New Study Underway Examining How Social Factors May Effect Genes and Lupus Outcomes in African American Women
A new study investigating the potential influence of social, behavioral and environmental factors on how genes work (gene expression) and affect lupus outcomes in African American women is underway. The Social Factors, Epigenomics and Lupus in African American Women Study aims to evaluate the effects of racial discrimination and social support on lupus outcomes through changes in gene expression. African American women are three to four times more likely to develop lupus. The disproportionate impact of lupus on this community remains hard to identify.
A group of 600 African American women with lupus will be recruited and monitored. All participants will be asked to complete questionnaires about their sociodemographic background and behaviors, such as education, ethnicity, marital status, physical activity, and gender identity. Researchers hope the data collected will help to identify behavioral and environmental biomarkers associated with both positive and negative social factors that affect gene expression.
To date, most lupus research has focused on biological factors without looking at the influence of socioeconomic determinants and social stressors which contribute to disparities in lupus outcomes. The findings from this study will help identify positive and negative impacts that influence health trajectories in health disparate populations, such as African American women. The Lupus Foundation of America is committed to helping end disparities in health care, for more information click here.