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The Next Gender Revolution

Heal

No wonder men and women suffer from different diseases and respond differently to drugs and surgery. Sex-based biology shows that our bodies are more different than we ever imagined.

This article appeared in our October 2004 issue. At NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., home to Trekkies, astronauts, and science buffs, it’s easy to spot Saralyn Mark, M.D. She’s all color moving through a wash of gray in her bright pink blouse, balancing her delicate frame on two inch heels. I have come to see Mark, an endocrinologist at Yale Hospital and senior medical advisor to NASA and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), because she is a trailblazer in the field of gender medicine. She retrieves me from the security guard station and whisks me through a maze of dun-colored hallways into a conference room that is as quiet as a sealed vault. Mark, who hopes to one day experience zero gravity in outer space and has a rocket scientist for a twin brother, is at home here at NASA. But she’s a million miles away from the mayhem of the San Francisco emergency room where she first worked as a young doctor. It was there that she first noticed that women complaining of sleeplessness, anxiety, nausea, and pain in the chest and arm were often dismissed by doctors. She followed her hunch …

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