News | August 02, 2007

Health Research Network Focuses on Musculoskeletal Differences between Sexes

August 3, 2007 - The Society for Women’s Health Research has established a new scientific health research network that will explore how the sexes differ in health and disease related to bones, muscles and joints.

The network is part of the Society’s Isis Fund for Sex Differences Research. “The Isis fund networks bring together top scientists to address in an interdisciplinary nature how women and men differ in the presentation of disease, its symptoms, diagnosis and responsiveness to treatment,” said Sherry Marts, Ph.D., vice president of scientific affairs for the Society, a Washington, D.C., based nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the health of all women through research, education and advocacy. “Until recently, little attention was paid to how health and disease affect the sexes differently. The networks foster integrated and coordinated work in this important and growing area of research.”

“The goal of the Isis fund networks is to foster multisite collaborative projects that address new questions and open new lines of inquiry,” Marts said. “We are planting seeds for sex-based studies and supporting an environment to help this field grow. Ultimately, we want these projects to be leveraged into larger projects that will receive grant funding from government and non-government sources.”

The Isis Fund for Sex Differences Research Network on Sex Differences in Musculoskeletal Health’s first two meetings took place in Washington, D.C., March 22-23 and July 8-9. The third meeting is Nov. 15-16 in Washington, D.C.

“Musculoskeletal health is an enormous and important area of health. We are excited about the potential of this network to expand and advance our knowledge of sex differences.”

Current network members are Rick Adachi, M.D., professor of medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; Karen Berkley, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.; Barbara Boyan, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering, Georgia Tech and Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.; Laurence Bradley, Ph.D., professor of medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Roger M. Enoka, Ph.D., professor of integrative physiology, University of Colorado, Boulder; David A. Hart, Ph.D., professor in arthritis research, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Daniel P. Nicolella, Ph.D., principal engineer, Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas; Mary I. O’Connor, M.D., chair of orthopedic surgery, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla.; and Laura Tosi, M.D., associate professor of orthopedic surgery and pediatrics, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Additional members will be added as the network grows.

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