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Blood Donor Bonus

January 16, 2007

Giving blood can make you feel good about yourself. But could it be good for you, too?


A bonus for blood donors. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Recently this call came in:

BRIAN ALSTON (caller):
My name is Brian Alston. I’m calling from Chicago. What are the benefits, if any, of giving blood?

Well, Dr. Ritchard Cable of the American Red Cross Blood Services told us about one unproven benefit. He says your blood contains iron, and too much iron can work with the oxygen you breathe to cause damage to organs, kind of like rust. So people who reduce their iron levels by giving blood often may reduce their risk of heart disease.

RITCHARD CABLE (American Red Cross Blood Services):
This kind of is a bonus. If in fact the theory is correct, then not only are they doing well for others, but they may be doing good for themselves.

On the other hand, people who are iron deficient shouldn’t give blood. You can call us at 1-800-why-isit with your science question. If we use it, you’ll win a Science Update mug. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.