Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Health News

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Health News

Article excerpt

SICKLE CELL ANEMIA

Transfusions Cut Stroke Risk, Researchers Say

Children who risk stroke from sickle cell anemia can now be screened and treated before they have a damaging attack, doctors said Thursday. Regular blood transfusions can greatly reduce the chance they will have a stroke and suffer brain and nerve damage. The doctors said they reduced the number of first-time strokes in children by 70 percent. Results of the stroke prevention trial were so conclusive that the study was terminated 16 months early, said Claude Lenfant, director of the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. An immediate alert was being sent to doctors and hospitals and being posted on the Internet, he said. MACULAR DEGENERATION Gene Linked To Disorder Of Vision In Elderly Researchers said Thursday they had found a gene involved in macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in older people. The discovery could lead to developing a test for the condition and possible prevention, they said. "As the first gene, it tells researchers where to look in retinal cells to track the disease," said Michael Dean of the National Cancer Institute and one of the researchers. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in older Americans and in the elderly in other industrialized countries. The National Eye Institute, which helped in the study, said 11 million Americans had or showed early signs of the disease. There is a genetic component, but smoking, exposure to sun and cholesterol levels are also factors. The researchers said people who had the gene could be counseled to take care in the sun, avoid smoking and eat a low-fat diet. AIDS Statistics Show Decrease In New Cases From 1995 The number of Americans newly diagnosed with AIDS last year dropped 6 percent from the year before, the first decline in the history of the epidemic, federal health officials said Thursday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the number of new AIDS cases reported among teen-agers and adults fell to 56,730 in 1996 from 60,620 in 1995. …

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