What's New in Women's Health — February 2019
Learn about recent developments in women's health as well as SWHR's activities that promote the study of sex differences and serve our mission to eliminate imbalances in care for women through science, policy, and education.
SCIENCE AND HEALTH
Half of women with perinatal depression go undiagnosed and untreated. Universal screening and development of innovative treatments explicitly targeting postpartum depression will provide much needed support for new mothers and their families. Read more on SWHR's blog.
For many women, the journey to endometriosis diagnosis is long and fraught with barriers. Currently, guidelines recommend laparoscopy for a definitive diagnosis, which can result in a prolonged delay between symptom onset, diagnosis, and subsequent treatment. Enhanced use of clinical diagnostic techniques may reduce this delay and bring rapid relief to patients, experts write in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology .
The roadmap outlining the coordinated federal research and development plan to the opioid crisis overlooks the need for further research on sex and gender differences in opioid addiction, according to an expert commentary in the Biology of Sex Differences .
Gender stereotypes — for example, that boys are more stoic or girls are more emotive — may bias adult assessment of children’s pain, accordin g to a study in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology . When asked to evaluate how much pain a child is experiencing based on watching an identical video of a child receiving a finger-stick, adults who knew the child as “Samuel” said he was in more pain than those who knew her as “Samantha."
New research shows sex differences in tumors of brain cancer patients may help explain underlying disparities in patients’ response to treatment and survival. "The biology of sex differences and its applications in medicine are highly relevant but almost always ignored aspects of personalized treatments," the study author says. Learn more.
Most medical therapies haven't been adequately tested in women, children, older adults, and racially and ethnically diverse populations. One-size-fits-all medicine predominates today, in part because most studies fail to reflect the diversity of Americans. Learn about why this is a problem and potential solutions in this STAT op-ed.
POLICY AND ADVOCACY
SWHR wrote to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requesting the agency change its decision to restrict coverage of next-generation sequencing-based testing for hereditary cancer risk. SWHR's letter , featured in this GenomeWeb article, expressed serious concerns that CMS' guidance will deny women access to tests that could profoundly improve their health outcomes and survival rates.
Patients have the greatest stake in the success or failure of medical products. Read this blog post to learn about SWHR's efforts to ensure appropriate inclusion of women and their input in the FDA's Patient-Focused Drug Development Program.
Quality sleep is essential for the health and well-being of all, but sleep needs vary between women and men. As such, SWHR responded to a request for information from the  National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to emphasize the scientific gaps in understanding sex and gender differences in sleep disorders. Read SWHR's comments.
On January 25, SWHR celebrated Women's Health Research Day — the third anniversary of NIH 's policy requiring scientists to consider sex as a biological variable in research. View SWHR's letter of support to Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Rep. J an Schakowsky for introducing a congressional resolution to raise awareness of the value of studying sex and gender differences to improve health for both women and men.
EVENTS AND DEADLINES
Join SWHR on May 1, 2019 , at our Annual Awards Dinner in Washington, DC, to honor leaders who advance women's health. Buy tickets or sponsor the event to support our mission to eliminate imbalances in care for women through science, policy, and education.
Register for Conferences on Women's Health and Sex Differences
Early registration for the VCU Women's Health conference ends March 15. View the brochure.
Registration is now open for the Organization of the Study of Sex Differences 2019 annual meeting, taking place May 5-8 in Washington, DC. Register today.