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September 13th, 2010
04:45 PM ET

Study: Whites with muscular dystrophy live up to 12 years longer than blacks

Whites with muscular dystrophy live up to 12 years longer than their African American counterparts, according to a study published Monday in Neurology.

Although medical advancements over a period of 20 years increased the life span of patients with the debilitating muscle disease, those improvements haven’t been equal among different groups.White women with muscular dystrophy had a median death age of 63, versus 51 for African American women.  For men, their median age at death was 33, versus 23 for African American males.

Muscular dystrophy is a group of inherited muscle diseases in which the muscle fibers are unusually susceptible to damage and progressively weaken. The condition can lead to early death due to respiratory or heart failure.

Men tend to die younger, because the vast majority of patients who die have Duchenne muscular dystrophy - a particular type of the disorder that rarely affects female.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and University of Pennsylvania set out to identify trends in muscular dystrophy between 1985 to 2005 and analyzed 18,315 death certificates associated with the disease in the United States.

Over this study period, both groups saw improvements in lifespan because of better lung care and other therapies, said one of the study authors, Dr. Richard Finkel.

"For white males overall, there was a 22-year increase in the age at death for whites (from about 22 to 44 years) while for blacks the increase was only about 6.6 years," said Finkel, clinical professor of Neurology at University of Pennsylvania school of medicine and director of the Neuromuscular Program at the Children's Hospital Philadelphia. "So both groups improved but not to the same extent."

This racial disparity could be due to sociocultural barriers, genetic factors or other factors, but it’s impossible to pinpoint the reasons based on death certificates, Finkel said.

“There’s no way we can get beneath the surface and find out whether there are socio-economic factors that play a role,” Finkel said.  “Are there genetic factors in blacks versus whites that may play a role?  Are there other factors in blacks that compound the problem?  This study tried to take that into account- but that’s not the entire answer.”

Another finding was that cardiomyopathy, which is weakening of the heart muscle or a change in heart muscle structure, was more often reported in black men (20.9 percent) than white men (11.8 percent).

The authors cautioned in the study that “this dataset did not include information about quality of life, so increases in age at death do not necessarily equate with improvements in quality of life.”


soundoff (266 Responses)
  1. Anna

    Who is this supposed to be helping? I am tired of seeing these articles that always try to prove that blacks are somehow inferior. Unbelievable.

    September 13, 2010 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lily

      You're missing the point. We're constantly seeing articles about the health differences between blacks & whites, and most of the time, the intention is to somehow blame it on white "racism." Most articles like this include some suggestion that the difference has to do with blacks' lack of access to health care (note the line above about the difference possibly being due to "socioeconomic factors"). This has nothing to do with trying to make blacks look inferior; it's about trying to make whites look like evil racists who are to blame for everything.

      September 13, 2010 at 18:13 | Report abuse |
    • bala bla

      yep there goes white supermacists , ethinocentric science again...designed to make all whites feel good cuz the days they got a head just by flushing white skin color are fading...it's survival or the smartest and strongest not the whitest!

      September 13, 2010 at 18:30 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Really, that one must have hurt big time when you yanked it out of your posterior.

      Honestly, I can't recall seeing a single article like the ones you claim are the norm.

      September 13, 2010 at 18:51 | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Steve: You are an imbocile. Go through the health section for any length of time and you will see study after study that will always put black people in a negative light. We are genetically over 99% similar regardless of what these bigoted scientists are trying to prove. This is such bogus crap. No two people are similar in any way shape or form.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
    • dongfanghong

      Look, Andrew the basement dweller thinks he's more qualified to speak on genetics than actual researchers.

      September 14, 2010 at 05:44 | Report abuse |
    • Jessica

      Anna – you're seeing what you choose to see, so if you're tired of always seeing that...change your perspective. I doubt you will, even one time...but that's the reality of this. Of course Anna, you didnt say how tired you are of Women always trumping men in our biological differences (you did notice that the biggest gap was women to men, not white to black, right?)

      September 14, 2010 at 08:40 | Report abuse |
    • anne

      The point of scientific study isn't to make you feel inferior or adequate. Get over yourself.

      September 14, 2010 at 10:03 | Report abuse |
    • New York

      There are blacks and whites on different continents all over the world and to post an article depicting one or the other in a different light pertaining to disease or longevity is inaccurate because the article depicts an entire race. RIDICULOUS.
      I strongly believe that racism against whites or blacks, Asians or Hispanics will stop in this country when we stop segregation in statistics (ALL Statistics).
      Statistics for the country should be one race AMERICAN. By the way people of black ancestry were the only people genetically strong enough to endure 400 years (Yes four hundred years) of forced labor when all the indigenous people in the Caribbean, Central, South and North America died from hard work and disease, and the whites could not endure the hardship either. So you have 400 years of proof that Blacks as a race are genetically stronger and less susceptible to disease, the same issue used to negate that race is the actual proof that they are. So no matter what is printed or said opinions cannot change fact or reality. I personally don’t believe that anyone is better or worst that the other yet ask yourself… after 400 years of trying to be and saying that White is better than Black why is it that Whites are still trying to prove that they are better? 400 years is a long time to try to prove something, it’s about time to stop!

      September 14, 2010 at 10:25 | Report abuse |
    • Timm

      I think most of the beginning people are way off base. Although I do find the paragraph about not getting care to be disturbing. People with MD all get the same care. Also there are white people Duchene muscular dystrophy that die at 15 and others that die in the thirties and yet others that die in their late forties. I think the study is important because it shows that there might be a mechanism in race. Not to any race is inferior. No more inferior than a white person in the teen years is inferior to a white person that dies in their forties. But this study might lead into the genes of color or of race. For all we know the substance that causes collar in In the skin could be affecting muscles in muscular dystrophy. Which might suggest whites stay out of the sun. It might not be this but you get the idea it could lead to anything. I don't think that one race getting more sick from some kind of genetic disease is anything to do with one race being less. Sickle cell anemia for example and doesn't make any race any less. And now you wouldn't fault the scientists that study sickle cell anemia.

