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Health News Roundup

A ‘completely preventable’ health crisis, and more in this week’s roundup

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Dangers and deaths around Black pregnancies seen as a ‘completely preventable’ health crisis 
Sandy West, KFF Health News, Aug. 24
Black women are less likely than women from other racial groups to carry a pregnancy to term. Black fetal and infant deaths are part of a continuum of systemic failures that contribute to disproportionately high Black maternal mortality rates. “This is a public health crisis as it relates to Black moms and babies that is completely preventable,” said Barbie Robinson, executive director of Harris County Public Health in Texas.

In Fair Haven, health care expanders dare to dream
Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Aug. 23
Juliana Garcia can still remember being nine years old, uninsured, and telling her mom that it really was ok for her to pass on a dental surgery that would cost more than $4,000. That the health care operation could wait. That that money needed to be spent instead on rent and food and other essentials. Garcia, now 19 years old and a student at Central Connecticut State University, spoke as part of a panel discussion on what Connecticut should do to ensure residents can access the health care they need.

Report: 14,000 Black CT residents died due to inequities from 2017-22
Alex Putterman, CT Insider, Aug. 29
Health inequities between Black and white Connecticut residents may have contributed to 14,000 deaths over a recent six-year period, a new report from the non-profit DataHaven suggests. If Black people in Connecticut had the mortality rates that white people do, the report concluded, 14,000 fewer Black residents would have died during that time period. If white people had the mortality rate that Black people do, meanwhile, an additional 226,000 would have died from 2017-22, the report says.

An effort to diversify genetic research finds new variant for Parkinson’s disease in African populations
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, Aug. 25
Doctors have discovered a genetic variant that increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease in people of African and mixed-African descent and is not seen in those with European ancestry, a finding that could improve treatment of the movement disorder in a vastly underserved population. “Our current understanding of Parkinson’s disease is disproportionately based on studies of populations of European ancestry, leading to a substantial gap in our knowledge about the genetics, clinical characteristics, and pathophysiology in under-represented populations,” the researchers wrote.