Black Women More Likely To Have Vitamin D Deficiency, Bacterial Vaginosis, Study Finds

May 29, 2009

Black women are nearly three times as likely as white women to have a vitamin D deficiency, which is linked with an increased risk of the vaginal infection bacterial vaginosis, according to a study published in the June issue of the Journal of Nutrition, the New York Times reports. Black women likely have lower levels of vitamin D because the higher amount of pigment in their skin prevents the body from absorbing the vitamin.

For the study, researchers led by Lisa Bodnar, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, examined 209 white pregnant women and 260 black pregnant women at a Pittsburgh clinic. More than half of the women had low levels of vitamin D, the study found. Women whose vitamin D levels were 50 nanomoles or less had a 26% increased risk of BV, while women whose vitamin levels were less than 20 nanomoles had a 65% increased risk of the infection. About 52% of black women had the infection, compared with 27% of white women, the study found (Bakalar, New York Times, 5/26). The study found that 93% of women with BV had low vitamin D levels and that BV prevalence decreased as vitamin levels increased.
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Number Of Black Organ Donors Increases In Michigan, Many Blacks Still Reluctant To Donate Organs

May 23, 2009

Although the number of blacks who are registered as organ donors in Michigan has increased in the last 15 years, many are still reluctant to be organ donors, the Detroit News reports. According to Remonia Chapman, director of Gift of Life Michigan’s minority organ tissue transplant education program, many blacks are hesitant to participate with the organ donor registry because they have inadequate access to health care.

Chapman said that increased awareness and education about organ donation and the diseases that lead to the need for donated organs, as well as partnerships with minority donors, black ministers and community groups, have encouraged more blacks to be organ donors. In the last 15 years, the percentage of black Michigan residents who are registered organ donors has increased from 10.8% to 21%, with overall minority registration at 24%. Chapman noted that about 41.3% of people on Michigan’s transplant waiting list and about 46% of people in need of a kidney are minorities.
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Parental Guidelilnes, Consequences May Be Why Fewer Black Teens Smoke Than Whites

May 16, 2009

It’s a curious paradox. Black adults are more likely to smoke than white adults and most smokers start as teenagers. But statistics show that fewer black youths than whites begin smoking as adolescents.

A new University of Washington study indicates that lower rates of smoking among black teens may be the result of black parents setting concrete guidelines about substance use and establishing clearly defined consequences for not following those guidelines.
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Program Targets Black Churchgoers In St. Louis To Donate Blood

January 17, 2009

A program that targets predominantly black churches in St. Louis appears to have increased blood donations to help fight sickle cell disease, particularly from first-time donors, the AP/Columbia Missourian reports. Sickle cell disease, in which blood cells are abnormally shaped, affects one in 400 black infants and is the most common genetic disease among blacks.

Five years ago, Michael DeBaun, a sickle cell specialist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, created Sickle Cell Sabbath at 13 black churches in the area. Through the program, congregations learn about sickle cell disease and how blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants can help treat the disease. The program also encourages churches to sponsor blood drives.
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Delaware Breast Cancer Awareness Efforts Target Black, Hispanic Women

January 7, 2009

The Wilmington News Journal on Tuesday examined efforts in Delaware that seek to raise breast cancer awareness among black and Hispanic women. While black and white women are diagnosed with breast cancer at similar rates, historically black women have had higher mortality rates from the disease, according to the state Department of Public Health. From 2000 to 2004, black women were 34.6% more likely than white women to die from breast cancer in the state. The five-year survival rate for blacks was 77%, compared with 90% for whites during that time period. The American Cancer Society earlier this year found that U.S. death rates from breast cancer have slowed among black and white women, but blacks still have a 36% higher mortality rate than white women.
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Gap In Black, White New Cancer Diagnoses Narrowing In Missouri; Mortality Rate Gap Falling More Slowly, Study Finds

January 5, 2009

The gap between blacks and whites in Missouri for newly diagnosed cancers is narrowing in part because of an overall decline in smoking and an increase in cancer screenings, according to a study to be published early next year in the journal Missouri Medicine, the AP/St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The study — led by Mario Schootman, an associate professor of epidemiology and medicine at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and head of the Siteman Cancer Center — examined data from the Missouri Cancer Registry and the state Department of Health and Senior Services from 1990 to 2005.
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U.S. News & World Report Examines HIV/AIDS Rate Among Black Women

January 3, 2009

U.S. News & World Report recently looked at how “black women continue to be struck particularly hard” by HIV/AIDS (Payne, U.S. News & World Report, 9/12). According to the latest available figures reported by CDC, blacks in 2006 had the highest HIV/AIDS incidence rate of any racial and ethnic group in the U.S. The research was a follow-up to a CDC study released last month that found there were about 56,300 new HIV infections in 2006, the most recent year for which data are available.
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