why is blood plasma called a plasma?


by Edi
Tags: blood, called, plasma
Edi
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Jun27-11, 04:27 AM
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A plasma is a gas (or, I guess a liquid, at high enough pressure or.. cause of other properties..?) witch has its electrons separated from the rest of the atom, witch is now a ion. So it is a mixture of free electrons and ions.
Is blood plasma really this? I cannot find any information on this specific question anywhere. :(
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Borek
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Jun27-11, 04:31 AM
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Nope, blood plasma has nothing to do with the ionized gas. It is just the same name.
Edi
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Jun27-11, 04:34 AM
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well. that is really unsatisfying.
But thanks..
Maybe a history of WHY it is called a plasma and misleading people like me?

Borek
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Jun27-11, 04:48 AM
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why is blood plasma called a plasma?


Quote Quote by Edi View Post
Maybe a history of WHY it is called a plasma and misleading people like me?
No idea, I would be interested to read about as well.
Ryan_m_b
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Jun27-11, 05:12 AM
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Quote Quote by Edi View Post
A plasma is a gas (or, I guess a liquid, at high enough pressure or.. cause of other properties..?) witch has its electrons separated from the rest of the atom, witch is now a ion. So it is a mixture of free electrons and ions.
Is blood plasma really this? I cannot find any information on this specific question anywhere. :(
I think the problem is that we are speaking in English. Blood plasma is very different to the plasma physicists talk about. I can't find exactly what came first, quoting the physicist wiki article

Plasma was first identified in a Crookes tube, and so described by Sir William Crookes in 1879 (he called it "radiant matter"). The nature of the Crookes tube "cathode ray" matter was subsequently identified by British physicist Sir J.J. Thomson in 1897, and dubbed "plasma" by Irving Langmuir in 1928
And in the blood plasma article

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Dr. Charles R. Drew's research led to the discovery that blood could be separated into blood plasma and red blood cells, and that the plasma could be frozen separately. Blood stored in this way lasted longer and was less likely to become contaminated.
So they may have came into usage at roughly the same time. It's unlikely that blood plasma would be named after the physics version (and vice versa) so it's possible that "plasma" meant something else and both fields took the term from that. I'd be interested to know the answer
mishrashubham
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Jun27-11, 06:31 AM
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If I am to trust this site, it seems the biological version came first. The story looks made up but I couldn't find anything else regarding this.
“We noticed the similarity of the discharge structures. (…) Langmuir pointed out the importance and probable wide bearing of this fact. We struggled to find a name for it. For all members of the team realized that the credit for a discovery goes not to the man who makes it, but to the man who names it. Witness the name of our continent. We tossed around names like ‘uniform discharge’, ‘homogeneous discharge’, ‘equilibrium discharge’; and for the dark or light regions surrounding electrodes, names like ‘auras’, haloes’, and so forth. But one day Langmuir came in triumphantly and said he had it. He pointed out that the ‘equilibrium’ part of the discharge acted as a sort of sub-stratum carrying particles of special kinds, like high-velocity electrons from thermionic filaments, molecules and ions of gas impurities. This reminds him of the way blood plasma carries around red and white corpuscles and germs. So he proposed to call our ‘uniform discharge’ a ‘plasma’. Of course we all agreed.But then we were in for it. For a long time we were pestered by requests from medical journals for reprints of our articles.
Ryan_m_b
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Jun27-11, 06:34 AM
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Quote Quote by mishrashubham View Post
If I am to trust this site, it seems the biological version came first. The story looks made up but I couldn't find anything else regarding this.
Interesting. It's in a letter from nature, I'd be prepared to stake that it was true (or at least as true as we are going to get).
mishrashubham
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Jun27-11, 06:43 AM
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Quote Quote by ryan_m_b View Post
Interesting. It's in a letter from nature, I'd be prepared to stake that it was true (or at least as true as we are going to get).
On second thought it does seem like a reputable site.
Ken Natton
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Jun27-11, 08:12 AM
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The results of my Google based researches:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?...earchmode=none
plasma
1712, "form, shape" (earlier plasm, 1620), from L.L. plasma, from Gk. plasma "something molded or created," from plassein "to mold," originally "to spread thin," from PIE *plath-yein, from base *pele- "flat, to spread" (see plane (1)). Sense of "liquid part of blood" is from 1845; that of "ionized gas" is 1928.


http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/plasma
plas·ma
noun
1. Anatomy, Physiology . the liquid part of blood or lymph, as distinguished from the suspended elements.


