Activity Post

This weeks readings were extremely informative and interesting. I never knew that different races were treated differently in the medicinal field. It opens my eyes to read about all the unfairness and trouble that non whites have had to endure throughout their life. They were never given a real chance, and I hope that changes in the near future. I chose the article “On Race and Medicine,” by Keith Norris because it relates to what we have been talking about in class. “On Race and Medicine,” describes how race is a concept, not a biological phenomenon. Unlike gender, age and sex, race is something humans have invented as a way of classifying different people by their skin color and physical features.. Since race and ethnicity do not have conscious criteria to be defined by, it is nearly impossible to prescribe medicine based on this. Age, sex and gender however, are strongly associated with biological differences that have significant impact on disease susceptibility. The article stated that Management and Budget (OMB) defines race as a “set of self-identified racial/ethnic classifications, and many researchers argue that it is a crude tool in medical genetics.” Eventually medicine will be very precise to the biology of the person and not their race. The article stated that in the future that medicine will be so personalized that it will fit to each individual person like a “fingerprint.” Still much is being learned from doctors and progress is being made, but we are still quite a ways away. The author of the article, Norris, believes that “for now, the inclusion of race and ethnicity in medical research, like age, gender, and other characteristics, inches us closer to a system of personalized medicine that will truly embrace the multiple dimensions that influence our health and well-being.”

9 thoughts on “Activity Post

  1. I appreciated your thought on how science and medicine more specially should be free from bias. I thought it was very important for the article to mention that race cannot be proven or exact and therefore you cannot base science which aims to be unbiased and based on factual information on it. Race for example is “skin deep” and if it is then a physical cannot treat their patients differently. I think however the problem lies in the doctor’s minds. Just like all citizens doctors are people with their own set of ideas and beliefs so their thinking can skew their treatment of their practice. I remember one example from another class where doctors less than 60 years ago would try and sterilize Black men and women and try to get them to attend the service by saying they really needed it to live a long, healthy life, but in fact they were trying to prevent them from having children and therefore not passing a gene on to the next generation. I can’t think of a more heinous act that a medical professional can do. It doesn’t surprise me that people used to use science to back their claims of race and pursue that agenda, but it is in fact terrible and I hope we live in a world where one day it will be close to free of ignorance about race and instead replaced with tolerance and understanding.

  2. While reading and listening to this week’s material, it was not new to me that different people were treated differently in the field of medicine due to their so called “racial” differences. However, I thought that most of this difference in treatments was due to cultural differences that created misunderstandings and/or language differences that created rather complicated communication barriers. I did not realize how pervasive the belief is that some people are susceptible and more prone to certain diseases than others due to their “race”. Particularly in the field of medicine I find this belief to be incredibly surprising. This is because I view the medical field as being based on science, and it has already been repeatedly shown through science that “race” is a social construct and not a biological concept.

    The article you found is very interesting in regard to its stance on the “inclusion of race and ethnicity in medical research…inches us closer to a system of personalized medicine”. I find it interesting that the author of this article turns an issue that has been disadvantageous to many people into something that could eventually bring about a positive change in how the medical field treats individuals from all different backgrounds.

  3. Loved the article it was extremely insightful!!! I knew that medicine in way treated some races different as far as discrimination goes but never as far as something like the OMB. Reading about that was very interesting and I learned a lot of things about the medical field I never knew. The aspect of personalized medicine that you mentioned is a really cool concept. I would have to agree though we still have a lot of progress to be made before reaching such a point of efficient and good medicine. Also articles like this a always good to read because they help eliminate horrible untrue ideas that science may have tried to make about racial differences in the medical field. I believe I an article earlier this week that talked of med students who had false beliefs such as black skin is thicker and harder to puncture when drawing blood along with a few other silly things. In the end though awesome article, glad I choose to read this one.

  4. I read an article that was really fantastic and put the reality of race and genetics very clearly to clear up a lot of the confusion happening today about race. There are race markers in DNA. Of course, there would have to be or else we would all be the same color with very similar facial features. Race does exist genetically, however the article also stated that the difference in genes of two people from different races was about the same amount of difference that can be found in the genes of two people of the same race. This goes to show that race markers can be largely ignored as something that divides us into distinct groups. The article then went on to say that there is a lot of mixing and the concept of race we have is not actually divided among strict lines that we currently believe in. Instead, many different factors can come into play and it should be thought of more as a spectrum or maybe a river which has many different rivers leading into it to make it what it is. In the field of genetics, race and ancestry should be separated, and ancestry should be given more credit, while race should be ignored. When it comes into play in the medical field, race is simply a “best guess” but by no means is anything definitive when it comes to diseases or medications.

