Re: Histology as a science not an art.

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From:"Maria L. Rivera" <>
To:"R.Wadley" <>,
Date:Tue, 13 Apr 1999 06:34:25 -0400
Content-Type:text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Histology is an Art and a Science. When the proceedures do not work or need
a little "tweaking" 
Histotechs get a little creative, we do magic. We fuss with the water, the
heat, add a little, take a little, twist a little (sound like a song). Not
so scientific, eh? Then again when we "KNOW" that the solutions are
weak/strong or a sequence has been left out/added, we dive into the books,
hurry to the histonet, modify, note the modifications, cut and paste and
there you go, a "NEW" and improved "modified" version of a stain. 
Most of this is NOT a science, but the knowledge of what normally works
somewhere might not work everywhere. So we dabble into our potions, books
of magic and serve up them to the Pathologist who says "I don't care how
you do it, but I want it NOW"
Most of us have our own "little magic" books, either in our heads or
written somewhere.
Most Labs even have their own "modified" versions of standard proceedures,
ALL OF US have that little "munchkin" inside that says, "WHAT IF". That is
what "modifications" are made of. You take away the "ART" and you lose the
Look around the lab, everyday you will see us running around trying to make
something that SHOULD work but isn't, WORK. When all fails we get a little
If it worked all the time, machines can do it. Histology what FUN.
Histotechs sure are "gems in the rough. "
The dowgrading has made us more valuable, see, MONKEYS CAN'T do what we do.
Which is THINK.
Getting off my soapbox.

At 04:41 PM 4/13/1999 +1000, R.Wadley wrote:
>	Dear All,
>	I would like to comment on the statement "Histology is an art and
>everybody has their own way of making things work for them."  Please be
>assured that this not a personal attack on the writer, it is a comment on
>how histology is regarded by many of my peers.
>"Histology is an art and everybody has their own way of making things work
>for them."
>	This is the justification used to downgrade the teaching of histology
>everywhere.  I was lucky I did A Bachelor of Applied Science in Medical
>Laboratory Science, I got to major in Histopathology & Haematology, the
>histo major was 3 units, it included all the basic routines, special stains
>plus cytology, karyotyping, electron microscopy, museum techniques and
>autoradiography.  This degree has now reduced the histology component
>severely.  I have since completed a Graduate Diploma in Microscopy &
>Microanalysis, which attempted to squeeze histology into 4 days.  It is
>commonly held in some circles that histology can be done by any monkey,
>trained staff are not necessarily required.
>	I consider histology to be a science, just like haematology, microbiology
>& clinical chemistry.  I agree that particular talents are required by
>histologists to get the most out of this field.  But to write histology off
>as an art form, something akin to voodoo & black magic belittles everyone
>who works in the field.  We may all have our own little variations, but let
>us understand that these differences are based on scientific preference not
>	I think I shall now pull my head in, before someone cuts it off.
>	Regards
>	Rob W.
>R. Wadley, B.App.Sc, M.L.S
>Laboratory Manager
>Cellular Analysis Facility
>School of Microbiology & Immunology
>UNSW, New South Wales, Australia, 2052
>Ph (BH) 	+61 (2) 9385 3517
>Ph (AH)	+61 (2) 9555 1239
>Fax 	+61 (2) 9385 1591
>	(Under development)

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