Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Establishing a blood management program

By establishing a blood management program (BMP), a hospital can reduce costs, use resources more efficiently and improve patient outcomes. Successful BMPs require carefully developed protocols and dissemination of multidisciplinary education to all healthcare professionals who handle blood.

"Those of us who work in regional blood centers or hospital transfusion services need to be stewards of blood. We have to establish and monitor blood usage criteria and auditing trails to prove that blood is not being wasted, and alternatively being used for established evidence-based indications, where available."

Read more:
Blood Stewards

Source: Advance
Image credits: Wkimiedia

Have you seen these?

The hemocytometer (or haemocytometer or counting chamber) is a specimen slide which is used to determine the concentration of cells in a liquid sample. It is frequently used to determine the concentration of blood cells (hence the name “hemo-”) but also the concentration of sperm cells in a sample. The cover glass, which is placed on the sample, does not simply float on the liquid, but is held in place at a specified height (usually 0.1mm). Additionally, a grid is etched into the glass of the hemocytometer. This grid, an arrangement of squares of different sizes, allows for an easy counting of cells. This way it is possible to determine the number of cells in a specified volume.

Read more:
The hemocytometer (counting chamber) 

 Source: MicrobeHunter

New population of neutrophils in body found by researchers

A novel population of neutrophils, which are the body's infection control workhorses, has been discovered by scientists. These cells have an enhanced microbial killing ability and are thereby better able to control infection. However, they may behave as a double-edged sword as they also have the potential to cause inflammation that results in tissue damage, and further studies are underway to regulate these activities.

In a study published in the February issue of Nature Immunology, Case Western Reserve researchers explain that they have found the mechanism of action of a newly discovered population of neutrophils. A sub-population of neutrophils produce a cytokine called Interleukin 17 (IL-17) to regulate the body's response to the infection; however the same cells were discovered to have enhanced microbial killing activity.

Read more:
Population of neutrophils in body found by researchers

 Source: ScienceDaily

Monday, March 24, 2014

Human Touch or Is It?

Bacteria outnumber our human cells 10:1. Yet they compose only 3-5 kg of
our body weight since their cells are so much smaller than our own.

View more:
Bacteria “R” Us

Source: Next Nature

The Blood Typing Game

What happens if you get a blood transfusion with the wrong blood type? Even though a patient's own blood type is the first choice for blood transfusions, it's not always available at the blood bank. Try to save some patients' lives and learn about human blood types!

The Blood Typing Game gives you answers to the following questions:
  • What are the different blood groups in the AB0 and Rh blood group systems?
  • What antibodies and antigens occur in the blood of different blood types? Blood typing - how do you find out to which blood type someone belongs?
  • Who can receive blood from whom in a blood transfusion?
  • What happens if someone is given the wrong blood in a blood transfusion?

Play the game :
The Blood Typing Game - about blood groups, blood typing and blood transfusions


Leukemia caused by chromosome catastrophe

Researchers have found that people born with a rare abnormality of their chromosomes have a 2,700-fold increased risk of a rare childhood leukemia. In this abnormality, two specific chromosomes are fused together but become prone to catastrophic shattering.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, is the most common childhood cancer. Scientists previously found that a small subset of ALL patients have repeated sections of chromosome 21 in the genomes of their leukemia cells. This form of ALL -- iAMP21 ALL -- requires more intensive treatment than many other types of ALL. The scientists used modern DNA analysis methods to reconstruct the sequence of genetic events that lead to iAMP21 ALL.

Read more:
Leukemia caused by chromosome catastrophe

Source: ScienceDaily

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Easy hyperlipidemia

After cheese burger and after double cheese burger

Microbiology forever

My love for microbiology last forever

Source: Reddit

Free Red Cell Morphology Online Course

All major aspects of red cell morphology are reviewed in this richly
illustrated interactive course that uses numerous photomicrographs to
identify and heighten study of morphologic abnormalities in red cell
size, shape, and color. This course is ideal for review by techs and
students and use in continuing education and cross training.

