Author Topic: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?  (Read 580 times)

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Offline Billzbub

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Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« on: July 11, 2019, 03:33:16 PM »
Okay peeps, I need your help.  One of my daughters in her 20s has had gut issues for several years now.  She's been to a few doctors and been told she has IBS.  She would rather not have it, and she's not convinced that the doctors she has seen are up to date on the latest cutting-edge treatments and is looking for the best care she can get.

She's done some research online and found Richard Donahue MD, MPH running a place called Personal Health MD in Boston where she lives.  Here's a relevant quote from their web site https://www.personalhealthmd.com (the Functional Medicine tab)

Quote
Functional Integrative Medicine
At Personal Health MD we foresee the cutting edge of 21st Century medicine being a marriage between the best of modern Western Medicine and the best of emerging Functional Integrative Medicine as a way to promote health and longevity. While Conventional medicine, with its ongoing scientific breakthroughs can be life saving for life threatening diseases, Functional Integrative Medicine better fine tunes your health by treating the origin of a symptom, the upstream biochemical imbalance that will result in a disease.

For Example, Treating IBS
By measuring immune sensitivities to food, gut bacteria DNA biome analysis, hidden parasitic or yeast growth, digestion and absorption markers, plus gut inflammatory markers, we can address the origins of IBS in ways that conventional medical tests cannot. Recommended treatments include more natural strategies such as using targeted nutrition as medicine and targeted supplements or probiotics as medicine to treat imbalances in small intestine cellular function, gut bacteria, and nutrient malabsorption

The terms "Functional Integrative Medicine", "targeted supplements" and "probiotics" immediately sets off warning alarms for us skeptics.  However, when I read through the web site, it sounds like what they mean in this case is that they start with modern medicine to diagnose what is wrong, and then they use modern medicine and procedures in combination with dietary changes to fix the problem.  I know, I know, this is how they suck you in.

Now my daughter is somewhat (not totally) of a skeptic.  She understands that clinics just like this exist just to bilk people out of thousands of dollars, relying on natural healing over time to make people think what they are doing is working.  She is going in with a skeptical mindset, but she's also hopeful that they will be able to prove that they are the real deal.  She called me for advice on what to ask at the meeting.

I told her all of my concerns about probiotics, integrative medicine, and what not, and she understands what I am saying.  However, as she points out, this guy is an actual medical doctor and is not putting down conventional medicine.  Maybe he actually does know what he is doing.

So, I told her to mention that probiotics have been shown to have very little effect on actually changing the self-reinforcing stasis of gut biota, so how does his treatment work?  I told her to make it clear to him that she knows the difference between anecdotes and evidence, and that she's looking for actual proof that the treatments he is using are effective.  I told her to ask him if he works with any colleagues in the medical community that can vouch for him so we can look them up and see if they are crackpots.

My questions for all of you nice, smart people are:
- What have you heard of this guy or his practice?
- What other questions should she ask at a 45 minute appointment?
- What other options does she have for chronic IBS treatment (this place charges $7000 per year, and for that much she can fly anywhere in the world a few times to see leading specialists)?

I'm heading over to Google to start researching it myself.  Thanks!
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2019, 04:26:52 PM »
I had gut issues and IBS my entire adult life until I went LCHF. I haven’t had a hint of IBS since. And I had the nasty kind.

There are studies on pub med that show the effectiveness of LCHF  diet for IBS.

Since it is a digestion issue it makes sense that dietary changes could effect it.


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I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Offline lonely moa

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2019, 04:27:53 PM »
I think those clinics staffed by board certified MD are everywhere and they get results, partly because they spend more time discover underlying causes.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2019, 04:54:47 PM »
The term "Integrative Medicine" is a code word for "alternative medicine" to make it sound like they're using real medicine also. Combining quack remedies with real medicine does not make the real medicine work any better.  I know nothing about this doctor, but I think you're doing the right thing by priming your daughter with the right questions to ask. These quacks make their living preying on people for whom real medicine has failed, and who are willing to spend money trying fake medicine because they are desperate. I certainly understand the motivation. I went to a chiropractor once because I was so desperate for relief of my back pain. The treatment felt good, but 5 minutes later my back hurt as much as when I went in. On another occasion when I had back pain I again was desperate enough to call a chiropractor. He couldn't fit me in until the following week, by which time my back had gotten better on its own. If he had had time to fit me in, I might have credited him with fixing my back.

