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Web-like Connections of Physiological Factors
People do not get sick from diseases, but rather diseases reflect a disruption in the dynamic balance between themselves and their environment. This understanding of a simply truth can really free one’s mind from the chain’s of disease diagnosis.
Fundamental to Functional Medicine is a profound awareness of web-like interactions among all systems. These interactions that have been artificially singularized by system of medicine we have today that is fixated on coming up with a diagnosis or some title we can blame complaints on.
The greatest crisis facing us is a crisis in the organization and accessibility of human knowledge. We own an enormous ‘encyclopedia’ which isn’t even arranged alphabetically. Our ‘file cards’ are spilled on the floor. The answers we want may be buried in the heap.
Three key notions, first articulated by Leo Galland, MD, help illustrate and organize the web-like thinking that is essential to the success of the application of the Balance Protocol.
The “Antecedents” (things that predispose) of our patients’ dysfunction rest within their biological terrain and genetic susceptibilities. The patient’s dynamic balance has constant perturbations that require adaptation. However, sometimes a force of change such as allergens, xenobiotics, drugs, endotoxins, and emotional stress are strong enough to create a dysfunctional response; these forces are referred to as “Triggers”. The patient’s response to a trigger consists of complex, web-like effects on the biologic system known as “Mediators”. For example, cytokines, prostanoids, leukotrienes, and lipid peroxides are mediators that cause an inflammatory response.
As futuristic as it may seem, the next step in diagnosis and treatment protocols can incorporate an assessment of the unique risk factors present by virtue of the patient’s DNA interacting with the end-products of his or her lifestyle, diet, environment, and thoughts.
For example, we know that the byproducts of tobacco smoke interact with cellular gene structures in the lungs to induce translational molecules. The presence or absence of these molecules affects the detoxifying function of patients’ liver cells. In turn, these cells arbitrate the development of breast cancer. The research regarding the polymorphic expression of inherited detoxification capabilities helps explain contradictions regarding the connection between smoking and breast cancer. The phenotypic expression of breast cancer is controlled by the genetic susceptibility of the patient experiencing the tobacco smoke, which helps define this susceptibility.