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Encyclopedia > Laboratory investigation

A medical laboratory or clinical laboratory is a laboratory where tests are done on biological specimens in order to get information about the health of a patient. Biochemistry laboratory at the University of Cologne. ... In semantics, the patient is the passive part of a process. ...



The laboratory is often divided into a number of disciplines:

  • Serology receive serum samples to look for evidence of diseases such as hepatitis or HIV.
  • Histology process solid tissue removed from the body to make slides and examine cellular detail.
  • Cytology examine smears of cells (such as from the cervix) for evidence of cancer and other conditions.
  • Virology and DNA analysis are also done in large medical laboratories.

Microbiology (in Greek micron = small and biologia = studying life) is the study of microorganisms, including viruses, prokaryotes and simple eukaryotes. ... Rabbit feces are usually 0. ... Urine is liquid waste excreted by the kidneys and eventually expelled from the body in a process known as urination. ... Red blood cells (erythrocytes) are present in the blood and help carry oxygen to the rest of the cells in the body Blood is a circulating tissue composed of fluid plasma and cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets). ... A sputum sample is the name given to the mucus that is coughed up from the lungs. ... A pathogen literally birth of pain from the Greek παθογένεια) is a biological agent that can cause disease to its host. ... A microorganism or microbe is an organism that is so small that it is microscopic (invisible to the naked eye). ... Hematology is the branch of medicine that is concerned with blood and its disorders. ... Blood plasma is the liquid component of blood, in which the blood cells are suspended. ... A full blood count (FBC) or complete blood count (CBC) is a test requested by a doctor or other medical professional that gives information about the cells in a patients blood. ... A microscopic view of an abnormal blood film. ... The coagulation of blood is a complex process during which blood forms solid clots. ... Chemical pathology (also known as clinical biochemistry or clinical chemistry) is the area of pathology that is generally concerned with analysis of bodily fluids. ... Blood plasma is a component of blood. ... Immunology is a broad branch of biomedical science that covers study of all aspects of the immune system in all organisms. ... Schematic of antibody binding to an antigen An antibody is a protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects like bacteria and viruses. ... Serology is a medical blood test to detect the presence of antibodies against a microorganism. ... Hepatitis is a gastroenterological disease, featuring inflammation of the liver. ... The human immunodeficiency virus, commonly called HIV, is a retrovirus that primarily infects vital components of the human immune system such as CD4+ T cells, macrophages and dendritic cells. ... A thin section of lung tissue stained with hematoxylin and eosin. ... Cytology (also known as Cell biology) is the scientific study of cells. ... Female internal reproductive anatomy Close up view of the ectocervix and external os Schematic frontal view of female anatomy The cervix (from Latin neck) is actually the lower, narrow portion of the uterus where it joins with the top end of the vagina. ... A metaphase cell positive for the bcr/abl rearrangement using FISH Cytogenetics is the study of the structure of chromosome material. ... Karyogram of human female A karyotype is the complete set of all chromosomes of a cell of any living organism. ... Figure 1: Chromosome. ... Virology is the study of viruses and their properties. ...

Types of laboratory

In many countries, there are two main types of labs that process the majority of medical specimens. Hospital laboratories are attached to a hospital, and perform tests on these patients. Private (or community) laboratories receive samples from general practitioners, insurance companies, and other health clinics for analysis. A physician visiting the sick in a hospital. ... A general practitioner (GP) or family physician (FP) is a physician/medical doctor who provides primary care. ...

For extremely specialised tests, samples may go to an environmental science or research laboratory.

A lot of samples are sent between different labs for uncommon tests. It is more cost effective if a particular laboratory specialises in a rare test, receiving specimens (and money) from other labs, while sending away tests it cannot do.

Sample processing

What happens to a sample after it has been taken varies between localities and labs, but it will usually start with a set of samples and a request form.

Typically a set of vacutainer tubes containing blood, or any other specimen will arrive to a laboratory in a small plastic bag, along with the form. A range of Vacutainer tubes containing blood. ...

The form and the specimens are given a laboratory number. The specimens will usually all receive the same number, often as a sticker that can be placed on the tubes and form. Sometimes different departments use different numbering systems. For instance if microbiology uses a different system to biochemistry, the microbiology samples are given one number, the chemistry samples another. When this occurs, the form often gets two numbers and is entered twice.

Data entry involves typing in the form number, and entering the patient identification, as well as any tests requested. This allows laboratory machines and computers to know what tests are pending, and also gives a place for results to go.

What happens to the specimens after they are numbered depends on the department. For biochemistry samples, blood is usually centrifuged and serum is separated. If the serum needs to go on more than one machine, it can be divided into separate tubes. A laboratory centrifuge tabletop centrifuge A centrifuge is a piece of equipment that puts a substance in circular motion in order for the centrifugal force to separate a fluid from a fluid or from a solid substance. ...

See also

Medicine on the Web NLM (National Library of Medicine, contains resources for patients and healthcare professionals) Virtual Hospital (digital health sciences library by the University of Iowa) Online Medical Dictionary Collection of links to free medical resources Categories: Medicine | Health ...

  Results from FactBites:
Federal Bureau of Investigation - Laboratory - Home Page (588 words)
The successful investigation and prosecution of crimes requires, in most cases, the collection, preservation, and forensic analysis of evidence, which can be crucial to demonstrations of guilt or innocence.
Laboratory examiners provide expert witness testimony in court cases regarding the results of forensic examinations, and specially-trained teams of Special Agent and support personnel assist domestic and international law enforcement agencies in large-scale investigations and disasters.
In 1981, the Laboratory's Forensic Science Research and Training Center (FSRTC) was established at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
  More results at FactBites »



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