Just because a person has a medical degree doesn't mean they're not a quack. Wakefield was a doctor.

I wish your daughter the best of luck.

Probably couldn't hurt to see if the Science-Based Medicine blog has anything on IBS, but I'm sure you've done that already.
Daniel
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2019, 05:58:40 PM »
The term "Integrative Medicine" is a code word for "alternative medicine" to make it sound like they're using real medicine also. Combining quack remedies with real medicine does not make the real medicine work any better.  I know nothing about this doctor, but I think you're doing the right thing by priming your daughter with the right questions to ask. These quacks make their living preying on people for whom real medicine has failed, and who are willing to spend money trying fake medicine because they are desperate. I certainly understand the motivation. I went to a chiropractor once because I was so desperate for relief of my back pain. The treatment felt good, but 5 minutes later my back hurt as much as when I went in. On another occasion when I had back pain I again was desperate enough to call a chiropractor. He couldn't fit me in until the following week, by which time my back had gotten better on its own. If he had had time to fit me in, I might have credited him with fixing my back.

You seem to be saying it's either mainstream medicine or quackery and there is nothing in between.

and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Offline Billzbub

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2019, 06:14:38 PM »
The term "Integrative Medicine" is a code word for "alternative medicine" to make it sound like they're using real medicine also. Combining quack remedies with real medicine does not make the real medicine work any better.  I know nothing about this doctor, but I think you're doing the right thing by priming your daughter with the right questions to ask. These quacks make their living preying on people for whom real medicine has failed, and who are willing to spend money trying fake medicine because they are desperate. I certainly understand the motivation. I went to a chiropractor once because I was so desperate for relief of my back pain. The treatment felt good, but 5 minutes later my back hurt as much as when I went in. On another occasion when I had back pain I again was desperate enough to call a chiropractor. He couldn't fit me in until the following week, by which time my back had gotten better on its own. If he had had time to fit me in, I might have credited him with fixing my back.

Just because a person has a medical degree doesn't mean they're not a quack. Wakefield was a doctor.

I wish your daughter the best of luck.

Probably couldn't hurt to see if the Science-Based Medicine blog has anything on IBS, but I'm sure you've done that already.

I hadn't thought of that yet.  Good idea.  Thanks for the response.
Quote from: Steven Novella
gleefully altering one’s beliefs to accommodate new information should be a badge of honor

Online arthwollipot

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2019, 09:00:46 PM »
I had gut issues and IBS my entire adult life until I went LCHF. I haven’t had a hint of IBS since. And I had the nasty kind.

There are studies on pub med that show the effectiveness of LCHF  diet for IBS.

Since it is a digestion issue it makes sense that dietary changes could effect it.

Okay, hands up anyone who did not predict that CarbShark would come here and say this. Anyone?
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2019, 10:23:34 PM »
Considering that I’ve mentioned IBS and LCHF before what would you expect?


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and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Offline CarbShark

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2019, 10:24:32 PM »
I had gut issues and IBS my entire adult life until I went LCHF. I haven’t had a hint of IBS since. And I had the nasty kind.

There are studies on pub med that show the effectiveness of LCHF  diet for IBS.

Since it is a digestion issue it makes sense that dietary changes could effect it.

Okay, hands up anyone who did not predict that CarbShark would come here and say this. Anyone?
And what was your contribution to the thread?


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and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Offline bachfiend

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2019, 12:43:36 AM »
I had gut issues and IBS my entire adult life until I went LCHF. I haven’t had a hint of IBS since. And I had the nasty kind.

