Friday, June 20, 2008

Tim Russert, Sudden Heart Attack, and Sexism Against Men

Tim Russert’s untimely death from a sudden heart attack reminded me of the dramatic 50+-year-long gender disparity against men in health care research and outreach.

Many more men than women die of sudden heart attack and at an earlier age than do women of breast cancer.

Indeed, sudden heart attack is the #1 cause of premature death among men over 40. Yet, more money per capita is spent on breast cancer research.

And regarding outreach, there are a trivial number of prostate cancer ribbons compared with the number of pink ribbons against breast cancer. And have you ever seen even one ribbon against sudden heart attack?

More broadly, men die 5.3 years younger than women, and spend their last decade in worse health. There are more than four widows for every widower.

Yet when I searched PubMed, which indexes 3,000 medical journals over the past 58 years, I found 22,304 articles with the keywords “women’s health,” but only 586
with “men’s health.” That’s 39 articles related to women’s health for every one on men’s. A review of Charity Navigator, the leading database of nonprofits, finds that nearly all the gender-specific health-related nonprofits are on behalf of women.

If women suffer a deficit, for example, the “underrepresentation” of women in engineering, we typically see significant efforts at redress. Yet, when men have the deficit—even the ultimate deficit: they die younger—not only is there not redress, but the opposite occurs: disproportionate amounts of research and outreach are directed at women’s health.

I’ve heard these explanations to justify the double standard:
1. “It wouldn’t happen if, like women, men organized to protest.”
My response: Would you deny redress to women who are “underrepresented” if they hadn’t organized to protest?
2. “Men’s dying younger is their fault—if they’d only take better care of themselves.”
My response: The three major controllable causes of mortality and morbidity are obesity, smoking, and excessive drinking. Men have lower incidences of the first two. In any event, if women are “underrepresented” in engineering, would you deny them the redress by chastising them, “It’s your own fault. Do better in science and math.”?
3. “In the past, most health research was done on men. This only levels the playing field.”
My response: First, as cited, over the past 58 years—the period during which the greatest medical advances have been made—the opposite is true. And with regard to research that’s more than 58 years old, an underreported reason why women were often excluded from many experimental treatments was not lack of interest in women’s health but a concern that an experimental drug or treatment might damage a woman’s fetus.

And en toto, any deleterious effect that came from a smaller percentage of women being subjects in 58+-year-old medical research apparently was small: In, fact, the
life-expectancy gap in favor of women grew during every decade but one from 1900 through 1980.

The big question is why:
— Why do you think that, for the past 50+ years, the overwhelming majority of health care research has been on women’s health, despite men living shorter and in poorer last-decade health?
And consider these other male-death-related questions:
— Why do 92% of workplace deaths occur to men yet we rarely hear that statistic, while we frequently hear statistics such as, “Women earn 79 cents on the dollar compared with men?” (By the way, that statistic is misleading: Most current evidence suggests that for the same work, pay is, on average, roughly equal.)
— Why, still, must only men register with the U.S. military’s Selective Service?
— Why, still, are only men allowed to serve in direct combat? (resulting in the little-publicized fact that 99% of the Iraq War deaths have been men.)
— Why do the media emphasize when deaths occur to “women and children?”

I agree with men’s advocate Warren Farrell, who is the author of nine books including The Myth of Male Power and who has taught at Georgetown and the School of Medicine at U.C. San Diego. He believes the main reason is sexism: “Men are the disposable sex.”

Many of us have the opportunity to be gender-neutral or biased toward or against men in our professional lives.

For example, consider all the choices that higher educators can make:

— Which students to admit to your program
— Which readings to assign
— What content to present in class
— What research agenda to pursue
— Who to select as your research assistant
— What student thesis and dissertation topics to encourage
— Who to hire as a faculty member or administrator
— To whom to grant tenure
— Which studies to fund. (For example, should sudden heart attack studies be given higher priority?)

At this point in time, what do you think is the wisest stance for you, personally, to take?


Anonymous said...

I think the wisest stance for me to take is to treat the men (and women) in my life with care, respect, and dignity, just as I want to be treated, and I'll be the first to say that I don't always remember that. That would go a long way in leveling the playing field if every person, great or small, kept that in mind when dealing with others. Nobody should be "disposable."

mayiara said...


