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Hilary Swank Joins Women of Baycrest To Increase Focus On Women In Alzheimer's Research

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GENDER BIAS
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“It’s time for scientists to better understand the female brain,” say the Women of Baycrest, a network of influential women who are leading a $5 million campaign in support of research and education to better understand the female brain.

Almost two-thirds of all Americans living with Alzheimer’s are women, according to a 2011 report from the Alzheimer’s Association. To put it into perspective, of the 5.2 million people over age 65 with Alzheimer’s in the United States, 3.4 million are women and 1.8 million are men, the report says.

Yet, animal research still focuses on males because female hormones, even in rats, are considered too complex to deal with, according to the foundation.

The Women of Baycrest will present its first women's brain health conference Tuesday in Toronto to turn the spotlight on women's brain health. The conference will also include sessions on nutrition, fitness, research, menopause and technology on the aging brain. The main objective is to correct the gender bias in Alzheimer's research.

Dr. Gillian Einstein, a professor of psychology and public health at the University of Toronto , told the QMI Agency that current research ignores estrogen's effect on the brain.

Women's brains present "an incredibly interesting biology which has been previously overlooked because it seems complicated," Einstein, who will be presenting at the conference, told QMI.

Hollywood actress Hilary Swank is expected to deliver the keynote speech. Earlier this year, Swank worked with the American Cancer Society to encourage women to put themselves first as far as taking care of their health in order to prevent cancer. It looks like she’s now doing the same for women with Alzheimer’s disease.

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