Okay, that was disturbing. But it was a lot of fun making cookies in the shape of different blood cells for our lectures on anemia and leukemia this week!

The colors didn’t always turn out very appetizing – I was going for realness, though, and I think I nailed it! Thanks for being so sweet and eating up almost all of the cookies! I took the rest to the dean’s office – thought they could use a little treat up there. Shall we review our different hematopathologic diseases? I think we shall.



Sickle cell anemia

Here’s sickle cell anemia, with sickle cells (obviously), and a post-splenectomy blood picture including target cells, spherocytes, Howell-Jolly bodies, nucleated red cells, and a thrombocytosis. Basically, everything that the spleen normally filters from the blood – nucleated red cells, Howell-Jolly bodies, Pappenheimer bodies (which are little iron granules), target cells, and spherocytes – gets out into the blood when you don’t have a spleen. The spleen also holds about 1/3 of your platelets at any given time – so removing the spleen removes their little home, and they have to wander the streets (blood vessels), begging for food. So sad.




Microangiopathic hemolytic anemia

Here we have helmet cells, spherocytes, and the most specific (but unimaginatively-named) schistocyte of all: the triangulocyte.




Megaloblastic anemia

In this one, you’ve got oval macrocytes (gigantic, oval-shaped red cells) and hypersegmented neutrophils.




Chronic myeloid leukemia

Here we have a neutrophilic leukocytosis with a left shift (there’s a myelocyte, top left, a metamyelocyte, bottom left, and a promyelocyte, center) and a basophilia (right). Check out how mature the chromatin is in the myelocyte, metamyelocyte, and segmented neutrophil – but how fine it is (you can even see nucleoli!) in the promyelocyte). Also, the granules in the promyelocyte are in the cytoplasm and over the nucleus as well. The basophil granules are kinda obscuring the nucleus, but that’s what happens in real life, so we’ll call it artistic rendering.




Myeloblast with Auer rod

Not so appetizing, color-wise, but pretty accurate, microscope-wise. Check out the Auer rod next to the nucleus (which, by the way has such fine chromatin that you can see nucleoli through it). The Auer rod is a linear aggregation of primary (azurophilic) granules that only happens in malignant myeloblasts.



img_0297Faggot cell

No, we’re not using the term that way – we’re talking about the old English for “bundle of sticks” (which is where the British slang for a cigarette, “fag,” came from). There are a TON of Auer rods in faggot cells – way more than I could draw here.




Chronic lymphocytic leukemia

In chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the lymphocytes are small, with clumped chromatin and not much else going on. They look like regular old mature lymphocytes. So I thought they deserved a light dusting of sprinkles. Not particularly appropriate histologically, but cute.



cookies-classroomIn the classroom

Here’s some of the cookies in the classroom (the Reed Sternberg cells were a big hit, so that tray’s already empty).




Final touches

And here’s a shot of part of the craziness at the frosting stage. It was one of those projects that kind of scaled up in size very quickly! This is about 1/3 of all of the cookies…


13 Responses to Blood cookies!

  1. Mohammed Hajla says:

    You are the most awesome teacher I have ever heard of! keep on teaching 😀

  2. Kristine says:

    Awww thanks Mohammed!! I will definitely keep on teaching 🙂

  3. Dwight Assenheimer says:

    Hello Kristine,

    What an awesome idea… I might ‘steal’ it for next year when teaching the med students about general pathology. I keep referring to foodstuff when lecturing/tutoring. This will add another dimension to it. I can just imagine their faces when we talk about liquefactive necrosis and vanilla custard!!!


  4. Kristine says:

    Hi Dwight! Wow – yeah, that would be a great dessert! Pathology and food go so well together 🙂

  5. Ramesh Wadhwani says:

    Kristine, awesome , most of the teachers teach us by looking into the book pictures, while you are awesome in every way….
    keep it up !

  6. Onkar warambhe says:

    Its really creative ma’am!!! You are Always best !!!!

  7. Lizzy says:

    This is beyond amazing. I wish you were my professor! (But I suppose I’ll settle for your phenomenal website and emails 🙂

  8. Noor says:

    This is awesome. Wish we had more creative teachers like you!

  9. Kristine says:

    Thanks, Lizzy!! If you email me your address, I’ll send you some next time I make them! 🙂

  10. Muhammad Yasin Tipu says:

    What a delicious way to make students remember hematology. i wish i would be your student.
    if you allow me i may share these cookies with my students. but i am afraid they will ask me to make real ones for them…

  11. Kristine says:

    It’s very easy 🙂 I’ll email you the recipe if you want!

  12. Muhammad Yasin Tipu says:

    Thank you Kristine. Sure. i will wait. with best regards

  13. dela says:

    I got here after a few hours spent browsing the web for resources on chilblain lupus (being one of 70 patients on the planet ever diagnosed with this crap can be pretty frustrating :-/ ) and while looking for articles about immunofluorescence, I stumbled upon your website. Wow, you are amazing! JUST AWESOME!!! I wish I was young again and could become your student ;))

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