For Immediate Release
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Contact:
NHLBI Communications Office
301-496-4236

Media Advisory

NHLBI to Hold Workshop on Health Consequences of Sickle Cell Trait

What: Scientists from across the nation will gather June 3-4 to discuss what is known about sickle cell trait and the potential health implications related to this genetic blood condition. "Framing the Research Agenda for Sickle Cell Trait" will examine the ethical, legal, social, and public health impacts of the blood condition.

The two-day workshop is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the Advisory Committee of Blood Safety and Availability in the Office of Public Health and Science, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

When: The free workshop, which is open to the public, runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 3, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 4. NHLBI Acting Director Susan B. Shurin, M.D., a hematologist, will provide opening remarks.

Workshop highlights include:

  • Insights Into Sudden Cardiac Death in Young People, Thursday, June 3, 9:05 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.
  • Exercise and Sudden Death: Investigations in Sickle Cell Trait, (panel discussion) to examine whether sickle cell trait plays a role in student-athlete exercise-related deaths. Thursday, June 3, 9:45 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Sickle Cell Trait Screening Programs (panel discussion) Thursday, June 3, from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Where: Natcher Auditorium (Building 45) on the NIH campus, Bethesda, Md.

Why: About 2.5 million Americans have sickle cell trait, which means they carry one copy of an altered hemoglobin gene. Hemoglobin transports oxygen in red blood cells throughout the body. In most cases, people who have sickle cell trait have no symptoms and lead normal lives.

Sickle cell trait is not the same as sickle cell disease. Some people who inherit two copies of the altered hemoglobin gene have sickle cell disease, a condition with misshapen red blood cells that leads to the development of serious health problems. Sickle cell disease, which affects about 70,000 Americans, is most common in people of African, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Central and South American and Asian Indian origin or descent.

Contact: To speak with an NHLBI spokesperson, please contact the NHLBI Communications Office at 301-496-4236 or at NHLBI_news@nhlbi.nih.gov.

Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. The Institute also administers national health education campaigns on women and heart disease, healthy weight for children, and other topics. NHLBI press releases and other materials are available online at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

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Resources:

Workshop Website: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/meetings/Sicklecell-Framing/index.htm

NIH Visitor and Security Information: http://www.nih.gov/about/visitor/index.htm

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