Sunday, November 19, 2023

Risk Factors do not belong as Clinical Tools

The NY Times reports:
Doctors have long relied on a few key patient characteristics to assess risk of a heart attack or stroke, using a calculus that considers blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and diabetes status, as well as demographics: age, sex and race.

Now, the American Heart Association is taking race out of the equation. ...

The scientists who modified the algorithm decided from the start that race itself did not belong in clinical tools used to guide medical decision making,

… “Race is a social construct,” Dr. Khan said, adding that including race in clinical equations “can cause significant harm by implying that it is a biological predictor.”

The quoted experts acknowledge Blacks have a different risk profile, and that race matters like age and sex.

Politics now require that we all pretend that race is not real when considering heart disease. And that it is real when considering affirmative action and reparations.

Here is the supposedly scientific statement:


The Work Group discussed the role of race in CVD [cardiovascular disease] risk prediction. Because race is a social construct and an historically fraught proxy representing various lived experiences, there is the potential for the harmful interpretation that it represents a biological risk factor when included in risk prediction, which may result in race-specific treatment decisions.

This is just ideology, not science. It is saying we cannot use race in diagnosis, because then race would affect treatment.

I just saw a tv story complaining that Blacks were one third of the population of a Chicago neighborhood, but half the traffic stops. As if something were unfair about that. Blacks could have been two thirds of the criminals and traffic offenders, and maybe should have been two thirds of the traffic stops.

People act as if diagnosing Blacks with heart disease is somehow racist, if the rates differ from Whites. Maybe the Blacks really have heart disease.

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