Complexities of gender bias in medicine

A fascinating article.  Here are just a few interesting bits.

In the first study, 230 family doctors and internists were asked to evaluate two hypothetical patients: a 47-year-old man and a 56-year-old woman with identical risk factors and the “textbook” symptoms—including chest pain, shortness of breath, and irregular heart beat—of a heart attack. Half of the vignettes included a note that the patient had recently experienced a stressful life event and appeared to be anxious. In the vignettes without that single line, there was no difference between the doctors’ recommendations to the woman and man. Despite the popular conception of the quintessential heart attack patient as male, they seemed perfectly capable of making the right call in the female patient too.

But when stress was added as a symptom, an enormous gender gap suddenly appeared. Only 15 percent of the doctors diagnosed heart disease in the woman, compared to 56 percent for the man, and only 30 percent referred the woman to a cardiologist, compared to 62 percent for the man. Finally, only 13 percent suggested cardiac medication for the woman, compared to 47 percent for the man. The presence of stress, the researchers explained, sparked a “meaning shift” in which women’s physical symptoms were reinterpreted as psychological, while “men’s symptoms were perceived as organic whether or not stressors were present.”

And from another study, showing the way that biases about femininity may adversely affect men as well:

The researchers also gave the patients a personality test gauging how closely they adhered to traditional gender roles and found that both men and women with more stereotypically feminine traits faced more delays than patients with masculine traits

Trigger Warnings Aren’t Censorship

A nice discussion here:

2. Trigger warnings are already common, and have been for a long time.

hbo violent content

Every time the news warns you before watching a piece of violent video footage, that’s essentially a trigger warning. When you watch HBO and there’s that pre-show list of all the violence, nudity, and sexual content you’re about to see, that’s a trigger warning. All we’re asking is that some of those trigger warnings list “rape” instead of lumping it under “sexual content,” or say “violent hate crimes” instead of “violence,” for example. It isn’t wrong to ask that they let us know which episode of American Horror Story will cheaply involve rape to move along a mediocre plot. Some people need to know that kind of stuff in advance.

Philosophy has to be about more than white men

When it comes to philosophy, for instance – a particularly important discipline as our world is built on ideas – the work of white males, dead or alive, dominates the field. This is not simply because white males have contributed profound work, but also due to the glaring yet tacitly silenced relationship between power structures and knowledge. This is why philosophy professor Angela Davis’s complex body of work on the social justice system has not influenced contemporary philosophical studies on prisons in the way Michel Foucault’s work on the same topic has. Or why the Ethiopian philosopher Zera Yaekob, who long before Nietzsche declared that “God is dead”, daringly criticised organised religion in his 1667 treatise, Hatata, where he also said: “He who investigates with pure intelligence … will discover the truth.” But despite promoting reason in this way, he is not dubbed the father of modern philosophy, Descartes is.

For more, go here.