Eggbeater Helps Scientists Whip Disease
Harvard researchers fashion a household item into a diagnostic device
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2008 4:30 PM CDT
Harvard scientists have developed a centrifuge that is cheap, mobile and simple to use.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Centrifuges separate blood from plasma—but at considerable expense, in a bulky package. That leaves them beyond the reach of underfunded medical facilities that could use the help in diagnosing blood-borne ailments, such as hepatitis and other diseases. The solution, Discover reports, could be as close as the nearest kitchen. It's an eggbeater.

"A grocery store in Cambridge, Massachusetts supplied the manual egg beater," the research team writes in the Lab on a Chip journal. The scientists took the standard-issue gadget, removed one rotor blade, and attached a tube of blood to the other side. Cranking of the handle can coax as many as 1,200 rotations per minute from the rotor blade, which is more than enough to separate blood from plasma.