Dr Antonella Macerollo, Editor-in-chief, EANpages
Professor Moro and Professor Ferretti introduced the Special Session on the EAN gender and diversity task force, which is investigating the impact of sex and gender-related differences in the management of neurological disorders. It is well known that both research and clinical settings are facing new challenges in global health. Sex/gender balance and equity are the future goals of precision medicine in basic science models, clinical trials, and medical care.
This session provided a historical perspective on sex and gender-related health issues.
Professor Casper discussed ‘the impact of sex and gender on the history of global health and care in neurology” and explained how sex, sexuality and gender have had lasting global impacts on neurology. There has been a marked historical tendency leading towards greater gender balance during the last century but there is still unmet need to reach real equity.
The session included a lecture by Professor Klein on ‘sex-related differences in genetic neurological disorders’. She highlighted the fact that genetic mechanisms underlying neurological conditions explain sex preponderance in each of them. Therefore, the male:female ratio seen in idiopathic diseases might significantly differ in monogenic forms of neurological diseases. Professor Klein discussed the current need of genetic studies to investigate the genetic factors that modify sex distribution and disease expression in different conditions.
Professor Lebedeva gave a complete overview of ‘the impact of sex and gender on clinical presentation, associated factors, research and management of migraine’. She discussed the prevalence of migraine in females and the connections with hormonal levels. However, she pointed out that more studies are necessary for better understanding the prevalence, incidence and phenotype differences between male and female patients, since there is a lack of studies on male patients.
The session was closed by Professor Arabia, who gave a lecture on ‘the new perspective in sex and gender-oriented management of neurological disorders’. Professor Arabia showed the audience the ongoing work and aim of this EAN task force as well as the EAN members actively involved in this group led by Professor Moro and Professor De Visser.
The future is to build BRAIN HEALTH QUALITY; the speaker highlighted that this goal is reachable only through the analysis of sex and gender disaggregated data to design efficient health policies.