WJCT Public Broadcasting is reporting that Dr. Bryan Seymour was honored with an award praising his medical research on asthma and allergies affecting African Americans conducted at Edward Waters College.
Seymour was granted the award during the Historically Black College & University Awards ceremony, hosted by HBCU Digest at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, July 9-11, 2015.
Seymour is currently research director for the Edward Waters College Center for the Prevention of Health Disparities.
During his research, Dr. Seymour collected 200 blood samples from Jacksonville residents living in Health Zone 1. Health Zone 1 comprises the urban core, and parts of the North and Northeast side of the city of Jacksonville, FL. Health Zone 1 is the poorest zone of the six health zones and experiences high rates of not just asthma, but also STDs, HIV, and Diabetes.
Seymour says his study measured the levels of a specific antibody in the bloodstream using things like microcentrifuge tubes to help him with his samples (if you are currently conducting research on something similar, then you need microcentrifuge tubes in your lab). Elaborating he said:
“This antibody is in everyone’s blood, but if you’re allergic or if you have allergic asthma, or if you have [a] parasitic infection, it is elevated…It is basically a mistake in our immune system that pushes us to develop a large amount of these antibodies.”
Seymour says his team found five to six percent of the 200 participants had significant elevated levels of this antibody.
He says this study is only the first phase of the research he would like to conduct. Seymour says phase two involves identifying what people are inhaling, and what is causing the elevated levels of this antibody.
Seymour contributes the levels of asthma in the African American community to “people living on contaminated land”, adding that Health Zone 1 is known to have the highest rate of lead in the community housing.
Seymour says his team’s main goal is to close the health disparity gap.
For more information visit WJCT.
This post was written by Reginald Calhoun, editorial assistant for the Burton Wire. He is a senior Mass Media Arts major at Clark Atlanta University. Follow him on Twitter @IRMarsean.