Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Emerging “New” Healthcare Specialty?

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 (, IABDM (, IAOMT (, and AAEM (  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 M. D. 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 served as president of ICIM and as the first physician president of 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), Texas.  DIAL 1-800-FIX-PAIN.

Friday, April 7, 2017

ICIM's Presidential History

Charles Adams MD 2016 – present
Ronald Casselberry MD 2012 - 2016
Robban Sica MD 2008 - 2012
Terry Chappell MD 2003 - 2008
Don't misunderstand - we're not out to be the biggest organization of our kind, but the best.  We've listened carefully to what members of our community need and want.  We've found today's health professionals are struggling with escalating conference costs, finding it difficult to decide which conferences are really  worth attending, and which associations will give them the biggest 'bang for the buck'.  No question - it's going to be us.
Arthur Weisser DO 2002
Al Scarchilli DO 2001 – changed organization’s name to International College of Integrative Medicine
Tammy Born DO 2000
I believe we have been given special insight into the practice of medicine and with that insight comes increased responsibilities.  “To whom much is given, much is required”—applies to us.  Remember to use your talents and insights for the good of your patients and for the momentum of our mission.  We are here to make a difference and we shouldn’t be complacent. 
William D Mitchell 1999
Leo Modzinski, D.O. 1998 
John Wilson MD 1997
William Mauer DO 1996
The comradeship experienced during the Great Lakes meeting is extraordinary.  Here is a group of physicians sitting, hour after hour, listening to lectures and when the end of the day comes, gathering around various speakers or in groups of each other to converse and review what had been presented that day.  A far cry from most medical meetings when the choice of a restaurant for the evening becomes the main topic. 
John Parks Trowbridge MD 1995
Here’s the best thing of all, for GLACM:  our membership ranks could swell with new dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists, naturopaths, pharmacists, Ph.D. “doctors” and others who would finally find a home with allopathic and osteopathic physicians who value their input enough to embrace them as organizational colleagues.  That means more membership and meeting monies, bigger projects that we could sponsor, more impact we could make. 
James Ventresco, Jr., D.O.  1994
Our organization grows not only in number, but also in stature.  I believe this is a direct result of the purpose and direction of this organization has chosen –to search for ‘truths’ in their everyday practice.  Many of these treatments fly in the face of orthodox medicine, but we are happy to use them, and our patients are most grateful, for one simple reason – ‘They Work’.
Ted Rozema MD 1993
The Great Lakes Association of Clinical Medicine has made great strides in the past few years by petitioning the NIH and receiving certification to do Institutional Board Reviews of well thought out, scientifically designed research projects.  It is one thing to be a clinical observer within one’s office and know that a particular therapy is beneficial but is another thing to fit within the accepted scientific community and demonstrate with statistical methodology to our usually unbelieving fellow “docs” that what we are doing works and why.  It comes to my attention that if we work within the system we have greater credibility and are better able to achieve our goals than running amuck and doing things only because we think we should be. 
Paul Parente MD 1992
Art Koch 1991
John Baron MD 1990
Terry Chappell MD 1989
Grant Born 1988
James Nutt DO 1987
Al Scarchilli DO 1986
1n 1985 Dr. Conrad Maulfair Jr.  wrote that when doctors come together, there is more safety. Physicians feel more courage to do integrative therapies (such as chelation). If more physicians are doing integrative therapies, there are more satisfied patients to spread the word.  This increases public awareness of these therapies and makes it more difficult for critics and adversaries to eliminate this healing work members are doing.  More people performing studies and observations in their clinical practices create support for physicians in small towns who feel opposition from local colleagues.  Medical Associations that focus on Integrative Medicine help small town physicians gather strength and practice what they believe and what they have seen work to help their patients.
Our founding members saw a need for an organization to help inform and encourage each other. They explored controversial issues.  They created a legal support group of members who had successfully fought off attack by regulatory agencies.
Jack Slingluff DO was our first president in 1983

As early as 1975, Dr. Jim Nutt held office practice seminars, and Dr. Hoekstra (Senior) would hold meetings that were educational and informative and not designed to be commercial. They merged together and the nucleus of a new group was formed.  Most of the doctors were at that time from Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.  Most of the doctors were only a couple of hundred miles apart and could meet to speak together in an open forum in which they all learned and everyone contributed.  They were called GLACM (Great Lakes Association of Clinical Medicine), GLCCM (Great Lakes College of Clinical Medicine, Inc.), and now ICIM (International College of Integrative Medicine).

Friday, November 4, 2016

More Toronto learning

Toronto Marriott

Speakers and Guests in Toronto

Toronto, Fall 2016

What is so international about International College of Integrative Medicine?
I asked that question when I started working here 10 years ago. The answer I got went something like this: we may not have a lot of international members, but we pursue therapies and thought processes that are beyond a country of origin. We think internationally.  I have seen that play out as ICIM has consistently brought speakers to our meetings from across the globe. Members and friends from Japan, Denmark, Ecuador, Turkey, Germany, Greece, England, France, Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, India, Cuba, and The Netherlands have graced our meetings. Board member Simon Yu has a strong desire to see ICIM grow beyond our borders. In Chicago, he introduced a new international scholarship, a large donation to ICIM for the purpose of off-setting costs so that more people from countries outside the US can be with us. We will maintain that scholarship into the future, and we welcome additional donations to keep it growing strong.

Our community has enjoyed retreats in Mexico and Costa Rica. In September 2016 we’ll meet in Toronto, one of the most “international” cities in the world. Our long term planning team has sights set on Cuba sometime in the near future. We are nurturing relationships with new integrative medicine associations in Canada, Turkey and Nigeria. We look forward to having the honor of affiliating beyond our borders for many years to come. -