Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sickle cell anemia: Maps and newborn estimates released

Date:
October 26, 2012
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
In 2010 around 300,000 babies were born with sickle cell anemia, a serious blood disorder which can be fatal if untreated, and 5.5 million newborns inherited the sickle cell gene, a new study suggests.

Map of areas with high predicted frequencies of sickle haemoglobin.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Oxford

In 2010 around 300,000 babies were born with sickle cell anemia, a serious blood disorder which can be fatal if untreated, and 5.5 million newborns inherited the sickle cell gene, a new study suggests.

Whilst the 5.5 million who only inherit the gene will usually not present any clinical complications, these individuals could still pass this gene on to their offspring and give birth to babies suffering from sickle cell anemia. Accurate estimates of the numbers and geographical distribution of those affected is vital for effective prevention and treatment policies to be put in place.

The research by the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP), a multinational team of researchers funded mainly by the Wellcome Trust, maps the geographical contemporary distribution of sickle haemoglobin -- a genetic disorder causing sickle cell anemia. It also estimates the number of newborns affected by this condition.

Historically, the sickle cell gene (haemoglobin S or HbS) was common in people of African, Mediterranean and Indian origin but, following human migrations, it is now much more widespread. The MAP team's estimates suggest that about half of the affected newborns are born in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and India, but important uncertainties remain in large parts of these countries due to a lack of data.A report of the research is published October 25 in The Lancet.

Dr Fred Piel from Oxford University's Department of Zoology, who led the research, said: 'Sickle cell disease has now been studied intensively for more than a hundred years but our knowledge about its current distribution and burden is really poor. Our aim was to use available evidence-based epidemiological data from the literature combined with modern mapping and modelling methods to come up with the best maps and estimates. In the future, we hope that accessing additional data, including from national screening programmes, would help further refine these results.'

The study provides the first rigorous assessment of the contemporary distribution of this disorder and uses state-of-the-art methodology to estimate the number of newborns affected globally, regionally and nationally. The team was inspired by work conducted by Frank B Livingstone in the 1970s and 80s. In spite of its age, his global database on inherited blood disorder frequencies still represents a unique resource. There is growing awareness about the burden of genetic blood disorders -- sickle cell disease in particular -- and it is crucial for public health policy makers to access evidence-based quantitative epidemiological data allowing the assessment of the current situation and to measure changes in the future. The data will be released in open access on the MAP website.

Professor Sir David Weatherall, who has shared his unique expertise in the field and provided exceptional support to the project, said: 'The inherited haemoglobin disorders, notably sickle cell disease and the different forms of thalassaemia, are by far the commonest monogenic diseases and the vast majority of births affected occur in low- or middle-income countries. Previous work suggested that their distribution varied considerably even within short geographical distances and data regarding their true frequency is extremely difficult to obtain.

'Hitherto, they have been largely ignored by the international health community and it is absolutely vital that better information is obtained regarding their true frequency so that their control and better management can be achieved, particularly in the developing countries where they are so common. The impressive work described in this paper provides an invaluable base for future work of this kind.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Frιdιric B Piel, Anand P Patil, Rosalind E Howes, Oscar A Nyangiri, Peter W Gething, Mewahyu Dewi, William H Temperley, Thomas N Williams, David J Weatherall, Simon I Hay. Global epidemiology of sickle haemoglobin in neonates: a contemporary geostatistical model-based map and population estimates. The Lancet, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61229-X

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Sickle cell anemia: Maps and newborn estimates released." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121026110103.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2012, October 26). Sickle cell anemia: Maps and newborn estimates released. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121026110103.htm
University of Oxford. "Sickle cell anemia: Maps and newborn estimates released." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121026110103.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) — A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) — The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins