The practice of medicine would be a lot simpler if humans came in only one sex. And, as I learned while editing the new issue of Stanford Medicine magazine, until only recently most doctors and researchers have generally behaved as if that were the case. Modern medicine is largely based on what works for men. Doctors are mostly men, new treatments are tested mainly on men, medical school teachers are mainly men. Even lab animals are largely male.
This is starting to change -- though gradually. The magazine's new issue is in large part devoted to articles about how the medical world has begun to factor not only sex but also gender into teaching, research and care -- and why it matters.
In the article leading off the theme package, "Of mice, men and women," Janine Clayton, MD, director of the National Institutes of Health's Office of Research on Women's Health, explains:
Both sex and gender influence human health and disease. It is increasingly clear that it is both an ethical and scientific imperative to conduct research and report on the results for both men and women.
Also in the issue:
- "Simply Streisand": A Q&A with Barbra Streisand about fighting to end discrimination against women in cardiovascular research and care.
- "Two minds": An article describing research into the inherent differences in male and female brains.
- "Pursuing parity": A story about the state of gender diversity among medical-school faculty and strategies to pick up the pace of change.
- "Transgender": A feature about a transgender teen and the care he received at the new Stanford Children's Health Pediatric and Adolescent Gender Clinic. A video about another transgender teen and his family accompanies the story.
The issue also includes a story about a researcher who invents "frugal science" tools, like an origami microscope that costs less than $1; and an excerpt from "An American Sickness", a new book about the ills of U.S. health care, written by Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD, editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News.
Previously: What art and the humanities bring to medicine: a look from Stanford Medicine magazine, The power and limits of zeroing in: Stanford Medicine magazine on diagnostics and Strive, thrive and take five: Stanford Medicine magazine on the science of well-being.
Illustration for the cover of Stanford Medicine by Gerard DuBois