View course details

Register and teke you free trial course
Red Cell Morphology

Source: Media Lab

Gigantic multitouch displays become microscopes

The multitouch microscope is an innovation developed by researchers at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) in collaboration with MultiTouch, a Finnish company. The innovation is based on two technologies created in Finland: virtual microscopy and a giant-size multitouch display.

Traditional microscopes can only be used to examine a small part of a sample, says Johan Lundin. A virtual microscope can be used to create a comprehensive montage of the sample. The montage can consist of as many as 50,000 images.

The smallest multitouch microscope displays have 46-inch screens, which make iPads seem like postage stamps. Several people can examine the same sample from a display that has been placed on a desk, for example.

Read more: 
Gigantic multitouch displays become microscopes

Source: FIMM

How to Prepare a Perfect Peripheral Blood Smear?

A peripheral blood smear (peripheral blood film) is a glass microscope slide coated on one side with a thin layer of venous blood. The slide is stained with a dye, usually Wright’s stain, and examined under a microscope.

Peripheral Blood Smear Preparation

The wedge slide ("push slide") technique developed by Maxwell Wintrobe remains the standard method for the preparation of peripheral blood smears (films). The following procedure is utilized to prepare a peripheral smear.
  1. Place a 1" x 3" glass microscope slide with a frosted end on a flat surface (usually the counter top of a laboratory bench).
  2. Attach a label on the slide or write the patient name, specimen identification number, and date of preparation on the frosted surface.
  3. Place a 2 - 3 mm drop of blood approximately 1/4" from the frosted slide, using a wooden applicator stick or glass capillary tube.
  4. Hold the slide by the narrow side between the thumb and forefinger of one hand at the end farthest from the frosted end.
  5. Grasp a second slide ("spreader slide") between the thumb and forefinger of the other hand at the frosted end.
  6. Place the edge of the spreader slide on the lower slide in front of the drop of blood (side farthest from the frosted end).
  7. Pull the spreader slide toward the frosted end until it touches the drop of blood. Permit the blood to spread by capillary motion until it almost reaches the edges of the spreader slide.
  8. Push the spreader slide forward at a 30o angle with a rapid, even motion. Let the weight of the slide do the work. 
Watch the images and read more:
Peripheral Blood Smear Evaluation

Source: Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond
Image crEdits: Wikimedia

Ebola Outbreak in Guinea

Guinea has received confirmation that a mysterious disease that has killed up to 59 people in the West African country, and may have spread to neighbouring Sierra Leone, is the haemorrhagic fever Ebola, the government said on Saturday.

Cases of the disease - among the most virulent pathogens known to infect humans, with a fatality rate of up to 90 percent - have been registered in three southeastern towns and in the capital Conakry since February 9. It has never before been recorded in Guinea.

Read more:
Guinea confirms fever is Ebola, has killed up to 59

Source: Yahoo News UK
Image credits: CCTV Africa

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stool parasite quiz

Can you identify these particles?

CASE:  4 years old boy from Califonia, USA. No other history provided. Particles found from stool are 100 x 50 micrometers.

CORRECT ANSWER: Macracanthorhynchus sp. egg. The main Macracanthorhynchus species that infects humans is M. hirudinaceous, although a second species, M. ingens, can also rarely infect humans, and the eggs of the two cannot be differentiated microscopically.

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Lab Bunny

Cute bunny working at lab

Source: Facebook via Trust Me I´m biologist

Haemolysis: one of the leading cause of preanalytical errors

Prevention of medical errors is a major goal of healthcare, though healthcare workers themselves have not yet fully accepted or implemented reliable models of system error, and neither has the public. While there is widespread perception that most medical errors arise from an inappropriate or delayed clinical management, the issue of laboratory errors is receiving a great deal of attention due to their impact on the quality and efficiency of laboratory performances and patient safety. Haemolytic specimens are a frequent occurrence in clinical laboratories, and prevalence can be as high as 3.3% of all of the routine samples, accounting for up to 40%–70% of all unsuitable specimens identified, nearly five times higher than other causes, such as insufficient, incorrect and clotted samples.

