Health Watch - Special Populations: Lupus and Gender

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This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about how certain populations may have different health concerns. It’s not just race that makes a difference in medical care and disease risk. Gender also plays a role. For instance, women are ten times more likely than men to develop lupus.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes a range of symptoms including rashes, fever and fatigue. Doctors once thought that hormonal differences explained why women are far more likely to develop the disease, but researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that there may be a genetic link. They discovered that a gene linked to lupus is located on the X chromosome. Women have two X chromosomes, while men have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. Dr. Chandra Mohan, the UT Southwestern researcher who was senior author on the study, says more research is needed to investigate the role X-chromosome-linked genes and hormonal differences may play in determining which people are more susceptible to lupus.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/rheumatology to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in rheumatology.

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September 2009


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