Women's Health Updates — June 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.
Scientists have traditionally regarded men as the default patient. “This created a huge gap in knowledge about women’s health and the ways in which women’s biology and health needs differ from men’s,” SWHR President and CEO Amy M. Miller explains to OneZero , a new science and technology publication by Medium.
A growing body of research suggests there may be unique biological reasons as well as genetic, lifestyle, and societal factors influencing the differences seen in women and men with Alzheimer's disease. This article from the Women's Brain Health Initiative's Mind Over Matter magazine highlights SWHR's review describing the limited sex and gender differences research in Alzheimer's and the knowledge gaps that need to be filled.
Many women silently endure years of living with endometriosis, dismissing pelvic pain as just really bad periods. In this Q&A , Dr. Sawsan As-Sanie, a gynecological surgeon at the University of Michigan, discusses SWHR's recent paper outlining areas of need in endometriosis research and care.
Historically, scientists (mostly men) believed they could more easily conduct research by using only male subjects, avoiding what they considered “messy" female hormones. This New York Times article highlights how scientists need to change the way they conduct research to avoid dangerous, outdated gender stereotypes that could harm women's health.

A pervasive gender bias in medicine leads to female patients often being misdiagnosed or dismissed as complainers. In a series of articles , TODAY shines a light on women fighting to feel well, the underreported medical challenges that affect women’s health, and the doctors who are pushing for change.
Women with dense breasts are at increased risk for breast cancer, but a recent survey indicated that some physicians are unaware of this link and of laws requiring them to inform women about mammography-related breast density risks and supplemental screening options. Learn more in this Journal of Women's Health article .
In May, SWHR celebrated National Women’s Health Week by highlighting a few small steps that women can take to enhance their wellbeing, based on research we’ve gathered through our scientific programs. Read more on our blog.
Women won’t benefit from innovations in health care unless they can access them, and patient access is based, in part, on value assessments by organizations like the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review. Learn more in this blog post with perspectives from ICER's Sarah Emond.
Federal health officials recently rolled out two new draft guidance about how to study drug safety and efficacy in pregnant and lactating women, the latest in a series of steps to make sure women have the information they need to make medical decisions. Read more.
A federal task force issued a report last week outlining best practices for managing acute and chronic pain, with an emphasis on treatment approaches beyond opioid use. SWHR submitted comments on the draft version of the report, supporting the task force’s attention to the specific needs of women and emphasis on an individualized, patient-centered approach to addressing the public health pain crisis. Learn more.
John J. Seng
Past SWHR Board Chair
Dr. Cen Xu
Dr. Carolyn Clancy
Veterans Health Administration
Upcoming Women's Health Events
Last chance: Deadline to submit to this Biology of Sex Differences special collection is June 20. Submit your work today.