Bolan's Clot Retraction Test:
Another Scheme to SellYou Something
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Bolan's Clot Retraction Test (CRT), offered for several years by Australian Biologics Testing Service, of Sydney, Australia, is a screening test that supposedly will "enable you to be truly healthy. In 2001, the company's Web site stated:
The CRT is a remarkable development of a standard pathology test. Using a video enhanced microscope system, the client is shown changes in the clotting process which can be interpreted to give information of the body's structure and function.
This test was first reported by Dr Bolan in 1942 and is based on extensive research into free radical activity and antioxidant therapy. Free radicals are a common product of many diseases and a potent irritant to the body's cells. Their presence in the blood reflects the body's health status. Are you producing the correct amount of antioxidants?
By examination of the clotting processes in the blood the CRT test indicates the degree of oxidation in the body. It also indicates specific organ function (heart, ovary, prostate etc.) physical and psychological stress, allergies, arthritis, and vitamin, mineral and heavy metal levels.
The slides are stored for comparison at later testing. This is used to monitor progress of disease and/or treatment successes. Rather than waiting months to see if your treatment regime is effective, a simple finger prick test will allow you to quickly judge the efficacy of your treatment plan .
This description contains several errors:
- Changes in the clotting process do not provide useful information about a person's general health.
- Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that have at least one unpaired electron, which makes them highly reactive. Free radicals promote beneficial oxidation that produces energy and kills bacterial invaders. In excess, they produce harmful oxidation that can damage cell membranes and cell contents. No information about free radicals can be obtained by watching blood clot under a microscope.
- There is no such thing as "degree of oxidation in the body." Nor would any type of clotting test provide information about "specific organ function, physical and psychological stress, allergies, arthritis, and vitamin, mineral and heavy metal levels."
A legitimate clot-retraction test exists but is done differently from Bolan test. In the genuine test, blood drawn from the person's vein is placed in a test tube to see how long it takes to form a firm clot that separates from the the bottom and sides of the tube. A normal clot should be 50 to 100% retracted within a 2-hour period and completely retracted within 24 hours . Abnormal results may indicate a shortage or defect of platelets (tiny particles that help the clotting process). The results can also be influenced by taking aspirin. In standard medical practice, clot retraction testing has been largely replaced by other types of platelet testing .
Australian Biologics is directed by Jennie Burke, "Med. Tech. M.D. (M.A.) DipNsc DipM.H.," whose background was described in 1999 in a Hypoglycemia Health Association newsletter:
Jennie Burke has qualifications in Medical Technology, Medical Herbalism, Nutritional Science and was awarded a Doctorate in Medicine in Moscow (1991). A mother of two children she has a busy practice in her capacity as managing director of Australian Biologics a testing laboratory in Sydney. She is also Managing Director of Independent Medical Research Congress Convening Company. She is vice-president of the International Cancer Association Network . . . . ICAN, which is a support group for cancer patients. . . . Jennie is also a member of a Scientific Advisory Board of the German Journal of Oncology .
Searching with Google, I found Web sites of several practitioners who offered to have the Bolan CRT performed. One stated that the test "examines a drop of dried blood under a Brightfield/phase contrast microscope to inspect the fibrin net" and can measure "gastro-intestinal stress," "lymph stress," and cancer stage progression."
In 2003, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission charged Australian Biologics and Burke with making false and misleading claims on her Web site in 2001 and part of 2002 . The case was settled with an agreement under which Burke and her company agreed not to make 29 specific claims about the efficacy of their services. The court also ordered Australian Biologics to forward a notice to all practitioners who referred patients to Australian Biologics and to all patients who used the services of Australian Biologics between July 2001 and July 2004 . In 2006, I found that the test was still offered although the Web site description says that "the test is non-specific, and therefore not diagnostic for any particular organ disease or injury."
- Blood testing at Australian Biologics. Australian Biologics Web site, archived in 2001.
- Clot retraction test. HealthCentral Web site, accessed July 1, 2003.
- Clot retraction. In Jacobs DS and others. Laboratory Test Handbook, 3rd Edition. Hudson, Ohio: Lexi-Comp, 1994, pp 413-414.
- The Hypoglycemic Health Newsletter, Vol 15 No 3 - 2, Sept 1999.
- ACCC institutes proceedings against Australian Biologics alleging misleading claims in health product. ACC news release, July 1, 2003.
- ACCC settles proceedings against Australian Biologics. ACCC News release, July 15, 2004.
- Some of the tests performed at Australian Biologics. Australian Biologics Web site, accessed August 20, 2006.
This article was revised on August 20, 2006.