“Gender, biological sex, and sex hormones affect each and every facet of the practice of medicine,” Dr. Anat Biegon, visiting lecturer at the Hadassah Medical Center, told her audience. “They affect the prevalence of disease, disease presentation, disease outcomes, response to medical devices and procedures and, in a major way, response to drugs.”
In her presentation entitled “Sex Differences in Medicine: Why Should We Care?” Dr. Biegon, Professor of Neurology and Radiology and Director of the Center on Gender, Hormones, and Health at Stony Brook (NY) University School of Medicine, emphasized also the importance of taking the age of a woman into account. During the course of a woman’s life, she explained, as a woman’s reproductive hormones fluctuate, the risk of disease can rise and ebb.
Dr. Biegon stressed too that “Women are more likely to suffer adverse effects from drugs across drug classes.” By the same token, she brought out, “many drugs are likely to be ineffective in women.” She cited the large study of 40,000 women which revealed that taking aspirin does help prevent heart attacks in women, but only for those over 65, despite the fact that it has a significant preventative effect for all men.