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March 09, 2021 Tuesday 12:21:32 AM IST

New Device Detects Decline in RBC Volume Causing Blurred Vision in Alcoholics

Technology Inceptions

Scientists at Raman Research Institute (RRI), an autonomous institution under Department of Science and Technology (DST) has developed a mechanism to know the cell count and volume of Red Blood Cells (RBC) of alcoholics.

It was found that RBC's exhibited a monotonic decrease in cell volume when measured by a Point-of-care (POC) device. The reduced cell volume of RBC's may directly affect the oxygen-carrying capabilities, which in turn affects both cognitive and physical body functions. 
The device made in RRI relies on the resistive pulse sensing principle. The team first developed techniques for making tiny micron (1/1000th of a millimetre) sized holes or micro-pores at the tip of a glass capillary with careful fabrication, flame polishing, and image verification. Cells passing through the pore created very tiny electrical pulses, which give direct and most sensitive information of cell count and volume. These results may also be used to explain the lack of oxygen-carrying capability of RBC under alcohol exposure leading to blurred vision, muscular in coordination, and altered mental states from alcohol abus

"Our lab had been working on building nanofluidic single-molecule detectors for the last few years. We found that some of the ideas used in the nanofluidic field may also be used in microfluidics in general and cell-biology in particular. We were pleasantly surprised with the reproducibility and resolution of our devices,” said Professor Gautam Soni of National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS). Cell volume changes are an important biomarker for multiple diseases, especially blood-related conditions. Accurate measurement of volume changes of RBCs has applications in detection as well as mechanistic studies of diseases such as sickle cell anemia and malaria. Similarly, small volume changes of RBCs could also be indicators of malnutrition states in a cell. With this work, the RRI team envisages that the high-resolution platform can be tuned for a point-of-care screening of several other blood-related conditions.

Researchers : Saurabh Kaushik, Manohara M. and K.D Murugan ( all RRI), Guidance- Dr. Gautam Soni and Dr. V. Sundaramurthy from National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore. The findings were published in ACS Sensors journal of the American Chemical Society.


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