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Children with sickle cell disease, silent strokes show some relief with blood transfusions
Date:12/10/2007

A group of children who have sickle cell disease and who experience silent strokes showed some relief from the silent strokes with blood transfusion therapy, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found.

The study's results will appear in a future issue of Pediatric Blood and Cancer but are available for review in its advance online publication.

In a Phase II study of 10 children with sickle cell disease who also had multiple silent strokes, or cerebral infarcts, the majority of families were committed to having their children receive blood transfusions for two years, showing that the therapy was feasible. In addition, the blood transfusion therapy helped to shrink the lesions on the brain caused by the infarcts and eliminated one lesion completely, said Allison A. King, M.D., a pediatric hematologist at St. Louis Children's Hospital and a researcher at Washington University School of Medicine. Lesions are small areas of damaged tissue thought to be due to blockage of small arteries in the brain.

Silent strokes are strokes that don't show the classic symptoms of overt strokes, such as numbness, tingling, headache or slurred speech. Blood transfusion therapy has been shown to be effective in preventing overt strokes in patients with sickle cell disease, but its effectiveness and the willingness of families to participate in long-term treatment to prevent silent strokes had not been tested.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder affecting red blood cells that contain hemoglobin, a substance that carries oxygen from the air in the lungs to all parts of the body. In patients with this disease, red blood cells contain an abnormal type of hemoglobin that causes the normally round, flexible red blood cells to become sickle- or crescent-shaped. The sickle cells can't pass through tiny blood vessels, preventing blood from reaching the body's tissues, which can result in tissue and organ d
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Contact: Beth Miller
millerbe@msnotes.wustl.edu
314-286-0119
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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