Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Europe Miss Nearly 40,000 Cases of C. Difficile Infections Annually

Failure to diagnose or inadequate use of medical laboratory tests were cited by researchers as contributing to this situation. The European, multi-center, prospective, bi-annual point prevalence study of Clostridium difficile in hospitalized patients with diarrhea revealed that more than 39,000 cases of the hospital bug C. difficile go undetected each year.

Read more:
Study Estimates that Hospitals in Europe Miss Nearly 40,000 Cases of C. Difficile Infections Annually Due to Lack of Clinical Suspicion or Failure to Order a Clinical Laboratory Test

Source: Dark Daily
Image credits: Bioquel

Human Cells Paper Sculptures

Finely detailed works of art off paper cutting by hand, inspired by the cells in the human body.

View more:
Rogan Brown - Paper Sculptures

Source: Paper Sculptures
Image credits: Rogan Brown

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beauty of Microtubes

Amazing photo by Carlos de Pas

View more:
Ciencia a toda cor 

Source: Flicker
Image credits:  Carlos de Pas

Pre-analytic Issue

Unusual Specimen Source

"This is a copy of the actual order as we received it in the laboratory."
by Richard A Winder

Source: Facebook
Image credits: Richard A Winder

Alzheimer’s in the Blood

Researchers are on a mission to identify blood-borne biomarkers for dementia. Will this year’s high-profile successes pave the way?

In a study appearing this month (July 8) in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, Simon Lovestone of King’s College London and University of Oxford and his colleagues  published on a panel of 10 proteins that could predict progression from  mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to full-blown Alzheimer’s with a  reported accuracy of 87 percent (calculated as the total number of true results, both positives and negatives, over the total number of tests given).

Read more:
Alzheimer’s in the Blood 

Source: The Scientist Magazine®

International Day of Friendship - 30 July

I think of you periodically - Happy International Friendship Day!

Read more:
International Day of Friendship - 30 July

Source: UN

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Microbiology Cookies

Salmonella, Legionella, Smallpox, Bubonic Plague, MRSA, Ebola.

View More:
Notes from the Quirky Kitchen

Source: Eat Your Heart

Misdiagnoses of vitamin D deficiencies

Most clinical laboratories use immunoassays routinely to measure 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OH D) in serum. The metabolites of vitamin D are important in the regulation of calcium and bone metabolism.

Example of MS platforms developed for routine clinical testing Immunoassays are high throughput, and relatively cheap and easy to use, but have some important limitations. It has been found that immunoassays have problems recognising vitamin D2 after it has been ingested, giving a significant under-estimation of the concentration of 25OH D2 . This has an impact on the total 25OH D measured, potentially leading to misdiagnosis.

Read more:
Misdiagnoses of vitamin D deficiencies

Source: European Hospital

Do Hemoglobin A1c Point-of-Care Instruments Meet The Analytical Performance Criteria?

In 2009, a study group investigated the conformance of 8 hemoglobin A1c (Hb A1c) point-of-care (POC) instruments. Since then, instruments have improved and new devices are available on the market. In this second study, we evaluated the performance of DCA Vantage, Afinion, InnovaStar, Quo-Lab, Quo-Test, Cobas B101, and B-analyst Hb A1c POC instruments.

Afinion, DCA Vantage, Cobas B101, and B-analyst instruments met the generally accepted performance criteria for Hb A1c. Quo-Test, Quo-Lab, and InnovaStar met the criteria for precision but not for bias. Proficiency testing should be mandated for users of Hb A1c POC assays to ensure quality.

Read more:
Three of 7 Hemoglobin A1c Point-of-Care Instruments Do Not Meet Generally Accepted Analytical Performance Criteria

 Source: Clinical Chemistry

Lab Management University

Lab Management University (LMU) is not an ivy-covered hall of learning, yet the impact it has on its graduates is profound all the same. The brainchild of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and the American Pathology Foundation (APF), LMU is a year-old online certificate program for laboratory professionals, pathology residents and pathologists interested in honing management and lab administration skills.