Read more:
Haemolysis: an overview of the leading cause of unsuitable specimens in clinical laboratories

Source: ClinChem LabMed

Mycobacteriophages: Windows into Tuberculosis

Mycobacteriophages are viruses that infect mycobacterial hosts, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium smegmatis. Because the discovery and genomic characterization of mycobacteriophages has been the focus of integrated research and education programs, including the Phage Hunters Integrating Research and Education (PHIRE) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Alliance Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (HHMI SEA-PHAGES), thousands of phages have been isolated using a single host strain, M. smegmatis mc2155, over 500 of which have been completely sequenced. These are mostly from environmental samples, but mycobacteriophages have also been isolated from stool samples of tuberculosis patients, although these have yet to be genomically analyzed. Clearly, these mycobacteriophages represent only a tiny piece of the overall phage population, which is predicted to include 1031 particles, making them the majority of all life-forms in the biosphere.

Read more:
Mycobacteriophages: Windows into Tuberculosis

Source: PLOS Pathohens
Image credits: Journal of Virology

Friday, March 21, 2014

Once upon a time in the lab

You cannot beat my six-shooter pipette

Source: People in white coats
Image credits: Benoit Leblanc

Why do viruses cause disease?

Virulence, the capacity to cause disease, varies markedly among viruses. Some viruses cause lethal disease while others do not. For example, nearly all humans infected with rabies virus develop a disease of the central nervous system which ultimately leads to death. In contrast, most humans are infected with circoviruses with no apparent consequence. Is there a benefit for a virus to be virulent?

One explanation for viral virulence is that it facilitates transmission. However, a comparison of infections caused by two enteric viruses, poliovirus and norovirus, does not support this general view. Both viruses infect the gastrointestinal tract and are spread efficiently among humans by fecal contamination. However, norovirus infection causes vomiting and diarrhea, while poliovirus infection of the intestine is without symptoms (the rare invasion of the nervous system, and subsequent paralysis, is an accidental dead end). Both viruses have successfully colonized humans for many years, so why does only one of them cause gastrointestinal tract disease?

Read more:
Why do viruses cause disease?

Source: Virology blog

Image credits: Levingbio

Spring flower by E. coli

Beautiful flower on petri dish

Source: Facebook via Medical microbiologist

A man with anemia and a change in personality

A 63-year-old man presented with symptoms of anemia. The only other symptom of note was some change in personality with unusually aggressive behavior. His blood count was as follows: hemoglobin 65 g/L, white blood cell count 6.5 × 109/L (normal differential count), and platelet count 509 × 109/L. The blood film (panel A) was leukoerythroblastic with target cells and marked basophilic stippling. Liver function test results and hematinics were normal.

Read more:
A man with anemia and a change in personality

Source: Blood
Image credits: ASH image bank

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Malaria Training Materials

The WHO Global Malaria Programme is coordinating the development of a Global Technical Strategy for Malaria Control and Elimination (GTS) for the 2016-2025 period. It will articulate the vision and goals for malaria over the next decade and bring together current policy recommendations in a comprehensive, evidence-based strategy for WHO Member States to use in developing their own strategies, wherever they are along the pathway to elimination.

Download from WHO site:
  • Basic malaria microscopy: Part I. Learner's guide. Second edition
  • Basic malaria microscopy: Part II. Tutor's guide. Second edition
  • Bench aids for the diagnosis of malaria infections. Second edition
Read more:
WHO | Training materials

Source: WHO

Inflammation mobilizes tumor cells

Malignant tumors pose a major threat to survival largely because they shed mobile cells that can form secondary tumors in other tissues. This process requires a fundamental change in the character of cells within the primary tumor, insofar as members of a localized cell mass must be converted into actively migrating cells that invade into the surrounding tissue and blood vessels, and finally settle in distant tissues. A growing body of evidence suggests that inflammatory reactions promote such cellular transformation.

Image: Colon carcinoma (brown staining). Note how individual tumor cells (brown) or groups of tumor cells have become detached from the primary tumor (on the left) and are migrating into the surrounding normal tissue (the so-called stroma, blue staining).

