Expression of uncertainty in measurement: more budget topics

The sixth in this series of articles by Stephen MacDonald on individual aspects of the assessment of uncertainty of measurement considers the impacts created when contributors are not measured in the same units.

Semen Analysis with Machine Intelligence: evolution of technology

Mathew Tomlinson makes a case for SAMi, the latest development in computer-assisted semen analysis, which can provide reliable and reproducible results for sperm concentration and the more objective estimation of motility.

Susceptibility testing study: an evaluation of i2a antibiotic disks

Antimicrobial susceptibility testing methods must be robust, easy to perform, reliable and cost-effective. Here, Becky Walker reports on a comparative study to assess the performance of antibiotic disks and automated zone reading technology.

Biotin beware: a brief overview of interference in some immunoassays

Recent studies and case reports are driving awareness that biotin can interfere with laboratory testing, producing misleading test results in some documented cases. Patients, laboratories and clinicians may not know about the presence of biotin, so laboratories must decide on appropriate action to reduce potential for diagnostic errors, as Gordon Avery explains.

Tissue block archiving and storage: examples of revolution in practice

Different logistical and traceability issues related to tissue block storage problems prompted two laboratories to investigate the benefits of a cost-effective system that offers assurance of quality and security.

Research in brief

Research and the reporting of interesting cases provide publication opportunities both for the seasoned professional and also those in the early stages of their career. The work reported below reflects first on the ongoing research into the role of T follicular helper cell subset analysis in primary immunodeficiency, and second on a patient with undetectable HbA1c which proved to be due to blood loss from a tumour.

Identifying the ‘Big Four’ carbapenemases in the routine laboratory

The continued increase in the incidence of CPEs is creating workload issues for reference laboratories, but the diagnostics industry is responding with simple, more affordable identification methods that can be adopted by front-line microbiology laboratories, speeding confirmation and reporting.

Pre-emptively treating invasive aspergillosis: rapid diagnosis by PCR

The importance of treating Aspergillus before it has taken hold, and the challenges currently facing clinical diagnostics laboratories, cannot be over-emphasised. Here, Lewis White and Rosemary Barnes explain their approach to molecular testing and diagnosis.

Bacteriology: a selection of open-access articles in the current literature

A PubMed search using the terms ‘Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae’ and ‘Disk-diffusion testing’ found many recently published open-access articles, a small selection of which are included below.

Could standardisation of clinical LC-MS/MS transform delivery of patient care?

What impact could standardised clinical LC-MS/MS assays have on patient care? Here, Professor Brian Keevil talks with Thermo Fisher Scientific market development specialist Sarah Robinson.

Research in brief

Research in the medical laboratory provides opportunities both for the seasoned professional and also those in the early stages of their career. The work reported below focuses first on guidance provided to aid the establishment of defined reference intervals, and second reflects on the implementation and use of large, whole-mount sections and their value in the histopathological assessment of colorectal cancer.

Tissue block archiving and storage: security and traceability in Wales

The University Hospital of Wales, like other hospitals around the UK, experienced tissue block storage logistical problems and has now turned to a cost-effective system that offers assurance of quality and security.

External quality assessment in haematology: an update

Barbara Wild and colleagues from UK NEQAS Haematology examine the responses to a recent abnormal haemoglobin distribution, and also discuss findings from the Liquid Newborn Specimens Scheme.

Clinical and Laboratory Haemostasis 2017: a blood coagulation EQA update

Ian Jennings and Rob Jones report on proceedings of the first day of the UK NEQAS for Blood Coagulation annual scientific and participants’ meeting, which was held in Sheffield last year.

Where are we now in the fight to combat increasing antimicrobial resistance?

Following publication of Lord Jim O’Neill’s review on antimicrobial resistance, new guidance has been issued by NICE on antibiotic prescribing, and some progress has been achieved; however, there are many resistant infections that continue to pose a significant threat to public health.

Facilitating the prepared mind: highlights from the Congress science programme

The Biomedical Science Congress scientific programme once again provided a compelling reason to attend the twelfth biennial event, held last autumn at the ICC in Birmingham. Here, Pathology in Practice takes a brief look at some content highlights.

Automated HbA1c analysis: a UK first arrives in Leeds

Introduction of an ambitious managed service contract has allowed the Blood Sciences Service in Leeds to realise its ambition of delivering an automated HbA1c diagnostic service. Richard Liversidge and Stephanie Shaw explain.

Expression of uncertainty in measurement: combining standard uncertainties

The fifth in a series of articles on individual aspects of the assessment of uncertainty of measurement sees Stephen MacDonald consider some of the more difficult questions that may be faced in relation to measurement uncertainty

Microbiology collection device and ISO 15189: an appropriate selection

Loss of bacterial viability during any significant holding period following sampling compromises subsequent recovery by culture. Here, Jamie Laughlin assesses the performance of a range of swab collection devices.

Avoiding a nightmare: helping to meet the challenges of winter care

Automated molecular diagnostics is proving to be a valuable tool in the management of influenza and norovirus outbreaks. Here, the benefits of this approach are highlighted by the experiences of three district general hospitals.