What Does Frequent Blood Donation Do to the Donor?Blood transfusions have been around for hundreds of years, and plenty of research and sacrifice went into making it safe and for the recipient. There hasn't been nearly as much research into what it does to the donor. We know the human body will replace the required amount of blood in time. The volume will stabilize in about 24 hours, but there's a lot more to blood than just water. What about iron and hemoglobin? And what happens to the generous people who donate blood on a regular basis? Donation centers do not normally check for iron levels before drawing blood. They check for anemia, which is not the same thing. Frequent donors often live just on the edge of anemia, so how does this affect their lives? An experiment identified 79 donors with low iron levels after donating blood. Half were given intravenous iron, and the other half were given saline. Four to six months later, the two groups showed no measurable difference in blood quality, cognitive function, or quality of life. However, women under 50 benefitted the most from the intravenous iron supplement. The implication of this study shows that regular blood donation does not significantly affect the donor, but does lead to some new recommendations for best practices concerning frequent donors that show signs of anemia. Read about the effects of blood donation at Stat. -via Damn Interesting​(Image credit: Bisajunisa) #blood #blooddonation #iron #hemoglobin #anemia
Horseshoe Crabs Usefulness to Humans Puts Them in DangerHorseshoe crabs don't have immune systems like we do. They don't produce antibodies to fight off infection. Instead, they rely on the chemistry of their blue blood. It contains limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL), which inactivates bacterial endotoxins. This compound is used in the pharmaceutical industry to test vaccines, drugs, and medical devices. Every year, American biomedical companies harvest a half-million horseshoe crabs to harvest their blood. They don't take all the blood, and they return the crabs to the sea, but still about 30% of them die from the experience. Also, by missing mating season, these crabs will not produce 80,000 eggs each, which not only reduces their descendants but also deprives seabirds of their normal diet of crab eggs. In the Delaware Bay, the horseshoe crab population is only 25% of what it was in 1990. Fortunately, scientists have developed an artificial substitute for LAL, recombinant Factor C (rFC), that performs just as well for human drug testing. Unfortunately, while rFC is used in China and the European Union, it has yet to be approved for use in the US. Read about the efforts to save both horseshoe crabs and develop new drugs and vaccines at The Verge.Find even more information on horseshoe crabs at TYWKIWDBI.#horseshoecrab #drugs #blood #ecosystem #pharmaceutical