Read more:
Inflammation mobilizes tumor cells

Source: LMU
Image credits: Rene Jackstadt

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bacterial Love

I love you - Te amo by staphylococcus

Original image:

Source: Facebook
Image credits:  CNDQCQ

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Automated Camera System Detects Potential Patient Name Mislabeled Specimens

ARUP has invented an automated camera system that uses sophisticated software and optical character recognition (OCR) technology to identify specimens that are potentially mislabeled for the patient name. A prototype system was installed on our automated track in October 2012. A validation study of one million specimens was completed on May 31, 2013. The prototype system continues to operate on our automation system and is clearly reducing the number of corrected reports due to mislabeled specimens for that portion of ARUP’s workload that is analyzed by the OCR system. This is a major invention that is clearly having a positive impact on patient safety.

Read more:
ARUP Laboratories - Automation Initiative

  Source: Arup Laboratories

I Want to Unzip Your Genes

I wish I were DNA helicase so I could unzip your genes.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick’s

Happy St. Patrick’s Day via Pathology Student.

Read more:
Flower Power

Source: Pathology Student
Image credits: Richard Huang

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Bacterial Transformation

Transformation of E. coli HB101 with pGLO. The pGLO plasmid contains the gene for green fluorescent protein linked to an arabinose operon. The transformed E. coli is growing on LB with arabinose. The presence of arabinose and the absence of glucose turns on the arabinose operon and results in expression of the green fluorescent protein. This plate was made during a lab exercise. Students were asked to “draw” with the culture on the plate. The plates were then viewed and photographed under long wave ultraviolet light. (Drawing by student artist, image by Anne Hanson, University of Maine, Orono, ME)

View more:
Bacterial Transformation

Source: ASM microbe library

Image credits:  Anne Hanson, University of Maine, Orono, ME

Laboratory Scientists or Lab Geeks?

Just wondering why they keep on calling us lab geeks

Source: FaceBook

Screening Dreams

Scientist way to take a nap during the working day

Source: Crazy hyena

Complete Textbook of Phlebotomy - Free eBook

With a strong emphasis on hands-on learning, this highly practical text helps students develop the phlebotomy related knowledge and skills they need to become confident, competent health care professionals. The text provides detailed content reflective of the latest practice standards and competencies of the phlebotomy profession in a way that connects it to actual practice. Step-by-step guidelines for more than 20 collection procedures are provided along with real-life scenarios and prompts that emphasize the phlebotomist's legal and ethical role in decisions related to patient care. Full color photographs highlight important steps in each procedure along with proper equipment, while illustrations depict the components of anatomy critical to proper phlebotomy technique. The text continues to present complex material in an engaging, concise, and reader-friendly way. THE COMPLETE TEXTBOOK OF PHLEBOTOMY remains the perfect choice to prepare students for success as a multi-skilled health care professional.

Download here

 Source: Chengangebrain

Vampyr is working in Australian blood service?

 Look at the car registration plate.  "VAMPYR"

Read more:
australian red cross blood vampyr plates

Source: Daily Picks and Flicks
Image credits: Dave

Golden E. coli

E. coli in EMB plate. Isolated from food sample.

View More:

Source: Microbeworld
Image credits: KC Biju

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Staphylococci Traceability

Follow footprints of staphylococci

Source: Facebook
Image credits: Darya Eroshenko

Can you identify these leukocytes

Peripheral blood smear.

CASE: 67 years old female from Denmark has been very tired during last weeks. Now she has fever and abdominal pain. Basic blood count shows low haemoglobin (110 g/L) and elevated leukocytes. Blood smear was taken and the findings are in the image.

Can you identify these two leukocytes?

Correct answer: Monocyte (top) and lymphocyte (bottom). This patien has CLL which explains the lymphocyte morphology.

