Tests for Chemical Injury
from Chemical Injury Information Network
The technology to prove chemically induced injuries is just beginning to catch up with the technology that creates them. No single test has yet been developed that has proven 100% effective in diagnosing all victims, though brain scans are the most promising in this area. Therefore, the Chemical Injury Information Network endorses Dr. Gunnar Heuser’s proposal that persons having damage in at least 4 of 7 areas (central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, T-cell subsets, pulmonary, nasal/ sinuses, chemical antibodies, and autoimmune antibodies) are more probably than not, disabled by MCS.
The following tests have been found by CIIN to be helpful in documenting biologic markers for MCS:
To detect chemicals, their metabolites, or heavy metals in the body:
1. Blood tests.
2. Urine tests.
3. Fat biopsies.
Immune system testing:
1. Antibody Assay testing for chemical antibody formation.
2. Activated Lymphocyte Profiles.
3. Autoimmune Disease Profiles.
4. Autoimmune Profiles for nervous system disorders.
5. Allergy testing for foods, molds, pollens, and chemicals.
1. Complete neurological examination.
2. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans.
3. Quantified Electroencephalogram (qEEG) with evoked potentials.
4. Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) scans.
5. Neurobehavioral testing.
b) Wide Range Achievement Test-Revised.
c) Pittsburgh Occupational Exposure Tests.
d) Tests for concentration such as Digit Span and/or Digit Symbol.
e) California Verbal Learning Test.
Note: MCS victims as a group do not score well on psychosocial adjustment tests such as the MMPI, MMPI-2, PAIS, and the SAS-SR. However, these tests are not appropriate diagnostic tools for MCS in the first place because they interpret any chronic health complaint as psychosomatic in origin.
Other testing considerations:
1. Enzyme testing for cholinesterases, antioxidants, liver, etc.
2. Amino acids profiles: Standard Panel and Neuropsychiatric Panel.
3. Rhinolaryngoscopic examination to check for damage in the nasal passages.
4. Conditions and disorders associated with specific chemical exposures such as aplastic anemia, pulmonary function tests, heart monitoring, detailed and sensitive testing for various organ and/or system damage, etc.
from The Northwest Center for Environmental Medicine
Tests for MCS
Environmental Medicine physicians order routine blood tests if they have not been done recently
Allergy testing is usually recommended. Most patients with chemical sensitivities have allergies they don’t recognize, especially food allergies. Very detailed allergy testing is done for inhaled allergens such as dust, dust mites, mold, as well as, food and chemicals. (See allergy section for more details).
Other fairly commonly ordered tests include:
- Antioxidant status
- Toxic metal evaluation-lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and others. This includes blood levels and challenge testing with chelation.
- Gluten (gliadin) sensitivity
- Thyroid function including thyroid autoantibodies
- Functional nutritional analysis
- Intracellular mineral levels
- Arterial and venous oxygen levels
- Comprehensive stool analysis-screen for fungal and parasite infections, intestinal inflammation, pancreatic enzyme deficiency, leaky gut, gluten sensitivity, mucosal immunity
- Urine organic acids-evaluates cellular metabolism and nutritional imbalances.
- Peripheral Arterial Tonometry-evaluates toxic vasculitis and endothelial function
There is no single test used to diagnose MCS. Generally diagnosis is based on symptoms, exposure history and exclusion of other illness.
The following are some of the more common tests environmentally and nutritionally trained doctors find useful.
In general, functional pathology tests are more useful in the treatment of MCS than standard pathology tests. Whilst individual areas of concern can be assessed and addressed (e.g. correcting gut issues or nutritional deficiencies), focusing on reducing STRESSOR in particular those putting demands on the liver, gut and nervous system e.g. stimuli, chemicals (environmental and food) and so on seems to provide better outcomes as this helps the Autonomic Nervous System function better – which automically improves enzyme production, detoxification, digestion, nutrient absorption and so on. (Tips and guidelines on how to do this are provided by RESHAPE – coming soon to MCSLIVING).