Participants will complete 25 approved LMU courses in six competency areas and receive a Certificate of Completion in Laboratory Management. You will also receive AMA PRA Category1 Credits™ and CMLE credits are available for each course completed. You will gain real life tools through a curriculum that is active and engaging taught by renowned faculty entrenched in managing laboratories day in and day out.

Read more:
Lab Management University

Source: Advance

Monday, July 28, 2014

Microbiology Insta Gram Selfie

Laboratory scientists have special kind of "insta gram"

Image credits: Flickr/ Xavier J. Peg

Handy Laboratory Scientists

Earl Lenmeyer´s hint to keep you awake during the night shift.
Make a beautiful lab geek crochet.

Read more and get the pattern here:
Ravelry: Earl Lenmeyer the Flask pattern by craftyshanna

Source: Ravelry
Image credits: Shanna

The zika virus: a new threat from the tiger mosquito

Like its cousins, the dengue and chikungunya viruses, zika appeared several years ago. Two epidemics in the Pacific were recently revealed to the world: the first in Micronesia in 2007, and a second, very significant one with 55,000 patients in Polynesia at the end of 2013. A retrospective study on the dengue and chikungunya epidemic that occurred in Libreville, Gabon in 2007 has just shown that zika was also present then. This is the first time that a zika fever epidemic has been found in Africa, where it originated, and also in an urban setting. These studies also show the responsible factor: the tiger mosquito, already known to be the vector for two other arboviruses in Gabon. Knowing the global spread of this insect, these results present a new potential threat to human health around the world.

Read more:
The zika virus: a new threat from the tiger mosquito 

Source:  Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD)

LEGO Microscope

Did you know that it's possible to build a working compound microscope with nothing but LEGO elements? The key is the magnifying glass. All you need is several of these convex lenses, and some Power Functions LEDs.

This creation uses 4 LEGO magnifying glasses to create a fully functional compound microscope. Other features include separate coarse and fine adjustment knobs, power functions LEDs and a rotating stage.

Read more:
LEGO Ideas - Working Microscope

Source: Lego

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Defining Clinical Pathology Laboratory

Definitions of medical laboratory departments

Source: Pinterest/ Lab humor
Image credits: Erin Neal

What gives bacteria nightmares?

For hospital workers an outbreak of harmful bacteria in the wards is a nightmare, but what gives bacteria nightmares?

Perhaps the prospect of being eaten alive by a kind of viral parasite called a bacteriophage (bacteria eater): unlike antibiotics, which some bacteria have evolved a resistance to, bacteriophages are alive and so can fight back against bacterial counter-measures. But as yet the evolutionary 'arms race' between bacteria and their viral foes is poorly understood.

In a new study published this week in PNAS a team led by Oxford University scientists report a series of experiments examining this eternal war between bacteria and bacteriophages focusing on the bug Pseudomonas aeruginosa. I asked Alex Betts of Oxford University's Department of Zoology, first author of the study, about how we might recruit bacteriophages to fight for us…

Read more:
Land of the bacteria-eaters 

Source: University of Oxford

Medical laboratory history, which no one misses

Mouth pipetting - Do you remember Carlsberg micro pipettes and rubber tubes?  How about Westergren ESR pipette filling? Those were the days, which no one wants back.

Image credits: A short stint in India

Bunny on a Petri Plate

Cute mold bunny <3

Source: Twitter
Image credits: Erica Leyder

Social Laboratory Testing

Your Tube -Personalized Testing Channel

Source: Known Pathology
Image credits @knownpathology

Saturday, July 26, 2014

I am The Lab - Jewelry Collection for Lab Lovers

Beautiful lab inspired glass jewellry

"Whenever I discover an artists that is making beautiful, handmade jewelry that is getting little attention, I feel like its my duty to do what I can to change that. That’s the case with Sasivimol Chaidaroon’s stunningly beautiful glass jewelry. Simply called La Jewellry, Sasivimol’s modest collection is absolutely ethereal. "

Read more:
Stunning Handmade Jewelry by La-Jewellry | IAMTHELAB |

Source: LA-Jewellry

Asplenic Patient

Asplenic patients are at risk for rapidly progressive septicemia and death. Such patients should be vaccinated against pneumococci, H. influenzae type b, meningococci, and influenza virus, and if fever develops, they should receive empirical antimicrobial therapy immediately.
Mortality among patients with postsplenectomy sepsis can be as high as 50%. Most commonly caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae, this infection often has a sudden onset and a fulminant course.

Read more:
Care of the Asplenic Patient 

 Source: NJEM

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Image of Biomedical Laboratory Scientists

Important work behind the scenes

Juha Wahstedt

Why do we have blood types?

In 1900 the Austrian physician Karl Landsteiner first discovered blood types, winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research in 1930. Since then scientists have developed ever more powerful tools for probing the biology of blood types. They’ve found some intriguing clues about them – tracing their deep ancestry, for example, and detecting influences of blood types on our health. And yet I found that in many ways blood types remain strangely mysterious. Scientists have yet to come up with a good explanation for their very existence.

“Isn’t it amazing?” says Ajit Varki, a biologist at the University of California, San Diego. “Almost a hundred years after the Nobel Prize was awarded for this discovery, we still don’t know exactly what they’re for.”

Read more:
Why do we have blood types?

Source: Mosaic
Image credits: Elena Boils

Faecal Parasite Quiz

CASE: 5 years old boy from South Sudan has lost weight and sufferin diarrhoea. Faecal sample for parasites was taken and the findings are in the image. The size of the round particle on top of the image is 70 x 45 micrometers and the light brown roundish particle in the middle of the image is  some 10 micrometers larger. The size of the oval particles on the bottom of the image is around 53 x 23 mcrometers.

What are the findings?

Correct answer:  Two Ascaris lumbricoides eggs, fertilized and non fertilized and two Trichuris trichiura eggs (Bottom).

Paola´s Petri Worm

Art and Science of Microbiology
by Paola Atrio

Source: Facebook
Image credits: Paola Atrio

Cancer Awareness Cell

"This fabulous little cell was rocking the cancer awareness ribbon today!"

by Melissa Friddle

View Cancer awareness calendar:
Calendar of Cancer Awareness Months  

Source: Facebook
Image credits: Melissa Friddle

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The most common viruses in your body don’t make you ill

The most common viruses in your body don’t make you ill. Instead, they infect the legions of microbes that live in your gut. These bacteriophages, or phages for short, number in their trillions. And the most common of them might be a newly discovered virus called crAssphage. No one has seen crAssphage under the microscope, but we know what its genome looks like—Bas Dutilh from Radboud University Medical Centre pieced it together using fragments of DNA from the stools of 12 individuals. He found crAssphage in all of them. Then, he found it in hundreds more.

Read more:
Why Has This Really Common Virus Only Just Been Discovered? – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science

 Source: Nationa Geographic

Summer in Urine Laboratory

Flowers in urine collection container.

Beautiful summer and relaxing vacations for all medical laboratory professionals.

Source: Medlabhaven


Piss-poor organized testing.

Identifying childhood TB infection and diagnosing complications

A study published in BMC Medicine by Vivek Naranbhai and colleagues has revealed that in South African children, alterations in the amount of different types of white blood cell can help to identify infants at risk of TB infection. The authors showed that an increased ratio of blood monocytes to lymphocytes is associated with higher TB risk in the first two years of life, suggesting that the monocyte:lymphocyte ratio could be used to help identify at-risk infants and prioritize them for TB testing.

Read more:
The global fight against TB: identifying childhood infection and diagnosing complications 

Source:  BioMed Central blog
Image credits: Child Healthy

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pipette Tip Personalities

Can you find yourself from the image?

