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News Release - Queen's University researcher Paula James explores why genetic carriers of hemophilia A often experience abnormal bleeding

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

(January 2019), Kingston, Ontario — Queen’s University researcher Paula James has revealed women who are carriers of hemophilia A, an inherited bleeding disorder, experience abnormal bleeding in about 30 per cent of cases. Dr. James is working to unravel the mystery as to why this abnormal bleeding, including nosebleeds, heavy periods, and bleeding following childbirth, occurs.

Dr. James’ study showed that, compared to the control group, the Factor VIII response in Hemophilia A patients, including those with normal clotting factor levels, was both significantly reduced and shorter-lived. These results were correlated with those that had higher levels of abnormal bleeding.

The research results suggest that the women may not be able to generate and sustain a high enough increase in Factor VIII in response to bleeding, likely because of the FVIII mutation that causes hemophilia A. Abnormal bleeding can lead to iron deficiency, which causes fatigue, sleep disturbance, and impaired learning and work performance.

The study was published in Blood Advances.


“It’s long been assumed that women who carry this gene don’t have bleeding symptoms but we now know that isn’t true. Some patients have low levels of clotting Factor FVIII in their blood, and for those that don’t, there must be other contributing factors. It’s a challenging problem because it has led to their bleeding symptoms being dismissed and not treated properly.”

“It’s a huge quality of life issue for these women. We need to understand this disease better in order to treat it properly. While we still don’t have all the answers, this discovery adds significantly to our understanding of why, even when they have normal clotting factor levels, women who are carriers of hemophilia A have abnormal bleeding.”

Queen’s University researcher Paula James

Associated links

For more insight into her research watch the video here.


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Anne Craig

Media Relations Officer

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