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New study suggests sickle cell disease may affect brain function in adults
Date:5/11/2010

ered a stroke, have experienced silent brain injury. Others without obvious changes on brain scans may have some level of cognitive dysfunction that seems to worsen with age. Stroke is a common complication of sickle cell disease, and can lead to learning disabilities, lasting brain damage, long-term disability, paralysis, or death.

Sickle cell disease involves an altered gene that produces abnormal hemoglobin. Red blood cells with sickle hemoglobin that have too little oxygen become C-shaped in addition to becoming stiff and sticky. These crescent-shaped cells can clump to block blood flow, causing severe pain and potential organ damage. In the United States, the disease mainly affects those of African descent, but it is also found in other ethnic groups, including those of Hispanic and Middle Eastern descent.


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