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Concept: African American


We show that easily accessible digital records of behavior, Facebook Likes, can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender. The analysis presented is based on a dataset of over 58,000 volunteers who provided their Facebook Likes, detailed demographic profiles, and the results of several psychometric tests. The proposed model uses dimensionality reduction for preprocessing the Likes data, which are then entered into logistic/linear regression to predict individual psychodemographic profiles from Likes. The model correctly discriminates between homosexual and heterosexual men in 88% of cases, African Americans and Caucasian Americans in 95% of cases, and between Democrat and Republican in 85% of cases. For the personality trait “Openness,” prediction accuracy is close to the test-retest accuracy of a standard personality test. We give examples of associations between attributes and Likes and discuss implications for online personalization and privacy.

Concepts: Psychology, Personality psychology, White American, Sexual orientation, African American, Neuroticism, Trait theory, Heterosexuality


Background For more than a decade, risk stratification for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has been enhanced by targeted genetic testing. Using sequencing results, clinicians routinely assess the risk of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in a patient’s relatives and diagnose the condition in patients who have ambiguous clinical presentations. However, the benefits of genetic testing come with the risk that variants may be misclassified. Methods Using publicly accessible exome data, we identified variants that have previously been considered causal in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and that are overrepresented in the general population. We studied these variants in diverse populations and reevaluated their initial ascertainments in the medical literature. We reviewed patient records at a leading genetic-testing laboratory for occurrences of these variants during the near-decade-long history of the laboratory. Results Multiple patients, all of whom were of African or unspecified ancestry, received positive reports, with variants misclassified as pathogenic on the basis of the understanding at the time of testing. Subsequently, all reported variants were recategorized as benign. The mutations that were most common in the general population were significantly more common among black Americans than among white Americans (P<0.001). Simulations showed that the inclusion of even small numbers of black Americans in control cohorts probably would have prevented these misclassifications. We identified methodologic shortcomings that contributed to these errors in the medical literature. Conclusions The misclassification of benign variants as pathogenic that we found in our study shows the need for sequencing the genomes of diverse populations, both in asymptomatic controls and the tested patient population. These results expand on current guidelines, which recommend the use of ancestry-matched controls to interpret variants. As additional populations of different ancestry backgrounds are sequenced, we expect variant reclassifications to increase, particularly for ancestry groups that have historically been less well studied. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.).

Concepts: Genetics, United States, Sequence, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, White American, African American, European American, English American


Mark Siedner and colleagues reflect on the early response to the Ebola epidemic and lessons that can be learned for future epidemics.

Concepts: Epidemiology, African American, Pandemic, Native Americans in the United States, Epidemic, Midwestern United States, Western United States


INTRODUCTION: Although blunt trauma to a hernia-containing bowel is known to cause bowel perforation, this report documents the first incident of a small bowel transection following a non-traumatic event. CASE PRESENTATION: We report the case of a 49-year-old African American man with a chronic incarcerated inguinal hernia awaiting elective repair. He presented to the Emergency Department with abdominal pain following an episode of coughing. On examination, he was found to have peritonitis. He underwent exploratory laparotomy, and had a complete small bowel transection. A bowel resection with primary anastomosis was performed, as well an inguinal hernia repair. CONCLUSION: Chronic hernia incarceration can lead to weakening and ischemia of the bowel, and minimal trauma can lead to perforation of the weakened segment. In such presentations, bowel resection and repair of the defect with a biological material is safe and feasible.

Concepts: Asthma, Surgery, Abdominal pain, Inguinal hernia, Hernia, Bowel obstruction, African American, Gastrointestinal perforation


Objective:Low-density lipoprotein-related receptor protein 1 (LRP1) is a multi-functional endocytic receptor and signaling molecule that is expressed in adipose and the hypothalamus. Evidence for a role of LRP1 in adiposity is accumulating from animal and in vitro models, but data from human studies are limited. The study objectives were to evaluate (i) relationships between LRP1 genotype and anthropometric traits, and (ii) whether these relationships were modified by dietary fatty acids.Design and methods:We conducted race/ethnic-specific meta-analyses using data from 14 studies of US and European whites and 4 of African Americans to evaluate associations of dietary fatty acids and LRP1 genotypes with body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and hip circumference, as well as interactions between dietary fatty acids and LRP1 genotypes. Seven single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of LRP1 were evaluated in whites (N up to 42 000) and twelve SNPs in African Americans (N up to 5800).Results:After adjustment for age, sex and population substructure if relevant, for each one unit greater intake of percentage of energy from saturated fat (SFA), BMI was 0.104 kg m(-2) greater, waist was 0.305 cm larger and hip was 0.168 cm larger (all P<0.0001). Other fatty acids were not associated with outcomes. The association of SFA with outcomes varied by genotype at rs2306692 (genotyped in four studies of whites), where the magnitude of the association of SFA intake with each outcome was greater per additional copy of the T allele: 0.107 kg m(-2) greater for BMI (interaction P=0.0001), 0.267 cm for waist (interaction P=0.001) and 0.21 cm for hip (interaction P=0.001). No other significant interactions were observed.Conclusion:Dietary SFA and LRP1 genotype may interactively influence anthropometric traits. Further exploration of this, and other diet x genotype interactions, may improve understanding of interindividual variability in the relationships of dietary factors with anthropometric traits.International Journal of Obesity advance online publication, 29 January 2013; doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.215.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Nutrition, Obesity, Fat, Body mass index, Waist-hip ratio, African American


