In this, the last post of the year, I reflect back over the changes in medicine this year.
The transition from modern medicine just looking at “drugs and bugs”, to the issues that we have been discussing in Integrative Medicine for decades, is overwhelmingly strong.
It seems that more and more articles in mainstream journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, andLancet, discuss issues that integrative medicine has been talking about for these so many years.
One of the biggest new areas of research are the friendly bacteria in our intestinal tract. This is called the “Gut Microbiota”.
A recent article in Medscape (You will need to register to read it) is entitled The Shifting Microbial Landscape. The article points out, as I’ve mentioned to my patients and readers for many years, that the human DNA contains only approximately 23,000 genes. Experts could not figure out why so few genes could carry out the biological diversity that we see among human beings. It seemed our genome should have a million genes or more to allow for this.
More and more research is now showing that part of what determines how our body functions, as well as our individual traits, is probably not coming just from our own genes but the also genes of trillions of microorganisms that reside on and in our body.
It is estimated that the genomes of the bacteria and viruses inside the human intestinal tract alone encode for 3.3 million genes. “They serve as a buffer and interpreter of our environment. We are chimeric organisms”, says Jayne Danska, an immunologist at the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute in Ontario Canada.
New research is showing that “transplanting”fecal material from a healthy individual to a patient with inflammatory bowel disease, can often “cure” their bowel problems. There is a lot of research on this now as it is encouraged by the FDA
I encourage all my readers to take a very powerful, preferably physician-quality, probiotic every day, such as the one I recommend at my Healthy Living Shop.
Another major trend among conventional medicine which follows those of us who have been practicing environmental medicine for many years is the realization that the chemicals in our environment can have profound effects on human health.
In this article, the European Union says that pesticides may harm human brains. And in Europe they are setting new, much stricter safety standards for a category of pesticide called the neonicotiniod family of chemicals.
Another recently published article shows the effect of Mercury levels on adult human cognition.I discussed this in a previous issue of my newsletter.
And I am delighted that my friend Marissa Weiss, M.D., has added an entire section to breastcancer.org on the subject of “Think Pink, Live Green. As you know from my writings in the past year, which will continue in the new year, environmental toxicity is a huge contributor to the epidemic of breast cancer that we have in our country and in the world now.
In summary what used to be called “Alternative” is no longer that at all. Orthodox medicine has laid claim to many of the teachings of Integrative Medicine over the past decades, and proceeding with research that moves our science forward.
This can only serve to spread our knowledge and inform all the people of our country, on healthy lifestyles and healthy habits to bring good health to our country and the world.