One of the first things I ask my new students and interns to make is solutions. I ask them a simple question that I think they should know, how do you make a 1% solution of “?” for a total of 100 ml? This is something that has perplexed many students and histology co-workers (What?) for years. Most of them just over think the solution and fumble through to the correct answer. Some however, truly do not know how to do it. It is a skill that many lab oriented companies wish for. Many see a sheer number of students hired with a 4 year degree from all types of colleges that cannot do basic math. So, now I offer the question to you. Can you solve this puzzle?
On Monday, Yahoo posted a news piece about “the 15 jobs that are most Damaging to your health”. This report identifies histotechnologists and histotechnicians as the most health hazardous job out of 974 professions. No wonder there are no histology technicians left to replace the baby boomers who are now trying to retire. There was a lot of commotion on the histology forum (histonet, http://www.histosearch.com/histonet.html) Tuesday and Wednesday about this controversial subject. Some were giving examples of the lab conditions they worked in the past. I’ve heard the stories from some of the older histotechs about them eating, drinking and smoking in the labs while performing gross dissection on patient tissues. They also told stories about how there were no fume hoods, MSDS sheets or safety precautions taken for any chemicals. Techs were encouraged to melt paraffin off their hands using xylene. In the past 25 years those safety precautions and regulations have been put into place but still do not mean much unless the lab adheres to them. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-15-jobs-that-are-most-damaging-to-your-health-155706120.html
The first histology lab I worked (2004-2010) in had little or no safety precautions set up for the workers. All the chemicals that did not go down the drain, went into the techs blood stream working in the lab. The owner a 30 year veteran of histology explained that he had been grossing tissues without gloves for 30 plus years and did not believe in any of the health risks associated with histology chemicals, because he did not exhibit any abnormal symptoms. That’s too bad for all the employees who have ever worked for him or continue to do so. This is a prime example of gross negligence by a professional employer.
The forum also talked about trying to set up a system like the nursing association, with all the histology technicians submitting their doctors yearly check-ups to categorize and identify possible health and safety issues associated with the profession of histology. After years of data was compiled on all the histotechs who completed the surveys, this would give rise to a database that might correlate and predict life expectancy for the average histology technician. The possibility for new safety regulations and precautions may also result.
We need to ensure quality of H&E sections, so when reviewing the daily H&E, we are looking for blue nuclei with chromatin and a well stained nuclear membrane. Also we are looking for 3 shades of eosin, light, medium and dark red/pink. Some of this is determined by the kind of eosin used. If a control is questionable we should run a second control that we are sure of to ensure that the problem, is a staining problem and not a tissue problem. Over decalcified, over heated or poorly processed/fixed tissue can stain poorly even if all solutions in the H&E stain are OK. When doing H&E on frozen sections extra care must be taken if the slides are fixed in Formalin after cutting. Formalin or concentrated formaldehyde can act as a reducing agent. The best way to remedy this problem is to change the hematoxylin frequently. Frequently can be defined by the lab. Some labs like clinical hospitals, where the volume is high, may determine a frequency based on number of slides, day or weeks. Clinical labs are usually controlled by the pathologist, therefore whatever the pathologist wants, is what will become the norm. For smaller labs this is not the case. Generally a smaller lab will inspect the color intensity of the hematoxylin on a weekly basis to determine the right time to change it. As a rule of thumb, hematoxylin must be filtered before each days use. This helps to keep the floating precipitate out, removes any extraneous cells and lets it keep longer. The time in the 95% alcohols after eosin is where the three shades of eosin are differentiated so these times may need to be adjusted for best results.
A reducing agent (also called a reductant or reducer) is the element or compound in an oxidation-reduction reaction that donates an electron to another species. Because the reducing agent is losing electrons, we say it has been oxidized. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reducing_agent)
Here are the other 2 pictures that were going to be in the previous post, plus 6 more. The other 6 are also 10x,20x, and 40x of 2 different tissues. I can not imagine what life would be like without flexibility.