      September 19, 2010 at 21:39 | Report abuse |
  2. Greg J.

    Maybe this has to do with the fact that many 'whites' in this country are able to get better health care than 'blacks'. Why did they not mention this? Oh, that's right. Because they want to make it seem like black people are genetically lower than everyone else. Good job guys. 😐

    September 13, 2010 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Burbank

      But no one gets better healtcare than illegal Latinos! They get it all for free!!!

      September 13, 2010 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
    • DavidMichael

      In the U.S., blacks are permitted the SAME health care as whites. Are there health differences among the races? Yes as should also be obvious including the fact that some races are highly prone to disease that another rarely contracts. How many whites get sickle cell anemia compared to blacks and how many blacks get skin cancer compared to whites.

      September 13, 2010 at 17:46 | Report abuse |
    • Lily

      The article DID mention this by suggesting that the difference may be due to "socioeconomic factors." Do you understand what that means?

      September 13, 2010 at 18:14 | Report abuse |
    • Jasmine

      Lily, shut up. You seriously need to re-read this article. That is NOT what they want people to take away from this article. If you know ANYTHING about how these news articles make it to these websites you would know their agenda.

      ( I work for a prominent news website).

      September 13, 2010 at 18:25 | Report abuse |
    • g

      What a load of crap. Stop with the race card, it's pathetic.

      September 13, 2010 at 18:29 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Honestly, I have yet to see a black who looks ill fed. Most look quite healthy.

      The biggest factor in medical disparities is a patient's intelligence, which affects how well they cooperate with their doctor, adhere to diets and other regimens, etc. So it's no wonder blacks have more negative outcomes.

      September 13, 2010 at 18:55 | Report abuse |
    • dongfanghong

      "The authors cautioned in the study that “this dataset did not include information about quality of life, so increases in age at death do not necessarily equate with improvements in quality of life.”'

      Oh look at that, Greg J. didn't read the article.

      September 14, 2010 at 05:47 | Report abuse |
    • lauradet

      Hey! How did you make a smiley face?

      September 14, 2010 at 09:11 | Report abuse |
    • I Read The Article

      Greg, the report answers the question is there a difference, not what is the cause, you need to answer the former before even considering the latter.

      Jasmine, you work for a different unnamed website so you can not presume to know how the editorial decisions at CNN are made or what they want people to take away. All I take away is what is written - there are different outcomes for people with MD, they compared difference between men v. women with women living longer and is attributed to the form of MD encountered by each. There is also a strong racial difference between black and white sufferers of the disease with whites living longer. Because the study examine death certificates, no information about quality of life, quality of care, or any other aspect of life could be determined. What did you take away?

      Steve, are you a medical professional or researcher who can back up your claim or are you just projecting your own bias? In either case, it is unrelated to the article

      Andrew, you and Steve should share a hole somewhere.

      Final note to Greg - you say CNN wants to make blacks feel inferior. Turn that around and think that CNN actually has a humane agenda. It is publicizing a disparity and only by making it known to the public can the public do something - are clinical trials adequately accounting for race, are patients pursuing the best care, are doctors pursuing the best care? To reiterate, without asking and answering the first question, we would not know to attack these and many more.

      September 14, 2010 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
  3. jackpaul

    Some diseases hurt some races more than others I suspect. Like Blacks only get Sickle Cell. Just one of those things. I doubt they are saying blacks are inferior. But I appreciate the solidarity! LOL!

    September 13, 2010 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RetiredStateEnvEmoployee

      Sickle cell in blood is an evolutionary trait in humans to fight malaria found in the tropics, Africa. Human races are different because of climate, available food, ability to migrate historically over thousands and thousands of years, mutations of of a few genes and a couple of other things so minor and not really important. Humans with ancestors from one side of the Earth would not be expected to have the same exact identical response/outcome from each and every disease as humans with ancestors from the other side of the planet Earth after a couple hundred thousand years (or even 10,000 years in the bible time table for man).

      September 13, 2010 at 22:46 | Report abuse |
  4. Susan

    I agree that this article is a dumb waste of time but its not intended to put whites on top. Its simply pointing out the different longevity. Any half awake freshman sociology student could tell you the discrepancy is due to socioeconomic factors.

    September 13, 2010 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. jimble

    Whites are more likely to have cystic fibrosis. Who cares about the race question – the media is on a quest to divide the country by any means necessary. Terrible thing that they haven't come up with a cure for this disease regardless of color. Don't let your political beliefs be pushed further left or right by articles like these.

    September 13, 2010 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lily

      Nobody is trying to divide the country. There ARE a lot of people trying to impose their political worldview on others; in this case, by once again blaming whites for blacks' health problems.

      September 13, 2010 at 18:15 | Report abuse |
    • Eve

      Are you freaking kidding me?! Of course they are trying to divide people!!! Did you just crawl out from under a rock? Wow, go back to watching Laguna Beach or some such nonsense because you clearly have no idea how the world works.

      September 13, 2010 at 18:26 | Report abuse |
    • I Read The Article

      How exactly is this article trying to divide the country? People with very small minds might see something sinister here, but this is just a basic report of a medical study - we tallied up a couple tens of thousands of death certificates and this is what we found. Those number have no political agenda.

