Our findings are particularly important because chronic inflammation ages the body and causes organ damage. As it turns out, our study showed that genes that promote inflammation are expressed more often in blacks than in whites. As a society we cannot afford to perpetuate health inequities by undermining or disguising the biological impact of racism. African Americans have worse health outcomes and die earlier than whites. Until recently, we scientists did not know the mechanism linking racism to health. The strongest evidence to date points to social-environmental factors such as poverty, health care inequities and racism. The Conserved Transcriptional Response to Adversity profile is characterized by increased activity of genes that play a role in inflammation, and decreased activity of genes involved in protecting the body from viruses.
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