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Does the System of Sending Samples to Clinical Laboratories Work?

Clinical laboratory testing has always played an integral role in the diagnosis and monitoring of many diseases. Clinical laboratories offer a wide range of laboratory tests that may be chemical, biological, bacteriological, immunological, or hematological. As such, these laboratories require a suite of highly trained professionals in several disciplines with keen analytical and interpretation skills. The range of professionals allows for collaboration and better interpretation of results and results that are not clear cut can benefit from the input of several specialists.

Advantages of Lab Testing

Some tests require the use of highly specialized equipment as well as personnel to get meaningful results. Equipment must be standardized and maintained to give accurate and reliable results when used for laboratory tests and as such, clinical laboratories are staffed with maintenance personnel who can properly service this equipment.

Clinical laboratories must also adhere to strict quality control protocol for lab testing, time-sensitive handling of specimens, their storage, and disposal. Handling hazardous specimens or materials is necessary for some testing scenarios and clinical laboratories are well equipped with facilities for handling such. Isolation areas and laminar flow hoods within laboratories are examples of areas that allow the containment of harmful organisms or material.

Presently there are only a few tests that can be done outside of the clinical laboratory testing facility to assist doctors in disease diagnosis so sending samples to labs for testing is necessary. Accuracy and reliability of results and reports help to ensure good patient outcomes. In several diseased states such as Cancer and Kidney Disease, with special emphasis on patients on chemotherapy and dialysis, patients must be monitored by sending samples for laboratory testing at regular intervals. Here, many parameters are monitored so timely adjustments or interventions can be made to enhance patient outcomes.

To be meaningful, tests must be standardized internally and externally and clinical laboratories usually have a quality management system that governs their day-to-day operations and is regulated by the Clinical Laboratory and Standards Institute. Compliance with these regulatory bodies ensures accurate and reliable results.

Disadvantages of Lab Testing

Very few disadvantages come to mind when thinking about the system of sending samples to clinical laboratories. Possible mishandling of samples by personnel may provide opportunities for erroneous results. Also, in some cases where an immediate answer is needed, there is a delay period that could result in a bad patient outcome. If testing could be done on-site this could result in a faster turnaround time for diagnosis and eliminate this problem.


Sending a sample to the laboratory | Royal Brompton & Harefield hospitals. (2021). Rbht.nhs.uk. https://www.rbht.nhs.uk/our-services/clinical_support/laboratories/clinical-genetics-and-genomics-laboratory/sending-sample-laboratory

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Online Visits to the Doctor


The COVID-19 pandemic has created a paradigm shift in patient management and care. The need for social distancing and the fear associated with the increased risk of exposure to the virus has increased the popularity of telemedicine.

Advantages of Online Doctor Visits

The biggest advantage of online consultations is undoubtedly their convenience. Seeing the doctor in the convenience of your own home, on your laptop or mobile device saves money and time that would have been spent physically going there. It eliminates the stress of traffic jams and can easily fit into your schedule. Not having to go to a doctor’s office is particularly helpful for elderly patients who may find movement difficult or for those who have children that need to be supervised, where taking them would be stressful or impractical.

Online consultations also allow for on-demand healthcare options, with some offices offering online video consultations 24-7. The availability of a doctor that can treat you quickly as the need arises is especially beneficial in cases where emergency medical attention is needed.

Some online consultations may involve a group of doctors from many different specialties, and this is good because it increases access to multiple opinions and allows for collaboration with diagnosis and treatment. When compared with having to physically visit multiple offices, the time, energy, and money that is saved cannot be overlooked. Online consultations even allow patients access to doctors based overseas without having to spend the time and money on travel expenses.

Importantly, with the COVID-19 pandemic, by staying home and having an online video consultation you reduce your exposure risk because you won’t have to sit in a waiting room, with other individuals, while waiting to be attended to.

Disadvantages of Online Doctor Visits


However, the system is not without its disadvantages. There are some illnesses where physical examination is essential for an accurate diagnosis to be made and so it could be dangerous for the patient if this is not done. In cases where immediate action or assistance is needed to improve patient outcomes, such as allergic reactions, video consultation can be disadvantageous and result in time being lost.

Also, even though its popularity has significantly increased, a disadvantage of telemedicine is its availability and cost. You may have access to telemedicine, while for the provider, the cost to set up and maintain the service may be too high. As such, many smaller healthcare facilities will not have this service available.

Major concerns also exist regarding the security of personal health data that is being transmitted electronically. Medical data is extremely sensitive information and the possibility of hacking any online system exists. Therefore, some patients may not feel comfortable using this forum.



