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January 24, 1997 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-01-24

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 24, 1997 - 5

U' groups
* Annual event draws
more than 1,000 to
Michigan Union
By Katie Plona
Daly Staff Reporter
At least 1,000 University students
milled through the organized rows of
tables in the Michigan Union Ballroom
and Pendleton Room yesterday to
check out various campus organiza-
tions during the fourth annual
Sponsored by the Office of Student
Activities and Leadership,. Winterfest
gave 130 student-organized groups an
opportunity to attract new members
and tell students about their associa-
"We want our definition of who
Africans are to be expressed to the
University," said one of the founding
TA embers of the recently formed
'African Student Association. "We're
also hoping that students who support
us are aware and come and join."
The African Student Association was
among the groups to perform on the
ballroom stage.
LSA first-year student Omar Gaines
said the three different dances the asso-
ciation performed represented dances
done in the northern region of Ghana.
SAL Director Susan Wilson said the
number of student organizations is up
from last year's 96 participants.
"It says to me, 'They're getting
something out of it,"' Wilson said,
adding that students looking for
involvement also benefit.
Both group members and students
looking to join said the event was well
"It seems very smooth, even the pre-
sentations ran smoothly," said
Engineering first-year student Bobby
Green. "Most of the groups seem satis-
fied with the turnout."
Green, who is in the SAL work-
study program, passed out information
sheets containing group's contact peo-
pie and the time of their mass meet-
"Turnout is more than I expected it
to be," said Engineering sophomore
Lydia Yeung, who talked to interested
women about her sorority, Alpha Xi
Delta. "We're just trying to get our

Sickle-cell treated with
bone marrow transplants

By Brian Campbell
Daily Staff Reporter
After spending a month recovering
from a bone marrow transplant to cure
his sickle-cell anemia, 5-year-old Luke
DeBoer went home last weekend with a
healthy, fully functioning blood system.
"He's back at home and seems to be
in good health," said Dr. John Levine,
assistant professor of pediatrics and
communicable diseases, who per-
formed the transplant at the University
Medical Center. "He passed all of his
tests prior to discharge."
Before his transplant, DeBoer
received blood transfusions to treat
the disease. Now he won't be need-
ing further transfusions, since the
sickle cell anemia will never return,
Levine said.
The bone marrow transplant was the
first ever in Michigan to be performed
specifically to treat sickle-cell anemia.
University Hospitals is among 15 cen-
ters nationwide that have performed the
"He didn't have any serious compli-
cations - it went very smoothly,"
Levine said.
Bone marrow transplants were first
performed in the late 1960s and are

used mainly to treat leukemia. But dur-
ing the past few years, bone marrow
transplants have been used more fre-
quently to treat other blood diseases,
such as sickle-cell anemia.
"In the last decade there has been an
explosion of transplants done, and as
transplants have become more com-
mon, the occasions for transplants have
broadened," Levine said.
Sickle-cell anemia is an inherited
blood disease that occurs mainly in
blacks. The disease arises when the
hemoglobin in red blood cells lack oxy-
gen. This abnormal hemoglobin causes
the red blood cells to harden, distorting
them into fragile, sickle-like shapes.
The sickle cells can then become
clogged in blood vessels, causing
severe pain in the abdomen, bone and
Dr. Harry Erba, assistant profes-
sor of internal medicine, said that
when the blood vessels become
clogged by the sickle cells, organs
may die because they do not receive
enough oxygen.
"Sickle cells do not flow easily
through tiny blood vessels," Erba said.
"This can cause death in organs that are
supplied by that blood."