Long-standing racial differences in US life expectancy suggest that black Americans would be exposed to significantly more family member deaths than white Americans from childhood through adulthood, which, given the health risks posed by grief and bereavement, would add to the disadvantages that they face. We analyze nationally representative US data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (n = 7,617) and the Health and Retirement Study (n = 34,757) to estimate racial differences in exposure to the death of family members at different ages, beginning in childhood. Results indicate that blacks are significantly more likely than whites to have experienced the death of a mother, a father, and a sibling from childhood through midlife. From young adulthood through later life, blacks are also more likely than whites to have experienced the death of a child and of a spouse. These results reveal an underappreciated layer of racial inequality in the United States, one that could contribute to the intergenerational transmission of health disadvantage. By calling attention to this heightened vulnerability of black Americans, our findings underscore the need to address the potential impact of more frequent and earlier exposure to family member deaths in the process of cumulative disadvantage.

Concepts: United States, Black people, Race, White American, White people, African American, Racism, European American


We present a comprehensive assessment of genomic diversity in the African-American population by studying three genotyped cohorts comprising 3,726 African-Americans from across the United States that provide a representative description of the population across all US states and socioeconomic status. An estimated 82.1% of ancestors to African-Americans lived in Africa prior to the advent of transatlantic travel, 16.7% in Europe, and 1.2% in the Americas, with increased African ancestry in the southern United States compared to the North and West. Combining demographic models of ancestry and those of relatedness suggests that admixture occurred predominantly in the South prior to the Civil War and that ancestry-biased migration is responsible for regional differences in ancestry. We find that recent migrations also caused a strong increase in genetic relatedness among geographically distant African-Americans. Long-range relatedness among African-Americans and between African-Americans and European-Americans thus track north- and west-bound migration routes followed during the Great Migration of the twentieth century. By contrast, short-range relatedness patterns suggest comparable mobility of ∼15-16km per generation for African-Americans and European-Americans, as estimated using a novel analytical model of isolation-by-distance.

Concepts: United States, White American, African American, Native Americans in the United States, Southern United States, Texas, American Civil War, English American


BACKGROUND:This is the first peer-reviewed study to quantify diaper need, propose a method to measure diaper need, and explore psychosocial variables associated with diaper need in a large sample of urban, low-income families.METHODS:Data were derived from a cross-sectional study in 877 pregnant and parenting women. Mothers completed surveys on topics related to mental health, basic needs, and health care use. Logistic regression was used to estimate the relationship between diaper need and psychosocial correlates.RESULTS:Almost 30% of mothers reported diaper need. Hispanic women were significantly more likely to report diaper need than African American women (odds ratio [OR]: 1.96; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.51-3.33), and women ≥45 years of age were significantly more likely than women between the ages of 20 and 44 years to report diaper need (OR: 2.53; 95% CI: 1.21-5.28). Women who reported mental health need were significantly more likely than women who did not report mental health need to report diaper need (OR: 1.89; 95% CI: 1.16-3.09).CONCLUSIONS:Although a majority of studies have examined family socioeconomic status as income and educational and employment status, emerging research suggests that indicators of material hardship are increasingly important to child health. This study supports this premise with the suggestion that an adequate supply of diapers may prove a tangible way of reducing parenting stress, a critical factor influencing child health and development. There is potential for pediatric providers to inquire about diaper need and refer families to a local diaper distribution service as 1 method to reduce parenting stress.

Concepts: Health care, Logit, Medicine, Epidemiology, Poverty, Socioeconomic status, African American, Diaper


Nearly 9 million Americans live in extreme-poverty neighborhoods, places that also tend to be racially segregated and dangerous. Yet, the effects on the well-being of residents of moving out of such communities into less distressed areas remain uncertain. Using data from Moving to Opportunity, a unique randomized housing mobility experiment, we found that moving from a high-poverty to lower-poverty neighborhood leads to long-term (10- to 15-year) improvements in adult physical and mental health and subjective well-being, despite not affecting economic self-sufficiency. A 1-standard deviation decline in neighborhood poverty (13 percentage points) increases subjective well-being by an amount equal to the gap in subjective well-being between people whose annual incomes differ by $13,000–a large amount given that the average control group income is $20,000. Subjective well-being is more strongly affected by changes in neighborhood economic disadvantage than racial segregation, which is important because racial segregation has been declining since 1970, but income segregation has been increasing.

Concepts: Effect, Affect, African American, Sustainability, Racism, Household income in the United States, Racial segregation, White supremacy


When the economy declines, racial minorities are hit the hardest. Although existing explanations for this effect focus on institutional causes, recent psychological findings suggest that scarcity may also alter perceptions of race in ways that exacerbate discrimination. We tested the hypothesis that economic resource scarcity causes decision makers to perceive African Americans as “Blacker” and that this visual distortion elicits disparities in the allocation of resources. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrated that scarcity altered perceptions of race, lowering subjects' psychophysical threshold for seeing a mixed-race face as “Black” as opposed to “White.” In studies 3 and 4, scarcity led subjects to visualize African American faces as darker and more “stereotypically Black,” compared with a control condition. When presented to naïve subjects, face representations produced under scarcity elicited smaller allocations than control-condition representations. Together, these findings introduce a novel perceptual account for the proliferation of racial disparities under economic scarcity.

Concepts: United States, Black people, Perception, Race, African American, Scarcity, Racism, Multiracial