Thyroid disease risk varies among blacks, Asians, whites
An analysis that included active military personnel finds that the rate of the thyroid disorder Graves disease is more common among blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders compared with whites, according to a study in the April 16 issue of JAMA.
Donald S. A. McLeod, F.R.A.C.P., M.P.H., of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Queensland, Australia and colleagues studied all U.S. active duty military, ages 20 to 54 years, from January 1997 to December 2011 to determine the rate of Graves disease and Hashimoto thyroiditis (a progressive autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland) by race/ethnicity. Cases were identified from data in the Defense Medical Surveillance System, which maintains comprehensive records of inpatient and outpatient medical diagnoses among all active-duty military personnel. The relationship between Graves disease and race/ethnicity has previously not been known.
During the study period there were 1,378 cases of Graves disease in women and 1,388 cases in men and 758 cases of Hashimoto thyroiditis in women and 548 cases in men. Compared with whites, the incident rates for Graves disease was significantly higher among blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders. In contrast, Hashimoto thyroiditis incidence was highest in whites and lowest in blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders.
The authors write that the differences in incidence by race/ethnicity found in this study may be due to different environmental exposures, genetics, or a combination of both.
Michelle Obama’s mom says she was wary of ‘biracial’ Barack, but glad he wasn’t ‘completely white’
An interview Michelle Obama’s mother gave during the 2004 Chicago Senate has resurfaced thanks to a new book about the first lady, and it brings new attention to Marion Robinson‘s misgivings about her daughter’s marriage to the biracial Barack Obama.
Robinson, now 77, said she was wary about her daughter marrying Obama, who had a black father and white mom, but it could have been worse.
“That didn’t concern me as much as had he been completely white,” she said during the interview with WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight,” which was unearthed by Michelle Obama biographer Peter Slevin .
“I guess that I worry about races mixing because of the difficulty, not for, so much for prejudice or anything,” she added. “It’s just very hard.”
Slevin wrote that Obama’s interracial background wasn’t enough to make Robinson oppose the marriage, according to the Daily News.
“Marian, no pushover, was favorably impressed with Barack.” he wrote.
Robinson famously moved in with the first family when they moved into the White House in 2008.
The book, “Michelle Obama: A Life,” is due to hit bookstores April 7.
Apparently Black is also beautiful in Japan, despite the nation’s reputation for a lack of diversity.
Ariana Miyamoto, daughter of a Japanese mother and African-American father, recently became the first multiracial contestant to be crowned Miss Universe Japan, according to news reports. The former Miss Nagasaki will represent Japan in the 2015 Miss Universe pageant.
Local media describe the 20-year-old as a “saishoku kenbi,” a woman blessed with both intelligence and beauty. She holds a fifth-degree mastery of Japanese calligraphy, according to JapanToday.com.
But there have been mixed reactions to a “hāfu,” the Japanese word used to refer to half-Japanese individuals, representing the country.
“The selection of Ariana Miyamoto as this year’s Miss Universe Japan is a huge step forward in expanding the definition of what it means to be Japanese,” Megumi Nishikura, filmmaker and co-director of the film “Hafu: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan,” told NBC News. “The controversy that has erupted over her selection is a great opportunity for us Japanese to examine how far we have come from our self-perpetuated myth of homogeneity while at the same time it shows us how much further we have to go.”
The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has reported that one in 49 babies born in Japan today are born into families with one non-Japanese parent, according to “Hafu.”
While the nation remains a center of global tourism and trade, it remains skeptical of diversity and actually prides itself on its homogeneity—more than 98 percent of the population comprise Japanese nationals, according to Vox.com. As such, it has a long and complicated history of racism.
CDC: Cancer Incidence and Survival Improve; Racial Disparities Persist
Numerous states have achieved Healthy People 2020 goals for colorectal and cervical cancer incidence, and the proportion of persons with cancer who survive at least 5 years after diagnosis has reached 65%, but racial disparities in survival persist, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
An analysis of data from the U.S. Cancer Statistics for 2011 – the most recent data available – showed that a total of 1,532,066 invasive cancers were reported to cancer registries in the United States that year (annual incidence rate, 451 per 100,000 persons). Invasive cancers were considered all cancers except in situ cancers (excluding situ cancers in the urinary bladder) and basal and squamous cell cancers.
