An Expanding Iceberg

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The American Academy of Environmental Medicine's call for papers for an upcoming conference presents an outstanding exposé on the prevalence of environmental illness. The following article, subtitled "Special Focus on Molds, Chronic Infections, Endocrine Disruptors, and Foods," appears on the homepage of AAEM, along with a search option for those looking for an environmentally minded physician.

The widespread adverse health effects from 9/11/01 and Hurricane Katrina have greatly increased the public's awareness that serious health consequences can result from exposures to molds, toxic chemicals, and other environmental substances. However, the health consequences from these two events are merely the tip of a rapidly expanding iceberg.

A large, growing, and persuasive body of scientific evidence has documented that, in a growing segment of our population, a rapidly increasing and complex toxic body burden is contributing to an increasing variety of multi-system, chronic, and debilitating conditions and diseases. The resultant adverse and expensive impacts on the quality of life in these patients are reaching alarming proportions. It is therefore imperative that these insights be widely disseminated throughout the health care system and that focused attention be given to improving the accurate diagnosis and effective treatments for these types of illnesses.

Diagnostic tools must effectively address the diversity of conditions that can result from these contributors. They must also assess the status of affected organ functions, individual body burdens and susceptibilities to specific exposures, and must allow monitoring of the success of treatment. Treatment must address the actual causes: effective removal of toxicant burdens, optimizing the individual's organ system functions, detoxication pathways and state of nutrition, and accommodating individually specific detoxication genes of biotransformation where applicable. Prevention must focus on the early recognition of the causes of various conditions, cleaning up the environment and diet, and optimizing nutritional status.

This cause-oriented and preventive strategy is the approach of Environmental Medicine. It offers the most effective and cost effective approach to restoring and maintaining the long-term health of those patients whose chronic illnesses are contributed to by molds, chronic infections, endocrine disruptors, foods, and other environmental factors, including chemicals.

1. To address the day to day management of the complex patients with common illnesses contributed to by molds, chronic infections, endocrine disruptors, foods, and other environmental factors

2. To focus on clinical insights, diagnostic and treatment modalities, and clinical algorithms and protocols to help the health care professional provide the most effective health outcomes for these patients

At the end of this educational activity, the attendee should be able to:

· Discuss the range of many common illnesses contributed to by molds, chronic infections, endocrine disruptors, foods, and other environmental factors such as chemicals, cared for by many different health care specialties.

· Understand the nature of the complex biologic mechanisms and principles that govern the manifestations and course of these illnesses.

· Utilize practical diagnosis and treatment options and guidelines that physicians and other healthcare professionals can implement to improve the long-term outcomes for these patients.

· Appreciate how the techniques and concepts of Environmental Medicine can improve the effectiveness of health care and simultaneously lower its long-term cost.

The entire article can be viewed here.