Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Trump, the politics of fear and racism: How our brains can be manipulated to tribalism

In situations perceived as dangerous humans have historically tended to trust others in one tribe and authorities of kindred spirits. The downside is politicians seen as authorities (even when they are not) can exploit this trust for their own gain. Politicians will go so far as to dehumanize those outside one’s tribe and portray “the other’ as less worthy and the enemy.

This thought provoking article by The Conversation** can be found at https://theconversation.com/trump-the-politics-of-fear-and-racism-how-our-brains-can-be-manipulated-to-tribalism-139811

**”Academic rigor, journalistic flair

June 12, 2020 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] The unidentified cause of one man’s hypertension: Racism

The unidentified cause of one man’s hypertension: Racism.

From the 20 January 2014 Kevin MD post

Meet Damien, my Facebook friend, photographer, and IT guy.

This morning, he messages me: “I would like to make an appointment.”

I reply: “For?”

“High blood pressure.”

 

I offer to see him, but he never comes in. Weeks later, he writes, “I got busy Pam. How are you? High blood pressure pills keep making me sick. I am doing the best I can. On bad days it is like 208/118.”

Friends don’t let Facebook friends die. And 208/118 is incompatible with life. I’m a family doc–a-sleuth. It’s my job to spy on people. On Damien’s page, I find a dozen photos of lynchings — his reaction to today’s Trayvon Martin verdict. A black boy murdered in a land where killers roam free. Trayvon died a senseless death, but Damien shouldn’t have to. I suspect today is a bad day for Damien’s arteries. So I call him up. “I’m worried about you, man. I’m coming over to check on you tonight.” An hour later, I’m in his living room.

…..

July 20, 2014 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

[Repost] Racism may accelerate aging in African-American men

Racism may accelerate aging in African-American men.

From the 15 January posting at the University of Maryland Web site

MD-led study is first to link racism-related factors and cellular age

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 5.28.01 AMCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – A new University of Maryland-led study reveals that racism may impact aging at the cellular level. Researchers found signs of accelerated aging in African American men who reported high levels of racial discrimination and who had internalized anti-Black attitudes. Findings from the study, which is the first to link racism-related factors and biological aging, are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Racial disparities in health are well-documented, with African Americans having shorter life expectancy, and a greater likelihood of suffering from aging-related illnesses at younger ages compared to whites. Accelerated aging at the biological level may be one mechanism linking racism and disease risk.

“We examined a biomarker of systemic aging, known as leukocyte telomere length,” explained Dr. David H. Chae, assistant professor of epidemiology at UMD’s School of Public Health and the study’s lead investigator. Shorter telomere length is associated with increased risk of premature death and chronic disease such as diabetes, dementia, stroke and heart disease.  “We found that the African American men who experienced greater racial discrimination and who displayed a stronger bias against their own racial group had the shortest telomeres of those studied,” Chae explained.

Even after adjusting for participants’ chronological age, socioeconomic factors, and health-related characteristics, investigators found that the combination of high racial discrimination and anti-black bias was associated with shorter telomeres. On the other hand, the data revealed that racial discrimination had little relationship with telomere length among those holding pro-black attitudes. “African American men who have more positive views of their racial group may be buffered from the negative impact of racial discrimination,” explained Chae. “In contrast, those who have internalized an anti-black bias may be less able to cope with racist experiences, which may result in greater stress and shorter telomeres.”

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 5.30.04 AMThe findings from this study are timely in light of regular mediareports of racism facing African American men. “Stop-and-friskpolicies, and other forms of criminal profiling such as ‘driving orshopping while black’ are inherently stressful and have a real impact on the health of African Americans,” said Chae. Researchers found that racial discrimination by police was most commonly reported by participants in the study, followed by discrimination in employment. In addition, African American men are more routinely treated with less courtesy or respect, and experience other daily hassles related to racism.

Chae indicated the need for additional research to replicate findings, including larger studies that follow participants over time. “Despite the limitations of our study, we contribute to a growing body of research showing that social toxins disproportionately impacting African American men are harmful to health,” Chae explained. “Our findings suggest that racism literally makes people old.”

Read the entire article here

 

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January 21, 2014 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

[Research article] Racism, Gun Ownership and Gun Control: Biased Attitudes in US Whites May Influence Policy Decisions

From the Open Access article at the Public Library of Science (PloS)

Abstract

Objective

Racism is related to policies preferences and behaviors that adversely affect blacks and appear related to a fear of blacks (e.g., increased policing, death penalty). This study examined whether racism is also related to gun ownership and opposition to gun controls in US whites.

Method

The most recent data from the American National Election Study, a large representative US sample, was used to test relationships between racism, gun ownership, and opposition to gun control in US whites. Explanatory variables known to be related to gun ownership and gun control opposition (i.e., age, gender, education, income, conservatism, anti-government sentiment, southern vs. other states, political identification) were entered in logistic regression models, along with measures of racism, and the stereotype of blacks as violent. Outcome variables included; having a gun in the home, opposition to bans on handguns in the home, support for permits to carry concealed handguns.