      September 14, 2010 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • Ingrid

      Hey , 'I read the article', you are as clueless as they come. I am guessing you are a white person who constantly puts their foot in their mouth around non-whites and says even WORSE things when not around them. I know your type. You are so quick to call fowl and you are NOT the one being insulted! Pathetic. How would you like it if everyday there was an article on white women being sluts, or stupid, or manipulative, or killing their young...would you like that? Would you feel that someone was playing the RACE CARD if they constantly mentioned WHITE WOMEN in the article? You are deluded and need to get off this forum because you have not a clue what you are talking about.

      September 14, 2010 at 11:37 | Report abuse |
  6. Fuyuko

    Too many unknown factors. Honestly, we would need to know more before reporting on such a thing.

    September 13, 2010 at 17:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Olivia

      This is total garbage.

      I have a friend who is half black half chinese and she has to constantly correct people telling them she is half chinese. Medical doctors do this, her teachers do this. What happens is that then they put her in some category and guess what that does, it adds to the group of 'blacks' they are talking about. She is BIRACIAL. Mixed people have no category because they do not fit any mold. But guess what? NEITHER DO THE REST OF US! I am puerto rican and if I listened to every butthole doctor that tried to impose their prejudiced views on me I would have diabetes, be overweight, live in the ghetto, etc. They can all suck it because I have NONE of those issues.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:15 | Report abuse |
    • rh

      I am multiracial, and most people think I look white, so I'm white. Some people think I'm Hispanic, so I'm Hispanic. A few note that I'm Asian, and yes I am. But everyone wants to put you into a corner.

      I think there is a problem, but I don't think it is race. You have to eliminate the most logical causes such as access to care and socioeconomic reasons.

      When was the last time the MDA had a black national spokeschild?

      September 13, 2010 at 22:07 | Report abuse |
  7. Fergis

    Is it a black – white issue or one of economics. I find this article offensive. It may not be intended, but it does come across as saying whites are superior.

    September 13, 2010 at 17:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DavidMichael

      If by "superior", you mean that whites live longer when they have M.D. than yes, whites are superior. But you failed to account for women being "superior" to men. Rolls eyes in disbelief as to the need to insert racism into everything.

      September 13, 2010 at 17:51 | Report abuse |
  8. Pancho

    You forgot were Mexicans stand?

    Are we in-between?

    September 13, 2010 at 17:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jake

      I live in Canada but I like to read American news just for a good laugh. I see this all the time on CNN.COM! We feel bad for you Americans because you are so hung up on race its quite pathetic. Send all the minorities here. We treat them better than whites down in America. So sad.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:17 | Report abuse |
    • gin

      Jake, speak for yourself, if we take all the minorities we'll have a whole new set of problems. Are you insinuating there are no racial problems here? It may not be to the degree of the states, but we have them alright.

      September 14, 2010 at 10:37 | Report abuse |
    • Blue Eyez

      GIN: What do you mean by 'a whole new set of problems'? What are you implying? Get bent you racist scum.

      September 14, 2010 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
  9. mat

    Im not sure how this turned into a supremacist thing, leave it to the left. And it seems its the people who cry the loudest who have an inferority complex. Thats why racial slurs dont work against white people. You want to know what the worst thing about being white? Nothing.

    September 13, 2010 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Jim

    Relax everyone. First of all, anyone taking this as the medical community (or CNN) trying to promote a "white are superior to blacks" issue are completely misreading the entire article. This is hardly a controlled study. All they did was analyze death certificates, which is a really bad way to come to the conclusion that Muscular Dystrophy has a disproportionate mortality on Blacks, as the article implies. Blacks have a whole host of other health issues, especially with an American diet, than whites do, and they didn't control for any of those variables, and they said so. There are also socio-economic implications which they didn't control for, and they said so.

    September 13, 2010 at 17:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nurse in Seattle

      WRONG! I see so many fat white people with diabetes in my office its rediculous. It is NOT a poverty excuse that they have at all. These people have money to eat healthy but they choose not too. It is a lie that only minorities eat bad. What a crock.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:23 | Report abuse |
    • methius

      Hey Nurse. I used to live in Seattle, and Seattle is not very representative of the US. It is the whitest city I have EVER seen! Of course you see white people in there all the time with diabetes. Everyone there is white!

      September 13, 2010 at 22:14 | Report abuse |
  11. AJ

    It's not "racist" to acknowledge that certain diseases strike particular races disproportionately. I'm a nursing student, and these "racial" statistics are routinely brought up in class, not so one race can "feel superior" to another, but to help us identify diseases sooner and implement treatment. Possibly there is an economic/sociological factor at work with MD life expectancies. But don't assume that any mention of "race" in medicine is for the purpose of bigotry. You just might benefit from your nurse or doctor checking you more thoroughly for relevant diseases.

    September 13, 2010 at 17:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nurse in Seattle

      Wait till you graduate from medical school sweetheart. The lies they tell us do not reflect the reality of life. Believe me that this is a complete lie.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:43 | Report abuse |
    • JomodasMusicMan

      The medical profession has always been racist, from Europe, S. Africa and America. Blacks have always been used unknownly as guinea pigs to keep white people alive. We were always the donors and the whites were the receipients of organs. Because of the Tuskegee Institute Studies, in which the government injected syphillis in black males, The University of Cincinnati @ General Hospital did the same thing to black people with radiation in the 1950's & 60's. Many Black People are afraid to go the hospitals & clinics

      September 13, 2010 at 22:12 | Report abuse |
    • God

      Blacks were the only people willing to accept a few dollars to participate...I tried to convince them to stay home and spend time with their kids but they wanted money for crack

      September 13, 2010 at 22:48 | Report abuse |
  12. kleentx

    While I whole-heartedly agree that this article has racist undertones, I think the ages at death that were reported are widely misleading. I have an uncle that was diagnosed with MD at age 9 and he is now 69. I also know a man who was diagnosed with MD in his early 20s and just recently died at the age of 58. This article makes it sound as though once you are diagnosed, you'll die within a few years.