There are studies on pub med that show the effectiveness of LCHF  diet for IBS.

Since it is a digestion issue it makes sense that dietary changes could effect it.


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Why none of your usual block dump of links to journal articles?  And aren’t you just giving an anecdote, which you decry as being inadequate whenever anyone else mentions when it’s contrary to your diet?
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2019, 11:00:27 AM »
The term "Integrative Medicine" is a code word for "alternative medicine" to make it sound like they're using real medicine also. Combining quack remedies with real medicine does not make the real medicine work any better.  I know nothing about this doctor, but I think you're doing the right thing by priming your daughter with the right questions to ask. These quacks make their living preying on people for whom real medicine has failed, and who are willing to spend money trying fake medicine because they are desperate. I certainly understand the motivation. I went to a chiropractor once because I was so desperate for relief of my back pain. The treatment felt good, but 5 minutes later my back hurt as much as when I went in. On another occasion when I had back pain I again was desperate enough to call a chiropractor. He couldn't fit me in until the following week, by which time my back had gotten better on its own. If he had had time to fit me in, I might have credited him with fixing my back.

You seem to be saying it's either mainstream medicine or quackery and there is nothing in between.

No. I'm saying that quackery does not become less quacky when combined with real medicine. And I'm saying that adding a quack remedy on top of real medicine does not make the real medicine work any better. And I'm saying that "integrative medicine" is just a new word for quackery, just as "intelligent design" was a new word for creationism. When they started losing the fight to put creationism into science classes, they changed its name to "intelligent design" to make it seem more sciencey. The quacks peddling "alternative medicine" are trying to slither their way into the medical profession by calling it "integrative."
Daniel
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Offline AQB24712

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2019, 02:17:55 PM »
Administrator Comment Lay off CarbShark (also lay off, CarbShark) and focus on the topic at hand, please and thank you.
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2019, 04:47:16 PM »
Administrator Comment Lay off CarbShark (also lay off, CarbShark) and focus on the topic at hand, please and thank you.

Well, the topic at hand is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and its treatment, so not even CarbShark has gone off topic.  IBS is a syndrome, not a disease like Crohn’s disease or coeliac disease.  A syndrome is broadly speaking a constellation of signs and symptoms.  IBS doesn’t even appear to be a single condition:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irritable_bowel_syndrome

Some people have diarrhoea.  Some have constipation.  Some have alternating constipation and diarrhoea.  Some have abdominal pain.  All in the absence of a recognisable disease.  Some people have noticed that dietary manipulation by eliminating fermentable carbohydrates from their diets improve their symptoms.

CarbShark might have gained relief by eliminating fermentable carbohydrates from his diet (along with other carbohydrates), not because of a high fat intake.  Or his nutritional ketosis.
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2019, 06:06:36 PM »
Most likely from the food choices.

When I first looked on pub med years ago LCHF was the only dietary option that had been found effective.

In the last few years other diets, especially  FODMAP, have also shown good results.

Even though symptoms for IBS can differ, it’s the same issue and most respond to the same treatments.


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and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.

Offline bachfiend

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Re: Personal Health MD - mainstream meets functional?
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2019, 06:33:29 PM »
Most likely from the food choices.

When I first looked on pub med years ago LCHF was the only dietary option that had been found effective.

In the last few years other diets, especially  FODMAP, have also shown good results.

Even though symptoms for IBS can differ, it’s the same issue and most respond to the same treatments.


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IBS is a set of conditions without a recognisable disease, such as coeliac disease.  Or inflammatory bowel disease.  It’s a diagnosis of exclusion.  It’s pretty obvious that what you take in through your mouth is going to affect what comes out the other end.  If you get symptoms consuming one particularly food, or type of food, then it makes sense to avoid it.  I know from experience that one of my no-noes is oatmeal, despite my loving bircher muesli.  I have to restrict to only an occasional treat, otherwise...  could I have IBS?  I don’t know.
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