How You Rot & Rust

Health care practitioners that use a microscope in their practice for patient education have a unique ability to observe the extent of free radical activity taking place in the body. This is through a procedure called the Dry Layer Oxidative Stress Test. It is very simple. A drop of blood from the finger tip is placed on a specimen slide in a series of layers. After the layers dry, they are observed under the microscope.

Blood is an interesting indicator of health and where free radicals are concerned, their activity impacts blood morphology. Putting it very simply, when free radicals attack cells, damage is done. The stuff that lies between cells and holds them together is the interstitium, or extra cellular matrix. Through free radical attack, cells get damaged, enzyme activity is altered, and the extra cellular matrix around the cells becomes compromised. Water soluble fragments of this matrix get into the blood stream and then alters the blood clotting cascade. With that done, we find that blood does not coagulate perfectly. This is one mechanism for altering a "normal" blood pattern.

Reading the dry layers of blood is like reading an ink blot. It can be very revealing as to the overall state of one's health. Blood from a healthy person will be uniform in coagulation, and tightly connected. From an individual with health problems and excess free radical activity, the dry layer blood profile will be disconnected, showing puddles of white (known as polymerized protein puddles). The more ill the patient with free radical/oxidative stress, the more disconnected is the dried layer of blood.

The image on above on top is the blood of a healthy individual. Notice how it is inter-connected with black connecting lines. The black interconnecting lines is a fibrin network. This is fibrinogen, one of the protein constituents of the blood. In-between the fibrinogen are the red blood cells. The image on the bottom a cancer patient. Notice how the blood fails to coagulate completely and has many white areas. These are the polymerized protein puddles and they reflect oxidative stress. They represent the degradation of the body's extra cellular matrix from free radical activity. Since free radical activity has been implicated in nearly all disease processes, this test can be used as a quick reference to gauge the severity and extent of one's health problems.

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