Sickle cell disease is a hereditary disorder that affects red blood cells, distorting their natural disc shape into a crescent moon or "sickle" shape.

This process results in a number of problems including severe chronic pain, stroke, organ damage, spleen dysfunction, heart failure and even death.

Sickle cell disease affects millions of people of many nationalities throughout the world, including both children and adults.

Current methods to detect and monitor sickle cell disease rely mainly on optical microscopy, which is time-consuming, causes delays in capturing important changes, and moreover, does not capture changes in real-time.

Results of the study, published in the American Chemical Society's journal ACS Sensors, show that this novel technology can characterize the dynamic cell sickling and unsickling processes in sickle blood without the use of microscopic imaging or biochemical markers.

With this method, Sarah E. Du, Ph.D., senior author and an assistant professor in FAU's Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, and co-authors from FAU's College of Engineering and Computer Science and the University of Miami, were able to characterize the rate of cell sickling and the percentage of sickled cells, which are important contributing factors of abnormal blood flow and sickle cell vaso-occlusion.

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