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Women Less Apt to Get Clot-Buster, Study Finds
Date:2/20/2009

rch. She reviewed data on 445 people, 52 percent of them women, who got to the hospital within six hours of the start of symptoms. And she found no difference between men and women in the time it took to get medical help.

Another study provided a possible explanation as to why treatment sometimes differs between genders.

University of Michigan researchers found that women are more likely to have "nontraditional" symptoms such as numbness, visual disturbances or dizziness. Dr. Lynda Lisabeth, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, targeted 480 people who came to the University of Michigan Hospital between January 2005 and December 2007 for a stroke or a mini-stroke.

She asked all of them about their symptoms. "Among women, 52 percent reported at least one nontraditional symptom, compared to 44 percent of men," she said.

The most common nontraditional symptom they reported was an altered mental state, such as confusion or unconsciousness. The finding that women tend to have nontraditional symptoms did not reach statistical significance, she said. But Lisabeth still thinks that awareness of the possibility of nontraditional symptoms might influence people to seek help sooner.

Some of the news on gender differences -- specifically that nontraditional symptoms might be more common in women -- was surprising to Dr. Mark Goldberg, a professor of neurology at Washington University in St. Louis and a physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Knowing about such research should help the public, and doctors, become more aware, he said. "The idea that mental confusion is more common in women may change the way emergency medical service personnel are educated, for instance, with doctors alerting them to the possibility," he said.

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