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  1. Case Study May Give Parents New Option for Ensuring Children Aren’t Born With Sickle Cell

    January 29, 2018 by Andrea
    case study

    Photo for illustrative purposes only

    There's been a push among sickle cell advocates to #KnowYourGenotype. The thought behind this movement is that if everyone has their blood tested before marrying and having children, there can be a significant reduction in sickle cell births, ultimately leading to an eventual eradication of the disease itself.

    While this is good in theory, human emotions can make things complicated. What if two people who are in love discover that they both carry the trait, for example? The inner conflict and turmoil that must create (and has created over decades), we're sure, is unbearable.

    But what if there was another way -- a better way?

    On January 18, the medical journal JBRA Assisted Reproduction published a recent case study on how in vitro fertilization, embryo selection, and cord blood could be that better option. In this case, a South American couple -- both carriers of sickle cell trait -- went through six cycles of in vitro to produce 53 embryos. As reported by Sickle Cell Anemia News, of the 53 embryos, 15 had normal hemoglobin, 12 had sickle cell, 20 had sickle cell trait, and 6 were undetermined. 

    If the couple was only looking to ensure having a baby without sickle cell or without the trait, they'd have 15 embryos to choose from; however, these parents already had a daughter who was born a sickle cell warrior, so they wanted an embryo to create a baby who's cord blood stem cells were a match for their daughter, and therefore, could be used in treating her. The couple ultimately had a healthy baby boy, and the cord blood transplantation into his sister was successful, presenting a potential new option for parents while reducing the amount of sickle cell births and treating current sickle cell warriors at the same time.

  2. How to Stay Hydrated When You’re Sick of Simply Drinking Water

    January 22, 2018 by Andrea


    Sometimes you just want to shake things up a bit -- give your taste buds something to be excited about. If you're tired of drinking glass after glass of water all day long, try adding hydrating foods into the mix.

    As Dr. Rima Kleiner told NBC News in an interview last year, the food we eat actually gives us about 20 percent of our total water intake each day. "Many vegetables and fruits are mostly comprised of water (some are more than 90 percent water), which really helps to contribute to our fluid intake and keep us hydrated," Dr. Kleiner continues. Here's how to vary your water sources and still reach the equivalent of eight to ten glasses each day, as recommended by the CDC:

    1) Snack on cucumbers.
    Clocking in at 96 percent water, more per serving than any other veggie except iceberg lettuce, cucumbers are the perfect alternative to drinking in your hydration.

    2) Enjoy a salad.
    Iceberg lettuce may not be loaded with nutrients like dark, leafy greens are, but if you'd like your salad to also stand in as a method of getting in your water for the day, go ahead and make it chock-full of iceberg lettuce, which, like cucumbers, is also 96 percent water.

    3) Crunch on carrots.
    Your favorite nosh on the vegetable tray is also a good source of water -- it's made up of 90 percent of the stuff. And with no prep time needed, baby carrots make for a quick and easy snack.

    4) Choose skim milk.
    Not only will you cut down on fat content, you'll also have a different drink to reach for to satisfy your hydration needs. Skim milk is comprised of 91 percent water and is also filled with nutrients such as vitamins A and B12, potassium, calcium, and more.

    5) Sip some soup.
    Staying warm is also essential for warriors during these winter months, so why not combine that with the hydration factor? You can meet both needs with a bowl of soup -- or even just broth.

    6) Feast on fruits.
    Many fruits are made up of at least 80 percent water -- strawberries, watermelon, and grapefruit are just a few examples. These options also provide other health benefits since they are also rich in nutrients such as fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium.

    Of course, drinking water will always be super important to staying hydrated, but it's not the only way. If you incorporate foods that are loaded with water, you can achieve the same daily hydration goals.

  3. The Blood Donor Shortage and How You Can Help

    January 16, 2018 by Andrea

    blood donor shortage

    All that snow, ice, and flooding that hit a slew of states a couple weeks ago didn't just ground flights, close schools, and interrupt other plans, it also caused blood drives to be cancelled, resulting in a severe blood donor shortage, according to TIME. Hospitals rely on blood donors to help save the lives of people during emergencies, as well as the lives of those who live with diseases such as sickle cell. Just take a quick look at the Red Cross's homepage, and you'll see a bold call: "Blood Donations Urgently Needed", followed by an easy way to find a drive near you.

