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June 17, 1992

The Use of Race in Medical Research

Author Affiliations

Elizabeth (NJ) General Medical Center

JAMA. 1992;267(23):3150. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480230042012

To the Editor.  —The Commentary by Drs Osborne and Feit1 is an effort to impose an ideology of political correctness on medical research. They conclude that there is a need to "protect individuals or groups who may be affected by harmful medical publications" and that publications of human research should only be approved if the research is "designed to improve or protect the health of patients with the intention to solve specific medical problems by adducing helpful, pertinent, and conclusive data." Are they offering to decide what is "pertinent" and to judge the "intention" of the researchers?They open asking rhetorically, "Is racial research in medicine racist?" and answer that there is "a predilection" for making comparisons that are of an invidious nature in relation to race. They quote from 1851 (why not 1751?) and select articles including a headline from a newsletter2 to support their conclusion.It