While sickle-cell anemia can be
treated with antibiotics and blood trans-
fusions, a bone marrow transplant is the
only way of curing the disease: Erba
said he expects the number of bone
marrow transplants performed to treat
sickle-cell anemia to rise in the future.
"I think we'll be doing more of
these," he said. "It is the only potential-
ly curative treatment that I know of."
Erba said that while the gene that
makes a person susceptible to sickle-
cell anemia can be identified, the
potential severity of the disease cannot
be determined. This poses the problem
of determining whether it is worth-
while to undergo the risks of a bone
marrow transplant to prevent future
symptoms, which may be mild and
Erba emphasized the importance of
detecting sickle-cell anemia at an early
age, and advised tracing young patients
for a while to determine if symptoms
are severe enough to warrant' blood
transfusions or a bone marrow trans-
About one in 10 African Americans
carries the genetic trait for sickle-cell
anemia. Of those individuals, less than
one in 100 will contract the disease.

Jamie Farah, an Englneering first-year student, speaks with ISA senior Samuel
Kwan at the Air Force ROTC table yesterday at Winterfest.

name out and have people know what
we do and that we exist."
Alpha Xi Delta, which will begin
winter rush Saturday, was among the
groups who used free candy, fliers and
photos of members to convince stu-
dents to join.
"I'm really happy with the out-
corme," said LSA junior Makaiya
Brown, who put the event together.
"There was so much to do."
As a part of her internship with SAL,
Brown was in charge of both
Winterfest and Festifall, which usually
takes place two to three weeks into the
fall semester.
Students said they came to
Winterfest for various reasons.
"When you go out to find a job, you
need the basic education in your field
and you also need the experience of
extracurricular activities," said School
of Education junior Anita Burton, who
is a transfer student looking for volun-
teer opportunities at the University.

Many organizations said they are not
necessarily trying to recruit new mem-
bers, but instead want to make students
aware of their issues.
"You never know where one of our
brochures might end up," said Public
Health graduate student Jason Lang,
who was passing out information about
eating disorders.
Lang and about 15 others are mem-
bers of University Health Service's stu-
dent-based group Body Image: Health
and Disordered Eating.
Members of University Christian
Outreach, an ecumenical Christian
organization, performed a 25-minute
religious program.
"We really enjoy doing it," said
Engineering senior Jennifer Leonard, a
UCO staff member. "(Winterfest is)
one of the many ways to get your name
out and get people involved."
Wilson said Winterfest has grown
each year and she anticipates future
success for the program.


Health chief opposes free needles

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) -A needle-exchange program sug-
gested as a way to reduce the spread of disease in Michigan's
second-largest city would signal tolerance for illegal drugs, the
tate's health chief said yesterday.
"I personally ... don't support nee-
dIe-exchange programs, and as a poli-
cy won't use state money for needle- We h
exchange programs," said James
Haveman Jr., director of the balance
Community Health Department.
Mayor John Logie wants a special With the
committee to consider an anti-drug
strategy that covers prevention, treat-
ment and punishment for non-violent Grar
He has suggested the exchange of dirty
needles for clean ones because used needles can pass hepatitis
and AIDS among drug abusers.
"When you start getting into needle-exchange programs,
there's something that works against abstinence," Haveman said
during a visit to the city.
He is a former director of Grand Rapids-based Project
Rehab, which offers treatment for people who abuse alcohol


and other drugs.
"I would much rather put the money into treatment.... The
thing I will not do is endorse needle-exchange programs to give
people cover politically," Haveman said.
Michigan's director of drug-control
policy has a similar position.
to "There's been a mixed message
sent to the public, where you say don't
he harm do drugs, but if you do drugs use
clean needles. Our policy is zero tol-
Pene fit " erance," said Darnell Jackson, a for-
mer prosecutor and deputy police
- John Logie chief in Saginaw.
R apids mayor But both men said the ultimate deci-
sion rests with communities.
The Grand Rapids task force has not
been created. When he made the needle suggestion earlier this
month, the mayor said he would be perceived as condoning ille-
gal behavior.
"But we have to balance the harm with the benefit," Logie
Police Chief William Hegarty said cocaine is his depart-
ment's main challenge, not heroin, which is injected.


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