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Testing for Autism Spectrum Disorders

There are many different tests that can be used to gather information about the biochemical stressors your child may be under. The amount of testing required to get started on a supportive program differs tremendously, and can be tailored according to the individual situation. However, the more information Dr. Nicola has regarding the health status of your child, the better she will be able to help him or her.

Following are descriptions of some of the tests Dr. Nicola may run on an autistic-spectrum individual.


Organic Acid Test (Great Plains Laboratory) – This test determines biochemical, metabolic, and the presence of toxins released from certain infectious bacteria and candida. The overgrowth of these organisms can cause significant neurological problems in susceptible individuals.

Urinary Peptides (Great Plains Laboratory) – This test evaluates abnormal and normal levels of gliadorphin (gluten peptides) and casomorphin (casein peptides) that are commonly elevated in autistic-spectrum individuals. Research has shown these chemicals have an adverse drug-like effect on the brain similar to opiate medications such as morphine.

Urine Heavy Metal Analysis (Doctor’s Data, Great Plains Laboratory) – Urine testing to determine if your child’s body has increased storage and tissue burden from heavy metals (ie. mercury, aluminum, nickel, cadmium, etc.). This test is generally part of our heavy metal detoxification program. However, it can be performed as a baseline test using a bolus dose of DMSA or Transdermal DMPS to evaluate the overall load of heavy metals (ie. mercury, lead, tin) in your child’s body.

Amino Acid Analysis (Doctor’s Data, Great Plains Laboratory) – This test is used to evaluate excess or deficiency of amino acids. Amino acids are key nutrients for cellular function, enzyme pathways, and neurochemical production. This test is generally done after improving digestive function and nutritional/dietary status.


Gastrointestinal Pathogen Screen (BioHealth Diagnostics) – GI infections pose an ever increasing threat to the U.S. population. Due to globalization and international travel parasitic infections are commonly found in all countries, not just second or third world ones. This problem is especially insidious due to the fact that the absence of GI complaints and/or symptoms does not rule out the presence of these potentially life-threatening infectious organisms. This GI Pathogen screen determines the existence of abnormal bacteria, yeast, fungus, and parasites. Eradication of these infections is vital in order to return a patient to full health.

Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (Great Plains Laboratory) – Evaluates for yeast, bacteria, parasites and markers of digestion, absorption, and inflammation.

Fecal Metals (Doctor’s Data, Great Plains Laboratory) – Stool analysis that evaluates the level of heavy metals, ie. lead, arsenic, mercury in the stool.


Genetic (Great Smokies Laboratory) – This portion of the comprehensive genetic test is a compliment to the saliva genetic profile. The blood and saliva need to be done together to make an accurate assessment.

Comprehensive Blood Chemistry (BioHealth Diagnostics, Labcorp, Unilab) – This comprehensive blood chemistry profile includes a complete blood count, liver enzymes, kidney function, lipid (blood fats), thyroid, anemia profiles. It is important to do a CBC before starting, and at intervals throughout, a chelation program.

90 Food Antigen Test (Great Plains Lab) – This is a comprehensive food sensitivity test using IgG antibodies to 90 different foods. Even if a child is on the gluten-free, casein-free diet, this test can uncover other unknown food sensitivities.

Copper, Zinc, and Ceruloplasmin (Great Plains Laboratory) – This test analyzes the blood levels of zinc, copper, and ceruloplasmin. Many children suffering with an autistic-spectrum disorder have imbalances in these markers which creates issues of dysfunctional body chemistry and heavy metal detoxification capacity. This test is also an initial screen for Wilson’s Disease, a genetic condition involving the accumulation of excess copper in the body.

Blood Cell Mineral Analysis (Doctor’s Data, Great Plains Laboratory) – This test assesses mineral levels. It is a necessary to determine the levels of these nutrients in your child’s body for heavy metal chelation. This test is commonly used when performing chelation (heavy metal detoxification) therapy with DMSA or DMPS.


Genetic (One Person Health) – This portion of the comprehensive test is a compliment to the blood genetic profile. The blood and saliva need to be done together to make an accurate assessment.


Hair Analysis (Doctor’s Data, Great Plains Laboratory) – hair analysis is a screening test for heavy metal exposure. It is a non-invasive and inexpensive way of assessing heavy metal toxicity potential and mineral status for selenium, copper, and lithium status.