Women's Health Updates — October 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.
There’s a knowledge gap in the workplace when it comes to understanding migraine. But the facts speak for themselves: 1 in 5 women experience migraine, and it’s one of the most common diseases in women of working age. This blog post from Migraine at Work points out the need for employer education on migraine and highlights SWHR's Migraine Patient Toolkit as a great resource for learning about the disease.
Nearly two-thirds of those with Alzheimer's disease are women, but scientists are still trying to determine exactly why women are disproportionately affected. SWHR Alzheimer's Network Chair Dr. Pauline Maki shares insight into how sex and gender differences influence Alzheimer's in the Discover magazine blog .
In this Oprah magazine article , SWHR's Dr. Miller expresses frustration that not as much attention is given to treating women's conditions like hot flashes due to menopause as is given to men's conditions like erectile dysfunction.
This article summarizing the dangers of gender bias in areas of medicine like cardiovascular disease, mental health, and pain conditions quotes SWHR CEO Dr. Amy M. Miller on how women's pain is often initially dismissed by health care providers. Read more.
Policies requiring researchers to include sex as a biological variable intend to correct imbalances in studying females because they were historically excluded from research. But Dr. Liisa Galea worries that these policies may be unintentionally hindering women's' health research. Read more on SWHR's blog.
The HPV vaccine might be one of the greatest breakthroughs in cancer prevention — but half the kids who should get it don’t. Even though thousands of men get cancer because of HPV, the message that boys need to be vaccinated too doesn’t seem to sink in. Read more from STAT.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) released a strategic plan outlining its research priorities for the next five years, with the goal of improving the health and wellbeing of women, children, and people with disabilities. Read SWHR's earlier comments to NICHD during the development process for the strategic plan and review the plan here .
Amy Inkster, the 2019 winner of the Biology of Sex Differences Best Poster Prize, provides an overview of her research into sex differences in placentas and how this can impact the pregnancy and postnatal outcomes. Learn more.
SWHR announced the hiring of Dr. Melissa Laitner as SWHR’s new Director of Science Policy. She will envision, direct, and implement creative science programs and policy activities designed to improve women’s experiences in health care. Learn more.
The FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health recently released a proposed strategic plan for its Health of Women Program aimed at providing women with access to the safest possible medical devices to meet their health care needs. The plan's three priorities are:
  • Improve sex- & gender-specific analysis/ reporting
  • Develop an integrated, center-wide approach for issues related to women's health
  • Create a research roadmap for the health of women device ecosystem

For Pain Awareness Month, SWHR published a video stressing the need for innovation in pain conditions that disproportionately affect women. We also highlighted our work in pain conditions like migraine and endometriosis. Read more:

Today is your last chance to submit a proposal for the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences 2020 meeting. OSSD is seeking in all areas of sex and gender differences research, including fundamental biology (evolution, genetics, molecular/cellular biology) to translational science and clinical research. Submit today!
The NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health will meet 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 23. The committee gives advice to the Office of Research on Women's Health and makes recommendations on priority issues affecting women's health and sex differences research. View the agenda and watch the live webcast.
The Biology of Sex Differences open-access journal is asking readers for their ideas for thematic series. Submit your idea today!