The Ann S. Bowers Women’s Brain Health Initiative Debuts at the University of California

The University of California recently launched the Ann S. Bowers Women’s Brain Health Initiative. The new effort is a brain-imaging consortium whose mission is to close the gender data gap and make neuroscience inclusive — in terms of both who asks the questions and who is served by the answers.

More than 50,000 human-brain-imaging articles have been published since magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) came on the scene in the 1990s. But of those, less than 0.5 percent consider health factors specific to women.

This is especially troubling given that 70 percent of people with Alzheimer’s and 65 percent of those with depression are women. Some neurological conditions are experienced only by people who have menstrual periods: postpartum depression, perimenopausal ‘brain fog’, endometriosis, and menstrual migraines, to name a few. Globally, around 400 million women take hormonal contraception. Some of those people experience depression as a side effect, yet there has been no comprehensive neuroimaging study to understand how long-term hormone suppression influences the brain.

The new initiative is being led by Emily G. Jacobs an associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to UCSB, Dr. Jacobs was an instructor at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Medicine/Division of Women’s Health at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. She is a graduate of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and earned a Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.

Filed Under: Women's Studies


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  1. Kate Marple , MSW says:

    Great to see this article and the progress in getting more focus on women and neuroscience gender gap and brain health in general .

    Smith College School
    For Social Work Alum. Class of 1982
    Kate Marple, MSW

    Would love to hear about progress and you continue the work ..
    Thank you .

  2. Anastasia Hall says:

    Great news but who is Ann S. BOWERS?
    Who’s in the picture?

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