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Not Always Well Represented

While women make up nearly half of individuals participating in studies or clinical trials, they often underrepresented when the studies are examined by condition, Quartz says.

Researchers from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence sifted through 43,135 published articles and 13,165 clinical trial records and used machine reading to tease out data on sex. As they report in JAMA Network Open, the researchers found more than 792 million participants, 49 percent of whom were female, from the article data and nearly 13 million participants in the trial record data, 49 percent of whom were female.

However, they note that women were underrepresented in certain studies. For instance, despite making up 51 percent of cardiovascular disease patients, 49 percent of participants in cardiovascular disease studies were women and 39 percent of participants in cardiovascular disease trials were women, as Quartz notes. Likewise, it adds that for chronic kidney disease, women make up 57 percent of patients, but 44 percent and 35 percent of participants in chronic kidney disease studies and trials, respectively.

"Despite legal and policy initiatives to increase female representation, sex bias against female participants in clinical studies persists," the Allen Institute's Oren Etzioni and his colleagues write in their paper.