Achieving consistently accurate results can be testing in itself. However, it’s even more important when you are actually carrying out testing (of patient samples, for example). In this penultimate episode in our unsung hero series, we turn our attention to the importance of assay accuracy when the lives of patients may be at stake.
Accurate diagnostic tests save lives (and require high quality water)
The benefits of pure water don’t stop at research – if you work in a diagnostic lab then the lives of patients may depend on your work. Many water contaminants can affect diagnostic results, for example:
- Total calcium analysis is used to identify diseases such as epilepsy, chronic liver disease and intestinal malabsorption. The reliability of the data obtained can be significantly affected by oxalate, sulphate and calcium contamination.
- Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme present inside all body cells – tests to assay its function are used to diagnose bone, liver, gallbladder, parathyroid gland and bile duct disease, as well as Vitamin D deficiency. However, the results of these tests are negatively influenced by fluoride, phosphate, zinc, manganese, arsenate, EDTA, bacteria and/or endotoxins present in the sample and/or reagents being used.
- Iron analysis is used to investigate a wide range of problems, from depression, joint pain and irregular heartbeat to liver trouble, diabetes and infertility. However, the reliability of iron quantification in blood samples is reduced by the presence of EDTA, oxalate and fluoride.
These are just a few examples, but as you can see, using a reliable pure water supply is essential for obtaining informative results – and for helping doctors select the right treatments for patients.
Part 5 is coming soon and we’ll wrap up with that other important feature of research: the budget!
If you missed the other parts in this blog series, click here to find and read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3!