Senior Writer, Science and Discovery (1956-2021) Sharon covered science and discovery. By Sharon Begley Feb. 4, 2016 Reprints Related: Race is a poor proxy for human genetic differences and should no longer be used by researchers, says a paper in the journal Science. APStock High rates of certain cancers plague Asian-Americans Sharon Begley More than a decade after leading geneticists argued that race is not a true biological category, many studies continue to use it, harming scientific understanding and possibly patients, researchers argued in a provocative essay in Science on Thursday.“We thought that after the Human Genome Project, with [its leaders] saying it’s time to move beyond race as a biological marker, we would have done that,” said Michael Yudell, a professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University and coauthor of the Science paper calling on journals and researchers to stop using race as a category in genetics studies. “Yet here we are, and there is evidence things have actually gotten worse in the genomic age.” “Race” means white/Caucasian, black/African, or Asian. That trio is based on easily visible traits, such as skin color and facial features that, biologists once assumed, reflected ancestry and, therefore, shared genes. But these broad categories are both “poorly defined” and “flawed surrogates,” NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins wrote in 2004. About the Author Reprints [email protected] Categorizing someone as “black” can affect medical care, research has shown. Doctors might miss cystic fibrosis in “black” patients because it is considered a “white” disease, a 2015 study suggested. Similarly, because blood disorders called thalassemias are considered a Mediterranean/white disease and sickle-cell anemia a black disease, they are sometimes misdiagnosed when they strike the “wrong” racial group, Yudell and his colleagues wrote.advertisement Using race as a category has other harmful consequences. The higher rates of hypertension and breast cancer deaths among African Americans, for instance, likely reflect socioeconomic, environmental, and other nongenetic factors. “So many health disparities are not about race but are about social conditions,” such as education, and access to health care, Yudell told STAT, so analyzing health data through the prism of race can blind scientists to factors that contribute more to those disparities.The reason scientists still use race as a way to group people — asking, for instance, which genetic variants are more common in this or that race — is that many still consider the concept useful if imperfect, said geneticist Neil Risch of the University of California, San Francisco, and president of the American Society of Human Genetics. There are so many racial injustices and more egregious misuses of genetics, he said in an interview, that “there are much bigger fish to fry” than scrubbing race as a biological category. For instance, the genetics society got its first-ever black board member, Charles Rotimi of the National Institutes of Health, only last year.advertisement Related: Tags geneticsHealth Disparitiesraceresearch In the LabShould biologists stop grouping us by race? “Surrogate” means that “black,” for instance, is used to stand for “having ancestral roots in Africa.” But the genomes of African-Americans are, on average, 24 percent European (that is, one-quarter of their genetic variants originated in populations in Europe). The average European-American genome is 4 percent African, a 2014 study found. So while race provides a clue to ancestral origins and, therefore, genetic inheritance, it is an imprecise clue because many people have ancestors from many regions of the world: a “black” American often has important “white” gene variants, including ones linked to disease.Scientists including Collins and his rival in the Human Genome Project, Craig Venter, urged biologists more than a decade ago to move away from the Big Three racial categories and substitute something more accurate. Yet many genetic studies still use race.Yudell and his colleagues, including an anthropologist and a sociologist, are asking the National Academy of Sciences to convene a panel to recommend ways to categorize people more precisely than by race. Research journals, they say, should discourage use of racial categories in studies that analyze genetic and other biological or medical data, substituting more precise groupings such as ancestry or population — Kurdish or Basque, for example, or Filipino, or Japanese, or Ito.“It’s time to move on” from race, Yudell said.A fair-size contingent of biologists disagree. They agree that race is imperfect, but say it is a useful way to group people. In a 2015 study, for instance, UCSF’s Risch and his colleagues found that 17 percent of 100,000 people had genomes indicating ancestry from more than one continent. They self-identified as belonging to any of 23 ancestral groups (for example, Afro-Caribbean, white European American, Ashkenazi Jewish) like those the Science essay calls for using. But when those 23 groupings were collapsed into seven, basically by continent, they tracked genetic ancestry fairly well.Seven is more than three, however (the extra four groupings came from breaking Asians and Caucasians into finer classifications, such as East Asian and Pacific Islander). Yudell is waiting to hear whether the National Academy of Sciences will study the use of race, but even scientists who think race is a reasonable proxy for genetic ancestry have recognized that three is not enough. How medical schools can affirm that black lives matter @sxbegle