Neither is it the only time physics has borrowed from biology - 'fission' is a term that followed the same path.
DaveC426913
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Jun27-11, 08:24 AM
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Quote Quote by Edi View Post
well. that is really unsatisfying.
But thanks..
Maybe a history of WHY it is called a plasma and misleading people like me?
This is not any scientific issue; it is an issue of the roots of our langauge in Greek.

Plasma is Greek for 'formative substance' - a general term, obviously picked up independently by both historical physicists and historical biologists.

http://www.angelfire.com/de/nestsite/modbiogreek.html
Andy Resnick
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Jun27-11, 08:31 AM
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Quote Quote by Edi View Post
A plasma is a gas (or, I guess a liquid, at high enough pressure or.. cause of other properties..?) witch has its electrons separated from the rest of the atom, witch is now a ion. So it is a mixture of free electrons and ions.
Is blood plasma really this? I cannot find any information on this specific question anywhere. :(
The term 'plasma' for the liquid part of blood dates from 1845; that for a gas of charged particles from 1928:

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=plasma

http://www.pnas.org/content/14/8/627.full.pdf+html

"We shall use the name plasma to describe this region containing balanced charges of ions and electrons." (from the above)

I couldn't find the 1845 reference.
DaveC426913
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Jun27-11, 01:17 PM
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Quote Quote by Andy Resnick View Post
The term 'plasma' for the liquid part of blood dates from 1845; that for a gas of charged particles from 1928:
Yes, but that doesn't help the OP understand the reuse of the word.
phinds
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Jun27-11, 01:58 PM
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Quote Quote by Edi View Post
well. that is really unsatisfying.
If you dislike various unrelated things having the same name, you should probably take up a language other than English.
SW VandeCarr
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Jun27-11, 03:26 PM
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Quote Quote by phinds View Post
If you dislike various unrelated things having the same name, you should probably take up a language other than English.
bold mine

You mean like fly (the insect), fly (like a bird), fly (as on pants), fly (as with flee), fly (as in flywheel), fly (as in the edge of a flag) and more?

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fly

Note the first two are "biological" for what it's worth.
Borek
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Jun27-11, 03:40 PM
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As if other languages were better. In Polish "droga" means "road", "dear" and "expensive".
phinds
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Jun27-11, 04:06 PM
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Quote Quote by SW VandeCarr View Post
You mean like fly (the insect), fly (like a bird), fly (as on pants), fly (as with flee), fly (as in flywheel), fly (as in the edge of a flag) and more?

.
In English, you can do that sort of list all day long. I once read a statement that said some to the effect that while most language take in some foreign words, the English language hunts them down wholesale and kidnaps them.
Andy Resnick
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Jun27-11, 05:12 PM
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Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
Yes, but that doesn't help the OP understand the reuse of the word.
Sigh... opening paragraph of wikipedia has:

"and dubbed "plasma" by Irving Langmuir in 1928,[4] perhaps because it characteristic that the glowing discharge mold itself to any shape into which the tube is formed.[5]".

Note the definition of 'plasma':

1712, "form, shape" (earlier plasm, 1620), from L.L. plasma, from Gk. plasma "something molded or created," from plassein "to mold," originally "to spread thin," from PIE *plath-yein, from base *pele- "flat, to spread" (see plane (1))

I wonder if the OP bothered to look around...
phinds
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Jun27-11, 07:28 PM
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Quote Quote by Andy Resnick View Post
I wonder if the OP bothered to look around...
I think some folks think that research is something that other people should do for them.


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