    September 13, 2010 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NM

      Your uncle and this other person did not have Duchenne – this is the one that kills at a young age. Moreover, your message shows how little we know or can control the progression of MD. This article may have been presented with racist overtones, but it is significant to scientists.

      September 13, 2010 at 18:40 | Report abuse |
    • Model Citizen

      How do they know what ethnicity a person was.. because their BIRTH CERTIFICATE SAID SO? For people who are mixed out there: How many of you have to constantly correct others because they put you in some box based on your looks? This is a total piece of crap. You could be black as night and be an indian, native american, mexican, puerto rican, cuban... etc. I am so sick of this nonsense.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:25 | Report abuse |
    • God

      You're not such the Model after all, being sick and all...just go back to your ivory tower before I smite thee with common sense....dullard

      September 13, 2010 at 21:22 | Report abuse |
  13. Sleepytime

    Hey "Dumb Waste of Time" why do you assume "they" are white? What, only white people can be scientists?

    September 13, 2010 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Michael

    What about the difference in the sexes. Women living into their 50's and 60's. Men dying in their 20's and 30's. I wonder why that is

    September 13, 2010 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NM

      Only males get the most serious form of the disease – Duchenne. Duchenne kills a patient at a young age. Others MDs do not impact life span.

      September 13, 2010 at 18:37 | Report abuse |
  15. Sleepytime

    Today on cnn: readers are offended by facts.

    September 13, 2010 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • God

      That's actually false. Most races will do these very same things but it will either go unnoticed to unpunished since they have no laws which prohibit it. Only whites outlaw these behaviors. Blacks are equally likely to commit these crimes however they are usually too high on crack or too busy stealing your possessions or trying to rape your wife to bother with it.

      September 13, 2010 at 21:06 | Report abuse |
  16. AJ

    What if the "disease" itself is racist or sexist? Shall we haul the disease into a court room and sue it? What it?

    September 13, 2010 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. jm

    Seriously, Anna and dumbwasteoftime? It's pointing out there is a difference and speculates it's either socioeconomic or genetic. This isn't some government propaganda conspiracy. Stay in school and drink milk, like Mr. T says.

    September 13, 2010 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. jm

    lol @sleepytime

    September 13, 2010 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Mary

    Typically, here is no medical treatment for muscular dystrophy, as someone with a father and brother with MD, regardless of race, there is not really anything that can be done but monitor the progression of your disease.

    September 13, 2010 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. zune

    you know someone would try too make this story a racial thing, there just saying.....

    September 13, 2010 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Zoom Zoom

      It already is a racial article. Did you not even read it? Idiot.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:41 | Report abuse |
  21. Matt

    They shouldn't paint people with Muscular Dystrophy with such a broad brush. There are many many different types and with varying severity and lifespans. The only relevant point they made in this article is that men usually have an average lower lifespan because they more often have Duchenne's, which is the most severe type.

    September 13, 2010 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ANGRY MOB

      They only do this when it comes to trying to paint non-whites into some type of box. NEVER will you see this with white people. It is NEVER mentioned that they are white. It is NEVER a negative undertone in which the article is written, and it is NEVER going to try to use science as a cover-up for their hatred.

      September 14, 2010 at 11:43 | Report abuse |
  22. Fred

    Something also not mentioned in the article is whether this study was of one particular form of MD. There is a multitude of types of MD out there and not all are genetic either. Just as the mortality rate of cancer differs with the type of cancer so does the mortality rate with MD. Some people with MD live full lives and die at a normal age. Just as cancer, MD can go into remission. Also there are treatments for MD it is not an automatic death sentence.

    September 13, 2010 at 18:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. AW

    Why does everybody assume it's a black and white thing? Why do they have to keep having articles showing that women are superior in life expectancy then men even in other races....

    September 13, 2010 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Cathy

    I'm beginning to think that folks who immediately jumped to the racism/bigotry card with regard to this article, probably tend to go there on any given subject where racial issues might possibly be claimed. That being said, the author could have done a better job and anticipated someone out there yelling "racist". It's true that different diseases affect different populations in various ways and there isn't a "one size fits all" way of treating these diseases. So let's everyone just calm down and accept the article for what it is - trying to figure out the whys and wherefores of the disease process and how researchers might improve statistics for the black population or any other ethnic population for that matter.

    September 13, 2010 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bambi

      Cathy, no one is pulling out any race card. They played it by adding it to the deck. THEY mentioned race by saying that whites live longer than blacks. THEY DID THAT! Are you blind? Why can't they come up with something positive to say?

      September 13, 2010 at 19:37 | Report abuse |
    • Dale

      Of course its easy for you to have no problems with it because obviously you are not white.

      Go over to the article showing that most men prefer CURVES that are mainly found on non-white women. Read all the comments from angry white women!! That is just ONE article and see how it feels? See how it is when the tables are turned? How would you like it if they had a constant stream of negative articles about us white people? You would not be so dismissive.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:40 | Report abuse |
  25. Aqua

    Hey, CNN, why the polarizing "white vs black" angle? How are hispanics faring? And Asians? And Native Americans? And Middle Easterners?

    September 13, 2010 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bambi

      FINALLY SOMEONE WHO GETS IT!

      September 13, 2010 at 19:36 | Report abuse |
    • Pearl

      I'm thinking the same thing! What about the other races? Why is always White vs Black? How about Asians, Hispanics?

