RE: the Results are in!

From:Tony Henwood

RE: the Results are in!


I must agree with you. Different labs, different conditions

Tony Henwood JP, BAppSc, GradDipSysAnalys, CT(ASC)
Laboratory Manager
The Children's Hospital at  Westmead,
Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, 2145, AUSTRALIA.
Tel: (02) 9845 3306
Fax: (02) 9845 3318

-----Original Message-----
From: Ford Royer []
Sent: Tuesday, 1 July 2003 2:12
To: Histo Net
Subject: Re: the Results are in!

Dr. McCormick hits on an extremely important point.  I sold the blade that came
in first in Vinne's poll for a number of years.    I had many satisfied
customers.  However, I also had a number of customers that would not even
consider this brand of blade, as they liked another brand better, and swore by
them.  (I now sell a different brand of blades, but this scenario applies to
this brand also).

The majority of labs that used my brand of blade never had problems, but I did
have a few that would, from time to time, report to me that they had gotten a
hold of  a "bad lot number" of blades ...that was giving them fits with their
sectioning.  I would always replace these "bad" lot numbers with a different lot

number and for some reason this appeared to solve the problem.

Samples of the "bad" lot number were always sent back to the manufacture for
in-house evaluation and scientific testing.  In every single case, the tech
reports came back "Negative", i.e. they could find nothing wrong with this
reportedly bad lot number.

Then there would be the time(s) when this brand of blade was on a temporary back

order.  For those customers that were running low on blades, I would help them
out with supplies from my own private "stash", until the backorder was cleared.
The only blades (my "stash") that I had to offer Lab "B" were the "defective lot

number" that I had retrieved from Lab "A", but at least it might get them by.
You know where I am going with this... Lab "B" had absolutely no problems with
the "bad" lot number that were totally unacceptable to Lab "A".

So I came to the conclusion, as Dr. McCormick points out, that there is MUCH
more involved in microtomy than just the blade or knife.  Having had working
experience in a Histo Lab in my youth, I believed then, and do now, what Sarah
said ...that Histology is as much of an art as it is a science.

What ever blade you prefer... Happy Sectioning!!!  ;-)

~ Ford

Ford M. Royer, MT(ASCP)
Analytical Instruments, Inc.
1200 Mendelssohn Ave., STE 50
Minneapolis, MN 55427
Authorized Distributor:  "DurAedge" Blades

"McCormick, James" wrote:

> To All,  I have been cutting sections with good and bad "permanent" steel
> blades, and every manner of disposable blade since the A/O double edge
> shaving blade adapter was made at the beginning of disposable blades. I have
> honed wet,dry,oil,soap.  I have stropped with and without diamond abrasive
> and finished on belt leather with oil and cotton cloth and then, finish
> polished with aluminum oxide. And...after all that work, observed the edge
> at 100X magnification to see the most perfect cutting edge and BEVEL.   Now
> we're talking about the properties of a microtome tissue cutting edge and
> the point of action.  Following are the most important : First,The most
> perfect edge and bevel will produce poor sections if the cutting ANGLE does
> not provide clearance on the way down and non compression of the cutting
> face on return of the cutting cycle. Second, The hardness/softness
> (durometer) of the embedding wax formula must be matched to the type of
> tissue (animal vegetable, mineral )and Third,the block and room temperature
> will all have important influences on ribbon quality and thinness of
> sectioning. is the HISTOTECHNOLOGIST that considers and
> deals with all of the DEVILS in the process.....Good sections are reliably
> produced by most manufacturers disposable blade products (lemon batches
> excluded) if the cutting angle is adjusted to the blade specifications and
> properly processed (not over processed) tissues are cut at the optimum
> temperature for the particular brand of embedding wax. Think about's
> not rocket science...good blades of fine steel have been around since the
> Samurai and Damascus sword edges were invented, and not for slicing
> Parma-ham or Salmon lox !!!  Regards, J.B.McCormick M.D.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gary Gill []
> Sent: Friday, June 27, 2003 3:47 PM
> To: 'Cliff Berger'; 'Vinnie Della Speranza';
> Cc: 'Donna McClellan'
> Subject: RE: the Results are in!
> Cliff's right: it's subjective versus objective; words versus action.
> Unsubstantiated opinions are an insufficient basis on which to make
> decisions -- though admittedly people do it all the time (e.g., get
> married).  ;-)
> Gary Gill
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Cliff Berger []
> Sent: Friday, June 27, 2003 3:31 PM
> To: 'Vinnie Della Speranza';
> Cc: 'Donna McClellan'
> Subject: RE: the Results are in!
> Actually you can't even conclude that. This opinion poll was not
> conducted in accordance with modern statistical theory. Polling can't
> work without random sampling. Can you tell us what the margin of error
> is for your findings? I only thought that as members of a scientific
> community we all should understand that the results you claim are
> reliable are completely unreliable.
> I only commented on this from a scientific point of view. I have no
> interest in blades.  I don't make them. I don't sell them. I don't use
> them.
> Furthermore, I never said that opinions are meaningless. I only said
> that the manner in which you gathered, tallied and presented the
> information is meaningless.  Your 4:1 margin claim has no basis in
> reality.
> Cliff Berger
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Vinnie Della Speranza []
> Sent: Friday, June 27, 2003 12:47 PM
> To:;
> Cc: Donna McClellan
> Subject: Re: the Results are in!
> Cliff,
> you are looking for science where there can be none. I asked the list
> for the preferences (which are subjective opinions) of those who have
> evaluated different blades. The most that can be concluded from this
> poll is that more people buy AccuEdge (by a 4:1 margin) than other
> brands. Since this blade costs more, I would presume that those using it
> feel that the additional cost is worth it.
> Is it really your  intention  to tell those who responded to my query
> that their op;inions are meaningless? All I did was count up the replies
> and convert to a percent based upon the total number of responses to the
> question.
> Vinnie
> >>> Cliff Berger <> 06/27/03 11:24AM >>>
> Vinnie,
> In fairness to all the companies making blades, and to those who are
> using
> them as well,  everyone should be aware that your   <<survey>> has has
> no
> statistical merit whatsoever.   This has not been a science behind your
> poll
> in completely skewed so the results are meaningless.
> --
> Best regards,
> Cliff Berger
> > From: Vinnie Della Speranza <>
> > Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 10:52:32 -0400
> > To:
> > Cc: Donna McClellan <>
> > Subject: the Results are in!
> >
> > thank you to all who responded to my query re: best disposable
> microtome
> > blade
> >
> > here are the results:
> >
> > Accu-Edge   was recommeded by   55% of respondents. This blade was
> > recommended more than four times more frequently than the next
> highest
> > recommended blade.
> >
> > Richard Allen  was recommended by   12.5%  of respondents
> > Sturkeywas recommended by   12.5%  of respondents
> > Shandon was recommended by  10%  of respondents
> > Surgipath was recommended by   5%   of respondents
> > DuraEdge was recommended by   5%   of respondents
> >
> >
> >
> > Vinnie Della Speranza
> > Manager for Anatomic Pathology Services
> > Medical University of South Carolina
> > 165 Ashley Avenue  Suite 309
> > Charleston, SC 29425
> > Ph: 843-792-6353
> > fax: 843-792-8974
> >
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