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Serum Protein Thiols: Putting DNA Repair into Practice

As a doctor, you are aware of the challenges of getting your patients to be proactive or even cooperative. Studies have shown that fewer than half of all patients comply with recommended treatments, and there is widespread lack of awareness of and attendance to how risk factors affect them. Yet patients have a right to understand their own health. The question is how to best engage them in a manner that can influence their health behavior.

A recent article in Health & Wellness (Kentucky Doc’s sister publication) touched upon the fact that damaged DNA was related to cancer development. As a doctor, you are familiar with the distinction between DNA damage and repair — and the tremendous impact these can have on general health.

DNA in cells is attacked at least 19000 times daily. If repaired, the cell continues its life cycle but if the damage is too great, the cell decides to end its life through apoptosis — programmed cell death. It is estimated that this phenomenal process of daily living occurs 60 billion times a day causing a loss and replacement of one percent of the body (predominantly red blood cells). Talk about ADL! But could this affect case management?

The concept of DNA repair has been well established in the medical field for almost twenty years due to its importance in disease development and management. Science Magazine declared in 1994 that DNA repair was at the center of cell biology and cancer research. In addition, they noted that it was the intrinsic changes in DNA chemistry that were most lethal to human health. Textbooks of physiology now include emphasis on DNA repair, as opposed to DNA damage, as the main determinants of aging.

Practitioner awareness of new developments in the area of DNA repair testing has been hampered due to release of findings in only a small number of specialized research journals. Reproducibility and logistical issues have also been significant barriers to practice. For a number of years now, a serum protein thiol test has been in development in research studies, validating the interpretation of its values as not only a direct measurement of redox chemistry but inclusive of DNA repair. In effect, test results can indicate a state of good or poor health — the good reflecting a 5 percent chance of having an active disease with generally healthy cell aging, while poor reflects a 95 percent risk.

Serum protein thiol testing reflects both DNA repair and Immune Competence. It has been shown to be involved in all major classifications of human disease, including cardiovascular and cancer disease states. Very low DNA repair (thiols) has been found to predict mortality in HIV+ patients. Successful DNA repair indicates not only healthy aging at the cell level, but potentially less severe and frequent disease in the patient over time.

Serum protein thiol testing is a way to access the most sensitive body chemistry reflecting ongoing human physiology. It gets you, the medical professional, closer to knowing if your patient is winning the daily battle for health and it is the ‘big picture’ test they can understand — a major step on the journey towards true patient engagement in their own health.

(BDR Laboratories in Goodyear, AZ performs the only commercially reproducible serum protein thiol test. Kentucky doctors have been given a great opportunity to assess thiol status in their patients who are State employees since they are eligible for FSA/HRA re-imbursement. BDR labs is an operational center for Repairtech Co. Its president, Clay Campbell can be reached by phone 250-885-0543 or emailclaycam@shaw.ca)

By Clay Campbell

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