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The use of race as a demographic variable in clinical research

Leong, S. C. and Eccles, Ronald 2010. The use of race as a demographic variable in clinical research. Rhinology 48 (1) , pp. 3-6.

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Bsckground: Researchers continue to categorise demograpic variables according to racial lines despite the fact that the definition of race has no scientific or anthropological validity. Purpose: The aim of this article is to discuss the scientific rationale for using race as a demo- graphic variable in clinical research and to explore other suitable alternatives such as ethnicity, genetics and the nasal index in rhinology research. Results: There is consensus that research subjects should not be classified along racial lines. However, there is evidence that this practice remains prevalent. Ethnicity is not a good substi- tute for race. Whilst genomics is an objective measure of variation, it does not measure the impact of socioeconomic status, exposure to health risk factors and the availability of health- care on populations. Conclusions: It is important to define the population demographics in any study, but race appears to be a category without any scientific basis. Other parameters that may be important such as ethnicity and genetics are still not fully developed to be useful. At present there is no generally accepted way of describing and classifying the subjects. The nasal index may be a suitable discriminator of variation for studies in rhinology but more studies are required to define its clinical relevance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Publisher: International Rhinologic Society
ISSN: 0300-0729
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:49

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