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February 11, 2016 AT 12:30 am

Angella Dorothea Ferguson – African American History Month 2016 #BlackHistoryMonth

Adafruit BHM2016 blog

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Angella D. Ferguson was born in 1925 and has had an illustrious academic and medical career. From Wikipedia:

Her early research required her to understand normal development in African American children, but to her surprise no such baseline data existed. In setting out to rectify this gap in knowledge, she made the startling discovery that African American infants learned to sit and stand earlier than infants of European descent. She attributed this trend to the fact that the parents of African American infants often did not have playpens or high chairs for them; hence they learned to sit and stand earlier than their white counterparts.[2]

Ferguson noticed the prevalence of sickle cell disease among the infants she treated in her practice. In her work she tracked the development of the disease in African American infants.[2] At that time, sickle-cell anemia was a little-known disease. Through experimentation, she determined that if infants drank a glass of soda water once a day before age five, their chances of having a sickle-cell crisis – a condition in which the flow of damaged red blood cells is impeded, causing painful clogging of blood vessels – was reduced.[2] She also developed a blood test to detect the disease at birth, which became a standard test in forty U.S. states by 2010.

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