Vienna (01 March 2022) Over recent years, the need to define gender-specific forms of treatment and therapies in medicine has led to the development of a separate branch of research at MedUni Vienna. So-called gender medicine works across disciplines and is a classic example of interdisciplinary collaboration. However, gender has long been a fixed variable in everyday research in the field of public health, as well. On Gender Research Day on 1 March, MedUni Vienna will present its current projects.
Gender medicine explores the differences, and commonalities, between genders in terms of maintaining health and developing disease. As well as biological sex, which is determined by sex chromosomes and sex hormones, psychosocial gender is increasingly perceived as having a key influence on health. Cultural and social influences, for example, also play a role in this.
Personalised medicine: making gender easier to model and measure
Due to the genetic and hormonal differences between men and women, they absorb, metabolise an break down drugs differently. However, for a long time, preclinical research has primarily been based on a male model and women are still underrepresented in clinical trials, with the result that women are at higher risk of adverse events.
There is currently no valid and standardised option for measuring the gender dimension. The international GenderNET+ project, in which Alexandra Kautzky-Willer from MedUni Vienna's Department of Medicine III and Professor of Gender Medicine is participating, aims to drive forward the integration of sex and gender into medical research and to investigate the influence of gender on health and the incidence of chronic disease. This will be used as a basis for developing innovative applications, thus opening up new avenues in personalised prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
Promotion of young LGBTIQ people
Discrimination against people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) is still widespread in Europe, as has recently been shown by the "Promoting Work-Based Equality for LGBT+Q+ Youth - WE Project". Together with his team, Igor Grabovac of MedUni Vienna's Center for Public Health looked into the promotion of equality for young LGBTIQ people entering the labour market and discovered that discrimination and stigma in the workplace are associated with higher levels of chronic stress. This can lead to depression, anxiety disorders or loss of productivity, as well as cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disease, higher rates of infection and cancer, obesity and sleep disorders.
About Gender Research Day
Gender Research Day was initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and will be held for the first time on 01.03.2022. More than 40 Austrian institutions are jointly setting an example and taking part in the campaign to highlight achievements in the field of gender research, thus raising awareness of the social and scientific relevance of this research approach.