Laboratory and In-House Testing

Labtesting2 Blood Testing:

I highly recommend a full blood test panel at least once per year. Often insurance health plans will do this but their blood panels are no longer as comprehensive as they used to be. Usually limited to 10-12 or less tests, with emphasis on the blood lipid tests (cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides, glucose), the current panels that medical doctors use have too many test gaps to allow an adequate assessment of your health. The panel I do has more than 50 tests. Each adding a unique perspective to your health status. I do a comprehensive review of findings and develop a health plan for you from this panel, and any other tests we do (typically in-house urine tests) and your history and presenting symptoms and signs. (See: Wellness Health Care Program)

One important distinction between what I do and what you hospital or doctor does is I look at "functional ranges" not pathological ranges. So called, "functional ranges," were created by averaging only healthy people, not taking any medications from many testing labs. Typically functional ranges are narrower ranges than pathological ranges, so if you are "out" of range it means that you may be heading toward imbalanced health, but may not actually have an illness. Correcting this imbalance is much easier than helping your body repair a pathology. Catching shifts in health balance before pathology has set in can be truly said to be "preventative."

The full blood panel includes:

  • Lipids/Glucose panel
  • CBC (complete blood count: a number of test values for blood related measurements)
  • Thyroid panel
  • Serum minerals ( Iron, Magnesium, Potassium,Calcium, Sodium, Chloride)
  • CO2
  • Albumin
  • Liver and Gall bladder enzymes
  • Uric acid
  • Bilirubin
  • Creatinine
  • Total Protein
  • Gobulin
  • BUN
  • eGFR
  • Typically I add for the first test panel at least: 
  • Homocysteine
  • Vitamin D
  • Cardiac/high sensitivity C-Reactive Protein
  •  possibly Fibrinogen
  • and I can add other tests based on history or presenting symptoms.

This blood panel typically costs about $180 (11/2010) and followup panels can be less as we rule out unneeded tests.

Functional Endocrinology:
(Saliva Tests and Blood Tests)

Saliva (from Diagnos-Techs Laboratory)
Male (performance issues, "andropause", weight management, moodiness, preventative for shifts in hormonal pathways),
Female (pre/post menopausal: irregular, painful menstruation; PMS, fertility);
Adrenal Stress Index (ASI): Sleep issues, low energy, stress, difficult to trace inflammation processes;
Blood:
Thryoid Antibodies, Thyroid panels; and others as needed. (Thyroid saliva tests discontinued at least temporarily in Fall 2010)

Gastrointestinal (GI) Stool analysis: 

full GI panel, infectious agents, enzymes, allergens, inflammatory markers

The Diagnos-Techs Expanded GI Panel costs ($285  12/2010) ; after the first panel, generally we do not need to do the full panel again, just check specific tests for which Diagnos-Tech has a special a la carte pricing based on the number of tests you choose to do. This makes the very important re-testing much less expensive. (You need to know if the treatment effectively killed off the infectious agents, assuming that is what shows up.)

Hair Analysis: 

Tests metals, including toxic as well as beneficial as an indicator of digestion assimilation or acute or chronic exposure

Urine Analysis: 

In-house test panel of about 12 tests for inexpensive tracking of our work. Included as part of the full intake. Many of these tests come from my training in Dr. Stephen Stiteler's Integra Bio-Terrain System, Metabolic Typing and more recently, Nutri-Spec testing.

Test Cost: $27 plus the time to do the tests which can be part of a visit or done outside of a visit charged at $80 per hour. Typically, the basic urine tests take 15 minutes the the newly added (12/2010) Nutri-Spec tests take another 20-30 minutes which include an additional urine test (Surface tension) and other metabolic tests in the office.

