How are the sexes different?

December 17, 2003

Washington, DC - Georgetown University Medical Center has officially launched the Center for the Study of Sex Differences in Health, Aging, and Disease (CSD) to explore the sex-based underpinnings of why men and women experience many aspects of health in fundamentally different ways. This new scientific venture aims to provide a better biological understanding for tailoring medical services and treatments based on one's sex.

Under the CSD moniker, a multidisciplinary team of doctors and researchers at Georgetown will conduct collaborative basic and clinical research, publish in scientific journals, and provide speakers to the public and other academic medical centers through its speakers bureau. The center's director is Kathryn Sandberg, PhD, professor of medicine and physiology at Georgetown University Medical Center.

"There is no question that your biological sex vastly influences your medical experience from cradle to grave," said Sandberg. "We created this center to further explore the biological root causes of these differences. Ultimately, we hope to lead other doctors to new preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic practices that will improve health and healthcare of both women and men."

At the core of sex differences, women continue to live four to five years longer than men despite apparent equity in medical advances. Sandberg notes that many previous studies have shown that women and men react differently to prescription and over-the-counter drugs, are more susceptible to certain diseases like lung cancer and multiple strains of HIV, and experience pain and disease in varied ways. The clearest example of these stark differences is in the analysis of heart attack symptoms between the sexes.

"It is conventional medical wisdom that shooting chest and arm pains are the major symptoms of an impending heart attack, yet in reality only 30% of women who have heart attacks experience these symptoms," said Sandberg. "If research could lead us to a more nuanced understanding of how to interpret signs of cardiac distress in women, we could potentially save thousands of lives a year."
For a full list of current research projects and faculty affiliated with the Center for the Study of Sex Differences, please visit

Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through our partnership with MedStar Health). Our mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis--or "care of the whole person." The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies, both nationally ranked, and the world renowned Lombardi Cancer Center. For more, please visit

Georgetown University Medical Center

Related Health Articles from Brightsurf:

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

New measure of social determinants of health may improve cardiovascular health assessment
The authors of this study developed a single risk score derived from multiple social determinants of health that predicts county-level cardiovascular disease mortality.

BU study: High deductible health plans are widening racial health gaps
The growing Black Lives Matter movement has brought more attention to the myriad structures that reinforce racial inequities, in everything from policing to hiring to maternal mortality.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-health resource improves men's health behaviours with or without fitness facilities
Men who regularly used a free web resource made significantly more health changes than men who did not, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.

Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.

Read More: Health News and Health Current Events 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