Birmingham Alabama has been determined to have one of the highest asthma rates per capita in the United States by the American Lung Association. The culprit is soot from pollution. High particle size pollution is the major component of soot.
New research published at the Public Library of Science web site of January 3, 2012, confirms previous research that proves that elevated asthma rates in African Americans can be partially attributed to African genetic ancestry and is the first study to show that African ancestry was associated with asthma exacerbations.
This is important to Birmingham because the majority population in Birmingham (the city proper) is African American.
One would expect the local polluters in Birmingham to use this research as an excuse to continue their pollution unabated at rates that are higher than the EPA limits. These companies have been allowed to exceed the EPA Clean Air and Water Act limits by the Riley and Bentley administration. Both government and company officials will key in on the race component and be oblivious to the term “partially”.
Asthma is a common complex condition with clear racial and ethnic differences in both prevalence and severity. Asthma consultation rates, mortality, and severe symptoms are greatly increased in African descent populations of developed countries. African ancestry has been associated with asthma, total serum IgE and lower pulmonary function in African-admixed populations. To replicate previous findings, here we aimed to examine whether African ancestry was associated with asthma susceptibility in African Americans. In addition, we examined for the first time whether African ancestry was associated with asthma exacerbations.
After filtering for self-reported ancestry and genotype data quality, samples from 1,117 self-reported African-American individuals from New York and Baltimore (394 cases, 481 controls), and Chicago (321 cases followed for asthma exacerbations) were analyzed. Genetic ancestry was estimated based on ancestry informative markers (AIMs) selected for being highly divergent among European and West African populations (95 AIMs for New York and Baltimore, and 66 independent AIMs for Chicago). Among case-control samples, the mean African ancestry was significantly higher in asthmatics than in non-asthmatics (82.0±14.0% vs. 77.8±18.1%, mean difference 4.2% [95% confidence interval (CI):2.0–6.4], p<0.0001). This association remained significant after adjusting for potential confounders (odds ratio: 4.55, 95% CI: 1.69–12.29, p = 0.003). African ancestry failed to show an association with asthma exacerbations (p = 0.965) using a model based on longitudinal data of the number of exacerbations followed over 1.5 years.
These data replicate previous findings indicating that African ancestry constitutes a risk factor for asthma and suggest that elevated asthma rates in African Americans can be partially attributed to African genetic ancestry.
African Ancestry Is Associated with Asthma Risk in African Americans
Carlos Flores1,2#*, Shwu-Fan Ma3#, María Pino-Yanes1,2, Michael S. Wade4, Lina Pérez-Méndez1,2, Rick A. Kittles5, Deli Wang6, Srinivas Papaiahgari7, Jean G. Ford7, Rajesh Kumar8, Joe G. N. Garcia4
1 CIBER de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain, 2 Research Unit, Hospital Universitario NS de Candelaria, Tenerife, Spain, 3 Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, 4 Institute for Personalized Respiratory Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, 5 Section of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, 6 Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, 7 Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America, 8 Division of Allergy and Immunology, Children’s Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
Citation: Flores C, Ma S-F, Pino-Yanes M, Wade MS, Pérez-Méndez L, et al. (2012) African Ancestry Is Associated with Asthma Risk in African Americans. PLoS ONE 7(1): e26807. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026807
Funding: This work was funded by the National Heart Lung Blood Institute NIH grants HL91899, HL58064, and GM07019, and by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation PI081383 and EMER07/001. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript