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Black Americans Still Wary of Clinical Trials
Date:1/14/2008

Study shows distrust of researchers lingers from infamous Tuskegee experiment

MONDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Black Americans continue to distrust medical research and clinical trials, apparently a lasting legacy of the infamous Tuskegee experiment which was shut down more than three decades ago, a new study shows.

Ironically, such attitudes are keeping minorities from participating in current clinical trials that could save their lives, the researchers added.

"We found that minorities are 200 percent more likely to perceive harm coming from participating in research," said senior study author Dr. Neil Powe, a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

While previous studies had shown that black Americans and other minorities are less likely to be enrolled in clinical trials, this study, appearing in Jan. 14 online issue of Medicine, helps explain why.

"This is new knowledge, obtained with appropriate methods in a large sample," said Dr. William Cunningham, a professor of medicine and public health at the UCLA School of Medicine. "This study provides direct evidence that distrust of researchers explains the lower participation of blacks in cardiovascular prevention trials research. This looks like an important study."

"This provides a database to support what we think is going on with respect to concerns of the minority community," said Dr. James Powell, principal investigator of Project IMPACT (Increase Minority Participation and Awareness in Clinical Trials). The project is a program of the National Medical Association, which represents black physicians and their patients. "Mistrust comes up not only with respect to clinical trials, but also with respect to interacting with the medical establishment. This leads to people not seeing a physician when they really need to."

Black Americans tend to be under-represented in clinical trials, which are
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