Use of male mice skews drug research against women, study finds

By: Hannah Devlin Science correspondent | Use of male mice skews drug research against women, study finds | Neuroscience | The Guardian

Male animal bias is unjustified and can lead to drugs that work less well for women

The male mind is rational and orderly while the female one is complicated and hormonal. It is a stereotype that has skewed decades of neuroscience research towards using almost exclusively male mice and other laboratory animals, according to a new study.

Scientists have typically justified excluding female animals from experiments – even when studying conditions that are more likely to affect women – on the basis that fluctuating hormones would render the results uninterpretable. However, according to Rebecca Shansky, a neuroscientist at Northeastern University, in Boston, it is entirely unjustified by scientific evidence, which shows that, if anything, the hormones and behaviour of male rodents are less stable than those of females.

Related: Science of anger: how gender, age and personality shape this emotion

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