  5. I took a few minutes to read the article, an it was wonderful. Your post was very interesting to read. I like the article because it talked about how race is a concept, not a biological phenomenon. I totally agree that medicine should NEVER be based on race or ethnicity but based on what someone’s needs are. The best part in your post was “Since race and ethnicity do not have conscious criteria to be defined by, it is nearly impossible to prescribe medicine based on this.” I completely agree with this statement because it is completely impossible to look at someone’s skin color and determine and diagnosis and what kind of medicine they need, it’s just unreal. Medicine is based on biology, like how old you are and what symptoms you seem to have, not is you are a black or white person. Society has this idea of determining a certain diagnosis or disease by someone’s race. For example, they say getting sickle cell anemia is more common in African Americans. Race is not a factor in determining sickle cell. It is based on biology, which every medical situation should be based on. For things like this not to come to mind, we have to look at each other equally as humans and not as divided individuals.

  6. This article is pretty thorough in its explanation of the race concept and of the role of race in medicine. I think it ties heavily to what we have discussed this week of the study of genomes. One take away I really enjoyed from this article, was the notion of race being a socially constructed concept. The study of the genome supports the idea that race isn’t something that is innate but actually something that is formed within society. The evidence shows that there is more genetic variation within groups than across them, meaning there are differences between genomes that are found in races as well as in other races. This counteracts generalizations made about races which can stop the making of broad assumptions of groups of people.

    I also enjoyed reading where they hope the study of the genome will take them in the future. They said, they want to arrive at a point where medicine becomes so personalized, that they can find out about a person’s biologic makeup by using a single “fingerprint.” The intent is to move away from racial typecasting but in order to do so, they must continue study the genome. When I read that, I just became very enthusiastic about where science could lead us in medicine because, this could mean better diagnoses and treatment of people without usage of race.

  7. This is indeed an interesting post, I just checked this article and found it very impressive. By connecting the definition of the concepts of both race and medicine, it’s not hard to see that scientific methods plays an important role in explaining the current racial circumstances nowadays. From what I’ve read about this article, clinical trials, which were commonly conducted using predominately white male subjects. Most clinical trials, along with plenty of observational studies are now carefully set up a statistical adjustments to take into account key population characteristics, with Research results like the age, gender and race ethnicity. Even though with these sophisticated analysis, it is still uncertain whether these characteristics can accurately predict individual patient response to treatment. Meanwhile, the age and gender strong biological differences may be related to disease susceptibility and treatment significantly impact response, and therefore carefully controlled. Let’s not forget that sometimes by excluding certain groups such as children and or elderly from the test the role of race ethnicity is far less clear. In fact, under circumstances like age or gender, race standard definition has not been agreed. From my personal point of view, this is an amazing article, looking forward to finding more articles like that in the future, if it’s not too much trouble, I’ll recommend you to take a glimpse on the article I found in this week’s activity post.

  8. It is very interesting how people are treated so differently even when it comes to treating them with medicine. You say that they never had a chance and you hope that changes in the near future, what would you like to see be changed or what do you think can be done differently to make it better? I agree that race is something that society created and it is something that only society can change. People tend to put so much weight on the word that should not even exist. I thought it was very interesting how the medicine will be very precise to the biology of a person instead of race. I mean everyone’s bodies react differently to medicines anyway so I think that would be for the best. It seems that sometimes people tend to say some races are more prone to certain diseases than others, do you think that is something that should be changed too? Statics will also often lump races together. I think a lot of times people use race too much in categorizing things and that is how it becomes a word that means way more than it should. I do wonder how they will come up with techniques to personalize the medicine so much.

  9. That was a very interesting article. I never knew that race was an issue in the medical field either. Our society have made up the concept of race and it’s so sad that this concept plays such a negative part in our world today. I think it’s extremely cool that scientist are going to eventually have medicine where it will be so personalized that it will fit to each individual person like a “fingerprint.”You stated that “Since race and ethnicity do not have conscious criteria to be defined by, it is nearly impossible to prescribe medicine based on this”, that’s so true. Medicine isn’t different for different races because technically we pretty much share the same biology so there is no need for different medicine for different races. Sickle cell anima (a severe hereditary form of anemia in which a mutated form of hemoglobin distorts the red blood cells into a crescent shape at low oxygen levels. It is most common of those of African American decent) is one disease that does play a huge role in black people and not so much at all with white people. However, this is one aspect of medicine world where some black people with have to endure but not so much white people. Overall, I really enjoyed your post, it was extremely interesting.

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