A Look at Specialty Testing for Evaluating Health Issues

Photo: Grateful thanks to Kaylee Garrett on Unsplash

by Connie Hernandez, ND

Specialty laboratory testing can contribute a wealth of information to help us understand the root cause of particular health conditions.

Our patients occasionally come to us with folders full of specialty lab findings and lament that they’ve received no explanation as to why the tests were ordered in the first place, or what the results indicate, and what they might do about the results.

The array of available testing options is continually growing, and most of the new tests are interesting to us – but that doesn’t mean they are all useful.

For example, in genetic testing there are an infinite number of SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) that we can look at, and some do offer us critical insights, but not all of them are particularly relevant for helping us decide on a focused treatment plan.

We order many kinds of specialty labs, but before ordering them we are careful to ask a number of relevant questions. Given that most specialty labs aren’t covered by insurance, we do our best to determine whether a lab is really necessary.

  • Will the lab results actually change the course of treatment?
  • Will it help us identify the source of the disease?
  • Will the results be presented in an understandable format?
  • Do we possess the knowledge to interpret the results correctly?
  • Does the lab offer expert consultation to help us with the interpretation?  

With these parameters in mind, we rely on labs with an established track record, and whose work is based on solid, well-documented science.

Among the labs we use most are:

  • Biocept (circulating tumor cells)
  • Cyrex (allergy, food sensitivity testing)
  • DiagnosTechs (salivary hormone testing)
  • DNA Life (genetic testing)
  • Doctor’s Data, and Diagnostic Solutions (both for digestive analysis)
  • Genova Diagnostics (digestive, hormones, genetic testing)
  • Great Plains Laboratories (organic acids testing)
  • Meridian Valley (urinary hormonal testing)
  • SpectraCell (intracellular nutrient testing and lipoprotein particle profile)

Specialty lab kits are generally provided by the labs, with payment made directly to the labs when specimens are submitted. (Specimens may be saliva, blood, urine, or stool.)

We expand our repertory of lab testing options through continuing education programs, and when our patients request testing from labs not familiar to us.

Thermographic Imaging

For many years, we’ve offered breast thermography testing that can reveal changes in physiological functioning – giving us an advance warning of the changes that can be seen on ultrasounds, mammograms, or MRIs.

Breast thermography is an adjunctive screening for breast disease – it supplements but doesn’t’ replace those other tests. It’s a specific, very valuable tool for assessing and managing risk, and for monitoring treatment results so that we can adjust and optimize the treatment.

We recently acquired updated thermographic equipment and hired Marina Day Hernandez, a professionally trained thermographic technician to expand the range of thermography scans we can offer. 

We’ve been particularly impressed by the unexpected insights we’ve gained from evaluating upper body scans in patients with higher risk ratings on breast thermography. As we move forward, we’ll share these very interesting results with you.

Note: Specialty lab tests are available for established patients only. If you’re interested in one of the tests mentioned above, please phone the front desk for instructions to receive a test kit. (A follow-up appointment will be required to discuss the test results.)

For information about the services we offer at Pacific Naturopathic, please give us a call at 650-961-1660 or use the convenient Contact Form, or follow the link to Consultations – Pacific Naturopathic. Thank you!