APR 12, 2016 5:40 PM PDT

Cardiovascular disease's race gap isn't in genes

There is still no evidence of genetic difference between blacks and whites to account for the health disparities in cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a new study.
 
"Despite the enormous social investment in genomic studies, we have not advanced our understanding into disparities in the most common cause of morbidity and mortality between races," says Jay Kaufman.

Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the review study suggests that after a decade of genetic studies, factors such as lifestyle, education, and socioeconomics—not genetics—are more promising avenues to understanding racial health disparities.

The researchers focused on cardiovascular disease, the largest contributor to the racial mortality gap, and conducted a systematic review for articles published over a seven-year period in which genetic data from African and European populations were available.

The team found no explanation for racial disease disparities amongst any of the hundreds of genetic variants reported.

“After nearly a decade of genome-wide association studies (GWAS), no assessment had yet been made of their contribution toward an explanation of the most prominent racial health disparities observed at the population level,” says Jay Kaufman, of the department of epidemiology, biostatistics & occupational health in the McGill University Faculty of Medicine.

Kaufman and colleagues assessed the reported associations from published genomic studies. “The fact that our results show so little stable evidence of genetic explanations for racial disparities in CVD could be attributed to a general failure of GWAS to explain observed disease phenotypes,” adds Kaufman.

“Despite the enormous social investment in genomic studies, we have not advanced our understanding into disparities in the most common cause of morbidity and mortality between races,” says Kaufman.

“Given this outcome, more research and investment is needed to examine the effects of social and environmental inequalities, such as exposure to unhealthy food and psychosocial stressors.

“It is possible that the answer may lie in some kind of interaction between genetic factors and these environmental and behavioral differences, but based on current technology, the detection of such interactions is even more challenging.”

The Canada Research Chairs Program supported the work.

Source: McGill University

This article was originally published on futurity.org.
About the Author
  • Futurity features the latest discoveries by scientists at top research universities in the US, UK, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The nonprofit site, which launched in 2009, is supported solely by its university partners (listed below) in an effort to share research news directly with the public.
You May Also Like
DEC 01, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 01, 2019
Blue Whales Exhibit 'Extremely Low' Heart Rates When Performing Deep Dives
Blue whales have a reputation for being massive, and as far as we know, they’re the largest living animal in exist ...
FEB 26, 2020
Cardiology
FEB 26, 2020
Is Vaping Really Bad for Heart Health?
In June last year, a group of prominent academics in the US published a paper claiming that people who vape, or people w ...
MAR 03, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
MAR 03, 2020
Smoking Cannabis Accelerates Biological Age
Although cannabis is increasingly recognized for its medicinal properties, it should only be used after considering its ...
MAR 19, 2020
Cardiology
MAR 19, 2020
Listening to Music Reduces Risk for Repeat Heart Attack
Around 700,000 people survive a heart attack in the US each year, with approximately 1 in 9 of these survivors experienc ...
APR 18, 2020
Cardiology
APR 18, 2020
Is Good Sleep Necessary for a Healthy Heart?
Over 50 million Americans reportedly have trouble sleeping. As research is increasingly finding that having a good night ...
MAY 06, 2020
Cardiology
MAY 06, 2020
Can Alcohol Consumption Increase Your Risk of Peripheral Arterial Disease?
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) is a chronic disease where plaque builds up in the arteries in the legs. This buildup ...
Loading Comments...