Life-Changing Medical Alert!

medical information alertWhen Dr. Caldwell B. Essylsten was a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, he presented a bombshell in the American Journal of Cardiology.  He basically asserted that the standards of care for heart disease simply don’t work for most people.  Specifically, “elective angioplasty does not decrease the risk of myocardial infarction or death.  Bypass surgery does not decrease the risk of myocardial infarction, and it benefits survival only in high-risk subsets.  So, it seems we have an enormous paradox.  The disease that is the leading killer of men and women in Western civilization is largely untreated.”  He goes on to point out that “performing interventions has the potential for enormous  financial reward”, whereas lifestyle changes, which are more efficacious with no side effects, provide little or no financial benefit for providers.

Yet, despite The American Medical Association’s (AMA) Code of Medical Ethics, which states that “physicians should sensitively and respectfully disclose all relevant medical information to patients” when it comes to treatment options for heart disease, how often do you think doctors share the benefits of a plant-based diet vs. statins, for example?  For those of you on statin drugs for cholesterol, are you aware that they only work for one out of sixty patients?  Why in the world would you put up with the numerous negative side effects of this prescription drug, such as muscle pain, liver damage and upset stomach, when your chances of it helping are less than 2%?  It’s just crazy, and I’m not making these numbers up, they come right out of the AMA’s Journal of Ethics!  Check out this short video and you’ll see what I mean:

You want the real scoop on what to do about the prevention and cure of heart disease?  Get educated!  I cannot emphasize this enough……it’s your life and it’s also your responsibility to be your most knowledgeable and vocal advocate.  Here are five, clinically-based articles to get you started:

So, given the overwhelming evidence that the adoption of this lifestyle is the highway to health, with the additional benefit that you’ll never, ever have to go on a diet again, here’s your new food pyramid:

Best food pyramid

God bless

Prevent & Cure Cancer Naturally

stopcancerThe big “C” strikes fear and extreme anxiety into the hearts of most people.  It seems everyone has been touched in some way by this horrid disease.  The standard course of treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation, can be worse than the disease itself.  The theory is that these “poisons” will kill the cancer at a faster clip than they will harm your normal cells. I am offering the following two videos from our friend, Dr. Gregor, with the hope that the new research he cites will encourage you to consider both preventing and treating cancer in a natural, safe and effective manor that is free from the devastating side effects.  You owe it to yourself, and perhaps your loved ones, to take the time to watch these powerful videos. God bless

Multiple Sclerosis? Fork You!

MS, multiple sclerosis, a frightening diagnosis.  What would you do?  Read this remarkable testimony about the power of your fork!

“Life can change in a moment. It did for me”

Saray 570x299 My Journey from Doctor to MS Patient … and Back – Thanks to Plant Based Eating!

October 11, 1995 started out like any other grueling 24-hour shift at the hospital. I was a young, energetic physician living what I considered to be an extraordinary life. But this night was more exhausting than any I could remember. Deeply fatigued, I finally made it to bed around 3 am. Within the hour, I was awakened by a call from the emergency room. As I leapt out of bed, I experienced something so foreign that it simply took my breath away. During this brief nap I had lost feeling in my lower extremities. Something was terribly wrong. I was emergently rushed off to an MRI that revealed multiple plaques in my brain and spinal cord, confirming a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

I was no longer Dr. Stancic, making early morning rounds on her patients. I was now the newly admitted MS patient, lying in a bed as a flock of medical students and doctors took turns assessing my deteriorating neurological status. Soon thereafter came a parade of drugs with their numerous side effects, all intended to mitigate the frightening progression and symptoms of MS. I had become a drug-dependent, sick young woman struggling to accept her fate. MS had swiftly swept away my dreams and aspirations, and left behind a shadow of my former self.

In the fall of 2003, after nearly a decade of a life compromised by chronic illness, a pivotal and enlightening event occurred. I came across an article in a medical journal touting the benefits of blueberries in MS patients. The article summarized findings suggesting that MS patients who ate blueberries had improved symptoms compared with those who did not. The investigators attributed these results to the berries’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The scientist in me was skeptical, but this publication had the effect of igniting my curiosity. Could food play a role in ameliorating or even preventing chronic illness?I was consumed by this idea, and driven to explore existing medical literature in search of answers. What I found was both illuminating and transformative. There was ample evidence in respectable peer-reviewed medical journals that our diets do play a key role in the development of chronic illness!

I wondered how this topic had escaped our medical school curriculum. The power of healing that lies in a whole-food, plant-based diet is incalculable and unquestionable. I was inspired by what I had discovered and felt compelled to personally adopt this lifestyle. I discontinued all my medications and focused on optimizing my diet.

Over the years that followed, I felt stronger and energized. Remarkably, after years of difficulty walking unassisted, my neurological deficits gradually improved. I felt renewed and infused with a great sense of hope. I decided to take up jogging, which evolved to running. In the spring of 2010 I ran a marathon. It was truly an extraordinary experience.

