Mark N. Rubin, MD

Carty CL, Keene KL, Cheng YC, Meschia JF, Chen WM, Nalls M, et al. Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies Identifies Genetic Risk Factors for Stroke in African Americans. Stroke. 2015

So, it turns out mom and Depeche Mode are both right: we are unique and special, but “People are People” and we have a fair amount in common with one another.

A large group of stroke genetics investigators have leveraged their cohort and case-control studies to provide us with the first published snapshot of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in a large African-American cohort. Acknowledging that most GWAS work in stroke published so far has been in patients of European descent, the authors formed this research alliance with an eye toward understanding if and how GWAS studies are different in patients of differing ethnicity. To study this in the African-American population is of special importance as they tend to experience strokes at an earlier age and of higher severity than White Americans.

In a combined cohort of 14,746 African-American patients, they studied 1,365 ischemic strokes (1,592 total strokes) and validated their findings against a previously published GWAS study in a cohort of European descent. They sought both novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) and similarity to those associated with stroke in the patients of European descent. In brief, they found some of both: there were unique loci as well as “suggestive evidence of replication for…loci previously associated with stroke in European-Ancestry populations, pointing to potential shared mechanisms for stroke susceptibility.”

This study represents the first large-scale GWAS meta-analysis of stroke in African Americans, which is important, but it also achieves that very satisfying humanistic balance that we all like to think we are all the same, but different.

Tweet: Same, But Different – Genome-Wide Association Studies of Stroke in African Americans @StrokeAHA_ASA @MarkNRubinMD