Incidence rates were higher for men than for women (508 vs. 410 per 100,000), and were highest among blacks (458 per 100,000). The 5-year survival rate, calculated for cases diagnosed between 2003 and 2010, was similar among men and women at 65%, but lower among blacks (60%) for every cancer site, S. Jane Henley of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC, Atlanta and her colleagues reported in the March 13 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Survival was highest among those diagnosed before age 45 years (81%) and decreased with increasing age.
The most common cancer reported was prostate cancer (128 per 100,000 men), followed by female breast cancer (122 per 100,000 women), lung and bronchus cancer (61 per 100,000 persons), and colon and rectum cancer (40 per 100,000 persons). Together these cancers accounted for half of those diagnosed in 2011, and 5-year relative survival in patients diagnosed with these cancers was highest for prostate cancer (97%) and breast cancer (88%), the investigators said (MMWR 2015;63:237-42).
Survival was intermediate for colorectal cancer (63%) and lowest for lung cancer (18%).
The cervical cancer incidence rate was 7.5 per 100,000 the authors noted.
A geographic breakdown shows that incidence ranged from 374 per 100,000 persons in New Mexico to 509 per 100,000 persons in Washington, D.C.
“Healthy People 2020 targets were reached in 37 states for incidence of colorectal cancer and in 28 states for incidence of cervical cancer,” they wrote, noting that this report is the first to include incidence rates in Puerto Rico; those rates were lower for all cancer sites, compared with the states and the District of Columbia (339 per 100,000 persons) – a finding that reflects screening practices and risk factors that may differ from in the states.
The inclusion of survival data is also a first and provides a basis for tracking progress.
“Cancer incidence and survival data can guide the planning and evaluation of cancer prevention and control programs,” the authors said, adding that such data can also assist in long-term planning for cancer diagnostic and treatment services, and help public health officials set priorities for allocating health resources.
Though limited by potential systematic misclassification of race and ethnicity, by the possibility that cancer reporting was delayed thus leading to underestimation of certain cancers, and by the fact that relative survival rates were calculated only for white and black racial groups due to lack of accurate life tables for other racial/ethnic groups, the findings are nonetheless important for helping public health officials to monitor cancer incidence, mortality, and survival and to identify populations that might benefit most from targeted prevention and control efforts, they said.
The findings can also help guide the planning of health care allocation and support services and track progress toward Healthy People 2020 goals, they added.
Dr. Lisa Richardson, the director of the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control further stressed the value of monitoring cancer incidence and survival rates in a statement.
“These data are an important reminder that a key to surviving with cancer is making sure everyone has access to care from early diagnosis to treatment. We know, for example, that early detection of colorectal cancer has had the largest impact on long-term survival rates,” she said.
Attention Awesome Kids! This Is the Princess Story for You.
When Princess Gloria Cheng Epstein Takahara de la Garza Champion encounters a dragon trying to burn down her castle in filmmaker and writer Greg Pak’s new children’s picture book, “The Princess Who Saved Herself,” she, understandably, is frightened. Rather than wait for her knight in shining armor, she catches the dragon by the tail, ties him to a tree, scolds him – making him cry. He apologized, she graciously accepts, and now they’re friends.
Based on a song by singer/songwriter Jonathan Coulton, and illustrated by artist Takeshi Miyazawa, “The Princess Who Saved Herself,” is, according to Pak, “exploding the princess myth for a new generation of awesome kids.”
“The beautiful thing that pulled me into Jonathan Coulton’s ‘Princess Who Saved Herself’ song is that its heroine is this awesome, proactive kid who tackles every challenge with fearlessness and aplomb — not hesitating to kick a dragon’s butt if necessary,” Pak told NBC News. “But ultimately, she deals with every problem with compassion.”
In addition to saving herself from the usual storybook challenges like the dragon with terrible breath and an evil hipster queen who only likes classical guitar, this princess is also notable for her multiracial and multiethnic heritage.
“She’s an awesome, scrappy, fun, everyday kid who happens to be multiracial,” said Pak, who is also multiracial and for whom characters of color meant a lot, “And that’s still a rarity in children’s books and American pop culture in general, so it was nice to have the chance to ‘cast’ the book the way we did.”
We are almost ready for Multiracial Heritage Week (#MHW15), which will take place from June 7-14, 2015! We have volunteers signed up from 18 states and the District of Columbia! This is your last chance to sign up and be part of history.
We need volunteers from every state to help gain official recognition. You can help get MULTIRACIAL HERITAGE WEEK in your state.
***Volunteers from each state will receive a cool pack of
Crayola Multicultural Crayons. ***
It’s so easy! Just click on this link to be part of history!
Family of Tony Robinson emphasize his bi-racial background
MADISON, WI –Tony Robinson’s death has been portrayed nationally as a black man killed by a white Madison police officer.
But at a news conference Monday, his family kept emphasizing that the 19-year-old Robinson was the bi-racial product of a black father and a white mother — and he embraced the identity of a mixed race.
Robinson was unarmed on Friday night when Madison officer Matt Kenny responded, after reports that the teen jumped in and out of traffic and hit someone. Police said Robinson attacked the officer, and Kenny shot him to death.
Monday, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval apologized to Robinson’s family and did not admit wrongdoing.
The incident has further exposed a racial divide in a liberal city that celebrates a progressive history. African-Americans make up about 7 percent of Madison’s population, but they’re on the short end of long gaps in student test scores, graduation rates, and arrests and incarcerations.
Congressman Mark Pocan lives just a few blocks from Williamson Street, where the shooting took place. Pocan notes that Madison’s black men get arrested at 8 times the rate of whites — and he hopes the tragedy will create an opportunity for the community to grow “stronger together.”
Peaceful protests continue, including a State Capitol rally Monday in which about 1,500 people showed up — many of them students leaving school.
The state Justice Department continues to investigate the shooting.
We are confronted with diversity on a daily basis in the practice of medicine. Patients present for evaluation of symptoms or for preventive care. The health professional takes in myriad strands of information in routine decision-making. In a broader sense, this is encompassed in the concept of personalized medicine: customized interventions based on one’s genetic makeup and/or lifestyle choices. Personalized medicine has now become sufficiently mainstream to be featured in the recent State of the Union address. Two recent papers highlight this concept for the eye care professional.1-2
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is a frequently used medication in primary care. Patients on HCQ therapy for inflammatory conditions should be referred to ocular specialists for preventive eye care through monitoring for retinal toxicity; the classic finding of toxicity is parafoveal bull’s eye retinopathy. Lee and colleagues evaluated spectral domain optical coherence tomography, fundus autofluorescence, and visual field records of Koreans referred for HCQ retinal screening.1 Of interest were the 9 of 218 patients (4.1%) with toxicity, 8 of whom (89%) had a pericentral, not parafoveal, pattern of retinal change. Accordingly, screening processes may need to be adapted for patients of Asian heritage.
The more we learn about glaucoma—a leading cause of blindness in African Americans—the more we appreciate it as a multifactorial optic neuropathy. To further explore potential racial differences in underlying conditions associated with glaucoma, a retrospective analysis was conductive using ocular blood flow data from glaucoma patients of European and African descent.2 Across several measures using Doppler imaging, African Americans had significantly reduced retrobulbar blood flow compared with patients of European descent, even though no differences were found in intraocular pressure or in visual field parameters.
Race and ethnicity are often used, and sometime inappropriately used, as proxies for genetic makeup. However, as these two studies show, significant differences can exist across racial boundaries. This allows for wider consideration of the possibilities that exist in screening approaches or pathologic mechanisms. This is an important first step in realizing the promise of personalized medicine.