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Some people use fidget spinners—flat, multi-lobed toys with a ball bearing at the center—to diffuse nervous energy or whirl away stress. Now, researchers have found a surprising use for the toys: separating blood plasma for diagnostic tests. The new approach, reported in ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry, could be useful for medical applications in regions of the world that lack electricity and other resources.
Before doctors can perform many types of blood tests, they must separate blood cells from plasma, the yellowish fluid that contains proteins, bacteria, viruses, metabolites and other substances that can be used to diagnose disease. This is most often accomplished by centrifugation, which uses high-speed rotation to sediment blood cells. However, centrifuges are expensive and require electricity that might not be available in resource-limited regions. Chien-Fu Chen, Chien-Cheng Chang and colleagues wondered if a commercially available fidget-spinner could generate...
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