The first thing that probably comes to your mind is how could one doctor specialize in all of these conditions? The answer is simple, I don’t treat these conditions. I search for and treat the causes of many of these problems. You have probably been seeing doctors for years who have been treating the symptoms and where has it gotten you? I have been uniquely trained to look at your history and lifestyle, examine you functionally, run extensive blood, urine, stool & saliva testing and create treatment plans designed to attack the cause of your complaints and turn things around.
I use a science-based model of healthcare that approaches the body from a radically different perspective. This model understands that the brain and organ systems of the body work together in synchronicity with the environment to maintain health and have tremendous influence over each other in subtle but complex interrelationships. An imbalance in any of these areas can lead to health problems or disease. This is science-based medicine, not “alternative” medicine. It incorporates the most recent scientific literature of physiological and pathological processes into its model of clinical care.
Our understanding of the human body is always advancing and evolving. There are always advances in the literature with regard to biophysics, neurology, endocrinology, physiology, nutrition, immunology and genetics pointing to new ways of looking at and understanding health and the risk of developing disease.
We strive to stay current by reading and studying research articles every week!
Hashimoto’s / Hypothyroidism
Having a low functioning thyroid gland can not only be frustrating and cause many symptoms, it can have far reaching negative effects on the rest of your body.
Are you dealing with any of these?
- Chronic fatigue
- Weight Gain
- Poor Memory/confusion/brain fog
- Focus and concentration issues
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Cold hands/feet or cold intolerance
- Hair Loss
When we do a consultation, these are some of the things we can discuss:
- Why Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is really not a problem with your thyroid
- Why doctors do not run complete thyroid blood tests
- Why your Doctor says your lab values are normal when they really ARE NOT
- Why you are taking thyroid hormones and you still feel lousy
- Natural solutions to address your thyroid problems
Leaky Gut / Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common intestinal condition that is separate from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and is not related to other bowel conditions. Irritable bowel syndrome consists of several intestinal symptoms that generally occur together and can vary in severity and duration for each patient.
The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome often occur as a result of abnormal functioning between the nervous system and the muscles of the bowel. This abnormal regulation can cause irritation or sensitivity.
Those with irritable bowel syndrome may experience the following symptoms:
- A feeling of incomplete bowel movements or urgency
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Bloating and gas
- Changes in bowel movements including diarrhea and constipation
- Passage of mucous
It is not uncommon for patients to experience both constipation and diarrhea. Some patients do have continuous symptoms while others may seem less persistent. Women may experience more severe symptoms around or during menstruation and while pregnant.
There is no specific test for irritable bowel syndrome. However, after conducting a thorough physical examination, discussing your symptoms, and running additional testing, a diagnosis can be confirmed.
Mild to moderate cases of irritable bowel syndrome can often be managed through dietary changes. Your doctor may recommend avoiding meals that are high in fatty or fried foods and reducing your intake of caffeine, alcohol, and gas-producing foods. Eating more fiber from fruits and certain vegetables or taking fiber pills can help to relieve symptoms as well. For those with more moderate to severe cases, medication can be prescribed to help manage symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome but does not cure the condition.
For more information on irritable bowel syndrome or to schedule a consultation, please contact our office at (516) 231-4402.
Anxiety / Depression
These issues are NOT normal, but they are not diseases! They’re a sign that something is wrong inside and nobody has taken the time yet to figure it out.
Nobody did an MRI or blood test on you and said, “there it is…there is the depression.”
Your problems have been diagnosed by symptoms alone.
You are officially on the medication merry-go-round…trial and error hoping somethings helps with your symptoms. Meanwhile, you still feel down, lethargic, gaining weight and nothing changes. Sound familiar?
Don’t you wish someone had an answer for you?
We do extensive testing, looking at known causative and contributory factors in blood, urine, stool and genetic testing that helps to create a plan to attack the problem, not just treat the symptoms.
