Reviewing “The Pseudoscience of Live Blood Cell Analysis” Article Of Skeptical Inquirer

Mikkoskopia was contacted to give some comments on Skeptical Inquirer’s Volume 36.6, November/December 2012 article “The Pseudoscience of Live Blood Cell Analysis”. The article is written by Thomas Patterson who is currently a professor in the Clinical Laboratory Science Program at Texas State University where he teaches Clinical Research Methods, Molecular Diagnostics, Immunohematology, Immunology, and Clinical Laboratory Management.

Patterson states: “In actual practice, most alternative practitioners will come close to a diagnosis as they review the blood sample. While reviewing the sample with the customer the practitioner will often observe “rouleau” formations of the red cells. Rouleaux occur when the red cells stack on top of one another and appear like stacks of coins. True rouleaux can be seen in patients with plasma protein abnormalities like multiple myeloma, but this is rare. Myeloma is a life threatening condition and requires medical attention. The rouleaux observed by alternative medicine practitioners are almost always artifacts due to the slight drying of the blood sample around the edges of the coverslip or due to clumping in areas of the slide where there is a large concentration of red cells. In microscopy, an artifact is something that looks abnormal or odd but is actually insignificant and is ignored by a trained professional. Blood cells will normally start to clot and stack upon coming in contact with glass. Observation of red cell rouleaux on a darkfield microscope from a finger-stick sample obtained from a customer or patient is diagnostic of nothing. If the slide is observed near the center of the coverslip, rouleaux are rarely seen. The red cells are free floating and are not attached to each other. The practitioner will often identify these red cells as “healthy.” The customer can be misled by the practitioner moving the slide near the edge of the coverslip where false rouleaux are common or showing the field near the center where rouleaux are rarely seen. The practitioner can show the customer whatever he or she wants the customer to see by selecting a specific area of the slide.”

Mikkoskopia: In live blood analysis rouleaux formations should be seen in the whole blood sample and not just at some areas. Also when taking the sample it needs to be verified that the sample has been taken correctly such that the blood spreads between the cover glass and microscope slide. To verify rouleaux formations it is also worth taking at least two live blood samples and check that both of the samples are full of rouleaux formations. If there are some areas where red blood cells are separate from eachother then the condition is not rouleaux.

Patterson: “Some artifacts are mistakenly identified by the practitioner as yeast cells, one of the most common “findings” by alternative practitioners. Yeast cells cannot be seen in the blood of a healthy person for the simple reason that they are not there. An actual fungus (yeast) in the blood is seen in patients who are critically ill with some type of severe immune system deficiency. These individuals also will not be well enough to be wandering about at a health fair.”

Mikkoskopia: It would be nice to get a scientific reference from Patterson where the absence of yeast in the blood has been documented. S-CandAb test for example measures candida in blood serum. Also white blood cells seem to be efficient in moving these “yeast cells”.

Patterson: “Often a microscopic shard of glass from the slide will be present in the microscopic field. These tiny shards are present on most slides unless the slide is carefully cleaned before use.”

Mikkoskopia: This would also need a reference from a science-based author like Patterson. White blood cells seem to be very efficient to collect tiny crystals in the blood.

Patterson: “Surprisingly, a “parasite” is often found in the blood during live blood cell analysis. Some of these so-called parasites appear to be slightly deformed red cells or microscopic particles of dirt and debris commonly visible on a glass slide. Legitimate medical laboratories never report “parasites” as a laboratory finding. The species of parasite must be identified by carefully observing individual anatomical features of the parasite’s body or eggs so appropriate treatment can be implemented. The presence of real parasites in the bloodstream indicates a very serious medical condition. The parasites (actually artifacts) seen by the live blood cell analyst simply cannot be identified because they do not have anatomical features. Additionally, people with real parasitic infections in the bloodstream are ill enough to seek legitimate medical treatment and are treated with antimalarial or antiparasitic drugs, the normal standard of care. Anyone with worms, trypanosomes (sleeping sickness), protozoa (malaria), or other free-living parasites in the bloodstream is in danger and is in need of immediate medical attention, not a nutritional herbal supplement that supposedly rids the body of pesky blood-borne parasites.”

Mikkoskopia: Live blood seems to be full of different small living species and some of them are rod form (

Patterson: “If the customer takes the prescribed supplement or submits to a bizarre zero-point energy wand waving session and returns for a repeat darkfield examination, the original disorder has, more often than not, miraculously disappeared. Or was the practitioner examining the area of the sample near the center of the coverslip where the red cells appear normal, there are no rouleau formations, and few if any artifacts are seen at all?”

Mikkoskopia: Again rouleaux formations should be seen in the whole blood sample and not just in some area of the sample.

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