The National Institutes of Health's (NIH) commitment to improving health outcomes for women and men through rigorous science has been compromised by the lack of basic science evidence obtained from female animals. To correct this limitation, in June 2015 the NIH announced expectations that "sex," as a biological variable, be included into research design and analysis in studies of vertebrate animals and humans (NOT-OD-15-102). Scientists must take the responsibility to implement this directive. However, in doing so, there is a risk that attention could be restricted to only studies of direct comparison between female/women and male/men. By contrast, understanding how sex influences health and disease needs to take a programmatic approach that includes the study of sex-specific conditions. A programmatic approach will assure the advancement of knowledge to improve women's health.
ASJC Scopus subject areas