HealthDay News — For people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), African-Americans have longer survival than Caucasians when death is the outcome, but not when the outcome is death or tracheostomy and invasive ventilation (TIV), according to a study published online March 27 in Neurology.

Saman Qadri, from the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving 49 African-Americans with ALS and 137 Caucasians with ALS matched by age, gender, and site of onset.

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The researchers found that when the outcome was death, African-Americans had longer survival than Caucasians (P = 0.016), but the difference was no longer significant when the outcome was death or TIV (P = 0.100). The rate of noninvasive ventilation (NIV) use was also lower for African-Americans versus Caucasians (55 versus 70 percent; P = 0.015), while the rate of TIV was higher (16 versus 5 percent; P = 0.016). The difference in NIV remained significant after adjustment for baseline severity (P = 0.036), while the difference in TIV was no longer significant (P = 0.115).

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“These findings raise the possibility that African-Americans have higher TIV rates than Caucasians and this difference is, at least in part, responsible for the longer survival in African-Americans,” the authors write.

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