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Assessment of the male sex bias in Parkinson's research on non-human subjects: a meta analysis

Institution: Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport, Louisiana

Published onJan 31, 2014
Assessment of the male sex bias in Parkinson's research on non-human subjects: a meta analysis

Abstract: Neuroanatomical sex differences identified in both non-human animals and humans suggest sexual dimorphism impacts symptomology and treatment of Parkinson’s disease in humans. Therefore, it is important to investigate the possibility of a sex bias in non-human animal research, because half of the human population may be inadequately represented. We report findings from a meta-analysis in which a Pubmed search was conducted to investigate a sex bias in biomedical research investigating Parkinson’s Disease, and whether or not the gender identity of the first and last author is correlated to the sex of the non-human animal investigated. It was hypothesized that male humans and male non-human animals would be more likely to be used for research, and that the gender identity of the first and last authors would correlate with the sex of the non-human animal investigated. The number of studies conducted on male non-human animals was significantly greater than the number of studies conducted on female non-human animals. Male first authors were significantly more likely to conduct studies on male non-human animals than female non-human animals. Female first authors were not more likely to conduct studies on female non-human animals than male non-human animals. A significant correlation was not found between the gender identities of the last authors and the sex of the non-human animal studied. These findings suggest that the first author’s gender identity does have an influence on subject sex, and female scientists are needed, even as non-principal investigators, to eliminate the sex bias in PD research.

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