APR 12, 2016 05:40 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
AUG 19, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 19, 2019
We Can Do Better Than Stitches For Wounds
If you’ve made it into adulthood chances are you’ve suffered some flesh wounds over the years. Some of these may have required stitches which, ...
AUG 19, 2019
Immunology
AUG 19, 2019
Having Heart Valve Issues?
UCLA researchers have identified for the first time the origin of an immune cell that plays a critical role in the formation of healthy heart valves....
AUG 19, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 19, 2019
Processed Foods Studied In Controlled Environment
Most of us believe that processed food is terrible for our health. You may be surprised to hear that a recent experiment from the National Institute of Dia...
AUG 19, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 19, 2019
Beyond Annoying, Noise Is Bad For Your Health
Peace and quiet are hard to come by these days. Cities are rife with noise pollution from a significant number of sources. Everything from automotive traff...
AUG 19, 2019
Cardiology
AUG 19, 2019
Probiotics For Hypertension May Become Standard
Today, as it is relatively new frontier within scientific research, the role of the microbiome is up for debate. As scientists grow increasingly more inter...
AUG 19, 2019
Drug Discovery
AUG 19, 2019
Novel Drug Target for Dilating Microvessels
Medical scientists at Augusta University have discovered a natural occurring chemical that dilates blood vessels dilate as well as signaling larger blood v...
Loading Comments...