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A Simplified, Low-Cost Method for Polarized Light Microscopy

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  • 1 Centre for Tropical Diseases, Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom; Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
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Malaria pigment is an intracellular inclusion body that appears in blood and tissue specimens on microscopic examination and can help in establishing the diagnosis of malaria. In simple light microscopy, it can be difficult to discern from cellular background and artifacts. It has long been known that if polarized light microscopy is used, malaria pigment can be much easier to distinguish. However, this technique is rarely used because of the need for a relatively costly polarization microscope. We describe a simple and economical technique to convert any standard light microscope suitable for examination of malaria films into a polarization microscope.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: Richard J. Maude, Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Faculty of Tropical Medicine Mahidol University, Third Floor, 60th Anniversary Chalermprakiat Building, 420/6 Ratchawithi Road, Ratchathewi District, Bangkok 10400, Thailand, E-mail: richardmaude@gmail.com.