February, 2012 News Roundup


Research News

New study shows that 75% fewer kids are suffering from strokes as children, especially in the black community and those affected by SC in comparison to the other racial demographics. Snaps to all the researchers who have ensured that all children with SC now get pre-screened for strokes.

Jamaica is testing Carbon monoxide gas as a new drug treatment for SC disease. Sangart Inc., a global biopharmaceutical firm, is developing the treatment. Professor Marvin Reid said the Sickle Cell Unit in Jamaica agreed to be part of the study because current treatments for sickle cell patients are extremely limited. Hmmm…carbon monoxide? Really? That does not sound like the ish…but I guess we have to wait and see. Another question…Sangart is based in the US but testing in Jamaica? What’s the real deal here?

National News

The American Society of Hematology published a position statement recently that went against the current mandatory screening of NCAA athletes, stating that this mandatory screening rule could lead to racial discrimination in sports. Instead, they recommended that athletes be educated on proper hydration and overexertion symptoms, like they do in the army.  Burn! According to enforced NCAA ruling, before tryouts all University of Birmingham athletes need to have a SC screening test done. My question is, does the screening apply to all students or just the black ones? Meanwhile, the autopsy of Isaiah Laurenstin, an athlete with sickle cell anemia was ruled that other conditions could have led to his death and not sickle cell alone. Something about that autopsy screams ‘coverup’ to me.

The Red Cross is running low on blood transfusions for African-Americans, Africans and  Caribbeans. Especially in Canada (the country), Wisconsin, Maine, Missouri, Idaho and other states with a low population of Black people. If you can donate, please donate today. Although we can accept blood from other races, having blood from the same race ensures less chance of transfusion-related complications.

The National Bone Marrow Registry also needs donors of various ethnicities. It’s a simple test, and you could save someone’s life. Check this out.

After the United Way closed down 2 centers in Kansas City due to low funding, the residents took matters into their own hands and opened up a sickle cell community center. Nice!

In other funding news, Celine Dion performed at a charity event for the Children’s Hospital of Boston. $6 million was raised in 1 night. The tickets were going for $155-$350 a piece and then Guy Savoy did a catered dinner which was even pricier. This will help with sickle cell research at the medical center. Now THIS is how you do a fundraiser. I’m just so amazed that after all these years we finally stepped unto the stage like a real legit medical condition. Major kudos to all the organizers and supporters of this event. Wowza!

New Jersey Lawmakers, You get MAJOR snaps for this one! A new law has just been passed in NJ that forces insurance companies to cover bone marrow transplant for sickle cell disease. They (the insurance companies) can no longer refuse to pay for BMT citing ‘pre-existing condition’. Hopefully this will continue across the country so we can all get the cure!

For you HipHop heads…Prodigy of Mobb Deep is opening up about his challenges with sickle cell. While I don’t agree with all of his statements, it’s a cool interview.

International News

Bahrain: An 18-year old kid with sickle cell died in police custody under ‘suspicious circumstances’. Read more HERE. Those that follow this newscast know that the medical situation for sickle cell patients in Bahrain can turn deadly in a matter of minutes.

India: Districts in India are reporting more and more people that have sickle cell disease. With a population of 1 billion, and the ignorance that has existed about sickle cell in that nation for centuries…I’m not surprised. At least the government is now taking notice.

Uganda: Just opened their very first comprehensive sickle cell center. Yay!

Nigeria: Government focusing sickle cell education to rural areas of the nation. After the first successful transplant in the nation 3 months ago, more University Teaching hospitals are offering BMT as a cure for sickle cell. Now it only costs $25 million Naira.


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