Not only are men the ones to make health care legislation, but we are also fortunate to have access to top-notch medical care. We owe it to the laboratory animals and the scientists who study them.
For a considerable time, researchers thought male animals were preferable for experiments with new drugs, as the hormone levels in females were believed to interfere with the results. Consequently, at present, most of the animals used in laboratories are males.
Testing primarily on male animals makes the medicine more suitable for males, which is the problem.This was the conclusion of a recent study.
As New Scientist reported, Natasha Karp and her colleagues at the U.K.'s Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute investigated a large sample of male and female mice. They observed that when certain genes were switched off in male specimens, different characteristics were expressed than when the same genes were deactivated in female mice.
Variations in genetic expression based on the animal's sex were observed by the researchers, as were certain genetic diseases.
The team came to the conclusion that drugs optimized for male animals may not have the same effect in females, and could even be dangerous. They specified that out of the 10 drugs removed from shelves between 1997 and 2001, a majority of them had a higher risk level for women.
Male animal-bias could mean that drugs that could be advantageous for women are not even evaluated during testing.
When weighing the debate around what is considered an 'essential' health care benefit, the opinion of some U.S. senators is quite comical--they don't believe mammograms should be one. In a similar vein, when deliberating who is a full human, it appears men are the pre-set option, with women being an afterthought.
Karp and her team have made advancements in research that indicate that the same progress should be applied to animal studies. When speaking to New Scientist, Karp noted that unless there is a valid rationale not to, studies should include both males and females. She explained that, similar to female hormone cycles, male creatures have singular characteristics that make them deviate from a "norm."
In conclusion, conducting more comprehensive research has its advantages for everyone, regardless of gender.
Research that is more thorough can result in more efficient treatments, which in turn could lead to fewer illnesses and sadness. This is the aspiration. Those creatures of both sexes that have contributed to this project are worthy of our gratitude. Commencing with equitable treatment may finally bring about the same.