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Friday, 14 October 2011

Many are frustrated with conventional health care but leery of alternative medicine because their doctor doesn’t approve. Many are pursuing alternative health care but don’t feel comfortable telling their doctor about it. And quite a few are interested in a different approach but can’t tell truth from hype when it comes to what really works or how to find a good practitioner.

Not surprisingly, a lot of women feel lost in or abandoned by the conventional medical environment. But the truth is that the medical system is going through a period of revolutionary change — for the better — as the conventional and alternative systems begin to merge into what is called “integrative medicine.” You are an agent of that change.

The good news is that by understanding your options and a few guidelines you can enjoy better health than you ever imagined in this new medical environment. We know that because we’ve helped pioneer this new integrative approach to healthcare with our own patients over the past 17 years. We can assure you — it’s what you’re looking for.

So let’s discuss how to bring integrative medicine into your life, right now, so you can begin to enjoy all it has to offer you.

What are alternative, complementary and integrative medicine?

First of all, let’s get some terminology straight. It can add to the confusion if you don’t know what your practitioner is talking about.

Conventional or traditional Western medicine is what most of us grew up with: if you get sick, feel a lump or have an accident, you go to the doctor. The physician treats that particular problem — usually through prescription drugs or surgery — and you go home.

This has been a remarkably successful system that has rid the world of diseases and infections that were the scourge of our ancestors. Up until recently, however, little attention was paid to prevention. (Preventative medicine is now a buzzword with the insurance companies, meaning eat less, exercise more and take an aspirin or other “safe” drug every day.)

Scientific advances like the mapping of DNA may change this approach in the future, but for the most part traditional doctors are rigorously trained to address trauma or disease, not the complexities of how the patient got that way.

Alternative, natural, and holistic medicine are widely used terms for a variety of healing therapies, some of them ancient. Generally speaking, its practitioners look at the “whole” person — mind, body and spirit — to identify underlying imbalances that cause disease. They believe in the body’s own vital energy and its natural restorative powers; most alternative therapies are meant to be preventative.

Treatment occurs in the least invasive, most natural way to foster a well-balanced, well-nourished body that will resist disease, fight infection, heal faster, age gracefully and rarely if ever need more radical intervention.

When we began the Plateroti Center 17 years ago, alternative practitioners were not well-regarded by the medical establishment. I’m happy to report that the National Institute of Health now funds over $100 million of research every year in alternative medicine, and there is a tenured professor in the field at the Harvard Medical School. So we’ve come a long way.

When alternative medicine is used as part of a conventional treatment protocol for a medical condition, the combination is called complementary medicine. Many leading hospitals now offer what they term complementary and alternative medicine. But both camps felt the term implied there was something missing on one side or the other, so it is falling out of favor.

Integrative and functional medicine

Integrative medicine is a newer term that is more encompassing because it conveys that the practice of traditional Western medicine and alternative therapies must be integrated. I can say with confidence that integrative medicine is the future of healthcare. Integrative medicine is now a part of the curriculum at 28 major medical schools around the United States. This is great progress, but unfortunately, as we will discuss in a moment, what is being taught in medical schools is far ahead of what most doctors are telling their patients.

A branch of integrative medicine, called functional medicine, is the guiding principle of our practice at Plateroti Center. Using evidence-based, proven methods from both the alternative and conventional approaches, we look at the individual core physiology of each patient, including their background and emotional state — whether she/he is symptomatic or not. You can learn more about functional medicine, and find a functional medicine practitioner near you, by visiting the Institute of Functional Medicine web site.

Why is integrative medicine important to your health?

The main reason to bring integrative medicine into your life is simple: you’ll be healthier.

As I mentioned before, I’ve seen time and again that integrative medicine results in optimal health. Both traditional and alternative practices have their benefits and their limitations, but together they provide a synergy that can transform your health and fill you with vitality, naturally, for the rest of your life.

And that’s important. A recent eight-year study on U.S. adult health-related quality of life reports that we are living longer but feeling worse on a day-to-day basis — particularly women. Chronic diseases are on the rise and evidenced at younger and younger ages. And drugs have side effects that often diminish our quality of life, as well as shorten it.

In other words, traditional medicine may be keeping us alive longer, but we aren’t enjoying it.

At our practice we see this reality everyday. Patients come in whose tests are “normal” by current medical standards but know instinctively that something is wrong. Often they have or are on the verge of developing a serious health condition — they just haven’t reached the disease threshold yet. Luckily, catching a developing condition early means a lot can be done to prevent its progression. Simply adding daily nutritional supplements and making positive changes in diet and lifestyle have altered the health trajectory of most of our patients.

