Functional Medicine With Dr Bradford, MD, MPH

 

Chronic diseases are rapidly increasing, and account for 80% of today's healthcare costs (now $3.5 trillion, 18% of GDP, almost double the percent in other industrialized countries). Most of these diseases (including obesity and dementia) were virtually unknown until the last few generations (Dr Alzheimer first described a case of dementia in 1906). They are correlated with our increasingly-industrialized diets and environmental changes, a mismatch with our Stone Age genetics and biology. Life expectancy has actually started decreasing in recent years in spite of high and increasing healthcare expenditures. A new medical paradigm is needed.

Conventional medicine developed during a time when acute infectious diseases were the leading causes of death. The miraculous new "cures" have involved killing "biological invaders" (microbes, and now also cancer cells), and these are still important. However, no drug can cure chronic diseases by repairing the biological damage, because the body was made from nutrients, not from drugs whose molecules by definition do not exist in nature. Most drugs today are used to alleviate chronic disease symptoms 
(80% of the healthcare dollar), with no expectation of repairing the biological causes.

Today's chronic disease epidemic calls for a new medical paradigm that addresses the mismatch between our genes and today's lifestyles & environment, and focusing on preventing and repairing the underlying biological causes rather than just suppressing symptoms. This cannot be done in conventional brief medical visits that are scheduled with too little time for much more than discussing symptoms and writing prescriptions to relieve them.

“FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE” focuses on improving biological functioning by using scientific methods of Clinical Nutrition, based on molecular biology and supported by published medical studies, in order to analyze the causes and help the body to repair its biological damage. Repairing the major damage mediating chronic diseases requires more than a regular diet, just as repairing earthquake damage requires more than a standard household budget. Functional Medicine is an additional tool for healing chronic health problems, not a replacement for other forms of treatment. (Don't confuse scientific Functional Medicine with the many questionable cures and junk science being marketed by a variety of poorly-trained practitioners.)

(NOTE: Functional Medicine is NOT a substitute for Primary Care or Emergency Care, which you should continue to obtain as needed from your usual medical providers or by calling 911.)


Wesley G Bradford, MD, MPH

Clinical Assistant Professor
Dept of Family Medicine
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Torrance, CA








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