What is it about?

The article gives reasons why medical and health reseach, in general, and cardiovascuar research, in particular, should always consider sex differences. It goes on to explain how to do so in the contexts of both a single study and in meta-analyses which combine several studies. A check list of "dos" and "don'ts" is included to guide researchers, with the aim of producing reliable and comprehensive research of relevance to both sexes.

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Why is it important?

Women's health is often poorly addressed in medical and health research, particularly in the field of vascular diseases. Reasons for this are explained in the article. By considering research findings in both sexes, recommendations can be obtained for both sexes independently, to the benefit of both women and men. But all too often the sex dimension is ignored, or inadequately analysed. If the advice given in this article is followed, these important limitations will be avoided.


I have written well over 600 peer-reviewed articles and two text-books. I have a passion to redress what I see as a bias against women in the generality of medical research in vascular, and some other, diseases. I feel that the best way to achieve this is by making sex disaggregation of research findings routine. Since women and men each make up approximately 50% of general human populations, it seems a non-brainer to suggest this is a good idea - yet this is certainly not yet the case. I hope that the general ideas provided in this paper can help improve research output, and ultimately the health of both sexes.

Mark Woodward
University of Oxford

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Rationale and tutorial for analysing and reporting sex differences in cardiovascular associations, Heart, August 2019, BMJ, DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2019-315299.
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