(Investigator 177 2017 November)


Although Live Cell Analysis is comparatively new to Australia, it has been around in the United States for some years.

Marketed by Livecell Analysis Inc. of Laguna Hills, California; Nutriscreen Live Blood Analysis, of Covina, California; and Physicians Cyto Laboratories, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, equipment and protocols for live cell analysis can be purchased for upward of $10,000 to be used to identify a wide variety of health problems by examining characteristics of blood cells and other matter visible on the video screen. At least, that's the claim of the companies selling the apparatus.


It is alleged that by using Darkfield microscopy, a sample of blood taken from the finger is able to provide a composite of over twenty-five aspects to observe multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies, toxicity, tendencies toward allergic reaction, excess fat circulation, liver weakness and arteriosclerosis.


A drop of blood is placed on a microscope slide under a glass cover strip to keep it from drying out. The slide is then viewed with a darkfield microscope to which a television monitor has been attached. Both the practitioner and the patient can then see the blood cells, which appear as dark bodies outlined in white. Polaroid photographs of the television picture may also be taken.


Dark-field microscopy is a valid scientific tool in which special lighting is used to examine specimens of cells and tissues. Telepathology, in which a television monitor is connected to a microscope, is also a legitimate practice for diagnostic purposes. However, there are serious questions about both the value of live cell analysis and the credibility of those promoting it. The test is useless in diagnosing those conditions claimed by its proponents as the following comparison of just four of the claims versus facts will demonstrate.

Claim: Protoplasts — large germs whose presence may indicate weakness of the body's immune system.
Fact: Bacterial protoplasts have poorly developed cell walls and are not visible under dark-field illumination.

Claim: Waste (non-blood material) in blood. Immune system or organs of elimination are ineffective.
Fact: Although the levels of waste products in the blood can be related to the functioning of various organs (such as the kidneys), these chemicals cannot be seen but require chemical tests to measure them.

Claim: Spicules (small slender sharp-pointed pieces) may signify liver or bowel toxicity.
Fact: Spicules are artifacts, the most common causes of which are contamination and drying of blood samples.

Claim: Allergy cell count
"High eosinophil count indicates possible allergy, food sensitivity or presence of parasites".
Fact: So many different conditions can increase the number of eosinophils that it is not valuable as a primary diagnostic tool. Even if it were, the procedure is not suitable for counting eosinophils accurately.

Dr. John Dwyer, professor of Medicine at the University of New South Wales; head of School of Medicine at the Prince Henry / Prince of Wales Hospitals, and a world authority on immunology, writing in the The Wentworth Courier, May 15, 1996 said:

" ... While we are discussing evidence-based medicine, I should comment on the expensive nonsense called 'living blood tests'".

"Not infrequently these days, concerned patients will come to our clinics clutching under their arm a video which, they have been told, contains the 'proof' of just how seriously ill they are. Liver diseases, fungal infections sweeping through the bloodstream and numerous other disasters that can produce everything from anxiety to fatigue and even a loss of libido are said to be there for all to see. Many unsuspecting, over-trusting souls may pay as much as $180 of their hard-earned money for this misinformation. What is this particular useless piece of charlatanism all about? Well, to carry out a 'living blood test', blood is obtained from a gullible individual, placed on a glass slide and photographed in living colour by a video camera attached to a microscope. Well understood physical forces produce a phenomenon know as 'Brownian movement' which ensures that, for a few minutes after being placed on the slide, red blood cells will move vigorously under the microscope as if they were alive and had a mind of their own. In fact, such movement has nothing to do with health or otherwise of the red blood cell, nor the health of their erstwhile owner."

Live Cell Analysis is a mixture of science and pseudoscience. Caveat emptor.


Dwyer, Professor John. 1996. Live Cell Analysis, The Wentworth Courier, May 15, 1996.

Edwards, Harry. 1997. Blood Money, the Skeptic, 17(1):32

Lowell, James A. 1986. Live Cell Analysis: High-Tech Hokum, Nutrition Forum, November 1986, Vo1.3, No. 11.

From:  Edwards, H. 1999 Alternative, Complementary, Holistic & Spiritual Healing, Australian Skeptics Inc.