WASHINGTON -- Responding to criticism that women have been routinely excluded from its research, the National Institutes of Health announced yesterday that it has created an Office of Research on Women's Health.
Scientists proposing to study men only in their research will now have to justify that decision on scientificgrounds, said Dr. Ruth Kirchstein, the interim chief of the new office.
The office will oversee the enforcement of that policy, said Dr. Kirchstein, who is director of the National Institute of General Medical Science. It will also provide money to study "gaps" in scientific knowledge that have been created by the exclusion of women from past experiments, she said.
Among NIH-financed studies fromwhich women were excluded was one showing that taking an aspirin every other day could prevent some heart attacks. Begun in 1981, the study followed 22,000 doctors who were taking either aspirin or a placebo, a dummy pill.
All 22,000 were men. In explaining why women were not included in the study, the researchers said that too few women were doctors to include them as a group.