According to a study published in the journal Neurology, White Americans with muscular dystrophy, a debilitating muscular disease, tend to live longer than their African American counterparts. They can live up to 12 years longer. Muscular dystrophy is an inherited disease where muscle fibers slowly degenerate and are vulnerable to damage and get weak progressively. The death mainly occurs due to respiratory or heart failure.

The study also found that black men tend to suffer from weakening of the heart muscle or a change in the heart structure as they age as compared to white men, which could be a reason for earlier death. Interestingly men tend to die younger than women who have this disease. For females the median age is 63 for whites and 51 for African American, while for men the age is 33 for whites and 23 for African Americans. However, there has been an improvement in terms of longevity for both the groups. This could be attributed to the fact that over the years better lung care and other therapies have been found. Scientists believe that this could be due to genetic factors, and socio-cultural issues.