Oligoscan (also called cell check or Zell Check) is the name of a pseudo-medical device of the Luxembourg manufacturer Luxometrix. Important trading partner is the French company Physioquanta. According to Oligoscan information, it is possible to measure the so-called "mineral status" of a customer / patient and his/her exposure to heavy metals. These measurements are completed in a very short time (20 seconds), and no blood test or any other invasive test is required. In Germany, the device is also marketed as a Zell Check.
In reality, the device has been developed for the printing industry. It is a colorimeter of the company X-Rite (model i1Photo pro2). The cooperation between Lucometrix and X-Rite has not been made public by either company. There is no evidence of the suitability of the device for the specified medical purpose. In the German-language advertising for Oligoscan, a note is published, specifically for customers: "Note: The Oligoscan® analysis can / must not be used for medical diagnosis."
CEO of the company Physioquanta is Guillaume Moreau (born 1972). As early as March 2010, Physioquanta was banned in France from promoting its pseudo-medical devices (including Physiodétox, Physioscan (see Physiospect), Physioalcali, Quantarelax, Quantapulse), because the claimed efficacy for medical use is lacking for these devices.
Because there is no evidence that Oligoscan tests represent a recognized procedure, the tests cannot be billed as “lab exams”. The customer / patient must pay the bill him/herself and health insurances do not cover the costs. Customers have to provide their name and other personal information for each Oligoscan measurement, and this information is provided via internet to a remote server. How data protection is guaranteed, remains unclear.
principle of photometry
In general, a photometer is an instrument that measures light intensity or the optical properties of solutions or surfaces. A monochromatic light source radiates through the sample. Part of the light is absorbed by the analyte and a detector allows the determination of the analyte’s concentration in the sample. (Source: Wikipedia) According to the National Physical Laboratory, “Photometry is the measurement of electromagnetic radiation weighted by the human eye's response. This response changes with wavelength” “In photometry, the word 'luminous' is used to indicate that measurements have been made using a detection system (called a photometer) that has a spectral response similar to that of a human eye. The two principal photometric scales maintained at NPL are of luminous intensity and luminous flux. Setting up appropriate geometries permits calibrations of other quantities, such as luminance from luminous intensity standards. NPL has extensive facilities available for the photometric measurement of both sources and detectors, including photometers, luxmeters, luminance meters and colour temperature meters.”
The British National Physical Laboratory provide training courses in photometric techniques and offer their expertise in consultancy services. www.npl.co.uk/principles-of-photometry
Oligoscan buyers and users are only trained in how the device is placed on the hand and in utilizing the provided software. All this takes little time, less than an hour.
principle of spectroscopy
Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction of electromagnetic radiation in all its forms with matter. In Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES) the sample to be tested for metal and trace elements is vaporized. Atoms and ions contained in the atomic vapor are excited into emission of radiation. The radiation is passed to the spectrometer optics where it is dispersed into its spectral components. From the range of wavelengths emitted by each element (or metal), measurements take place. The radiation intensity, which is proportional to the concentration of the element (or metal) is recalculated, based on calibration curves and is shown as percent concentration. Oligoscan does not fulfill any of the principles that would apply to metal analysis.
Oligoscan is a portable optical scanner that makes the practitioner scan a few points of the patient's skin, namely four points of the palm. According to Oligoscan’s safety data sheet, the device contains UV diodes or "Blue-Light small source" diodes which emit light flashes, 200times per second, in the spectral range 380 - 730 nm. The data sheet also talks of tungsten wire light bulbs as a source of light. Similarly, Xrite provides for its colorimeter i1pro the same measurements (200/sec) at the same wavelength (380 to 730nm), another indication of Oligoscan’s origin.