The Ether Dome Through The YearsVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsEnabledDisabledPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9 facebook twitter Email Linkhttps://www.statnews.com/2016/04/11/ether-dome-video/?jwsource=clCopied EmbedCopiedLive00:0001:0701:07 Billions without access to safe, reliable surgery Ether changed surgery forever. It has since been replaced with safer alternatives, but its place in history is secure: The operating theater at Mass. General was designated a National Historic Site in 1965.Today, visitors can explore the unique architecture of the hospital’s Ether Dome, as well as a small collection of artifacts, including an oil painting of the famous first surgery. The dome also houses Padihershef, an Egyptian mummy donated to the hospital in 1823.Take a 360 degree tour of the Ether Dome: Tags anesthesiaMassachusetts General Hospitalsurgery Don’t MissWATCH: This operating room changed medical history By Dominic Smith April 11, 2016 Reprints Related: STAT takes you on a tour of The Ether Dome through the years. Dom Smith/STAT We have come to think of surgery as relatively safe and reliable, but this was not always the case. Surgery was once a brutal ordeal to be undertaken only in extreme circumstances; surgeons used cotton wool to muffle the screams as patients sat upright, bound by leather to elevated chairs.The only way to curb the pain was by use of alcohol and opiates, though many surgeons believed pain was vital for keeping the patient alive. It was a traumatic experience for doctor and patient alike.It is hardly surprising, then, that word spread rapidly around the world when, in 1846, renowned surgeon Dr. John Warren staged a public demonstration at Massachusetts General Hospital of a new drug, ether. He and a colleague anesthetized patient Edward Abbott and removed a tumor from his neck.advertisement Reportedly, Abbott awoke and said, “Feels as if my neck’s been scratched.”Warren, who was also the first dean of Harvard Medical School, turned triumphantly to the audience and proclaimed: “Gentlemen, this is no humbug!”advertisement
Four years ago, when meningitis B, an extremely rare but potentially lethal form of the infection, sickened a small number of college students at Princeton and the University of California-Santa Barbara, there was no vaccine against the disease sold in the U.S. Despite its availability abroad, it had never been licensed in the country due to its limited marketability.Scientific evidence supporting an absolute need to immunize against meningitis B still falls short. The risk of contracting it is smaller than that of being involved in a car crash. Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. By Shefali Luthra — Kaiser Health News Sept. 8, 2017 Reprints What’s included? Families sending kids to college get mixed messages on meningitis B vaccine Unlock this article — plus daily coverage and analysis of the pharma industry — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED GET STARTED STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. Pharma Shefali Luthra — Kaiser Health News Log In | Learn More Damian Dovarganes/AP About the Author Reprints What is it?
Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. By Ed Silverman May 2, 2018 Reprints Pharmalittle: Novartis wins added use for its CAR-T drug; former Valeant exec faces a fraud trial What is it? Rise and shine, everyone. The middle of the week is upon us. Have heart, though. You made it this far, so why not hang on for another couple of days, yes? And what better way to make the time fly than to keep busy. So grab that cup of stimulation — our flavor today boasts the aroma of blueberries — and get started. Meanwhile, do keep us in mind if you hear anything interesting. Hope you have a productive and meaningful day …The fraud trial of a former Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) executive is set to begin this week in Manhattan federal court, the first criminal prosecution to emerge from multiple investigations into the embattled drug maker over its sales practices, The Wall Street Journal writes. Using a statute often applied to public corruption cases, prosecutors accused Gary Tanner and a co-defendant, Andrew Davenport, of defrauding Valeant through an alleged multimillion-dollar kickback scheme involving Philidor Rx Services, a specialty mail-order pharmacy. Unlock this article — plus daily coverage and analysis of the pharma industry — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. What’s included? STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. Pharmalot Log In | Learn More GET STARTED Tags legalopioidspharmaceuticalspharmalittleSTAT+ About the Author Reprints @Pharmalot Alex Hogan/STAT [email protected] Ed Silverman