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MUS: "Medicine has a sexism problem" by Maya Dusenbery

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by MsUnderstood, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. MsUnderstood

    MsUnderstood Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Medicine Has A Sexism Problem, And It’s Making Sick Women Sicker

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entr...exism-research_us_5a9e01c4e4b0a0ba4ad72a3c?v7

    This article published on HuffPost today provides an excellent overview of the MUS concept as applied to illnesses that are more common among women. Although the history regarding women being under-represented in medical research is US-based, the comments regarding medically unexplained symptoms are applicable worldwide. ME gets a mention.

    Here are a few excerpts:

    "Meanwhile, over the last couple of decades, an ever-growing body of research has revealed there are, in fact, important sex and gender differences ― in everything from how drugs are metabolized to how the same disease manifests itself to the prevalence rates for various conditions. But in a medical system in which it takes 15 to 20 years for any new scientific knowledge to go from “bench to bedside,” much of this emerging information has yet to be incorporated into medical education, let alone clinical practice.

    The picture only gets worse when we look at diseases that primarily affect women. Those women’s health advocates who sounded the alarm in the early 1990s accused the medical establishment of neglecting those conditions entirely: As Congresswoman Pat Schroeder (D-Colo.) put it at the time, “You fund what you fear.” (ME, unfortunately, clearly hasn't been feared enough.)

    And based on the minuscule amount of funding they were receiving, a male-dominated research community didn’t seem to fear many health problems common in women ― from autoimmune diseases to gynecological disorders to chronic pain conditions. In fact, the problem ran even deeper: It’s not just that medicine hasn’t considered many women’s diseases to be very urgent ― it’s that it hasn’t considered them to be “real” diseases at all.

    Which brings us to the second gap hindering women’s medical care: the trust gap. Women’s reports of their symptoms are too often disbelieved ― a problem rooted in the history of hysteria. Perhaps most common in the medical literature these days is the term “medically unexplained symptoms” ― a phrase that needn’t necessarily imply a psychogenic origin but, in practice, often does.

    As long as women’s “medically unexplained symptoms” are considered adequately explained by the “fact” ― accepted as a scientific truth for over a century now ― that women are prone to “somatizing” their emotional distress, they do not need to be medically explained by thorough scientific research. This Catch-22 has been especially clear when it comes to “medically unexplained” conditions that disproportionately affect women, including fibromyalgia, vulvodynia, interstitial cystitis, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome and chemical intolerance. These conditions remain so poorly understood mostly because, assuming they must be psychogenic, medicine has put astoundingly little effort ― and few research dollars ― toward understanding them.

    How many collective years of needless suffering have women with “medically unexplained” conditions endured while medicine has been stubbornly looking the other way?"
     
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  2. Jan

    Jan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Well, they do have male pattern baldness to fund :banghead:
     
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  3. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've heard quite a few people challenge the claim that male pattern baldness gets more. I have never seen good evidence that it is true.
     
  4. Allele

    Allele Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I've seen several CDC funding charts from the past, and they did indeed fund MPB more than "CFS". I dunno what the current numbers are ($0 I think now?) but there have been many years where this has been the case.
     
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  5. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Speaking as a middle-aged male with terminal Male Pattern Baldness, I hereby donate in perpetuity all of my portion of any Male Pattern Baldness research funds to biomedical ME research.

    But seriously, get over it, men. If you are going bald, do it gracefully. Learn to love a Number 4, and be grateful for reduced hair care bills.

    Though I would like an explanation for why my nose and ear hair seems to be proliferating wildly as I get older. What is Mother Nature preparing me for that requires this? o_O
     
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  6. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    hmm current 'leader of the free world' makes do with a wonderful comb-over.
     
  7. Dr Carrot

    Dr Carrot Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I think an important thing to note is that this treatment of women harms both genders. Women directly, and men indirectly through those illnesses not being taken seriously enough.

    I think it's astute that these issues are coming through in the media now, when feminism has become more mainstream and fashionable in the last few years. Hopefully it's more likely to affect change.
     
  8. TiredSam

    TiredSam Moderator Staff Member

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    I think the nose hair is a filter for the smells of old age.
     
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  9. Sasha

    Sasha Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Some sort of insect-swarm apocalypse, maybe? Stop 'em all going up your nose and in your ears...
     
  10. JemPD

    JemPD Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
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  11. Kalliope

    Kalliope Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  12. Arnie Pye

    Arnie Pye Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I used to have an account with Pulse (the online magazine for doctors), from when it was possible to join the site as a non-doctor, and as a result I still get sent emails with information on online courses I could do if I was a doctor. One came today which is relevant to the subject of this thread. Note that the emphasis is as it was in the email.

    I was shocked that so many women still need to see doctors 19 times to get diagnosed with common gynaecological complaints. I wonder how many times women have to see doctors to get diagnosed with uncommon gynaecological complaints.
     
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  13. Allele

    Allele Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That is indeed shocking. We can do so much better than this.
     
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  14. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Bald claims obviously.
     
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  15. TiredSam

    TiredSam Moderator Staff Member

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    Well if we're talking about sexism I hope someone's going to offer a course for doctors teaching them that if a man comes into your practice complaining of a 6-week headache, shoving your finger up his arse to check his prostate is not appropriate.

    I never went back. Took me a whole host of other doctors and 15 months to finally get an ME diagnosis.
     
  16. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    So we're not really losing hair ... it just starts moving around a bit.
     
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  17. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    But what if the little buggers nest in them?
     
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  18. Allele

    Allele Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Some people have no respect for a man in tights.
     
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  19. Luther Blissett

    Luther Blissett Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It was probably funding for research into Androgenetic alopecia and the genetics behind it. As there is a link between it and heart disease and prostate cancer, it seems a decent thing to study. Androgenetic alopecia also includes women despite it commonly being called 'male' pattern baldness.

     
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  20. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Long-term effects of gravity?
     
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