THE PENCILMAN:  For all of your art work needs.  If you are looking for a family portrait or just a picture of yourself.  Come and see the “THE PENCILMAN.”  There’s a variety of art work available in The Pencilman’s Gallery.  If you are an artist and want to take your art to another level call 661-916-2046.  Clarence Pointer.


Sickle Cell Awareness Month


Sickle-cell disease (SCD) is a group of genetically passed down blood disorders.  The most common type is known as sickle-cell anemia (SCA). It results in an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin found in red blood cells. This leads to a rigid, sickle-like shape under certain circumstances.  Problems in sickle cell disease typically begin around 5 to 6 months of age. A number of health problems may develop, such as attacks of pain (“sickle-cell crisis”), anemia, bacterial infections, and stroke.  Long term pain may develop as people get older. The average life expectancy in the developed world is 40 to 60 years.

Sickle-cell disease occurs when a person inherits two abnormal copies of the hemoglobin gene, one from each parent. Several subtypes exist, depending on the exact mutation in each hemoglobin gene. An attack can be set off by temperature changes, stress, dehydration, and high altitude.   A person with a single abnormal copy does not usually have symptoms and is said to have sickle-cell trait.  Such people are also referred to as carriers.  Diagnosis is by a blood test and some countries test all babies at birth for the disease. Diagnosis is also possible during pregnancy.

The care of people with sickle-cell disease may include infection prevention with vaccination and antibiotics, high fluid intake, folic acid supplementation, and pain medication.  Other measures may include blood transfusion, and the medication hydroxycarbamide (hydroxyurea).  A small proportion of people can be cured by a transplant of bone marrow cells.

As of 2013 about 3.2 million people have sickle-cell disease while an additional 43 million have sickle-cell trait. About 80% of sickle-cell disease cases are believed to occur in sub-Saharan Africa. It also occurs relatively frequently in parts of India, the Arabian peninsula, and among people of African origin living in other parts of the world. In 2013, it resulted in 176,000 deaths, up from 113,000 deaths in 1990. The condition was first described in the medical literature by the American physician James B. Herrick in 1910. In 1949 the genetic transmission was determined by E. A. Beet and J. V. Neel. In 1954 the protective effect against malaria of sickle-cell trait was described.