Women’s Brain Health Day in Canada Date in the current year: December 2, 2024

Women’s Brain Health Day in Canada Women’s Brain Health Day is observed in Canada on December 2 every year. It is an awareness campaign that was launched to bring attention to the fact that many brain health conditions occur in women more frequently than in men.

Women have historically experienced a disproportionate amount of inequity when it comes to healthcare. One example would be gender bias in medical research: before 1993, most testing done in clinical trials was conducted on men, and results were then extrapolated to women. Even today women are often excluded from trials, and when they are included, the data may be not analyzed for sex and gender differences. Gender bias is present in diagnosis as well, for example, women are often thought to exaggerate their pain.

There is a clear sex and gender gap when it comes to brain health disorders. Women are at much greater risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, but very little research and action has focused on the impact of gender on brain health. According to a report provided by Women’s Health Access Matters, an American nonprofit focused on catalyzing accelerated women’s health research, women account for 2/3 of Alzheimer’s patients, yet only 12% of the National Institutes of Health Alzheimer’s budget went to women-focused research in 2019.

In the United States, women over 60 are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as breast cancer. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have become the leading cause of death in women in England and Wales, surpassing ischemic heart diseases. Furthermore, women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder and migraines as men. They also have less favorable outcomes after stroke than men and are more likely to develop a severe physical disability after suffering a stroke.

In addition, as we’ve already mentioned above, there is gender bias in diagnosis: women’s symptoms are often dismissed or overlooked because even today many doctors have a poor understanding of female-specific symptoms due to a lack of women-focused studies. Consequently, they may have a less favorable survival prognosis than men due to being misdiagnosed or diagnosed too late.

Women’s Brain Health Day was launched in 2019 by Women’s Brain Health Initiative (WBHI), a Canadian and U.S. charitable foundation that works to protect the brain health of women and raise awareness of the importance of including sex and gender in brain health research. The campaign is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and other healthcare organizations across the country.

On Women’s Brain Health Day, WHBI organizes in-person and online events to educate the general public on women’s brain health and the main ways to maintain it, and to raise funds for women’s brain health research. You can get involved by participating in one of these events, organizing an event of your own, donating to an organizations that supports women with brain disorders or funds research into women’s brain health, and spread the word on social media with the hashtag #WomensBrainHealthDay.

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