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Women underrepresented in heart studies

Since 1993, the National Institutes of Health has mandated that women and minorities be included in all of its clinical research studies - yet women continue to be underrepresented in certain trials. Last year, researchers reported in the journal Cancer that women make up 38.8 percent of participants in major cancer trials. And a new study in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes shows that men also outnumber women in clinical trials used to formulate guidelines to prevent cardiovascular disease: only 30 percent of the patient population in these studies are female.

Why should be concerned by these numbers? As described in a release from the American Heart Association:

Women account for at least half the deaths in the affected patient populations studied-"a proportion that is strikingly higher than their representation in the trials supporting the guidelines-thereby underscoring the importance of having adequate representation of women in clinical trials to solidify the evidence base supporting practice guidelines."

Previously: Gap exists in women's knowledge of heart disease

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