“We can now take a systems biology approach to diseases like type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and cancers of the breast, colon and prostate,” said Dr. Bland, who is internationally known for his research into the science of nutrigenomics—how genes are effected by nutrition. ”We have the science to turn back the clock and prevent, even reverse, certain chronic illnesses with appropriate lifestyle changes. This capability will change the focus of medicine from treating acute illness to preventing chronic disease and promoting health.”
His talk explored the convergence of recent discoveries in medicine from molecular and cellular biology, physiology, environmental science, clinical medicine, information science, systems biology, nutritional biochemistry, pharmacology and the traditional healing arts to shape an understanding of where medicine is going, who will be its practitioners, how it will be delivered and who will pay for it.
As an example of the chronic illness epidemic in the U.S. today, nearly a third of adult Americans have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and many other chronic diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that two-thirds of adults with high cholesterol and half of those with high blood pressure are not being treated effectively for these conditions. Therefore, a new solution is needed to overcome America’s epidemic of chronic illness. That solution is a lifestyle medicine approach, helping people to change their lifestyles to lower their risk factors and to better manage or avoid chronic disease.