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NIH Distributing False Information
posted by Scott on Sunday October 01, @08:27PM
from the men's-health dept.
Men's Health I know it's a shocking headline, but it appears to be the case. According to documents from NIH, health research has been biased against women due to unequal representation of women in health research. But the fact is, men are represented less than women in the health studies which were referred to! Don't believe it? Click "Read More" to view the message from Men's Health America, which includes citations.


We've been reviewing some of the official documents from the National Institutes of Health, and compared these statements with the actual facts.

What we found shocked even me. I've included full references at the end for persons who want to see them.



What NIH Is Saying:

1. The Women's Health Initiative was established to "address many of the inequities in women's health research," such as the areas of heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. (WHI Backgrounder, www.nhlbi.nih.gov/whi)

2. The Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) was established "in response to a report by the U.S. General Accounting Office...that women were routinely excluded from medical research supported by NIH." (Vivian Pinn, NIH News and Features, Fall 1997, p. 3)

3. "Historically, research studies were conducted only with men." (National Institute of Mental Health: Women Hold up Half the Sky. Publication No. 99-4607)

What Our Research Reveals:

Our research demonstrates that these three statements are not merely exaggerated or one-sided; they are simply false. These are the facts:

Cancer research has always favored women:
* An analysis of 1989 enrollees in NCI research reported only 43% male participation (1).
* A report from the Southwest Oncology Group revealed only 42% were males (2).
* The recent GAO report stated that men now compose only 29% of participants in NCI research (3).
* A Medline search under the term "malignancy" for the years 1966-1990 reveals 139 clinical trials for men and 191 for women.
* Sex-specific funding patterns reveal that prostate cancer has lagged behind breast cancer research by a 4:1 margin (4).

A. 55% of participants in the early Framingham Heart Study were female (5).

B. An analysis of major hypertension studies conducted in the 1970s and 1980s found that women made up nearly half of these studies (6).

C. A search of the Medline database for Heart Disease clinical trials during the period 1966-1990 turns up 137 studies on men, and 78 studies with women(7). In 1980, men's risk of dying from heart disease was 280.4/100,000, while women's risk was only 140.3/100,000 (8). Men were at twice the risk of heart disease mortality, and represented the high- risk population.

When we consider that men have historically faced twice the risk of death from heart disease, there is no evidence that overall, women have been underrepresented in heart disease research. As the Institute of Medicine put it, "The literature is inconclusive about whether women have been excluded or importantly underrepresented in clinical trials" (9).

According to the Medline database, there were 18 female clinical trials on osteoporosis published 1966-1999, compared to only 7 studies for men (7). This represents more than a 2:1 disparity in women's favor.

MENTAL HEALTH Mental health research sponsored by the NIH has long included women. During the period 1966-1990, the number of clinical trials with women has approximated the number of clinical trials with men (7).

The Underrepresentation of Men in NIH Research:

As documented above, men have been and continue to be underrepresented in cancer research. Three other areas with substantial inequities affecting men's health are reproductive health, contraception, and sex hormones.

An analysis of the NIH sex-specific budget 1988-1990 reveals that women's health research received twice the funding of men's health research (10), which further discredits the argument that women have been shortchanged by medical research.

MA Schoolteacher Falsely Accused? | Another Gender Gap?  >

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