Peter Klimek is holding a talk at the 9th Congress of the International Society of Gender Medicine, which takes place in Vienna, September 12–13, 2019.
With the accumulation of large amounts of data, a new predictive, personalized and data-driven approach to medicine has emerged. It has become clear that most chronic disorders emerge from concerted interactions of multiple genetic, metabolic, social or lifestyle-related risk factors. In this talk we will demonstrate how the theory of Complex Systems offers a novel methodological toolkit to understand how these different factors and their interactions impact patient health in a sex- and gender-specific way.
Heterogeneous health-related datasets can often be quantified by means of networks that record individual risk factors (from molecular to societal levels) and their interactions in different diseases. For instance, we will show how males and female build their social networks in different ways and how the structure of these networks determines their susceptibility to disorders such as obesity or depression. Using administrative data from an entire country over several years, we find that males and females show highly distinctive patterns in the way in which their health typically changes over the course of their life which allows the identification of “typical male or female”-associated longitudinal disease trajectories.
Furthermore, we show how network approaches can be used to gain insight into sex-specific adverse drug events and the extend to which males and females differ in their healthcare utilization. In conclusion, sex and gender shows highly complex interactions with other disease risk factors across multiple domains, ranging from the very small (molecular level) to the very big (institutional configuration of the healthcare system). Novel methodological approaches are needed for a more stringent consideration of gender differences in (chronic) diseases and to contribute to better targeted prevention, more patient-oriented and more efficient therapeutic approaches.