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Minority of Surgical Studies Include Men, Women Equally

About one-third of articles analyze data by sex; fewer include discussion of sex-based results


WEDNESDAY, Aug. 17, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Few surgical studies include men and women equally, and only about one-third perform data analysis by sex, according to research published online Aug. 17 in JAMA Surgery.

Neel A. Mansukhani, M.D., from Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues abstracted data from a bibliometric analysis to examine whether sex bias exists in human surgical clinical research. A total of 1,668 articles reviewed included human participants, and 1,303 articles remained in the analysis.

The researchers found that 1.3 and 3.1 percent of articles included males only and females only, respectively, 78.3 percent included males and females, and 17.3 percent did not document participant sex. Considerable variability existed in the number of male, female, and unspecified participants among the journals, between U.S. domestic and international studies, and for single versus multicenter studies, although female participants represented more than 50 percent of the total number of participants. Overall, 38.1, 33.2, and 22.9 percent of articles reported the data by sex, analyzed the data by sex, and included a discussion of sex-based results, respectively. Poor sex matching of the included participants in the research was observed; 45.2 percent of the studies matched the inclusion of both sexes by 50 percent.

"Because clinical research is the foundation for evidence-based medicine, it is imperative that this disparity be addressed so that therapies benefit both sexes," the authors write.

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