Scientists at the Versiti Blood Research Institute in Milwaukee are studying a common but often undiagnosed blood disorder, with a twin goal of improving diagnosis and treatment.

Von Willebrand disease affects about 1 percent of the U.S. population. This genetic disorder, characterized by a missing clotting protein, can cause heavy bleeding and easy bruising, as well as frequent nosebleeds and more serious complications.

Senior Investigator Robert Montgomery says adult women are affected most by symptoms. According to him, women with the disorder can experience hemorrhaging after childbirth, and many women have undergone unnecessary hysterectomies due to excessive menstrual bleeding that may have been related to von Willebrand disease. He tells his research team aims to avoid outcomes like that by better understanding the causes behind the disease.

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