      September 14, 2010 at 08:07 | Report abuse |
  26. Will

    Every time I read one of these "whites this/blacks that" articles, the phrase "divide and conquer" comes to mind for some reason.

    September 13, 2010 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Ryan

    I don't see how data can be racist.

    September 13, 2010 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Aqua

    And whatever happened to "cultural diversity," that we were all supposed to be recognizing and respecting? Could the health differences be due to culture, rather than race? In which case, are you calling for the elimination of cultural diversity, for everyone to live their lives just like "white" people? Ummm, isn't that also bad?

    September 13, 2010 at 18:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Some dude

    It's an important study. There could be genetic factors that influence the progression of the disease. If you didn't go off half-cocked, you'd realize the first step would be to prove there is a difference, now, they can work on the why and try to find an improvement. But, great job expressing a very strong ill-informed opinion.

    September 13, 2010 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. NM

    Muscular Dystrophy is comprised of a group of complex and rare muscle disorders. Scientists are struggling to figure out the factors that lead one person to walk until they are 75 and another to get on a wheel-chair at 30 when both had been diagnosed at the same age (say, 22). Any insight into the natural history of the disease and its progression helps researchers focus on the most relevant areas of focus. While this article only talked about race (how else would they get so much attention), scientists will dig into protein based reasons for this discrepancy and focus on the specific properties of these proteins that lead one group (black or white) to stay healthy longer.

    This would be true of any other complex human condition (high cholestrol – kills one person but an Italian from Sicily can be just fine with a total cholestrol of over 400).

    September 13, 2010 at 18:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. CAinGA

    How on earth is this a racial issue? Seriously? When will the media stop from pounding the racial crap down our throats? Maybe then we can all move on together.

    September 13, 2010 at 18:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bubba

      There is a handful of old white men at CNN that have a serious agenda againts blacks. I can guarantee you these are the same people that pulled firehoses on black people in the 50's. That's why I can't wait until the majority of old white people in America die off. The younger generation is much more accepting and not so hateful. Die already.

      September 14, 2010 at 11:47 | Report abuse |
  32. Steve

    The knee-jerk race deniers can't deal with the idea of differences that go beyond skin color.

    This article, like every other one I've seen in the MSM that addresses racial disparities, implies that the problem is socio-economic, and ultimately the fault of whites. To acknowledge inborn racial differences is verboten.

    September 13, 2010 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eden

      Steve: I am going to keep my children and my dogs away from you because the facts also show that since you are a white man, you are more likely to have sex with my dogs and rape my children. How do you like them apples?

      September 13, 2010 at 20:00 | Report abuse |
    • God

      Eden: You're rather stupid to allow your kids to be alone with any man, I clearly made them to victimize. Please watch your back, a man of any race will try to rape you soon. Your dog is likely to rape another dog, so long as it's a male, and if not, expect a male teenager to insert apples up its a$$ along with a firecracker. Apples served nice and hot.

      September 13, 2010 at 21:15 | Report abuse |
    • I Read The Article

      To help you out, Steve: This racial disparity could be due to sociocultural barriers, genetic factors or other factors, but it’s impossible to pinpoint the reasons based on death certificates, Finkel said.

      That second factor, "genetic factors" is how scientists say the cause may be inborn and inheritable. The researchers are crystal clear in stating that death certificates can not reveal any of these factors. It is you, not these researchers, CNN or scientist or the "MSM" in general who only wish to see claims of social or economic causes exclusively. You have been made so blind by you false belief you are unable to read the words clearly printed on the screen.

      September 14, 2010 at 11:42 | Report abuse |
    • I Read The Article

      You guys are right. After re-reading the article and comments, I do now see how this article comes off as racist. I retract my former comment.

      September 14, 2010 at 11:49 | Report abuse |
  33. Carol

    Or it could due to cardiomyopathy and that blacks use the health care less frequently than whites (even with insurance) so MD may be diagonosis in a more advance stage. This study simplely leaves too many unknowns.

    September 13, 2010 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Some dude

    I love CNN commenters, just because they don't understand what they read, it never stops them from forming a strong opinion. Doing a study to see if a disease progresses quicker across ethnic groups isn't racist. I'm sure Googling genetic diseses you'll find a lot of ethnic groups even have their own diseases. Like the Portuguese and a MS like hereditary disease that is just aweful. Now that they've proven that blacks have a shorter lifespan with the disease they can now devote studies to finding out why. It seems like they are a long way from figuring out if it's in the genes or in the life. Now, if they proved that it's from a difference in health care, now, there's some racism going on somewhere. If they discover it's genetics, besides being bad luck for those with the disease, someday there may be treatments to help. You know, for all we know, research into this part may lead to better medical treatments for all. So why are your panties in a bunch?

    September 13, 2010 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • You need a reality check

      Hey some dude,

      You either just had your brain removed or you are seriously this stupid. Name 5 articles that show white people on the bottom wrung for once. I challenge you. That is because they do not exist. According to CNN black people have, AIDS, Type 2 Diabetes, can't swim, can't get a job, are overweight, have every freaking disease in the book, and are single. Get your head out of your anus and wake up! It is so onesided its unbelievable.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:34 | Report abuse |
    • Aqua

      I wasn't responding to the study, I was responding to the simplistic, polarizing way that CNN so many times presents news. And that seems to be what many of the other posters were responding to, as well.

      September 13, 2010 at 23:39 | Report abuse |
  35. Not White

    And I for one am sick of being called "White". If we can't use the word blacks, then they need to come up with something else for whites. Hey, how about we are ALL Americans – such a novelty!