1.      Wu, B Dr. (2016, December 19). What Are the Benefits and Advantages of Telemedicine? Healthline.


2.      CHIRON. (n.d.). Definitive Guide to Telemedicine.



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3 Ways Riding a Bike Helps your Heart


Cycling is such a fun pastime. Some people use it as a way of commuting and others just for fun, especially kids. But, what if we told you that riding a bike can provide you with significant health benefits? Some of these benefits include strengthening your muscles, reducing stress levels, combating depression, improving joint mobility, and promoting optimal cardiovascular health. So, in today’s post, we will look at just how riding a bike daily can improve your heart health.


What is Cycling & Why does it Affect the Heart?

According to Oxford Languages, cycling is the sport or activity of riding a bicycle.


When you ride a bicycle, essentially your entire body is involved. But cycling for 20 to 30 minutes per day can really boost your cardiovascular system health. Let’s look a bit deeper!

1.    Cycling Strengthens your Heart Muscles

Yep, just like riding a bike would strengthen the muscles in your calves and legs, it does improve the vitality of your heart and blood vessel muscles. Researchers conducted a study at Purdue University, Indiana, United States. This study led the researchers to conclude that regular cycling can cut your risk of heart disease, such as heart failure (which is weakened heart muscle) by 50%.


Cycling gets the heart to work a little bit harder and that’s an exercise for the heart muscles. It’s just like when you crunches to build abs muscles, the exercise builds the heart muscles, making them stronger.


2.    Cycling Lowers your Risk of Stroke

In addition to other heart-healthy habits, like lowering your sodium and cholesterol intake, going for a high-intensity bike ride a few times per week will definitely help the heart to combat factors that can cause blood clot development. In one study, older women who were a bit inactive began to engage in bicycle riding for around 35 minutes, three times per week. Their ability to combat stroke-inducing blood clots increased because of adopting this practice.


3.    Cycling Improves Circulation

Optimal blood circulation is necessary for our very survival because, during circulation, blood takes oxygen and nutrients to our cells while removing waste. Some factors can cause reduced or poor circulation but riding a bicycle for a few minutes a day can improve that issue.


When you ride, it stimulates the heart to pump more blood throughout the body, and because it strengthens the heart muscles, resulting in improved circulation. Even after exercising, your heart is more likely to be pumping more efficiently than before.



There are several other ways that cycling can impact and enhance your heart health, so once your doctor gives the OK, grab a bike and start riding!



Cycling - health benefits - Better Health Channel. (2013). Vic.gov.au. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/cycling-health-benefits


Chandler, M. (2021, June 17). Does Cycling Improve Blood Circulation? [ANALYSIS]. Discerning Cyclist. https://discerningcyclist.com/does-cycling-improve-blood-circulation-analysis/


‌How to Lower Stroke and Stroke-Provoking Blood Clots. (2019). Sharecare. https://www.sharecare.com/health/stroke/article/slash-stroke-risk-with-aerobic-exercise


Oxford Languages and Google - English | Oxford Languages. (2020). Oup.com. https://languages.oup.com/google-dictionary-en/




3 Exercises to Help you Recover from COVID-19

If you’re diagnosed with COVID-19, it’s essential that you do all you can to ensure a speedy recovery. Along with the pharmacological treatment options, such as supplemental oxygen, there are some natural ways you can try to expedite your recovery. So, in this post, we will explore 3 types of COVID-19 recovery exercises that you can do daily to improve your breathing, mobility, and psychological state.

1. Breathing Exercises for Lung Recovery

The COVID-19 virus attacks the respiratory system primarily, including the lungs, and you can even develop pneumonia as it damages structures within the lungs. Thankfully, there are several deep breathing COVID-19 recovery exercises that you can do to improve your condition.

§ Deep breathing on your belly- while lying on your chest, seal your lips, then rest your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Take a deep breath in through your nose, then release it slowly through your nose. Do this exercise continuously for a minute.

§ Deep breathing while sitting- on the edge of a chair, sit upright and rest your hands on the sides of your abdomen. Seal your lips, then rest your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Take a deep breath in through your nose, then release it slowly through your nose, spread your fingers on each inspiration. Do this exercise continuously for a minute.

2. Mobility Exercises for Legs & Arms

Physical exercise is vital for recovery, especially for people who were admitted, particularly in the ICU ward. You will need to do physical activities to improve your muscle strength, fitness, and energy. Speak to your healthcare provider to find out which of the following exercises you are permitted to do based on your condition.

§ Warm-up exercises- shoulder shrugs, side bends, knee lifts, and ankle circles.

