Jan. 2, 2004 Washington, DC – Georgetown University Medical Center has officially launched the Center for the Study of Sex Differences in Health, Aging, and Disease (CSD) to explore the sex-based underpinnings of why men and women experience many aspects of health in fundamentally different ways. This new scientific venture aims to provide a better biological understanding for tailoring medical services and treatments based on one's sex. Under the CSD moniker, a multidisciplinary team of doctors and researchers at Georgetown will conduct collaborative basic and clinical research, publish in scientific journals, and provide speakers to the public and other academic medical centers through its speakers bureau. The center's director is Kathryn Sandberg, PhD, professor of medicine and physiology at Georgetown University Medical Center.
"There is no question that your biological sex vastly influences your medical experience from cradle to grave," said Sandberg. "We created this center to further explore the biological root causes of these differences. Ultimately, we hope to lead other doctors to new preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic practices that will improve health and healthcare of both women and men."
At the core of sex differences, women continue to live four to five years longer than men despite apparent equity in medical advances. Sandberg notes that many previous studies have shown that women and men react differently to prescription and over-the-counter drugs, are more susceptible to certain diseases like lung cancer and multiple strains of HIV, and experience pain and disease in varied ways. The clearest example of these stark differences is in the analysis of heart attack symptoms between the sexes.
"It is conventional medical wisdom that shooting chest and arm pains are the major symptoms of an impending heart attack, yet in reality only 30% of women who have heart attacks experience these symptoms," said Sandberg. "If research could lead us to a more nuanced understanding of how to interpret signs of cardiac distress in women, we could potentially save thousands of lives a year."
For a full list of current research projects and faculty affiliated with the Center for the Study of Sex Differences, please visit http://csd.georgetown.edu.
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through our partnership with MedStar Health). Our mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis--or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies, both nationally ranked, and the world renowned Lombardi Cancer Center. For more, please visit http://www.georgetown.edu/gumc .
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