List Celebrates Innovative Doctors Who Practice Integrative and Functional Medicine, and Who Focus on Research and Therapies to Treat Underlying Causes of Disease
The incidence of chronic disease is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. With experts ranging from researchers at the Center for Disease Control to local family physicians searching for ways to combat multiple chronic conditions, including: hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and arthritis.
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So we’re celebrating 14 Doctors who are making a difference in 2014, by celebrating the pioneers who are looking at and treating the underlying causes of chronic disease. These Doctors are using integrative medicine and holistic approaches based in solid research and whole systems— lifestyles, culture, habits and habitat- as well as symptoms.
Why Focus on Underlying Causes of Chronic Disease?
Chronic conditions are an increasing concern in the United States, where they affect nearly half of the adult population.
It is undisputed that the prevalence of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other diseases has increased in recent years (1–3). These conditions result in numerous adverse health outcomes, increased health care needs, and subsequently higher medical costs (4–6).
In the past, strategies have focused on preventing and ameliorating a single disease at a time; however, the large percentage of people with 2 or more conditions, or multiple chronic conditions (MCC), has added a layer of complexity to developing prevention and intervention strategies (7–10).
The alarming fact is that more people are now dying from chronic diseases than infectious disease. Yet, modern, Western, medicine is structured to identify the disease and treat the symptoms, with a few exceptions. Therefore, many of this diseases are labeled “incurable” or “progressive” or, at best, “manageable”. But the onset of 70% to 90% of chronic illnesses, including obesity, can be correlated with lifestyle habits.
Yet, if lifestyle exacerbates or causes many of the illnesses (genetic predisposition is another strong factor), isn’t it possible that lifestyle changes can alleviate, or even reverse them?
Treating causes not symptoms
The Doctors we are celebrating are setting the trends of getting to the root of the problem, educators and advocates who are teaching us to change our lifestyles, and treat the underlying causes of disease— not just the symptoms. These are the Doctors who are attuned to the emerging science, tests and therapies that truly help prevent and reverse the course of chronic diseases by addressing the underlying causes.
14 Doctors Making A Difference in 2014
Dr. Daniel Amen
Daniel G. Amen, M.D., is a physician, double-board certified psychiatrist, teacher, self-help guru and eight-time New York Times bestselling author. He is known as one of the world’s foremost experts on applying brain imaging science to everyday clinical practice. While Dr. Amen’s use of Brain SPECT scans for psychiatric and neurological diagnosis of patients is considered, by some, to be controversial, as Medical Director of the Amen Clinics, Dr. Amen diagnoses and treats brain systems relying on information obtained from the diagnostic tool, not just the patients reported symptoms. His clinics have a four circle treatment methodology: biology, psychology, social life and spiritual life. The method addresses acute symptoms that may need urgent treatment, but allows for greater focus on perspective and lifestyle changes that can serve as a new foundation for long term healing and wellness.
Dr. Jonny Bowden, PhD, C.N.S.
Jonny Bowden affirms we are being deceived on a daily basis – about weight loss, health, nutrition, big food, and big pharma. He is a board-certified nutritionist with a master’s degree in psychology and the author of fourteen books on health, healing, food and longevity including two best-sellers, “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth” and “Living Low Carb”. His passion is to expose the lies, tell the truth, and help us find real answers that work when dealing with issues of heart health, weight loss, nutrition and overall well being.
Bowden co-authored The Great Cholesterol Myth with Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a book about the foundation of the misguided dietary advice we’ve been saddled with for the past 30 years, “official” dietary advice that has directly contributed to the greatest epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in history.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
Caldwell Blakeman Esselstyn Jr., M.D., is an American surgeon and former Olympic rowing champion. He is a “leading proponent” in the field of “plant-based diets” and a strong advocate of diet’s ability to prevent and reverse heart disease.
He starred in the 2011 American documentary “Forks Over Knives” based on his work in “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” and the research of his colleague T. Colin Campbell in The China Study (2005). He was a researcher and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic for more than thirty-five years. In 1991, he served as the president of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons and organized the first National Conference on the Elimination of Heart Disease. Dr. Esselstynn advocates a low-fat whole-food, plant-based diet as a means of combating a number of diseases. Former President Bill Clinton, on CNN, credited Dr. Esselstyn with helping him regain his health.
Dr. William Davis
William R. Davis, M.D., is a Milwaukee-based American cardiologist, an author of health books, and known for his stance against so-called “modern wheat”, which he labels a “perfect, chronic poison”. He states that “modern wheat” causes problems ranging from weight gain, to heart disease, to irritable bowel syndrome.