Results

After accounting for all explanatory variables, logistic regressions found that for each 1 point increase in symbolic racism there was a 50% increase in the odds of having a gun at home. After also accounting for having a gun in the home, there was still a 28% increase in support for permits to carry concealed handguns, for each one point increase in symbolic racism. The relationship between symbolic racism and opposition to banning handguns in the home (OR1.27 CI 1.03,1.58) was reduced to non-significant after accounting for having a gun in the home (OR1.17 CI.94,1.46), which likely represents self-interest in retaining property (guns).

Conclusions

Symbolic racism was related to having a gun in the home and opposition to gun control policies in US whites. The findings help explain US whites’ paradoxical attitudes towards gun ownership and gun control. Such attitudes may adversely influence US gun control policy debates and decisions.

 

Editor: Brock Bastian, University of Queensland, Australia

 

Received: May 3, 2013; Accepted: September 7, 2013; Published: October 31, 2013

Copyright: © 2013 O’Brien et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: These authors have no support or funding to report.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist

 

 

November 1, 2013 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Psychology | , , , , | 1 Comment

New book busts myths about sex, race and violence

From the 9 May 2012 Eureka News Alert

here are three pervasive myths about human nature centered on sex, aggression and race. They are:

  1. Men and women are truly different in behavior, desires and wiring.
  2. Humans are divided into biological races (white, black, Asian, etc.).
  3. Humans, especially males, are aggressive by nature.

 

A new book by University of Notre Dame Anthropology Professor Agustín Fuentes titled “Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature” (University of California Press, 2012) counters these pernicious myths and tackles misconceptions about what race, aggression and sex really mean for humans.

Presenting scientific evidence from diverse fields, including anthropology, biology and psychology, Fuentes incorporates an accessible understanding of culture, genetics and evolution, requiring us to dispose of notions of “nature or nurture.”

Fuentes devises a myth-busting toolkit to dismantle persistent fallacies about the validity of biological races, the innateness of aggression and violence, and the nature of monogamy and differences between the sexes. He includes a list of the most common misperceptions about human nature on race, sex and violence, and counters those myths with a myth buster….

May 14, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Discrimination may harm your health

Discrimination may harm your health

Excerpt from the 12 January 2012 Science Daily news item

Racial discrimination may be harmful to your health, according to new research from Rice University sociologists Jenifer Bratter and Bridget Gorman.

n the study, “Is Discrimination an Equal Opportunity Risk? Racial Experiences, Socio-economic Status and Health Status Among Black and White Adults,” the authors examined data containing measures of social class, race and perceived discriminatory behavior and found that approximately 18 percent of blacks and 4 percent of whites reported higher levels of emotional upset and/or physical symptoms due to race-based treatment.

“Discriminatory behavior very well may be a ‘missing link’ in the analysis of racial and ethnic health disparities,” Bratter said. “It’s important to acknowledge and study its impact on long-term health…

A greater number of blacks report poor health due to discrimination, and the study did find that black-white disparities in health are shaped in part by the differential exposure of blacks to the harmful effects of discrimination. However, Bratter and Gorman also show that while perceiving discrimination exacerbates some of the economic-based health risks more typically experienced by black adults, patterns differ for white adults. Regardless of social-class position, white adults who perceive unfair treatment relative to other racial groups in either workplace or health care settings report poorer health.

“A relatively small proportion of white adults report unfair treatment that is race-based, but those who do say their health status is harmed more than blacks who report the same experiences,” Gorman said.

 

January 27, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Both Sexism And Racism Are Similar Mental Processes

From a November 9, 2011 article at Medical News Today

Prejudiced attitudes are based on generalised suppositions about certain social groups and could well be a personality trait. Researchers at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU, Spain) have confirmed the link between two types of discriminatory behaviour: sexism and racism. They also advise of the need for education in encouraging equality.

Maite Garaigordobil, professor of Psychological Testing at the UPV, is the co-author of this study which explores the link that sexism has with racism and other variables. She explains that “people who are highly sexist, whether they be hostile (seeing women as the inferior sex) or benevolent (believing that women are the weaker sex and need to be protected and cared for), also have racist tendencies”.

The results of the study show that both processes are closely related and that they are likely to be based on more general beliefs about relationships between different social groups. Garaigordobil states that “the results even suggest that such prejudiced attitudes could be a personality trait.”

The results of the study show that both processes are closely related and that they are likely to be based on more general beliefs about relationships between different social groups. Garaigordobil states that “the results even suggest that such prejudiced attitudes could be a personality trait.”

“Sexism is linked to authoritarianism and a leaning towards social dominance,” explains the author. “In other words, sexist people accept hierarchies and social inequality, they believe that different social groups have a status that they deserve and they feel that the social class to which they belong is the best.”

During the study it was also confirmed that sexism is related to low intercultural sensitivity. Sexist people show low levels of involvement when it comes to interacting with immigrants. The also present low levels of respect for differences, confidence towards immigrants and desire to interact with them…..

Read the entire article here

November 12, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Psychology | , , | Leave a comment

   

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