The Inclusiveness of Modern Medicine

Western Medicine has been branded non-inclusive, even close-minded. In many respects it deserves this designation. After all, medical guidelines have been constructed on dogma derived almost solely from “outcome trials”. Such trials are uniformly difficult to perform and have inherent constraints such as limited applicability to the specific patients we all see every day in practice. At times doctors do rely too heavily on guidelines and by so doing limit their own ability to think outside the box. Interestingly, doctors often utilize techniques and procedures in an “off label” fashion, meaning they are being used in ways for which they have not been approved, but they do so to benefit their patients. Still, most doctors fail to acknowledge the pervasiveness of “off label” practices and this self-blinding permits frequent condemnation of alternative or complementary strategies. For example, for years doctors have condemned chelation as pure quackery. Recently (TACT), a large clinical trial presented at both the American Heart Association (AHA) and American College of Cardiology (ACC) meetings, showed clinical benefit of this purportedly charlatan-based procedure. Another recent study noted that osteopathic maneuvers (also deemed useless by many western-minded physicians) appear to have real value. The long-awaited revised cholesterol guidelines are still in the process of being approved (this has been going on for many years). The hold-up – difficulty in creating guidelines based solely on high-level evidence. Translation; we recognize that we simply don’t know as much as we think, and sometimes pretend, to know.

So why, you may ask, is my title so optimistic? It’s because the winds of change are upon us. The subtle acceptance of methods such as chelation and osteopathy along with our guideline-related struggle to come to terms with our lack of knowledge speak volumes. We are coming to the point I believe, when we will be able to accept our imperfection. We will acknowledge the unique and permanent blend of art and science that is medicine. We will embrace our science-based creativity. By doing all this, we will enter a new, better, and more inclusive stage in the evolution of modern medicine.

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National Nutrition Month – Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day

farmer's marketThis March marks the 40th anniversary of National Nutrition Month. National Nutrition Month, an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

This year’s National Nutrition Month 2013 theme is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”. The theme encourages individuals to create personalized healthful eating styles* and recognizes that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions, and health concerns all impact individual food choices. The program emphasizes that registered dietitians play a critical role in helping people eat right, their way, every day.

Locally, the Lynn Cancer Institute Wellness Program and Boca Raton Regional Hospital are offering a seminar titled, “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” to support the National Nutrition Month campaign. The event will be held Thursday, March 21 from 5pm to 6pm at the Lynn Cancer Institute. Registration and a mini health fair will begin at 4:30pm. To RSVP, call 561.95.LEAR.

*Based on 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommendations and MyPlate messages.

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Heart Month is Over but Good Habits Should Remain

woman on beachFebruary, National Heart Month, has come and gone. Hopefully you were inspired to embrace therapeutic lifestyle changes, a healthful diet and exercise regimen. If not, please do not fret. It is not too late to bring health into your life. If you did make the necessary adjustments, congratulations! You are well on the road to better health, increased happiness, and a diminished chance of experiencing the nearly inevitable for other westerners, a heart attack or stroke. The challenge now is to maintain your new-found behaviors. It is often difficult to convert lifestyle changes into permanent practices. The reality is, however, that if you do not embed these healthful modifications into your very being, you will fail to reap their rewards. So, I am writing to you this first week of March to implore you to continue in your quest for optimal health. Continue to exercise, eat well, and strive to achieve and maintain your appropriate weight. As a word of encouragement I can assure you that when you maintain your improved life behaviors for just three consecutive months you dramatically increase the chance that these changes will be yours forever. In sum, keep going. Do not despair if it’s a struggle for you now. Just keep pushing and believing that your efforts will pay off. After three months you will look back and smile, observing that you did it. You will have forever changed your life for the better. And believe it or not you will actually enjoy your daily exercise and even your better diet. So in the words of the great Nike marketers, “Just Do It”. You and your loved ones will forever appreciate this commitment to health.

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