Autoimmune disease is exploding in America. At this point, these disorders are the third leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the industrialized world, surpassed only by cancer and heart disease.1 Approximately 8 percent of the United States population is affected which means about 24 million people. To provide a context to evaluate the impact of autoimmune diseases, cancer affects approximately 9 million people and heart disease affected approximately 22 million people in the United States. 2
Your immune system is a series of cells and chemical messengers that keep us safe from infection and help us with the healing process. It is highly sophisticated and was carefully designed to be able to recognize YOU from anything that is not you. We call it Self vs. Non-Self. These cells are like the Special Forces of your body, very deadly and highly trained. Bacteria, parasites, viruses and cancer cells are being destroyed constantly in your body by this silent assassin to keep you safe.
Unfortunately and for many different reasons, your immune system can be thrown out of balance and become dysregulated. No longer can it distinguish between Self and Non-Self and it starts to attack your body! Remember, this system was trained to fight relentlessly until its foe is completely gone. It can use special messengers to recruit more attackers all the time and your body is happy to supply them, thinking it is under attack. The problem is that you may have developed antibodies against your own thyroid, gastrointestinal tract or even brain! The type of tissue that is destroyed in this process determines the type of autoimmune disease. There are many different AI diseases that have been identified, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (SLE), Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis (UC), Type I Diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, scleroderma and celiac disease (CD). ‘Autoimmune diseases can affect virtually every site in the body. At least 15 diseases are known to be the direct result of an autoimmune response, and circumstantial evidence links more than 80 conditions to autoimmunity. 3
AI disease is usually progressive over time
There is no cure for most AI diseases. AI patients generally suffer more and more symptoms of tissue destruction over time. Conventional treatment is focused on suppressing the immune response and controlling symptoms but little is offered to the patient in regards to modulating the autoimmunity and avoiding triggers that cause flare-ups of the autoimmune response. As a result, AI conditions tend to cause more and more tissue destruction over time, eventually leading to severe tissue destruction and organ failure in many cases.
Most AI disease remains undiagnosed
“Collectively autoimmune diseases have been identified in about 24 million people in the U.S., and only 1/3 are diagnosed. That means about 72 million people have an AI disease. It’s not looked for. Our system waits until the signs and symptoms are severe enough with organ failure and irreversible damage before we identify it.” 4
Progression of Autoimmune Disease
Another thing we know about AI disease is that when people have antibodies against one known tissue type, there is likely other antibodies against other tissue as well. In other words, when a person is diagnosed with AI disease, they are at high risk of developing other autoimmune diseases during their lifetime. It is very rare that only one tissue type is targeted by the immune system. When we look at people with AI disease, they may have multiple types of tissue being targeted that have not yet been identified. For example, the literature shows people with thyroid autoimmune disease have over a 50% chance of being affected by another autoimmune disease. 5
There really is little hope in the conventional model of healthcare for patients with autoimmunity since the focus of treatment is suppression of the immune system. These immuno-suppressive agents come with significant adverse effects, including risk of various infections and inability to fight infection when needed.
As part of our multifaceted approach to treating the underlying issues, we use specific gut treatment, and immune modulating therapies. New research (5) has also shown the powerful impact that fasting can have on immune system modulation, so that is a part of TheOptimumU protocols as well.
- The Journal of Immunology, 2005, 175: 4119–4126.
- NIH. Autoimmune Diseases Coordinating Comm. Autoimmune Diseases Research Plan. 2006
- NAT CLIN PRAC GASTRO & HEP SEPT 2005 VOL 2 NO 9
- Jeffrey S. Bland, Ph.D.; Metagenics Educational Programs. 2006
- Nature Medicine 2015 https://www.nature.com/articles/nm.3804#auth-9
Migraine headaches are the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world affection 39 million Americans and 1 billion people globally. Migraine affects 18% of American women, 6% of men and 10% of children! It is most common between the ages of 25 and 55 and tends to run in families.
