Male animal bias is unjustified and can lead to drugs that work less well for women
The male mind is rational and orderly while the female one is complicated and hormonal. It is a stereotype that has skewed decades of neuroscience research towards using almost exclusively male mice and other laboratory animals, according to a new study.
Scientists have typically justified excluding female animals from experiments even when studying conditions that are more likely to affect women on the basis that fluctuating hormones would render the results uninterpretable. However, according to Rebecca Shansky, a neuroscientist at Northeastern University, in Boston, it is entirely unjustified by scientific evidence, which shows that, if anything, the hormones and behaviour of male rodents are less stable than those of females.
Shansky is calling for stricter requirements to include animals of both sexes in research, saying the failure to do so has led to the development of drugs that work less well in women.