Women's Health Matters

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May 2013

Why does multiple sclerosis (MS) affect more women than men?  The ratio of women to men affected by MS is three to one.

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A Question of Health

Every month Women’s Health Matters will be recruiting an expert to answer a question about a health issue that’s in the news or on women’s minds.

This month’s topic: Why does MS affect more women than men?

For multiple sclerosis awareness month, we spoke to Dr. Shannon Dunn, a scientist at Women’s College Research Institute and Toronto General Research Institute, about her research into sex differences in MS.

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Women’s College recruiting for study probing exercise and breast cancer risk
Researchers at the Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI) are shedding new light on breast cancer risk in women with BRCA mutations. A new study is probing whether exercise can influence cancer risk in women with a BRCA1 mutation.

BRCA mutations and breast cancer risk
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, affecting one in nine. In a small number of cases – about five to seven per cent – breast cancer is the result of a genetic change that makes a woman more susceptible to it. These genetic changes occur on the breast cancer 1 and breast cancer 2 – or BRCA1 and 2 – genes, and are known as BRCA mutations.

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Online Mental Health Centre

As human beings, it’s entirely normal for us to feel sad or down from time to time in the midst of our busy schedules and daily activities. When we start to feel a sudden loss of interest in activities that used to make us happy or consistently feel a depressive mood, this is characterized as depression. Your ability to perform usual daily tasks and maintain relationships with those around you can become increasingly difficult. Although both men and women can suffer from depression, women are more susceptible to this condition and will have vastly different experiences than men. This is because causes of and responses to stress are different between men and women. For example, women may feel depressed at unique times, such as during or after pregnancy. The Online Mental Health Centre provides more information on different types of mood disorders, which symptoms to look for and what you can do to alleviate your depression, so you can get back to enjoying your life.

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