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Laser Blood Scan Could Help Identify Malaria and Other Diseases

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the might-sting-a-bit dept.

Shark 34

sciencehabit writes "Combining lasers with a principle discovered by Alexander Graham Bell over 100 years ago, researchers have developed a new way to collect high-resolution information about the shape of red blood cells. The lasers pulse every 760 nanoseconds to induce red blood cells to emit sound waves with frequencies of more than 100MHz, one of the highest frequencies ever achieved. Testing the laser on blood samples collected from a group of human volunteers, researchers showed that the high-frequency sound waves emitted by red blood cells in the blood samples revealed the tiniest details about the cells' shapes. Because diseases like malaria can alter the shape of the body's cells, the device may provide a way to accurately diagnose various blood disorders before it's too late." Abstract (actual paper is paywalled).

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Interesting (2)

willthiswork89 (2885827) | about a year ago | (#44176797)

This is great, I wonder how it will compare to traditional methods of testing for these blood disorders, in terms of cost and time. Obviously automated means it can be faster but the people doing these tests don't always have the funds for a device like this.

Re:Interesting (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44176957)

This is great, I wonder how it will compare to traditional methods of testing for these blood disorders, in terms of cost and time. Obviously automated means it can be faster but the people doing these tests don't always have the funds for a device like this.

I'd imagine that the big win would be if they could get the whole system implemented in solid-state/MEMS hardware:

At least some blood cell histology requires only relatively primitive instruments and a few not-particularly-esoteric dyes; but it does require a trained examiner and accuracy suffers if you overwork them. Some flavor of color-coded test strips(with suitably crafted antibodies or such) are probably easier to use; but rather less likely to hold up well if stored under lousy conditions for long periods/replaced by counterfeits in dodgier markets, etc.

If this could be implemented entirely in robust electronics, the device would presumably be fairly easy to ruggedize, fairly long lasting, and pretty easy to use, as well as being a suitable basis for a much higher throughput test system for use in better equipped facilities where efficiency is important.

Re: Interesting (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44178065)

Part of the diagnosis of malaria involves having a skilled operator perform exhaustive microscopy on the blood film. Having worked as a haematologist I can assure you it is fairly easy to diagnose malaria but a pain in the arse to exclude it. Any test which can improve this process is welcome.

Forget Laser Blood Scan (2)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#44176801)

I want Laser Blood.

Re:Forget Laser Blood Scan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44176993)

That's what courses through Charlie Sheen's 18 year old girlfriend.

Re:Forget Laser Blood Scan (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | about a year ago | (#44179163)

That's how I read it at first, getting a scan using laser blood? AWESOME!

Highest frequency? EDITORS??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44176839)

100MHz, one of the highest frequencies ever achieved

Petahertz, anyone?
 
Editors, ever thought of doing your job?

Re:Highest frequency? EDITORS??? (4, Informative)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year ago | (#44176943)

Read the whole sentence. Sure it's written poorly, but it's talking about the highest frequency ever emitted from a red blood cell.

Re:Highest frequency? EDITORS??? (1)

dmbasso (1052166) | about a year ago | (#44177427)

Read the whole sentence. Sure it's written poorly, but it's talking about the highest mechanical frequency ever emitted from a red blood cell.

FTFY. If you consider electromagnetic frequencies, you could say blood emits up to the ~650 THz range (carbaminohemoglobin).

But the AC you replied to was just a troll, don't feed them.

Re:Highest frequency? EDITORS??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44180653)

That's EXACTLY the point. IT IS WRITTEN POORLY. Why do we even HAVE editors if these moronic submitters cannot get it correct the first time?

Mod parent up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44185543)

Doug Otto is a moron

Can anyone post the research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44176925)

I'd like to read the actual article without paying.

How does this scan help me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44176949)

I don't even have laser blood!

ho8o (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44176955)

PROTEST NSA TOMORROW (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44176967)

Will Slashdot protest NSA surveilance tomorrow or has Dice made them nothing but corporate assholes?

