A Lead Poisoning Outbreak in Nigeria, Plumbism and Anemia

Over 400 Nigerian children have died from lead poisoning this year…lead poisoning is sometimes called plumbism, stemming from plumbum, the Latin term for lead (Pb, atomic number 82), a metal used by plumber. A rarer term is Saturnism, based on the metal’s association with that planet and ancient Roman god.

Perspective on Screening for Sickle Cell Trait in Student Athletes

In some ways this seems like a pro-active, well-intentioned policy that could save lives. On the other hand, as discussed in the NEJM piece, the new screening policy raises a host of challenging issues:

* how will colleges inform minor players’ parents about results?
* how will the schools handle players’ privacy?…

Why Give Blood?

Giving blood is something that’s close to my heart. When I was 14 years old, I received seven units of packed red blood cells from strangers…

Today, thousands will donate blood to honor the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr… The holiday presents, also, a special opportunity to gather much-needed registrants for the National Marrow Donor Registry…

Moms Tweet About Blood and Cancer

This afternoon I found a Tweet from a colleague, a journalist who happens to be a mom in my community:

Tweet from SuSaw:
“RT @JenSinger: Hey, baby. What’s your blood type? Nothing against the Big Pink Machine… http://ow.ly/URkg

As a trained hematologist (blood doc), oncologist and breast cancer survivor, I couldn’t resist checking this out. Here’s what I discovered…

Information Overload

Last week I received an email from a former patient. He has hemochromatosis, an inherited disposition to iron overload. His body is programmed to take in excessive amounts of iron, which then might deposit in the liver, glands, heart and skin. He mentioned “some amazing videos on hematology and hemochromatosis and genetics” he’d discovered on YouTube.

This is the future of medicine, I realized. … Whether physicians want their patients to search the Internet for medical advice is beside the point. We’re there already, whether or not it’s good for us and whether what we find there is true.

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