    September 13, 2010 at 18:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • freddy

      how bout "caucasian" that should be ok. caucasian american. American Indian. black amercan, unless born in Africa, african american. thats another thing. if someone who's ancestors where born in england, should that not make him or her
      european american? I think black people born in the usa should simply be called black american.. NOT african. The people in Africa are a whole different bread. They do not agree with the way the black culture lives here in the usa. I have friends there and they just think its a discrace to thier race.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:28 | Report abuse |
    • Aqua

      Freddy, I understand your point. The problem I have with "Caucasian" is that its already used – for Caucasians! Turks, Armenians, Georgians and I-forgot-istans are the cultures from the Caucasus Mountains. It got applied to all Europeans by one writer (IIRC) back in the 1800's. No other ethnicity is defined by one small portion of its geographic range. Its use nowadays just seems like an effort to define "whites" by a word that, for most people, carries no historical, cultural, political or economic meaning. Puts a stop to any pesky "pride" issues. Me, I prefer European-American in settings when other groups are also getting long labels.

      September 13, 2010 at 23:54 | Report abuse |
  36. Steve

    You really are living in your own mind.

    The dominant media message re: race is that whites are bad, whites are wimps, whites are uncool, whites are boring, whites are on the way out, and deserve it because they're to blame for everyone else's problems.

    Really, it's useless to argue with practitioners of the "I want it to be true, so it is true" school of thought. Have fun daydreaming.

    September 13, 2010 at 18:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. vtx13cnj

    Typical CNN article. Any way possible to fan the flames of racial hatred. They must need ratings real bad.

    September 13, 2010 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • leshan

      it seems to work everytime,i dont care if the article was about paper cups,eventually somewhere in the mix race will enter into it,what a shame!

      September 14, 2010 at 11:20 | Report abuse |
  38. someoneelse

    There are racial differences? How many of you have heard of the Mongolian spot on many North Asian babies? Or the fact that ear wax is different than caucasians. Not studying these differences because it isn't politically correct could hurt many people who could be warned of possible problems and maybe even cures found.

    September 13, 2010 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • You are a moron

      Soooooo if I was a black male with muscular dystrophy.. this helps me HOW exactly? Oh that's right, it DOESN'T! All it does is kick a man when he is down. I have read so many articles like this its seriously becoming tiresome.

      ( I am a white man by the way)

      September 13, 2010 at 19:32 | Report abuse |
    • lsKIWI

      @ You are a moron: you're right in that this study would not immediately help you, but some of the battle is one just by identifying a racial disparity. This will pave the way for follow-up studies to determine whether there is a genetic component, a healthcare disparity, or both possibilities. It will also alert physicians that they might have to more aggressively treat African American patients. So there is gain after all.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:46 | Report abuse |
    • Eden

      You are wrong. People of all colors get muscular dystrophy. Oh, and since when does the amount of melanin in a person's skin determine their healthcare? I think it has more to do with assumptions. Notice how they always assume that white people take better care of their health than everyone else. Oh yeah? Come to Idaho or any of the other 49 states and witness white people in action on the streets. Many of them are fat slovenly freaks who need to be put down like rabid dogs.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:57 | Report abuse |
    • God

      I'm gonna strike your skinny a$$ down real soon with some muscular dystrophy made real special for skinny a$$ crack hoes. It'll come in the form of an electronic benefit transfer...

      September 13, 2010 at 21:20 | Report abuse |
    • God

      Eden: At this very moment the Earth's crust is being compressed by a large contingency of lard a$$ hispanic teenagers and black women...please resolve this ASAP

      September 13, 2010 at 21:27 | Report abuse |
  39. tatonga

    "Although medical advancements a period of 20 years increased the life span of patients with the debilitating muscle disease..." The writing is pathetic. Doesn't anyone review what they write anymore before hitting the send button?

    September 13, 2010 at 19:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. TJ

    They always point out the diseases that blacks lead more than whites but never point out the diseases that more whites leads and there are plenty. I agree, they always use black and white as if they are the only two race groups that exist.

    September 13, 2010 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Marie

    I totally agree. Anyone who cannot see through this bull is deceiving themselves. I am a WHITE WOMAN and I cannot understand that they constantly berate black people. This must be a new form of racism. Instead of lynching them, they hide their hate under a false pretense of 'science'. There is no such thing as race. Anyone with a modicum of knowledge in the field of genetics knows this.

    September 13, 2010 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. freddy

    come on already, thier are far more colors of people out there in the world. why does it always come out to black or white. people and studies need a reality check.

    September 13, 2010 at 19:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Um

      It is quite obvious their agenda with these studies. I read numerous online news articles and CNN is by far the worst when it comes to this. It seems like someone has a major self esteem issue and is extremely hateful towards black people. Its really sad. Why not try working on finding cures for these illnesses instead of adding salt to the wounds of those who suffer with this terrible disease?

      September 13, 2010 at 19:30 | Report abuse |
  43. Tracy

    Actually (DUMB WASTE OF TIME) reports like this that show the difference between whites and blacks are important for African American's like myself. It shows the lack of health care that African American's receive either by their own accord or by design. As an African American I know, even in my own family, the poor decisions that are made relative to personal health care. I realize that some, maybe not you, may have "pitting" black versus white, but in this instance, I believe the report shows the disparity in health care between two races of people. They WHY, you ask, is a vastly different reason.

