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Editor’s Note: The Institute for Functional Medicine hosted the “Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice” conference in Minneapolis the week of September 16, 2013. Three of Experience Life’s senior editors were able to attend throughout the week.

This is the final post about the event. 

  1. Doctors often learn exactly what pharmaceutical companies want them to learn. Case in point: During his presentation on inflammation and the “gut brain” connection, Robert Rountree brought up the issue of endocannaboids as a pain relieving, anti-inflammatory agent. “We got a lot of literature on endocannaboids for a couple years there,” he said. The literature explained how they worked on the pain-related neural pathways. But suddenly, he said, it disappeared. The drug didn’t get approved. He laughed a little sadly when he noted that we don’t seem to care about neural pathways “if we don’t have a drug to manipulate them.”
  2. Conventional doctors often don’t identify or recognize food sensitivities and allergies because there are three kinds of allergic response in the body: those that work on the IgG pathway, the IgA pathway, and the IgE pathway. The IgE pathway is activated in the event of serious, life-threatening allergies: like when your throat closes because you’ve been stung by a bee. It’s also active in seasonal and pet allergies: watery eyes, sneezing, etc. But a food sensitivity, like a non-celiac gluten intolerance, activates the IgG pathway, which has a delayed reaction – the body has a reaction up to three days later. Unlike a cat-allergic person who sneezes as soon as the cat walks in the room, the gluten-intolerant person reacts later, and not in such obvious ways. It acts differently because it’s a different allergy pathway.
  3. Drug advertising on television is legal in only two countries: the United States and New Zealand. The effects of this were noticeable in a conversation I overheard between two doctors leaving the auditorium. One was saying she was really interested in trying all the anti-inflammatory techniques the presenter had just discussed (regulating blood sugar through diet, balancing 0mega-3 and omega-6 fats, using quercetin — a naturally occurring flavonoid — as an alternative antihistamine) but “all her patients ask for Celebrex.”

“Taking Notes” is a series of posts here at Unedited that include healthy-living tidbits and takeaways that Experience Life team members gather as they attend conferences and events around the country. We hope you find these bite-size nuggets of info as eye-opening as we do. 

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