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Crohn's Disease and Racial Disparity

Posted on March 18 2015

Researchers working in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health have identified a difference in the effect of Crohn's Disease on black vs. white children. According to the reviewed data, the digestive system disease may affect black children more than whites leading to hospital readmission and additional procedures.


In a review of over 4,000 cases of moderate to severe Crohn's Disease in children under age 21, it was found that black children were 1.5 times more likely to be readmitted to the hospital for treatment. Additionally, the number of procedures including endoscopy, blood transfusion, steroid and biologic treatments was higher among black children.


The effect on race on Crohn's Disease in children is noticeable at the macro level, however, researchers feel it is unlikely to be picked up on by individual practitioners. Though the gastrointestinal illness does seem to affect black children more than white children, researchers are working to pinpoint whether this is biological, or environmental. One fact noted was that the black children diagnosed with Crohn's Disease were older than whites in the same test group which may indicate later recognition and treatment which could cause additional complications.


Increased access to medical care and new technologies such as probiotic supplements may help to reduce the effects of Crohn's Disease on children. Daily care routines may be more significant than any racial disparity that may exist as the rates of surgery for the condition did not vary between races.


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