Because studies on cardiovascular disease have traditionally been male-centered, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced legislation Thursday to increase spending on research on heart disease in women. The leading cause of death for women and men in the U.S., heart attacks kill 235,000 women each year, 49 percent of the 485,000 people who die from the condition every year, according to the American Heart Association. Boxer said, “For years women have been under-represented in studies conducted on heart disease and strokes,” and added that doctors do not diagnose heart disease in women quickly enough. Boxer’s bill would earmark $140 million beginning October 1 to the National Institute of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute for expansion of research and education programs on heart disease in women. The Department of Health and Human Service’s Office on Women’s Health, the organizer of the “Healthy Women 2000” conference, issued a statement saying, “Women have less aggressive diagnosis and treatment workups for heart disease than do men.” Because the body sizes, percentages of body fat and metabolism rates of women differ from those of men, and because post-menopausal women have an increased risk of heart disease after they stop producing estrogen, doctors say more study is needed to treat female patients.