Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Blood Drop

Often called a “Digital Age Leonardo da Vinci”, Alexander Tsiaras is a digital innovator, technologist and artist. You might know him from his work that showcases beautiful digital images of the human body, made using cutting edge imaging software along with artsy tweaks. Guided by a passion for the human form and insides, Tsiaras founded the TheVisualMD, an extensive online library that documents human anatomy and illness, as well as Anatomical Travelogue, a company specialized in creating digital works of art that faithfully show the workings of the human body. He also authored a number of well received books like From Conception to Birth: A Life Unfolds, The Architecture and Design of Man and Woman: The Marvel of the Human Body, Revealed, The InVision Guide to a Healthy Heart and The InVision Guide to Sexual Health.

Read more:
Breathtaking digital images probe human anatomy like never before

Source: ZME Science

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sabotaging flagella of bacteria to halt infections

Some bacteria have the ability to ‘swim’ in a controlled fashion through the use of appendages called flagella. Researchers think that disabling these flagella is a key step towards infection control.

Motile bacteria move through the function of flagella. These appendages rotate, which propels an organism forwards. This is a little like the propellers on a boat. Some bacteria have one flagellum, others have many, and some possess none at all. Some of the bacteria regarded as human pathogens have flagella. An example of a flagellate bacterium is the ulcer-causing Helicobacter pylori, which uses multiple flagella to propel itself through the mucus lining to reach the stomach epithelium. Some flagella also serve a function in environmental detection, sensing different conditions and signalling to a bacterium to move to or away from a given niche.

Read more:
Sabotaging bacteria to halt infections

Source: Digital media by Tim Sandle

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Don´t step on my blood smear


Source: Facebook via Lab Humor

New finding: Biobank storage time affects blood test results

The amount of time a blood sample has been stored at a biobank may affect the test results as much as the blood sample provider’s age. These are the findings of a new study from Uppsala University, which was published in the scientific journal EBioMedicine. Until now, medical research has taken into account age, sex and health factors of the person providing the sample, but it turns out that storage time is just as important.

They analysed 380 different samples from 106 women between the ages of 29 and 73. To study the impact of storage time, only samples from 50-year-old women were used in order to isolate the time effect. 108 different proteins were analysed. In addition to how long a sample had been frozen, the researchers also looked at what year the sample was taken and the age of the patient when the sample was taken.

‘We suspected that we’d find an influence from storage time, but we thought it would be much less’, says Professor Ulf Gyllensten. ‘It has now been demonstrated that storage time can be a factor at least as important as the age of the individual at sampling.’

Blood from biobanks has been used in research aimed at producing new drugs and testing new treatment methods. The results of this study are important for future drug research, but it is not possible or necessary, to repeat all previous biobank analyses.

Read more:
New finding: Biobank storage time affects blood test results

Source: Uppsala University, Sweden

Monday, September 5, 2016

Scientists have finally figured out how cancer spreads through the bloodstream

In what could be a major step forward in our understanding of how cancer moves around the body, researchers have observed the spread of cancer cells from the initial tumour to the bloodstream.

The findings suggest that secondary growths called metastases 'punch' their way through the walls of small blood vessels by targeting a molecule known as Death Receptor 6 (no, really, that's what it's called). This then sets off a self-destruct process in the blood vessels, allowing the cancer to spread.

According to the team from Goethe University Frankfurt and the Max Planck Institute in Germany, disabling Death Receptor 6 (DR6) may effectively block the spread of cancerous cells - so long as there aren't alternative ways for the cancer to access the bloodstream.

Read more:
Scientists have finally figured out how cancer spreads through the bloodstream

Source: ScienceAlert
Image: K. Hodivala-Dilke, M. Stone/Wellcome Images

Free sBook - Atlas of Clinical Hematology

This 6th edition of the atlas has integrated the 2001 WHO classification and made use of figures and descriptions to document recently described types of leukemia and lymphoma. The latter include leukemias of dendritic cells, rare lymphomas and persistent polyclonal B lymphocytosis, which takes a special place in the classification.

eBook is available by Alaa M. Khudair
Teacher Assistant – Medical Technology Department – IUG

Open book here (pdf)
Atlas of Clinical Hematology

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Interpreting Plates - Colony Morphology

Bacteria grow tremendously fast when supplied with an abundance of nutrients. Different types of bacteria will produce different-looking colonies, some colonies may be colored, some colonies are circular in shape, and others are irregular. The characteristics of a colony (shape, size, pigmentation, etc.) are termed the colony morphology. Colony morphology is a way scientists can identify bacteria. In fact there is a book called Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology (commonly termed Bergey's Manual) that describes the majority of bacterial species identified by scientists so far.

Although bacterial and fungi colonies have many characteristics and some can be rare, there are a few basic elements that you can identify for all colonies:
  • Form - What is the basic shape of the colony? For example, circular, filamentous, etc.
  • Elevation - What is the cross sectional shape of the colony? Turn the Petri dish on end.
  • Margin - What is the magnified shape of the edge of the colony?
  • Surface - How does the surface of the colony appear? For example, smooth, glistening, rough, dull (opposite of glistening), rugose (wrinkled), etc.
  • Opacity - For example, transparent (clear), opaque, translucent (almost clear, but distorted vision, like looking through frosted glass), iridescent (changing colors in reflected light), etc.
  • Chromogenesis (pigmentation) - For example, white, buff, red, purple, etc.
Read more:
Interpreting Plates

Source: Science Buddies

Neutrophil disorders and their management

Neutrophil disorders are an uncommon yet important cause of morbidity and mortality in infants and children. This article is an overview of these conditions, with emphasis on clinical recognition, rational investigation, and treatment.