Two tests recommended by RESHAPE and MCSLIVING are standard tests for assessing cortisol and the Liver Functional Detoxification Profile (FLDP) as cortisol levels and the level of liver impairment influence treatment. For example if you have high cortisol levels (an indicator of high stress) exercise can help, however if you now have depleted cortisol (an indicator that high stress has gone on for too long) exercise can be detrimental. FYI people with hypocortisolism (very low cortisol levels) generally respond poorly to psychological therapies such as CBT.Chalder et al says…Low cortisol is of clinical relevance in CFS, as it is associated with a poorer response to CBT. Hypocortisolism could be one of several maintaining factors that interact in the persistence of CFS.
Comprehensive Digestive Stools Analysis (CDSA)
This test can be a useful tool to help your health practitioner assess digestion, nutrient absorption and the health of your intestinal tract.
Functional Liver Detoxification Profile (FLDP)
The Functional Liver Detoxification Profile measures the rate at which Phase 1 and the Phase 2 pathways are detoxifying. This test is very different to the Liver Functioning tests normally performed by GP’s. Whilst, supplements can help correct this in some people, they will simply worsen symptoms in others.
Detoxi Genomic Profile
This is a more comprehensive test than the FLDP. The Detoxi Genomic Profile identifies genetic variations that may affect your ability to detoxify specific toxins, medications, and even foods. Working with your healthcare provider, you can develop a personalized treatment plan that matches your environment to your genes in order to optimize your health. To find out more and view a sample report Click Here
” Detoxification is the metabolic process your body uses to
transform and eliminate toxins. The process can occur in
two steps, called Phase I and Phase II.
• Phase I is our first line of defense against toxins.
Enzymes in the liver act on the chemical structure of a
toxin to make it easier to excrete. For some compounds,
including many drugs, Phase I is all that’s needed to
eliminate the toxin. Other toxins are actually made more
reactive after Phase I and require an additional step.
• Phase II is our second line of defense against toxins.
Phase II further alters the chemical structure of a toxin by
adding, or “conjugating,” water-soluble molecules
to the toxin.
Toxic substances come from the environment, from the
foods and medicines we consume, and from the body itself
(natural waste products of metabolism). Examples include:
• pharmaceutical drugs
• charbroiled foods”
According to Healthscope Pathologies…
“Hair mineral analysis (HMA) is a safe, non-invasive test that measures the levels and comparative ratios of nutrients and toxic metals found in hair. Hair mineral analysis can detect whether there is an excess or deficiency of vital nutrient minerals such as calcium, potassium, zinc and iron. It can also identify over-exposure to toxic metals such as aluminium, lead, arsenic and mercury. HMA is an invaluable screening tool in both every day and preventive health care.” If you have very high levels of heavy metals such as mercury in your system for example, your doctor may recommend chelation therapy, before agreeing to this do substantial research as it can worsen toxicity and symptoms in some people.
Food Intolerance Tests – IgG Food Sensitivity Profiles
ARL Functional Pathology (now Healthscope) say…
“Food sensitivity is often given a low priority in the investigation of disease. Common conditions where food sensitivity may play a significant role include bloating and fluid retention, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, depression and mood swings, asthma, skin conditions and behavioural problems in children…Food sensitivity reactions may be the result of enzyme deficiency, histamine releasing effects, altered intestinal permeability (e.g. leaky gut) or pharmacological effects.”
Dr Grace Ziem (www.chemicalinjury.net) recommends this test to her MCS patients, however, food elimination challenges are most commonly recommended when testing for food intolerances.
Other Functional Pathology Tests
There are a number of tests a practitioner may find useful, however trained physicians primarily rely on your history and symptoms to guide treatment.
Standard Pathology tests
Standard pathology tests are not useful for diagnosing MCS. However it is important not to dismiss other causes of ill health. Unfortunately, having MCS does not exclude you from developing other diseases. Be sure to have an annual check-up and consult with a GP if any new symptoms arise. Environmentally trained doctors GP is generally best.
Concern about hospitals and medications is normal and valid for anyone with MCS, and in many cases suitable alternatives are usually best. However, sometimes these are necessary and even life saving. Discuss any concerns you have with your doctor.