His book “Wheat Belly: Lose The Wheat, Lose The Weight, and Find Your Way Back To Health” became a New York Times bestseller within a month of publication in 2011.The book states that all modern wheat, which Davis refers to as “Frankenwheat”, is toxic and as addictive as many drugs, and makes you want to eat more food– especially junk foods.
On a Dr. Oz show interview, he opened with the statement “The Wheat of today, is nothing like the wheat of the 1960, 1950; that is the wheat that our moms or grandmothers had, so it has been changed. This new crop has implications for human health that were never anticipated. So this is appropriate for nobody. No human, nobody in this audience, should be eating this modern creation of genetics research.”
View: “Are You Addicted To Wheat?“
Dr. Alessio Fasano
World-renowned pediatric gastroenterologist, research scientist and entrepreneur Alessio Fasano, M.D., founded the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research in 1996 and has done groundbreaking work in the areas of diagnosing and treating celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
He now leads The Center for Celiac Research, in Boston, which offers state-of-the art research, teaching and clinical expertise for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of gluten-related disorders, including celiac disease, wheat allergy and gluten sensitivity.
Dr. Fasano’s research has linked an overproduction of zonulin to the pathogenesis of a series of chronic conditions and autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and multiple sclerosis.
Widely sought after by national and international media for his expertise on celiac disease, gluten disorders and intestinal permeability, Dr. Fasano has been featured in hundreds of interviews including media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal; NPR; New York Times Magazine; Bloomberg News; USA Today; Los Angeles Times; “Good Morning America”; The Globe and Mail; Vogue; and numerous health-related websites and magazines.
Dr. Mark Hyman
Mark Hyman, M.D. is the founder and medical director of the UltraWellness Center, and an internationally recognized authority in the field of Functional Medicine — a revolution in 21st century approach to medicine that addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach. It is considered an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century by shifting away from the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach. Functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.
Dr. Hyman is the author of “The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now!” Pastor Rick Warren joined forces with Dr. Daniel Amen and Dr. Mark Hyman to write “The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life”.
Watch: “Mark Hyman at TedMed 2012”
Dr. Frank Lipman
An internationally recognized expert in the field of integrative medicine, Frank Lipman, M.D., is the author of Spent: End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again, and founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, where for over 20 years his personal brand of healing has helped thousands of people reclaim their vitality and recover their zest for life. Focused on sustainable wellness – instead of quick fixes – he offers patients a customized blend of Western medicine and Eastern methodologies including acupuncture, nutritional counseling, vitamins and herbs, relaxation techniques, physical therapy and bodywork. He believes that true healing relies on a blend of both worlds, and the ability to inspire a desire for patients to get, and stay, healthy.
Dr. Joseph Mercola
Joseph M. Mercola is an alternative medicine proponent, osteopathic physician, New York Times bestseller and web entrepreneur, who practices medicine that addresses the “whole person” and not just the symptoms.
Mercola criticizes many aspects of standard medical practice, such as vaccination and the use of prescription drugs and surgery to treat diseases. He is a member of the politically conservative Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, is an Advisory Board member on the American Nutrition Association, and is affiliated with multiple alternative medicine organizations.
He markets a variety of dietary supplements and medical devices through his website, mercola.com. Mercola also operates the “Dr. Mercola Natural Health Center” and wrote the best-selling books “The No-Grain Diet” and “The Great Bird Flu Hoax”.
Read & Watch: “What You Should Know About Inflammation”
Dr. Mehmet Oz
Mehmet Cengiz Öz, M.D., also known as Dr. Oz, is a Turkish-American cardiothoracic surgeon, author, and television personality. Oz first appeared on the The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004, and is currently a columnist for O Magazine. He appeared on Larry King Live and other programs before he started his own television show, The Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Oz was co-recipient with Dr. Roizen of the Paul G Rogers Health Communications Award from the National Library of Medicine at its 175 anniversary in 2011, for his work with Michael Roizen, M.D., co-authors of “YOU: The Owner’s Manual.”
His approach to medicine is grounded in scientific research from around the world, and common sense solutions to common problems– such as drinking more water, or stretching, as a first step to resolving headaches. No topic is too complicated, such as chronic illnesses, or too basic, such as preventing colds and flu.
