May 2014

Drug dose recommendations should be tailored to sex.

Why should drugs be tested in both males and females?   Because physiological differences between males and females affect drug activity. Factors like body weight, GI motility,  intestinal enzyme activity, and kidney clearance rate affect how drugs move through the body and affect the absorption, excretion, distribution and metabolism of a drug in men and women differently.  A drug’s mechanism of action may also impact men and women differently.   For example, men and women react differently to many antidepressants, antipsychotic agents, and pain killers.  Sometimes the fix is a simple change in dosage (like the FDA recommended for Ambien recently).  In other cases, the cause may be more complex due to hormonal differences, gene expression or metabolism.

Early Menopause Increases Risk of Heart Failure

Heart disease risk increases with age for everyone, but symptoms of heart disease can be more evident particularly after menopause. Researchers for the first time have linked symptoms of heart failure to menopause, according to a new study from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

Data that included more than 22,000 postmenopausal women from the Swedish National Patient Register, showed that women who went through menopause at an earlier age of age 40 to 45 (average is 51 in the United States), had a heart failure rate 40% higher than women who went through menopause between the ages of 50 and 54. The rate of heart failure dropped by 2% for every 1-year increase in age for onset of menopause.

CBS 60 Minutes re-runs segment on sex inclusion in research

The 60 Minutes segment “Sex Matters: Drugs Can Affect Sexes Differently” is set to re-air this Sunday at 6:00pm central time. The Women’s Health Research Institute and it Leadership Council members worked with CBS on this show.  The recent strides by the WHRI, the NIH, and other media outlets has shed a renewed light on the issue of sex inclusion in research. If you missed it last time, tune in this Sunday to learn about the way drugs affect men and women differently. Watch the preview now on the 60 Minutes website!

Always Tired? You may have Sleep Apnea

Your spouse or partner says your snoring is driving him nuts.   You wake up feeling unrested and irritable.

These are common signs that you may have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder that—left untreated—can take its toll on the body and mind.

Relationship of Obesity and Breast Cancer Mortality

 Obesity appears to increase the risk of breast cancer–related deaths by about one-third in premenopausal but, surprisingly, not postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor–positive disease, investigators report.

An analysis of pooled data on 80,000 patients enrolled in 70 clinical trials showed that among 60,000 patients with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive disease, body mass index (BMI) was associated with risk for breast cancer mortality in both pre- and perimenopausal women.

Colbert gives bump to Women’s Health

Stephen Colbert’s show  featured clips from the Women’s Health Research Institute’s recent 60 Minutes segment on sex inclusion in research. More than ever, it is essential to include male and female animals at the research level to ensure that sex is examined as a variable that can lead to different treatments and medications for different genders. The Institute has be advocating for full inclusion in human, animal and cell research!

Watch The Colbert Report clip now!

Collaborative Care Helps OB Patients with Depression

Collaborative depression care adapted to women’s health settings appears to improve depressive and functional outcomes and quality of depression care, according to a report online in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. Researchers at the University of Washington randomized 102 women to 12 months of collaborative depression management and 103 women to usual obstetric care at two obstetric care sites.

Dr. Katherine Wisner Highlights Sex Differences in Depression

On Monday, May 12, 2014, Dr. Katherine Wisner, Director of the Asher Center for Research and Treatment of Depressive Disorders at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, was a featured television guest on WCIU, The U. Dr. Wisner discussed sex differences in mental health (particularly in depression and anxiety). She stated that women are twice as likely to have an episode of depression or anxiety than men. This increased risk for women begins at puberty and can be particularly elevated during menstrual cycles and after childbirth.