Entries in African Americans (6)


African-American Women More Likely to Die of Breast Cancer

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- African-American women with breast cancer are much more likely to die from it than women of other ethnic groups are, according to a new study from the American Association for Cancer Research.

“Our study provides the insight that is not the breast cancer subtype that explains the difference,” said researcher Candyce Kroenke, noting that the higher fatality rate was true across all breast cancer types, not just the much harder to treat “triple negative” type.

Researchers attempted to adjust their study to account for a variety of different factors, including smoking, lifestyle factors, and weight differences, but even adjusting for these factors didn’t explain the association. They admit that they don’t have a reason why this disparity in fatality rates exists.

Kroenke says that the big takeaway from the study is that there’s more research to be done.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Study Highlights Shocking HIV Rates Among Black Women in US

Bananastock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The HIV rate among black women living in some U.S. cities is the same rate as that of some African countries, according to a new multi-center study presented Thursday at the 19th Conference of Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

The jarring findings acknowledge that HIV is not an infection that has been eradicated, but one that has been somewhat forgotten, researchers said.

The new data comes from the ISIS study (The Women's HIV Seroincidence Study), and reflect an analysis of at-risk women in six urban areas of the United States that have some of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS: Baltimore, Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Washington, D.C., Newark, N.J., and New York City.

"This disease is alive and well in this country," said Dr. Carlos Del Rio, principal investigator for the Atlanta area of the study and professor of medicine and infectious disease at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.  "But this epidemic is the face of the forgotten people."

There are "hot spots" where the disease thrives in this country, Del Rio said, and most of those areas are some of the most impoverished parts of the United States.

"That's bad, but it's good because we know where to pour our intervention efforts," Del Rio said.

The research included 2099 women ages 18 to 44 who had never had a positive HIV test.  Eighty-eight percent of the study participants were black, 12 percent Latina.  At the time of enrollment, researchers found that 32 women were infected with HIV, but were unaware of their status.

Within one year of joining the study, 0.24 percent of the women tested positive for the disease.  That rate is five times higher than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's previous estimate of HIV rates in black American women.

The numbers are comparable to the HIV rates found in the general population in many sub-Saharan African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (0.28 percent) and Kenya (0.53 percent).

"Along with the results, a lot of other statistics came out of this study," said Dr. Sally Hodder, lead author of the study and professor of medicine at New Jersey Medical School in Newark.  "Slightly more than 40 percent of the women did not know the HIV status of their last sexual partner.  And more than 40 percent of our participants had an annual household income of $10,000 or less."

And out of all the women enrolled, after a one-year follow-up, 10 had died of reasons unrelated to HIV.

"This just goes to show that women don't just have HIV risk to worry about in these areas of the country," Del Rio said.  "I've had women look at me and say, 'OK, I'm at high risk for HIV, but I'm also at high risk of getting shot.'"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Black Students More Likely to Be Disciplined, Survey Finds

Creatas/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Black students face a greater chance of being disciplined than their peers in public schools, new data from the Department of Education suggests.

A survey of 72,000 schools serving 85 percent of the U.S. found that black school children accounted for 35 percent of those who had been suspended once, even though they made up only 18 percent of the students sampled.  The percentage jumped to 46 among those who had been suspended more than once and to 39 among those who had been expelled.

Compared to their white classmates, black students were found to be three-and-a-half times more likely to be suspended or expelled.

American Civil Liberties Union senior legislative counsel Deborah Vagins, who pushed for the data's release, said, "There's several concerns that are happening in our nation's schools, not just school discipline, but obviously also the re-segregation of schools.  Our schools are becoming more and more racially isolated."

And, as she explained, this can be detrimental to a student's performance.

"Data shows that the more racially isolated students are, the worse it is for their academic achievement," Vagins said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Author: Black Women Should Look for Husbands Outside Their Race

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When it comes to black women and marriage, there are some dire statistics: studies have shown, as many as 70 percent of them are unmarried.

But a new book adds fresh ideas and a new tone to the conversation, suggesting black women need to start looking for suitable mates -- outside their race.

"Many women would do well to expand their options in the same way people of other races have, and look beyond black men in their search for a partner," Stanford law professor Ralph Richard Banks told ABC's Nightline.  "Black women are the most segregated group in our society when it comes to relationships."

