Blacks Less Likely to Undergo Evaluation for Genetic Testing

Among patients with neurologic conditions, Blacks are less likely than Whites to undergo evaluation for genetic testing
Blacks Less Likely to Undergo Evaluation for Genetic Testing
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WEDNESDAY, March 6, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Black patients with neurologic conditions are less likely than White patients to undergo evaluation for genetic testing, according to a study published online March 6 in Neurology.

Aaron Baldwin, from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues analyzed retrospective data from patients with neurologic conditions who underwent genetic evaluation and testing to examine whether access to and results of genetic testing vary according to race, ethnicity, sex, socioeconomic status, and insurance status. Differences between demographic groups were assessed among those attending a neurogenetic evaluation, completing genetic testing, and receiving a diagnostic result.

A total of 128,440 participants were seen in the outpatient neurology clinic between 2015 and 2022; 2,540 patients underwent genetic evaluation. The researchers found that evaluation was less than half as likely for Black versus White patients (odds ratio, 0.49); after controlling for other demographic factors in a multivariable analysis, this disparity was similar. Evaluation was also less likely for patients from the least wealthy quartile of zip codes (odds ratio, 0.67). After adjusting for age, there were no disparities seen in the likelihood of completing genetic testing, nor in the likelihood of a diagnostic result among patients who underwent evaluation. These findings were supported in analyses restricted to specific indications for genetic testing.

"Future efforts to understand and remove barriers to access to genetic evaluations for minoritized and marginalized groups will be essential to health care equity and optimal care for all patients with neurologic disorders," the authors write.

One author disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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