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Whites Live Longer Than Blacks With Muscular Dystrophy

Last Updated: September 13, 2010.

Whites with muscular dystrophies live longer than blacks with the disease, and the gap has widened among males in recent decades, according to a study in the Sept. 14 issue of Neurology.

MONDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Whites with muscular dystrophies (MDs) live longer than blacks with the disease, and the gap has widened among males in recent decades, according to a study in the Sept. 14 issue of Neurology.

Aileen Kenneson, Ph.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from 18,315 MD-associated deaths in the United States during 1986 to 2005 to assess trends in age at time of death.

The researchers found that the median age at death for white females was 63 without cardiomyopathy and 53 with cardiomyopathy, compared to 52 and 37, respectively, for black females; the difference for those without cardiomyopathy was significant. The median age at death for white males was 36 without cardiomyopathy and 26 with cardiomyopathy, compared to 25 and 19, respectively, for black males. Among males, there were significant racial differences in age of death among those with cardiomyopathy and those without it. For white males, the median age at death increased by 0.2 years annually for those with cardiomyopathy and 1.3 years annually for those without cardiomyopathy. Among black males, the median age at death did not increase for those with cardiomyopathy but increased 0.3 years annually among those without cardiomyopathy.

"Contributing factors to this difference might include differences in types of MDs, rates of genetic and environmental modifiers, natural history, socioeconomic factors, and access to and use of treatment options," the authors write.

Study authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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