Monday, February 10, 2014

girls and boys and curative drugs

Just when you thought the drugs you were taking for a particular ailment were more or less safe and more or less appropriate based on Food and Drug Administration testing, along comes the realization in some quarters that men and women react differently and what's sauce for the goose is not necessarily sauce for the gander. The problem goes as far back as the testing of more male laboratory rats than female, according to a piece on the U.S. news show, 60 Minutes.
Sex differences are being discovered in areas large and small.  Low-dose aspirin lowers the risk of heart attacks in healthy men, but not in healthy women, though it does protect women against stroke. Women and men can display different symptoms when having a heart attack.  There are differences in pain receptors, liver enzymes and the wiring of the brain. Dr. Doris Taylor at Texas Heart Institute has discovered differences between male and female stem cells.
Cahill thinks science needs to re-think the importance of sex differences and study them from the earliest stages of animal research, including reviewing existing drugs.  Knowing there are many differences and still operating on the assumption the sexes are the same must change he says.  "So the assumption we're making that it really doesn't matter, sex, is not a valid assumption," he says.  "It may not matter. It may matter hugely...the way we're doing business has to change."

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