Women's Health Updates — August 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.

SWHR President and CEO Dr. Amy M. Miller comments on the dismissal and normalization of women's pelvic pain for this article in the Washington Post about disparities in care for chronic pain.
Progress has been made over the decades to include women in clinical trials and improve research on women, SWHR's Dr. Miller explains in this Pharmacy Today article . Though, research on drug safety and efficacy has not been sufficient for pregnant and breastfeeding women. This article discusses how pharmacists can step in and provide much-needed care to women.
Drs. Dawn Buse and Jelena Pavlovíc discuss what causes migraine disease and migraine attacks, how migraine is diagnosed, treatment options and more in a Global Healthy Living Foundation webinar. Watch "More Than a Headache: Understanding Migraine."

Download SWHR's new Migraine Patient Toolkit for useful information about migraine diagnosis and treatment options, as well as tips on interacting with health care providers and health insurance companies to achieve the best possible outcomes.
Sometimes doctors may over-attribute symptoms in middle-age women as related to perimenopause, causing these women to wait longer for diagnoses and treatment of other health conditions. Part of the problem stems from the fact that “Female-only conditions like menopause have long been ignored by scientists,” SWHR's Dr. Miller tells Prevention .
A recent analysis shows women made up 49% of participants in medical research from 1993-2018, but when you look at studies condition by condition, women are often underrepresented. For many disease types, the proportion of female participants didn’t match the gender breakdown of real-world patients. Read more in Quartz .
At the Alzheimer's Association International Conference last month, scientists presented research that provided clues as to why women are at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer's. New studies showed that the disease may spread differently in the brains of women than in men and that several newly identified genes seem related to the disease risk by sex. Learn more.

Related: Estrogens and Memory Loss in Women , Scientific American
New technologies have the potential to transform prenatal care. Wearables give women a way to track contractions and apps relay home blood pressure readings directly to doctors. But for all the promise, doctors caution that some direct-to-consumer devices might cause anxiety or unnecessary trips to the clinic — without strong evidence that they offer real benefits to pregnant women. Read more in STAT.
Fibromyalgia patients appear to have gut microbiome alterations that differ from their healthy peers, according to a study published in Pain. Given the difficulty diagnosing and treating this chronic pain condition, these findings may open up possibilities for more studies exploring diagnostic or treatment options that could use this connection.
SWHR submitted two comment letters to the Food and Drug Administration in response to the agency's recent draft guidance to industry on considerations for post-approval pregnancy safety studies and pre- and post-marketing lactation studies. Find more information and links to the letters in our latest blog post.
SWHR sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar expressing concerns about the future of the Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women (PRGLAC) in light of the administration's recent executive order requiring agencies to terminate at least a third of their federal advisory committees by September 30. SWHR stressed the importance of PRGLAC's work and the need for its standing as a federal advisory committee to continue. Read the letter.
For the first time in the history of the National Institutes of Health, there are 10 women leading institutes and centers. Now, when the directors of NIH’s 27 institutes and centers meet, more than a third of their voices are female. Read about each female leader's experiences and insights.
Despite many states' efforts to repeal the "tampon tax," taxes on menstrual products still exist in 35 U.S. states. Proponents of repealing these taxes argue that they place an unfair burden on women and are a form of sex-based discrimination, while opponents argue that some "necessities" like soap are also taxed and that sales tax on other items would increase if tampon taxes were repealed. Debates continue to play out in many states as the menstrual equity movement becomes more popular. Read this New York Times article to learn more.
The Task Force on Research Specific to Pregnant Women and Lactating Women (PRGLAC) will hold meetings open to the public later this month to discuss recent activities and to hear presentations from working groups. A videocast will be available and public comments may be made through written letters or oral comments at the meeting. Register and learn more.
The mechanisms by which androgens affect organ systems and whether responses to androgens differs in males and females are unknown. This Biology of Sex Differences special collection seeks original research articles on this important topic. Deadline to submit is December 1. Submit your work today.