ComprehensiveTesting

Comprehensive Testing to Optimize Treatment 

At the Carolina Center, we strive to address underlying causes and to change the unique biochemical conditions that drive many diseases forward.  Everyone has unique needs at the nutritional, biochemical, and psycho-emotional levels.  Beyond getting a careful health history and standard lab testing, we use several cutting-edge methods to assess your unique biology and to guide decision-making regarding your health.  Although a range of testing options is available, the decision about which tests to perform is made based on each patient’s individual needs. Many of these tests not only help you look for certain problems, but can help you determine whether treatment for a specific problem is working and to encourage specific changes in your nutritional plan and overall lifestyle.


These tests include the following:

Meridian Stress Assessment

Comprehensive Laboratory Testing

Breast Thermography


Comprehensive Laboratory Testing

•   General Blood Count and Metabolic Panels

•   Immunological Testing

•   Hormone Testing

•   Nutritional, Metabolic, and Environmental Testing

-   Individual Optimal Nutrition (ION™) Profile

-   SpectraCell Micronutrient Testing

-   NutrEval

•   Testing for Chronic Intestinal Infections

-      Urinary Organic Acids Test

-      Digestive Stool Analysis

•   Testing for Heavy Metals

-      Chelation Challenge Test

-      Porphyrin Analysis Test

-      Red Blood Cell Analysis


Meridian Stress Assessment (MSA)

Meridian Stress Assessment (MSA) by Biomeridian is a non-invasive computerized test for assessing the overall health of organs and systems, as well as factors that may be adversely affecting your health or interfering with normal functioning.  This sophisticated FDA-cleared Class II system measures the energy of associated acupuncture meridians, energy that carries important information about internal organs and systems.  During the MSA test, energy from multiple points is read by pressing a brass probe tip to the hands and feet.  A computer immediately analyzes these data in terms of which points are balanced or unbalanced and which therapeutic strategies are most likely to correct these imbalances.  Specifically, the MSA’s computerized system can assist in detecting evidence of chronic infections (bacterial, viral, yeast/fungal and parasite infections), toxic chemicals, heavy metals, allergies and intolerances—and even suggest specific treatment options to address the problems that have been identified.  A skilled integrative medicine practitioner will use the MSA along with a physical examination, history, lab testing, medical knowledge and clinical judgment to help create the optimal treatment plan.  MSA testing may also be used to monitor your progress and healing over time, as well as to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of supplementation and medication.  This procedure is done at most but not all office visits, omitted at the first follow-up due to reviewing numerous lab results then. 

In summary, the MSA is a fast, accurate, and objective health-profiling tool.  This painless, non-invasive test is a standard part of your initial visit at our center here in Raleigh, and it will help us determine the best way to treat you and support you nutritionally.  Our sophisticated MSA equipment provides the information needed to:

•     Assess the compatibility of various pharmaceuticals, supplements, and other remedies.

•     Determine which of many toxins, bacteria, viruses, or parasites may need to be addressed.

•     Assess some aspects of nutritional and hormonal status.

•     Identify reactions to foods, chemicals, and environmental toxins.

•     Bring all body systems into balance.


Before your MSA:   To prepare for the MSA test, we ask that you take various steps, such as drinking plenty of water, avoiding a heavy meal, and not wearing panty hose, lotions, perfumes or colognes on the day of testing.  Also, all watches, cell phones, or other electrical devices must be removed from your body or pockets during the MSA. Bring all medications, supplements or other remedies you are taking. Finally, individuals with pacemakers may not undergo MSA testing.

Disclaimer:  MSA is a powerful adjunctive physician's tool that can be used to improve our understanding of the total health of the body.  However, because MSA has not been validated by randomized controlled clinical trials, it is not intended to replace regular blood, stool, or urine tests that your physician may recommend.  Although the MSA is not considered a conventional diagnostic tool, it is widely endorsed by physicians working in the field of integrative medicine.


General Blood Count and Metabolic Panels

Basic testing of the blood focuses on the Metabolic Panel and Complete Blood Count (CBC), which together provide a comprehensive metabolic evaluation that includes the fasting glucose (blood sugar), uric acid, blood urea nitrogen (BUN, a measure of liver and kidney function), creatinine, BUN/creatinine ratio (for diagnosis of impaired renal function), electrolytes, liver function, and other aspects of metabolic health. The CBC component includes the white blood cell (WBC) as well as the proportion of specific types of cells, red blood cell (RBC) count, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and various other aspects of the blood.  These tests provide information relevant to and are typically included as a complement to a routine physical examination done by a primary care physician.  Though these tests are important for assessing your general health, they only become abnormal when the problems are more pronounced and only rarely will pick up the kinds of complex issues indicated by the other tests such as the ION Panel or NutrEval.


Immunological Testing

Immunological testing helps us evaluate the functioning and overall status of the immune system, which is important in many chronic disease situations. The particular choice of an immunological test (e.g., for a specific set of antibodies or lymphocytes) will depend on your disease situation.  For example, in certain chronic infections, we will find low levels of various natural killer cells, lymphocytes, and immunoglobulins.  Testing of these cell types provides insights into both general and specific immunity.  While white blood cell counts are a good determinant of general immune function, the measurement of ultra-powerful killer cells can be far more important.  For example, chronic Lyme infections are known to suppress certain subsets of the NK cells.  Proper interpretation of the lab results can lead to more effective treatment strategies to modulate the immune system or to remove stressors on the immune system. Immunological testing is typically performed prior to the start of therapy, then every several months to document the effectiveness of treatment.  One typically hopes to see either a stable test result or an improvement over time.


Hormone Testing

We embrace hormonal tests for many chronic disease situations.  The most commonly measured hormones include thyroid hormones, estrogen and progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and DHEA. Proper interpretation of the lab results can lead to more effective treatment strategies, many of which can lead to major improvements in many aspects of healthy functioning, such as energy, sleep, sexual vitality, joint health, muscle strength, and overall personal well-being. Only by performing accurate hormone testing is it possible to know your individual status and determine the exact hormones you need. Many patients, concerned about the potential adverse effects of using synthetic hormones, are expressing an interest in “natural” or bio-identical hormones. We offer pharmaceutical-grade bio-identical hormones, dispensed through a compounding pharmacy, as well as an array of nutritional and herbal preparations that support healthy hormonal production and functioning. Hormonal testing also helps enable us to fine-tune our approach to hormone replacement, thus further improving the outcome of therapy.


Nutritional, Metabolic, and Environmental Testing

We use a variety of sophisticated testing methods to assess nutritional, metabolic and environmental factors that impact your health and wellness.   These include the ION test, SpectraCell and NutraEval.

Individual Optimal Nutrition (ION™) Profile

The ION test is designed for total biochemical and functional profiling.  This test can be profoundly useful for assessing your digestive function, metabolic patterns, detoxification capacities, toxic factors, and nutritional needs. It can provide the information needed to individually tailor your supplement regimen. Specifically, this comprehensive nutritional testing approach reveals your unique biochemical status as it relates to the following:

  • Energy, endurance and resilience
  • Cardiovascular function
  • Antioxidant power
  • Liver detoxification capacity
  • Inflammatory balance & functioning
  • Digestive integrity
  • Emotional balance
  • Mental or cognitive functioning


SpectraCell Micronutrient Testing

SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc., created the Functional Intracellular Analysis™ (FIA), a diagnostic blood test for helping clinicians assess the intracellular function of essential micronutrients. It is unlike most blood tests because it reflects your nutritional health at the cellular level—specifically, the nutrient levels found within your white blood cells (lymphocytes). By indicating the recent 4- to 6-month history of your micronutrient status, this test can be very helpful in planning a nutritional supplement regimen.  This test measures:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Phytonutrients
  • Fatty acids
  • Amino acids
  • Antioxidant metabolites


NutrEval

NutrEval, a comprehensive testing panel available through Genova Labs, is designed to assess your nutritional-metabolic health and to determine which nutrients—amino acids, essential fatty acids, and vitamin and mineral cofactors—will specifically help you regain your health and vitality.  The panel consists of the following five tests:

  • amino acid analysis
  • essential and metabolic fatty acids
  • organic acids
  • oxidative stress and glutathione
  • elemental analysis to include heavy metals


NutrEval also has 200 sub-tests that provide highly specific information about your body’s functional need for nutritional cofactors, disease risks, deficiencies, and overall nutritional status.  All 200 sub-tests are fed into a computer program, and a wide variety of deficiencies and recommendations are determined from the computerized side of the test printout.  Careful interpretation of the five NutrEval tests, together with the computer-generated portion of the results, leads to specific recommendations that can have a dramatic impact on your health and healing potential.


Testing for Chronic Intestinal Infections

In many cases, results of the UOAT may warrant further evaluation using Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis.  Stress, antibiotics, poor diet, pollution, parasites and other factors can adversely affect the health of the gastrointestinal system, and, by extension, the body as a whole. Our Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (from Genova Laboratories) evaluates your digestive enzymes, absorption, gut flora (good and bad bacteria), parasites, and the colonic environment. This test is recommended for all chronic GI problems, as well as for acute bowel problems and for many diseases affecting other organ systems. A key aspect of this testing is that it can provide very specific information as to which strategies would be most effective for treating pathogenic flora. In many cases, this test also complements findings obtained from the MSA and immunological testing.


