One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of a group of hereditary hemolytic diseases caused by faulty hemoglobin synthesis, widespread in Mediterranean, African, and Asian countries.
- ‘Less common causes of microcytosis are thalassemia and lead poisoning.’
- ‘Bone marrow transplantation may be considered in some cases of sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, and aplastic anemia.’
- ‘The blood dyscrasias that most commonly lead to leg ulceration are sickle cell disease, thalassaemia, thrombocythaemia, and polycythaemia rubra vera.’
- ‘I first met Prawase Wasi in 1966 on a visit to Thailand on behalf of the World Health Organization to assess the extent of the problem of thalassaemia and related diseases.’
- ‘In recent years, sickle cell disease and thalassaemia, both conditions largely confined to ethnic minorities, have gained increasing recognition by the white dominated health services in the United Kingdom.’
1930s: from Greek thalassa ‘sea’ (because the diseases were first known around the Mediterranean) + -emia.
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