French researchers from Grenoble Alpes University and Aix-Marseille University have developed an automated lens-free microscopy technique for counting and telling apart red and white blood cells withing cerebrospinal fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid, gathered through a spinal tap, should be clear and have few, if any, blood cells within it. Patients with meningitis, due to inflammation and disruption of the membranes enveloping the brain, have white blood cells seeping into the cerebrospinal fluid (>10/μL). Doing a cell count on a sample of the fluid goes a long way toward a diagnosis.
The new microscopy system takes less than 50 μL of cerebrospinal fluid and automatically counts the cells within. Though manual counting using a traditional microscope is quite effective, the small size and automated nature of the new system allows it to be implemented for point-of-care diagnostics.
The lenseless system consists of a CMOS image sensor on top of which the sample is placed. A light plane wave illuminates the sample, producing a holographic image that the sensor captures. This allows the sensor to see the sample and a computer program is then used to interpret the image into a cell count.
Study in journal Scientific Reports: Cerebrospinal fluid lens-free microscopy: a new tool for the laboratory diagnosis of meningitis…