Studies Address Health Disparities in Asthma Educational Materials, Vascular Disease
The following summarizes recent studies that discuss racial disparities in asthma educational materials and vascular disease.
- Asthma: Asthma health educational materials targeted toward minorities need to be culturally focused in order to be effective, according to a study published in the latest issue of Ethnicity and Disease, United Press International reports. For the report, lead researcher Jane Brotanek of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and colleagues identified 17 asthma educational brochures targeting minority children and their families in Wisconsin. Of the brochures, 15 were targeted toward Hispanics, one was targeted toward American Indians and none were targeted at blacks. Researchers found that the brochures targeting American Indians did not include cultural issues, such as the group's general distrust of asthma medications or a practice called smudging, a cleansing ritual that burns sage and other herbs to treat asthma. Brotanek said, "Some Navajo families in particular don't see asthma as a chronic disease, so they don't use daily controller medication to keep it in check," adding, "They fear their child will become dependent on the medicine, so some parents even try to wean their child off the medicine." Researchers also found that the Hispanic brochures included Spanish translation errors (United Press International, 11/19). An abstract of the study is available online (.pdf).
- Vascular disease: Hispanics are less likely than whites to undergo vascular surgery, have less favorable outcomes from treatment and often have advanced stages of vascular disease once they do seek treatment, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of Vascular Surgery, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report reports. The study, led by Nicholas Morrissey, director of clinical trials and a vascular surgeon at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, focused on three common vascular surgery procedures -- lower extremity revascularization, carotid revascularization and abdominal aortic aneurysm repair. The procedures were performed at hospitals in New York and in Florida between 2000 and 2004. Following lower extremity revascularization, Hispanics had a 6.2% amputation rate, compared with 3.4% for whites. Hispanics also had a 5% death rate after elective abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery, compared with 3.4% among whites. Hispanics also were two times more likely than whites to seek treatment after already developing advanced vascular disease and had longer hospital recovery stays, according to the study. Researchers said the differences might be related to a number of socioeconomic and genetic factors (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 11/16). An abstract of the study is available online.