Conventional medicine is very good at disease screening, and often effective in treatment of disease or acute conditions. It just isn’t structured to promote preventative health or support natural, less-invasive methods. So if you stay with the conventional approach exclusively, in our view, you make it more likely you’ll get sick.

Finding an alternative practitioner:

There are unqualified or ineffective practitioners in both conventional and alternative medicine, so be cautious whenever you choose any health care provider. (There are studies that indicate that medical error is among the top ten causes of death in America.) Outright quacks are rare, but they exist too. Beware of extravagant claims for any treatment.

One of the problems is that certification standards vary so much from state to state. But almost every state now has some kind of certification process. Look for the following:

  • trained, licensed and certified in their particular field
  • recommendations from other practitioners or friends
  • the atmosphere and the practitioner feel safe and comfortable to you
  • your opinion is valued and your questions are fully answered
  • guidelines for the technique and length of the procedure are set at the first visit
  • some verifiable evidence of successful results in the treatment of your concern
  • ability to work with other healthcare professionals in your life

What are your thought or concerns about Integrative Medicine?

Posted by: Dr. Aracely Plateroti, O.M.D.,Ph.D. AT 11:23 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, 04 October 2011

10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs

1. GMOs are unhealthy.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.

Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors groups such as the AAEM tell us not to wait before we start protecting ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk.

The American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association are among many medical groups that condemn the use of GM bovine growth hormone, because the milk from treated cows has more of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)―which is linked to cancer.

2. GMOs contaminate―forever.
GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.

3. GMOs increase herbicide use.
Most GM crops are engineered to be “herbicide tolerant”―they deadly weed killer. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide.

Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in “superweeds,” resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.

4. Genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects.
By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.

5. Government oversight is dangerously lax.
Most of the health and environmental risks of GMOs are ignored by governments’ superficial regulations and safety assessments. The reason for this tragedy is largely political. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, doesn’t require a single safety study, does not mandate labeling of GMOs, and allows companies to put their GM foods onto the market without even notifying the agency. Their justification was the claim that they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different. But this was a lie. Secret agency memos made public by a lawsuit show that the overwhelming consensus even among the FDA’s own scientists was that GMOs can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. They urged long-term safety studies. But the White House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, and the agency official in charge of policy was Michael Taylor, Monsanto’s former attorney, later their vice president. He’s now the US Food Safety Czar.

6. The biotech industry uses “tobacco science” to claim product safety.

Biotech companies like Monsanto told us that Agent Orange, PCBs, and DDT were safe. They are now using the same type of superficial, rigged research to try and convince us that GMOs are safe. Independent scientists, however, have caught the spin-masters red-handed, demonstrating without doubt how industry-funded research is designed to avoid finding problems, and how adverse findings are distorted or denied.

7. Independent research and reporting is attacked and suppressed.
Scientists who discover problems with GMOs have been attacked, gagged, fired, threatened, and denied funding. The journal Nature acknowledged that a “large block of scientists . . . denigrate research by other legitimate scientists in a knee-jerk, partisan, emotional way that is not helpful in advancing knowledge.” Attempts by media to expose problems are also often censored.

8. GMOs harm the environment.

GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.

9. GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.
Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.

The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report, authored by more than 400 scientists and backed by 58 governments, stated that GM crop yields were “highly variable” and in some cases, “yields declined.” The report noted, “Assessment of the technology lags behind its development, information is anecdotal and contradictory, and uncertainty about possible benefits and damage is unavoidable.” They determined that the current GMOs have nothing to offer the goals of reducing hunger and poverty, improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitating social and environmental sustainability.
On the contrary, GMOs divert money and resources that would otherwise be spent on more safe, reliable, and appropriate technologies.

10. By avoiding GMOs, you contribute to the coming tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply.
Because GMOs give no consumer benefits, if even a small percentage of us start rejecting brands that contain them, GM ingredients will become a marketing liability. Food companies will kick them out. In Europe, for example, the tipping point was achieved in 1999, just after a high profile GMO safety scandal hit the papers and alerted citizens to the potential dangers. In the US, a consumer rebellion against GM bovine growth hormone has also reached a tipping point, kicked the cow drug out of dairy products by Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Dannon, Yoplait, and most of America’s dairies.


What do you think?  We would love to hear from you.

Reference Jeffrey Smith, The leading consumer advocate promoting healthier, non-GMO choices Posted on 3:39 pm August 25, 2011

Posted by: Dr. Carmelo Plateroti AT 07:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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