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world blood donor day

Today (June 14) is World Blood Donor Day. Blood's not a product that keeps particularly well (about a month, if we're talking whole blood) & blood banks are always looking for new donors. In New Zealand, around 3,000 donations per week are needed in order to meet the demand.

So, if you're been considering giving blood, put the thought into action & rock on down to your nearest NZ Blood Service centre. Giving blood's a straightforward process & can make a profound difference to the lives of others.

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The Blood Service still refuses to accept my sanguinary secretions for fear that I might be carrying Mad Cow disease and lapse into drooling spongiform encephalopathy at any moment (owing to me residing in the UK during the height of the mad-cow epidemic and subsisting largely on bovine neural tissue, cunningly disguised as the average English meat pie).

It's hard to argue with them about the unlikelihood of this drooling-spongiform-encephalopathy scenario, because as Alison will happily point out, how would anyone know?

In further developments, I read that the Blood Service is planning to exclude donors if they have ever reported the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The argument for this exclusion is that one research group in Nevada has reported finding traces of XMRV (xenotrophic murine retrovirus) in blood samples from cases of CFS, and the lead investigator from the group went on to speculate that XMRV is spread through blood transfusions.

It is now emerging that the original research is looking increasingly shonky (equivocation about the method and sample population, possible contamination, other laboratories unable to replicate), and the principal investigator is looking increasingly like a quack (blaming the same virus for autism, buddying up to the anti-vax people). But never mind the lack of evidence, the Australian and Canadian Blood Services have already banned CFS donors, so we will follow Best International Practice and do the same. No-one ever lost their job for doing the wrong thing so long as they were following precedents.

Anyway, even more reason to recruit new donors to make up for the few that will be excluded.

I remember ERV writing about that & noting the shonky nature of the research involved. Perhaps I should write something with a link to her blog (after all, Abbie's the virologist!). I'm due to give platelets on Friday so must discuss it with the Blood Service folks then.

BTW I am wounded to the core that you might suggest that I think that you drool!

Have just been writing my own rant which I'll post tomorrow when I sober up. Yes, it draws heavily on ERV's discussion (and Harriet Hall at sciencebasedmedicine.org).

I can't donate blood either, as I have or have had a somewhat unusual condition which sounds like Star Trek royalty (Sarcoidosis of the Larynx). Unfortunately they don't know what causes it, so I am forever banned. I have tried convince my husband to give on my behalf but he's not keen.

Anyone up for donating my share? I always feel guitly when the blood bus is around, even though I know that if I could, I would.

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Recent Comments

  • Renee: I can't donate blood either, as I have or have read more
  • herr doktor bimler: Have just been writing my own rant which I'll post read more
  • Alison Campbell: I remember ERV writing about that & noting the shonky read more
  • herr doktor bimler: In further developments, I read that the Blood Service is read more
  • herr doktor bimler: The Blood Service still refuses to accept my sanguinary secretions read more