Women's health research is indeed labelled "women" so you can do a search on it that way. But I understood that until recently (last decade), studies were not gender specific and might have a strong bias on men in their study sample, and therefore you wouldn't be able to find the study using the key word "men." It would be understood. I have not checked out to see how much this might be true still. However it would be important to check out studies that are not labelled gender specific by key word and see if they really do represent both genders equally, which is an assumption I think you are making...

Anonymous said...

I know I'm old school southern but does "Women and children first" not still apply. I'd certainly like to believe that it does.

Anonymous said...

Men are a disposable sex. In an evolutionary environment men compete with each other for reproductive access to women, and woman are more necessary to reproduction than men in terms of numbers. Put simply, with a potential of about 12 children per female across their entire reproductive life, you can produce 120 children with 10 women and one man, but only 12 children with 10 men and one woman. Additionally, in virtually every society, some successful men have more than one mate (wife and mistress) and some men go without. Virtually no women by contrast are left without a mate except by choice. Men and women are different and our entire society is evolved to value women and children more than men, because in every biologic sense *they are more valuable*. You may not like it. Being male myself I'm not too happy to be dying earlier either, but you don't come in at the tail end of 1.7 billion years of natural selection without some disparity.

Sweating Through fog said...

Men need to point out the disparity in life expectancy some more. I note that Hillary's web site has some material describing how her health plan would benefit certain groups: woman, Hispanics etc. Each description was careful to point out how each group's health has suffered under the current system.

Think she bothered to have a "plan description" for men, pointing out them men live 5 years less than women?

Anonymous said...

I agree that men are the "disposable sex", but it's always been that way, and likely always will be. Evolution just doesn't need as many men around as women.

We just naturally have very little sympathy for men. Nobody wants to listen to a man complain about his health. Pretty much the only ones who care about a man are his wife, mother and sister -- but even there the sympathy is limited.

I mean, look at the homeless bums. Overwhelmingly male. Each bum has a family that just didn't want to deal with that guy anymore. The extended family is much more likely to intervene for a woman who has mental illness problems or a drug habit.

Evolutionarily, men are more of a gamble. It's great to be an alpha male. It sucks to be a loser male. Women are less likely to be CEOs and Senators. But also much less likely to get murdered or become a bum or jut get totally exiled socially by their own family.

Men are built and raised to be useful. If, due to age or illness, they become non-productive, then their lives go quickly downhill. Women are better trained and built to provide emotional comfort, and so can be valued members of a group even when old or ill.

Nobody, male or female, wants to be around old men, or sick men, or non-productive men -- often including the men themselves. It's sad, but it's been that way for all of human history.

jimbino said...

All men in their younger years are screwed by health insurance, since men in their 20s are the healthiest cohort and it is the women who will get $8000 from insurance to finance a pregnancy. A young man should turn down health insurance at every opportunity.

The black American male has a life expectancy of 70 years, far less than that of the white woman, with the result that the black male will toil his entire life, paying 15% of his wage into Social Security and Medicare, only to die after a few years of gaining entitlement to benefits, while the fruits of his labor go to financing the SS and Medicare of a white woman, many of whom have contributed a lot to breeding but very little to SS and Medicare.

Anonymous said...

It's the old joke revisited; "Why do men die earlier than their wives? Because we WANT to!"

I have no special desire to live all that much longer. I'm precisely Russert's age, and the only thing that life holds is, at best, a slow and painful decline into uselessness, senility, and frustration. My children are grown and flown, and they certainly don't need me around any more talking incessantly about the "good old days".

For the majority of men, the first symptom of a heart attach is death. How many, I wonder, silently noted each new twinge with satisfaction, and thought "At last!" when the big one hit?

Get real said...

That is an assumption Marty is making.

I'd add that concerns over pharma tests on women with childbearing capacity did very much reflect concern for the effect of experimental human research on children who might be adversely affected, and who would not have been barred as plaintiffs in tort litigation if any such harm occurred, until they were 18, but ALSO the coincidentally cheaper and easier assumption that females would respond to medicines in similar way, despite the internally contradicting problem to be avoided - mentrual cycles and hormonal variances altered metabolism and messed up results. Female-less studies were quicker, easier, had fewer variables affecting results.

Marty asked -" if women are “underrepresented” in engineering, would you deny them the redress by chastising them, 'It’s your own fault. Do better in science and math.'" The short answer is yes.

