Studies Examine Diagnosis of Eating Disorders, Care for Black Veterans, Treatment for Cirrhosis
- Eating disorders: Eating disorders often are overlooked in minorities and males, according to research expected to be presented at the annual International Eating Disorder Conference. Researchers at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the Stanford University School of Medicine performed two separate studies on eating disorders -- one based on gender and the other based on ethnicity. In the ethnicity study, researchers used a Web-based survey to determine the eating disorder experiences of people who visited sites promoting eating disorders. According to the research, although American Indians and Alaskan Natives made up a very small portion of the overall sample, they were significantly more likely than whites to use laxatives to maintain their weight. Of this group, 46.7% had at least one eating disorder-related hospitalization, compared with 13.2% of whites. Researchers found that most treatment and methods of diagnosing eating disorders are designed for teenage white females (Stanford University School of Medicine release, 5/3).
- "Health Care Experiences and Health Status of African-American Veterans," Northeastern University Institute on Urban Health Research: Seventy-eight percent of black veterans reported instances of racial discrimination while receiving health care services, according to a report requested by the Tri Ad Veterans League, a grassroots group of black veterans. The report was funded in part by the Boston Public Health Commission and Northeastern University Institute on Urban Health Research. Lead researcher Nathaniel Rickles, an assistant professor of pharmacy at Northeastern, and colleagues found that on average most participants reported being moderately satisfied with the care they received. However, many veterans indicated a lack of confidence in physicians' diagnoses and dissatisfaction with access to medical specialists, the time their doctors spent with them and receiving timely medical care, according to the report. Researchers also "found that there is a strong connection between perceived discrimination and the level of physical functioning of our respondents, which may be due to a delay in getting the services they need," Rickles said. Researchers recommended further research to assess the situation (Northeastern University release, 5/3).
- "Racial Disparities in the Management of Hospitalized Patients With Cirrhosis and Complications of Portal Hypertension: A National Study," Hepatology: Blacks and Hispanics with cirrhosis of the liver and complications from a certain type of hypertension are less likely than whites to receive recommended transplants and palliative treatment, according to a study published in the May issue of Hepatology. People with liver disease should be considered for liver transplants and while they are awaiting the operation should receive certain palliative treatments. For the report, lead researcher Paul Thuluvath of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and colleagues examined a population-based sample of patients with cirrhosis who were hospitalized for complications of portal hypertension. They found that compared with whites, blacks and Hispanics had lower odds of undergoing a portosystemic shunt and receiving a liver transplant. In addition, blacks were more likely than whites to die in the hospital, while Hispanics were less likely than whites to die in the hospital. Researchers said they could not determine the reason for the disparities but added, "We have shown that there are striking racial variations in surgical and endoscopic procedures used in the inpatient management of complications of portal hypertension in the" U.S. (American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases release, 5/1).