For his book, Is Marriage for White People?, Banks conducted roughly 100 interviews with African-Americans about their marriage and dating ideals and experiences.  His explanation as to why marriage rates are so low among black Americans is that there is a shortage of eligible black men.

"There's a social catastrophe going on in terms of black men," he said.  "Imprisonment numbers, unemployment numbers, under-performance academically, these are crisis not just for African-Americans, but for the nation."

Only about 9 percent of black women are married to men of a different race -- compare that to 41 percent of Hispanic women, 48 percent of Asian women and 58 percent of Native American women in the United States.  However only 8 percent of white women marry outside their race.  To Banks, it seems like it is time for a change.

"Interracial marriages have actually been rising for everyone," Banks said.  "Black women have fought the good fight.  They have engaged in what one friend described as a 'noble effort,' trying to lift black men.  That's praiseworthy, but at the same time we should recognize that, that strategy hasn't really worked."

Critics of Banks' book say that he is just a profiteer who is benefiting financially from black females' anxieties at the expense of black male egos.

"I have been called a racial pimp," Banks said. "I think the view is wrong."

After earning his bachelor's degree from Stanford and his law degree from Harvard, Banks then married a black woman.  His contention now is that black women would be better served if -- in his words -- they don't marry down, but marry out.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Detailed Genetic Map for African Americans Finally Constructed

Digital Vision/Photodisc/Thinkstock(OXFORD, England) -- Almost every genetic map built to date has been developed from people of European ancestry, and thereby all research based on such maps is inherently biased in favor of identifying disease-causing genetic variations associated with this population.  But now two separate studies published in the journals Nature and Nature Genetics report data from a large, multinational effort to create a genetic map specific to African Americans.

Researchers at the Welcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics and Oxford University used data from 30,000 African Americans to create a genetic map that, according to one of the study's co-authors, is “the world’s most accurate genetic map.”  

And the map is starting to provide useful information. Researchers already have identified differences in certain areas of the genome between African American and non-African populations.  

The hope is that future studies using this map will not only help identify more disease-associated genes in general, but that it will also help researchers understand congenital conditions which are more common in African Americans.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Eating Disorders Not Just for White Teen Girls

Comstock/Thinkstock (MIAMI) -- At the peak of her eating disorder, Stephanie Covington Armstrong threw up 15 times a day. Any food in her stomach made her uncomfortable, and it was only when she vomited that "everything was right with the world," even if it was only five minutes until she would do it again. It was like crack, she said. Drugs and alcohol seemed messy but binging and purging offered that same high; the kind of high that would take away the self-hatred that constantly weighed her down.

For seven years, Armstrong's bulimia was her deepest secret. And as a black woman, Armstrong said, carrying the stigma of an eating disorder was even worse.

"There is that shame of not being a strong black woman," said Armstrong, a Los Angeles playwright and author of the book Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat. "People would ask me, 'What, do you want to be white or something?'"

More than 10 million Americans suffer from some kind of eating disorder, and many of them are not white, young or female, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, executive director of the Oliver-Pyatt Centers in Florida, said that, at any given time, at least half of her patients are not what society typically thinks of someone having an eating disorder: people older then 40, mothers, men and minorities.

"Minorities, men and older people have an even more difficult time," said Oliver-Pyatt, speaking on behalf of the National Eating Disorders Association. "It's almost culturally accepted for a young white woman to have an eating disorder."

Oliver-Pyatt said that many older female patients who come to her clinic actually did not fully recover from an eating disorder in their early years. She said many of this subgroup of women had a bad experience while receiving treatment for their condition in their 20s and teens. And now, many of these women fly under the doctor's radar for eating disorders.

"A couple years ago, treatment was very institutional-based," Oliver-Pyatt said. "They had a bad experience and were afraid to receive further treatment."

More than one million men and boys battle eating disorders every day, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. And, many doctors argue, the stigma for a man is worse than that of teenage girl.

While many people say that eating disorders are a way of responding to lack of control in one's life, Oliver-Pyatt said, such an explanation is oversimplifying the seriousness of the illness.

If you or someone you know might suffer from an eating disorder, contact the Information and Referral Helpline at the National Eating Disorder Association by calling (800) 931-2237.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio