Melisa test – Allergy to metals

HYPERSENSITIVITY (allergy) is a complex phenomenon whose characteristics have not yet been fully understood. For this reason, the demand for laboratory tests to identify the allergenic elements is very high. MELISA is a blood test which has been evaluated scientifically and clinically to objectively diagnose cellular hypersensitivity (allergy type IV). The MELISA test can identify a hypersensitive reaction which may be activated by substances such as vaccine preservatives, or mercury, gold or cadmium used in materials for dental treatment. MELISA has revealed that people sensitive to these substances suffer local and systemic reactions in their bodies. The symptoms may be multiple and may include anything from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to Multiple Sclerosis, to skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. In children who react to timerosal, a habitual component of vaccines, there is a risk of an immunological attack in the brain, activated by the vaccine itself, which can even cause autistic disturbances.

Why are metals so dangerous?

When certain heavy metals (such as nickel or mercury) enter the body, they become ionised and unstable. They search for proteins that they can link to. In most cases, this is not a risk to health. But in an allergic patient, the metal is a risk as the immune system will mistakenly recognise the metal-protein complex as an invading antigen and will attack it.

At first, the white blood corpuscles or lymphocytes begin to expand and multiply to combat this supposed invader. This, in itself, activates the primary response of the body, known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

In some cases, it is possible to create antibodies to combat the metal-protein complex. This is harmful if the metal has linked to myelin, the fatty substance which insulates cerebral nerves. If the myelin is attacked, the capacity of the brain to control bodily functions is affected. The damage to the myelin is present in patients who suffer from multiple sclerosis, but also in children with autistic disorders.

The MELISA test objectively measures the proliferation of memory lymphocytes – the unequivocal symbol of an immunological reaction. The memory lymphocytes in the blood “remember” the finding of certain metals or other allergens in the past and this is the reason that they grow and divide when there is a re-exposure to the same metal added to the culture. This relationship can be objectively measured and compared with the reaction of control cells cultivated in the absence of any metal.

Melisa and chronic fatigue syndrome

When somebody catches a cold, he or she feels tired and wants to lie down until the infection has been satisfactorily combated. The message to rest is sent by the HPA axis, which coordinates communication between the brain and the immunological system. In those patients who suffer an immunological attack induced by the metal the HPA axis is activated in a false alarm. There is no real “invader”, only metal ions which may be liberated through dental fillings, metal implants or other sources. In a large experiment, MELISA examined 390 patients complaining of symptoms related with fatigue; 62% turned out to be positive to a metal allergy. Of those who agreed to replace the substance that they were diagnosed with as reactive, 76% reported a significant improvement in their health subsequently. The patients with SFC diagnosed by MELISA as allergic to a metal can obtain a substantial improvement in their health if they replace the metal that is causing the damage.

Melisa and multiple sclerosis

A patient with multiple sclerosis diagnosed by MELISA with allergy to a metal must replace this harmful element in his body – this may stop the immunological attack on the myelin membrane in the brain, which might be the hidden cause behind the multiple sclerosis. This is a complex illness, but for those patients whose illness is being activated by allergy to a metal, MELISA can diagnose the aetiology. In one case, a multiple sclerosis patient was capable of walking again after removing her metal fillings and replacing them with another non-metallic material.

Melisa: what it is not

It is important to distinguish between allergy to the metal and intoxication by metal. MELISA does not measure the levels of metals in the body of a patient; it measures whether the patient is allergic to metals. For example, samples of hair can show levels of mercury or other substances which are below the official “safety limit” but the patient may still be allergic to mercury. In the case of babies there is no “safety limit”. Even very small quantities of a substance may cause harm if it arouses an immunological reaction.

Behind Melisa

MELISA was developed by Professor Vera Stejskal, formerly the director of the pharmaceutical laboratories, Astra Pharmaceuticals (now known as Astra Zeneca). She was a key researcher during the toxicological evaluation of Losec, the world’s leading medicine for the treatment of ulcers. She is now manager of MELISA Medical Foundation, located in Stockholm, Sweden.