2014 SIMPLE Conference Day 2

Day 2 of the SIMPLE Conference started at 5:30 AM. Last night was way too short, but there is no way I’m going to miss a single thing, so this body was out of bed, dressed, and sitting in a meditation circle at 6:30 AM.

That meditation lady must have known I had some people in my life that needed a blessing of protection. She also knew there are a couple of people that I need to bless and release in hopes that they resolve their stress so I don’t take it on as mine. They got blessed. Let’s trust that it works.

Today was absolutely jam packed with information and presentations and interactions. Breakfast was shared with a beautiful soul who is a doctor for Indian Health Services in Shiprock, NM. I quizzed her at length about her work there and my interests, motivations, and concerns with doing the same.

My take aways for today:

Integrative Medicine is the way to truly help people manage their health. It was likened unto “teaching a man to fish” as the old proverb goes. It is empowering to the patient.

Dr. Andrew Weil’s name is pronounced “wile” (long I sound). Oh, and I sat about 40 feet from where he was on the podium presenting. He said what we currently have is not a health care system, but a disease management system and it is not sustainable. Unfortunately so far, health promotion/disease prevention does not pay where insurance and reimbursement are concerned. Due to the flow of money into the pockets of a few who have total control of elected officials, there can be no meaningful change in healthcare via government mandate. Change will have to come through grass roots efforts.

He predicted that allopathic high tech medicine will be a specialty in the future rather than the norm and that community hospitals may be gone and replaced by integrative health and healing centers that teach how to eat, exercise, garden, prepare food, and provide spa services. These clinics will manage health, not illness. Unfortunately it may take the collapse of our entire health care system to make this happen.

Health is an inner state of balance and resilience in which we can interact with the environment and its toxins without harm.

Laughter can turn off genes that trigger diabetes mellitus type 2.

Physical activity increases overall wellness, and sitting is the new smoking.

There’s a new book coming out called the Dorito effect by Mark Shatzberg. The premise is we do not crave sugar, fat, and salt. We crave flavor and our food is increasingly flavorless. Thus we have a billion dollar industry in chemical flavoring.

Chronic low level inflammation is the root cause of chronic diseases and age related illness. If it is allowed to persist, it develops into coronary artery disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer among others. Therefore it is important to choose an anti-inflammatory diet.

Inflammation affects emotional health. Cytokines are produced and they increase the risk of depression and suicide significantly. Therefore, anti-inflammatory drugs may potentially be used to treat depression more effectively than those currently being used.

The microbiome in our gut is a cool thing. There is more microbial DNA in us than human DNA. Changes in microbiome could be a “root cause” of illness. Four factors have affected the microbiome: 1) use of antibiotics, 2) the shift in what we eat, 3) the rise in cesarean deliveries, and 4) the decline in breast feeding.

There may be a connection between seizure disorder and celiac disease.

Fermented foods may be more effective than probiotics at populating the microbiome.

The reason organics are important is to avoid toxins.

Anti-inflammatory diets may be beneficial for mental and emotional well-being due to correlation between inflamation and psych disorders.

Chronic stress is the inflammatory disease of the 21st century.

In response to claims that integrative medicine lacks adequate research, there is more than most people realize, and a great deal of allopathic (western) medicine has NO research to back it up.

Often esearch fails to detect the health promoting benefit of integrative medicine that exceeds the patient’s original complaint. Ex. Patient being treated for prostate cancer reports that is lifelong issue with post nasal drip has resolved.

How doctors react to new information is more a function of source than content.

Stress and burnout is a huge issue in med schools (and nursing schools). Mindfulness practices are being implemented in some schools as part of the curriculum.

Docs who use mindfulness practices see an decrease in emotional exhaustion and an increase in empathy.

Chronic stress impairs memory, learning, and leads to premature cognitive decline. Meditation breaks the cycle of chronic stress response feedback loop by forcing us to focus on what is happening in the present. Our minds cannot be anxious, so the cycle is broken.

Clinician mindfulness practices can improve patient health outcomes.

Research shows that 21% of student stress is modifiable. Mindfulness practices should be embraced as a core competency. Mind-body medicine is the physiology of de-stress.

Burnout is serious in the medical profession, but it starts in students and is often seen within the first semester.

Mindfulness must be fostered in the curriculum and in the culture.

Gut bacteria interact with artificial sweeteners and send messages to the body to produce more glucose.

Personalized medicine vs. medicine that is personal

Diabetic complications were reduced by 41% in those patients treated by high vs. low empathy doctors.

Six weeks of petting rabbits yielded a 60% reduction in atherosclerotic plaques.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is heart failure caused by stress with no evidence of heart attack or blockage.

Meditation decreased cardiovascular death by 48%.

And then there was Ayurveda and panchakarma.

My bed once again beckons my tired brain to rest.

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