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Other Names for this Disease
  • Beta thalassemia intermedia
  • Beta thalassemia major
  • Beta thalassemia minor
  • Cooley's anemia
  • Erythroblastic anemia
More Names
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Beta-thalassemia is a blood disorder that reduces the production of hemoglobin. Without sufficient hemoglobin, red blood cells do not develop normally, causing a shortage of mature red blood cells, leading to anemia and other health problems. Severe beta-thalassemia is called “thalassemia major” or “Cooley’s anemia.” Thalassemia intermedia is the less severe form. Mutations in the HBB gene cause beta-thalassemia. This condition is usually inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion, which means people with beta thalassemia have mutations in both of their HBB genes. People who have only one HBB mutation may have no symptoms or develop mild symptoms; these individuals are said to have thalassemia minor.[1]
Last updated: 7/7/2011


  1. Beta thalassemia. Genetics Home Reference. July 2009; Accessed 7/7/2011.
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Basic Information

  • You can obtain information on this topic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is recognized as the lead federal agency for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.
  • Genetics Home Reference (GHR) contains information on Beta-thalassemia. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.
  • The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) was established in 1988 as a national resource for molecular biology information.  Click on the link to view information on this topic.
  • The National Human Genome Research Institute's (NHGRI) mission encompasses a broad range of studies aimed at understanding the structure and function of the human genome and its role in health and disease. Click on the link to view the information page on this topic.

In Depth Information

  • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
  • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is an catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Beta-thalassemia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

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