Research

Questions for Lundy Braun: Spirometry: A built-in ‘correction’ for race?

Lundy Braun

“Race correction is based on an understanding of groups (such as whites or Africans and African-Americans) as genetically homogeneous, when in fact they are highly heterogeneous.” Credit: David Orenstein/Brown University

The spirometers doctors use to measure lung capacity automatically make “corrections” for the patient’s race. Lundy Braun, professor of medical science at Brown University, has led a systematic review of the research underlying race correction and found that race is rarely defined or skillfully considered. The work, reported in the European Respiratory Journal, raises timely questions about the role of race in medical research.