Friday, June 22, 2012

Keynote Presentations at AANP Convention

By Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO
Chair, AANP Conference Speaker Committee

Something unique is about to occur at this year’s AANP convention in Bellevue, Washington.  A number of the keynote speakers have presentations that revolve around and attempt to inform a common theme, the question of how our medicine works.  To my knowledge this has never been attempted at our conferences before. 
Actually William Mitchell, ND, spoke at length about the vis medicatrix naturae but this is going to be different because we are trying to understand and explain our medicine in the context of modern science. I have been asked to write briefly about these presentations and how they will tie together, so that’s what I will attempt here.
Valter Longo, PhD, from the University of Southern California, is going to review his research on fasting and cancer chemotherapy.  Fasting triggers an adaptive response that reduces the damage chemotherapy causes in healthy cells while increasing the cytotoxic impact it has on cancer cells.  While Longo’s results are of great interest to those of us who work with cancer patients, the concept of adaptive response is of interest to all of us.  This same adaptive response triggered by fasting underlies many of the traditional nature cures our profession has long endorsed. 
Robert Rountree, MD, is going to lecture on hormesis and how this applies to the action of many of the modern phytochemicals we use in practice.  Hormesis is the idea that small amounts of seemingly toxic substances can have the opposite effect, triggering an adaptive response that benefits the organism rather than harming it. 
Dana Ullman is going to take this idea of hormesis a step further and apply it to homeopathy.  Could homeopathy be another example of hormetic action used to elicit an adaptive response, just using smaller and weaker triggers?   Dana tells me he is ready to try. 
These three presentations focus on triggering an adaptive response by either stressing the organism or pretending to stress it in order to elicit a healing response.  There is another approach we employ in our practices that is the opposite.
More and more what we try to do is to remove stress and the resulting absence of stress allows restoration of health.  We have two presentations that examine this approach.  David Katz, MD, of the Yale School of Public Health will focus on basic lifestyle modifications.  Getting a patient to stop smoking or lose weight reduces the physical stress on their body.  Our own Lise Alschuler, ND, will speak on the effects of emotional stress and its impact on health and, in particular, on cancer.
We have two additional keynote speakers scheduled.  Dave Macallan, ND, is what I would describe as a serious “talker.”  A one time BBC correspondent, Dr. Macallan will help us define naturopathy to the public. 
Our last speaker is Clemont Bezold who is a part of a unique profession. He is a Futurist and will describe the potential future of naturopathic medicine.

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