Sex/gender medicine. The biological basis for personalized care in cardiovascular medicine

Circ J. 2009 Oct;73(10):1774-82. doi: 10.1253/circj.cj-09-0588. Epub 2009 Sep 4.


Sex differences in morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease have been recognized by the medical community for decades. Investigation into the underlying biological basis of these differences was largely neglected by the scientific community until a report released by the Institute of Medicine in the United States in 2001 "Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex Matter?" Recommendations from this report included the need for more accurate use of the terms "sex" and "gender", better tools and resources to study the biological basis of sex differences, integration of findings from different levels of biological organization and continued synergy between basic and clinical researchers. Ten years after the Institute's report, this review evaluates some of the sex differences in cardiovascular disease, reviews new approaches to study sex differences and emphasizes areas where further research is required. In the era of personalized medicine, the study of the biological basis of sex differences promises to optimize preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for cardiovascular disease in men and women, but will require diligence by the scientific and medical communities to remember that sex does matter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis / diagnosis
  • Atherosclerosis / etiology
  • Atherosclerosis / therapy
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Biomedical Research
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / therapy
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Hypertension / therapy
  • Male
  • Patient Selection*
  • Precision Medicine*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sex Factors