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Researchers Make An Artificial Lung That Would Not Require A Mechanical Pump

Researchers from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio made a prototype of an artificial lung which reaches gas exchange efficiencies almost equal to the genuine organ. The small device does not need extra oxygen, it works with normal air. Joe Potkay, a research assistant professor in electrical engineering and computer science published the technique this week in the journal Lab on a Chip.

The scientists developed this prototype while keeping track of the natural design of our lungs. It is made of breathable silicone rubber acting as blood vessels that get as small as one-fourth of the width of a human hair. Because it works on the same scale as normal lung tissue, the team was able to shrink the distances for gas diffusion compared to current techniques. Tests using pig blood show oxygen exchange efficiency is three to five times better.

One of the big advantages of this system is that Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Do-It-Yourself Lab Testing

Traditionally, people get blood tests when their doctor recommends it, an event that usually occurs at the conclusion of an office visit. But nowadays, patients are deciding to get lab tests on their own.

Their reasons vary. Some want to keep track of cholesterol or hemoglobin A1C levels. Others want to assure their blood will test negative prior to a job search, to test for the presence of a disease like hepatitis C or AIDS, or obtain a chemistry panel that provides a broad picture of their overall health.

The biggest reason for consumer-directed lab testing however, is an economic one. Growing numbers of uninsured people, and those with high-deductible insurance plans find it cheaper to do-it-themselves, since it avoids the cost of an office visit.

The savings can add up. A lipid profile (including cholesterol levels) obtained from an online lab testing company costs about $40. A hemoglobin A1C test usually runs a bit less. A visit to the doctor’s office typically costs $150 or more.

Although hundreds of tests can be obtained in this manner, the most commonly sought-after tests are lipid profiles, C-reactive protein (a new measure of cardiac risk), liver and kidney function tests, vitamin D levels, and hormone levels including estrogens and testosterone. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Pizaazz*

Lab On A Chip: One Drop Of Blood Is Enough For Many Tests

A new microfluidic device from the University of Southampton, called single-cell impedance cytometer, is being reported in Lab on a Chip. The technology promises to perform a white blood cell differential count in a tiny package from a puny sample.

According to Dr David Holmes of ECS, lead author of the paper, the microfluidic set-up uses miniaturised electrodes inside a small channel. The electrical properties of each blood cell are measured as the blood flows through the device. From these measurements it is possible to distinguish and count the different types of cell, providing information used in the diagnosis of numerous diseases.

The system, which can identify the three main types of white blood cells – T lymphocytes, monocytes and neutrophils, is faster and cheaper than current methods.

‘At the moment if an individual goes to the doctor complaining of feeling unwell, a blood test will be taken which will need to be sent away to the lab while the patient awaits the results,’ said Professor Morgan. ‘Our new prototype device may allow point-of-care cell analysis which aids the GP in diagnosing acute diseases while the patient is with the GP, so a treatment strategy may be devised immediately. Our method provides more control and accuracy than what is currently on the market for GP testing.

The next step for the team is to integrate the red blood cell and platelet counting into the device. Their ultimate aim is to set up a company to produce a handheld device which would be available for about £1,000 and which could use disposable chips costing just a few pence each.

Full story: Device being developed for on-the-spot blood analysis…

Abstract in Lab on a Chip: Leukocyte analysis and differentiation using high speed microfluidic single cell impedance cytometry

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

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Latest Book Reviews

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

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