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Monday, January 14, 2008

Newsflash.......People of Color Have a Problem with Being Experimented On.....Low Black Turnout for Clinical Trials

I would be the first to say that conspiratorial thinking amongst many African-Americans can sometimes impede our progress. Protestations such as: "Obama shouldn't run for office for fear of assassination" or "The levees in Nawlins were tampered with to purposely exterminate undesirables of color" or "there is an illumanti that really makes the world go round" are often heard at countless social gatherings in Black/Brown communities. I would never say that certain conspiracies are not without some merit worthy of further exploration, but one can not base his/her life on these matters as unfettered paranoia will surely reign supreme. The infamous Tuskegee Syphilis experiment in which Black men were intentionally injected with the deadly virus under government sanction (unbeknownst to the subjects) for decades without a cure. The dilemma now for the 21st century is that in order to ameliorate certain ailments that disproportionately afflict communities of color, clinical trials must be considered. Recent studies are indicating that Black folk still harbor nightmares of Tuskegee and are underrepresented as it pertains to aforementioned trials. Here's an excerpt on this phenomenon, courtesy of The Science Daily:

In a new report, experts in the design and conduct of medical research found that black men and women were only 60 percent as likely as whites to participate in a mock study to test a pill for heart disease. Results came from a random survey of 717 outpatients at 13 clinics in Maryland, 36 percent of whom were black and the rest white.

The survey is believed to be the first analysis showing that an overestimation of risk of harm explains why blacks' participation in clinical trials has for decades lagged that of whites. The results come at a time of increased recognition of racial differences in disease rates and treatments. Researchers point out that some kidney diseases, stroke, lung cancer and diabetes all progress more quickly in blacks and kill more blacks than people of other racial backgrounds.

"There is enormous irony that without African-American subject participation in clinical trials, we are not going to have tested the best therapies we need to treat African Americans," says study senior researcher, Hopkins internist and epidemiologist Neil R. Powe, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. "So long as the legacy of Tuskegee persists, African Americans will be left out of important findings about the latest treatments for diseases, especially those that take a greater toll on African Americans and consequently may not have ready or equal access to the latest medicines."

The infamous Tuskegee study, named after the Alabama town where its participants lived, enrolled several hundred sharecroppers, mostly poor, illiterate blacks, into a study they believed would help treat their syphilis infections. Instead, health care workers denied them available drugs to cure the disease in a secret plan to study the "natural course" of unchecked syphilis. The health care workers were predominantly white.

The government-sponsored experiment ran for 40 years until a leak to the press exposed the deception and the study was shut down in 1972. The resulting public outcry and federal clampdown led to the establishment of federally regulated committees at all American academic centers, so-called institutional review boards, to oversee how clinical studies are designed and to ensure informed consent of all patients.

So what do our readers think about this issue? We can' trust the man and yet we can't trust the brother man either-just ask Philly and Camden residents. Perhaps investigation, education and discernment are in order-I'm just sayin.' But hey you might not trust the Afronerd either. For more from the Science Daily article, click below:

Trust Between Doctors And Patients Is Culprit In Efforts To Cross Racial Divide In Medical Research

And for more about Black folk and conspiracies, check this out.

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