Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using math and light to detect misshapen red blood cells

Date:
November 2, 2011
Source:
Optical Society of America
Summary:
Researchers have pioneered a technique that will allow doctors to ascertain the healthy shape of red blood cells in just a few seconds, by analyzing the light scattered off hundreds of cells at a time.

Model of a healthy red blood cell with a normal dimple. Bottom row: Model of a deflated red blood cell with an abnormal dimple.
Credit: Biomedical Optics Express.

Misshapen red blood cells (RBCs) are a sign of serious illnesses, such as malaria and sickle cell anemia. Until recently, the only way to assess whether a person's RBCs were the correct shape was to look at them individually under a microscope -- a time-consuming process for pathologists. Now researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have pioneered a technique that will allow doctors to ascertain the healthy shape of red blood cells in just a few seconds, by analyzing the light scattered off hundreds of cells at a time.

Related Articles


The team reports its results in the October issue of the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express.

A healthy RBC looks like a disc with a depression -- called a dimple -- in the top and bottom. Stressed RBCs often have deeper dimples than healthy ones, giving the cells a deflated look; others may have shallow dimples or no dimples at all. The UIUC researchers reasoned that if they shone light on a sample of blood and analyzed the light scattering off that sample, they would get a pattern -- a sort of signature produced by the way light interacts with itself in a three-dimensional space -- that would be different from the pattern collected from blood containing mostly misshapen cells. But these light-cell interactions were too complicated to analyze with the usual mathematical tools. So researchers made use of the Born approximation, a mathematical rule that can be used when the object of interest is small and transparent.

By running Fourier Transform Light Scattering (FTLS) -- a method developed by the same group three years ago -- on individual RBCs, the scientists found that the pattern changed significantly with the diameter and dimple width of the cells. Using this information, the UIUC team applied the Born approximation to their findings and calculated what the appropriate scattering signature for healthy cells should be. They then used this new "healthy cell signature" to identify the correct morphology of cells in a blood smear. The new technique may allow for faster, accurate blood tests that could help doctors diagnose various types of anemia, and could be especially useful in resource-poor areas of the world, the researchers say.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Optical Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bartolomeo Della Ventura, Luigi Schiavo, Carlo Altucci, Rosario Esposito, Raffaele Velotta. Light assisted antibody immobilization for bio-sensing. Biomedical Optics Express, 2011; 2 (11): 3223 DOI: 10.1364/BOE.2.003223

Cite This Page:

Optical Society of America. "Using math and light to detect misshapen red blood cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031121216.htm>.
Optical Society of America. (2011, November 2). Using math and light to detect misshapen red blood cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031121216.htm
Optical Society of America. "Using math and light to detect misshapen red blood cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111031121216.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins