C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Blood Test Used In Racial Discrimination Study

This article describes how the C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test is used in a unique study to correlate heart disease with racial discrimination.  The CRP blood test is a an excellent indicator of inflammation in the blood and high levels most likely indicate heart disease in the participants.  It is however a highly questionable study and conclusion. 

Racial bias tied to levels of inflammation protein

Boston Globe: February 8, 2010

Experiencing frequent racial discrimination, from signs of disrespect to outright harassment, has been linked to poor health. A new study pinpoints one protein that may be involved in higher rates of cardiovascular disease among people facing racial bias.

Tene Lewis of the Yale School of Public Health led a team that asked almost 300 African-Americans, whose average age was 73, about discrimination they felt in their daily lives. The participants filled out questionnaires, had physical exams, answered questions about their medical histories, and gave blood samples that were used to determine levels of C-reactive protein, or CRP. The protein, which increases with inflammation, has been tied to cardiovascular disease.

Participants were divided into high-, moderate- and low-discrimination groups, and those who reported experiencing the highest level of discrimination had CRP values that were 60 percent higher than those in the low-discrimination group, the researchers found. The correlation between more discrimination and higher CRP held true after accounting for other factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure, other heart disease, and signs of depression.

BOTTOM LINE: Older African-Americans who experienced everyday racial discrimination had higher levels of a protein associated with inflammation and heart disease than similar people who reported less bias.

CAUTIONS: The results might not apply to younger people or members of other racial or ethnic groups.

WHAT’S NEXT: More research is needed to study the relationship of discrimination and CRP over a longer period of time.

ELIZABETH COONEY

http://www.boston.com/news/health/articles/2010/02/08/racial_bias_tied_to_levels_of_inflammation_protein/

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