There Is a Large Gender Gap in Study Subjects in Psychiatry and Neuroscience Research

A new study led by researchers at the University of British Columbia finds that there is a large gender gap in research studies in neuroscience and psychiatry.

The authors examined nearly 3,200 academic papers in six academic journals from 2009 to 2019. They found that in 2019 only 19 percent of papers in the sample reported using an optimal design for discovery of possible sex differences, and only 5 percent of the papers reported studies that analyzed sex as a discovery variable. They did find significant improvement from 2009 but a wide gender gap remains. The research team also found that male-only studies were eight times more common than female-only studies.

The authors note that “sex differences exist in the prevalence and manifestation of a number of neurological and psychiatric diseases. The consideration of sex in published reports is essential to our understanding of disease and is critical to our understanding of precision medicine in finding effective treatments for disease.”

The researchers concluded that “progress to date has not been sufficient to address the importance of sex differences in research for discovery and therapeutic potential for neurological and psychiatric disease.” They recommend that researchers must go further to understand if sex impacts their results.

The full study, “An Analysis of Neuroscience and Psychiatry Papers Published From 2009 and 2019 Outlines Opportunities for Increasing Discovery of Sex Differences,” was published on the website of Nature Communications. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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