The Gastrointestinal Health Panels

The gastrointestinal tract is essentially an external part of the body. This is the
reason we do not have to sterilize our food, but only be sure it is clean and
wholesome. Presently, the risk of being infected or infested by pathogenic
organisms through food and water is ever increasing. This is due to several
reasons: immigration; frequent overseas travel; importation of vegetables and
fruits; lack of a public health policy to screen food handlers for transmissible
pathogens; outdoor and wilderness excursions; alternate life- styles; agricultural
pollution; pets at home, etc.

Currently, World Health Organization studies indicate that about 1/2 billion
individuals are infected annually by Amoeba histolytica and about the same
number are infected by Giardia and cryptosporidium. Considering all parasites,
more than 1/4 of the Earth's population is infected at any one time. More serious
efforts must be made to prevent, identify, and treat these widespread and
debilitating infections.

Mode of transmission & who is at risk
The predominant method of transmission of parasites is the fecal- oral route
through hand contact with infected individuals or via contaminated water and
food. Many parasites are highly transmissible within a household environment. All
family members should be tested if one member is positive for GI infection.

People with suppressed immunity, eg. T-cell (white cell) dysfunction and defects in
intestinal antibody (IgA) secretion, are predisposed to protracted and heavy
infections with GI pathogens. Individuals with cancer and those receiving
chemotherapy for cancer are very susceptible to parasitic infection(s). Frequent
and excessive overutilization of antibiotics renders the GI tract more susceptible
to chronic overgrowth of harmful micro-organisms. These can produce a wide
range of systemic toxins and/or cause severe irritation of large areas of fragile,
nutrient absorbing intestinal tissue.

Bodily functions affected by GI pathogens
Intestinal pathogen infections cannot be clinically differentiated solely on the basis
of medical history, physical exam and/or symptoms. Specific diagnosis requires
laboratory evaluation and confirmation. In most laboratories the general request
for stool ova and parasite screening does not include the specialized testing and
confirmation provided by the GI Health Panel.? Asymptomatic, mild symptomatic
and overt GI pathogen in-fections can affect and deter gastrointestinal function,
and, if undetected, will lead to chronic illness.

Treatment & Prevention
Detection and specific diagnosis of the pathogens, including a broad spectrum of
microflora and common parasites is of paramount importance. This is because
successful therapy is dependent on two primary issues. First, accurate and specific
diagnosis of causative agent in a patient who presents with otherwise general and
non-specific complaints and symptoms. Second, specific therapeutic agents can be
targeted to eradicate offending micro-organisms with an extremely high success
rate, with minimal side effects.

Prevention notes:

* Observe strict personal hygiene habits
* Eat cooked food, when outside your home
* Wash fresh fruits & vegetables with soap & water
* Avoid drinking potentially contaminated surface water
* Before overseas travel, contact the CDC for tips
* Restrict pets to designated parts of the home
* Wash hands after touching pets

Gastrointestinal Health Panel
The GI Health Panel is a non-invasive screen of the gastro-intestinal tract and its
function. It includes at least 15-22 individual, but related tests. Stool and saliva
samples are submitted by the patient after home collection.

Logic of testing
To insure high sensitivity and specificity of pathogenic organism detection,
Diagnos-Techs employs a variety of methods in the GI Health Panel tests. These
tests utilize proven biochemical and state of the art immunological and other
methods. The panel includes:

1. Pathogen screening: bacteria, fungi, yeast, and various parasites.
2. Digestion related screens: enzyme levels and immunochemical markers for
intolerance to common offending foods.
3. Intestinal function markers to evaluate irritation and inflammation; markers
indicate overall status of gut immunity and integrity, i.e. occult blood, etc.

The GI Health Panel strikes a balance between comprehensive screening and
economy by bundling appropriate individual tests that would otherwise cost over
$700 at current prices. All the tests are insurer reimbursed with the appropriate
provider documentation.

Advantages & Benefits

* Non-invasive sampling: saliva and stool
* Home collection: no office visit
* Economical and insurance reimbursable
* Comprehensive: detects a broad spectrum of common pathogens and includes
digestion efficiency evaluation
* Improved wellness: general GI complaints identified and resolved
* Modular: retesting of one or several abnormal findings is available without
repeating the entire panel

Common applications of this panel
Individuals with chronic and vague GI symptoms including:

* Frequent bloating, gas, cramping, and constipation
* Frequent travel within US and/or overseas
* Frequent eating outside the home
* Homosexuals
* Food handlers - to protect others
* Food preparers at restaurants, homes, schools, etc.
* Institutionalized individuals
* Uniformed services
* Dormitory Residents - common quarters
* Children that go to daycare centers
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