Harry Potter's diary inspires self-writing blood paper
Published: 2nd May 2012 12:46:10
A self-writing diary in one of J K Rowling's books on Harry Potter has inspired researchers to create a paper that spells out a person's blood type.
A team from Monash University in Australia has developed a paper-based sensor that writes blood type as text.
The sensor may help non-experts to interpret the results rapidly, especially in emergency situations and during humanitarian disasters.
The study appears in the journal Angewandte Chemie.
The device works according to the so-called ABO system, classing blood samples according to A, B, AB or O types, and also spelling out whether the type is Rhesus positive or negative.
According to the system, an A or B letter indicates which antigens are present in red blood cells.
So someone who has, for instance, blood type A has A antigens, and if blood type is AB, then both A and B antigens are present.
People with O blood type have no antigens at all.
At times, people conducting blood tests at home, or even specialists in developing regions, make mistakes while interpreting a blood type test - and these mistakes may have grave consequences, the lead researcher, Professor Wei Shen from Monash University, said to the BBC.
There are places where such strips might be used, such as rapid response scenarios - battlefield casualties, automobile accidents”
"We found that more than 80% of the population… could not interpret the result even if the result from a perfectly functioned blood typing assay was presented to them," he said.
"But with a device that can spell out the patient's blood type in written text, people will know their blood type easily."
Having compared the sensor's performance with the mainstream blood typing technologies used in hospitals and pathological laboratories around the world, the team found it has the same accuracy - but it is also cheaper, faster and simpler to use.
These advantages make the sensor ideal for use in developing regions, says Prof Wei Shen.
"Studies show that errors are linked mostly to incorrect registration of the results to the blood sample, or human error," says Prof Wei Shen.
"In developing regions and remote areas, mainstream technologies are not available, and non-mainstream methods are used.
"Misinterpretation of assay results by less-trained health personnel is likely to be a major worry."
And even though the techniques behind the test are the same as conventional methods, "the major novelty is in the ease of reading the strip by spelling out the letters for specific blood types", says Dr John Brennan who holds the Canada Research Chair in Bioanalytical Chemistry.
"I think that there are places where such strips might be used, such as rapid response scenarios - battlefield casualties, automobile accidents, etc - where rapid blood transfusion is required.
"In such cases an unambiguous readout such as that provided by these strips would be important."
The device consists of a sensor made from a tiny piece of paper, coated with a hydrophobic, water-repellent, layer, but four "windows" are left without it, making them prone to absorb liquid.
Each area is shaped differently; for instance, one has the shape of the letter A, another - the shape of the letter B.
These areas are filled with antibodies that interact with red blood cells, making them clump together, or agglutinate, depending on the blood type.
So when a drop of blood of type A fills the area of the paper containing antibodies corresponding to that type, the red blood cells form clumps and get stuck in the paper fibres, making a letter visible - and the result remains even when the sensor is rinsed.
AB type gives red tint to both A and B-shaped windows.
Since type O has no antigens and thus does not interact with any antibodies, the researchers shaped the third window as the letter X and filled it with antibodies against A and B. They then printed a letter O in the window with red waterproof ink.
Blood types A, B and AB made the X red, eliminating the O type by literally "crossing" it out.
But if the sample is type O, the X becomes white after rinsing it with saline solution, and the red letter O remains.
At 03:37:08 in EnglandFrom art deco and Bakelite, through to groovy wallpaper and shag pile, ending up in the age of flat-screen televisions and wi-fi. Not many of us end up observing the decades' changing fashions so acutely inside our homes.
At 03:34:02 in EnglandThousands of people are supporting a campaign to fully restore Hampshire's last Victorian pier.
At 03:26:49 in WorldOfficials say there will be no charges for a nine-year-old girl who killed her shooting instructor by accident.
At 03:13:53 in HeadlinesLabour groups opposed to Argentine President Cristina Fernandez say the second general strike of the year has been a success.
At 02:41:26 in BusinessVirgin Australia Holdings has posted an after-tax loss of A$355.6m ($332.6m; £200.5m) for the full year ending in June.
At 02:33:38 in HeadlinesToronto Mayor Rob Ford's time as a youth football coach allegedly included threatening a teacher and making players roll in goose droppings, according to newly released documents.
At 02:08:12 in HeadlinesUS President Barack Obama has accused Russia of being responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine.
At 01:36:25 in HeadlinesInfo
At 01:35:06 in HeadlinesIt's been 200 years since the British burned Washington, but objects looted in 1814 will probably never be returned, writes Tammy Thueringer.
At 01:17:49 in HealthExciting a specific part of the brain with electromagnetic pulses could boost our ability to remember certain facts, a study in Science suggests.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Harry Potter's diary inspires self-writing blood paper [Online] (Updated 2nd May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1426057/Harry-Potters-diary-inspires-self-writing-blood-paper [Accessed 29th Aug 2014]
News In Other Categories
Officials say there will be no charges for a nine-year-old girl who killed her shooting instructor by accident.
From art deco and Bakelite, through to groovy wallpaper and shag pile, ending up in the age of flat-screen televisions and wi-fi. Not many of us end up observing the decades' changing fashions so acutely inside our homes.
1985 will always be associated with the historic signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement marking a new relationship between London and Dublin, and the ensuing wave of loyalist protests.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Google has built and tested autonomous aerial vehicles, which it believes could be used for goods deliveries.
Swansea council leader David Phillips has resigned from his post.