Kristine Burke, MD and Mark Holthouse, MD, FAAFP Teach graduating doctorate class at Loma Linda University

March 01, 2017

On February 28th and March 1st, our fantastic doctors, Kristine Burke, M.D. and Mark Holthouse, M.D., FAAFP, taught an annual class at Loma Linda University, School of Medicine. Each taking on specialized topics to teach the senior medical students the importance of Functional Medicine, its benefits, and application to case studies. Kristine Burke, M.D. focused her 8-hour talk on Gastrointestinal Dysfunction, Detox and Bio-Transformation.
In conventional medicine the symptoms associated with Gastrointestinal Dysfunction are lumped together, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), making blanket treatment ineffective because it isn't treating the root cause. Functional Medicine, however, teases out root causes for IBS to individualize treatments allowing for greater success. Seeing the person instead of the disease has led Functional physicians to see past the symptoms and to the root cause of the illness. Not all answers are on the surface, but all the answers are present in your current and past health history.
Detox and Bio-Transformation focuses on how toxins affect patients more commonly than previously realized, and how to assess that impact on their health. The environment that we live in is filled with chemicals, but this influx has only just rapidly increased in recent decades. These are chemicals that have not been created naturally, nor has the human body adapted to processing combined amounts of these chemicals on a daily basis. Common areas where we are exposed to chemicals include foods and during daily personal care routines. On average, a woman is exposed to 120 different chemicals from personal care alone. Just think about all the products we place on our skin from in the shower to make-up, moisturizers, other lotions, deodorant, hair products, and more. The numbers can easily start adding up making the amount of chemical intake unhealthy. Now, not necessarily all of the products we use, or come in contact with, are poisonous chemicals but the impact of so many chemicals at once is overloading to our bodies. This makes detoxifying, ridding our bodies and our environment of toxins, especially important to improving our overall health.
Overall, the message grabbed the attention of the soon-to-be graduated senior medical students; Individualizing treatments for the patient not the symptom, the importance of knowing the amount of chemicals the patient is exposed to in their daily environment, and why detoxifyinging is beneficial for the short and long term health of the patient.

Mark Holthouse, M.D., FAAFP focused his 8-hours of lecture on Cardio Metabolic conditions pre-diabetes and insulin resistance in the first half; and Vascular Biology, the chemistry behind plaque in the arteries, in the second half. Dr. Holthouse's lecture topic, how diabetes and CVD (Cardiovascular Disease) are linked to one another, emphasized the importance of identifying inflammation associated with pre-diabetes and CVD.
He taught the medical students how to use tests to search for inflammation, because the effects of inflammation caused by diabetes heightens the risk of heart attacks and stroke. One point of the lecture was how completely arbitrary it is to differentiate between diabetes and CVD because inflammation caused by both affects the other. Dr. Holthouse mentioned some well-known foods that have been known to dramatically reduce inflammation and assist patients in inflammation control. Examples include garlic, pomegranate and a Japanese seaweed called wakame. Our diets directly impact the level of inflammation in our bodies which is why it's so important to have well-balanced meals and eat organically. Our bodies were not designed to eat processed foods, and rebooting the diet is the first step to reducing inflammation. Although the distinction is blurry, Dr. Holthouse still identified how to assess each topic on its own to understand and reverse the individual diseases.
Vascular Biology concentrates on how to reverse fatty streaks and the hardening in arteries by looking at all inflammation and plaque that leads to CVD. Conventional medicine only looks at traditional risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Studies are now clear we need to also look at inflammation when classifying an individual's risks for heart disease. Functional Medicine, and Dr. Holthouse's teachings, concentrate on identifying the disease at a stage that can be dealt with at a non-surgical level and has the opportunity to be reversed.
Dr. Holthouse's specialized topics brought to the Loma Linda medical students' attention the importance of identifying the root cause of the disease, and evaluating levels of inflammation present in the patient. Inflammation is a core cause of disease, and to have any chance at reversal the inflammation needs to be identified and controlled.
One thing we know is that providing the medical students with information beyond the conventional medicine teachings helps opent their minds to other possibilities in medicine.

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