Like him or love him, when Dr. Oz speaks people listen. Time magazine ranked Oz at 44th on its list of the “100 Most Influential People in 2008” and Esquire magazine placed him on its list of the “75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century”. He was called a “Global Leader of Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, and was listed in “Doctors of the Year” by Hippocrates magazine and in “Healers of the Millennium” by Healthy Living magazine.
Dr. David Perlmutter, FACN, ABIHM
David Perlmutter, M.D. is a Naples, Florida based American physician, author, and scholar. He is the president of the Perlmutter Health Center. Perlmutter is best known for authoring the #1 New York Times bestselling book “Grain Brain”, released September, 2013 in which he addresses nutritional and lifestyle influences and their impact on neurological disorders including Parkinson’s and Alzheimers. He states that the ability of the brain to adapt and change, “neuroplasticity”, is a great gift.
In 2013, studies conducted by Perlmutter were published in Case Reports in Immunology and the Integrative Medicine Journal. These studies relate both gluten and dairy sensitivities to conditions such as headache and Crohn’s Disease.
Read & View: “How to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease—A Neurologist Speaks Out”
Dr. Michael Roizen
Michael Roizen, M.D. is an American anesthesiologist and internist, an award-winning author and Chief Wellness Officer & Chairman of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. He became famous for developing the “Real Age” concept and has authored or coauthored five number one New York Times best sellers, including “Real Age” and four books in the YOU series—those with Dr. Mehmet Oz (with whom he also writes columns, and records radio shows.)
At the Cleveland Clinic, in an environment where average US healthcare costs as a percentage of GDP are 20%, and rising, the smoking cessation and weight-loss programs implemented by Dr. Roizen have reduced the cost curve to zero — proving it can be done. He has also encouraged an expansive walking-focused 10,000 steps per day health program co-sponsored by Google.
According to the clinic’s website he addresses chronic disease in a hands on, case-by-case way. “He routinely takes patients at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute who are in the midst of struggling with tobacco, heart, diabetic or arthritic problems and coaches them with simple (but persistent) lifestyle changes to be able to live, feel, look and be years younger. He really enjoys getting them to throw away their medications when they no longer need them, but teaches the role of food and other simple steps in reversing disease processes.”
Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., is a board certified cardiologist, nutritionist, and anti-aging specialist specializing in integrative medicine– particularly in the areas of cardiovascular health. He has more than 30 years of clinical experience that helped inform his holistic treatment methods, which focus on reducing inflammation and maximizing the heart’s ability to produce and use energy
He is also a certified bioenergetic psychotherapist. He has published articles in scientific journals on topics such as cholesterol and coenzyme Q10. He offers health advice and an extensive line of heart healthy vitamins and supplements tailored for people with cardiovascular concerns. Sinatra co-authored The Great Cholesterol Myth with Dr. Jonny Bowden.
Watch: “Cholesterol Is Not the Culprit!”
Dr. Terry Wahls
Terry Wahls, M.D., is an author and physician who halted secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and reversed the effects of the disease, by creating a diet so that included important brain nutrients not from supplements but from the foods she ate and experimenting with neuromuscular electrical stimulation. She then developed the Wahls Protocol™, and began practising Food as Medicine.
For four years, secondary progressive multiple sclerosis confined Dr. Terry Wahls to a tilt-recline wheelchair. But by using Functional Medicine to create the Wahls Protocol™, Dr. Wahls transformed her health and body: now she walks easily without a cane and commutes by bicycle. Dr. Wahls uses these diets and protocols in her primary care and traumatic brain injury clinics and is leading a clinical trial to test her protocols on others.
View: “Minding Your Mitochondria TEDx”
Dr. Andrew Weil
Andrew Weil, M.D., is both a Harvard trained medical doctor and a naturopath. He is an American teacher and best-selling author of books and articles about holistic health practices. Many consider him to be the father of integrative medicine in the United States; his teachings are respected by the medical establishment and his lectures are often standing-room-only.
He is founder, professor, and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. He received both his medical degree and his undergraduate degree in biology from Harvard University and established the field of integrative medicine which aims to combine alternative and conventional medicine. Weil says that patients should take the Western medicine prescribed by the doctor, and then incorporate alternative therapies such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and herbal remedies, meditation and other “spiritual” strategies. His best selling books include the groundbreaking Spontaneous Healing and the more recent Spontaneous Healing.
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By compiling this list, it was not our intention to leave anyone out or promote one methodology or person above another. In this new year, we just want to celebrate the extraordinary work of the high profile integrative and functional medicine Doctors who are helping to make us, and our world, a better and healthier place.