Did one mutation cause sickle cell disease?
New research suggests that the history of sickle-cell disease goes back to a mutation in just one person.
In the Sahara desert, a child was born with increased immunity to malaria, which was important because at the time, in this part of Africa it was wet and rainy and covered with forest.
These conditions are perfect for mosquitoes which also carry malaria, a disease that these days kills one child every two minutes.
With a better chance against an illness that is a major killer, this child with the genetic mutation lived a reasonably healthy life and even had children. Those children spread out, all strengthened with extra defences against malaria and living for longer, and their descendants around the world still have those extra defences today, more than 250 generations later.
But here’s the bad part, if both your parents have that gene mutation, you can end up with sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease brings severe pain and other complications to its patients.
The symptoms include shortness of breath, strokes and vision problems. Also, people who inherit the gene from both parents do not have its protection against malaria.
By Jack and Ben – Correspondents for the General News section
By Finnerty, Natalie and Autumn
Mental health problems are a serious issue but they are not commonly talked about and most people know very little about them. In school we have been told about mental health through workshops, assembleys and PSHE days, but lots of people still don’t understand how severe it can be or were to get help.
1 in 4 people living in the UK will experience mental health issues each year and 4-10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime. The most common form of mental health disorder in Britain is mixed Anxiety and Depression.
Every 7 years a survey is done of people living in England to find out the numbers of people who experience mental health issues each year (This is only a survey of people living at home so places like hospitals and prisons are not counted). These are some of the statistics from when it was last published in 2009:
2.6 in 100 people will suffer fromdepression.
4.7 in 100 people will suffer from anxiety.
1.6 in 100 people will suffer from an eating disorder.
There are lots of places to go for support with mental health problems:
and many more.
For more information about mental health visit http://www.time-to-change.org.uk