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New portable blood analyzer could improve anemia detection worldwide

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Warren Edwards
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WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 3, 2017 -- About one quarter of the world's population suffers from anemia, a disease caused by a concentration deficiency of hemoglobin in red blood cells.

To reduce the burden of anemia, health officials need a better picture of the disease's global impact, an understanding made viable by a portable and affordable way to analyze blood.

Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body.

This technique requires hands-on expertise to prepare and run a sample, limiting the ability to monitor anemia in many parts of the world.

"The most exciting aspect to this analyzer is that it uses whole blood and does not require the additional steps and reagents to prepare a sample," said Nathan Sniadecki, associate professor in mechanical engineering at the University of Washington and one of the authors.

"You just run blood into the channel and that's it," said Nikita Taparia, a doctoral candidate in Snaidecki's lab and another author.

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