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ABO Mutations

September 30, 2011 at 8:00 am
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By Billie Rubin, Hemoglobin's Catabolic Cousin, reporting from the labs of Stanford Blood Center

You may have heard of geometric shapes that are infinitely complex like clouds or snowflakes, but there's also our complicated little ABO (blood group) system.


Your White Blood Cells at Work

September 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm
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By Billie Rubin, Hemoglobin's Catabolic Cousin, reporting from the labs of Stanford Blood Center

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Many of us are familiar with the role of red blood cells (RBCs) in taking oxygen throughout the body via the hemoglobin molecules they have inside, and of our platelets' ability to help prevent bleeding through creating clots. But white blood cells (WBCs), our immune system warriors, are a little more mysterious. They make up a complicated system of T-killer cells, T helper cells, antigen-presenting cells, antibody-producing cells, plus others. When a unit of un-coagulated whole blood is spun down to separate components, the white blood cells appear, creating a thin, white layer between the plasma and RBCs.


Magical Powers of the Color Red

August 25, 2011 at 10:30 am
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By Billie Rubin, Hemoglobin's Catabolic Cousin, reporting from the labs of Stanford Blood Center

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Red, the color of blood, was once thought to have magical powers. Cro-Magnon man painted the sick and dead red, hoping to contain the life force. Early Egyptians painted their bodies with blood to ward off sickness. Later, pastes and dyes were substituted in the practice - a forerunner of makeup. In early England, red coverings were put on beds to treat smallpox, and strips of red cloth were used as cures for scarlet fever.


Blood Collection in 1918

August 12, 2011 at 10:12 am
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By Billie Rubin

Towards the end of WWI, blood collection equipment consisted of a 1,000cc glass bottle with two perforated rubber stoppers. Glass tubing through each stopper was attached to rubber tubing, each with a needle at the end. One needle was for the donor, the other for the patient (probably one soldier to another), and suction was created with a syringe.


A Magic Potion

July 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm
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By Billie Rubin

Cryoprecipitate is a blood product made from frozen plasma. The plasma is slowly thawed, then sent through a centrifuge, a machine that spins and sorts blood components based on their masses. The "cold precipitate" protein that is left behind after most of the liquid plasma is removed is the cryoprecipitate.


Erythropoietin & Your Red Blood Cells

June 3, 2011 at 3:18 pm
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By Billie Rubin

Guess who regulates how many red blood cells (RBCs) we need at any given time. Bone marrow? Liver? Spleen? Your lungs? Give up? It's your kidneys. Yup, they don't just make urine. It all starts when those little kidneys sense the level of oxygen in our blood. When the oxygen level is low, the kidneys put out a hormone called erythropoietin.


Apheresis: It’s Greek to Me

May 20, 2011 at 9:31 am
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By Billie Rubin, Hemoglobin’s Catabolic Cousin, reporting from the labs of Stanford Blood Center Tweet In Greek, apheresis means “to remove or to separate a part from the whole.” Here are a few facts from the “Core Curriculum for Nephrology...


How Are Blood Component Expiration Dates Determined?

April 29, 2011 at 9:03 am
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Tweet By Billie Rubin, Hemoglobin’s Catabolic Cousin, reporting from the labs of Stanford Blood Center The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) set safety standards and requirements that blood banks must follow. One...