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Increased attention to women's health research has yielded gains on some important conditions, but progress lags on others
Date:9/23/2010

WASHINGTON -- A concerted effort to boost research on women's health over the last two decades has lessened the burden of disease and reduced deaths among women due to cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, and cervical cancer, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. The effort has yielded less but still significant progress in reducing the effects of depression, HIV/AIDS, and osteoporosis on women, added the committee that wrote the report.

However, several health issues important to women have seen little progress, including unintended pregnancy, autoimmune diseases, alcohol and drug addiction, lung cancer, and dementia. Overall, fewer gains have been made on chronic and debilitating conditions that cause significant suffering but have lower death rates, pointing to the need for researchers to give quality of life similar consideration as mortality for research attention. Moreover, barriers such as socio-economic and cultural influences still limit the potential reach and impact of research developments, especially among disadvantaged women.

The gains that have been made reflect the effects of requirements for researchers to include women in studies, an influx of resources from public and private stakeholders, and multifaceted research approaches that tackled the conditions from several fronts for a fuller understanding of each condition, the committee concluded.

"There is good news and bad news on the state of women's health research," said committee chair Nancy E. Adler, professor of medical psychology and director of the Center for Health and Community, University of California, San Francisco. "Significant boosts in research on women's health issues have yielded measurable progress in reducing the toll of several serious disorders. Unfortunately, less progress has been made on conditions that are not major killers but still profoundly affect women's quality of life. These issues require similar attention
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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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