Lab Tests Online-UK

Lab Tests Online-UK is written by practising laboratory doctors and scientists to help you understand the many clinical laboratory tests that are used in diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of disease. The about this site page describes how the site can help you. Search under conditions and diseases and find information on laboratory tests used for particular diagnosis and/or management or alternatively, if you know the test name, just search under tests.

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Topics in the News

Mother’s blood test for Down’s syndrome DNA is more accurate than current screening methods

23 April 2015

The presence of foetal DNA from an extra chromosome 21 in the mother’s blood during early pregnancy predicts Down’s syndrome more accurately than standard non-invasive screening with maternal ultrasound examination and biochemical tests. A multicentre comparison of the two methods in women undergoing routine prenatal screening was published online in the New England Journal of Medicine on 1 April 2015. In 15,841 women who completed both screenings, DNA testing predicted all 38 babies with Down’s syndrome with only nine false positives (0.06%). Standard screening predicted 30 of the 38 but with 854 false positives (5.4%). A UK research team is evaluating the requirements for implementing the DNA test as part of the NHS Down’s syndrome screening programme.

Not all testing is good, and some can be harmful

11 March 2015

Lab Tests Online-UK has published a series of articles on unvalidated and misleading laboratory tests. It is important that members of the public are made aware that these sorts of tests are increasingly available to purchase directly without consulting any qualified health professionals. Please click on the link above for the full article.

Can a laboratory test help smokers decide how to stop?

3 February 2015

There is variation in the way that individuals respond to two of the most effective treatments to give up smoking: nicotine patches and the prescription drug varenicline. Researchers from the US and Canada reported online in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine on 11 January 2015 the results of a randomised controlled trial of these two treatments. Individuals were classed as either ‘normal’ or ‘slow’ metabolisers of nicotine on the basis of a laboratory test result: the ratio of the plasma concentrations of the nicotine breakdown products, conitine and 3’-hydroxyconitine. The authors concluded that treating normal metabolisers with varenicline and slow metabolisers with nicotine patches could maximise the number quitting while minimising the side effects of treatment.

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Lab Tests Online-UK was established in 2003 with the aid of a grant from the Health Foundation and was financially supported by the Department of Health. Lab Tests Online-UK is currently funded by the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine, the Royal College of Pathologists and the Institute of Biomedical Science.