Symposium focuses on cardiovascular and brain health in women

By Jan Jarvis 

Stella Web

The first annual Women’s Cardiovascular and Brain Health Symposium underscores the need for more biomedical research that addresses unique differences between the sexes. 

The event, which will include oral and poster presentations on research, will be held Friday in the Gibson D. Lewis Health Science Library and is sponsored by the Department of Physiology and Anatomy. 

Historically, clinical studies have focused on males. In an effort to reduce this sex bias in biomedical studies, the National Institutes of Health has mandated that both males and females are included in all funded research. 

Women have long been treated as if they were males without consideration to the differences between the sexes. But men and women have different risks for heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease,” said Styliani Goulopoulou, PhD, Assistant Professor of Physiology and Anatomy and chair of the organizing committee of the symposium. 

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“They respond differently to treatments for disease and often have different symptoms,” Dr. Goulopoulou said. “It is very important that we don’t treat females like small males. Our goal is to raise awareness about the importance of women’s health research and foster collaborations.” 

The speakers at the symposium will addresses heart and brain issues as they affect women. 

Jane Reckelhoff, PhD, Chair of Cell and Molecular Biology and Director of the Women’s Health Research Center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, will discuss the sex differences in the control of blood pressure. 

“Dr. Reckelhoff has been instrumental in changing the way researchers think about women’s health research,” Dr. Goulopoulou said.  

Qi Fu, MD, PhD, Director of the Women’s Heart Health Laboratory at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, will discuss the clinical issue of high blood pressure during pregnancy.  

Coronary artery disease and how the symptoms manifest differently in women will be discussed by Michael Nelson, PhD, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Texas at Arlington. 

The symposium will also provide the opportunity for students to highlight their research during the afternoon. There have been 21 abstracts submitted from medical schools and universities throughout North Texas. Registrants include researchers, medical students and physicians in private practice. 

The organizing committee of the Women’s Cardiovascular and Brain symposium includes Drs. Goulopoulou, Obed Paundralingga, Alexander Rosenberg, Ann Schreihofer, Michael Smith and Mrs. Megan Raetz. The committee has worked very closely with UNTHSC library staffer members Brandy Klug and Ramona Holmes.

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