards an over representation of males.
When reviewing the 2,000-plus research papers, the reviewers found that about a quarter of the studies involved animals or cells. Here, only three percent of the total reported using both male and female subjects or cells, while another twenty-two percent did not state the sex. In the other cases, some seventy-five percent used only male subjects or cells.
Commenting on the findings, Northwestern Medicine vascular surgeon Melina Kibbe, who led the study, said in a research note: "Women make up half the population, but in surgical literature, 80 percent of the studies only use males."
Kibbe goes on to state that, having shared their findings with the editors of the journals, the journal have agreed to make changes for the future: "editors of the five major surgical journals reviewed in this study have responded to this finding and will now require authors to state the sex of animals and cells used in their studies. If they use only one sex in their studies, they will be asked to justify why."
The findings have been published in the journal Surgery, in a paper titled "Sex bias exists in basic science and translational surgical research".
In related news, the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released an action plan to address the need for more women and minorities in clinical trials.
More about Surgery, Studies, Gender, Men, Women
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