On quacks and bogus "food intolerance" tests

Our doctor's surgery has been good to us, with a thorough GP who seems competent. I'd always been wary of the practice owner though, as she prescribes so-called Traditional Chinese Medicine (which is neither traditional, nor Chinese, nor medicine). The doctor we used to see has left the practice so we've been stuck seeing her.

On my most recent visit, she suggested I get a food intolerance test to see if it might be involved in my high blood pressure. Not knowing much about the subject, I agreed to it. The blood test was on Monday, cost $330 and the results came today. Quick service and not my usual experience with pathology.

One thing made me suspicious: while talking to me about the test, the woman who drew the blood mentioned that all wheat in Australia is genetically modified. This is plain untrue, and makes me think of the usual nutty conspiracy theorists. While wheat, and particularly the way it's turned into bread in modern food processing, is potentially a problem for digestion, there's very little GM wheat floating around.

So having received the results from this test and finding it claims I've shown a "Marked" reaction to Cow's milk and a "Moderate" reaction to some of my favourite and core foods, I decided to look around and find more about this test, and the recommended treatment of avoiding those foods.  Turns out this "Cytotoxic Food Sensitivity" test is pretty bogus.  Essentially they smear your white blood cells on slides coated with dried target foods and see what happens to the cells.

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy calls it "inappropriate testing" and that results with identical samples can't be reliably reproduced. Choice seems to agree.

This morning I took Louis to the same doctor with a nasty, persistent cold. She prescribed a Chinese thing with homeopathic snake bile and menthol in it.  Oh dear.

So, I'm off to another doctor. One who recommends evidence-based diagnostics and therapies. I need to be more hardcore about this in future. Mention chiropractic, homeopathy, naturopathy or any other snake oil, and I'm outta there.