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Review stresses the importance to consider sex differences in clinical studies to develop the precision medicine approach for Alzheimer’s disease

Tuesday 10 July 2018

On 10 July, a group of international researchers from the two initiatives “Women’s Brain Project” (WBP) and the “Alzheimer’s Disease Precision Medicine Initiative” (APMI) published a review of sex-related differences in the phenotypes of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the journal Nature Reviews Neurology. The review and perspective was led by Dr Maria Teresa Ferretti (University of Zurich, Switzerland) and Professor Harald Hampel (Sorbonne University, Paris, France).

Together, the WBP and APMI have reviewed the scientific literature to document whether and how Alzheimer’s disease differentially affects men and women.  The authors looked at sex- differences in symptoms, biomarkers, risk factors, and in response to medical intervention. 

This review, underlines that sex and gender differences are of high relevance for diagnosis and treatment of AD, as supported by several independent studies. However, this important issue has only begun to be addressed by the community, and more systematic and rigorously controlled work needs to be done.

The authors have identified 5 domains to be addressed for future studies, with recommendations for each:

- reporting of sex and gender specific data

- biomarkers

- risk factors

- clinical trials

- preclinical research

Recommendations include actively studying both male and female animals in pre-clinical research, explicitly reporting sex-differences in scientific reports (also if negative results are found) and examining the outcomes of clinical trials with respect to how men and women’s responses to drugs differ.  You can find the publication here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41582-018-0032-9

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