    September 13, 2010 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. lsKIWI

    Wow, guys; everyone cool down for a second! I do not know personally the scientists involved in this study, but I can assure you that there was never an intent to prove one racial group is better or worse than another. There simply is no way that a study would be funded by our Federal government if even a hint of racial bias was evidenced. The fact of the matter is that some ethnic groups have higher incidences of genetic disease than others, and it will vary from disorder to disorder. For example, Ashkanazi Jews have a higher incidence of Tay-Sachs, people of African ethnicity have an increased incidence of sickle cell anemia, and Caucasians ("whites") have an increased incidence of cystic fibrosis. In all these examples, that is because of very subtle genetic differences or mutations that accumulated when we were isolated from one another genetically or socially. It has nothing to do with the type of melanin in one's skin (which gives us the genetic basis for coloration differences) and it has absolutely nothing to do with superiority. I personally believe that the reasons why MD survival rates were looked at along ethnic lines was to find if there were any differences, as they subsequently showed, so that changes to health care provision might be redressed IF it was found to be the underlying cause of any disparity. Remember, the authors admit that they were not able to determine the cause or causes of any differences (other than the male versus female survival difference, since DMD, one of the more aggressive varieties of MD, is an X-chromosome disorder that is unlikely to occur in very many females). It seems to me that the scientists would be criticized by some no matter what: do the study and identify differences and you're accused of racism or eugenics; don't do the study and ignore any disparities that target an ethnic minority.

    Has the shocking racism that has emerged in the last 18 months, in large part whipped up by professional politicians for their personal gain, meant that we really can't deal with any subject on racial lines? I certainly hope not!

    September 13, 2010 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • WE ARE ALL GENETICALLY SIMILAR

      You are completely wrong. ALL OF US are over 99% genetically similar. Anyone with an ounce of knowledge in the field of genetics can recognize this fact. The only difference you will see is sometimes there can be a TENDENCY in certain groups based on where they LIVE to do this or that. Black people in France for example are completely different from black people in America. Also each person is an individual. I would be APPAULED if I went to the doctor and had to fend off this racist nonsense from my doctor.
      'Doctor, I have a hangnail, can you help me?
      'Patient, since you have brown skin, I want to perform a barrage of useless studies to rule out , oh about 50 diseases that we claim to say you black people always get. Oh, you eat healthy and exersize? But, but, but that goes against everything I learned in medical school! You are SUPPOSED TO have these problems regardless of your decisions because we proved that you are genetically inferior! '

      September 13, 2010 at 19:49 | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Sure, we can deal with any subject on racial lines. But first we have to accept that racial differences are more than skin deep.

      There's no politician in the US that will go anywhere near that truth. Not a single one.

      I'm not sure what you mean by the "shocking racism" over "the last 18 months," unless that's your way of expressing your disappointment that the coming of the O-Man hasn't ushered in utopia.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:53 | Report abuse |
    • lsKIWI

      @ "WE ARE ALL GENETICALLY SIMILAR": I hate to break this to you, but you're incorrect in your conclusion that I'm "completely wrong". For starters, I'm a professor of medical genetics, so I have not inconsiderable understanding of these issues. I have also personally identified several novel mutations in hematological disorders that change the way patients are managed by their healthcare providers.

      In correctly stating that we're 99% identical to one another over our autosomes, you seem to deny that there is any genetic variation when 1% of the genome does differ (which over 3 billion nucleotides amounts to quite a few differences). Heck, that level of difference is not much less than that between Homo sapiens and Pan troglodyte (chimp), yet no sane person denies the very obvious differences between these two species! Most of our sequence differences are neutral, others give rise to benign phenotypic differences (blue eyes versus brown, curly hair versus straight, etc). Sometimes, although rarely, some genetic disorders are more prevalent in people of a specific ethnicity, and in other cases, there is a genetic component to how people might respond to a drug.To deny this would be to eventually deny improvements to healthcare management, which at the end of the day is the paramount issue.

      I seriously doubt that anyone would ever be exposed to the type of conversation that you outline, and I would strongly urge them to seek redress from medical authorities if something this foul was ever uttered.

      September 13, 2010 at 20:23 | Report abuse |
    • lsKIWI

      @ Steve: I for one am appalled at the level of the conversation recently over race, and it does seem to me that the escalation correlated with the President being sworn in. I am not born an American, however, so I cannot pretend to know whether these sentiments were here five or ten years ago, when our President was a Caucasian, and only emerged for political reasons or because of the economic stress that this country has recently suffered. I just believe it is hateful, hurtful and completely counter-productive, and does not let those of us who want to redress any imbalances due to racial bias work towards that goal.

      I am, and always will be, a liberal on the US political scale, and I have some disappointments with regards to President Obama. But I'm always a realist, and I never expected any President, irrespective of political affiliation, gender or ethnicity, to provide us with a Utopia.

      September 13, 2010 at 20:33 | Report abuse |
    • unretired05

      Thank you lsKIWI for some sane reasoning. It took me a long time to find any here. I'm not sure many read the article let alone understood it.

      September 14, 2010 at 02:45 | Report abuse |
    • IsKIWI

      Then again, I am an 'old white man' as many of you would put it. I also have lived in a small town my whole life and have not had a chance to travel much. I am just sick of seeing all these dang minorities poisoning our water supply and killing off our rainforests! I say close our borders NOW! I prefer being home with my 3 cats and my gay lover and that's it ! I am done with people!

      September 14, 2010 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
  45. Missed it

    Race? Really? Read it again everyone. Looks to me like the men are getting the shaft all the way round here.

    September 13, 2010 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tyler

      Just last week I had a doctor offer to test me for diabetes. I asked him why and he said that it is probably in my family history. I told him it was not. He was suprised and said 'Well, you will probably get it because you are black' ! I wanted to punch the snot out of him! I told him that I eat very well, work out at the gym and shop exclusively at Whole Foods. Who does this jerkoff think he is?! That is not the first time I have gotten that either.
      So for you ignorant people out there who are blaming US on bringing up race, you could not be more WRONG. That is the furthest thing from my mind. I want them to stop shoving it down my throat. Treat me as an INDIVIDUAL PATIENT. Enough with your preconceived bull.

