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Published on: August 1, 2015
by US Against Alzheimer’s:
You’d be hard pressed to find a female mouse in today’s neuroscience labs. Written off as having complex brains and poor cage manners, female mice take back seat to their male counterparts in Alzheimer’s research experiments the world over. Since gender differences matter in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, two organizations – WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s Research UK – have committed themselves to making room in the lab for female rodents for the sake of women everywhere.
The two organizations came together during the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference to launch a global Alzheimer’s women’s movement, addressing the importance of recruiting and retaining women in Alzheimer’s research, policy, advocacy and industry. Their argument is simple: women have a huge stake in this fight. They are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s or care for someone with the disease. They develop the disease differently than men, yet are underrepresented in clinical trials and experiments. They are great collaborators and problem solvers, yet too often do not have a seat at the table. Until women become more involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s, the importance of gender in disease onset and progression will continue to be overlooked.
The group of 50 women (and 2 men) heard from an illustrious panel of women speakers, representing the UK, European Union, US and Lynn Posluns, founder of Women’s Brain Health Initiative from Canada, who helped create an evening of stimulating conversation, sharing and laughter. Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFLP-MN) as well as Dr. Monica Ramirez Basco of the White House also made appearances to shine a spotlight on what our country’s policymakers are doing to drive change. With their leadership, this promises to be a powerful chapter in a long history of women’s health movements.
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