We have a new blog series that features each of our lab partners so that you can get to know them better! Next up is Genova Diagnostics. We had a great conversation with Eddie Southard, Manager of Strategic Accounts & Training to learn more about Genova Diagnostics, how they started it, and the technology behind their tests.
Introducing Genova Diagnostics!
Hey Eddie! Great to chat with you! You've been with Genova for some time now, right? Where are y'all located?
Yes, I've been with Genova for 7 years now! I work remotely, but the lab is located in Ashville, North Carolina.
As one of the leaders in the functional testing space, what's your main focus at Genova?
Simply put - complex chronic diseases. We are focused on supporting practitioners with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of complex chronic diseases through our laboratory services.
That is great - chronic disease is on the rise, I am sure more and more practitioners and patients are taking advantage of your tests, right?
Yes, the demand has increased dramatically over the past few years. Patients are becoming more educated about their health and identifying root causes of their chronic diseases. Clinicians are looking for new options and always want to stay on the forefront of their field.
How long have you been in business?
Genova Diagnostics was established in 1986 as Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory. We’ve been in business over 34 years.
Wow, that is a long time! Are there any trends you've seen having been in business so long?
The trends that we have seen over the past year mirror the trends that we have been seeing over several years in that gastrointestinal health has been a major focus of overall wellness, and a primary area of clinical focus. The literature continues to demonstrate the importance of the microbiome in health and disease and this often drives clinical application of testing.
In addition to gastrointestinal health, awareness continues to grow regarding how our personal genetics influence our biochemistry in various ways. In this way, identification of abnormalities in a patient’s biochemical pathways can help clinicians pinpoint specific nutritional needs that can have a dramatic impact on their overall health which is what a test like the NutrEval does.
I am sure over the years you've really perfected your technology - tell us more about this! What technology do you use at your lab?
Genova doesn't subscribe to a 'one size fits all' approach when it comes to utilizing technology. We are committed to utilizing the technology that will provide the most clinically appropriate and actionable results in order to aid in patient treatment. Many of our comprehensive panels include multiple technologies in the same test. Some of the those technologies are 16S rRNA PCR, MALDI-TOF, ELISA, microscopic ova and parasite (O&P), Real-time PCR, Next-Generation DNA sequencing, culture analysis, Tandem Mass-Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)... just to name a few.
Thanks for the detailed answers! 🤓 What are the main conditions practitioners are using your labs to diagnose and treat?
Great question! Our mission statement is to be the best provider of comprehensive and innovative clinical laboratory services for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of complex chronic disease. Chronic disease is a broad term but many providers turn to Genova tests for treating chronic GI issues, nutritional deficiencies, mood disorders, fatigue, chronic pain & inflammation, weight issues, cardiovascular concerns and general health optimization.
Do you have any great success stories of how a practitioner has used any of your tests to diagnose and treat a patient?
Many clinicians have reported incredible patient responses after utilization of Genova testing. Without giving away any identifying information, we have heard of what seem like life-long symptoms disappear such as constipation and other GI complaints. We have been informed of dramatic changes in the presentation of neuro-developmental disorder and other neurological disorders to name a few.
That is awesome!
Do practitioners typically repeat tests with patients after a period of time? if so, after how long?
The time period to consider repeat testing is variable and depends on both the test being run and the individual patient. There is no set recommendation around follow-up testing, however a common time frame that clinicians may recommend a follow up evaluation for GI, nutritional, or hormone function is often between 3 and 6 months.
What is your favorite part about being in this industry?
I truly feel that this is the cutting edge of medicine. For example, functional medicine has been focusing on the gut for a long time while allopathic medicine has only just started to look at the gut.
Very true. That being said, what is your future vision for functional medicine lab work?
The future is here right now. Patients are requesting this approach to testing and medicine in record amounts. Patients are becoming more educated themselves and demanding more from the healthcare system. Labs, like Genova, are being challenged to innovate.
What are you working on right now as a lab? What do practitioners have to look forward to?
There are two answers to this question:
The first is that the Genova team will continue to improve and challenge ourselves to be the best provider of comprehensive and innovative clinical laboratory services.
The second, more specific answer, is that Genova is looking to utilize the vast amount of accumulated data from being around for so long. We have been honored to serve this industry for over 30 years and have been collecting data on our tests for a long time. It's time to utilize that data to make our tests more clinically actionable.
For example, we're the first laboratory to introduce an Inflammation-Associated Dysbiosis score and a Methane Dysbiosis score by incorporating our latest, published microbiome data analysis.
Anything else interesting, funny, or noteworthy you’d like practitioners to know about your lab?
I mentioned before that gut health is an important part of functional medicine. Poop analysis, discussion and humor never gets old at Genova. Sometimes it is hard to turn that off when we go back to our lives outside of the lab :)
Love that - you have to keep it fun and I personally love that most do in this industry 💩
Here are the 3 most commonly ordered tests from Genova Diagnostics:
1. The GI Effects Comprehensive Stool Profile
This is an advanced stool test that provides immediate, actionable clinical information for the management of gastrointestinal health. Utilizing cutting-edge technologies and biomarkers, this test offers valuable insight into digestive function, intestinal inflammation, and the intestinal microbiome.
2. The NutrEval Test
This is an advanced nutritional analysis designed to reveal nutritional imbalances or inadequacies. The NutrEval evaluates the functional need for antioxidants, B-vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, digestive support, and other select nutrients.This nutritional analysis offers insight into nutrient status and allows clinicians to provide targeted treatment for the particular needs of each patient, often augmenting and speeding recovery of complex chronic conditions. The NutrEval utilizes both blood and urine sample types.
3. The SIBO Profiles (both 2- and 3-hour)
These are both are non-invasive breath tests which capture exhaled hydrogen (H2) and methane (CH4) gases following patient ingestion of a lactulose solution to evaluate bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine. SIBO is a common clinical condition and can develop in a variety of patient populations. Risk factors for development of SIBO include structural/anatomic issues, motility disorders, organ system dysfunction, elderly age and various medications (recurrent antibiotics, PPIs) that alter the gut microflora populations.