Oligoscan information states that a total of 34 elements or metals are determined “intracellularly” (i.e. within the cell). In advertising videos, Oligoscan videos demonstrate how a light flashes briefly on the underside of the device, and according to Oligoscan, the light reflected from the skin represents the actual metal analysis. Elements analyzed are calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sodium, potassium, copper, zinc, iron, plus manganese, boron, chromium, cobalt, germanium, iodine, lithium, molybdenum, sulfur, selenium and vanadium as well as the "heavy metals" aluminum, antimony, silver, arsenic, barium, beryllium, bismuth (bismuth), cadmium, mercury, nickel, platinum, lead, thallium and thorium. Aluminum and barium are no longer listed as heavy metals, Physioquanta now uses the term "toxic metals" in recent advertising.
The scanner is connected to a PC that sends the so-called measured data "to the central security server of Oligoscan" and "within a few seconds" results come back, consisting of a numerical value for each of the mentioned chemical elements. These ‘test values’ are not given in units. For instance, serious laboratory results are given in units. For a lead measurement in erythrocytes (which represent intracellular lead measurements), a test value of let’s say 50 would have to be given as 50mcg lead/l (microgram per liter) In comparison, Oligoscan would report its intracellular lead value as simply 50. Fifty of what? Mcg, mg, kg, centimeters, or mmol lead per cell, or per weight or per liter or square centimeter? Alone this omission represents a useless measurement. Oligoscan Test Results are compared to a so-called Norm or Standard value. For instance, the Oligoscan result for Calcium is 599.0 and that result is compared to the ‘Norm’ of 298 to 599, and again no unit is provided for either, test result or Norm. In laboratory medicine, this is unheard of and unacceptable. To make the Oligoscan Report visually appealing, colorful bar graphs place the respective test values into categories of Low, Normal or High. Toxic metals are shown as Norm, Increased and Surplus. In all of laboratory medicine, reference values are statistically defined. On an international level, laboratory rules and regulation are very clear on this. There is no reference in the Oligoscan report or in Oligoscan’s information on how ‘Norms’ were defined, what the statistical logic of a ‘Low, High or Surplus’ is and how statistics are evaluated, and what they are based on. Number of cells? Body weight or centimeter of body weight? Can the people who developed the Oligoscan software be so ignorant? How did they come up with ‘Norms’ or ‘Standards’, where did the statistical data come from and why are units omitted? And another question comes to mind: Are test values provided with four decimal points to create the impression of analytical sensitivity? And why is this analytical sensitivity not defined anywhere? Other tables include "interpretations" of test results. For example, the Oligoscan report diagnoses metabolic function ("Metabolism 33%") or the emotional status ("Emotional status 71%") and goes as far as predicting a diabetic predisposition ("Predisposition Diabetes 50%"). Furthermore, the Oligoscan report is "the basis for individual and effective supplementation" (i.e., the intake of nutritional supplements). If the Oligoscan report shows “high” or “surplus” test values, which may be interpreted as “heavy metal contamination", the user is recommended to prescribe chelation therapy. It should be noted that in chelation therapy, the process of metal detoxification may involve the intravenous use of synthetic chemicals, called chelation agents. Chelation protocols state that a thorough laboratory evaluation, including that of renal function, must take place before chelation is started. Can a chelation therapist base his evaluation on Oligoscan results? Even Oligoscan states that this should not be the case.