    TIME reports that in addition to winter weather, a severe flu outbreak has also hampered the collection of donations -- a loss of about 28,000. The article goes on to say that the blood the Red Cross needs most right now is Type B negative and Type O negative, the latter being the universal blood type. Platelets, which must be used within the first few days of donation, and therefore run out quickly, are also desperately needed.

    As January is National Blood Donor month, now is the perfect time to help the Red Cross recover from its donation deficit, and ensure that more lives can continue being saved. Real talk, in order to maintain a healthy supply of blood, the Red Cross states that it must receive more than 13,000 donations per day! Unfortunately, though, only 10 percent of eligible U.S. donors give blood.

    It doesn't have to be that way, though. If you're 17 years of age or older, weight at least 110 pounds, and are generally healthy, you can donate. And, if you'd like to make sure your donation specifically goes to a sickle cell warrior, you can do that, too.

    Why not start today?

  4. Three 30-Day Challenges Sickle Cell Warriors Can Embrace This Year

    January 8, 2018 by Andrea
    CreateHer Stock

    CreateHer Stock

    It's easy to sit down and write a list of New Year's resolutions, but without an actual plan of action, more than likely, the goals on that list will barely even begin to be reached. That's why we've rounded up three 30-day challenges that can actually help you reduce stress and increase overall wellness -- things that are known to help limit the occurrence of crises.

    1. Goalcast's 30-Day Growth Challenge
    If you're looking to learn how to let go of the past, become more productive, increase knowledge, and reduce stress, among other things, try this action plan. The creator even emphasizes the importance of not striving for perfection when it comes to its completion, rather focus on doing your best and finishing the tasks that are most meaningful to you.

    2. Sparefoot's 30-Day Decluttering Challenge
    When you aren't feeling your best, the last thing you want is to be surrounded by a space that's messy and disorganized. Stay ahead of the game with this challenge, which will lead you through cleaning out your space one area at a time, because let's be honest, conquering clutter all at once is way too overwhelming.

    3. Odyssey's 30-Day Journal Challenge
    Not up to cleaning, exercising, or leaving your warm bed in general? You can always journal. Writing your feelings down is a proven method of decreasing anxiety and boosting creativity. With 30 prompts, you won't run out of inspiration.

    Are you participating in any 30-day challenges this new year? Tweet us @xicklerbc and let us know!

  5. Reflecting on Sickle Cell Research, News, and More: A Year in Review

    January 2, 2018 by Andrea


    Like many of you, we're ringing in the new year with a little bit of reflection. We reached many milestones in 2017, including entering the second phase of our clinical trial and being recognized as a "promising new drug for the treatment of sickle cell disease." 

    Plus, we published more than 50 new posts about sickle cell news, research, and more. As part of our period of reflection, we decided to comb through all of those posts from the past year to find the 12 most popular ones. So, in case you missed any (or you'd like to read them again) here they are: a collection of articles that received the most eyes and the most engagement throughout the 1-7. 

    1. New Video Game Aims to Infuse Fun with Sickle Cell Awareness 

    2. How Sickle Cell Research May Lead to a Cure for HIV-1 

    3. How One Sickle Cell Warrior Turned Her Health Status Into a Thriving Business 

    4. Gene Therapy Reverses French Teen’s Sickle Cell 

    5. How to Turn the March for Science’s Actions into Sickle Cell Activism 

    6. Sickle Cell and Menstruation: How to Raise Awareness and Advocate for Better Care 

    7. 4 Tips That Make Managing Sickle Cell at College Simpler Than You Thought 

    8. 3 Ways to Cope with Sickle Cell Pain — That Aren’t Meditation 

    9. T-Boz Releases New Memoir Just in Time for Sickle Cell Awareness Month 

    10. 12-Year-Old Writes Comic Book to Help Kids Battle Their Illnesses 

    11. The McCourty Twins are Coming Through with a New SCD Fundraiser 

    12. The Black Panther Party and Its Dedication to Sickle Cell Awareness 

    While 2017 definitely had its challenges, just taking even a few minutes of reflection to consider all that you've accomplished in the past 12 months can leave you with so much more hope, determination, and motivation. Use that newfound positivity to push through this new year and make 2018 even better than the last.

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