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Emphysema varies in blacks, whites

July 17, 2006|From Times wire reports

Emphysema is less severe in black smokers than in their white counterparts, researchers report.

The findings, published in the July issue of the journal Chest, suggest that blacks respond differently to cigarette smoke or that genetic and environmental factors may slightly alter their lung structure.

Emphysema is a chronic lung disease characterized by the destruction of lung tissue or the loss of its elasticity.

White emphysema patients are more likely than blacks to have damaged tissue in the upper parts of their lungs, according to the X-rays of 64 patients enrolled in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial, the researchers said.

Despite this, other medical exams showed that the breathing of the black emphysema patients was just as debilitated as the whites, possibly because of factors other than the disease.

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