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Blacks, Hispanics More Likely to Have Severe Liver Disease

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A new study concludes that blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to have severe cases of a rare form of liver cirrhosis, but experts don't know why, Reuters reported Sept. 20.

Among patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), which involves destruction of the liver's small bile ducts, minorities tend to have more severe symptoms. PBC is more likely to strike young and middle-aged Caucasian women, however.

Researcher Marion G. Peters of the University of California at San Francisco and colleagues reported, “It is not clear whether [black ad Hispanic] patients had more rapid disease, less access to care early in their disease, or misdiagnoses due to inadequate testing, the absence of liver biopsies, or the presence of (other illnesses) that may have led to a delay in treatment.”

The study was published in the September 2007 issue of the journal Hepatology.

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