Electron Microscopy

We have all seen images of human cells constructed by means of electron microscopy and imagine that they are more or less faithful representations of what a cell actually looks like, much the same way as a seaside snapshot gives at least a recognisable picture of a beach scene.

However – this is a long, long way from the truth.

Living tissue cannot just be sliced up, stuck on a glass slide and photographed as, apart from anything else, it is 70% water and would fall apart as it dried up.
Instead, the tissue must go through several steps of somewhat aggressive preparation which, critics say, alters the perceived structure of the cell beyond recognition.

Once prepared, the cell is paced on a slide and targeted with an electron beam that heats it up to 800  °C.

So the cell is subjected to:

  • Removal from its life-support
  • Freezing or freeze-drying
  • Slicing
  • Staining with a metallic and hence electrically conductive dye
  • Heating
  • Boiling
  • Desiccation
  • Possibly chemical reactions with the stain

Harold Hillman was highly critical of this procedure and by sometimes very simple geometric arguments, showed that certain features of the electron micrographs could not possibly be derived from any three dimensional shape and were therefore simply artefacts of the microscopy procedure. [more]

For example, this is a picture that is said to show the ribosomes that are responsible for protein synthesis in the cell.
We see here multiple elements that are roughly circular and nearly identical in size.

Try to imagine what they could look like in 3 dimensions.

  • The ribosomes are roughly spherical? This seems reasonable but the fact that they are all the same size means that they must all be aligned with each other in the same layer somehow. If they were scattered about the cell then we would see some of them smaller than others as some would be sliced through the middle and some near the edge.
  • The ribosomes are tubular in shape? This would solve the problem above as now all cross sections of the tubes would be the same size. The problem now is that the cross sections are always circular, not matter how the cell is sliced and at what angle – why no ellipses?
  • So what are they? The simple explanation is that they are deposits of dye produced by air bubbles created as the sample is heated up, boiled and then dried out by the electron beam.

Similar concerns apply to pictures of the Golgi apparatus.

What appear to be bubble patterns in oil and water are passed of as complex 3-D biological structures

“The nuclei, containing the nucleoli, and the mitochondria, are the only structures seen by light microscopy in the cytoplasm of living cells.
All the other structures claimed to be present are only seen in electron micrographs of dead tissue, or in fixed stained histological sections.” – Harold Hillman.

One last image.
This one was posted around social media as proof of graphene oxide in vaccines and indeed it does look artificial and manufactured but again, it is just air bubbles in a thin film of water.

Further reading:

Cell Biology is Currently in Dire Straights – Harold Hillman

Harold Hillman on the Fine Structure of the Living Cellhttps://youtu.be/tTsPFGRCNoo

Harold Hillman on the Cellular Structure of the Mammalian Brainhttps://youtu.be/MTOWSXQ_qaI

Harold Hillman in conversation with David Crowe 

Thomas Cowan MD
“Through my research, I have come to understand a New Biology that applies to all living things. For example, I have discovered that the electron microscope images of ribosomes are actually gas bubbles, stained with dye, from dead or dying tissue”