Lack of plausibility and validation
Plausibility checks are part of the analytical validation process. The Oligoscan is said to simultaneously measure different elements in the cell interior. Since the elements are not in an unbound (elemental) form, but are incorporated into larger molecules, spectroscopic analysis requires that the metal compounds found in blood, urine or cells are broken down before measurements can take place. For example, calcium is not present in the body in its elemental or inorganic form, but as a mineral compound such as calcium phosphate. To spectroscopically measure calcium in the body, the calcium compound (in this case calcium phosphate) must be broken down. If that process of sample digestion does not take place, the spectrophotometer cannot detect inorganic calcium. However, the Oligoscan reports inorganic calcium. Another example would be the measurement of mercury. If mercury enters the body as methylmercury, that substance would have to be broken down, using acid digestion and heat, before inorganic mercury can be detected spectroscopically. Oligoscan shows test results reflecting inorganic metals (including calcium or mercury), but no sample processing has taken place. For colorimetric measurements, the sample must also be prepared. Oligoscan claims to measure metals without any sample preparation needing to take place. It is safe to say that at this time, Harry Potter may be able to achieve this in the cinema, but in today’s chemistry, no such thing is possible. According to Oligoscan, the device is placed on the skin of the palm. If the light beam would pass through the skin, it would have to pass bones, tendons and flesh. Which cells would it measure, and how does the device decide which cells to select and deselect? How is the device able to focus/measure intracellular only? On top of all this, there is the problem of calibration. The Oligoscan is a color scanner and for this purpose, it is calibrated on a white point that is located on the device. Because it is a color scanner that is color-calibrated, it can define shades of skin color. No more. If Oligoscan would measure metals at the cellular level as it claims, calibration would have to take place with tissue containing known amounts of analytes such as lead or calcium. Anything else would be comparing apples and oranges. For instance, before a spectrometer can start testing urine samples, it must be calibrated with urine reference solutions containing known amounts of the elements to be tested. If blood metals need to be tested, the spectrometer needs to be calibrated on blood reference solutions containing specifically defined amounts of metals. If tissue needs to be tested, similar procedures take place. To validate test results of a given specimen, measurements must be compared to the ‘known’ reference solutions. Oligoscan calibrates on a white point. How does that relate to metal testing on a cellular level? Furthermore, since each person has different skin properties (thickness, color, permeability, etc.), the device would have to be calibrated for each human and each element.
Since the Oligoscan measurement takes less than one minute, it would take Harry Potter magic to calibrate and perform the metal tests and print out the colorful report, all within that time frame.
Another argument against Oligoscan is that spectroscopic measurements of metals through the skin and inside the cell would be of very low concentrations. Such measurements require special sample preparation and special, highly sensitive equipment that can only be operated by highly trained personnel, all of which requires much more time than 20 seconds per test.
The basics and applications of spectrophotometry are described in more detail at Wikipedia . The principle-related limitations - and thus the impossibility of the functioning of the Oligoscan - are described in the textbooks of Analytical Chemistry, in particular those on Instrumental Analysis. In order to validate the suitability of Oligoscan for diagnostic purposes, studies would be needed that compare Oligoscan test results with those from conventional laboratory analysis obtained from blood, urine or tissue samples. It would also be necessary, for example, to examine to what extent measurements on the palm of the hand reflect the concentrations in the rest of the body.  Such studies do not exist, but when asked, Oligoscan promoters often state that studies are in process. Physioquanta confuses and misleads with a list of 35 publications entitled "Scientific References".  None of these publications concern itself with such research investigations or even about the Oligoscan process. Instead, listed articles reflect on the physiological importance of minerals, etc. The company Project Health Consulting GmbH, which distributes the device under the name Zell-Check, argues that the detection of mineral deficiencies on the basis of a blood sample is less accurate than the measurement with Zell Check, and that Zell-Check has the advantage that minerals are detected intracellularly and not only in the blood.  (Note. Red blood cell testing reflects on intracellular levels) As of 2018, no serious report validating Oligoscan has been published. In discussion rounds of users, failed measurements that did not hold up in comparison are mentioned. Comparisons with laboratory results are said to have failed. There are also reports of patients with persistent chronic diseases, in which Oligoscan gave values "in the normal range". It has not been proven that repeated measurements taken in one and the same patient hold up to comparison. In fact, the manufacturer does not seem to like such repetitive measurements. While the user has to pay a fee of 30 euros per test, the manufacturer also claims that repeat measurements lead to so-called "quantum physical changes", making a comparison impossible. With this argument, the method can practically not proven wrong and is therefore non-scientific. Apparently, the user must believe results, and from the onset, a repeatability / replicability check is prevented.