Researchers look to genetics to understand African American-asthma link

Genetic map of 1,000 African Americans mapped for asthma research
 By Meredith Cohn7:00 a.m. EST, December 29, 2011
 For the full link, click here.

Researchers working to discover why African-Americans disproportionately suffer from asthma are planning to map the genetic code of 1,000 people of African descent in four years.

The Johns Hopkins-led team of experts in genetics, immunology, epidemiology and allergic disease want to know why up to 20 percent of black people have asthma. The disease afflicts 20 million Americans, causes difficultly breathing, wheezing and tightness in the chest and can lead to hospitalization and death.

What’s different about this study from all the rest?

  •  About $9.5 million in funding comes from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.
  • The study results will be publicly available though a national database maintained by the National Library of Medicine, an NIH member.  Usually, research studies are NOT available in a public format.
  • The study of 500 asthmatics and 500 non-asthmatics from 19 U.S., Caribbean, South American and Western African academic researcher centers aims to identify genetic variations that may be associated with elevated disease risk.  The important point here is that black people have different genetics for asthma depending on where you live or grew up.  The more you know the less you know!

How does all of the “genetic research” improve asthma care?  Here’s a video that explains an exciting potential for genetic research—>

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