University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Making Women’s Grey Matter Matter

Lynn Posluns wants more brain-disease research to focus on females

Soon after Lynn Posluns (BCom 1981, MBA 1983) began volunteering in 2009 for the foundation of Baycrest Health Sciences, a hospital specializing in geriatric care and brain health, she learned a startling fact: many brain diseases occur more often in women, but most research focuses on men.

Indeed, women are more likely than men to experience depression, stroke and dementia. But no one really knows why because, historically, neuroscientists haven’t investigated how sex differences in the brain affect these conditions. “I thought this was worthy of people knowing about, and of raising money to level the research playing field,” Posluns says.

Posluns, who is currently managing director of CedarPoint Investments, launched Women’s Brain Health Initiative in 2011. The organization holds awareness-raising events, and its website and annual magazine share research findings and wellness tips. It also recently held an event aimed at millennials, since, Posluns says, “the earlier you start looking after your brain health, the better the outcome.”

Brain Health is currently partnering with similar organizations in the U.S. and U.K. to support more research into women’s brain-aging diseases. Says Posluns: “Looking at this issue by sex and gender is a first for Canada, and it’s really exciting, because what that means for women – and for men – is more answers about treatment options and potentially healthier outcomes.”

Read: Lynn Posluns on why more Alzheimer’s research should focus on women

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