Leeuwenhoek had stolen and peeped into the fantastic sub-visible world of little things, creatures that had lived, had bred, had battled, had died, completely hidden from and unknown to all men from the beginning of time. Beasts these were of a kind that ravaged and annihilated whole races of men ten million times larger than they were themselves. Beings these were, more terrible than fire-spitting dragons or hydra-headed monsters. They were silent assassins that murdered babies in warm cradles and kings in sheltered places. It was this invisible, insignificant, but implacable-and sometimes friendly- world Leeuwenhoek had looked into for the first time of all men of all countries. ~Microbe Hunters

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


DAY 2. This A-Z Challenge all about Med Lab is already getting me super hyped!! I should disclose some disclosures (?). I did not do any research on the topics I post about, I am just writing from memory of the first thing I think of that starts with a specific letter (unless otherwise linked to wikipedia). My information is truthful, however further information should be researched, perhaps on wikipedia. I say the interesting parts and leave out a lot of the super science-y big words and complicated physiology. You know, (as a side note), textbooks, even in university, are written at a grade 8 reading level. Its been a while since I've been in grade 8, so I will do my best at explaining complicated topics I have chosen in a language that the general non-Med Lab population of the world will not stumble over so hard that they fall on their faces and never come back to Med Lab A-Z Challenge.

Beta- human chorionic gonadotropin aka PREGNANCY HORMONE. I chose this last minute-ish because I just found out my friend is preggers (hey, at least she made it past her teens- I’m proud). This is a biochemical test done on an automatic machine that increases exponentially through the first 2 trimesters of pregnancy. It is performed in the lab with a blood or urine sample. As opposed to the qualitative home pregnancy tests being either positive or negative, lab tests use specific levels of the hormone detected to quantitatively determine the week of pregnancy in which a woman is in. It is an immunoassay using antigen-antibody interactions to determine pregnancy. How does the home pregnancy test work?  There is a line of anti-HCG antibodies on a test strip inside the device. When you urinate on the strip, the urine travels down the strip towards the anti-antibodies. If the women is pregnant, a coloured line will appear signifying cross-reactivity. The second line seen on most pregnancy tests is present as a control. It is determining that the test in fact did work properly i.e. enough urine and proper flow to site of interaction. Sort of boring stuff, especially since you can probably read this on the package insert of any pregnancy test.

The levels of this hormone rise tremendously in ectopic pregnancies, which are very dangerous conditions in which a fetus begins to grow in the fallopian tube. They can cause the fallopian tube to burst and yada yada… dangerous stuff. Anyways, APPARENTLY it feels the same as appendicitis. I have experienced neither, although my roommate, Nicole, experienced appendicitis a few months ago, and I’m pretty sure she just really wanted to die, so it’s painful. A way to quickly rule out ectopic pregnancy (or pregnancy in general, I guess) in women of childbearing age, a bHCG is run so quick and efficient treatment can be done.

Did your husband/boyfriend/son pee on a stick and it say that he is Prego?? You might want to get him tested for testicular cancer, unless the test came from the dollar store. In which case, that thing is useless. How can you make effective antibody-antigen reactions for $1.13?? Anyways, bHCG can be elevated in some male cancers, including testicular cancer.

Darn good and sure of it,



  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I spent ten years as a Registered Medical Technologist specializing in clinical enzymology. Good luck with your career. When you get old like me you will find time to travel, too.

    1. Wow, that's really neat! It's very interesting who you can come across on the internet!
      Thanks so much :)

  2. I just learned all kinds of stuff I didn't know. Just stopping in as a fellow blogging A to Z-er!

  3. I have to say, this is probably the most unique 'B' word blog for the challenge I've come across today! I am willing to bet good money you were the only person to choose this one!

    Love and stuff,