Source: Facebook via Lab Humor

Medical Laboratory Salary Survey

Are we well paid?  Do you want to compare your salary to other medical laboratory professionals around the world?

Salary survey is close 30 July, 2014.
The summary of the results will be published soon here.

Thank you for participating

Frequency Rate of Abnormal Morphologic Shapes of the Erythrocytes upon the Different Types of Anemia

Anaemia is one of the blood diseases that are different forms of blood cells. These shapes indicated the type of disease. It is through the study of 10,000 image from 19 types of anaemia has been drawn 40 shapes of the natural shape of red blood cells. The interesting findings in this study are included Iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) is the most common cases disease; it could reach to 39.5% out of total cases. The most important frequency shapes in IDA are hypocromic microsite (54-62%), Ellipsoids (12-15%), Normocytes (9-11%) and (target, dear drop) (7-9%). Southeast Asian anaemia (SEA) is most common in Malaysia and might be second place after iron deficiency anaemia. The most common shapes of anaemic erythrocytes are stomatocytes (45-64%), kinzocyte (40-45%) and Basophilic (5-8%). Thalassemia showed about 93% of shape of total abnormal RBCs shaped. The majority of abnormal shapes were the hypocromic microsites (54-67%), target (17-21 %) and basophilic cells (8-15%). Megoblastic showed most common shapesof ovalocytosis (41-45%), spherocytosis (29-33%). Haemolytic anaemia is the fourth type of anaemia was shown the erythrocytes look hyporocromic macrosytis, which showed 39% of total abnormal cells. The majority of abnormal shape showed in the Spherocytis (29-35%), Polychromatophilia (13-16%) and Ovalocytosis (9-15%). Red distribution width (RWD) showed highest in IDA, which caused a wide variation in red cell size.

Read more:
Frequency Rate of Abnormal Morphologic Shapes of the Erythrocytes upon the Different Types of Anemia - researchpaper\Frequency-Rate-of-Abnormal-Morphologic-Shapes-of-the-Erythrocytes-upon-the-Different-Types-of-Anemia.pdf

Source: International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Laboratory Inspired Baking

Awesome laboratory beaker cookie

Read more:
Science cookie roundup #6

Source: Not so humble pie

Exciting drug flushes out HIV

A team at Aarhaus University in Demark tried using a chemotherapy drug, romidepsin, which is used in lymphoma. Six HIV patients with undetectable levels of the virus were enrolled into trial. They each received a reduced dose of romidepsin once a week for three weeks. There was a noticeable jump in viral levels in the blood in five of the patients.

One of the scientists involved, Dr Ole Sogaard, told the BBC: "Every step forward is always exciting, and I think this is quite important." He said there had been a lot of scepticism about the drug being potent enough.

Read more:
'Exciting' drug flushes out HIV

Source: BBC News

HIV and sex workers

With heightened risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, sex workers face substantial barriers in accessing prevention, treatment, and care services, largely because of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation in the societies in which they live. These social, legal, and economic injustices contribute to their high risk of acquiring HIV. Often driven underground by fear, sex workers encounter or face the direct risk of violence and abuse daily. Sex workers remain underserved by the global HIV response. This Series of seven papers aims to investigate the complex issues faced by sex workers worldwide, and calls for the decriminilisation of sex work, in the global effort to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Read more: - HIV and sex workers

Download full poster here

Source: The Lancet

Scientists successfully generate human platelets

Scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have developed a scalable, next-generation platelet bioreactor to generate fully functional human platelets in vitro. The work is a major biomedical advancement that will help address blood transfusion needs worldwide.

The bioreactor—a device that mimics a biological environment to carry out a reaction on an industrial scale—uses biologically inspired engineering to fully integrate the major components of bone marrow, modeling both its composition and blood flow characteristics. The microfluidic platelet bioreactor recapitulates features such as bone marrow stiffness, extracellular matrix composition, micro-channel size, and blood flow stability under high-resolution live-cell microscopy to make human platelets.

