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Black male incarceration can compromise research studies
Date:5/6/2014

Federal restrictions on including prisoners in medical research have negatively impacted research involving black men, who are disproportionately imprisoned, according to a study by Yale School of Medicine researchers. Because individuals who are already in ongoing studies must be dropped if they are incarcerated, this compromises the ability of researchers to examine racial disparities in health outcomes studies.

Published in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs, the study found that during the past three decades, high rates of incarceration of black men may have accounted for up to 65% of the loss of follow-up among this group. Conditions such as cardiovascular disease and sickle cell disease are more common among black men than in white men, and have complex factors that influence illness and death. This makes it important for analysts to have access to a large number of cases so that they can draw statistically significant conclusions, say the researchers.

"A black man who begins a research study is less likely to follow up because he is statistically more likely to be jailed or imprisoned during the study than his white counterpart," said the study's first author Emily Wang, M.D., assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine. The impact of incarceration on health outcome studies was far less among white men, white women, and black women.

Government regulations bar study subjects from participating once they are incarcerated, unless the study investigators apply for special permission through their institutional review board (IRB). If studies do not specify otherwise, community-recruited participants who enroll in studies cannot be followed while they are incarcerated. In certain jurisdictions, they cannot be followed after their release.

Wang and her co-authors examined the protocols of a group of studies funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. They looked for studies that had receiv
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Contact: Karen N. Peart
karen.peart@yale.edu
203-432-1326
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert  

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