Russert made efforts to manage his heart disease. But he didn't die as a result of want of research into his condition. He might have been shocked out of his arrythymia and recovered and had surgery to reduce risk, but it wasn't a mystery of maleness that led to his demise.

He was overweight, had diabetes, and coronary artery disease. Lifestyle plays a huge role in development of all three conditions. Russert was trying faithfully to manage his problems, but indeed the most effective treatment of all might might have been self-care from an early age.

That said, Research into obesity, diabetes, and coronary artery disease continues apace for both sexes and breast cancer research is not stealing this money.

By the farking way, men are not immune to breast cancer. Men stand to benefit from breast cancer research.

Also I wonder that Marty has never seen a "livestrong" bracelet.

Popular awareness of diseases, popular interest in specific health issues is never going to be perfectly statistically aligned with incidence of disease and is not exclusive to women. It is not sexism, and it isn't because men are viewed as disposable.

Anonymous said...

Another possible wise stance to take? Donate money or time to an organization that helps men and/or boys.

At (an online database of nonprofits) a search for "men's health" in quotation marks gets 35 hits. "Women's health": 1088. The word "boys" gets 16,975 hits compared to 21,050 hits for "girls."

happy tic said...

I think you're missing the point somewhat. Heart disease has become what my father, a physician, calls "all-but preventable." Knowing about the latest research on how to lead a healthy lifestyle and prevent disease is a personal responsibility, not a social one. There has been overwhelming progress in the fight against heart disease, and that progress has been to discover precisely the way to prevent it. This is huge progress. Breast cancer, on the other hand, is not preventable.

Marty Nemko said...

In response to HappyTic's comment:

1. As I wrote, The three major controllable causes of mortality and morbidity are obesity, smoking, and excessive drinking. Men have lower incidences of the first two.

2. Men die earlier, not just of heart disease, but of ALL of the top 10 diseases.

Ken Mitchell said...

More men die of prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer, and the disparity in research - and funding - is even more evident.

happy tic said...

1. As I wrote, The three major controllable causes of mortality and morbidity are obesity, smoking, and excessive drinking. Men have lower incidences of the first two.

Point taken. My comment was relating to your opening paragraph, which seemed to object to the fact that breast cancer is more heavily researched than heart disease. I'm happy to see that research is biased toward diseases that are not preventable and seem to strike randomly. If breast cancer becomes as easily preventable as heart disease, I would like to see research shift to something else again.

And if men have lower incidences of the first two of those risk factors, what I take this to mean is that women are less susceptible to heart disease even when taking those risks. This is bad luck for men. It may be that men have less forgiveness for not taking care of their hearts than women. That doesn't mean it's not their responsibility to lead a healthy life. Smoking has been shown to be more harmful to women than men. This may mean that women should be even more stringent nonsmokers than men. It's still their responsibility.

Also, I don't think it's so cut and dry as "obesity is a risk for heart disease." Rather, it's more like "the more overweight you are, and the less exercise you get, the more of a risk you are." In other words, while Mr. Russert was not obese by any measure, the statistics point overwhelmingly to the fact that he was not taking (enough) preemptive action against heart disease. How do we know? Because it's a preventable disease, and he got it.

2. Men die earlier, not just of heart disease, but of ALL of the top 10 diseases.

This is the more important concern. Men's health should be better researched. I just think your heart disease/breast cancer juxtaposition was misleading.

tom swift said...

Heart disease is preventable? Sez who?

I had a heart attack at 42. There were no warnings whatsoever. It was a great mystery to the local medical establishment - I fit none of the at-risk profiles. None.

One of the most annoying things about it all is the constant assault by know-nothings who offer their smug advice about how a prudent man can avoid coronary problems. It's all hogwash.

SwampWoman said...

"More men die of prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer, and the disparity in research - and funding - is even more evident."

How do you figure, when roughly twice as many women die yearly from breast cancer than men die yearly from prostate cancer, despite more prostate cancer cases being diagnosed yearly than breast cancer numbers?

lumpenscholar said...

For those putting forth evolutionary reasons, you are assuming evolution is an intelligent system, which it isn't. Evolution is a "dumb" system; it's random, no one is there to monitor and say "well, we need fewer men, so let them die early." So it isn't necessarily true that men die earlier because of evolutionary reasons. (Although if you can show me some scientific research that concludes that, I'm open to adjusting my position.)

This is a common way of thinking that reflects an old Christian belief that everything is part of some grand design and must make sense. In evolution, there is no design, not everything makes sense, and some things that seem to make sense will be false (correlation does not imply causation).

