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Gays, Lesbians Excluded From Some Medical Studies
Date:3/17/2010

Research into sexual health tends to omit them, report finds

WEDNESDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- Gays and lesbians are excluded from many medical studies involving issues of sexual health such as impotence or low sex drive, a new report finds.

"Our study indicates that it's more prevalent than one might have guessed." said Roland Dunbrack, Jr., co-author of the report, which appears in the March 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"It's an exclusion that in many cases, maybe in most cases, doesn't need to be used," said Dunbrack, an associate professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Review boards, which approve studies at both the local and federal level, already keep a close eye on research that excludes minority groups or either gender, Dunbrack noted. He and his colleagues launched their research because they were curious about study restrictions involving gays and lesbians.

"If you want to exclude a particular group, you usually have to have a rationale for it," he said, but there aren't such restrictions for gays and lesbians.

The researchers suspected that the issue of inclusion -- or exclusion -- of gays and lesbians doesn't come up very much outside of research into sexuality. And they found that to be the case, at least in asthma research. Of more than a thousand studies on asthma that the researchers located, none had restrictions based on sexual orientation.

However, out of 243 studies that included the words "couple," "erectile dysfunction" or "hypoactive" (referring to low sex drive), 37 excluded non-heterosexuals in some way.

"It's not that every study we looked at should be rewritten," Dunbrack said, but there should be reasons given for the exclusions, and "we don't know for these studies what these rationales would be."

Those most likely to restrict people in same-sex relationships were industry sponsored t
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