Monthly Archives: July 2017

Unchecked Lab Noise Could Cause Anger, Stress, and Cardiovascular Disease

StressThere’s a wealth of research and awareness regarding occupational and environmental health risks to hearing. While, in general, lab noise isn’t likely to approach the dBA of a jackhammer or a power saw—levels that damage hearing—it can still be a compromising factor for health in other ways (and in turn, lab safety).

Substantial evidence shows that the effects of long-term exposure to noise, even low-level noise, can range far beyond its impact on hearing. Exposure to loud noise has been linked to an increase in annoyance, sleep disturbance, cardiovascular disease, and even cognitive impairment in children.

The Non-Auditory Effects of Lab Noise on Health

Now, we certainly hope that there are no children in your lab. And we hope that staff are not sleeping there either, on or off shift. The lab safety issue has more to do with the lasting effect noise has on our bodies throughout the day and night.

Annoyance: While annoyance in the workplace might be something we are inclined to roll our eyes at, the long-term effects of working in a setting that triggers annoyance can be real and lasting. Anger, displeasure, and exhaustion are all side-effects of sustained periods of annoyance. These can manifest in large and small ways, triggering lab safety issues when workplace conversations escalate into anger and displeasure. We’re all human, and it’s no secret that annoyed or angry people tend to display poor judgment or impaired function—the prime underlying causes of tragic lab accidents. 

Stress: Stress can cause a dangerous lab safety downward spiral if it is not addressed. While sleep disturbance from noise is usually linked to environmental factors in the home rather than lab noise, lab noise can increase stress, which is linked to sleep loss. This means one of the effects of lab noise on health is lack of sleep. Let’s face it; sleepy lab techs are sloppy lab techs. They might mislabel solution or accidentally skip lab safety protocols, resulting in dangerous lab conditions.

Cardiovascular Disease: More hidden effects of lab noise on health come in the form of cardiovascular disease. Repeated noise exposure increases blood pressure and heart rate; and releases stress hormones, thereby increasing the stress response. These bodily changes have a direct impact on the heart, resulting, over time, in increased rates of hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. Naturally, these diseases will have a direct impact, not just on lab safety, but on your staff’s productivity as well. We have listed some of the longer-term effects of lab noise on health and your lab’s productivity in a prior article.

Lab Noise Reduction Improves Lab Safety

There is hope though, and these nasty side-effects of lab noise on health can be controlled. One of the best ways, is to invest in quality dedicated lab furniture that will, among other things, help with lab noise reduction. Our IonBench MS can decrease noise and increase both lab safety and productivity, so contact us today to discuss customized solutions to battle the noise.

Moving on up: Mass Spec Life Sciences and Forensics Applications

Going UpPeriodically we like to highlight the amazing work that is coming out of mass spec life sciences and forensics research. It’s nice to know our dedicated lab furniture is literally supporting the machines that improve the quality of life, and we like to celebrate those innovations when we can.

These four mass spec accomplishments are worth a share.

Simultaneously Detecting Multiple Shellfish Toxins

Tandem mass spectrometry continues to break new ground. In this case, food-safety researchers in China utilized HPLC-MS/MS technology to tangle with multiple paralytic toxins. Eight different compounds that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning can now be simultaneously determined with a single sample using multiple reaction monitoring and matrix-matched calibration. This work makes it significantly easier and less expensive to test shellfish for toxins and thus prevent seafood poisoning in the general population.

Tracking Salmonella Typhimurium Host-Pathogen Interactions

Researchers in the United Kingdom and Sweden have been investigating Salmonella Typhimurium, which causes gastroenteritis and can lead to systemic disease if these bacteria invade the small intestine. In a report published in June, 2017, they focused on the use of mass spectrometry to track interactions between S. Typhimurium and its murine hosts. In humans, especially the young, the immunocompromised, or the elderly, S. Typhimurium crosses the intestinal epithelium and migrates to systemic sites.

Researchers focused on mesenteric lymph nodes (MLNs), which drain the intestines and thus are more susceptible to what is contained therein. Researchers were able to determine that palmitoylcarnitine (PalC) reduces T cells and increases B cells, thus impacting the progress of the systemic infection.

Mass spectrometry was essential to this process because MSI tracks a full spectrum, allowing researchers to discover and determine target molecules after samples have already been analyzed. In this case, multiple candidate molecules were detected and analyzed before PalC was chosen for further analysis.

Decoding Designer Drug Overdoses

Emergency rooms across the country are at a disadvantage when arriving patients have overdosed on drugs of any kind. There are literally hundreds of designer drug components available on the streets these days, and treatments for the various compounds differ. Hospitals currently must collect a blood sample, put it on ice, and rush it to a lab for preparation and then MS analysis. This takes precious time which can be the difference between survival and death.

Now Nicholas Manicke of Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis created a small device, preloaded with a single-use cartridge of chemical components, that will take one drop of blood and immediately prep it for mass spec analysis. He envisions a future where these devices will collaborate with an on-site MS to provide two essential services: (1) an immediate and detailed analysis of both the components and concentration of each designer drug element and (2) public health data on designer -drug component trends.

Hair Sample Use in Toxicology

Hair analysis is increasingly being used in conjunction with mass spectrometry because the standard growth rate of hair (one centimeter per month) allows researchers to determine both the volume and introduction timing of either essential or toxic metals into the human system. Hair is much easier than other samples to collect, preserve, transport and store.

Historically, mass spec forensics has analyzed bulk hair samples, seeking only concentration of metals using inductively coupled plasma MS. Now, however, researchers from China are using secondary ion mass spectrometry, particle induced x-ray emission 12, and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, to analyze individual hair strands for both the volume of metals present and the timing of their introduction. The success of this initial experiment bodes well for its routine use in therapeutic, occupational, nutritional and toxicological situations.

Mass Spec Applications and Lab Furniture that Supports Them

Clearly, mass spectrometry applications continue to expand in usefulness, across genres and around the globe. As each MS supports the work of its researchers, we hope you’ll consider supporting your mass spectrometer with our dedicated lab furniture.

Get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more about protecting and maximizing your mass spec investment.