Sex and gender in hand therapy research
Journal of Hand Therapy
URL with Digital Object Identifier
Despite the fact that sex and gender are perhaps the most substantial determinants of how we live as individuals and as societies, these two variables are often ignored or poorly addressed in our research and practice. It seems that it is so core to our existence that we forget to think about it, or examine it. For example, in my own research team, we recently started asking our biomechanics lab about sex differences in distal radius fracture mal-union and found that only male bones were being used, because “female bones break too easily.” This is common in many areas of basic science. A recent review in the leading journal, Pain, demonstrated that 79% of the studies published in the past 10 years have included male subjects only, with 8% addressing females only, and only 4% explicitly testing sex differences. 1 This is at odds with the substantially higher burden of painful conditions in women, and means that we do not understand the pain physiology of women.
1. Mogil J.S. & Chanda M.L. The case for the inclusion of female subjects in basic science studies of pain. Pain. 2005; 117: 1-5