Opinion: Studying sex differences will improve health for women and men

There's a huge gap in knowledge about women's health and the role that differences between women and men play in health and disease.
A female volunteer participates in a clinical trial of an Ebola vaccine. Source: Richard Juilliart/AFP/Getty Images

Imagine designing a drug to treat female sexual dysfunction and then testing its side effects using mostly men. That actually happened a few years ago.

Until about 25 years ago, essentially all health research was conducted on men; women were actively excluded from participating in most clinical trials. Although researchers have been playing catch-up since then, this longtime bias put the health of women at risk and created a huge gap in knowledge about women’s health and the role that differences between women and men play in health and disease.

is a prime example of a condition for which we have little living with the disease are women, and about two-thirds of caregivers are women (even higher in Hispanic and African-American communities).

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