View all given answers here

Health effects of shift work and extended hours of work

Work involving long hours or abnormal night-day schedules has been in existence for centuries. There is evidence to suggest that such schedules are here to stay, for one reason or another, for one in five workers. The main physiological consequence of such shift schedules is disruption of circadian rhythm which can have a deleterious effect on performance, sleep patterns, accident rates, mental health, and cardiovascular mortality. Reproductive outcome effects may be linked to disruption of menstrual cycles. Individual issues such as sex, age, and personality are also important.

Coping with these potentially harmful work schedules involves helping people to cope and by designing workplace environments and shift scheduling schemes that lead to the least disruption to mental, physical, and social wellbeing.

Read more:
Health effects of shift work and extended hours of work

Source: Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Image credits: Jill Colbourne

Lab Safety Protocol

In case of small fire

Source: Facebook
Image credits: Lenny Hong

Friday, March 14, 2014

It´s staring back

Scary parasite

Source: Glow by MonAT
Image credits: MonAt

Neutrophil numerals

The peripheral smear demonstrated unusually rich polynuclear segmentation generating a complete Arabic numeral list. Panels A through J represent the numbers 0 through 9. This segmentation is secondary to the accelerated myeloid cell production characteristic of CML and other myeloproliferative diseases.

Read more:
Neutrophil numerals

Source: Blood
Image credits: ASH Image bank

Doctors often uncertain in ordering and interpreting lab tests

A survey of primary care physicians suggests they often face uncertainty in ordering and interpreting clinical laboratory tests, and would welcome better electronic clinical decision support tools.

The results of the survey, sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were published in the March-April issue of The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

“The optimal testing pathways to arrive at correct diagnoses is changing, so it is difficult for primary care physicians to keep up with new and efficient testing algorithms.”

Read more
Doctors often uncertain in ordering, interpreting lab tests

Source: UIC
Image credits: Amanda Mills

Monday, March 10, 2014

E. coli Smile

Happy Monday laboratorians.

E. coli is smiling with you on MacConkey plate.

Source: Scienceprofonline

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Part of the Solution

If your are not part of the solution, you are part of the precipitate.

 Source: Teenormous

Chromogenic Culture Media Technology

This technology is based on soluble colourless molecules (called chromogens), composed of a substrate (targeting a specific enzymatic activity) and a chromophore.
When the target organism’s enzyme cleaves the colourless chromogenic conjugate, the chromophore is released. In its unconjugated form, the chromophore exhibits its distinctive colour and, due to reduced solubility, forms a precipitate.

Read more:
Chromogenic agar Technology

 Source: Chromagar

A Positive Blood Test

Happy Sunday Scientists!

Image credits: Dexter Morgan

Free eBook - Diagnostic Microbiology

he new 12th edition of Bailey & Scott’s Diagnostic Microbiology solidifies its reputation as the classic text in the field of microbiology. This new edition features the same comprehensive, authoritative content and adds new and updated material throughout. The team of authors includes three well-respected clinical microbiologists, all of whom have experience both in the classroom and the clinical laboratory.

Download here:
Bailey & Scott's Diagnostic Microbiology, 12th Edition 

 Source: Bookza

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Lab Glassware Chess

Just awesome

Source: Facebook via Trust me I´m biologist

Weekend Haematology Challenge

Peripheral blood cell morphology

CASE: 36 years old, HIV positive woman from Hyderabad, India has been suffering weigh lost and low grade fever during last months.Now she has nontender, erythematous, papulonodular lesions all over her body. Laboratory findings included anemia, leucopenia and hypergammaglobulinemia. Peripheral blood smear findings are in the picture.

Can you identify these leukocytes?
What are the other findings?


Correct answer: Left: lymphocte (LGL), right: monocyte with LD-bodies. This patient has visceral leishmaniasis.

View all given comments here

International Women´s Day - Women in Science

International Women's Day 8 March is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women's Day is a national holiday.

10 Famous Women Scientists in History

Science and technology are often considered to be the forte of men. Nevertheless, the contribution of women to the progress of these areas cannot be disregarded. There have been numerous gifted and far-famed women scientists in history who made crucial discoveries and inventions in the world of science.

Read more:
10 Famous Women Scientists in History

Source: Science blog

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