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South African Dental Journal

On-line version ISSN 0375-1562
Print version ISSN 0011-8516


FELLER, L et al. Race/Ethnicity in biomedical research and clinical practice. S. Afr. dent. j. [online]. 2014, vol.69, n.6, pp.272-274. ISSN 0375-1562.

There is ongoing debate as to whether persons of different racial/ethnic groups are biologically significantly different, and, if such differences exist, whether they are relevant in relation to disease susceptibility and to treatment outcomes. There is also debate about the benefits of using race/ethnicity as a factor in clinical decision making, and as a variable in biomedical or public health research, because of the emotional sensitivities attached to race/ethnic categorisation. Such categorisation may also divert attention from underlying issues such as socioeconomic status and lack of access to modern health care. In this short article we will discuss these controversies, and will emphasize the importance of responsible and sensitive use of race/ethnicity as a variable in biomedical research and in clinical practice.

Keywords : race; ethnicity; biomedical research; BRCA; Tay-Sachs.

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