As a physician observing unnecessary suffering and loss, I felt compelled to spread the word of this seemingly untapped therapeutic resource with whomever was willing to listen. Regrettably, in speaking to colleagues, I found many did not share my level of enthusiasm or acceptance that this approach was valid.

My sense of alienation lifted after watching Forks Over Knives. I was reinvigorated by witnessing other like-minded physicians practice medicine with this philosophy. Today, my focus is educating patients on the value of a whole-food, plant-based diet, with an eye toward reducing prescription drug dependence.

Patients need to learn that they do have control of their individual health outcomes. For my patients, watching this film is a mandatory part of their care plan. The film effectively reinforces all that we discuss, and its impactful style is both educational and entertaining.

We can, as a society, shift and make the necessary changes to improve our health and well-being.  Life can change in a moment … and that can be a very wonderful thing.

God bless

The Third Leg Under The Health Stool

meditation and healthIf you’ve followed this blog for even a short period of time, you know that I am committed to sharing health information that will help prevent, arrest and even cure some of our most insidious chronic diseases.  The emerging science and clinical trials focused on the profound impact diet, exercise and your mental state can have on the manifestation of these diseases is too long in coming, but is finally having a major impact.  Probably the most overlooked and misunderstood contributors to compromising our immune systems are stress and anxiety.  New studies have now shown that, much like diet (Nutrigenomics: A Life-Saving Science), our gene expression is influenced greatly by our emotional states.  Both good and bad genes can be turned off and on, depending on whether we exist in a state of appreciation and peace or one of stress and anxiety.

Whereas exercise and diet have been widely touted, written about and generally accepted as a means to improving health, the practice of meditation has historically been relegated to mystical status practiced primarily by outliers.  The medical community has recently been more supportive of the role meditation can play as evidenced by researchers out of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine in Massachusetts illuminating the mechanisms of meditation’s effects, specifically the relaxation response.  According to Dr. Benson, the relaxation response is, “a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress (e.g., decreases in heart rate, blood pressure, rate of breathing, and muscle tension)” and is characterized by:

  • Metabolism decreases
  • Heart beats slow and muscles relax
  • Breathing slows
  • Blood pressure decreases
  • Levels of nitric oxide increase (this is very good, see “Boost Performance“)

stress1As Dr. Kelly Brogan points out, “Only recently have the tools to assess gene-based changes been available.  Genetic study of eight-week and long-term meditators demonstrated evidence of changes to gene expression – specifically antioxidant production, telomerase activity, and oxidative stress – as a result of the relaxation response.”  She goes on to say “It appears that the relationship between gene expression optimization and relaxation response is dose-related, so that increasing amounts confer increasing benefit.”  Roughly translated, even a little meditation will have positive effects, but the more you induce the relaxation response, the more likely you will be up-regulating the good, chronic disease fighting genes and down-regulating those genes that promote disease.

 Obviously, this message is huge and has ramifications that require your daily attention, just as diet and exercise do.  The techniques for meditation are extensive and diverse.  A quick Google search will produce seemingly limitless options, with varying degrees of effort and time commitment on your part.  For those of you who want an easy, effective and passive method, I have a recorded session that I often use that you can put on your smartphone and listen to when you go to bed at night or when you first wake up in the morning.  If you would like a copy, just shoot me an email at rbmilligan@aol.com and I will send you the audio file free.

Here’s a quick video from Dr. Brogan I believe you’ll find interesting:

(If the video doesn’t load, go here)

God bless

2,400 Year-Old Health Advice: New?

food as medicine

I have often used this quote by Hippocrates to underscore how this sage advice has withstood the test of time.  Despite the fact that, as a society, we seem to have disconnected from his message and chronic diseases and obesity are running rampant, it is perhaps the most important principle in managing our own health.  I was amused by the title of a recent article written by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry (Cornell) and author of The China Study, Startling Implications for Diet, and Weight Loss and Long Term Health.  Keeping in mind what Hippocrates said more than 2,400 years ago, Dr. Campbell is still beating the drum, but now with significant clinical evidence to back it up:

“Why Ordinary Food Will Be the New Medicine of the Future”

People who live by Hippocrates’ tenet will get the joke, unfortunately for a lot of others who have been brainwashed by the food and pharmaceutical industries, the message Dr. Campbell shares below will be, in fact, “new“:

“An impressive body of evidence now shows that a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diet produces profound effects like reversing and treating heart disease, diabetes and many other ailments and chronic pains. Other evidence suggests similar effects on cancers. These outcomes are much more than I once thought, especially concerning my having come from a family farm and milking cows then doing graduate work to “prove” that the high-protein, high-fat animal-based foods diet was best for our health. I succeeded only in proving myself wrong.

foodmedicineUnfortunately, this WFPB strategy has long been a secret, perhaps the best-kept secret in medical history. Remarkably, it can treat and reverse existing ailments (quickly) as well as to prevent future ailments. No other diet plan comes close, especially those of the low carb ilk.

