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Person-Centered versus Disease-Centered

The individual—not the disease—is the target of treatment. The Balance Protocol views disease not as an enemy (not even as an independent reality) with which to grapple, but as a manifestation of the breakdown of mechanisms that maintain control, resilience, and balance. Dysfunction and disease are rarely organ-specific. Rather, they are an altered systemic physiological malfunction that requires an integrated model of therapeutic intervention.

The Balance Protocol focuses on the interaction between the person and his or her internal and external environment and the processes that can go awry in this relationship. Findings in molecular medicine research have caused a revolution based on the discovery that modifiers of gene expression are not only produced inside the body by different organs, they also exist as agents of change within the diet and environment.

The patient-centered biographic model is a key feature of Functional Medicine. An early spokesman for this concept was Leo Galland, MD, who wrote:

“Disease is a dynamic event in the life of an individual, determined by disharmonies, imbalances and pernicious influences. The goal of diagnosis is not to identify the disease entity, which has no independent reality, but to characterize the disharmonies of the particular case, so that they can be corrected.”

This approach to diagnosis emphasizes the functional pathogenesis of disease in individual patients. It may complement or replace the convention of differential diagnosis, in which diseases are treated as distinct entities existing independently of the patients they inhabit. Patient-centered diagnosis focuses on knowing the mediators, triggers, and antecedents of disease in each individual patient.