Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Big News: Men and Women are Different

Seems like the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just figure this out. It took only about half a century but I applaud this development and hope that it might enlighten other researchers. Specifically, the NHTSA has decided to use female mannequins in their crash tests. All these years, they seem to have concluded that injuries would be about the same in men and women in vehicle crashes. Uh huh. . . . I wonder what lead to their breakthrough. Perhaps someone showed them the chair lifting test. Put a chair such as a bentwood or other, not too heavy chair sideways against a wall. Bending from the waist, put your forehead on the wall above the chair. In that position, grasp the seat and back of the chair, lift it then stand up straight. Most women can do it while most men cannot because they tend to have longer torsos. Of course, another consideration in safety tests must address the different plumbing in each gender. A woman's reproductive organs are far more vulnerable to damage from a seatbelt or unanticipated, abrupt contact with a dashboard or airbag. I'm intrigued by how the dummy will be wired to test for those damages. While I'm on the subject of male/female differences -- how come women's hats don't come in sizes like men's do? We're lucky if we can find socks in different sizes, too. I do hope we will, sooner rather than later, overcome the one-size-fits-all mentality of manufacturers and researchers. The latter are still taking baby steps in recognizing that women's health issues are quite different from men's, but at least they're learning to walk!

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