Re:PROTEST NSA TOMORROW (0)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44177085)

Is there an organized protest tomorrow?

Sound waves (1)

gnick (1211984) | about a year ago | (#44177027)

The lasers pulse every 760 nanoseconds to induce red blood cells to emit sound waves with frequencies of more than 100MHz...

If blood emits sound waves, but they can't be heard, does it make a sound?

Re:Sound waves (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44177111)

In the Sun, Sun, Sun.

Re:Sound waves (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44177563)

If blood emits sound waves, but they can't be heard, does it make a sound?

Yes. The existence of sound waves is independent of an active listening agent.

Re:Sound waves (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year ago | (#44177851)

Pedanticaly, is it the vibration that is "sound" or is it the experience of the listener receiving vibrations that is "sound"? Those "sound waves", without being experienced, are simply vibrations, but is that enough to consider the entire event "making a sound"? As an audio technician, my (crappy) equipment picks up electronic noise on occasion, so it "hears sound" that isn't actually there. Similarly, can a person actually hear an auditory hallucination, which is the experience without the associated vibrations?

Re:Sound waves (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44179151)

Yes, the vibrations are the sound. As an audio technician you know that. Your crappy equipment and the auditory hallucinations are exactly as you describe: detecting something that isn't actually there. The false signals are being *interpreted* as sound, yes, but they are not sound. Consider supersonic jets. If sound is the experience of the listener, how can a jet travel faster than that?

TROLL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44177437)

Original Article (4, Informative)

Gumpy (29977) | about a year ago | (#44178029)

The original article (final proof) is available at the Physics Department [ryerson.ca] of Ryerson University:

tricorders (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | about a year ago | (#44178467)

I can't believe no one has mentioned tricorders yet. I can't be the only person that thinks this is another step in that direction...

Re:tricorders (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | about a year ago | (#44178487)

Disregard, someone beat me to it by 2 hours... duh.

An Astronomical Method (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44178781)

Is what this reminds me of, using essentially radar to gain an understanding of shape at the very least. This is very cool, makes me wonder why no one thought of this before.

The Thing (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year ago | (#44178783)

Anyone else flash on the hot wire scene from John Carpenters' The Thing?

Be on the safe side and make sure your subject is thoroughly restrained before flipping the switch.

Its the sound of Whos being blasted by the laser (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44179649)

Maybe we could use Horton the elephant as the detector.

"a principle discovered by Alexander Graham Bell" (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44179879)

Get to the patent office before the other guy?

Prevent it instead of diagnose it (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#44182229)

Why don't we go back to effective ways of killing the mosquitos that carry the malaria instead of finding better ways to find out that the darkies* life is going to suck.

*Yes, that is quite racist but I feel that the liberals who basically outlawed the only method available to get rid of the mosquitos, and thus pretty much wipe out malaria, are basically racist and I am expressing how I think the liberals actually feel rather than how I feel.

Re:Prevent it instead of diagnose it (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year ago | (#44186833)

Because other horrid disorders like sickle cell anemia affect red cell shape as well, and (as in the case of sickle cell) some can't be prevented.

Also, try expressing your opinions without dragging politics (racial or otherwise) into it, unless you *like* having your posts modded into oblivion. The term "liberal" applies to a very wide spectrum of beliefs, just as "conservative" does, so lumping all of its members together is pretty dim -- and the clumsy way you did so makes it fairly clear that you're parroting crap to hide a lack of detailed knowledge on the subject.

Re:Prevent it instead of diagnose it (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | about a year ago | (#44189301)

Nope. The most effective method we had for killing mosquitos was outlawed because of liberals and environmentalists making crap up.

sickle cell (1)

H310iSe (249662) | about a year ago | (#44184929)

my family members have sickle cell and I for one wholly support anything that makes sickle cell count faster - if we could respond proactively to crisis before they have pathology this would go a LONG way towards improving quality of life and overall health.
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