Pioneers in the Hidden Dangers of Mold Exposure
Vincent Bolton, M.D.
Vincent Bolton, M.D., was always intellectually curious and willing to look beyond simple explanations. Over the years, he encountered people dealing with respiratory and immunological problems and had been to several doctors, yet none could determine the cause of these ailments. Through extensive research and detective-style problem solving, Bolton traced the health issues back to an often overlooked culprit—mold.
After years of researching the effects of mycotoxins—poisonous chemical compounds produced by fungi—he eventually formed RealTime Laboratories, Inc., a company that tests mycotoxin levels in patients through urine testing and DNA analysis. The business also provides environmental testing for homes and workplaces.
Bolton, a board certified anesthesiologist, was a doctor with the U.S. Navy for a dozen years. He also practiced anesthesiology and pain management in private practice in Maine, and with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. About 15 years ago, Bolton received a call from a friend. The friend’s mother had died unexpectedly, despite being in relatively good health. The cause of death was determined as pulmonary cardiac arrest; she stopped breathing because her heart stopped. When the woman’s house was examined, mold was found everywhere.
Around that time, Bolton’s wife also experienced sinus and ear problems, and mold was later discovered in the YMCA building where she regularly worked out. Bolton and his research partners began extensively researching mold spores. “The techniques taught in medical school are pretty benign in a way; in other words, you just look at the tissues under the slides, and that’s pretty much what we were doing, but since nobody really looks at mold as a potential health problem, we started putting our heads together and looking at different things,” he says.
After years of research and questions, Bolton and his fellow researchers were able to determine why healthy people could still become ill from mold; they pinpointed how mycotoxins colonize in the sinuses. “That’s what led us to develop a test to identify the actual mycotoxins,” Bolton affirms.
Bolton eventually connected with Bill Rea, of the Environmental Health Center, in Dallas. Rea had reported his encounters with patients experiencing similar symptoms—asthma, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, celiac disease and more—yet physicians couldn’t figure out where the problems were coming from. Rea was intrigued by Bolton’s mycotoxin research and new testing method.
Bolton notes that many doctors, due to time constraints and common diagnosis theories taught in medical school, often went down the same paths, finding no answers, only to end up diagnosing patients with the catchall “chronic fatigue syndrome.” “There was no tool to identify the positive agent until we came along,” Bolton says. “We’re championing the undiagnosed—we weren’t taught anything about mold and mycotoxins in medical school when I went.”
In 2002, Bolton and a partner, Dennis Hooper, M.D., set up RealTime Laboratories in a Dallas Environmental Health Center office. Growth led to larger spaces, and today the firm occupies a 7,600-square-foot building in Carrollton.
“All of our testing is proprietary,” Bolton emphasizes. “We patented it, and we developed these tests in our laboratory.” Through RealTime Laboratories, patients can be tested for 15 mycotoxins that may be present in the body. Testing involves a simple urinalysis. A more comprehensive test, Mycodart, uses blood DNA testing to determine mycotoxin levels in immune-compromised patients.
Both tests are available throughout the U.S. Direct access testing (ordering a medical test without a doctor’s prescription) is available to consumers in 27 states. Other states require a doctor’s order to do the test. In Texas, someone can just request a test.
If testing comes back positive, RealTime Laboratories offers their Patient Navigator service, which connects patients with a registered nurse that can direct people toward health practitioners that understand the test results and provide treatment.
This year, RealTime Laboratories began offering environmental mold and mycotoxin assessment (EMMA) testing. If someone has health problems due to mycotoxins, they could relapse after treatment by returning to a mold-infested home or workplace. While consumers can purchase basic mold testing kits at home improvement stores, Bolton says EMMA is more comprehensive in that it can detect hazardous mycotoxins and the molds that produced them.
Bolton explains that with proper diagnosis, treatment and ridding environmental contaminants from the home and workplace, people can see their health improve. RealTime Laboratories continues to educate both consumers and the medical community about the hazardous effects of mold exposure.
RealTime Laboratories, Inc. is located at 4100 Fairway Ct., Ste. 600, in Carrollton. For more information, call 1-855-692-6767 or visit RealTimeLab.com.
Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.