In April 2010, I attended a conference where Dr. Lee Cowden spoke. He commented at that time that Spiro Stat Technologies was the only lab he would currently use for testing related to Lyme disease. I've since looked at this option a bit more, but haven't tried them personally just yet. I do plan to have blood drawn sometime in the next month or so to see what their test might find that we've not already identified.
One of the things that I like about their panel is that it seems to be more comprehensive in terms of TBIs than others I have seen. The list of microbes that their Lyme panel includes is:
- Anaplasma phagocytophila
- Bartonella henselae
- Borrelia afzelii
- Borrelia burgdorferi
- Borrelia garinii
- Borrelia hermsii
- Borrelia parkeri
- Borrelia valasiana
- Brachyspira aalborgi
- Bracyspira hyodysenteriae
- Coxiella burnetti
- Ehrlichia (multiple species)
- Francisella tularensis
- Leptospira (multiple species)
- Mycoplasma fermentans
- Rickettsia spp (9 species)
- Treponema pertenue
- Treponema carateum
- Treponema denticola
If anything is missing from the above, it may be additional species of Bartonella and it does not include any Babesia. Spiro Stat offers a separate panel for Babesia. Doing both panels would seem to make sense as testing for TBIs without looking for Babesia would seem to be missing a likely significant factor in one's illness. Thus, for Lyme-related issues, their Lyme and Babesia panels may be the best way to go.
Their tests are NOT antibody tests which may have a significant advantage when testing for TBIs as antibody tests often miss the infections as a result of an already suppressed immune response. Their test is a molecular based assay which uses direct DNA and RNA detection methods.
Beyond their Lyme Panel and Babesiosis Panel, I'm quite excited about their new Fungi Panel. Mold illness is often a significant factor in people with chronic Lyme disease in my experience. Unfortunately, finding labs that can shed light on this often complicated area is not easy. The Spiro Stat Fungi Panel looks for colonization of a person with specific fungal organisms. This is not a "sensitivity" or "allergy" test which can also be done for molds, but this is looking for specific mold/fungal organisms in a patient sample. Some examples of the organisms that can be detected are listed below. Please check with SpiroStat as they are constantly improving their panels and the list of specific organisms may change over time.
- Candida (multiple species)
- Aspergillius (multiple species)
- Cryptococcus (multiple species)
- Cladosporium herbarum
- Curvularia lunata
- Exserohilum rostratum
- Fusarium (multiple species)
- Kodamaea ohmeri
- Malassezia restricta
- Phoma (multiple speciies)
- Physcia adscendens
- Rhizopus oryzae
- Trichophyton mentagrophytes
At present, Spiro Stat offers three separate panels: 1) Lyme Panel, 2) Babesiosis Panel, and 3) Fungi Panel. Patients can order test kits to take to their doctor for a blood draw.
A recent newsletter from Spiro Stat that discusses their offerings in more detail can be found here.
I'm very interested in any feedback anyone may have on this lab's offerings. Please Contact Me with any thoughts.
I just recently got my results back from the Lyme and Babesia panel with SpiroStat. The test came back negative.
Given that I'm feeling 90% recovered most days, this could be accurate. However, I was a bit surprised with all of the organisms that they test for that not one of them came back positive. We know that many of these organisms are never fully eradicated once we've had chronic Lyme disease. The results could be great news, but on the other hand, we also know that many of these microbes just don't live in the blood. They go to deeper tissues, joints, and other places in the body which makes finding them far more difficult. Thus, there may be some sensitivity challenges that come into play with antigen tests based on PCR technology.
Recently, the lab has been taking both venous blood and a finger-stick blood sample with the hope of increasing the sensitivity of the test results. I supplied both samples to the lab for my own test.
I have talked with two other people that have had the panels run. One, who was very ill, came back negative as well. Another came back positive for Borrelia and Rickettsia. The good thing about this test is that when it finds something, there is little debate about whether or not the infection is present as there can be with antibody-based testing. Thus, I think their panel can be very useful when a positive result is obtained.
I'm still hopeful about this lab as they have the backing of doctors like Lee Cowden, MD and others. They are working hard to publish peer-reviewed journal articles that will provide more data on their tests. I think that the variety of organisms that they check for in their panel is unique. I don't think it yet takes the place of having the IGeneX panels done, but I do think it can be a helpful adjunct. It will take more time to see where SpiroStat eventually lands in the realm of testing for tick-borne infections, but I do think that they offer an exciting new option for those of us with tick-borne infections to explore.
If you've had the test done, I'd love to hear your experience with it. Please Contact Me with any comments.
I recently received this quote from a father that had the Spiro Stat panel run on his son. He said "Spirostat Scan is a neat tool and about 1/3 the cost of Igenex. Best $500 I ever spent.".
While I currently view the Spiro Stat test as an adjunct to the IGeneX Western Blot, I was excited to hear that the Spiro Stat panel had been so helpful for this family.