Brain Exchange: Engaging Inter-disciplinary Perspectives to Support Women’s Brain Health

Research co-lead: 

Research user co-lead:

  • Shirley Weir
    Menopause Chicks 

Team members: 

  • Dr. Elizabeth Rideout
    University of British Columbia
  • Dr. Lori Brotto 
    Women’s Health Research Institute  
  • Ama Kyeremeh
    University of British Columbia
  • Wansu Qiu
    University of British Columbia
  • Kate Wahl
    University of British Columbia

Women are more susceptible to certain brain disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer's disease compared to men. Moreover, disease manifestation is different between the sexes. Yet, most research focuses primarily on males, which has contributed to the current knowledge gap and inequities in practice. Although new work has focussed on how biological sex alters disease trajectory and outcome, less is known about how the unique physiological and social challenges experienced by women influence brain health. What we do know is striking. For example, the physiological changes during pregnancy and postpartum alter susceptibility to brain disease, and barriers to access care can significantly affect the timing and accuracy of diagnoses in women.

This highlights the need for a comprehensive understanding of women's physiological and social challenges that are unique to women to improve health outcomes. Yet, most research has focussed primarily on males which has contributed enormously to the current knowledge gap and inequities in practice.

We will host a one-day Women's Health Conference to bring together multidisciplinary researchers and stakeholders to:

  1. engage in dialogue related to women's brain health issues,
  2. foster new collaborations, and
  3. establish a provincial Women's Brain Health Network that will build new research programs and offer essential student training in order to reduce knowledge gaps and inequities in accessing care.