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Published on November 30th, 2021 | by Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp.


A Test in Time Saves… Lives!

The traditional approach to medicine is often driven by an investigation into symptoms or perhaps family history concerns. This is so even though it is well-known that early detection of disease and early intervention, if discovered, is the best way to limit bodily damage and the surest way to achieve excellent health outcomes.

There are to be sure a number of areas where an effort to achieve early detection is the rule, among them: basic (routine) blood work, EKG’s, mammography, prostate examination and PSA testing, evaluation of total calcific plaque in the coronary vessels, as well as colonoscopies, and bone density screening. Failure to take advantage of these basic, essential tests, be it out of inertia or out of fear of what may be “unearthed” is a medical error none of us can afford to make. These tests are invaluable.

There are, however, in addition, many areas of “medical detection” that somehow remain classified as “investigational”, and have come to be assigned to doctors practicing functional/holistic/integrative medicine to recommend and carry out. These tests are typically not covered by insurance plans. Amongst the many lesser-known, but equally important, screening tests are:

  • Evaluation of the gut microbiome (the population of organisms living in the colon)
  • An assay of the heavy (toxic) metal burden in the body (lead, mercury, etc.)
  • Evaluation of adrenal and neurotransmitter levels
  • In-depth assessment of an individual’s actual NEED for various nutrients/supplements
  • Testing for “food sensitivities”, which, though not at the acute level of allergies, still have the potential to interfere with and damage the function of nearly every body system
  • Evaluation of other toxins in the body, including environmental industrial toxins (such as acrylics and insecticides) and mycotoxins (toxins related to environmental mold, such as black mold)

To mention several even LESS well known tests, there is one evaluating the earliest beginnings of auto-immune disease in multiple areas of one’s body. Also available is a total body MRI, said to be capable of detecting unexpected “hidden” cancers in fully 13% of those tested. It is hard to even fathom how much disease could be prevented and how many lives could be saved by knowing very early on about these potentially deadly health issues.  Yet, for now, it remains incumbent upon the individual patient to seek these tests purposefully and independently, on their own, and to pay for most of them out of pocket.

The take home here is critically important: Take a proactive approach to your health and get to know your body literally inside and out insofar as possible. As Smokey the Bear said back in the day, “The life you save may be your own.” Or maybe it was better put by Bruce Willis and Mavis Staples when they sang, ”If you don’t respect yourself, ain’t nobody gonna give a good cahoot.” You have considerable power as regards your health. You just have to use it.


Robin Ellen Leder, M.D. was mentored by Robert Atkins, M.D. of the “The Atkins Diet” fame, and has been practicing integrative/alternative medicine for over 30 years at her own office, A Better Alternative Medical Center, in Hackensack, NJ.

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