When you roll into the ER with crushing chest pain, does your skin color determine the care you get? A new study in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association suggests it very well might, though experts continue to be at odds over the impact of race in heart disease treatment.
When you’re filling out your family history at a new doctor’s office, you probably list things like your dad’s heart attack and your grandmother’s stroke. It’s a wise move, considering that family history plays a big part in your risk for certain diseases. But now medical genetics experts are asking: What about the relatives you never had?
It is 1804. A physician peers over the rims of his spectacles at his patient. She says, “Doctor, I don’t want to die. Please tell me what to do.” He replies, “Mrs. Smith, we will treat your illness with these leeches, which will cleanse your blood of the disease. That, combined with cold water dousing each night, will cure you.”
In Southern California 2 hundred years later, a cancer patient says, “Doctor, I don’t want to die. I’ve heard about a new experimental treatment being tested at Stanford, and I want to enroll in their study. If that doesn’t work, then I want to get my nutritionist and a herbalist involved.”