A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Asthma Disparities Higher among US-Born Blacks in Dorchester

Asthma Disparities Higher among US-Born Blacks in Dorchester

December 4, 2008

A new study led by Tufts researcher Doug Brugge, Ph.D. paints a complex picture of intra-racial asthma disparities among black residents of Dorchester. Administering 479 verbal surveys and collecting self reported race/ethnicity data, Brugge finds American born blacks are more likely to have asthma than those blacks born outside of the country. A number of factors may contribute to this disparity, including differences in immune system sensitivity due to prior exposures from conditions in a home country. The finding is consistent with earlier research that showed a similar disparity within US and foreign born Asian and Latino populations.

Dr. George O’Connor, director of the Adult Asthma Program at Boston Medical Center notes in the Boston Globe coverage of the findings “There may be a price to be paid for growing up in a more sterile, hygienic environment with fewer infections as a child…And the price to be paid is that your immune system may develop more along the lines of promoting allergic responses."

The study was published in the November Journal of Asthma.
Camille Watson