1.2 million ER visits annually are caused by acute migraine attacks and while most sufferers experience attacks 1-2 times per month, 4 million people have chronic daily headaches with at least 15 migraine days per month.
In childhood, boys suffer from migraine more often than girls, but in adulthood, migraine affects mostly women.
The question becomes, with such a huge number of people suffering from such a disabling condition, why can’t our medical system figure out a better approach? Migraine sufferers certainly do not have an Imitrex deficiency!
This is where the functional approach comes in. Look at the biochemistry, neurology, lifestyle and diet collectively gives us a unique appreciation for why this may be happening. Our programs of care have been incredibly effective for people suffering with migraines.
What is ADD/ADHD?
Is it a disease? A disorder? Or is it just a brain that isn’t working properly?
There is no medical testing (like MRI or blood tests) that can show that someone has ADD or ADHD. It is a diagnosis made based on history and symptom profile. It is a problem that can create really big problems for the patients that have it - both in school or work as well as in relationships and life in general.
But is it really an ‘attention deficit? Or is it an overactive attentional system? Is a child with this NOT attending to things or are they attending to EVERYTHING?
The brain is being bombarded with information and distractions all the time. We have a built in system that essentially screens this information for what is and isn’t important enough to make it to the conscious mind. For example, when a kid is playing baseball and his teammates are screaming in the dugout while he is up at bat, he is able to block out the noise and focus on the pitcher. The examples are endless. Someone with ADD/ADHD doesn’t have the ability to filter out the noise and their brain is attending to everything at the same time, with virtually equal curiosity it may seem. This is one presentation. When a teacher is speaking, a child could be thinking about what happened the night before, what the teacher is saying, the noise of the overhead fan and the kid next to them with equal fascination.
The question is usually not, what is happening with my child but rather, why does my child have this?
There are many possibilities that could include emotional causes like stress, previous traumatic events. Neurological causes like head trauma or developmental delay or functional disconnection syndrome. And, chemical causes like food or food color sensitivities, gastrointestinal dysfunction or even nutrient deficiencies.
The functional neurologist is best suited to help you answer the question of why and guide a treatment plan to help resolve these symptoms.
The balance system in the body is called the vestibular system. It is a series of specialized nerve cells or receptors in the inner ear that connect to the brainstem. One of its main functions is to tell the brain where the head and body are in space at any given time. This very intricate system is always working because gravity is always at work on the body and the brain always needs to know where your head is in space.
For example, if you walked into an elevator and closed your eyes, you would know whether it was going up or down. If your eyes were closed and you were in a car, you would know whether or not it was moving AND if it was going forward or in reverse. These vestibular receptors are able to detect even the slightest movements.
Because of how sensitive this extensive neurological system is, it is vulnerable to infection and injury. Anything that interferes with how it works will create symptoms for one of two reasons; either the brain can’t understand where the head and body are, or the brain perceives movement that really isn’t happening. We describe these symptoms as vertigo, imbalance and dizziness. They are all slightly different but many people use the terms interchangeably.
When you have a vestibular problem, life can become very uncomfortable. The feeling of not knowing where you are in space, or spinning, or the world around you moving, or not being able to walk without falling to one side, or feeling faint when going from a seated to a standing position, or getting an intense vestibular migraine are all potentially life altering issues.
Unfortunately, this system declines with age (probably because adults don’t spend too much time on swings or doing tumbling or spinning activities to maintain a high level of function). That makes riding rollercoasters not nearly as fun at 60 years old as they were at 15 years old. This decline in function leads to increased risk of falls in the elderly as well.
Understanding the functionality of this system is critical to knowing how to handle a patient dealing with these issues. Of course many things can create these symptoms, but for the most part it is a functional problem that responds very well to an integrative rehabilitation approach.
Having Concussion (mTBI) Symptoms that don’t Go Away Is Scary and Stressful.
Concussion, a form of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), is a leading public health problem, with an estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million sport-related concussions each year in the United States. The majority of patients with sport-related concussion recover within a 7- to 10-day period. Persistence of symptoms beyond the generally accepted time frame for recovery may represent a prolonged concussion or may herald the development of post-concussion syndrome (PCS).
