Improving the lives of children with sickle cell disease
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a serious genetic blood disorder which affects around 12,500 people in the UK. It is more common in people whose family origins are African, African-Caribbean, Asian or Mediterranean. SCD can cause poor blood circulation in the brain which can lead to learning difficulties.
Unfortunately these difficulties are often not picked up until a child is a teenager. Funding awarded in 2000 enabled researchers to monitor growth and development of 50 children and infants with SCD. The researchers were able to identify the children at risk of a delay to their development whilst they were still babies and that these children showed abnormal levels of blood supply to the brain.
The results can now be used as a guide to predict which children are most likely to develop learning difficulties and how best to help treat them.