Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Fun-a-day 11: Gout
Maybe I should call this "not-so-fun-a-day", because some of these diseases I cover aren't at all fun, including gout. But once again, it's quite a different story under the microscope. Gout is caused by needle-shaped uric acid crystals that get into synovial fluid, the normally clear quite thick fluid that surrounds the bones of the joints, like elbows, knees and toes. All it takes is one look to see why it would cause really severe pain. I watched my dad go through bouts of gout (really didn't mean to make that rhyme). The pain was bad enough to send a grown man who rarely went to a doctor, to the ER.
We don't see these very often in the lab, because collecting the sample, is very invasive, and must be done by a doctor. We use a special polarizing lens (similar to polarized sunglasses), that makes the crystals glow yellow on the vertical plane, blue on the horizontal plane. Setting up the microscope often is the most time consuming part of the process. The background is a vibrant fuchsia, and we often see white blood cells in the background, which aren't normal, but are there either from infection or inflammation. I tried to use purple thread in the background, but am not too entirely happy with the results.
It's Tuesday, so I'm also linking up with Quilt Story's blog, full of wonderful fabric projects every Tuesday.
And I just have to say that the horrible shootings on Saturday have left me in a real funk. We recently found out that my husband's aunt and uncle used to live very close to where the shootings took place, and also helped out with Giffords' 2008 campaign, so it's understandably left them quite shaken. I also think a lot, and remember the deep grief I felt when my own dad was suddenly and unexpectedly taken from our family 2 1/2 years ago (from a pulmonary embolism). My heart goes out to all of those families who are grieving right now. I can't even begin to understand what they are going through, but know their pain has to be enormous.