Neurotoxic exposures and effects: Gender and sex matter

Although males and females differ both biological and in their social and power relations throughout their life span, research in environmental and occupational neurotoxicology often ignore sex and/or gender as a characteristic that requires in-depth consideration. The neurotoxicology literature continues to confuse the terms sex (biological attributes) and gender (socially constructed roles and behaviour) and the words are still used interchangeably. Throughout the lifespan, sex and gender are in interaction and both may play a role in influencing exposure and effect. Studies that have examined both males and females provide evidence for sex differences in toxicokinetics and responses to neurotoxic assault as well as gender differences in exposure patterns, biomarkers of exposure, neurobehavioral performance and social consequences. Author concluded that integrating sex and gender considerations into research in neurotoxicology would not only provide a better understanding of the mechanisms and pathways that lead to toxic assault, but also provide a means to improve preventive intervention strategies.

Author: Mergler, Donna ;Full Source: NeuroToxicology 2012, 33(4), 644-651 (English) ;