Application of shear forces of blood flow in the bioreactor triggered a dramatic increase in platelet initiation from 10 percent to 90 percent, leading to functional human platelets.

Read more:
Scientists successfully generate human platelets using next-generation bioreactor

Source: EurekAlert
Image credits: science magazine

Monday, July 21, 2014

Influenza Point-of-Care Tests

Rapid influenza antigen tests have lower sensitivity compared to other methods, but newer assays control for some of the factors that may contribute to poor performance.

Nucleic acid amplified tests are now available that allow for the identification of infection with influenza and other respiratory viruses with high sensitivity in as little 1 hour.

The best way to clinically implement these assays remains unclear, and many different factors must be considered when choosing an optimal testing algorithm including: patient population tested, required turn-around-time, and testing-driven clinical interventions.

To help guide both laboratory and provider decision making, studies are urgently needed to determine the clinical utility, impact on outcomes, and cost-effectiveness of rapid antigen and nucleic acid amplification tests for influenza and other respiratory viruses in different patient groups and clinical settings.

Read more:
Rapid Diagnosis of Influenza: State of the Art
Image credits: Genesis

Urease: an anti-microbial target in bacteria and fungi

Urea is a small molecule formed as proteins are broken down. It’s excreted in urine, but isn’t particularly toxic at low levels so it’s found in cells throughout the body. The molecular structure of urea is below, and as it contains nitrogen (N) several pathogens have adapted to use it as a nitrogen source using an enzyme called urease to break it down.

The urease converts urea into ammonia and carbamic acid, which then spontaneously reacts with water to form carbonic acid (and produces another ammonia). Converting the carbonic acid into bicarbonate produces a buffer solution: the ammonia and bicarbonate can bond with and dissociate from free hydrogen ions enough to keep the pH of the surrounding area relatively neutral. This is particularly useful for bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori which colonises the stomach and therefore needs to cope with very acidic conditions.

Read more:
Urease: an anti-microbial target in bacteria and fungi

Source: Scientific American / Lab Rat
Image credits: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Publich Health Image Library. {{PD-USGov-HHS-CDC}}

My Phlebotomy Shoes

"Gimme blood" - Awesome shows for phlebotomists and biomedical laboratory scientists who draw blood.

Current and novel biochemical markers for detection and monitoring of sepsis

Sepsis biomarkers play an important role in identifying the presence, absence, or severity of sepsis and can differentiate bacterial from viral and fungal infection, and systemic sepsis from local infection. Other potential benefits of sepsis biomarkers include the role in differentiating Gram-positive from Gram-negative microorganisms as the cause of sepsis, guiding antibiotic therapy, prognosis, and predicting sepsis complications and the development of multi-organ failure. To date, the performance of more than 150 sepsis biomarkers have been evaluated and used in the diagnosis
and monitoring of sepsis (more for prognosis than diagnosis), which includes acute phase protein markers, chemokine/cytokine markers, receptor markers, markers related to vasodilation and vascular endothelial damage, and coagulation markers.Routine laboratory tests are not very helpful because most critically ill patients develop some degree of inflammatory response, whether or not patients have sepsis, hence there is no single gold standard test for the diagnosis and monitoring of sepsis and there is a continuous search for better biomarkers. 

Read more:
Current and novel biochemical markers for detection and monitoring of sepsis

Source: Medlab Magazine

European Conference on Preanalytical Phase

The 3rd EFLM-BD European Conference on Preanalytical Phase will be held from March 20-21, 2015 in Porto, Portugal. The focus of the conference is the management of the quality of the preanalytical laboratory practices. We have designed for you the attractive scientific program with interactive discussions and e-voting to enable the exchange of ideas and knowledge related to some most common issues and everyday problems. Conference speakers will offer to the participants practical solutions and guidance for some most critical laboratory procedures.

Read more:

Image credits: Juha Wahlstedt

The Infectious Diseases Diagnostic Revolution

How Quickly Will New Methods Replace Culture?