Neutrophil disorders
  • Disorders of neutrophil number (neutropenia)
  • Disorders of neutrophil function
Neutrophil disorders are an uncommon, yet important, cause of morbidity and mortality in infants and children and should be considered when investigating children for immunodeficiency. They are especially likely when the clinical presentation includes features such as oral ulcers and gingivitis, delayed separation of the umbilical cord, uncommon infections such as hepatic or brain abscesses, uncommon organisms such as S marcescens or Pseudomonas spp, or when the individual has features of syndromic conditions associated with neutropenia or neutrophil dysfunction. All patients with recurrent oral infections, skin abscesses, perianal and perirectal abscesses, poor wound healing, sinopulmonary infections, or deep visceral abscesses should be evaluated for defects in phagocyte function. Appropriate investigations can lead to specific diagnoses, and general and specific management measures can reduce both mortality and morbidity and permit genetic counselling and antenatal diagnosis in some cases.

Read more:
Neutrophil disorders and their management

Source: Lakshman and Finn 54 (1): 7 -- Journal of Clinical Pathology

Cytology Cake

Cytotechnology graduation cake. Cells under a microscope
by Wendy Belgrave

Source: Pinterest,
Wendy Belgrave

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Tick-borne Hemorrhagic Fever Kills Man in Spain

Spanish health authorities said on Thursday they were investigating a possible outbreak of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) which has killed one man and infected a nurse, in the first non-imported case reported in Western Europe.

The 62-year-old man died on Aug. 25 after contracting the CCHF disease during a walk in the Castilla-Leon region, probably from a tick bite he reported - which is one of the main ways it is transmitted - authorities said in a statement.

He also infected the nurse who treated him at a hospital in Madrid and she is now in a stable condition in quarantine at an isolation unit, they said. Authorities are monitoring about 200 other people who had come into contact with the man and nurse.

According to the World Health Organization, CCHF's mortality rate is about 30 percent and it is endemic to Africa, the Balkans and Ukraine, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Read more:
First Local Case of Tick-Borne Disease Kills Man in Spain

Source: Scientific American

Alcohol is a solution

Statement in a  pub in east London

Source: Twitter by

Paper-based Test Identifies Bogus and Poor Quality Drugs

Counterfeit and substandard medications are a serious problem in the developing world, potentially harming patients who desperately need medical treatment.

Some of these drugs, including the antibiotics ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone, have been deemed essential by the World Health Organization for the treatment of infections. However, chemists in developing countries often do not have expensive instruments to determine whether a pill is genuine.

Now, a simple paper-based test may be the answer.

Instead of a $30,000 machine, a $1 paper card can test a drug in three minutes to determine whether the medication is inactive or of substandard quality. The tests come in 20-card packets.

Read more:
Paper-based Test Identifies Bogus and Poor Quality Drugs

Source: VOA
Photo: Courtesy of Lieberman and Bliese

Finally they have noticed medical laboratory profession

Important work behind the scenes.

Source: The MEDTECH´s Lounge

Microbiology - It´s My Life

The moment of success

Source: Sketching science

Influenza D

A new influenza virus that affects cattle has an official name. influenza D. The executive committee of the International Committee of Taxonomy of Virus approved a new genus, Orthomyxovirdae, with a single species, Influenza D virus, because of its distinctness from other influenza types—A, B and C.

The research group showed that influenza D is spread only through direct contact and proved a guinea pig can be used as an animal model to study the virus. Influenza D antibodies have been identified in blood samples from sheep and goats, but the virus does not affect poultry.

Studies are underway to compare the virulence among the bovine and swine influenza D strains and human influenza C using the guinea pig model. If the virus can undergo reassortment in combination with a closely related human influenza virus, it may be able to form a new strain that could pose more of a threat to humans.

Read more:
 New Virus Gets Official Name, Influenza D

Source: Newswice

Friday, September 2, 2016

Blood Sample Spontaneously Unhemolyzes Because Nurse Asks Nicely

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Sources from a local hospital are reporting a miracle, after a sample received by the laboratory spontaneously unhemolyzed following a discussion with the nurse.

The sample was drawn in the PICU, sent to the lab, and accessioned by medical laboratory technician Nancy Stewart. “After processing the specimen, I noticed the serum was pink, indicating gross hemolysis,” says Stewart. That meant having to call the PICU to request a new sample. Stewart says it’s the best part of her job. “I mean, who wouldn’t love getting yelled at for something they can’t control?”

But luckily for Stewart, PICU nurse Linda Nelson was in a good mood. “Normally, I would be pretty annoyed,” says Nelson. “I would berate the lab tech, accuse her of sabotage, and refuse to draw a new sample. But this time, instead of fighting, I just apologized and politely asked if she could recheck the sample. If it was still hemolyzed, I would gladly obtain a new specimen.”

Read more:
Blood Sample Spontaneously Unhemolyzes Because Nurse Asks Nicely

Source: GomerBlog

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Blood Test for Colorectal Cancer - Epigenomics AG

Despite recommendations, many people in the target age group are not getting screened for colorectal cancer. However, a new blood-based screening test may help boost those rates because of its simplicity and convenience for the patient. The downside is that the new test is not as sensitive or accurate as a colonoscopy or the other recommended screening approaches.

Approved in April 2016, the Epi proColon (Epigenomics AG) is the first blood-based colorectal screening test to get a thumbs-up from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This molecular test detects methylated Septin 9 DNA in plasma, which is increased in colorectal cancer and can be found in tumor DNA that has been shed into the bloodstream from both colon and rectal sites. This makes it a differential biomarker for the early detection of colorectal cancer, according to the manufacturer.

Available in Europe since 2012, it is also being marketed in other countries, including China.

Read more:
Blood Test for Colorectal Cancer: The Last Resort?

 Source: Medscape

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