American Physiological Society's conference focuses on key gender differences in health

October 13, 2011

Bethesda, Md. (Oct. 13, 2011) - For years, those involved in cardiac care viewed the diagnosis and treatment procedures for cardiovascular disease as applicable to both men and women, despite the fact that heart disease kills 200,000 women each year, five times the rate of breast cancer. Today, thanks in part to physiology -- the study of how the body works -- physicians now know that instead of developing blockages in the arteries supplying blood to the heart, a common occurrence with men, women accumulate plaque more evenly inside the major arteries and in smaller blood vessels. This condition, which appears to be particularly common in younger women, can be as dangerous as the better-known form of the disease.

This and other new cardiovascular research findings are just one of the outcomes resulting from the revolution in gender studies in physiology. Cardiovascular disease and other gender-specific conditions - such as menopause, pregnancy, depression, and obesity - will be explored in depth at a two day conference being sponsored by the American Physiology Society (APS), the nation's leading organization for the advancement of this vital science, with support from the American Heart Association and the Society for Women's Health Research. The conference, "Physiology of Cardiovascular Disease: Gender Disparities," is being held at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), 2500 North State Street in Jackson, MS, October 12-14. The conference coincides with the grand opening of the Women's Health Research Center which is located on the campus of UMMC. Additionally, highlights of selected presentations from the meeting will be posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Organizing this conference is Jane F Reckelhoff, Ph.D., Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at UMMC and director of the Women's Health Research Center. This pioneer in gender studies and APS member will preside over an agenda with presentations that will cover gender differences in heart disease, vascular function, kidney disease and metabolism and will provide insight on how perimenopause and menopause affect women's heart health. Her podcast interview at http://bit.ly/pQuV0T provides greater detail.

Speakers at this event include:

Doris Taylor, Ph.D., director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Cardiac Repair, who will discuss how to build a heart from stem cells;

Janet Rich-Edwards, Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health will provide insight into the impact of pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes on cardiovascular disease.

John Hall, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at UMMC, will speak on the association of obesity and blood pressure;

Pamela Ouyang, M.D. of Johns Hopkins University will report on her findings on the relationship of early menopause and heart disease;

Meir Steiner, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Obstetrics and Gynecology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, will discuss depression and the role it plays in the risk for cardiovascular disease in women; and

David G. Harrison, M.D., Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, will offer insights into the association between the body's immune system and cardiovascular disease.

The presentations help bring to light how much has changed about how we understand the role sex and gender plays in health in general, and in cardiovascular health in particular. Discoveries in the last 10-15 years include: A quaint 19th century rhyme describes the differences between males and females as "Frogs and snails and puppy-dogs' tails" and "Sugar and spice and everything nice." The rhyme may sound silly, but it illustrates a vital point: namely, that there are gender-related differences which have been confirmed by physiological research, and that there is much more for research to discover. The "Physiology of Cardiovascular Disease: Gender Disparities" conference is a significant next step in this regard.
-end-
NOTE TO EDITORS: The Physiology of Cardiovascular Disease: Gender Disparities conference will be held October 12-14, 2011 at the University of Mississippi in Jackson. The press is invited to attend. For additional information, and to receive abstracts from the meeting, please contact Donna Krupa at 301.634.7209 or dkrupa@the-aps.org. A podcast overview of the meeting is also available online at http://bit.ly/pQuV0T.Physiology is the study of how molecules, cells, tissues and organs function to create health or disease. The American Physiological Society has been an integral part of the discovery process since it was established in 1887. To keep up with the science, follow @Phyziochick on Twitter.

American Physiological Society

Related Breast Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Oncotarget: IGF2 expression in breast cancer tumors and in breast cancer cells
The Oncotarget authors propose that methylation of DVDMR represents a novel epigenetic biomarker that determines the levels of IGF2 protein expression in breast cancer.

Breast cancer: AI predicts which pre-malignant breast lesions will progress to advanced cancer
New research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, could help better determine which patients diagnosed with the pre-malignant breast cancer commonly as stage 0 are likely to progress to invasive breast cancer and therefore might benefit from additional therapy over and above surgery alone.

Partial breast irradiation effective treatment option for low-risk breast cancer
Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast irradiation for many women with low-risk, early stage breast cancer, according to new clinical data from a national clinical trial involving researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

Breast screening linked to 60 per cent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
Women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, according to a study of more than 50,000 women.

More clues revealed in link between normal breast changes and invasive breast cancer
A research team, led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, details how a natural and dramatic process -- changes in mammary glands to accommodate breastfeeding -- uses a molecular process believed to contribute to survival of pre-malignant breast cells.

Breast tissue tumor suppressor PTEN: A potential Achilles heel for breast cancer cells
A highly collaborative team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ohio State University report in Nature Communications that they have identified a novel pathway for connective tissue PTEN in breast cancer cell response to radiotherapy.

Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.

Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density
A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that Videssa® Breast, a multi-protein biomarker blood test for breast cancer, is unaffected by breast density and can reliably rule out breast cancer in women with both dense and non-dense breast tissue.

Study shows influence of surgeons on likelihood of removal of healthy breast after breast cancer dia
Attending surgeons can have a strong influence on whether a patient undergoes contralateral prophylactic mastectomy after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Young breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery see improved prognosis
A new analysis indicates that breast cancer prognoses have improved over time in young women treated with breast conserving surgery.

Read More: Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.