Blood science in the news!

There have been a couple interesting stories related to blood lately- lets take a peak!

In blood collection, centrifuges are often used for a variety of purposes. They are the fundamental machine in double red and apheresis donations, separating out parts of the blood and returning the remainder to the donor. Additionally, blood drives use them to test for iron deficiency anemia as an indicator for a donor’s blood quantity. Rice University students Lauren Theis and Lila Kerr (left) created the Sally Centrifuge as part of a class on global health, and will take it overseas this summer for testing in developing countries. Kerr and Theis are minoring in global health technologies and took the Introduction to Bioengineering and World Health class. They were told that they needed to find a way to diagnose anemia without power, without it being very costly and as a portable device. They found that a salad spinner met those criteria. When tiny capillary tubes that contain about 15 microliters of blood are spun in the device for 10 minutes, the blood separates into heavier red blood cells and lighter plasma. Source: Rice University.

Also, platelets are the important component of blood responsible for clotting. Platelet donations are always needed as they can’t be stored for more than a week, as the donation will eventually itself clot. The complex nature of platelets essential job demanded a study into how platelets react during a heart attack. A team of bioengineers from the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Medicine and Engineering have trained a computer neural network model to accurately predict how blood platelets would respond to complex conditions found during a heart attack or stroke. Researchers seek to understand blood as a reactive biological fluid whose function changes through a variety of physical and chemical stimuli. For platelets, it was discovered that the complexity of integrating numerous signals can be built up from the responses to simpler conditions involving only two stimuli. The model predicted platelet responses accurately, even distinguishing between 10 blood donors, demonstrating an efficient approach for predicting complex chemical responses in a patient-specific disease environment. Source: Science Daily. Photo: Popsci.

Want to know what you should do when someone has a heart attack? Consider taking a class from the Red Cross!