From drugs to diagnoses: “Medicine is masculine and discriminates against women”

The girls are not well. Reason? medicine not meant for them, medicine, apparently male. These are simplifications that do not like to scientists expert on the subject, but they make the idea of ​​evolution necessary for the treatment to be truly calibrated on the patient, who has different times and ways of reacting to drugs, diagnosis and pain. This was discussed yesterday, Friday 16 September, in Padua, the first city in Italy to host the International Conference on Gender Medicine, at the Papa Luciani congress center.


Drugs studied on males

Just to understand what we are talking about, just think that women have more ease to develop tumors in the descending colon (left) while men in the ascending one (right), the signs of heart attack occur in women with back pain, in males with chest pain. Often, too, when women have heart problems and aren’t aware of them, they come sent to the gastroenterologist. And then there are the drugs whose standards are studied on males – explains Professor Teresita Mazzei, professor of pharmacology at the University of Florence – the simplest male standardwe women within thirty days have considerable hormonal differences, it is more difficult for us to create a standard – she adds – until a few years ago a sleeping pill was on the market that stunned women to the point that there was an exponential increase in female patients who were in car accidents.

Diseases of the body mistaken for hysteria

The start of yesterday’s conference has been given by Silvio Brusaferro, president of the Istituto Superiore di Sanit (Iss), and Walter Ricciardi, full professor of Hygiene and preventive medicine at the Catholic University of Rome. Among the sixty speakers also the immunologist Antonella Viola, professor of General Pathology at the University of Padua. However, there is a Paduan scientist who was the first to understand in 2004 that the approach to treating pathologies had to be calibrated differently between men and women. Her name is Giovannella Baggio, full professor of gender medicine at the University of Padua, specialist in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology. This is what Minister Roberto Speranza said of her yesterday in greeting the scientists present: The president of the congress, Giovannella Baggio, member of the Higher Health Council (CSS) and I wanted her to have her voice was within the highest advisory body of the Ministry of Health precisely to bring you the specificity of gender medicine, which I believe is invaluable in relaunching and strengthening our National Health Service. Baggio explains: We women have a rheumatological problem that differentiates us from males, the point that often the differences cannot be grasped, today the gender approach is making its way, but do you think that a woman with sternum back pain, which foretold an imminent heart attack, was sent to psychiatry, treated like hysterics only because the pain did not present itself as that of men, now things are changing, but there is resistance from pharmaceutical companies.

The costs for corrections

The costs to recalibrate drug tests on both males and females are enormous – echoes her colleague Professor Alessandra Car, an expert in Genetics and Molecular Biology at the Istituto Superiore di Sanit – imagine what it means to do a double test, both on male and female animalsthe costs would have doubled, we will get there but it will take time, we scientists have faced many obstacles who were the first to start talking about these issues – she explains – a theme often mistakenly confused with feminism, but it has nothing to do with it, it is just a matter of finding the right treatments for people that we have before us, which are different.

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September 17, 2022 (change September 17, 2022 | 21:02)

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From drugs to diagnoses: “Medicine is masculine and discriminates against women”


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