Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Something I learned during AS level revision - sickle cell anaemia

Not my revision, as such, but helping my elder son revise for his AS level history exams.  One of the things he studied was the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.  And one of the things within that was the role of the Black Panthers in raising awareness and action about sickle cell anaemia (sickle cell disease).

The Black Panthers were set up in 1966 to protect residents of African American neighbourhoods from police brutality.  But they did more than that, including setting up breakfast clubs and other community programmes.

There is more about the Black Panthers in general on Britannica but it does not mention sickle cell anaemia at all.  The pages of information in the Marxists Internet Archive about the Black Panther Party mention it but give no detail.  There is a lot more detail on this page on treatment and political aspects of sickle cell, from the Washington University in St Louis.  Looking at the reference list on the main page suggests this is a course dating back to 2000.  It quotes from Black Panther publications of the time and includes statistics, and details what happened politically.

More recent material includes a book by Alondra Nelson, Body and soul: the Black Panther Party and the fight against medical discrimination, published in 2013 by the University of Minnesota Press.  A Google Books search suggests there are books about the Black Panthers in general that mention their work with regard to sickle cell anaemia - search Google Books for Black Panthers sickle cell.   One, The Black Panther Party: Service to the People Programs, by the Dr Huey P. Newton Foundation, has a chapter in it about the Sickle Cell Anemia Research Foundation, started by the Black Panther Party in 1971.  The book is a preview only, so make friends with a librarian to get the whole thing!

A search of PubMed for just "black panther*" as a phrase finds just five items (searching for the phrase and sickle cell finds nothing).  Four are about the big cat, the fifth does mention the Black Panther Party in the context of education.  A search for Sickle Cell Anemia/history and USA or United States of America/ turns up 45 items, which look interesting, but in a more general way.  Some of them mention the first cases in the USA, and the physicians and patients involved early on.  A search of Google Scholar for sickle cell "black panthers" turns up a number of interesting looking things outside the medical literature, although a quick search of Web of Science reveals nothing.  One of the Google Scholar findings does not mention the Black Panthers in the title and has no abstract in Web of Science.   The article in question (Gary LE. The sickle cell controversy.  Social Work 1974;19(3):263-72) is from 1974 and discusses recent increased federal and state support for sickle cell programmes. I assume Google Scholar indexes the full text, but the full text is subscription only.  There is an abstract in the journal, but it does not mention the Black Panthers.

For current medical information, try NICE Evidence Search, which finds this article in Clinical Knowledge Summaries, among other things.  There is also information in NHS Choices.

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Arride Soft said...
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