Scientific research has a gender gap, and not just in humans.
In many disciplines, the animals used to study diseases and drugs are mostly male, which might significantly reduce the reliability of research and create drugs that may not work in half the population.
A new study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience suggests that research done on male animals may not hold up for women. Its authors reported that hypersensitivity to pain works differently in male and female mice. For males, immune cells called microglia appear to be required for pain hypersensitivity, and inhibiting their function also relieves the pain. But in female mice, different cells are involved, and targeting the microglia has no effect.
If these differences occur in mice, they may occur in humans too. This means a pain drug targeting microglia might appear to work in male mice, but wouldn’t work on women. …more