If you have been having symptoms for more than a few weeks, it is smart to be proactive. Research recommends initial cognitive rest, but you need to actively treat the problem at this point. It is a stressful time and you need answers. This is when you need to be working with someone who specializes in concussion rehabilitation.
As a Functional Neurologist, I regularly see post-concussion syndrome patients who are seeking answers and appropriate treatment. It’s essential that they have the proper testing done to evaluate all the potential areas of their brain that may be affected by the concussion. These areas are not limited to the cognitive areas of the brain tested by a neurocognitive test such as IMPACT, but also the areas that affect balance, equilibrium, blood flow to the brain itself and other vital functions. Very often a concussion sufferer will pass a neurocognitive test such as IMPACT, meaning the cognitive areas of the brain are functioning well, but they may still have serious deficits in other areas causing their symptoms. If a player goes back to play with these deficits and functioning at less than 100% there is a greater chance that they will get hurt again.
Head injuries that result in concussion often are associated with injury to the neck and spine. Joint dysfunction may further impair brain function, when the nerves in the neck that fire back to the brain are not working well. If necessary spinal therapies may include: Biomechanical Chiropractic care and Core Stability Exercises designed to correct a poorly aligned spine and to strengthen the muscles that support the structure of the spine.
The goal is to evaluate and examine the systems most commonly affected by the injury – eye movement system and balance system. Any irregularities in these areas will cause prolonged symptoms. We also need to see if your chemistry is impacting the brain in a negative way, so we do blood, urine and stool testing.
Once we understand what is happening, a treatment plan is created and we work to aggressively rehabilitate the body and brain to restore normal function.
Therapy regimens may include:
- Specific eye exercises based on the testing
- RPSS: Repetitive Peripheral Somatosensory Stimulus
- Vibration Therapy
- Proprioceptive stimulation
- Vestibular stimulation
- Balance Therapy
- Advanced muscle retraining
- Interactive Metronome
- Peripheral Stimulation of Cranial Nerves
- Therapeutic exercise
- Spinal adjustments
MTHFR / SNPs
MTHFR – this tiny gene mutation that can be a contributory factor in a wide variety of mental and physical issues in the human body. Many people seek my help when they find out they have this mutation because not many doctors even know about it yet. Usually, doctors only test for it when a woman has multiple miscarriages as the C677T mutation can be linked to increased risk for recurrent pregnancy loss.* Even when they find out about it, doctors usually prescribe high dose folic acid which is the exact OPPOSITE of what you should do! (I will explain further down the page)
The many problems associated with the MTHFR Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms [SNPs] are all very real. But, the MTHFR mutation is NOT the single cause of the various problems. The MTHFR Gene Mutations work in conjunction with other genes and environmental factors to cause a myriad of problems. The various problems associated with the MTHFR mutation[s] are POLYGENIC [caused by several genes] and multifactorial [caused by several environmental and internal biochemical disturbances].
The body’s inability to produce enough L-methyl folate [5-MTHF] is connected to a wide array of problems. Problems that may be aggravated by or associated with the decreased effectiveness of the enzyme MTHFR and insufficient L-Methyl Folate [5-MTHF] include:
- ADHD [Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder]
- Alzheimer’s Disease/ dementia [short term memory problems]
- Addictions: smoking, drugs, alcohol
- Bipolar Disorder [significant ups and downs of mood and or agitation/aggression]
- Blood clots …Pulmonary embolism and other blood clots
- Breast cancer
- CAD [Coronary Artery Disease]
- Chemical Sensitivity
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- CVA [Stroke] and MI [Myocardial Infarct/heart attack],Coronary Artery Disease [CAD]
- Decreased executive function [frontal lobe]…trouble making appropriate decisions [Judgement]
- Depression and anxiety
- Developmental delays and learning disabilities
- Elevated Homocysteine [toxicity]
- Lack of L-Methyl Folate
- Infertility [Male & female]
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Spontaneous frequent miscarriages
- Parkinson’s disease
- Pre-eclampsia [HTN during pregnancy]
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder…a strong need to ritualize activity to feel comfortable
- Schizophrenia [Paranoia or hearing voices or seeing things or thoughts of grandeur]
- Methotrexate Toxicity
- Midline defects…tongue tie, cleft lip and palate, sacral dimple, spina bifida
- Motor or gait dysfunctions [trouble with coordination and walking etc.]