§ Fitness & strengthening exercises- the CDC recommends engaging in 20-30 minutes of COVID-19 recovery exercises 5 days each week. Here are a few you can do :

§ Marching on the spot

§ Step-ups

§ Walking

§ Jogging or cycling

§ Wall push-off

§ Arm raises to the side

3. Mental Health Strengthening Exercises

COVID-19 has no doubt had a significant impact on the mental health of everyone, especially if you were infected. It induces stress, anxiety, depression, and even loneliness. Mindful techniques, such as meditation and yoga daily for 10 to 15 minutes, make a massive difference. Smooth exercises and meditation relax the body and mind. The CDC also encourages us to stay socially connected, practice relaxing exercises, and indulge in hobbies.

COVID-19 and its variants can do great damage the longer it lingers within your body. So, we urge you to seriously consider adopting these supplemental COVID-19 recovery exercises to help boost your respiratory, musculoskeletal, and mental health recovery.

In mental health, the importance of socializing, having good friends and family, where you can receive unconditional love, has been studied. Love and friendship are therapies for physical recovery from many diseases, including cancer.

Being part of communities like churches, or clubs, makes a big difference in lengthening people's lives, under any circumstance.

Having faith and prayerful support are other aids that have also been investigated, and it has been shown that a person who possesses these elements brings greater happiness and greater strength in the midst of difficulties.


‌Coronavirus Recovery: Breathing Exercises. (2021). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-recovery-breathing-exercises

Support for Rehabilitation Self-Management after COVID-19- Related Illness. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2021, from https://cdn.who.int/media/docs/default-source/ageing/support-for-rehabilitation-self-management-after-covid-19-related-illness-engf5cec00b-350b-4eb0-bc24-0704df509ae1.pdf?sfvrsn=203566f0_1&download=true



All About Centrifuges

Centrifuges are becoming more necessary due to the pandemic. Many healthcare facilities, including labs, are looking to purchase their first or their next centrifuge to offset some of the testing burdens. Whatever the case, we want to help you get a better understanding of centrifuges. So in this post, we will look at what a centrifuge is, how it works, and the types. Let’s jump in!


What is a Centrifuge?

A centrifuge is a laboratory device that is typically used within medical practice and scientific settings to separate particles from a solution using a rotor. It is used to separate fluids, gas, and liquid of organelles, cells, and large molecules during a centrifugation process.

How Does a Centrifuge Work?

Although gravity does a fine job separating elements, it takes a long time, and that’s why we need centrifuges, as it does the work in minutes rather than waiting up to a day or more for the natural gravitational force. Essentially, a centrifuge uses the sedimentation principle. The sedimentation principle involves particles with a higher density than that of the solvent sinking (sediments), while the lighter particles float to the top. The gravitational force causes this separation to occur according to substance density.


Each centrifuge has a rotator that spins and produces a centrifugal force. This force then gets applied to each particle in the sample. This causes the particle to sediment based on the centrifugal force applied. How quickly the sedimentation principle occurs is also dependent on the consistency of the solution and the particles’ physical properties. Additionally, the particles move faster when there is a significant density difference, and when there is none or very little difference in density, the particles remain still within the sample.


In the end, the denser particles typically sink to the bottom, and the lighter ones remain on top, just as in the case of making juice with the fruit pulp. The pulp is heavier, so it sinks while the liquid stays on top. Also, in a blood sample with red blood cells and plasma combines, the centrifugation process will leave the red blood cells at the bottom and the plasma on top.


Types of Centrifuges


We’re looking at centrifuge types based on the number of samples (tubes) they can hold. Some centrifuges are designed for either 6, 12, or 24 tubes. The amount of tubes you need is dependent on the size of your facility and the number of samples processed daily. Small laboratory settings or medical facilities tend to opt for a 6 -tube centrifuge.


Stick around; in our next post, we’ll take a more in-depth look at these three centrifuges, their differences, and their special uses.




How a Centrifuge Works - Drucker Diagnostics. (2020, February 13). Drucker Diagnostics. https://druckerdiagnostics.com/knowledge/how-a-centrifuge-works/


‌Centrifugation Theory. (2021). Fishersci.se. https://www.fishersci.se/se/en/scientific-products/centrifuge-guide/centrifugation-theory.html


‌Laboratory Centrifuges | Biocompare. (2017). Biocompare.com. https://www.biocompare.com/Lab-Equipment/Laboratory-Centrifuges/



Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)


Maybe you’ve heard of platelet-rich plasma (PRP); if not, we guarantee that you will hear of it soon enough, as its popularity within the medical industry is increasing rapidly. It has even taken over on social media. However, as with all novel ideas, there is a lot of hype and questions surrounding this new treatment modality, and we want to provide you with facts to answer some of those questions.


