On Monday I was blessed to hear Drs. Deepak Chopra and Tanzi's keynote address at Harvard Medical School's Update in Internal Medicine: The Future of Well-Being.. Jeffrey Spratt,MT, Owner and Principal of Spratt Muscular Therapies presents his Rejuvenation Exercises to the conference. He invited me to be his guest to hear them speak.
They talked about how physicians need to move from recommending lifestyle changes as part of a treatment plan to having an obligation to recommend practices that promote well being to their patients.
It was the first time that I have seen and heard about a model for integrative medicine that is truly well integrative.
The science now shows the effects that massage, meditation, social engagement, learning new things, yoga with breath work and asana - postures from the ancient tradition of yoga, exercise, and nutrition have on well being.
Dr. Tanzi presented the results of his studies on Alzheimer's Disease.
It was a 30 year journey that led him to the latest discoveries about Alzheimer's disease. Changes that can lead to Alzheimer's disease begin at the age of 40 and intervention needs to happen 15 years before the manifestation of symptoms of the disease. While there are genetic factors that play a role in Alzheimer's disease, these factors can be overcome through lifestyle changes. Epigenetics is the the study of the role that environmental and lifestyle changes play in changing the cellular structure of a person thus effecting the outcome of disease.
Dr. Tanzi relayed the message that the first obligation physicians have is to talk with their patients about making lifestyle changes that will promote and support well being, especially brain health as we age. The Institute for Brain Health at Mass. General Hospital is "An initiative conceived by experts from across the neurosciences. The Mass General Brain Health Institute brings patients, clinicians and investigators together to prevent brain disease and preserve brain function across the lifespan. We serve two groups of patients: those at high risk for brain disease and those who are highly motivated to preserve brain function. Specialists from across the clinical neurosciences provide each patient with a thorough, multi-disciplinary and individualized risk assessment.
This is a critical first step for patients to develop a life-long plan for protecting their brain function. Through the Institute, our patients gain access to all of the clinical neurosciences at Mass General, as well as our therapists, nutritionists and the Benson Henry Institute. Because our clinicians and investigators work side-by-side on groundbreaking research devoted to finding new ways to prevent brain disease and preserve brain function, we offer all of our patients the opportunity to participate in the research programs of the Institute."
Our DNA is not our destiny nor is our past our future nor are we our diagnosis. We have the power to effect our health and well-being.
The science tells us that lifestyle changes do in fact alter our present and help to create our future as we age and promote health and well being.
Drs. Chopra and Tanzi demonstrated through rigorous scientific investigation what Thomas Edison predicted ages ago:
but took it a step further by citing how while prevention is crucial, it is also important to have effective pharmaceutical agents available for intervention. What happens when East meets West we have the best tools at our disposal to optimize health and well being.