Also, evolution is all about reproduction. Male or female, if you are too old to reproduce, you are most likely irrelevant to evolutionary processes. In that sense, since men can reproduce at later ages than women, it might make sense for men to live longer. After all, if all the young males die in a war, the old guys can keep the tribe going, but the reverse is not true for women. (I'm not saying that's true; I'm again pointing out that just because we can offer a reasonable explanation doesn't mean that it is true.)

Finally, the idea that men are disposable makes no evolutionary sense. "Evolution" doesn't care. We are ALL disposable. If the god Evolution cared about the human species surviving, he/she/it might make females a little more robust, but both genders are essential to the survival of the species. One is NOT disposable.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, evolution is generally crueler toward males, as many have noted above. The problem with that argument is that most of humanity's organized endeavors in the last couple of hundred years - both medical and political - has been focused on reducing or eliminating the injustices and discriminations that evolution has put upon us. Yet now, all of a sudden, we're supposed to just throw up our hands and say, "Oh well, it's just the way humans are designed"?

Anonymous said...

I do medical/clinical research for a living. On every grant we submit, we have to specify and justify why we include/exclude women, minorities and children. On every grant we review, we have to include if the investigator truly justified the inclusion/exclusion women, minorities and children.

But the one study you will not get approved is the study about men's health, other than those that are on organs that are men specific (e.g. prostate). You can get a study funded about women's sudden cardiac death, but not men's sudden cardiac death.

It's a sad comment, but it is the reality - and as a researcher, we were taught that as we were being groomed to submit our grants.

Or said...

Anonymous, your words are true, however, over the years, men found ways to overcome their disadvantage. These safety nets are all but gone nowdays, and men are left with the deep feeling of being used, abused, and then thrown to the dogs.
How can anyone hope to have a functioning society where half the population feels this way, is beyond reason.

Marty Nemko said...

I think SwampWoman is right and Ken is wrong: More women die annually from breast cancer than do men of prostate cancer. However, the funding for breast cancer is disproportionately much larger than the death ratio.

Mary Pat said...

Just a few facts on mortality rates -- I am an actuary, and have looked at mortality tables (mainly U.S. Social Security tables) going back to 1900, and there are some patterns by sex that have a big impact here:

- in modern tables, at every age, males have higher mortality than females. It has been like this for a long time. I suppose maternal mortality hasn't been a huge factor in the last 100 years.

- the life expectancy gap is highest from birth, which are the stats you usually hear about. It narrows at higher ages. If you'd like to try this out, check out this life expectancy calculator:
(disclosure: I wrote that calculator)

- a contributor to the gap is heightened mortality in the younger ages.... especially in ages about 13 - 25. Mortality bumps up in what I call the reckless or stupid period. Yes, you can say it's putting men down, but there's little excuse for having higher mortality at age 25 compared to age 30, given what the cause of death is. These deaths are mostly violent or accidental (car accidents). Male adolescents are more likely to engage in risky behavior that can end in them dead than female adolescents. Years ago, you might blame this on war or dangerous occupations that mainly young men and boys pursue; but now military mortality is not a big contributor here - it's mainly car accidents, homicides, and suicides.

- That said, actuaries have seen greater mortality improvement for men than for women in the past 30 years. Treatments such as Lipitor and non-invasive heart surgery has really improved things for men (and women). Those getting treated for prostate cancer have many more choices than previously. At least for older ages, I see mortality rates getting closer. So the trends are actually positive for men.

Anonymous said...

abysmal methodology on the 'men's health' versus 'women's health' searches in pubmed. If one searches for just 'health,' the number of articles is 1.7 million.

By Nemko's methodology and the claim of argument 3 -- health research is men's health research by default -- that would suggest a close to 80-fold greater investment in men's health than women's health.

So, let's look at some more gender-specific searches.

a search for breast and a search for ovar* in Pubmed gives about 380,000 articles together.

a search for testic* and for prostat* gives about 170,000 articles together.

Now we've swung from a 20 to one bias for women (I found men's health to turn up 2158 times, women's health to turn up 39518 times), to an 80-fold bias for men, to a 2 fold bias for disorders that are typically gender specific. (There are rare instances of breast cancer in men.)

Moving away from obviously gendered terms, consider heart studies.

Cardiac gives 995719 hits, and coronary gives 1008315.

