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  1. Deer Blood Research May Lead to Advancements in Sickle Cell Treatment

    December 26, 2017 by Andrea

    deer blood

    Some fascinating news broke last week: After 170 years of wondering why the red blood cells of deer sickle, scientists have finally discovered what causes the distortion. 

    As reported in Science magazine, researchers compared deer blood in species that do have sickling properties with the deer blood in species that don't and found that an amino acid change was the catalyst. "In the sicklers, one amino acid had switched from glutamic acid to valine," the Science article states. "The same amino acid swap happens in the faulty form of hemoglobin that triggers sickle cell anemia, but at a different location in the molecule." 

    While they've solved one mystery, though, a few still remain -- why is that cell sickling in deer blood doesn't cause the animals to fall ill like it does in humans? Why do red blood cells in deer sickle at high oxygen levels, rather than at low oxygen levels as it happens in people? And how exactly does the amino acid switch help deer and humans resist malaria? Further study will hopefully reveal all the answers and lead to improved treatment of sickle cell. 

    Be sure to get all of the details on this riveting research by reading the full article here.

  2. How Writing Poetry Can be Therapeutic for Sickle Cell Warriors

    December 19, 2017 by Andrea

    Photo: CreateHer Stock

    Sometimes, there are things you want to say that others may not be willing -- or ready -- to hear. Whether that's because they can't handle the emotion of the moment, are too busy, or something else is preventing them from truly being present with you, you'll need to find another outlet for your pain. Writing is one option.

    There's  a reason experts often suggest writing to express feelings -- it can truly be therapeutic. "This is much more than simply trying two write pretty sentences," states an article from Psychology Today. "It is about singling out experiences, events, and people that contributed to one's life. Seeing cause and effect, understanding psychological processes can significantly increase self-understanding." Even better? Your writing doesn't have to come in the form of a long essay or memoir. Short poetry has been a go-to coping strategy for generations of people. 

    A very introspective form of writing, poetry can help people process and come to terms with their life experiences.  According to this article in The Telegraph, "The act of writing about personal experiences has a cathartic effect because it inhibits parts of the brain linked to emotional turmoil and increases activity in the region to do with self-control." The article continues, "The mere action of writing about an emotion [is] a way of calming down the brain and re-establishing mental balance." 

    The next time you need to center yourself, try letting your feelings flow through verse. Here's a little inspiration to get you started (reading poetry is good for you, too!): 

    Sickle Cell Warriors Poetry
    Power Poetry
    Poetry Soup

  3. This Choir’s Cover of “Rise Up” Encourages People to Donate Blood for Sickle Cell Warriors

    December 12, 2017 by Andrea
    B Positive Choir

    Photo: Twitter

    The English-Welsh health organization, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), has partnered with the British music awards show, MOBO, for the second year in a row to push for an increase in blood donations. Understanding that diversity in the blood supply is extremely important, especially since sickle cell disproportionately affects people of African descent, NHSBT and MOBO have created a new addition to this year's partnership: the B Positive Choir. 

    A 60-member singing group composed of sickle cell warriors, caregivers, friends, and family from all over England, the B Positive Choir most recently performed at the MOBO Awards show, which re-aired last night (Monday, Dec. 11) on BET International. Today, the choir also released their very first single -- a cover of Andra Day's "Rise Up" -- to motivate people to "'Rise Up' and be counted as blood donors." 

    Currently, the NHSBT states on their website that they are in need of 200,000 new blood donors -- 40,000 of whom need to be Black, so the closest blood match can be given to Black warriors who desperately need it. 

    If you live in the UK, you can register to give blood here. In the U.S., visit redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive near you. 

    In the meantime, be sure to check out the B Positive Choir's MOBO awards show performance below: 

  4. Celebrate National Cookie Day with These SCD-Related Goodies

    December 4, 2017 by Andrea

    It's no wonder National Cookie Day is in December, what with so many glorious varieties to bake for the holidays. But, you don't have to stick with the typical sugar cookie cut-outs -- you can infuse a little sickle cell awareness into your treats. 

    Get ready to pull out all the stops (and the flour, icing, and sugar) because we've rounded up five genetics- and blood cell-related cookie examples to help fuel your inspiration. 

    Delectable Genes 

    National Cookie Day DNA


    Baked Blood Cells 

    National Cookie Day Baked Blood Cells


    Under-the-Microscope Cookies

    National Cookie Day Under the Microscope



    RBCs + Tasty Test Tubes  

    National Cookie Day RBCs and Test Tubes


    Gingerbread Biology 

    National Cookie Day Gingerbread Biology





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