Porphyria and abnormal prophyrin enzymes testing
This is a tricky test because it could show up a normal result even after you've had a porphyria attack, and it may not be accurate unless you've recently been exposed to porphyrinogenic chemicals. Porphyrin abnormalities in MCS patients differ from those that are hereditary, where usually just one enzyme is defective; in MCS, two or more are defective. Certain foods like carbohydrates can affect test results, too. The latest recommendations are that you cut out all carbohydrates for three days and antioxidants for two weeks before having a porphyrin test (Townsend, November 1996).
Scans using single photoemission computer tomography (SPECT or NeuroSPECT), which measure the blood flow in the brain.
Immunological tests to examine in immune function.
The best treatments include:
The best treatment for any sort of chemical sensitivity, it considers the total cumulative toxic load on the body, including the working environment, physical problems and any psychosocial burdens. Under the direction of an experienced clinical ecologist, a limited period of fasting, complete avoidance of allergenic substances and recurrence of symptoms on reexposure will unmask hidden sensitivities.
The healing regime then requires extremely careful management of nutrition, avoidance of triggers and patience. It includes special diets, some vitamin and mineral supplements, antioxidants and anti fungal treatments. Food additives, which are invariably chemicals, can trigger symptoms, as can even biochemical substances produced during digestion (Iris Bell, Clinical Ecology. Common Knowledge Press, 1982).
An experienced clinical ecologist may also suggest
physical therapy, injections to neutralize reactions (see below), hormonal (endocrine) treatment, behavioural therapy, and even surgical treatment (Chemical Sensitivity, Vol 4, Lewis Publ, CRC, 1997).
If MCS is a sign of poisoning and fat soluable poisons (like organochlorine pesticides) accumulate in the body, detoxification is necessary.
The provocation/neutralization test, commonly known as the Miller technique, is often used by clinical ecologists to treat chemically sensitive patients. Test substances are injected under the skin until a weal appears at the injection site. Higher or lower doses are then given serially until the weal response disappears. This "neutralizing dose" is used for treatment, and after several months, acts like a vaccine, turning off symptoms, often permanently.
In certain cases, targeted medication might be advisable, although you should always avoid mind altering drugs. Treatment with phenytoin (an anti convulsant drug) for severe and chronic neurological damage following insecticide poisoning has been shown to exacerbate problems, but amantadine (an antiviral drug also used for Parkinson's disease) and selegiline (a drug for severe Parkinson's) has brought dramatic improvement, observable in SPECT scans (J Toxicol Environ Health, 1994; 41: 275-84).
Specialist centres for chemical sensitivity
In the UK, Breakspear Hospital, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, or Airedale Allergy Clinic, Keighley, Yorks; in the US, Environmental Health Centre in Dallas or Texarkana, Texas, or Chicago, Illinois.