FRIDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Efforts to expand research
on women's health issues in the United States over the past two
decades have led to lower disease rates and fewer deaths among
women from heart disease, breast cancer and several other major
diseases, a new government report shows.
The declines in cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, cervical
cancer, depression, HIV/AIDS and osteoporosis are due in part to
requirements for researchers to include women in studies, according
to the Institute of Medicine review.
The decrease also results from increased funding and other
resources from public and private sourcesm, and multi-pronged
research methods that provide fuller understanding of diseases,
according to the institute.
While these findings are encouraging, there has been little
progress in several other health issues important to women,
including unintended pregnancy, autoimmune disease, alcohol and
drug addiction, lung cancer and dementia, according to the
Overall, fewer advances have been made on chronic and
debilitating conditions that cause significant suffering but have
lower death rates. Scientists should give quality of life similar
consideration as death when conducting research, said the report
They also noted that socioeconomic and cultural barriers still
limit the potential impact of new research, especially among
"There is good news and bad news on the state of women's health research," report committee chair Nancy E. Adler, a professor of medical psychology and director of the Center for Health and Community at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a National Academies news release.
"Significant boosts in women's health issues have yielded measurable progress in reducing the toll of several serious disorders. Unfortunately, less progress has been made on conditions that are not major killers but still profoundly affect women's quality of life," she said.
"These issues require similar attention and resources if we are to see better prevention and treatment in more areas. And across all areas, researchers need to take into account the effects of both biologically determined sex differences and socially determined gender differences as a routine part of conducting research."
The Institute of Medicine is part of the National Academy of
The U.S. National Women's Health Information Center covers a
range of women's health issues.