20 years from now I expect visits to doctors' offices to be much rarer, at least for diagnosis. Hopefully visits will be more frequent in order to get stem cell therapies that slow and reverse aging. But automated small cheap and widely available diagnostic devices will enable much diagnosis to take place in web servers automatically fed all test results. The testing will be done in drug stores, storefronts for blood sampling taking, and with devices embedded in the home. As an example of a step in that direction a photoacoustic microscope which measures sounds created by laser light hitting red blood cells can diagnose some blood diseases.
Using a special photoacoustic microscope that detects sound, the investigators were able to differentiate healthy red blood cells from irregularly shaped red blood cells with high confidence, using a sample size of just 21 cells. Because each measurement takes only fractions of a second, the method could eventually be incorporated into an automated device for rapid characterization of red blood cells from a single drop of blood obtained in the clinic.
A single drop of blood is so easy to get that there'll be no need for a trip to a clinic. Diabetics take a drop of blood every day.
Lasers cause sound waves to emanate from red blood cells. Who knew?
New research reveals that when red blood cells are hit with laser light, they produce high frequency sound waves that contain a great deal of information. Similar to the way one can hear the voices of different people and identify who they are, investigators reporting in the July 2 issue of Biophysical Journal, published by Cell Press, could analyze the sound waves produced by red blood cells and recognize their shape and size. The information may aid in the development of simple tests for blood-related diseases.
"We plan to make specialized devices that will allow the detection of individual red blood cells and analyze the photoacoustic signals they produce to rapidly diagnose red blood cell pathologies," says senior author Dr. Michael Kolios, of Ryerson University, Toronto.
Deviations from the regular biconcave shape of a red blood cell are a significant indicator of blood-related diseases, whether they result from genetic abnormalities, from infectious agents, or simply from a chemical imbalance. For example, malaria patients' red blood cells are irregularly swollen, while those of patients with sickle cell anemia take on a rigid, sickle shape.
Throw in some microfluidic devices and other instrumentation built into your bedroom and bathroom and every night you will be able to get yourself checked for many diseases.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2013 July 04 08:49 PM|