Urinary Organic Acids Test

The Urinary Organic Acids Test (UOAT) measures substances the body eliminates through the urine and is among the best ways to evaluate the levels of intestinal yeast and disease-causing bacteria in the gut. Many individuals with chronic illness, allergies, and neurological disorders have one or more abnormal organic acids in their system, as indicated by the UOAT.  Specific organic acids in the urine are byproducts of digestion, human cellular activity, and metabolic activity by organisms in the GI tract.  Some organic acids are abnormal toxic metabolites generated by gut microbes that can cause or worsen many different health issues, such as inflammatory problems, fatigue, mood disorders, and many behavioral disorders. Once any abnormalities are detected by the UOAT, a variety of treatment options are available to treat the condition, including antifungal or antibacterial agents, probiotic supplementation, vitamins, antioxidants and dietary modifications.  Results of this “metabolic snapshot” can complement those of other testing methods and reinforce the clinical impression created by a comprehensive health history.

Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis

In many cases, results of the UOAT may warrant further evaluation using Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis.  Stress, antibiotics, poor diet, pollution, parasites and other factors can adversely affect the health of the gastrointestinal system, and, by extension, the body as a whole. Our Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (from Genova Laboratories) evaluates your digestive enzymes, absorption, gut flora (good and bad bacteria), parasites, and the colonic environment. This test is recommended for all chronic GI problems, as well as for acute bowel problems and for many diseases affecting other organ systems. A key aspect of this testing is that it can provide very specific information as to which strategies would be most effective for treating pathogenic flora. In many cases, this test also complements findings obtained from the MSA and immunological testing.


Testing for Heavy Metals

Chelation Challenge Testing

Blood and urine collection is effective for identifying acute, extreme, or ongoing metal exposure (that is, those exposures that will raise the level of metals in your bloodstream).  Although we can show some level of exposure based on red blood cell analysis, the optimal method for evaluating general body burden is the chelation challenge test in which specific chelating agents are given, pulling metals out of the bones and other deep tissues which are then analyzed in the urine.  Chelation challenge testing will often indicate potential concerns that might be missed by blood and urine testing.  After being stabilized through intravenous nutrient infusion, one is given an infusion of a chelating drug to bind metals and pull them from the tissues.  These metals are then eliminated through the kidneys and released into the urine.  The evaluation of a timed collection of urine will show the quantity of metals released and provide an idea of the severity of the intoxication.  As treatment progresses, follow-up tests will show a reduction in the amount of heavy metals being released, indicating that your body is recovering.


Porphyrin Analysis Test

This urine test can help indicate whether you may have a problem with heavy metal overload prior to doing the chelation challenge test.  Porphyrins are breakdown products generated as the body metabolized hemoglobin and small amounts of several porphyrins appear in urine normally.  The relative amounts of each porphyrin are affected by certain hereditary diseases, by environmental pollution, and by nutritional factors. Porphyrin Analysis test can help determine whether mercury and other toxic metals are being absorbed into your blood cells.  This involves sending a urine sample to a lab, then analyzing the specific porphyrin levels.  For example, if Coproporphyrin III is high, this indicates a high body burden of mercury.  This test can determine previous high-level exposure to both inorganic mercury (from dental amalgam) and organic mercury (from eating tuna and other large fish).  Very often we will recommend a Chelation Challenge Test based on the results of the porphyrin test.


 Breast Thermography

Thermascan, also known as breast thermography, is a safe and promising tool for detecting the conditions that could fuel the growth and spread of breast cancer.  In this way, it can help you pick up a potentially cancerous process long before a breast tumor actually develops and becomes a threat.  The ultra-sensitive medical infrared camera provides a color-coded "fingerprint" of the breast that can indicate whether specific measures are needed to improve breast health. Research suggests that breast thermography can detect first signs of breast cancer 6 to 8 years before mammography, and that an abnormal thermagram is ten times as important as having a family history of breast cancer.  In recent years, breast thermography has evolved dramatically in terms of technological sophistication and thanks to newly developed guidelines approved by the American Academy of Thermology (AAT).  The new guidelines provide international standards for understanding the indications for using thermography, the type of equipment, specifications and criteria for optimal administration, consistency and reliability of results, and the training required for thermologists.  By adhering to AAT guidelines, our patients are getting the greatest possible benefit from thermal imaging.  Thermascan may be the best screening option for women under 50, women with dense breasts, and older women who want more assurance that mammography is not missing a potential disease situation.  

Based on the new guidelines, women with normal thermograms should ideally be screened on a regular, annual basis.  Women with abnormal thermograms should undergo screening more frequently, depending on the degree of abnormality.  Recommendations for repeat thermographic imaging are based solely on the findings of the study and are not based on the number of mammograms previously performed.


    Services provided by Carolina Thermascan.