Environmental medicine

A major focus of our practice is identifying and treating environmental toxicity. We attempt to find some of the toxic culprits through history taking, laboratory testing for toxin levels, and laboratory testing for toxic damage. The primary target organs of environmental toxins are the immune system, resulting in allergies, chronic infections, autoimmunity, cancers, the nervous system, resulting in chronic neurological and psychological problems and the endocrine system, resulting in hormonal imbalances. Conditions that predispose to chemical overload include asthma, eczema, age, and liver damage. Illnesses associated with environmental chemical overload include chemical sensitivity, Sick Building Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Gulf War Syndrome, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases. The classic presentation of a patient with chemical toxicity includes a history of progressive immune problems (allergies, infections, and/or autoimmunity), then neurological symptoms (or vice versa), and finally the appearance of hormonal problems.

Another common presentation is a history of chemical exposure, such as a new work or home environment during times of high stress. Red flags for chemical toxicity are adverse physical or mental reactions from exposure to ambient (low level) chemicals, such as headaches, brain fog, fatigue, shortness of breath, and muscle weakness. Other red flags are a history of adverse reactions to medications (idiosyncratic reactions) and sensitivity to caffeine. Another tip off is a patient who is non-responsive to therapies that have a high degree of effectiveness for their diagnosis. A short version of toxin exposure history taking involves three simple questions:  Do you breathe air?  Do you drink water?  Do you eat food?

This last question is of particular importance in Hawaii, where most people regularly consume a delicious fish known as ahi, or yellowfin tuna. Unfortunately, this otherwise healthy fish contains large amounts of mercury once it grows large enough from having eaten many, many smaller fish with small quantities of mercury. This principle is known as bioaccumulation. Another common source of mercury toxicity is from dental amalgams. We have found that mercury toxicity is very common in our patient population.

A comprehensive cleansing program is necessary for many patients to recover from chemical toxicity. The following program outlines the essential elements of this program.

Deep Tissue Cleansing
For Heavy Metals and Chemical Toxicity

  • Urine elements test: ($55) initial test and every 2 months thereafter if excess heavy metals are elevated
  • DMSA oral medication for provocative testing or treatment ($30-40), (depending on body weight- every 2 weeks)
  • Constitutional hydrotherapy treatment ($60)-3 treatments the first week and 2 thereafter for a minimum of 20 treatments.
  • Colonic irrigation following each hydrotherapy treatment ($50)
  • Infrared saunas (patients may purchase their own or use a friend’s)

Supplements:

  • Basic Detox Nutrients: ($40 per month)
  • Psyllium seed husk powder: ($23-30 per month)
  • Whey Protein Powder: ($30-58 per month)
  • Vitamin C: ($16 per month)
  • “Liver Cleanse” ($20 per 20 treatments)

Other supplements as indicated:

  • Heavy Metal Support Toxic Relief Booster
  • Solvent Remover
  • Formaldehyde Relief

Total approximate cost of program for 20 treatments: $2700 – $3100 or approximately $900-1000 per month for 3 months.

Whole Person Cleansing Program

Dr. Traub has designed a cleansing person for his patients which has been very successful.  This is a two week program which viritually everyone can do, and which is appropriate for all of us.  It is designed to be repeated every 3 months.  Many patients feel so good on this program that they choose to just continue it indefinitely.  The program is “user friendly” and designed to be carried out during our regular daily schedule, with some modifications (designed for us to take much better care of ourselves that we usually do).  An initial visit is necessary to go over the program and obtain the necessary nutritional supplements.  The cost of the supplements is approximately $200.

Preventive Genomics, Nutrigenomics and the Promise of Personalized Medicine

Within the human genome are millions of subtle variations of the genetic code, known as polymorphisms.

It is these polymorphisms that are largely responsible for our biochemical individuality. The most common polymorphism is a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs, pronounced “snips”), in which a single nucleotide of DNA is altered and may in turn alter the amino acid sequence coded by that section of DNA.

In 2000, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention published the Gene-Environment Interaction Fact Sheet that outlined the basic principles of the causal interaction of genes and environment in human disease.  The CDC made the following four main points:

  1. Virtually all-human diseases result from the interaction of genetic susceptibility and modifiable environmental factors.
  2. Variations in genetic makeup are associated with almost all disease.
  3. Genetic variations do not cause disease but rather influence a person’s susceptibility to environmental factors.
  4. Genetic information can be used to target interventions.

It is only by virtue of understanding these idiosyncrasies, or polymorphisms, that medicine can advance to the point at which it may be able to treat patients as unique, whole, and particular individuals. This is the promise and the potential of “preventive genomics.” Effective therapeutic strategies may involve diet, nutritional, and targeted pharmaceutical supplementation, lifestyle and behavioral modification and avoidance or elimination of toxins, xenobiotics and microbes.