Full Story was Published in The Baltimore Sun on March 29, 2019

Research will support personalized medicine for African Americans

We live in one of the most violent cities in America, where for several of the past years over 300 citizens have died by gunfire — the vast majority African American. These killings reflect a number of urban pathologies that disproportionately affect African Americans. In neighborhoods like Upton and Druid Heights where income falls below the poverty line, life expectancy is only 63 years. Less than five miles away in Roland Park, life expectancy is 83 years.

Violence and poverty are psychological nightmares, but they also are biological toxins that affect how the brain works. Scientists have shown that extreme stress, especially during childhood, biologically changes how cells in the brain function by modifying how genes are turned on and turned off, and these changes can last for years, altering how we think and interact with others. Toxic stress in childhood also increases risk for many medical disorders later in life, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, drug abuse and suicide. Inner city violence and poverty is not just a threat to life and state of mind, it is a biological time bomb.

For the full story: “Research will support personalized medicine for African Americans”