It used to be that Lyme sufferers relied solely upon the I-GeneX Western blot and the relatively worthless ELISA test to determine whether they had Lyme disease.
Now, the savvy are turning towards additional, and perhaps more accurate, methods of testing. One of these is Flow Cytometry, from Central Florida Research www.centralfloridaresearch.com.
A flow cytometer is an instrument that identifies bacteria, at a rate of 50,000 “events” in the blood per minute. This test can enumerate and quantify Borrelia Burgdorferi, providing insights into how seriously a person is infected. Unfortunately, as with all Lyme tests, a person can test negative for the presence of Bb, even if he/she has Lyme. In flow cytometry, this happens when a particular sample of blood that has been drawn contains no spirochetes. Other inaccuracies in testing procedures and test interpretation can happen, as well. However, the level of error and misinterpretation at Central Florida Research is thought to be volumes lower than at other labs around the country. And the great thing about CFR is that they take insurance, including Medicare!
Other promising methods of testing, particularly for Lyme co-infections such as Bartonella and Babesia, are performed by Fry Laboratories in Arizona. Here, Fry utilizes the Immunoflourescent assay (which is a serology test, identifying both antigen (foreign protein) and antibodies to co-infections, and “stain smear” test (which involves looking at a sample of cells to detect antibodies to other auto-immune illnesses) .
As well, the laboratory is developing a means to test for multiple species of co-infections. For instance, Babesia microti, Bartonella Quintana and Henslae (of the Babesia and Bartonella infections) are the only species currently identifiable within a sample.
While perhaps not covered by most insurance plans, getting a test done by Fry Laboratories may yet be worth the expense because it’s the only lab of its kind which tests for Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and ANA (anti-nuclear) antibodies (the latter detects other potential auto-immune diseases), using the aforementioned technology. Testing for all of these can be done in one shot and costs $495.
Finally, I believe muscle-testing (sometimes called autonomic response testing) to be one of the most accurate methods for diagnosing Lyme. The autonomic nervous system, by means of the body’s muscle responses to questions, can provide information to the patient/practitioner regarding currently active infections. The downside of this testing is that many people do it wrong, because it is so deceptively simple.
It is extraordinarily useful, however, if a Lyme sufferer or practitioner is skilled in its techniques. Dr. Klinghardt in Seattle, www.neuraltherapy.com, is reputed to be one such practitioner.