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Neural Tube defects in off spring [spinal cord/spina bifida or Brain/Acephaly]
- Nitrous Oxide Toxicity
- Spina bifida
As you can see from the following diagram, MTHFR is right in the middle of some very important chemical cycles that actually form ‘the backbone of human physiology.”
Folate enters the cycle at the top in the middle of the graphic. It says ‘folic acid’ as well because many people use these terms interchangeable which is a mistake. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate and should never be taken by people with MTHFR mutations. Folate is a B vitamin found in plants and in o=der for it to be used in the human body, we need to mix it with an enzyme to convert it to the human form called 5 MTHF. The MTHFR enzyme is made primarily by 2 MTHFR genes; 677/1298. When you have mutations in the genes, you produce less enzyme and ultimately make less of the bioactive form 5 MTHF. As a result, the cycles to the right and left slow down due to a reduced amount of active folate.
It can get complicated, but we can figure it out!
For too long, chronic fatigue was not considered a real disorder. People who suffered with these symptoms were thought to be lazy, faking or depressed. Finally, CFS has been recognized as a clinical entity.
The problem is that most doctors have no idea as to why this is happening or what to do about it.
CFS has many possible causes including: thyroid/hormone imbalance, nutritional deficiencies, anemias, methylation issues, mitochondrial problems, sleep apnea, and Sunlight deficiencies to name a few. This condition and the symptoms it can cause can be totally disabling and the lack of clarity around getting a straight answer from doctors can create depression in many of these patients.
A functional approach to identifying a clear cause is the first step in resolving these problems.
A Starting Point
"For healthcare providers, we have a message that's pretty direct about autism.
And the message is: The 4-year-old with autism was once a 3-year-old with autism,
which was once a 2-year-old with autism."
- Dr. Jose Cordero, Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and
Developmental Disabilities, part of the CDC
We all need a place to start. If you have a child with Autism, this is a pretty good place.
There is (and always has been) a lot of confusion as to what Autism and the Autistic Spectrum Disorders are. This starts with a significant problem with the way Autism is classified; Autism is considered a ‘mental disorder’. Since it has been classified as such since the 1940s, most physicians learn little to nothing about it. Its classification further breaks down Autism to be impairment in social interaction, repetitive behaviors and problems communicating. With these ‘defining characteristics’, it is no wonder that these children are placed into a structured special learning environment accompanied by behavior modification with little to no medical intervention.
I understand Autism to be a biochemical and neurological problem that alters the way the brain and body develop, and eventually results in the social, behavioral and communication problems that these individuals experience. These characteristics are symptoms, and the result of a multi-system breakdown that went undiagnosed! We have let an entire generation of children slip through our fingertips and it is time to mobilize and get them back.
If the top three defining characteristics were; under-connected brain circuitry, chronic metabolic dysfunction and underlying autoimmune/inflammatory processes, we would see a very different treatment criteria established for Autism! In fact, based on the research, these three things are the true problems of Autism which eventually lead to the cognitive impairments.
Spectrum of Extremes
People on the autistic spectrum are so individually different. Some are ‘high-functioning’; some are ‘low-functioning’. Some cannot talk at all, while some talk early. Some exhibit extreme sensory-based behaviors (stims) and some don't. Some are highly intelligent; while others may have I.Q.s under 50. Some are considered ‘mildly affected’, and some are ‘severely affected’. Some have vestibular or motor planning problems, and some are athletic. The list goes on.
