Being a product of Rutgers University Pre-Med, Harvard Medical School, and Stanford surgery specialty training has provided me one of the finest medical training this world has to offer. And I look with profound respect at the accomplishments and continuing research carried on by my colleagues. But a number of storm clouds are brewing over traditional Western medicine. Increasingly sophisticated diagnostic technologies and heroic surgical procedures have priced our medical care out of reach for an increasing percentage of our population. And the system often loses sight of the whole person, as each specialist takes responsibility only for his/her own narrow area of expertise without anyone addressing the whole person and sadly, sometimes failing to make the right diagnosis. Patients often fear they are victims of an impersonal system without a physician who really cares.
Perhaps more troublesome is the fact that - despite the dramatic scientific advances in diagnosis and in pharmaceutical management - actual studies now show that this generation of Americans, perhaps for the first time in recorded history, will not live as long as their parents. And this deterioration in longevity appears to be a continuing trend.
Concurrent with this reversal of longevity is an interesting finding that more than 100,000 Americans die every year from pharmaceutical drugs used as directed. And barely a month goes by before another much heralded pharmaceutical is recalled or found to have unexpected long-term, life-shortening effects. And seldom appreciated is the fact that all drugs are toxic to human cell function. All of which raises the question: "How is Western medicine to find its way around the super costs of diagnostic procedures, high priced pharmaceuticals and common drug toxicities?"
All of this has led to a belief among consumers that "we all must take responsibility for our own health." In other words, more and more people no longer feel the system is trustworthy. And hence the startling statics discovered by Harvard Professor of Medicine, Dr. David Eisenberg, that "more Americans now go to alternative care practitioners than to all internists, general practitioners, gynecologists, and pediatricians combined."
But a new and exciting wind is blowing thru Western healthcare that offers a hope never before seen. This vision - that we might call "functional medicine" - seeks to approach all the chronic degenerative diseases of aging from an upstream vantage point that has the capability to test for and then prevent the disease before it occurs downstream. We're talking here about the heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disorders, arthritis, senile dementia, Alzheimer's, and more.
This new vision, rather than waiting until serious disease has fully expressed itself clinically, seeks to diagnose all these diseases pre-clinically. Then patients could be instructed in life-protecting protocols - to include healthier nutrition, modest exercise, and select non-pharmaceutical natural supplements - that could prevent or substantially forestall these chronic degenerative diseases and probably the aging process itself. It could also radically reduce the cost of medical care and protect a wary public from the toxicity and often-exorbitant cost of pharmaceuticals.
As both a Board Certified Specialist Surgeon and more recently a Board Certified Specialist in Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine I believe we now have the scientific databases available to accomplish this major disease-preventing, life-enhancing, and life-lengthening vision.
I know personally of several "super" nutritional supplements that support and improve health far more effective than some of our most widely-prescribed drugs. This more functional, more natural, safer and less costly path to "living healthier longer" is a vision that can bring exciting new hope to millions.