Accepting Nemko's argument that heart studies are particularly of interest to men's health, those studies outweigh the studies on women's health by a factor of perhaps 40 or 20 to 1 (20:1 if we assume that both coronary and cardiac are likely to turn up in keywords for a single study.)

So, what does the see-saw mean? It means the original methodology is broken. That with the right search terms you can find what you like if you don't plan to do any actual reading.

The problem is these are all 'any fool can see' searches that take about a minute to do, from thinking of them as a rhetorical device to typing them up. Their only value is brevity, in the doing and in the explaining.

If I wanted to actually make an argument about these kinds ofresults, I would commit before I started to randomly select some fraction of abstracts and papers to read from each of my searches, and actually go off and read the materials and methods sections from these studies to see what they were about. I'd also come up with a scoring methodology before I did the bulk of the reading. Perhaps I'd develop it on the basis of five or six papers widely considered classics - papers that would come up in my searches, but were available ahead of time from a different methodology.

Charles said...

For dsatat from 1990 to 1994 at

The rate of prostate mortality is higher than breast cancer mortality.

Marty Nemko said...

The recent anonymous comment criticizing one of the data points--the survey of PubMed--is obfuscatory.

Fact is, undisputed. men die 5.3 years younger than women. And men die earlier of ALL 10 of the top 10 causes of death. Yet, much more gender-specific health care research is done on women.

That comment was exemplary of what academics do when they find a conclusion they don't like--they nitpick small subcomponents of the data to avoid looking at the central point. I'd bet that that had my assertion been that we need to devote more attention to women's health, he would have not used this ploy.

Marty Nemko said...

Two more responses to Anonymous:

How do you dispute that the finding that on Guidestar, that comprehensive database of nonprofits, there are 30 TIMES as many nonprofits that posted their nonprofit using the keyword "women's health" than "men's health?"

Do you really want your argument to hang on the absurd notion that all "Health" nonprofits are men's nonprofits? That's no more valid than to say all chemistry research is organic chemistry research.

Anonymous said...

Why are your results on these queries so different from mine? In your pubmed search for men's health, you claim to have only found 586 listings. I did what I think is the same query, and got 2158, four times your number.

On guidestar, I see 1350 matches for men's health, 3542 for women's health. Neither a one minute pubmed nor a one minute Guidestar query amounts to actual data that bear on your argument.

The actual data, you are choosing to ignore; these are the data provided by looking at what happens when you eliminate the slightly higher rates of infant mortality and the much higher rates of adolescent mortality.

Once you've done that, a lot of the 5.6 years you refer to drops away.

This is addressed well in a Mary Pat's comment. And that delta in infant mortality and adolescent mortality is disproportionately focused on the poor. It's a national scandal that there are zip codes in the US with infant mortality rates that are higher than those in many districts in Latin America. I suspect a lot of the gendered life expectancy difference can be found in those zip codes. (If memory serves, Washinton DC has about 24 deaths per thousand live births in the first year, verus about 6 in Marin County.)

If you actually look at some of the hits for women's health in Guidestar, it's obvious that both women's health and men's health are marketing terms; the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and Brigham and Women's in Boston (a very famous hospital with a really old name and really distinguished history) both turn up under women's health. Neither is specific to female patients.

There are a lot specialty nonprofits which mostly bill under Title X for reproductive care. Many of these have 'women's clinic' in the name, and yes, men are not likely to go in for care there. Gynecological care is more complex than male reproductive care, in part because many problems which are symptomatic in men are either asymptomatic or subtle enough in women that patients are very unlikely to see them.

Some of these clinics have gender neutral names, are embedded within community health centers, and also offer Title X services to men.

Clinics fitting that description typically see caseloads that are 80-90% women even in settings where they are billed not as 'women's clinics' but as 'teen clinics;' a lot of the equivalent care is provided during a question and answer session during a physical for a guy. The girls are coming in because they have to see a doc to get a prescription for birth control, and their partners are unreliable about holding up their end of taking ownership of that.

On prostate cancer; how many guys do you know who go in on time for their prostate exams? Most of the women I know submit to very invasive gynecological exams for decades longer than men submit to being 'scoped.

Colon and prostate cancer in men are often detected late because men are noncompliant with medical advice on going in for screening.

Maybe you should try to wax rhapsodic about the joy of colonoscopy on your next broadcast. And that would be a TINY step compared to the work women chose to do.

