By John Parks Trowbridge M. D., FACAM
Just like birth of an island as a volcano spews forth from the depths, birth of specialty can go unnoticed until suddenly “it’s there.” In 1819, Laennec developed the stethoscope – physicians took dozens of years to adopt it as a useful tool. Holland physiologist Willem Einthoven developed the electrocardiogram (EKG) in 1903 and tireless efforts of Paul Dudley White finally led to its acceptance in American medical practice. Cardiology emerged as a specialty in the 1930s and finally the American College of Cardiology (ACC) was formed in 1949 for clinical cardiologists. Their leading light, Paul Dudley White, was a founder of the American Heart Association in 1924. In 1959, he described the fledgling ACC thusly: “[It] was at the beginning, of course, a miserable organization but I can well see that perhaps … it is headed for better days.” Now more American physicians specialize in cardiology (32,000) than in any other clinical non-primary care nonsurgical discipline.
“Allopathic” training embraces drugs and surgery “against disease.” What about promoting healing? That’s an entirely different technology. A groundbreaking conference welcomed hundreds of “doctors” to Savannah, Georgia, in March 2017 might portend an emerging specialty … “Human Health.”
Four major societies in integrative healthcare met jointly to discuss “The Roots of Toxicity” and all were puzzled: was this a “dental” meeting or a “medical” one? Attendees were hard-pressed to decide!
The International College of Integrative Medicine (ICIM), the International Academy of Biological Medicine and Dentistry (IABDM), the American Wholistic Medical Association (AWMA), and the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) swept aside any “differences” and convened to share common science presented by stellar speakers. Leaving for home, attendees shared a deep realization that “whole-person healthcare” is emerging as an inescapable reality in practice.
General sessions featured speakers who integrated pathophysiology findings in dentistry and medicine … in every lecture. Joseph Hickey, M.D., presented “Environmental Toxins and their Relationship to Cardiovascular Disease, Dementia, Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Fibromyalgia” – and, of course, dental mercury remains a major toxic exposure. Michael Gerber, M.D., shared practical techniques for “Removing Metabolic and Environmental Toxins.”
Confirming our long understanding that the gut plays a central role in maintaining health or fostering illness, David Quig, Ph.D., reviewed recent discoveries of “Intestinal Barriers – Regulation and Clinical Implications of Breaches in the Host’s Multilayered Defense System.” Beyond sugars and dental hygiene practices, provocative research presented by Ken Southward, D.D.S., revealed a well-confirmed “Systemic Theory of Causation of Dental Decay and the Role of Vitamin K2.” (Hint: your teeth have a vital circulatory system!)
While university academics have puzzled for years over the definite association of gingivitis and coronary artery disease, they have been hauling around the answers … literally … in their jaw! Acclaimed cardiologist Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D., reviewed extensive research confirming the role of bacteria: “Apical Peridontosis, Heart Attacks, and Chronic Disease – The Hidden Epidemic.” His book documenting these findings will soon join his other best-sellers. These relationships were confirmed by other avenues of inquiry presented by David Minkoff, M.D., in a splendid lecture, “Occult Dental Pathology as a Cause of Systemic Illness”
Those of us who attempt to lead a “clean life” and minimize noxious exposures still need to remove toxic metals accumulating daily from our environment. Emeritus professor and chair of chemistry Boyd Haley, Ph.D. summarized options in “An Evaluation of Heavy Metal Chelation by Various Commercially Available Compounds.” (His safe and superbly effective chelator, NBMI, is crawling its way through the regulatory approval process to become available again.) Taking a slightly different tack, noted author and expert David Brownstein, M.D., showed data to reduce cancer incidence and deaths by complementing reduction of toxic metals with addition of daily “Iodine: The Universal Anti-Cancer Agent.” Anju Usman, M.D., reinforced our understanding of distortion of the gut microbiome (anybody say … “indiscriminate antibiotics”? “ignorance of probiotics”?) when “Addressing SiBO/Biofilms in Patients with Chronic Illnesses and Autism.”
Break-out presentations offered broad-ranging reviews that further integrated relationships of dental and medical conditions: Ellie Campbell, D.O., “Emerging Evidence for Oral Health in CVD Prevention”; Felix Liao, D.D.S., “Airway Diagnosis in Functional Medicine and Biological Dentistry” (check his new book, Six Foot Tiger in a Three Foot Cage); Phil Mollica, M.S., D.M.D., N.M.D., “Novel Treatment for Osteonecrosis and Associated Infection of the Jaw”; Valerie Kanter, D.M.D., M.S., “Regenerative Endodontics: The Fountain of Youth for a Dying Tooth”; Charles Adams, M.D., “IASIS Neuro Feedback/IASIS Micro-Neural Stimulation”; John Parks Trowbridge, M.D., “Myths and Truths about Detoxification of Mercury in Tissues”; Walter “Jess” Clifford, M.S., “Video Micrography of the Effects of Implantable Components on Viable Cells”; Alexander Mostovoy, H.D., “Thermography: Effective Early Detection of Oral Pathology”; Jessica Tran, N.D., Darin Ingels, N.D., and James Willoughby, D.O., offered 3 lectures dealing with an “Overview of Immunotherapy: Hormones and Neurotransmitters - Metals and Molds - Food and Inhalants.”
What can we learn from this groundbreaking meeting? Understanding human illness – diagnosis and treatment – must acknowledge the contributions from all aspects of all organ functions and dysfunctions. Mere acknowledgment, however, is just a shadow of what is needed: specialists in body function, teeth and gums and jaw and the remaining body “parts,” must learn about the perspectives and services offered by the others, so appropriate referrals can be made. I explain to patients “The Spider Web Theory of Medicine”: pull on one part of the web and the whole web jiggles. Further, a table or chair has 4 legs … fixing only 3 of them still leaves dysfunctional furniture.
The onus on EACH of us in biological dentistry and integrative medicine is to reach out and learn from each other, so that ALL patients can benefit. Toxicity from mercury amalgams and root canals is obvious; less apparent are the apical infections that actually cause or complicate serious chronic “body” diseases. Usually we’re talking about bacteria – but the oral involvements of yeast and fungi are emerging topics ripe for investigation and treatment!
The essential body of knowledge that defines an area of “practice specialization” is referred to as the core competencies for that specialty. These are developed through review of the literature and contributions from recognized experts. Beginning with Savannah, we have taken a tentative first step on the serpentine path to a future core competency document.
So ….. does the provisional convergence by these leading organizations foretell an emerging specialty of “Human Health”? Only time will tell, but remember that all attendees struggled to determine whether they were at their dental conference … or their medical one.
Now is the time for you to act: today, become a member of ICIM (icimed.com), IABDM (iabdm.org), IAOMT (iaomt.org), and AAEM (aaemonline.org). Yes, “and”! Why limit your perspectives when similar-thinking specialists are excited to exchange viewpoints with you? Get registered and make your travel plans right now for the fall conference that each of these societies is offering.
John Parks Trowbridge MD has long been regarded for his incisive thought and broad perspectives. Recognized as a Fellow of the American College for Advancement in Medicine in 1990 and honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the International College of Integrative Medicine in 2014. He has lectured around the world on integrative medicine topics and is listed in over 5 dozen volumes of Who’s Who. Full disclosure: He has served as president of ICIM and as the first physician president of the IABDM. Coming soon will be the flagship volume (on heart disease) in his new Doubt Your Doctor™ book series. He maintains an active office practice in Humble (Houston), TX:1-800-FIX-PAIN; www.healthCHOICESnow.com.