If there is any area of the lab in which the term revolutionary rightly is being applied, it has to be for rapid pathogen identification. Today, the great Louis Pasteur, a founding father of microbiology who lived in the 1800s, would feel at home with culture methods still widely in use that rely on superb technique and abundant patience, with days or even weeks-long turnaround times. In the future, however, culture likely will be a sideline in a field dominated by molecular diagnostic and mass spectrometry (MS) methods that give results rapidly—in hours or less—and in point-of-care (POC) or near-POC settings, according to experts. This juggernaut of change has profound implications for patient outcomes, the cost and efficiency of care, lab practice, and, most significantly, global antimicrobial stewardship efforts.

Read more:
The Infectious Diseases Diagnostic Revolution

Source: AACC

Histology Eyes

Hair follicle histology

Read more:
Told you! #histology is an amazing art

Source: Twitter
Image credits: Haneen_Maghrabi

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Scientist´s Creed

This is my pipette. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My pipette is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
My pipette, without me, is useless. Without my pipette, I am useless.

A van Gogh on a petri dish

A fantastic piece of "Petri dish art," created by Amy B. of the Provincial Laboratory of Public Health in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The van Gogh picture was created on Uriselect chromogenic agar which is a white colour. Different bacteria show up as different colours so the following were used:
  • Pink=E. coli
  • Dark blue= Enterococcus
  • Light blue= Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Red= Serratia marcescens (this is actually its naturally occurring ruby pigment, not from the chromogenic agar)
  • White= Candida albicans
  • Yellow= Micrococcus luteus (again, this was it's naturally occurring pigment not from the chromogenic agar)

Read more:
Microbiology, Creativity, and Extra Credit

Source:  All Creatures Great AND Small: Preaching Microbial Supremacy!
Image credits: Amy B

Labquality Days 2015 - Winter Magic & Laboratory Medicine

5-6 February, 2015
Helsinki Finland

Labquality Days, organised by Labquality Oy annually, draws about 1,000 medical laboratory professionals to the Helsinki Exhibition & Convention Centre.

Scientific program

Thursday 5 February


Performance criteria to be considered when selecting control
materials for the laboratory
Ph.D. Silje Solheim, SERO, Norway

EQA program in Brazil
Ph.D. Maria Elizabeth Menezes, PNCQ, Brazil

Quality trends in haematology
M.Sc. Barbara De la Salle, UK NEQAS, The United Kingdom


Risk management quality control for the entire testing process
Ph.D. Sharon Ehrmeyer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

How to control preanalytical factors in clinical microbiology?
Ph.D. Antti Nissinen, Fimlab, Finland

The first preanalytical EQA program in Croatia
PhD Jasna Lenicek Krleza, CROQALM, Croatia

Postanalytical challenges in clinical microbiology
B.Sc. (hons.) M.Sc. Shila Seaton, UK NEQAS, The United Kingdom


Quality indicators – where are we now
Prof. Ph.D. Ana-Maria Šimundić,
University Hospital Sestre Milosrdnice, Croatia

Scientific program

Friday 6 February


New requirements – authorities´ view
M.D. Ph.D. Kimmo Linnavuori,
National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health, Finland

The New IVD regulation and the challenges for the industry
Ph.D. Petra Kaars-Wiele, Abbott, Germany

New Standard EN ISO 15224 – Requirements of health care services
based on EN ISO 9001
Assistant Prof. Ph.D. Anita Naukkarinen, Kuopio University Hospital, Finland


The role of EQA in harmonization of reference intervals
Prof. Ph.D. Zlata Flegar-Meštrić, University Hospital Merkur, Croatia
Prof. M.D. Ph.D. Lina Khorovskaya, First Pavlov State Medical University, Russia

International approach of external quality assessment programs
M.H.Sc. Gitte Henriksen, DEKS, Denmark

Welcome to Helsinki & Labquality Days 


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