health assessment

Dr Oughtred offers Biophysical 250

In the December 2007 issue of Scientific American, Body, there was an article titled, "The Ultimate Blood Test".  The article was a review of a new blood test called the Biophysical 250, the most comprehensive blood test available to date.  I was intrigued, and eventually I decided to call Biophysical Corp to learn more about the test.  After a few conversations, I was convinced that this was a test that I would be comfortable offering to my patients. It's called the Biophysical 250, because it measures 250 things in your blood, all at once.  For those afraid of having blood drawn, you can rest assured that the test requires only 2 tablespoons of blood.  The test covers blood markers for cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease, infectious disease, nutritional status, hormonal status, inflammation, blood diseases, osteoarthitis, and organ dysfunction.  Biophysical Corp does not advocate testing anything that there is no treatment for, so they don't test markers for alzheimers for instance.  Biophysical reports that in a trial of 120 clients who received the Biophysical, 27 clients had a moderate health risk, and another 15 had a major health risk.  The Biophysical 250 can help discover problems before they become problems, and there are many markers that wouldn't normally be tested for until the disease was already apparent.   Some examples are:

  • H-pylori (a bacteria associated with stomach ulcers)
  • Autoimmune markers (For lupus, scleroderma, or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Insulin (high insulin levels are thought to precede type 2 diabetes)
  • Cancer markers (Breast, Prostate, Colon, Pancreas, Liver, Testicular)
  • Ferritin (high ferretin can be assymptomatic, and represents high iron stores, which can be harmful to the body over time)
  • Thyroid Markers (thyroid disease is common, and can go a long time before being diagnosed)
  • Hepatitis markers

The trouble with waiting until you get a disease, is that you stand the risk of not being able to reverse the disease process once it is diagnosed.  Cancer and autoimmune diseases are classic examples of diseases that have much better outcomes if treated earlier.

The Biophysical 250 does not replace a comprehensive annual health screen with your physician, but for those who can afford it, it can be a great, low risk adjuct to a comprehensive medical assessement for the patient that wants to know more about their existing state of health.

To learn more about the test, visit: http://www.biophysicalcorp.com/ .  The company has also come up with an abreviated version of the test that is priced more competitively, and still screens for several of the same markers.

An Integrative Approach to Chronic Pain: Headaches

During my 7 years of competition with the Canadian alpine ski team, I experienced several injuries, the most frustrating of which were the insidious injuries that seemed to appear out of nowhere. These injuries could last for months to years, and usually required multiple treatments to heal. Because one treatment alone was rarely effective, I began to think that there was more than one cause for these problems. It was for this reason that I decided to become an integrated health care professional, utilizing expertise from several different areas to help people experience better health.

Many chronic problems have more than one cause: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disease, asthma, headaches, overuse injuries, back and neck pain, irritable bowel, PMS, and psoriasis, are all examples of problems that have more than one cause or contributing factor. Common sense dictates that the assessment and treatment of such problems should be multifactoral. For example, an integrative assessment of the patient with chronic headaches would consider the following factors:

• Inactivity or obesity

• Overweight individuals that don't exercise experience more health problems, including headaches

• Blood pressure

• High blood pressure or sudden changes in blood pressure can increase your likelihood of head pain

• Hormonal imbalance

• Migraines occur more in women, and they will often notice their pain fluctuates with menses

• Blood sugar imbalance

• Fluctuations in blood sugar can lead to the vascular constriction or dilation that is often associated with headaches

• Stress and cognitive influences

• Those who experience anxiety or depression, experience more headaches

• Neck problems

• The upper two vertebrae in your neck can cause an increase in head pain when they are dysfunctional

• TMJ problems or dental problems

• Food sensitivities

• Environmental sensitivities

• Poor posture and work position

• Poor vision or eye problems

• Infection or cancer

• Drug interactions

• Inflammatory disease

• Past trauma/ accidents

A multifactoral assessment allows the health provider to look at your health from a ‘bird's eye view', and focus treatments on the areas of your health that might contribute to your pain. Treatments could include physical therapies, supplements, therapeutic exercise, specific herbs, a special diet, or cognitive behaviour therapies. However, without an integrated assessment of your health, your treatment may be one sided, and may fail to address weaknesses in your complete health picture. It is for this reason that I recommend an integrated approach for your chronic problems, the prevention of disease, and for the pursuit of your optimum health status.

Ryan Oughtred