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Medicine is designed to work for most of us, most of the time – but what of those who fall through the cracks? Or those who get severe side effects? The nature of medical care generalising for the average human must change to address this. Easier said, than done. This is the last mile of Medicine.
Andrew J. McGovern grew up seeing how easy it was for him to fit into school and society whilst his sister Áine, with Autism, had many more blocks to get around just to live. This unique perspective has brought him in his career as a neuroscientist to study precision medicine, specifically looking at sex differences in disease. The history of medicine is littered with male-dominated focus and women left to the wayside, even in the face of diseases which discriminate between the sexes. Alzheimer’s, autism, depression and rheumatoid arthritis all effect more women than men, yet we have only included women in clinical trials since this 90’s and preclinical trials as recent as 2016.
He see’s addressing sex differences as the first step, among many, towards a better more precise medicine for the individual. Towards better dosing, less side effects, more success and better lives – but it will take work, money, passion and people, good people.
Andrew J. McGovern is a neuroscientist at the University of Limerick who studies sex differences in neurological disease. He joined the neurosciences in University College Cork studying sex differences in the brain following early life stress in relation to anxiety. After this Andrew joined the University of Limerick as a teaching assistant before being offered a scholarship to study sex differences (genetic and hormonal) in metabolism. He hopes this work may explain sex differences in diseases which could inform more precise treatment strategies. He is an award-winning science communicator who talks science on his podcast Living Room Logic which peaked at #1 science podcast in Ireland and TikTok @ScientistIreland which has over 3.5m views. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Andrew was invited by a member of NPHET to communicate COVID-19 information to young adults. This work was highlighted by the European Centre of Disease Control as best practice in COVID-19 and vaccine communications. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at ted.com/tedx
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