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reference materials

Knowledge of Sickle Cell Trait and Disease Among African-American College Students

key information

source: East Carolina University

year: 2011

authors: Sayward E. Harrison

summary/abstract:

The term sickle cell disease (SCD) refers to a collection of hemoglobinopathies (inherited blood disorders) characterized by abnormal hemoglobin and produced through the homozygous inheritance of a sickle cell allele. Heterozygous inheritance results in a condition known as sickle cell trait (SCT). Individuals with SCT have a 50% chance of passing the gene to future offspring. In recent years mounting evidence has confirmed that SCT is also associated with several rare but serious complications including renal complications, renal cancer, spleen damage, and exercise-related sudden death. In the United States, sickle cell conditions primarily occur among African Americans. While all 50 states conduct newborn screenings which identify individuals with SCD and SCT, no studies have examined whether trait status is effectively conveyed to affected individuals or investigated knowledge of SCT among a large sample of African Americans. The purpose of the present study was to examine knowledge of SCT and SCD and to identify whether current procedures for trait notification in North Carolina effectively convey information about trait status, as well as its health and reproductive implications.

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