Written by Dr Richard Malter, PhD, January 2000
A few years ago in the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, Dr. Alan Gaby wrote some critical editorial comments about hair tissue mineral analysis (TMA). Dr. Gaby’s editorial comments were a useful stimulant to discussion of several important technical and clinical issues related to this subject. Since Dr. Gaby raised the question of validity of TMA, but not reliability, I assumed that reliability is not a problem for him.
Regardless of one’s personal or professional views about TMA, the nature of this laboratory test and the conceptual systems used to interpret the data can be highly useful in understanding some of the crucial issues in present day health care.
As Dr. Gaby observes, “some laboratories’ interpretation of hair mineral test results is extremely complex.” This is because the biochemical and psycho-physiological phenomena to which TMA reflect are inherently complex, highly interactive and dynamic. The nature of the psycho-physiological phenomena reflected in a TMA cannot be properly understood within the prevailing medical model that is essentially a dichotomous disease model. Under this model, either the individual is healthy or he/she has a diagnosable medical condition. This model does not lend itself very well to dealing with those physical and psychological conditions that are often experienced as uncomfortable but are not severe enough to be diagnosed as a disease. These types of conditions mark the early stages of a medical and/or psychological disorder. The vast majority of people fall into this intermediate range between optimal health and having a disease that can be diagnosed by a health care professional. They fall within the intermediate range of what I call the health-energy continuum. They lack optimal health and energy, but they are not so severe as to fall outside of the “normal” ranges of blood and urinalysis norms. If we view a TMA profile as an energy profile, it usually provides a great deal of information about… CONTINUE READING THE FULL ARTICLE (PDF will open in a new window).