Urine tests/Stiteler Integra/Nutri-Spec tests include

  • 10 test Dip Strip tests (specific gravity, pH, Leukocytes, Nitrite, Protein, Glucose, Ketones, Urobilinogen, Bilirubin, Blood)
  • Oxidata (TM) Free radical tests and the amount of celluar damage
  • Urotensiometer test of surface tension of urine which helps determine Nutri-Spec Dysaerobic/Anaerobic imbalances
  • Adrenal Stress Test: indirectly measures the aldosterone activity, which is one variable of adrenal function (for a more complete test of adrenal function I highly recommend the ASI-Adrenal Stress Index)
  • Indican/Malabsorption Test: looks at breakdown of tryptophan to indoles which may indicate dysbiosis, glucose-insulin issues, or food allergies
  • Zinc Test: quick test to determine if your zinc levels are too low.
  • Vitamin C test: do you have enough Vitamin C?
  • Calcium Urine Test: a simple test for system calcium levels; Good test to see if you are taking too much Vitamin D, since too much Vitamin D cause spillage of calcium through the kidneys into the urine.
  • Iodine Skin Test: Iodine levels ok?
  • Saliva pH Acid Challenge: electrolyte buffer ok? Sympathetic hyper-vigilance?
  • Electrolytes in Urine with conductivity meter
  • Total Sugars by refractometer
  • Ammonia in Urine: buffer or balance stress
  • Nitrate in urine: balance between too little NO and to much as peroxynitriles
  • "Parasite tendency" test, which is more a digestive integrity test; good to see if you may have a gut infection or food allergies.If this tests multiple times, I have found it correlates well with gut issues and thus may require further testing with the GI Panel.

Metametrix: Blood Spot Tests

Organix, Triad, Allergix, Amino Acid Profiles, GI Effects;

Cyrex Laboratories (Blood and Saliva)

State of the art testing for gluten sensitivity issues, including intestinal permeability, auto-immunity, food allergy, cross-reactivity. Very important tests for gluten sensitive individuals.

Other Testing

MRT: Muscle Response Testing. 

MRT is one of a number of testing methods that rely on the unconscious change of the muscle spindle firing patterns in an isolated muscle group after posing a question or statement to the person being tested thus that the isolated muscle group then in turn changes the amount of tension in that muscle group, thus allowing for a perception of "weakness" or "strength." The practitioner puts firm pressure on the patient's muscle group while asking, touching, or the patient is holding a substance. The patient's muscles will without direct conscious direction change their relative strength.

The muscles used can be fingers, shoulder, forearm, leg, and I'm sure others. The style can be hard or very light pressure, but in all cases the practitioner is trying to feel a relative change in muscle tension after verbally, sub-vocally, by way of indication with pointing with the intent of the query or statement (at an anatomical significant location or acupuncture point, i.e. "touch localization"), a labeled vial or a piece of paper with the item written on it. What is used to indicate the question/statement is not intrinsically important, but in as much as one method helps the practitioner to be clear and unambiguous about his question, then that method is "best" for a particular practitioner.

I have used and may still use one or all of the above methods of muscle response testing.

Some people directly muscle test, some can self-surrogate, i.e. muscle test themselves on behalf of the other. Some prefer the use of a pendulum or the "scratcher pad," which is rubbed by their finger to feel a slight difference in "stickiness." Some may use a difference in leg length or arm length. I am sure there are many other methods out there that work equally well. Some people prefer so called, "indirect" muscle testing for young or very old, infirm patients or even for animals. Indirect muscle testing involves testing someone else who is in direct contact with the testee. The nature of muscle testing is that it is non-local, thus it is my experience that it is not necessary to actually touch the testee at all. I get equally good results testing patients in my office or separated by hundreds or even thousands of miles.

It takes practice to get good at this muscle testing although some people pick it up right away. In my case I took an entire year of practicing with another student (1995) before I could MRT reasonably well. There is most certainly the possibility for beginner muscle testers to affect the outcome with their own bias; there is often a lack of clarity of what is being asked or stated; there is doubt by the practitioner. Sometimes the negative feelings by a client can overwhelm a new practitioner. Thankfully, I'm past all that.

Muscle testers are not always correct and they do have their "off" days. One needs to know what to do to compensate for that--mainly, constantly check one's testing.

