Tuskegee experiments may be behind a drop in life expectancy for Southern African-American men

Participants in the controversial Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments of 1932–1972, in which researchers failed to inform African-American men they were infected or treat them, may not have been the only ones to be hurt by the experience. A new study suggests that the following generation of African-American men living in the South developed a distrust of doctors as a result, reflected in less interaction with the medical system, STAT reports. What’s more, the study’s analysis of mortality statistics concludes that, after controlling for other factors, these men had a life expectancy at age 45 that was 1.4 years less than expected had the information about Tuskegee not been revealed. (The same effect was not shown in African-American women.) The study, which is still under peer review, was posted online earlier this week by its authors from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Still unclear is whether the results can be chalked up to knowledge about Tuskegee or from other, broader factors like equal access to jobs and healthcare.

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