With all of the differences between individuals, what do people with Autism have in common?
All people with autistic spectrum disorders seem to have one thing in common; a core deficit. Autistic spectrum disorders arise from a bio-neurological condition; a weakness in a child’s biochemical and neurological development. They seem to go hand-in-hand and both need to be evaluated for and treated as early as possible! All individuals with Autism have these weaknesses in varying degrees.
Science-based Functional Medicine Approach
There is a completely new approach to evaluating patients with chronic illness that is neither Mainstream nor Alternative. It is a 3rd type of medicine called Functional Medicine.
“Functional medicine differs from conventional or alternative medicine because it conforms to a far more rigid code of scientific method. Like their conventional or alternative medicine counterparts, a functional medicine practitioner begins by making a presumptive diagnosis based on the initial examination. But unlike their conventional or alternative medicine colleagues, a functional medicine practitioner bases their next inquiry on hundreds of thousands of amassed, peer-reviewed studies, which have proven beyond a shadow of doubt that toxicological, biochemical, structural, physiological and genetic abnormalities are the root cause of their patient’s presumptive diagnosis and/or symptoms. An extensive battery of laboratory and/or radiological tests is then typically ordered to determine if the expected causative abnormalities are present or not. Guesswork is thus avoided, intuition is unnecessary and factual evidence is gathered.”
– Charles Gant, MD, PhD
By casting a wide net and looking for underlying problems in the child’s physical environment, nervous system and metabolism, we can try to identify underlying issues that can be causing or adding to the symptoms that a child with autism exhibits.
I have amassed thousands of medical journal articles that outline several issues that are common to kids on the spectrum; gastrointestinal issues, eating challenges, food allergies, thyroid problems, methylation defects, detoxification problems, motor planning challenges, balance and coordination issues, sensory defensiveness, skin issues, changes in the way the body deals with sunlight and emf exposure and more. These problems are the Core Deficits, and they are not always apparent without specific testing!
Neurological organization is a physiological condition that describes the maturing connections and activities of the brain. This orderly progression begins around the 12th week of embryological life and reaches its maximum potential at approximately 6 to 7 years of age.
The highest center in the brain, the cerebral cortex, will eventually develop laterally and create responsibilities for each of its hemispheres. This laterality is critical to sensory function and language, and supersedes all other neurological development. When it occurs properly, the left or right cortical hemisphere becomes dominant and a person demonstrates handedness—a preference for using his/her right or left hand. This usually signifies that all lower neural requirements have been met. It is no wonder that most children with Autism have mixed-handedness! The process of neural organization is an interdependent continuum: if lower levels are incomplete, all succeeding higher levels are affected. Getting this process “on track” can allow for better cognitive and behavioral development to take place.
Your child has his or her own unique potential.
You and everyone who works with your child must believe in his ability to learn, grow and have a bright future. This is a fight for your child between you and Autism. Combining an aggressive educational and therapeutic approach with a nutritional and lifestyle management approach can help most children experience improvement, ranging from mild changes to significant improvement.
The degree of recovery a child experiences depends primarily on his/her unique potential, combined with their parent’s willingness to do whatever it takes.
Metabolic Syndrome, Being Overweight, Obesity
These Are Now the #1 Health Problems in America Today
People are struggling with their weight more now than ever before. Overall, 71 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese. There are many reasons for this, but no matter why you got there, we need to turn it around. There is no easy route, but there is one that absolutely works every time.
It is NOT about cutting your calories. It is about learning how your body works, fixing your metabolism and strengthening your mindset so you can change the way your body works.
What comes first, the weight problem or the health problem?
The answer is clearly that it could go either way. It doesn’t really matter actually. What we need to do is fix it! It is not an easy road, but one that has helped countless patients of mine lose thousands of pounds. Diet pills and surgery are band aids. Neither one fixes the root causes.
Are you struggling with your weight and are ready to change your life??