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October 11, 2022
Seminar Title: Sex- and Gender-Based Analyses of Chronic Stress and Allostatic Load
Presenter: Dr. Robert-Paul Juster, Assistant Research Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Addiction, University of Montreal
Robert-Paul Juster is the Director of the Center on Sex*Gender, Allostasis, and Resilience (CESAR) based at the Research Center of the Montreal Mental Health University Institute. Dr. Juster is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Addiction at the University of Montreal. Dr. Juster also holds a CIHR Sex and Gender Science Chair. His research focuses on stress and resilience using a sex and gender lens. He has dedicated his career to advancing the allostatic load model first developed by the late and great Bruce McEwen.
Talk Summary: Allostatic load represents the ‘wear and tear’ of chronic stress that is experienced differently by men, women, and gender diverse people. In general, birth-assigned men show higher allostatic load than birth-assigned women. But allostatic load is further modulated by numerous sex and gender considerations that are rarely considered in biological psychiatry. In this presentation, research that links allostatic load to psychiatric research will be presented with consideration of sex and gender approaches. Moving forward with the continued validation of the allostatic load model, it will be critical to identify biomarkers that are most meaningful among women. Indeed, many of the clinical reference ranges used in medicine do not consider female-specific variation nor transgender-specific variation. As the allostatic load mode advances further from theory to therapy, it will be critical to consider sex- and gender analysis to better understand mental health and wellbeing.