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Why Medicine Often Has Dangerous Side Effects for Women – Dr. Alyson McGregor on the TED Stage

You might not know this: Many of the medicines we take — common drugs like Ambien and everyday aspirin — were only ever tested on men. And the unknown side effects for women can be dangerous, even deadly.


Drug trials and medical research have long focused on the male body. It is less expensive and easier to avoid the complicating factors of women’s hormones when developing new drugs. The assumption was that if a therapy worked for a man, it would work for a women. Increasingly the medical community is recognizing the unique physiology of women and the many ways that these old assumptions are simply untrue and harm women’s health.

Dr. Alyson McGregor discusses how this new thinking can reframe the approach to women’s health; expanding the scope beyond “bikini medicine.”



Check out another great TED Talk on the subject of women’s health and the effects of gender bias in medicine. Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz, director of the Women’s Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, explains the fascinating and frustrating history of heart disease and women in her talk “The Single Biggest Health Threat Women Face.

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Alison Relyea-Parr

Alison Relyea-Parr

Alison is the editor and contributor of A UW-Madison graduate, Alison is also an illustrator and educator.