Keeping an Eye on the Future of Our Children: A Role for Personalized Lifestyle Medicine
Nearly a decade ago, it was published in a medical journal that the generation of children that were just being born were predicted to not outlive that of their parents, which is quite unusual considering that every generation born has outlived the previous one. Of course, this prediction is staggering, and perhaps it’s related to the issue that small children are getting big adult diseases. Rates of lifestyle-induced diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even cardiovascular disease are becoming prevalent in children more than ever before. Because of their smaller bodies, the effects of the changing environment and increased toxin burden might be even more pronounced. In fact, the Environmental Working Group did a study some years ago demonstrating that before a child is born, there are hundreds of contaminants in the maternal cord blood being disseminated to the unborn child. Perhaps this is why the placenta has been referred to as the “third brain” (with the gut being the proclaimed “second brain”) – to some extent, what travels over from the mother to the child will determine the consciousness and capability of the unborn. Indeed, it’s quite profound to imagine that your genetic and even epigenetic template has been established before one is born, and not just from the mother, but from subsequent generations as the animal research tells us (this transference of epigenetic material has been referred to as “maternal transgenerational programming”). Methylating tags on the genome based on the lifestyle of generations before may translate into changes in how the child’s genes express themselves. It is thought that these epigenetic modifications can be made through what we eat, how we live, and to what we are exposed.
Personalized lifestyle medicine applies perfectly to the realm of pediatrics. In fact, personalization is probably most needed during the time of rapid growth and development from 0 to 18 years. What a child needs at age 5 may shift dramatically at age 6. The more we can be in tune with those subtle changes and steer them in the direction of health, the better the template for the future adult.
For the month of October, we are going to focus on all aspects of pediatrics, and even include peripheral topics such as postpartum depression with blogs from Kelly Brogan, MD. You will learn about the importance of modern-day recognized conditions that afflict children such as attention-deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and atopy. For our purposes, we may call these “pediatric” concerns, but it is well-known that adults may suffer from these conditions, too. An exciting addition to our blog line-up for this month is a compelling video from Kenny Bock, MD, on a successful case study on autism. He shows the progression of Ethan in a relatively short period of time making substantial changes through lifestyle, including dietary supplementation of specific nutrients and removing certain foods from the diet. Ethan goes from being non-interactive and not making eye contact to blossoming into the confident, loving boy he is. You will surely find the story promising and full of hope for those with autism. Don’t forget to check out case study blogs by Scott Rigden, MD, on atopy, in addition to one on postpartum depression by Robert Hedaya, MD. There is plenty of other news to use for you with blogs on food additive safety, how to approach food with children, autism and folate deficiency, and even calming a child with holistic therapy. And, finally, don’t forget our State of the Science review on pediatric concerns which is chock-full of many pearls of wisdom and even clinical applications.
Thanks so much for being part of our PLMI Community, and for the month of October, let’s put the focus on the family and ensuring that our kids have the most robust future they can…