SpectraCell Blog

The Telomere Buzz is STILL Buzzing...

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, May 18, 2011 @ 11:58 AM

SpectraCell Laboratories, the nation’s leading nutritional testing laboratory, offers a commercially available telomere analysis. Telomere testing is an innovative cellular aging test that measures a person’s biological age in comparison to their chronological age.

Telomere and ChromosomeTelomeres are sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome that cap genetic material and serve as protective buffers that keep the ends of chromosomes from becoming attached to each other or rearranging. They are often compared to the caps at the ends of shoelaces. Every time a cell replicates, its telomere gets shorter, eventually causing cell death once the telomere attrition has reach its maximum. Measuring telomere length in human lymphocytes is an indicator of cellular aging, and research demonstrates that shortened telomeres are responsible for many of the normal processes of aging.

“Telomeres have been a hot topic for several years now because their link with aging is so strong. Doctors have shown such a persistent interest in telomere testing, especially those whose practices are oriented to anti-aging, that we knew we should invest in it. It’s really cutting edge.” says SpectraCell CEO, William “Chip” Stanberry. “We strive to offer the most informative and innovative diagnostic tests, and our new Telomere Testing is exactly that.”

Telomere CapThe phenomenon of cellular aging was first noted by Professor Lenhard Hayflick in 1961. He discovered that cells cannot divide beyond a specific number of times, a phenomenon called the Hayflick Limit, which we now know is triggered by the cell’s telomeres shortening below a specific threshold. When cells can no longer divide, conditions associated with advanced aging appear.

Telomere length is affected by many factors: age, genetics, lifestyle, disease and pharmaceuticals. Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and dementia have strong associations with shorter telomeres. But telomere attrition can be mitigated significantly with aggressive lifestyle therapies as well as certain medications. Since deficiencies in nutrients such as vitamins C, D and E can shorten telomeres, it is important to correct such deficiencies. Oxidative stress is another major culprit in telomere shortening so reducing inflammation and shoring up the body’s antioxidant defenses is critical for telomere maintenance. A sedentary lifestyle and excess weight also negatively affects telomere length.

Telomere ReportSpectraCell’s test measures a person’s telomere length. A control gene is also measured and compared to the telomere length, and then results are stated as a ratio. A higher ratio means a longer telomere, and younger biological age. The Telomere Score is also compared to other individuals in the same chronological age group.

This automated test is based on Quantitative Real Time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology and only requires 1 mL of whole blood. When a sample is received at SpectraCell’s Houston laboratory, the white blood cells are broken apart, the DNA is extracted and the telomeric DNA is amplified into a measurable signal. This signal is compared to a control gene of known length and a Telomere Score is generated.

The price of the Telomere Test is affordable and is also covered by insurance. Testing once each year or every other year is suggested to monitor the rate of telomere loss.

Are You a Physician? Become a client and offer Telomere Testing to your patients

Are You a Patient?  Use our 'Find a Clinician' search to find a doctor in your area today

Topics: SpectraCell, telomere length, Telomere testing, telomerase, diagnostic tools, telomere, health, Mortality, telomere test, telomere and cancer, Insurance

A Growing Trend: Concierge Practices

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Wed, Apr 06, 2011 @ 01:10 PM

PhysiciansConcierge medicine is a relationship between a patient and a primary care physician in which the patient pays an annual fee or retainer. This may or may not be in addition to other charges.

This is a growing alternative to the conventional practice for many reasons: 

  • Physicians are able to freely advise patients as they deem necessary, and to the best of their ability.
  • Patients receive peace of mind and understand that their doctor is providing impartial and wholly objective advice.
  • Physicians have low overhead costs from not having to hassle with insurance companies. These costs are paid by cash via their patient base.  
  • This revenue stream is a predictable cash flow for physicians
  • Physicians are generally more profitable while also being less expensive to the patients because of the fact that both do not have to go through insurance companies.
  • Physicians can see fewer patients and have more personalized time with them.

American Academy of Private PhysiciansTo learn more about concierge practices, visit The American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP) at www.aapp.org.  This organization is the national association of physicians who provide “concierge medicine,” fee-for-service, and other forms of health care delivery characterized by a direct, financial relationship between private physicians and their patients.

You can also attend the AAPP Summit on Concierge Medicine (April  30, 2011).  Find out more HERE.

What is your opinion on the pros and cons of concierge medical practices?

Topics: SpectraCell, micronutrient testing, wellness, Nutrition, health, Patient, Insurance, Concierge Practice, Cash Practice

Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance Provider Update...

Posted by Tara Stepan on Tue, Oct 26, 2010 @ 02:18 PM

Effective Date resized 600

Recently, many regional Blue Cross Blue Shield plans had implemented various restrictions, delayed payments, reduced coverages and made burdensome requests for additional documentation for our nutritional testing.

We are pleased to announce that we have successfully resolved the various coverage and reimbursement issues, and we can once again extend our "Preferred Payment" option for micronutrient testing to Blue Cross Blue Shield patients in most states. Due to policy restrictions, patients drawn in the states of TX, IL, NM, OK, SC and TN will remain ineligible for "Preferred Payment".

As in the past, there is no change to our insurance payment policy for advanced cardiovascular testing which includes the state-of-the-art Lipoprotein Particle Profile™ (LPP™). Blue Cross Blue Shield patients IN ALL STATES are eligible for our "Preferred Payment" option for LPP™.

We thank you for your patience and continued loyalty while we worked to resolve the various insurance issues.

Please contact your local representative or call our corporate office at (800) 227-5227 if you have any additional questions.

Topics: micronutrient testing, Insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield