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Home urinalysis and other uses for a microscope

Discussion in 'Optimal Labs' started by Katie Durham, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. Katie Durham

    Katie Durham New Member

    JanSz asked that I post about the home urinalyses I do. Years ago I gathered what I needed to monitor an elderly cat with chronic kidney failure. Checking pH, urine specific gravity, and for crystals takes me no more than 15 minutes. Two years of almost daily samples of that cat told me so much more about the status of her kidney disease than the snapshot in time my vet might have provided every few months, and of course paid for itself almost immediately. I had a background in veterinary lab work, but you can easily learn everything you need to from the internet these days. Cornell University has good online tutorials including a urine sediment atlas.

    Measure pH with a pH meter or test strips. Meters are expensive and fussy and don’t seem to last me very long. I don’t have a preferred low end meter but they are much more sensitive than strips so depends on your need. Strips should be in a narrow range, like pH 4-9 or closer, not 1-14. Hydrion is one brand. No idea if someone color blind would have trouble interpreting the strip results.

    Measure urine specific gravity with a handheld urine refractometer. Many models are available from Amazon for only $25 (the black and silver tubular instruments). Make sure it is for urine, although it might also measure serum protein or something else. I hardly ever need to calibrate it. Keep it clean, don’t drop it, and it will last forever. The sample should be uniformly mixed (swirl it first). Just needs a drop. (Check Youtube for other details.) If it is slightly off what your doctor’s lab might come up with, it should still be very useful on a relative basis especially if you sample frequently. Since it is a measure of how concentrated your urine is since that last time you peed, provided your kidneys function normally, then the values can fluctuate dramatically. A consistently lower reading may indicate kidney disease.

    To view crystals you need a microscope with at least 400X power (achieved by combining a 40X objective and a 10X eyepiece; not 20X objective by 20X eyepiece). A microscope with 1000X power (100X x 10X) will give you room to grow. Invest in the best quality optics you can afford. Buy new (used will mean it likely won’t be clean or in alignment). Both fine and coarse focus. A mechanical stage that lets you move the slide smoothly. But lighting can be very simple (a reflecting mirror instead of an LED lamp), and monocular instead of binocular/compound is fine. I haven’t bought one for a while. Figure on at least $300 for something serviceable, maybe a lot more, but I am not a qualified source as to a particular model or brand. Check online buying guides to learn about features and which may be important to you. At the time, I wasn’t interested in anything digital.

    You’ll need glass slides and coverslips. I dispose of them afterwards.

    A clinic might typically centrifuge a urine sample before preparing a slide to check for crystals. I have a small centrifuge but I don’t use it for this because I can afford a little extra time scanning the slide.

    Here’s an example of how you could use a microscope to biohack! Clumping or aggregating of red blood cells (rouleaux) is a symptom of nnEMF toxicity. Blood smears aren’t hard to prepare although making them uniform takes a little practice. Let them air dry. You’ll see more if they’re stained but it’s not required for this hack. This weekend I might compare blood slides reflecting time on my Magnetico versus time off it. I could also compare a Magnetico slide to one prepared while at work or while basking in the sun. (This may be a situation where I’ll wish I had a digital microscope so I could share the results.) Even if no difference is obvious now, maybe something will develop over time as 5G descends on us.
    JanSz and drezy like this.
  2. drezy

    drezy Gold

  3. Katie Durham

    Katie Durham New Member

    The biggest question will be the quality of the optics, and at that price I would be concerned. Although what you would not be paying for is a mechanical stage (not a deal killer but a much appreciated convenience and easier to quantify what you are observing), a fancy lighting system (I like the reflective mirrors, no replacement bulb issues), or a 100X objective (so no 1000X power, which you may not care about). If they put their money into better than expected optics, good for them. Scopes with very good optics have excellent, clear resolution and illumination out to the edge of the field, which greatly expands the effective field of view. I can't really tell about the optic quality from the reviews. Most everyone seems happy, for use by a fairly young crowd. The lower starred reviews don't seem particularly concerning. So maybe depending on how you feel about Celestron equipment.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
    drezy likes this.
  4. Jonathin

    Jonathin Gold Member

    Some digital cameras if held up to the eyepiece with a steady hand and allowed to focus can take good pictures. I've used this successfully with soil bacteria and fungal samples. You might have to crop the image to make it more aesthetic but the clarity can be quite good.
    Katie Durham likes this.
  5. Katie Durham

    Katie Durham New Member

    Created a couple smears at work yesterday after sitting at my computer for quite a while. Very easy to do. I decided this was a better place to start than on top of my Magnetico. Might as well identify what is worst case. I will retire no later than 4 1/2 years from now. Sooner if my health starts to deteriorate, and this could be one of my clues.

    What I decided last evening was that 400X power of an unstained blood smear isn't really good enough to check for rouleaux. I will try a methylene blue stain, since I (and many others here) have that on hand, but I'm waiting for a shipment of methanol I'll need to fix the slide first. If still not helpful enough then I go to 1000X power, with emersion oil. That's how I did hematology work in graduate school. If methylene blue does not highlight enough (good for nucleus but not so much other cellular contents), then I'll resort to a Wright's stain or something similar.
    drezy and Corey Nelson like this.
  6. Katie,
    I am very interested in this and hope to glean some shreads of knowledge from your expertise. I bought what i think is a pretty cool free trade chinese binocular scope with digital camera a few years ago to look at microbes and fungus in soil. Unfortunately, ive never taken a biology class, so im kinda like a chimp with a chainsaw. I remember reading about how the blood cells in plasma will coagulate and become misshapen when exposed to rf. Seems like if we can observe our blood in a good clean environment and establish a baseline, we could then go into a new environment and see how it is affecting us personally. Invasive and time consuming, but lacking 5g test equipment, might work. Even if we had all the best meters, we are still only checking specific frequencies/wavelengths. I prolly dont have ability to check for many hazards out there: military, law enforcement, satellites and private enterprise. Being healthy and unaffected by emfnn seems like the most important metric.
    I would also love to be able to demonstrate how rf changes our biology to people before its too late.
    Katie Durham likes this.

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