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Use of Male Mice Skews Drug Research Against Women, Study Finds

Saturday June 1, 2019. 05:30 AM , from Slashdot
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: The male mind is rational and orderly while the female one is complicated and hormonal. It is a stereotype that has skewed decades of neuroscience research towards using almost exclusively male mice and other laboratory animals, according to a new study. Scientists have typically justified excluding female animals from experiments -- even when studying conditions that are more likely to affect women -- on the basis that fluctuating hormones would render the results uninterpretable. However, according to Rebecca Shansky, a neuroscientist at Northeastern University, in Boston, it is entirely unjustified by scientific evidence, which shows that, if anything, the hormones and behavior of male rodents are less stable than those of females. Shansky is calling for stricter requirements to include animals of both sexes in research, saying the failure to do so has led to the development of drugs that work less well in women. One example that the report mentions is with the sleeping drug Ambien, which had been tested in male animals and then men in clinical trials. It 'was later shown to be far more potent in women because it was metabolized more slowly in the female body,' the report says. 'Across all drugs, women tended to suffer more adverse side effects and overdoses.'

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