Life as an Extreme Sport

Women Are Clearly Not Little Men

There is a new artificial knee joint on the market, and it claims it’s for women only. This is interesting, because as is noted in the article, there are nearly two dozen differences between a man and a woman’s knee. Yet, like most medicine, the artificial knee joints were designed for and tested in men, not women.

Women are typically excluded from medical trials of all sorts, because of fear that they might become pregnant and sue, or a lingering bias that says the different hormone levels over the course of a month will skew data results. Of course, the immediate response to this is “well, then, if that’s a problem, shouldn’t it be considered before giving it to women? And, btw, what the hell about the difference in hormone levels in men and women to begin with?”

These differences, and the fact that women are so rarely in clinical trials, is often held up as the reason that drugs, once they hit the ‘real’ world, work poorly in women and not men. (Children is a whole ‘nother Pandora’s box, rife with similar problems.)

So it’s interesting that there is now a knee being marketed for women – hype, trying to create a new and expanded market for the company, in the grand tradition of capitalism and growth, or a legitimate medical need? Kind of hard to say, although the idealist in me does truly hope for the latter.