Are you prepared to endure the decades of finger-pointing and laughing that chunks of _Our Bodies, Our Selves_ and similar self-awareness work has engendered for encouraging women to actually know what their reproductive organs look like? That the performance artists who've done very similar work onstage have endured?

Quite seriously: the consciousness raising phase of getting women able to talk about any of this stuff continues to be brutally satirized in the press and at bars around the country. You are (I hope) aware that "hysteria" was a medical diagnosis of women until quite recently, and that hysteria and hysterectomy come from the same root? It was that medical mindset that was being overcome by the women's health movement.

A men's health movement is not a bad idea; starting it by complaining about the success of the women's health movement, rather than by learning what works, seems counterproductive.

Don't try to nick someone else's piece of the pie; lobby for healthcare funds to address real issues.

Identify the issues with actual data, not misleading Pubmed searches and misleading lifespan data. Do consciousness raising but be aware that you're going to need to get nitty and gritty to make changes in how men live their lives in relation to their healthcare providers.

cathyf said...

It's like this... You open the sports pages, and you see a heading for "Basketball" and a heading for "Girl's Basketball". It works the same way with heart attacks -- there are "symptoms of heart attack" and "symptoms of heart attack in women."

15 years ago, my sister-in-law's mom went to the doctor with the classic "symptoms of heart attack in women". Since she was not having "symptoms of heart attack" it never occured to the doctor that she might be having a heart attack, and so he gave her drugs to treat her "bronchitis". She died two days later.

The multi-year longitudinal study which showed the value of aspirin in preventing heart attacks had exclusively male subjects. Decades later, more studies showed that the studies also applied to women.

The studies that showed the correlation between high blood cholesterol levels and heart attack risk where also exclusively on male subjects. There it made a difference -- the conclusion was wrong, because it confounded high cholesterol with high "bad" cholesterol. Higher "good" cholesterol is correlated with lowering heart attack risk. And the difference between men and women is that women are more at risk from low levels of "good" cholesterol and less at risk from high levels of "bad" cholesterol. So if you have a patient whose total cholesterol goes down because his "bad" cholesterol stayed the same while his "good" cholesterol went down, then his heart attack risk increased rather than decreased. On the other hand, if you have a patient whose total cholesterol goes down because her "bad" cholesterol stayed the same while her "good" cholesterol went down, then her heart attack risk went up by a lot more than his did. So, if medical research is so biased towards women, why is it that everybody "knows" total cholesterol numbers, and thinks that a high total number is bad and a low one is good, and takes drugs to lower their total number and is happy when their total number goes down, and argues about standards for when to use cholesterol-lowering drugs with those standards based on total blood cholesterol (i.e. 200 vs 175 vs 150.) Total cholesterol is a kinda ok approximation for men, but not for women, yet the country is full of doctors who are ignoring the HDL and LDL breakdowns from their women patients and treating only the total. I guess that means that the evidence is that, at least for cholesterol, the research isn't biased enough!

Men die earlier than women because the pre-menopausal hormonal milieu provides substantial protection against many diseases, and for diseases which are cumulative, it gives the disease a substantial head start in men. We used to think that we could reproduce the pre-menopause benefits with post-menopause hormone replacement therapy. It turns out that it didn't work, though. Maybe some time in the future we will figure out something that does work, and then men can take it, too.

Oh, and a small point, happy tic... Breast cancer is to some extent a lifestyle disease. A woman who refuses to feed her baby human milk, or switches to artificial human milk after a few days/weeks, has a significantly higher risk of breast cancer than a woman who feeds her baby herself.

Anonymous said...

Everything's been mentioned here except what to do about it. How about financial reparations for men? Since it is presumably women that push men to the grave via wars, stress, crime, etc. Calculate the value of one year of human life using health insurance data. Multiply by 5.3. Credit that number towards your SS contribution.

Naturally, the life expectancy disparity, currently at 5.3, can float so there is an incentive for women to help men live longer.

Anonymous said...

Reparations, interesting idea.

The page at suggests that white guys should get in line behind black guys for their checks.

They are now (more or less) tied with black women in the life expectancy sweepstakes.

How much of this rhetoric would sit as well with everyone if we broke it on race as well as gender lines?

-.- said...

