Gender balance in stroke research goes from strength to strength with new funding

Dr Cheryl Carcel, Research Fellow at The George Institute and a clinician with over ten years of experience in neurology, has secured two new grants to support her pioneering work in achieving better representation for women in stroke trials.

There is increasing recognition of sex and gender differences in stroke. While women and men have a similar (one in four) lifetime risk of stroke, women are more disabled, have worse quality of life, and require more supportive care.

Dr Carcel’s recent paper published in Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found that more than three quarters of international stroke trials enrolled less women than the expected proportion that experience stroke in the community.

This makes it harder to interpret what the findings really mean for them and has implications for how women with stroke may be treated in the future.

The World Stroke Organization will provide US$20,000 to support a pilot project using screening information from large stroke trials and a survey and focus group discussion with stroke survivors to design strategies that will boost the recruitment of women.

Dr Carcel has also received A$10,000 from the Mary Jane Foundation - a philanthropic organisation offering small grants to not-for-profit groups and organisations working to advance the health and wellbeing of Australian women and girls. This additional funding will also go towards the pilot project.

It is hoped that the pilot study will lead to a larger and more ambitious study that will ultimately increase the participation of women in stroke trials, improving the reliability and validity of the evidence for stroke treatments in both men and women.