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Dr. Beate Ritz is a professor in the department of epidemiology and environmental health at the UCLA School of Public Health, and in the department of neurology at the UCLA Geffen School of Medicine. Ritz is also a member of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, the NIEHS-UCLA-USC Environmental Health Science Center, and a participant in the UCLA EPA-Particle Center effort. She is the co-director of the NIEHS-funded UCLA Center for Gene-Environment Studies in Parkinson's Disease.

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Alexander Tsodikov is a professor of biostatistics at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health. He studies survival analysis, estimation of cure rates, computational methods in statistics, semiparametric models, frailty models, modeling and analysis of cancer, design of optimal surveillance schedules, cancer screening, modeling incidence and mortality trends. His collaborative research includes clinical trials, antisense oligonucleotides, population-based and clinical studies of prostate cancer, and analysis of cancer registry data for breast cancer. Tsodikov received his Ph.D.

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This racial group includes any of the original peoples of North, South and Central America who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment. The five leading causes of death among American Indians and Alaska Natives are heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, diabetes and chronic liver disease/cirrhosis, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities. Native Americans suffer disproportionately high rates of obesity, infant mortality, mental health problems and substance abuse.

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The health concerns of African-Americans are varied and critical. African-American men have the highest death rate of all racial and ethnic groups, male and female. The 10 leading causes of death for African-Americans are: heart disease; cancer; stroke; diabetes; unintentional injuries; homicide; nephritis, nephritic syndrome and nephrosis; chronic lower respiratory disease; HIV/AIDS and septicemia. There is also a high prevalence of hypertension, infant mortality and tuberculosis.

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Cancer is the leading cause of death for Asian Americans, though heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans in general. Asian Americans also have a disproportionately high incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hepatitis B, HIV/AIDS, liver disease, and tuberculosis. They are more likely to smoke, a risk factor for numerous diseases. Despite these factors, Asian American women have the longest life expectancy (85.8 years) of any ethnic group in the United States. Many Asian Americans face language and cultural barriers to obtaining health care.

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Get tips on covering medical research stories from veteran AP reporter Lauran Neergaard.

 

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In 2002, health care costs, particularly for cancer treatments, were soaring for seniors in some Medicare HMOs. After negative publicity about one HMO's drastic increase in chemotherapy copayments, the HMO agreed to reduce the cost to make it more affordable for patients.

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