In this post, we will look at what PRP therapy is and how it is made. Then we will do a follow-up post describing the use of PRP treatment in dermatology.


What is Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy?

Platelets (thrombocytes) are a type of blood cell whose primary function is to aid with clotting. But they are also quite instrumental in the healing process. At an injury or treatment site, platelets will produce compounds known as growth factors, which aid cell repair and regeneration, an integral and initial part of the healing process.


Plasma is the liquid part of your blood made mostly of water and protein. It is also the largest part of the blood (55%), and when separated from the rest of the blood, as in the case of PRP therapy, plasma has a light yellow color. Plasma’s primary role is to transport proteins, hormones, and nutrients throughout the body.


In platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, the specialist injects a concentration of your platelets at your site of injury or treatment. The aim is to speed up the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, joints, and tissues by inducing the growth of new tissues and cells. The plasma is used to transport the platelets into the required areas, where they aid in the healing process.


How is Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) Made?


To start the process, the specialist will use a butterfly needle to withdraw blood from your arm. The needle has butterfly-shaped wings and is used to access a vein for drawing blood or administering medication. After withdrawal, the blood gets transferred into a blue-top tube with a rubber stopper. This is a specialized tube for platelet-rich plasma blood collection, as it contains 3.8% sodium citrate and GEL. Several studies show that sodium citrate is one of the most suitable anticoagulants as it ensures optimal platelet viability is maintained at a high level. 


It is then placed in a machine called a centrifuge. The Centrifuge 614B model that holds up to 6 tubes is used to prepare the PRP through a process known as differential centrifugation. During differential centrifugation, the centrifuge is adjusted in speed to separate the different parts of the blood. The blood comes out separated then the platelet-poor plasma is suspended into the plasma by gently shaking the tube. Lastly, the affected area is numbed and the PRP mixture is injected.


We hope you’ve learned a bunch about PRP treatment from this post and are looking forward to our next post, where we will tell you how platelet-rich plasma therapy can benefit you.




Dhurat, R., & Sukesh, M. (2014). Principles and methods of preparation of platelet-rich plasma: A review and author′s perspective. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, 7(4), 189. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-2077.150734


Platelet Rich Plasma PRP tube 8ml High concentration. (2018). Henso Medical. https://www.hensomed.com/products/platelet-rich-plasma-prp-tube-8ml-high-concentration/


‌Camille Noe Pagán. (2019, August 19). Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections: What to Know. WebMD; WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/platelet-rich-plasma-injections#1


‌What Is Plasma? - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center. (2021). Rochester.edu. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=160&ContentID=37

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What is PCR?

All of us have heard the term PCR being used in some way or another. But many persons do not understand or know what PCR means? So in today’s post, we will break PCR down into simpler terms for you.


What is PCR?

PCR, which is short for Polymerase Chain Reaction, is a method used by scientists to create numerous copies of a particular section of DNA. The process is fast and typically delivers accurate results. The polymerase chain reaction is used in research to make a massive batch of DNA samples that researchers can use for several experiments and investigations. Usually, they utilize it for studies of forensic analysis, medical diagnosis, molecular biology, and evolutionary biology.


Before the PCR method was invented, scientists would use a very tedious process to copy DNA. However, In 1983, an American biochemist named Kary B. Mullis developed the Polymerase Chain Reaction method, which now generates DNA copies in just a couple of hours. Now, the PCR test is used as a common tool to identify the presence or absence of a gene. This helps identify pathogens (disease-causing organisms) during an infection.


In essence, the PCR test is used primarily for persons being tested for COVID-19. This virus has ravaged the world in multiple forms, creating needs in many countries, one of which is PCR testing. In fact, on May 20, 2021, UNICEF made a desperate plea for assistance for Southern Asia, where they needed US$40 million for medical and diagnostic equipment, including those for PCR testing. Further, in an article published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, it was reported that the UK and USA have opened drive-through testing centers for PCR testing. Additionally, as of March 7, 2021, 363,825,123 have been PCR tested in the United States.



How is a PCR Done?

Using the PCR method involves inserting a swab into the nostril, and while it may prove uncomfortable, it should be painless. In the UK, self-testing is allowed. As such, the NHS provides a detailed description of the PCR testing process on its website. It involves:

       Cleaning your hands

       Place items from the test kit onto a clean surface

       Blow your nose and wash your hands again

       Open your mouth wide and rub the swab over your tonsils

       Put the same swab inside your nose

       Put the swab facing down into the tube and screw the lid tight

       Put the tube in the bag provided


If you get this test done by a professional, they would use the same or pretty similar steps. After sample collection is the extraction phase. At this point, the sample arrives at the lab, and the technician will proceed to isolate DNA material from the sample. They will then use chemical compounds and a thermal cycler (PCR machine) to generate a reaction and make millions of copies of a small section of the coronavirus’s DNA for further testing. If the virus is present, one of the chemicals shows a fluorescent light.