It is time to reject frivolous arguments to the contrary. If there is merit to alternative hypotheses, it is time to use them to prove wrong those of us in the profession who have studied and used this approach to solve illness. It’s time for the naysayers to show that they can do better if they wish to be heard.

food as medicineThe stakes are now too high to allow for self-serving interests paving our way to health. We have imposing problems, many tracing their origins to food choice. Health care costs, environmental degradation and unnecessary ethical behavior head a list of impending crises that must be resolved for the sake of our humanity and our planet.”

God bless

Metabolic Syndrome: Got it? Beat it!

metabolic syndromeI came across an article the other day written by a doctor who was using himself as a guinea pig in the quest for knowledge about how our bodies burn different fuel, primarily fat and glucose.  He was fascinated by our ability to switch back and forth between these fuel sources, depending upon our state of activity, and by the body’s ability to actually manufacture certain fuels required to run our brains.  The triggering event for this interest was his shocking diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome, despite being relatively young and a long-distance swimmer.  I had never heard of Metabolic Syndrome and decided to dig deeper.

Basically, you are diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome if you have any three of the following:

  • A waistline of 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women (measured across the belly)
  • A blood pressure of 130/85 mm Hg or higher or are taking blood pressure medications
  • A triglyceride level above 150 mg/dl
  • A fasting blood glucose (sugar) level greater than 100 mg/dl or are taking glucose-lowering medications
  • A high density lipoprotein level (HDL) less than 40 mg/dl (men) or under 50 mg/dl (women)

blood testThe doctor I mentioned above was okay with the first two, but his blood chemistry told a different story and had him trip-up on the last three.  How do you prevent, arrest or reverse Metabolic Syndrome while avoiding prescription drugs?  Here are the most effective answers and, in the case of our doctor friend, the dietary adjustment had the most profound effect:

  • Lose weight - Moderate weight loss, in the range of 5 percent to 10 percent of body weight, can help restore your body’s ability to recognize insulin and greatly reduce the chance that the syndrome will evolve into a more serious illness.
  • Exercise - Increased activity alone can improve your insulin levels. Aerobic exercise such as a brisk 30-minute daily walk can result in a weight loss, improved blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of developing diabetes. Most health care providers recommend 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. Exercise may reduce the risk for heart disease even without accompanying weight loss.
  • Consider dietary changes - Maintain a diet that keeps carbohydrates to no more than 50 percent of total calories. Eat foods defined as complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain bread (instead of white), brown rice (instead of white), and sugars that are unrefined (instead of refined; for example cookies, crackers). Increase your fiber consumption by eating legumes (for example, beans), whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Reduce your intake of red meats and poultry. Thirty percent of your daily calories should come from fat. Consume healthy fats such as those in canola oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil and nuts.
  • Limit alcohol intake - Consume no more than one drink a day for women, or two drinks a day for men.

Here’s a quick video that provides a comprehensive solution:

(If the video doesn’t load, click here)

God bless

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Ah Duh? Healthcare That Really Works?

healthcare brokenThe healthcare system in this country has gotten so far out of whack, it seems ridiculous to even refer to it as “healthcare”.  Taken literally, it would lead you to believe the system is actually designed to care for your health, right?  Unfortunately, for a whole host of reasons, many of which are profit-related, the reality is that we have become obsessed with “disease management” which, with it’s focus on alleviating symptoms and prolonging life under sometimes horrific circumstances, has little to do with maintaining one’s health by avoiding these chronic diseases in the first place.  One of the drivers of this upside down approach is, of course, the billions of dollars made by the pharmaceutical companies in pushing pills and encouraging surgeries.  Where’s the profit in telling someone to exercise, eat a plant-based diet, meditate and engage in all the other clinically proven strategies to stay healthy?

MHE healthcare reformFortunately, technology may be a reasonable way out of this mess; an answer to the desperate search on the part of individuals, companies, municipalities and others who are footing the bill for this terribly expensive and ineffective system.  There is an emerging effort to capture and utilize specific individual health data in the context of outcomes, accepted standards of the most effective care and prevention and all the related expenses, then to share all this information with the individual, the primary care physician and the entire healthcare system.  Imagine your having access to all your health information on your smartphone, with both you and your primary care physician being financially incentivized to communicate regularly on best practices for either remaining healthy or managing a condition in the most effective manner.  The access to this massive pool of health data and the creative use of it is now putting the management of your healthcare back where it belongs, in the hands of you and your doctor.  If you look at any employee population, for example, the largest health claims expense is related to a certain set of disease conditions.  Reducing the incidence of these conditions among the employee group produces substantial savings, a portion of these dollars can then be used to encourage both healthy behavior among the employees and doctors to become more engaged in the maintenance of a patient’s health.

This is an effort that deserves your wholehearted support.  Be on the lookout for companies like Medical Health Exchange (www.medicalhomeexchange.com) who are now providing this sophisticated and effective technology solution to large groups of employees.  The healthcare system in this country is a behemoth that will not change easily.  There are too many players with an enormous financial interest at stake and they will not give up their stranglehold without a fight, but those of us who are actually paying for this broken system are fed up and hungry for change.  Whenever possible, seize the opportunity to do whatever you can to encourage the shift to a healthcare system that just makes so much more intuitive sense and will save billions of wasted dollars.

God Bless

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