New findings shed light on Sickle Cell Disease

SCD affects blood and oxygen flow in the body and can lead to dangerous complications such as anemia, vision loss, and strokes.

    2019/02/08

NSFW    LOS ANGELES — New research has shed light on how seemingly harmless silent strokes caused by Sickle Cell Disease can affect our body's daily functions, reports Medical Express.

According to the CDC, SCD is a disorder that affects hemoglobin, a molecule present in red blood cells in charge of delivering oxygen throughout the body. Blood cells affected by SCD have an irregular crescent shape and also supply a reduced amount of oxygen to the body.

A new study published in the American Journal of Hematology studied the effects of limited oxygen and blood flow caused by sickle cell disease. Particularly, its role in silent strokes among sickle cell patients.

Silent strokes occur when there has been an interruption of blood flow in an area of the brain that is not vital. However, as they accumulate they can damage brain function.

Using an advanced imaging technique called arterial spin labeling, researchers found that oxygen delivery to regions of the brain where white matter was present was reduced by 35 percent in patients with SCD. Most silent strokes occur in regions of the brain with white matter.

The results show that the body prioritizes blood flow to grey matter where neurons are present.

A stroke in grey matter could cause severe and permanent damage while a stroke in white matter causes slow information processing in the brain without severe immediate consequences.
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