You Don't Know the Half of It Video Series

What’s the biggest difference between women and men? Women’s Health Research at Yale took to the streets of New Haven to ask the community and learned something about how people view sex and gender in 2015.

Loading the player...

Sex Differences: You Don’t Know the Half of It

What’s the biggest difference between women and men? Women’s Health Research at Yale took to the streets of New Haven to ask the community and learned something about how people view sex and gender in 2015.

The video represents the first in a series for a new public awareness campaign, engaging the public to understand how the medical research community must increase its focus on women in order to care for the female 51 percent of the U.S. population.

Let’s learn the other half of the story.

Join the conversation with @WHRYale on Twitter with #KnowHalf.

Sex and Science Video Series

Loading the player...

Why Ignore Women: You Don't know the Half of It

Women make up more than half of the country but remain underrepresented in studies of diseases that are most likely to kill them. So, what reasons are there to ignore women in health research?

Women’s Health Research at Yale took to the streets of New Haven and the Yale campus to ask the community this question and learned something about how people view sex and gender in 2015.

The second entry in a new public awareness campaign, the video seeks to engage the public to understand how the medical research community must increase its focus on women in order to care for the female 51 percent of the U.S. population.

Women make up more than half of the country but remain underrepresented in studies of diseases that are most likely to kill them.

Let’s learn the other half of the story.

Join the conversation with @WHRYale on Twitter with #KnowHalf.

Sex and Science Video Series

Loading the player...

Sex and Heart Disease: You Don’t Know the Half of It

The number one cause of death in the United States, cardiovascular disease kills more women than men, amounting to one in every four female deaths each year. It’s time to learn the other half of the story and change practices that endanger women.

Update

The American Heart Association reported in a 2016 update of heart disease and stroke statistics that, for the first time since 1983, more men than women died of cardiovascular disease.

As the ghouls and ghosts prepare to celebrate Halloween, we visited with our neighbors on the streets of New Haven to talk about a real-life killer: cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women and men in the country, amounting to one in every three deaths each year.

Women can experience different heart attack symptoms than men. Doctors are less likely to inform young women about their risk for heart disease than men before a heart attack. Only 54 percent of women know that heart disease is the single biggest threat to their lives. Of the women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease, 64 percent had no previous symptoms.

And yet women — 51 percent of the population — remain underrepresented in studies of this most deadly disease.

It’s time to learn the other half of the story. And change practices that endanger women.

TO REDUCE YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING HEART DISEASE:

  • Know your blood pressure. Having uncontrolled blood pressure can result in heart disease. High blood pressure has no symptoms so it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should be tested for diabetes. Having uncontrolled diabetes raises your chances of heart disease.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Discuss checking your cholesterol and triglycerides with your healthcare provider.
  • Make healthy food choices. Being overweight and obese raises your risk of heart disease.
  • Limit alcohol intake to one drink a day.
  • Lower your stress level and find healthy ways to cope with stress. 
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sex and Science Video Series

Loading the player...

Sex and the Science of Testing Meds: You Don’t Know the Half of It

The need for researchers to study and analyze their data by gender is growing, and doing so can help everybody.

In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration cut the dosage for the sleep aid Ambien in half for women because it left them drowsy in the morning and more at risk for accidents.

That was 21 years after the drug was approved for sale.

“Here we see a troubling but thankfully well-publicized example of what happens when women are not fully considered in medical research,” said Dr. Carolyn M. Mazure, Director of Women’s Health Research at Yale. “We should not have to wait for women to begin reporting drug-induced car accidents before they are prescribed medication in the proper doses.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 4 percent of adults in the United States surveyed between 2005 and 2010 used prescription sleep aids sometime in the previous month, including 5 percent of adult women.

The FDA has reported the results of driving simulation and laboratory studies showing that after eight hours of taking the pre-2013 recommended dosage for immediate-release Ambien (zolpidem) and equivalent drugs, 15 percent of women and 3 percent of men had concentrations in their blood that could impair driving. For the previous dosage recommendation of extended-release Ambien, 33 percent of women and 25 percent of men had potentially dangerous blood concentrations.

Even at half of the extended-release dosage (the current recommendation), 15 percent of adult women and 5 percent of adult men had blood levels high enough to endanger their driving. For men, the agency only recommended that health care providers “consider” prescribing the lower doses recommended for women.

Subsequent research has shown that even after controlling for weight, quantitative measures of reduced perceptual processing and reaction time were worse for women than men.

“Researchers consider many variables when designing experiments and analyzing their results,” Mazure said. “What happened with Ambien demonstrates the necessity to include sex and gender as one of those variables.”

And it’s not just Ambien.

From 1997-2000, eight of the 10 drugs taken off the market posed a more serious risk to women than men.

In a study to determine the serious fainting risk of drinking alcohol while taking the newly approved female libido pill, Addyi, 23 out of the 25 people tested were men. That’s just two women studied for a drug intended only for women.

Last year, the FDA announced an action plan to improve the inclusion of women and the reporting of subgroup data in clinical studies.

Last year, the National Institutes of Health began implementing a new policy calling for grant recipients to use and report results for both males and females in preclinical studies unless they provide strong justification for studying only one sex. In addition, because every human and animal cell has a sex, the NIH will encourage researchers to consider and report on the sex of cells as a biological variable.

But the NIH policy does not require that researchers include adequate numbers of subjects of both sexes to ensure that they can draw statistically significant conclusions about the possible effect of sex on their experimental observations.

Mazure praised these steps as important, if incomplete.

“If health researchers know anything, it’s that they will never know what they don’t investigate,” Mazure said. “We need researchers to study and analyze their data by gender. To protect everybody.”

Sex and Science Video Series