“The theme of my presentation is this: if we want to make affordable health care available to the 47 million Americans who most need it, then we need to address the more fundamental causes of health and illness and to provide incentives for healthy ways of living rather then reimbursing only on drugs and surgery that literally or figuratively “bypass” the problem.” ~ Dr. Dean Ornish; University of California; Presentation to the US Senate Finance Committee.

At a recent Health Summit in June 2008 Dr. Dean Ornish, who has been an inspiration to me for over 20 years, spoke to the US Senate Finance Committee. The opening sentences in his statement quoted above are thought provoking. Dr. Dean Ornish is a medical doctor from California who has dedicated his life to diet and lifestyle research and their effect on disease.  He is also well-known as an author advocating lifestyle changes to improve health.

He is the founder, president, and director of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

His first book on lifestyle changes and weight loss called Eat More; Weigh Less talked about a life choice program for losing weight safely while eating abundantly. His concept was radical in those days of dieting and abstaining to lose weight. Since then governments and international organizations are promoting this concept for the maintenance of a healthy weight.

In 1998 Dr. Dean Ornish released a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that it was possible for heart disease to be not only prevented but REVERSED through comprehensive lifestyle changes.

In 2002 Dr. Ornish stated in an interview that he was disappointed that the medical association was not taking this study further. Well ….. it was just a matter of time.

Now the home page on the American Heart Association Website  is all about healthy lifestyle.

The Jamaican Gleanor writes of Heart Disease being preventable.  “It is of interest to note that up until the middle of the 20th century, heart attacks seldom occurred in Jamaica.”

in 1997 Highmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Pittsburgh,  became the first health insurer in the country to provide the Dr. Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease as a covered benefit for its members. Now Medicare  has proposed coverage for Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, which is scheduled to begin Sept 2010. This fills me with joy!

In 2005 a study on prostrate cancer (directed by Dr. Ornish, and Peter Carroll, both of the University Of California, as well as the late William Fair, MD, Chief of Urologic Surgery and Chair of Urologic Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center) was released in the September issue of the Journal of Urology.

In that study after one year, the researchers found that psa levels (a protein marker for prostate cancer) decreased in men in the group who made comprehensive lifestyle changes but increased in the comparison group.

Also, they found that serum from the participants; inhibited prostate tumor growth in vitro by 70 percent in the lifestyle-change group but only 9 percent in the comparison group.

His most recent study shows changes at the genetic level. The researchers tracked 30 men with low-risk prostate cancer who decided against conventional medical treatment. The men underwent three months of major lifestyle changes. They lost weight, lowered their blood pressure and saw other health improvements; but most interesting; researchers also found the activity of disease-preventing genes increased while a number of disease-promoting genes, including those involved in prostate cancer and breast cancer, shut down.

In a telephone interview sited on Reuter’s HealthDr. Ornish is quoted as saying “It’s an exciting finding because so often people say, ‘Oh, it’s all in my genes, what can I do?’ Well, it turns out you may be able to do a lot. The implications of our study are not limited to men with prostate cancer.”

By Trudy Scott Prevost; Rainbow Health and Wellness


Rainbow Yoga: rainbowyoga@yahoo.com

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2 Responses to “Healthy Lifestyle as a Treatment”

  1. Carey Says:

    Fantastic posting! Dean Ornish is indeed a very well respected voice in health care and preventative health education. There is much we can do to meet our providers in “fixing” us when we have health problems. Perhaps we should start by meeting ourselves and noticing how we get in our own way of being healthy.

    1. Yes, working together everyone benefits and it is slowly happening 🙂

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