I typically use MRT to check what is the client's body-mind response to a query or statement. There is no right or wrong answer in that type of MRT use. The body-mind can have mis-perceptions. All I do is feel the response. I do not MRT for a clinical test result; that's why I use those tests. I do use MRT to test for body-mind priorities or what the body-mind feels is the underlying cause of a condition or I have the body-mind indicate to me which item from a short list it feels would be best as a remedy. Whenever possible, I ask the same question in a number of different ways and often I will reverse the question to test the MRT response, because if I reverse the question the answer should also be opposite, a "strong" response should become "weak."

I find MRT to be extremely helpful. Often there is no other way to get the kind of information from the body-mind without MRT. I do not live and die by the response, but whenever possible use other methods and certainly common sense to restrict my response based solely on MRT. I can tell you that I have been surprised by MRT often enough to respect the answers I get and give them respect before casually discarding an unexpected answer. Too often the MRT response does not correspond with an intellectual assessment and yet works out to be the best answer. If there is such a conflict I will review the alternatives with the patient for their input. If there is a clear cut clinical test which is in direct conflict with a MRT test, I will tend to use the clinical test result, e.g. parasite infections. It is often the case that one can get a false negative when asking such questions.

I read a study once where a group of people who felt that they were "good" muscle testers where giving patients with issues and the muscle testers had to state what was wrong with the patients with the use of only MRT. The muscle testers were half right. This is actually a phenomenal result for muscle testing. We're not talking about asking a single yes/no question, but a series of many questions to come up what was wrong with the patient. Most clinical tests cannot do that because most diagnosis relies on more than one test and clinical tests are ambiguous often. So I respect and value the use of MRT and as my patient I will use it with you.

One last important point: when we muscle test, it is not that I am muscle testing you, it is that we are muscle testing together to have the body-mind give us a response. It is a collaborative experience.

The NMT (Neuromodulation Technique) site has a wonderful paper on MRT, if you want to read more on the topic.

EAV/EDS: 

See BioMeridian MSA (Meridian Stress Analysis): I test 60+ acupuncture points on the hands and feet

Palpation: Abdominal palpation. 

There are a number of alarm points on the abdomen that can help with diagnosis, likewise other points on the body for confirming various disorders. Test cost: Free as part of a visit.

Tongue: Chinese style.

This helps with determining etiology of a disorder and can add to the signs that I see in the clinic. Is the tongue large or small, dry or have a coating; what color is the coating? Are there red spots on the tongue, where? Are there cracks, where? And many other signs. Test cost: Free as part of a visit.

Pulse: Chinese style.

We used to use pulse reading in Western bio-medicine but as lab instruments and testing became more prolific, it became less used. The Chinese have mastered the technique, but it is common in Tibetan, Mayan and other traditional medicine systems, including ancient Persia. In Chinese style we take the pulse on both wrists, by positioning our fingers on 3 areas on each wrist. Then we differentiate two main depths to give a total of 12 pulses. Mainly I look at deficient or excess pulses, their overall quality and the comparison between different pulses. This helps in my energetic diagnosis and especially in prescribing acupuncture treatment. Test cost: Free as part of a visit.

FACT: Functional Acuity Contrast Test. Body Toxin load test.

I first learned about the FACT test from The Detoxx Book by John Foster, MD; Patricia Kane, PhD; Neal Speight, MD. It is a simple test which looks at the capacity of the retina to resolve very finely spaced lines on a high resolution chart. The theory is that as toxicity increases it affects our nervous system, too. The retina has a very dense mat of cells whose function are degraded by these neurotoxins. It shows up quite clearly on this test. The test is specific for neurotoxins which are fat soluble thus allowing them to reside in neurons, but by implication it can be used as a general test for toxins. I use it with other indicators to get an idea of how toxic my patients are especially during the initial intake. This gives me clinical insight into how much priority I should place on detoxification. Test cost: Free as part of a visit.