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Medicine: The empirical reality of race

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  • artemispub
    News: California Case Highlights Rise of Racial Medicine A recent medical case in California illuminates the importance of not merely genetics, but racial
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2004
      News: California Case Highlights Rise of Racial Medicine


      A recent medical case in California illuminates the importance of not merely
      genetics, but racial genetics, in diagnosing and treating disease. Two
      Chinese-American women were being treated for Long QT syndrome, a dangerous
      hereditary heart ailment, when their doctors, Kathryn Glatter and Nipavan
      Chiamvimonvat, both of the University of California at Davis, noticed that
      their symptoms did not match those associated with the type of Long QT they had
      beenn diagnosed with, a type identified and treated according to genetic studies
      of whites. Using genetic studies of Long QT in Asians, Glatter and
      Chiamvimonvat discovered that the two women had a quite different form of Long QT syndrome.

      The doctors also found that the two sons of one of the Chinese-American
      women had been misdiagnosed: the son being treated for Long QT did not have it,
      while his brother, who had been thought free of the syndrome, suffered from it.
      Dr.Glatter is outspoken on the need for racial and ethnic matches in medical
      diagnosis and treatment: “You need to make sure you are comparing apples to
      apples and oranges to oranges,” while Dr. Chiamvimonvat notes, “One cannot
      assume that information from one group will fit all.” Other medical
      researchers, such as Dr. Denise Johnson, who studies breast cancer at Stanford, are eager for studies of racial genetics in their fields: “I really want to compare Africans, African-Americans and mixed-race and see if there is a genetic profile. We didn’t have the tools before, but now we do.” Two important conclusions may be derived from the Long QT case and others like it (see “Race-Specific Drug…,”
      TOH, July 7, 2004): first, American medicine is increasingly recognizing and
      acting on racial differences, and second, contemporary doctors’ defiance of
      taboos that long held sway even in the medical profession is powerful
      evidence for the empirical reality of race.

      http://www.ajc.com/health/content/health/1204/28genetics.html


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