Boletín semanal

Qué revelan los estudios sobre las diferencias de sexo y género en la salud y la ciencia

Descubra por qué las enfermedades que afectan predominantemente a las mujeres reciben menos financiación, por qué las mujeres viven más tiempo pero están más enfermas y por qué algunos hombres les obligan a practicar deportes a las mujeres.
Una mujer joven de cabello castaño que lleva un jersey sonríe mientras sostiene a su hijo pequeño frente a un cerezo japonés florecido.

May is Women’s Health Month + celebrations will soon center on the fun fiascos of parenthood. So this week, we reveal a few health findings separating the sexes—including disparities in healthcare funding + why (some) men mansplain sports to pro women athletes. But first…

  • The Checkup: all-body goodness
  • The Battle For... mortality + $$ + sportsplaining
  • Healthcare: bird flu vaccines + aging brains + cyberattack findings

The Checkup

Living longer... ill?

View from the back of a senior couple holding onto each other and enjoying a scenic mountain nature view overlooking a hotel pool area.

You may already be aware that females generally live longer than males. But a new study details that while they live longer, they do so in poorer health.

Males are at higher risk for premature mortality from things like heart disease, stroke + road injuries. Females are more likely to get headaches, depression + musculoskeletal disorders—conditions you can suffer from for a long time. The study authors hope more gendered research could reduce early mortality in males + improve treatments for females.

But speaking of gendered research funding…

The gender $ divide

A dreamy indoor photo of a young Asian woman wearing pajamas, sitting on her made bed in a bedroom with plants and artwork, looking down into a book as a dachshund sits on her lap and looks up at her.

This month, Nature (a leading science journal) launches another Sex and gender in science series. Their gripping 2023 report on sex + disease funding is worth a review.

The scroll-animated chart contains circles with sizes representing disease burden—the amount of death + disability the disease causes—and colors showing whether the disease affects males + females equally or disproportionately.

As you scroll, you learn how disease burden is often not in line with how much funding a condition receives. Then, how some conditions that affect more males than females (like HIV/AIDS + substance abuse) receive more funding than their burden suggests, whereas high-burden conditions that affect females (like headaches + depression) fall way down the list.

Finally, the chart highlights extreme burden-to-funding ratios. HIV/AIDs' 15.6 ratio means it’s way overfunded compared to population need. (Something to celebrate, considering where we started!) For myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), the ratio is 0.04—so we should basically be throwing dollars at it.

Scroll through the report to see this for yourself.

Average men vs. professional women?

The shadow of a woman splays out on a tennis court, look like she's reaching over the net.

According to Self, no massive women’s NCAA basketball championship viewership can stop “random dudes” from offering unsolicited sports advice to professional athletes who happen to be women.

Unfortunately, psychology doesn’t offer any explanation beyond 'men are taught to be over-confident + women to be accommodating.' Sure, this may be true. And internet comment sections were practically made for anonymous bravado, which can encourage unqualified chest-puffing IRL. And, yes—societally, we still don’t encourage men to invest in fostering emotional intelligence as we encourage women, so many don’t have the skills to read social cues + adjust their behavior.

So, what does the Self psychologist suggest men do when face-to-face with a pro athlete instead of sportsplaining to her? Head to the article to find out.

Healthcare 411

Launching an effective bird flu vaccine quickly could be tough, scientists warn (NPR). The current bird flu stain would have to drastically mutate in order to easily transmit between humans. But health officials are already working on a vaccine, and some claim current contenders could be quickly produced at mass scale if needed. Others doubt their future efficacy + say investment in new mRNA vaccines should take priority. In the short term, protecting farm workers should take precedence.

A peek inside the brains of ‘super-agers’ (NY Times). Comparing super-agers (octogenarians with the brains of 50/60-year-olds) with their typical counterparts, a new study shows super-agers had slightly better blood pressure, glucose metabolism levels + mobility. They weren’t more active but had been more active during middle age. A prior study didn’t find  lifestyle difference but did find super-agers had strong social relationships.

A third of Americans could have had data stolen in big health care hack (CNN). Last February, the “most significant health care cyberattack in US history” on Change Healthcare (a UnitedHealth subsidiary) was settled through a $22 million ransom. Now, UnitedHealth CEO Andrew Witty has admitted that a poorly protected server is why a third of all Americans had their personal data included.

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