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Helen Ranney Dies

Hematologist Helen Ranney, best known for finding the genetic cause of sickle cell disease died on April 5, reports the New York Times. She was 89 years old. More than 50 years ago, Ranney developed a method of distinguishing normal hemoglobin from the abnormal hemoglobin found in sickle cell patients, the Times says. She also provided evidence that the disease was caused by inherited defects in the structure of the hemoglobin and, according to the article, she developed a method of testing newborns for the disease, before they began to show symptoms at five months of age. She was a faculty member at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine for more than 30 years, the article reports, and became the first woman at a major American medical school to head a department of medicine.

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