One of the more blatant examples of bias is suicide. From Joan Ryan's article talking to the American Association of Suicidology:

"As much as I would love to lead the charge (in finding out why boys kill themselves), try to go out and get funding for it," said Lanny Berman, the executive director of the association.

So the association has an expert on female suicide but none on male suicide, even though suicide is an overwhelmingly male issue well beyond adolescence.

Marty Nemko said...

I want to especially thank the anonymous commenter whose post began, "Why are your results on these queries so different from mine?"

First let me answer that question. In both PubMed and Guidestar, if you put the search term, "women's health" and "Men's health" in double quotation marks, the search engine knows to look for the term as a phrase. My guess is that you didn't do that.

Your other points also are worth addressing:

Why would you dismiss gender differences in infant and adolescent mortality? For example, should we not be doing more research as to why more peri- and postnatal boys die, and what to do about it? Should we not be concerned that teenage boys commit suicide at 6 times the rate of girls?

You dismiss the 30:1 ratio of nonprofits addressing women's health vs men's health by simply saying that gynecological health is more complicated than men's reproductive health. Do you really think that justifies the disparity, especially when men die much younger, die earlier of the top 10 diseases, and spend their last decade in worse health?

You blame men for not often-enough going for prostate exams. First of all, you state that apriori, with no data to support it, yet you feel justified to dismiss the wealth of much more broadly applicable and less cherry-picked data I've presented. Second, would you suspend programs to increase the number of females in engineering and simply say, "You girls haven't tried hard enough in science and math?"

Finally, you blame me for making it a dividing-the-pie issue. I didn't do that. The feminist machine did that: establishing mammoth gender-specific initiatives, all to benefit women: For example, last I checked, 39 states have departments of women's health, only have depts of men's health. Now, to restore a sense of fairness, I need to point out the inequities that have been done, ironically, in the name of gender equity.

Jeffrey Dach MD said...

Tim Russert and George Carlin

Two beloved American celebrities have succumbed to heart disease before their time. The national response has been disappointment in a medical system that could allow this to happen. What could have been done differently to save the lives of both Tim and George, to avoid this fatal outcome?

To read more...Saving Tim Russert and George Carlin by Jeffrey Dach MD

Jeffrey Dach MD
4700 Sheridan Suite T
Hollywood FL 33021
my web site

Anonymous said...

People who smoke have more risk of heart attacks than non-smokers do. Due to smoking, the arteries become hard which can block the flow of blood from the heart. This results in a possible heart attack. Doctors can treat his problem by performing bypass surgery, which may be a risky affair for a patient.

bbk said...

You're doing Yeoman's work, Marty.

I've also had female friends tell me that men deserve to die early because of evolution. According to this line of thought, we should take away all the maternal care from women and let them die "naturally" during childbirth. Women, the "stronger" and "more important" of the species, would hardly live past their 20's. This argument, coming from feminists, is nothing but Social Darwinism in reverse.

The fact is that the pursuit to obtain equal opportunities for women in our society is only possible or even desirable because of medical advances that conquered evolutionary disadvantages for females. And no matter how much feminists will slice or dice it to rationalize it away, their attitudes towards the great inequity in men's health is just plain sexist.

marry said...

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dogooder said...

I know this is an old post but I had to comment. I think the reasons that more than just men are the disposable sex is that it is not politically fashionable to focus on men; for the past 40 years, interest in gender has focused increasingly on women to the point where it is fashionable to discuss women's topics. It is also an economic issues: politicians and businesses know that engaging women in their social needs is also engaging them in their economic needs, and that translates into $$$ for them. There is also this idea that men don't need help and that men are not disadvantaged, so making women equal to men has been the emphasis. However, as you rightfully point out, giving women the opportunities of men doesn't give men the opportunities of women. We need to elevate women and men, not just women.

BTW, I like your column and see that you have come a long way. See my other posting (most recent on Jan 3 2010).

shaheel said...

Heart disease is one of the most dangerous disease which takes thousands of life every years all over the world. If we know its symptoms and Treatment for heart disease. We can prevent is to large extent.

how to said...

Remember that time is an issue if you are experiencing one or several of the symptoms. The sooner a person seeks medical attention for symptoms of an impending heart attack, the more likely it is that the person will survive. Do not try to tough it out, or wait and hope that the discomfort that you are feeling will go away. There is never any harm in seeing the doctor, and having her tell you that you are fine. However, if you don’t see a physician, there is a fairly good chance that the heart attack will kill you. Don’t risk it.