      September 13, 2010 at 19:52 | Report abuse |
    • RetiredStateEnvEmoployee

      The doctor was "correct" by the numbers; black male have a very, very, high rate of diabetes. You are "wrong" in your reply to him; eating health foods does not really help you at all it is how much you eat and your weight; working out and putting on bulk is the last thing you need to do if your fat and have an inactive type/non physical job. Your doctor is no fool; be smart enough to know when your getting told what you really need to know – not some racial or politically slanted bull. Think !

      September 13, 2010 at 23:14 | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      Hey Retired? You are a complete douche. I am NOT overweight and YOU ARE WRONG , black men are not more likely to have diabetes! Stop drinking the Fox News kool-aid and grow a brain stem! I am not overweight either.

      How would you like it if your doctor said you need to see a counselor because since you are a white man, you are probably screwing your dog and you most likely have some naked woman chained to your basement wall? Since white men are a thousand times more likely to do that, we need to protect ourselves from you.
      Oh, and he also hands you a bottle of Viagra because we all know white men have small penises and cannot satisfy their white women, thus the reason they go elsewhere! Yeah baby, the truth hurts.

      September 14, 2010 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
    • Brandon

      Retired: How do you know what his job is you jerkoff? There you go making assumptions. And, you know what you look like when you make assumptions...

      September 14, 2010 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
  46. Dr. E

    Posted by Marie: "Anyone who cannot see through this bull is deceiving themselves. I am a WHITE WOMAN and I cannot understand that they constantly berate black people. This must be a new form of racism. Instead of lynching them, they hide their hate under a false pretense of 'science'." - You win moron of the year for that stupid comment. Yes, white lab techs & white doctors have made up the numbers to put blacks down... ummm... do you get out much??? Wow.

    September 13, 2010 at 19:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Area

      Dr. E: Your comment is stupid. The truth speaks for itself. Show me 5 articles that mention whites fare worse than blacks and I will give you a million dollars. This is nothing new. White people in this country have been putting black people under a microscope ever since then dragged them over here and enslaved them. YOU win moron of the year award.

      September 14, 2010 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
  47. jp

    what a load of crap...the media is always trying to find a way to disparage black people. for god sake, it's a disease, yet they want to have the upper hand. they misuse science to prove their point. first saying that science says so, then blaming it on socioeconomic factors. how did the people studied fare in terms of income, living standards, education, etc? notice they don't mention those. so it could just be a socioeconomic thing regardless of race, but we don't know. well the media and "scientists" know.

    September 13, 2010 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Steve

      Funny, but on my planet, the MSM portrays blacks as little short of gods.

      File this thread as Exhibit One Million and One under "Why Race Denial is a Cult." Honestly, racial egalitarians are more allergic to reality than the looniest Christian fundies.

      September 13, 2010 at 20:13 | Report abuse |
  48. lsKIWI

    the difference in male versus female survival has nothing to do with our "superiority" (I'm a female). It is simply that one of the most aggressive varieties of muscular dystrophy is called "Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy". This is an inherited disorder where a mutation in the dystrophin gene, which is located on the X chromosome, is inherited from generation to generation. This means that an important protein that contributes to muscle function, is not working correctly in boys, who have only one copy of this chromosome. Girls, in contrast, have two copies of the X chromosome, so they make an equal mix of normal dystrophin protein and mutant dystrophin protein. This level of normnal protein in a muscle cell is enough to let it function essentially normally. As most affected male children have historically died before reaching puberty, the mutation is generally passed from the mother to the son, but the daughters are also carriers for the next generation. The same reasoning, but different affected gene, results in male-specific color blindness, amongst other very rare diseases.

    For those that cry foul, remember there are things that affect female overall survival... such as death in childbirth, something that a male is never going to be exposed to. In the end, very few males die from DMD and very few women in childbirth, so it all evens out in the long run. I'm not superior to men, and they are not superior to me.

    September 13, 2010 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Jam One

    This shows 2 things:

    1) Racial differences do point to genetic differences in how we metabolize chemicals (including food, medicines, tobacco, etc.), and how certain diseases progress.
    2) The Pharmaceutical Industry seldom considers Africans, Asians or even other Caucasians (such as people from India or the Middle East) when they are conducting pharmaceutical clinical trials, because the Pharmaceutical companies only consider the Northern European Caucasian as their market.

    There is the presumption that if the clinical trial works for Northern European whites, then it is good for every other human being. As someone who works in Pharmacogenomics this is not the case, and this poses a danger to other races when they are prescribed the recommended doses of drugs as approved by the FDA and taught to prescribers.

    Many times, in other races, the recommended dose can be too much and have deleterious side effects, or not enough and show little or no response. This is more likely the cause for the above results, yes there are genetic differences in the drug metabolism enzymes, and in the structure and function of cell surface receptors.

    The African population being the oldest human population has the greatest genetic diversity. If more pharmaceutical companies were to include Africans in their clinical trial studies, then they would learn more regarding all the possible potential human reactions to their drug and would be able to provide better dosing and treatment recommendations. But as long as clinical trials decisions continue to be made in Switzerland and the US, this is unlikely and similar results can be found for just about any prospective study for any disorder where the only treatment is pharmaceutical.

    September 13, 2010 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • God

      Crack was designed specifically for blacks

      September 13, 2010 at 22:42 | Report abuse |
    • leshan

      thats very interesting,thanks for the insight.

      September 14, 2010 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
  50. Luis

    This is the current trend of this Nation. A simple article on health care, turns into a display of racial hatred. I see this over and over again on the internet. Destroy ourselves from within, as if we didn't have enough enemies looking to destroy us.

    September 13, 2010 at 20:22 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.