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November 15, 2021 45 min

medical research gap: a disparity that exists because the vast majority of biological literature is based on single sex studies of males of European ancestry.

Did you know that it wasn't until 1993 that it was required for women to be included in clinical trials? Or that as of 2018, 78% of people included in key genomic research were of European ancestry?

The implications of gender and racial exclusion in medical and scientific research has had huge (negative) implications for the health of us all. It leads to biased data sets that then result in unequal diagnosis and treatment for people of varying backgrounds.

Today on the podcast is Elizabeth Ruzzo, Ph.D., founder of Adyn, a company on a mission to make scientific discovery more inclusive. Adyn recognizes that medical gender and race gaps have profound and devastating impacts on available diagnostics, treatment, and care. To close this gap, Adyn is starting out by using genetic and hormonal info, combined with big data, for a birth control test. This test could tell you the best hormonal birth control method to use for YOUR particular genetic and hormonal makeup. It's precision medicine that not only will help the individual accessing it, but will contribute to the (long-overdue!) advancement of healthcare research for biologically female people.

Elizabeth discusses what the medical research gender gap is, why it's a problem, and how we can help close it. She also tells us more about why her company is first tackling the problem of "trial and error" birth control selection that has plagued the reproductive years of so many of us, how they're using actual research and data to do this, and where this technology may go next. Lastly, Elizabeth explains why Adyn won’t call itself a “women’s health company.”

LINKS AND RESOURCES:

  • Join Adyn's waitlist for early access to their Birth Control Test
  • Want to make a more immediate impact on health equity? Share any of Adyn’s Instagram posts on your Instagram Stories, tag @adynhealth, and they’ll donate $1 to The Loveland Foundation’s Therapy Fund. NERDY STUFF:
  • Drugs and Medical Devices: Adverse Events and the Impact on Women’s Health "Between 1997 and 2000, eight of the ten drugs withdrawn from the market posed a greater health risk for women either due to unanticipated gender-prescribing trends or sex-specific adverse drug reactions."
  • More info about how women weren’t included in trials until 1993:

  • Women Were Left Out of Clinical Trials Until the ‘90s—This Is How It’s Impacted Our Health (Well + Good)
  • We Don’t Have Enough Women in Clinical Trials — Why That’s a Problem (Healthline)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): History of Women’s Participation in Clinical Research
  • For those who love an academic article: from the journal of Pharmacy Practice - Women’s involvement in clinical trials: historical perspective and future implications
  • Articles about racist clinical algorithms:
  • Millions of black people affected by racial bias in health-care algorithms (Nature)
  • Racial bias skews algorithms widely used to guide care from heart surgery to birth, study finds (Stat News)
  • Take Racism Out of Medical Algorithms (Scientific American)
  • Why clinical algorithms fall short on race (American Medical Association)
  • Hidden in Plain Sight — Reconsidering the Use of Race Correction in Clinical Algorithms (New England Journal of Medicine)
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