Lab Canada

$7M to support study of gender in circulatory and respiratory disease

Ottawa,ON – The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and the Canadian Lung Association, are jointly providing over $7 million to support four health research projects directed at studying the role of gender and sex in circulatory and respiratory health and disease.

Heart and lung diseases are among the leading causes of illness and deaths in Canadians. While the main causes of these diseases are the same among women and men, a number of sex and gender differences exist such as age at onset of the condition, access to health services and treatment options. These five-year projects will help researchers study the role played by gender and sex in coronary heart, cardiovascular and lung diseases.

“There is increasing interest and recognition that women’s and girls’ health issues, just as men’s and boys’ health issues, benefit from a gender perspective,” says Dr Miriam Stewart, scientific director of the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health (IGH). “The projects we are announcing today will boost our knowledge and understanding of how gender and sex interact with other health determinants to ultimately affect the health of Canadians.”

The four funded research projects are:

– Drs Sonia Anand, Heather M Arthur, Eva Lonn and Salim Yusuf (McMaster University), who are examining the role of sex and gender differences in heart disease and diabetes;
– Dr Allan B Becker (University of Manitoba), who is studying the biological and sociological factors associated with the development of obesity and asthma in adolescent girls, which influence the development of asthma as a chronic disease throughout their adult lives;
– Drs Susan M Kennedy and Donald Sin (University of British Columbia), who are investigating the role of biological, social and cultural differences in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and
– Dr Louise Pilote (McGill University), who is researching differences in cardiovascular disease between men and women using a new framework, which includes sex and gender determinants.

“It’s not always well known that women and men are affected equally by heart disease and stroke,” said Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “However, there are differences in how both genders experience these diseases and how they’re treated, and this research will help us better understand how women and men are affected.”