We hope you now have a clearer understanding of what a PCR test is, and we look forward to having you read our next post. Till then, keep safe.


PCR Test for COVID-19: What it Is, How its Done, What the Results Mean. (2020). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/21462-covid-19-and-pcr-testing

 ‌NHS Choices. (2021). How to do a PCR test. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing/how-to-do-a-test-at-home-or-at-a-test-site/how-to-do-a-pcr-test/

 ‌polymerase chain reaction | Definition & Steps | Britannica. (2021). In Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/polymerase-chain-reaction

 ‌Burki, T. K. (2020). Testing for COVID-19. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 8(7), e63–e64. https://doi.org/10.1016/s2213-2600(20)30247-2

 The COVID Tracking Project‌. (2021).Totals for the US. https://covidtracking.com/data/national

 ‌As deadly surge of COVID-19 sweeps across South Asia, UNICEF calls for US$164 million to help save lives. (2021). Unicef.org. https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/deadly-surge-covid-19-sweeps-across-south-asia-unicef-calls-us164-million-help-save

What is PCR (polymerase chain reaction)? (2015, September 11). @Yourgenome. https://www.yourgenome.org/facts/what-is-pcr-polymerase-chain-reaction

The Aftereffect of COVID-19 on its Survivors

Surviving the dreaded COVID-19 virus is probably the one and only wish anyone who gets infected has, and it would be the same sentiment toward their loved ones. While it is an absolute joy to recover, as with any other illness, COVID-19 leaves its mark on those who have faced it and survived. While some may get over this illness in a short period, others battle with it for months. However, whether the duration of infection was long or short, the coronavirus causes long-term damage. So in this post, we will explore the reported long-term aftereffects of COVID-19.



Respiratory Effects

Since COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory system, it is only natural that it worsens or induces other conditions that affect the respiratory tract. According to the CDC, severe lung-related diseases, such as COVID-19, can cause health effects, including weakness and exhaustion. Further, one specific COVID-19 health effect is pneumonia. Although it develops while you are infected with the virus, in some cases, it persists after a negative COVID test result. This pneumonia damages certain structures within the lungs resulting in long-term breathing problems.


Weakness & Fatigue

Weakness and fatigue are two of the more common aftereffects of COVID-19. In fact, they are typically associated with recovery from viral infections. Several reasons can account for why you feel weak or fatigued even though you have received a negative COVID-19 test result, such as the pneumonia associated with the condition and the fact that your body is in “repair mode.” Also, persons who had severe COVID-19 and required management with ventilators, and treatment in an intensive care unit, usually experience post-recovery long-term fatigue.


Hair Loss

Scores of people have reported hair loss as an aftereffect of COVID-19, and clinicians believe this to be related to physical and emotional stress induced by knowing you are infected with COVID-19. They assert that this particular hair loss is reversible with efficient and consistent treatment. In an online survey, over 500 persons from a total of 1700 respondents say they’ve experienced hair loss after recovering from COVID-19.



Heart Problems

Recently, patients who had even a mild form of COVID-19 are showing evidence of long-lasting COVID-19 health effects on the heart muscle after recovery. Clinicians believe that this development can eventually lead to heart failure or other conditions.


Other Health Effects of COVID-19

COVID-19 essentially affects the entire body. As such, it is even seen to cause and worsen brain-related issues such as strokes, seizures, and Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, some persons may experience inflammation in different areas of their body and even develop blood clots.


So much is still unknown about the long-term aftereffects of COVID-19; however, much research is underway. Consequently, we urge you and your loved ones to get a physical examination done after your COID-19 recovery. Doing so will help to identify and treat any effects early. We will continue to keep you up-to-date with credible information to ensure your safety and improved health. See you next time!



Your COVID Recovery. (2021). Yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk. https://www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk/managing-the-effects/effects-on-your-body/fatigue/


‌CDC. (2020, February 11). Post-COVID Conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects.html


‌COVID-19 (coronavirus): Long-term effects. (2021). Mayo Clinic; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-long-term-effects/art-20490351


‌Sweet, J. (2020, August 22). COVID-19 Survivors Are Losing Their Hair — Here’s Why. Healthline; Healthline Media. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/covid-19-survivors-are-losing-their-hair-heres-why#Hair-loss-among-long-haulers 

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