Women’s Brain Health

Like much health research, neuroscience research has historically focused on male subjects, materials, and participants (i.e., animals, cell lines and humans), biasing results towards the male body and men’s experiences, distinct from those of females, women, and gender diverse people. This has led to ongoing deficits in evidence regarding sex and gender-related dynamics in brain health and disease and, more specifically, the brain health of females, women, and gender diverse people. While these deficits are slowly being rectified in health research more broadly, a comprehensive approach to developing sex and gender brain science is needed.

To date, Brain Canada has contributed to remedying this gap by requesting researchers to include sex-and gender-related factors in their research, allocating specific funding to add these considerations to existing projects, and developing funding opportunities focused on these considerations. Consulting with key members of Canada’s brain research community clearly indicate that Brain Canada has an opportunity to take a more defined and proactive leadership role in this area. As Canada’s only research funder focused specifically on the brain, we are seizing the opportunity to advance the field of sex and gender brain science.

Ensuring Sex & Gender

Representation in

Dementia Research

WATCH: A discussion on women, brain health and dementia

By 2050, it is estimated that over 1.7 million Canadians will have dementia – and that roughly 60% of them will be women. How does gender impact dementia risk and symptoms? This March 20, 2024, event, moderated by Brain Canada Senior Program Manager, Melissa Russo, offered a free online chat about key facts to know.

Meet the researchers

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Dr. Susan George

Basics of Better Mental Health

University of Toronto

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Dr. Liisa Galea

Basics of Better Mental Health

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Stephanie Borgland

Dr. Stephanie Borgland

Basics of Better Mental Health

Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary

Programs

Brain Canada-WBHI Expansion Grants: Considering Sex and Gender Program

The research community has become increasingly aware of the differences between men and women when it comes to their risk of developing diseases, and how they respond to treatment. The Brain Canada-WBHI Expansion Grants Program is helping scientists overcome barriers in research and create a foundation for sex and gender considerations to become standard practice.


Basics of Better Mental Health Program

This program funds basic research that provides insight into the causes and onset of mental health conditions, explores the neuropathological changes and information-processing deficits that may eventually lead to new directions for treatments and interventions, and explores the role of sex and gender in mental health.


The Brain Canada SGBA+ and EDI Action Plan identifies key activities to enhance the quality and relevance of brain research in Canada by addressing sex and gender brain science and integrating sex and gender-based analysis plus (SGBA+) and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) efforts into all of Brain Canada’s work.