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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Some
West African societies seem to protect
themselves against the worst effects of
sickle cell anemia by the food they eat, a
Stanford University anthropologist said
And, according to Stanford's William
Durham, the West Africans gain
protection against malaria through the
combined effects of their religious ob-
servances and the sickle-cell anemia in
DOCTORS IN the United States are
trying to learn whether the Africans'
diet can lead to a treatment for sickie-
cell anemia, a genetic disease suffered
by many black Americans and many
Americans of Mediterranean descent.
The West Africans have an unusually
high rate of sickle-cell anemia but live
longer than most other victims of the
disease. Durham wanted to know why.
First, he discovered that sickle-cell
anemia was more common in societies
that grew yams than in neighboring
societies that grew and ate rice.
NO ONE COULD explain the dif-
ference, Durham told a science writers'
seminar sponsored by the Council for
the Advancement of Science Writing.
But Durham said he knew of research
that seemed to indicate that sickle-cell
anemia would protect victims against
malaria, which is common in West.
The malaria parasite, which causes
disease.by working into red blood cells,
cannot live very well in the sickle-.
shaped red blood cells of sickle-cell
anemia sufferers. the cells, because of
their shape, can become trapped in the
capillaries. The blood cells then rup-
ture, and the malaria parasites die.
BUT SICKLE-CELL anemia is also a
dangerous disease. the cells that
collect in the capillaries eventually,
block the flow of blood, causing blin-
dness, pain the extremities and death in
So the advantages the Africans
gained by surviving malaria would be
lost if they died from sickle-cell anemia.
But Durham discovered their diet gave
some, protection against sickle-cell
The Africans eat primarily the yams
that grow in the region. The yams con-
tain a chemical called thiocyanate
which prevents cells from developing a
sickle shape, and thus protects ,those
who eat it.
THAT EXPLAINED why the
Africans survived sickle-cell anemia.
But if the yams kept the Africans from
developing sickle cells, how were the
Africans fighting off malaria.
The answer was found in their
religious beliefs; which provide that
newly harvested yams cannot be eaten
during the rainy season.
The Africans were developing sickle
cells during the rainy season, because
they were nqt eating yams, and the
sickle cells were protecting them from
malaria, Durham discovered.
THE RAINY season is the time they
most need protection from malaria, he
said, becasue the disease is carried by
mosquitoes that multiply in the wet
months. If you ate yams during the
rainy season, you would lose your
resistance to malaria, Durham said.
When the rainy season ends, West
African societies hold festivals to mark
the time when they can once again eat
the newly harvested yams. The return
of yams to their diet once again protec-
ts them from the worst symptoms of
Photo- by JeftSchrier
Traffic is bumper upon bumper at this six-tiered Ann Arbor parking lot that
provides a study in horizontal design.
Supreme Court rejects state obscenity law
(Continued from Page 1)
Alabama, California, Georgia,
Louisiana and North Carolina, accor-
ding to court documents.
The Washington law declares
business establishments to be "moral
nuisances" if they exhibit "lewd films
or publications." It provides for con-
fiseation of all money from sales or
admissions, and permits court orders to
close the business for as long as one
In striking down the law, the 9th U.S.,
Circuit Court of Appeals said, "The
ability of a court to close a place tem-
porarily because obscene materials
'may' have been sold, distributed or
exhibited on the premises is an imper-
missible prior restraint."
IN SEPARATE actions, the court
refused to protect parents of public
school students from having to pay for
school property vandalized by their
children and agreed to decide whether
the NAACP must pay for a 1960s
boycott of white-owned businesses in
In the school vandalism case, the
court voted 7-2 to leave intact a New
Jersey law-similar to laws in every.
state but Georgia - that imposes such
The precedent-setting value of
yesterday's action in the school van-
dalism case is far from clear, but for
now New Jersey's law is safe from
THE COURT granted review to a
National Assocation for the Advan-
cement of Colored People attempt to
get out from under a lawsuit filefi by a
group of Port Gibson, Miss. store
At one time, the NAACP was ordered
to pay $1.25 million - an award that
would have threatened the civil rights
group's existence, that award was
struck down by tha Mississippi
Supreme Court last Dec. 10 as ex-
Frm eres o nlaio.Peat, Marwick, Mitchell.
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"Stevens addresses the. issue Er s &W n e .
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T h e p o in ts h e r a is e s a re g e r m a neaTwe wh epd r g .
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An instructive look at how Big Athurnun
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'U' officials get budget calls
(Contmnued from Page u
heythad called. The response, he said, of his assistants answered the callers'
howed that students are still concer- et Holmes, wh took calls in
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grogram reduction issues Were no te hlegn.
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onger being addressed publicly, people
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Shapiro's secretaries said they took
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suggested that students might get a
satisfactory' response _by writing let-
Although Frye was 'out of town, two
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