The metals in the middle of the periodic table are called transition metals. As the name suggests, they are unstable and upon entering the body bind to enzymes and cell proteins. Most of the metals used in dental restorations, such as titanium, chromium, nickel, gold and mercury, are transition metals. For most people, the new structure formed by such a binding will not cause any problems. In genetically susceptible people, the new structure will activate the immune system and might lead to allergy and autoimmunity.
Theoretically, all metals can be tested in MELISA, but certain metals are more frequently found to induce allergy than others. Also, we are more frequently exposed to certain metals, mainly nickel (in food and jewellery) and mercury (in amalgam fillings and polluted fish).
If you have been occupationally exposed to a metal that is not tested routinely, please contact us and we will try to help.
Borrelia (Lyme disease)
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by a spirochete, a type of bacteria, called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is passed to a person by a tick bite. Lyme disease has many symptoms, but skin problems, arthritis and various neurological symptoms are usually present. Examples include a skin rash, headaches, neck pain, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, joint pain, emotional instability and mental confusion.
Unfortunately, standard laboratory testing is often unable to give clear results of whether a patient is infected or not. The standard serological test ELISA has the broadest detection rate but low specificity. Specificity can be improved with the Western Blot. The test with the highest specificity but with a fairly low detection rate is the PCR test. Borrelia infections are usually treated with antibiotics.
Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis or a number of other autoimmune and neurological diseases, which can lead to the true infection remaining untreated, allowing it to further disseminate the bacteria. If the neurological form of borreliosis is left untreated for years, it can lead to severe debility.
The MELISA technology can now be applied to diagnose active Lyme disease, especially in serologically and clinically unclear cases. A positive reaction in the MELISA test demonstrates current active infection with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. In addition to the standard four recombinant antigens derived from B.afzelii and B.garinii, the test includes three additional antigens derived from B.burgdorferi sensu stricto (a recombinant outer surface protein OspC, a recombinant p41-internal fragment, and a full antigen lysate).
It is well-known that intolerance to certain foods may disturb the digestive system, cause skin problems and hormonal imbalance. Cereals are among the most common foods to induce a hypersensitive reaction. The most common antigen is wheat followed by barley and rye. There are four types of proteins present in cereals defined as albumins, globulins, prolamins and glutelins. 30-60% of the protein content consists of prolamin. The name prolamin refers to its high content of proline and glutamine. 50% of the protein in oat, barley and wheat consists of these amino acids. Food allergies are either immediate, caused by IgE-mediated mast cell degranulation and histamine release or cell-mediated reactions with food-specific T cells as key players. It is postulated that pepsin in the stomach may cause digestion of IgE-inducing epitopes of food proteins and such digested allergens might induce IgE-independent T cell inflammation. In a Swedish study (unpublished) 20 patients with colon irritable, eczema and premenstrual syndrome, often combined with psychological problems, were studied before and after elimination of cereals from their diet. Almost all of the patients noticed a positive effect following the elimination of gluten-containing meals, the majority immediately or within a week. Seven of the patients were tested for tissue transglutaminase but none had positive results. Thus, in these patients, serum tests seemed to have limited diagnostic value. In cooperation with the Swiss allergologist Dr Paul Corthay, and the MELISA laboratory in Geneva, we have conducted a study on the use of MELISA for the diagnosis of gluten allergy in patients attending allergy clinics near Geneva. Most of the patients suffered from various allergies but psychological and gastrointestinal problems often complicated the clinical picture. In addition to detailed anamnesis and testing with MELISA, prick test with food extracts and serum transglutaminase IgG and IgA were also determined.
In preliminary experiments, gluten extract did not induce significant lymphocyte proliferation in non-allergic healthy subjects.
In a 2006 study, 136 patients were tested to gluten and dental metals by the MELISA test. Forty-four patients were found gluten-positive (32%) while serum tests were only rarely positive. Gluten-positive patients responded significantly more often to dental metals as compared to gluten-negative patients (P< 0,001 for Hg, Sn, Ti, Al, and P< 0,05 for Pb, MeHg, Ni, Thimerosal). Skin prick tests depended on the individual variability (the quality of the skin) and varied largely.
Gluten-specific MELISA seems to be clinically relevant as shown is some case reports. After strict avoidance of gluten-containing foods, gluten-positive lymphocyte reactivity returned to normal and the patient’s health improved.
In conclusion, gluten reactivity seems to be common in patients with allergic diseases and the simultaneous testing of gluten together with metal testing seems to be beneficial to the patient.
Candida albicans is a form of yeast. Found in approximately 80% of the human population, it usually doesn’t cause any harm but overgrowth can result in candidiasis. Candidiasis is often observed in immuno-compromised individuals. While symptoms vary, they can include bloating, abdominal distension, and food intolerances but also profound tiredness, depression and anxiety. A positive MELISA result indicates that a patient is likely to have Candida overgrowth and should consider treatment.
MELISA was originally developed for the testing of drug allergy in occupational settings. Though today the test is mostly used to screen for allergy to metals, the following substances can be tested on request. Please contact the laboratory before you send the blood.
Laboratoire MGD SA, Switzerland
Formaldehyde, Gentamycine, Halothan
It is possible to test for others drugs if you provide aliquots of the substances to the lab.
Thimerosal, also known as “thiomersal”, is 50 per cent ethyl mercury by weight. Since the 1930s, it has been used as a preservative in certain vaccines – pre-dating the rigorous vetting procedures now in place. To this day, its use in medicine has never been approved by the FDA. When questioned, health authorities point to the absence of evidence proving conclusively that mercury causes harm. But historically, the lack of evidence has been due to the remarkably few studies made of the subject. Now however, in part due to parent action, the body of evidence is growing and campaigners believe themselves close to finding the last pieces of the puzzle. Pressure from parents and campaign groups like SafeMinds has caused the US government to look at the issue.