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Pharmacogenomics. 2008 Apr;9(4):453-62. doi: 10.2217/14622416.9.4.453.

Race, ethnicity and social class and the complex etiologies of asthma.

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  • 1Department of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, UCSF/Lung Biology Center, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-2911, USA.


Asthma is a common but complex respiratory disease caused by the interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Significant racial and ethnic disparities in prevalence, mortality and drug response have been described. These disparities may be explained by racial and ethnic-specific variation in genetic, environmental, social and psychological risk factors. In addition, race, ethnicity and social class are important proxies for unmeasured factors that influence health outcomes. Herein, we review salient differences in the etiologies of asthma by race, ethnicity and social class, and argue for their continued use as variables in asthma research.

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