One of the latest diagnostic tests to determine mercury sensitivity is MELISA (memory lymphocyte immunostimulation assay). Developed by Czech scientists working in Sweden, it detects white blood cells that have already reacted to toxic metals such as mercury, thus providing an objective, measurable analysis of metal sensitivity.
MELISA is already knocking holes in the dental establishment's complacency over amalgam fillings, as the test has revealed high levels of metal sensitivity in people who suffer from thyroiditis, lupus and multiple sclerosis (MS), all of which are considered autoimmune diseases.
The MS connection is the most explosive finding. The fact that MS is due to myelin destruction is not news, but the Czechs have discovered that mercury bonds to myelin in the sheaths that protect nerve fibres, and destroys them.
Does mercury cause MS? "We do not suggest that metal allergy is the only cause of MS," says lead scientist Professor Vera Stejskal, recognised as the inventor of MELISA, "but we have developed what we believe is a breakthrough in understanding MS - the link between metal allergy and the erosion of myelin."
The proof of the pudding came in a recent clinical trial where MS patients who were mercury-sensitive had their amalgam fillings removed. The result was that most of them immediately showed a significant "improvement in health" (Neuro Endocrinol Lett, 2004; 25: 211-8).
These latest findings may help to draw attention to Stejskal's pioneering work - largely unnoticed - five years ago on another medical mystery - chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME). Using the MELISA test on a sample of patients with CFS/ME, she found consistent evidence of metal sensitivity in the vast majority of them. "We have found that fatigue, regardless of the underlying disease, is primarily associated with hypersensitivity to inorganic mercury and nickel," she concluded (Neuro Endocrinol Lett, 1999; 20: 221-8).
For MELISA testing in the UK, contact Dr Ian Hyams (tel: 020 7224 6777; www.internationalhealthscreening.com). In the US, you can e-mail Dr Douglas MacTaggart at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call + 800 437 1404.