For Women's Health Research, Results Mixed

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Over the past 2 decades, women's mortality from cardiovascular disease and breast and cervical cancer has declined, thanks to research focused on women's health; however, little progress has been made in addressing debilitating conditions such as autoimmune diseases, addiction, lung cancer, and dementia, according to an Institute of Medicine panel.

"We are pleased with how much progress has been made, but there are some caveats," Nancy E. Adler, Ph.D., chair of the IOM Committee on Women's Health Research and director of the Center for Health and Community at the University of California, San Francisco, said at a press briefing to release the report.

Based on the report, "Women's Health Research: Progress, Pitfalls, and Promise," the panel recommended:

* Undertaking initiatives that increase research in high-risk populations of women;

* Ensuring adequate participation of women in research and analysis of data by sex; and

* Creation of a task force to communicate health messages about research results to women and prevent them from receiving conflicting messages from various venues.

Communication is one area in which office-based physicians can play an important role, translating research into their practices, said committee member Alina Salganicoff, Ph.D., vice president and director of women's health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. "Their recommendations hold a lot of weight" with their patients, she said. …