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A Journal on Sports Medicine

Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2003 March;56(1):41-6

language: Italian

Anaerobic exercise and thalassemia major

Giampaoli S. 1, Carrieri L. 2, Mepignano A. 3, Ninfali P. 4

1 Laureata in Scienze Biologiche, Università degli Studi di Urbino, Urbino;
2 Diplomata ISEF-Università degli Studi di Urbino, Urbino;
3 Reparto di Ematologia, Ospedale Civile di Brindisi, Brindisi;
4 Cattedra di Biologia Umana, Facoltà di Scienze Motorie, Università degli Studi di Urbino, Urbino


β-Thalassemia is a genetic disease characterized by low levels or absence of β-globin chains. It is caused by an autosome recessive trait, which may be phenotypic expressed in 3 forms with varying degrees of severity: minor, intermediate and major.
Thalassemia major (Th-M), also called Mediterranean anemia or Cooley’s disease, is caused by a homozygous trait and is the most severe form of thalassemia. Patients suffering from this form of the disease need transfusions to live a normal life span.
In this report, we present the case of a 24 year-old boy with Th-M, who practiced anaerobic exercise for 5 years. The work load was increased progressively while the number of repetitions remained fixed. No physiological complications were observed over the 5 years and the exercise resulted in an increase in muscle size and strength.
The physical activity was also effective in preventing osteoporosis, as shown by the constant bone density values over the 5 years.
This study suggests that people with Th-M, who do not suffer from complications involving the respiratory system, can practice physical activity and enjoy significant benefits to bone articulation and muscular systems.

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