Lab Microscopes for Diagnostic Use

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Lab microscopes the early days medical science are being utilized to detect diseases. Various types of infectious diseases caused by tiny microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites are often diagnosed by investigating the body fluid as specimen under microscopic observation. Body fluid samples are taken by the doctors for laboratory analysis and investigation. Mostly based on the type of infection being suspected body fluid is taken from the patient’s body. This includes blood, urine, sputum, cerebrospinal fluid, and genital secretions. Observation carried out under lab microscope is a primary diagnostic method widely used for detecting diseases, especially the virus borne infectious ones.

The importance of microscopic examination in diagnosis

Microscopic examination plays an elemental role in providing a preliminary and tentative identification of infectious agents responsible for the disorders. The examination reveals the size, shape, and cellular structure of the infection in details. Treatment of the patient largely depends upon the result of these microscopic findings. In case of virus borne diseases the faster treatment is a crucial aspect to prevent spreading of the disease and to save the lives of the affected people. In this context quality microscopic findings help concluding on the state of the condition faster.

How microscopic tests are carried out

As we have already explained, body fluid from the infected person is taken for microscopic test. Gram stain test is the most common type of test in which the sample is smeared on microscopic slide and then it is stained with a special dye. This test is particularly used to classify all bacteria into two classes as per the stains. The blue staining ones will be called gram positive while the red staining ones will be called gram negative.

Another type of microscopic test called acid-fast smear requires spreading sample on a slide, dyeing it, and thereafter treating it with acid-alcohol solution. This test is used for identifying the acid-fast bacteria. The infectious bacteria will not be discolored by the acid-alcohol solution in this test. This is the common test used often for examining sputum. This test has widely been used for diagnosing tuberculosis.

Different types of microscopes used for diagnostic purposes

Microscopic technology over the years evolved to make better detection of microscopic organisms possible. This evolving capacity of microscopes also helped detecting lethal virus borne diseases and eliminating them with biological researches. Some of the common types of microscopes used in medical labs for diagnostic purposes include the following.

Light Microscopes

In this type of microscopes visible projected light is used to illuminate and magnify the specimen. This type of microscopes also varies in magnifying capacity and offers a range from the very basic to the advanced compound ones for e.g. dental microscope and ENT microscope. Compound microscopes are used for higher magnification and to obtain greater cellular details. Compound microscopes are also light microscopes, but they contain two types of lenses offering many hundred times better magnifying capacity. Among compound microscopes also there are specialized microscopes like dark field and phase contrast microscopes. These specialized microscopes are capable not only to capture live cells, but also to offer a magnified view of internal cell parts.

Fluorescent Microscopes

The fluorescent microscope which is also known as confocal microscope basically makes use of ultraviolet light as the main source of light. This microscope functions by emitting ultraviolet light on the objects and thus by exciting the electrons in it. The electrons emitting light in various colors helps identifying bacteria inside a living organism.

Electron Microscopes

In this type of microscope a beam of electrons are used as the source of light energy. The beam having an exceptionally short wavelength helps increasing the image resolution to a great extent. Several major breakthrough microscopic studies in medical science are carried out using this type of microscope. To capture the details of microscopic organisms in sharp contrast this microscope is especially useful. These microscopes fall in the specialized category of microscopes used in fields of biological research or for detecting certain viruses and bacteria responsible for infectious diseases.

X-Ray Microscopes

These microscopes, as the name indicate uses X-ray beam to create an image of the examined object. X-ray is privileged over visible light as they are incapable to reflect or refract and thus they cannot create any distraction of light for the optical viewpoints. While electron microscopes (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_microscope) are specialized in offering images of fixed objects X-ray can show images of living cells. Moreover, these microscopes are known for their highest level of sensitivity and corresponding feedback in mages.

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