Introduction To

Brain Tune Up

Introduction to Brain Tune Up!
The Brain Optimization for Life Plan


Sharlin Functional Medicine

Thank you for taking the time to research Brain Tune Up! The Brain Optimization for Life Plan. If you have found your way to this web page, chances are:
  • You have a curious mind,
  • You believe that health is about your life, your choices, and that you should have an active role in creating vibrant health for yourself, and
  • You, or someone close to you, has been impacted by a condition affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, or muscles.
Chances are you are looking for a solution.

The Background

In our society we really have been hit by a tsunami of chronic disease.

The statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control tell us that chronic diseases and conditions-such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis-are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems. If we consider neurological disease, we have an estimated 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease, 1 million with Parkinson’s disease, and four-hundred thousand with multiple sclerosis, 2.2 million with epilepsy, and about 6.4 million people with fibromyalgia, and nearly 60% of Americans, the highest ever, are taking prescription drugs.

Despite the billions of dollars spent annually the reality is that our current system focuses on “sick care,” not health care. We have become trapped in a disease-driven model. Putting it simply, a disease-driven model aims to treat the disease by either suppressing the symptoms or the condition itself, but does not identify or treat the reasons why the disease occurs in the first place.

Here is the reality check.

As long as the root causes of the disease are lurking in the background the disease is still there. Discontinuation of the drug to control the disease often results in all out Armageddon as the disease comes roaring back.

Furthermore, the drugs we use to treat the diseases are not 100% effective at controlling the conditions for which they have been prescribed. In neurology this means multiple sclerosis patients still have multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s patient’s still have Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s still have Parkinson’s, and migraine sufferers still have migraines, just to name a few.

To make things even more confusing medicines to lower blood pressure, “bad” cholesterol, and control diabetes more often than not fail to prevent the conditions for which they are being prescribed, such as heart attack, stroke, or early death. In some cases, aggressive blood sugar or blood pressure lowering among those who suffer from diabetes has actually resulted in more heart attacks and deaths, rather than fewer.

You will be offered statistics. Proponents of the sick care approach will tell us how many heart attacks are prevented by taking a blood pressure medication. True, this is worth some merit. But here’s the really critical point. When we look at drugs to treat chronic disease there is a statistic called the Number Needed to Treat. This is a way to understand how much modern medicine helps us as individuals. It is a simple statistic that measures the impact of a medicine or therapy by estimating the number of people that need to be treated in order to have an impact on one person. In other words, not everyone is helped by a medicine or treatment. In fact, many more people will have the event that the drug is intended to prevent.

If we ask, for example, now many people need to be treated with blood pressure medication to prevent premature death, the answer is 125 people. If we ask how many need to be treated to prevent one stroke the answer is 67, one heart attack, 100. So with medication alone it is more likely that you will not benefit than you will. In fact, it’s probably more likely, too, that you will have some side effect than any benefit at all.

It appears that if you take a drug for a chronic disease you are participating in a giant game of chess that is not about you, the individual, at all.

Functional Medicine

Dr. Mark Hyman has said, Functional Medicine is

  • Medicine that just makes sense.
  • Medicine by cause, not by symptoms.
  • Getting to the root of the problem.
  • How to understand the true nature of health and disease.

In other words, Functional Medicine aims to understand why it is we get sick in the first place.

Functional Medicine recognizes that what causes a disease in one person may be different than what causes disease in another person, even when the disease is the same. Functional medicine is personalized medicine. Functional Medicine is about you.

Functional Medicine uses the image of a tree to explain how all this works. Out at the ends of the branches are the diseases. Move from the distant branches toward the trunk and there are the signs and symptoms that are evaluated by the doctor before the diagnosis is made. The trunk itself is represented by the imbalances in the body that lead to the signs and symptoms. These imbalances may involve several areas:

  • Nutrients, such a vitamins, minerals and fatty acids
  • The unique community of bacteria that live in and on our bodies
  • Toxin exposure and toxic burden
  • An over-active immune system
  • Chronic infections
  • The energy-producing engines of the cell, known as mitochondria
  • Compromised tissue barriers, such as the gut and brain
  • Hormones for stress, metabolism, repair, and reproduction

The Functional Medicine practitioner will take the time to learn about the things in your life that lead to the moment of change, will examine the time in your life when you last felt well, and any factors that might be preventing you from getting better.

Near the tree’s base is the recognition that genes play a role in sickness and in health. But here is the critical point. Genes turn on and off as a result of a variety of factors that we have a surprising amount of control over. We now know that only about 5-10% of the risk of developing chronic health issues like obesity, heart disease, psychiatric disease, cancers, and autoimmune disorders comes from individual disease-causing genes. In a nutshell this is why functional medicine works. If you had the power to turn on health-promoting genes and silence disease-promoting ones you would have a tremendous amount of power to influence the direction and outcome of your life. In fact, you do.

Time For A Re-Boot:

The Functional Medicine Operating System.

The Functional Medicine Operating System

There are four parts to this operating system:

  1. There is the timeline. The Functional Medicine Timeline is your life story. It tells your provider who you are, where you’ve come from, and how you got here. Here is where the healing partnership between you and your Functional Medicine provider begins. This is where you discuss your chief concerns.
  2. There is the matrix. The Functional Medicine Matrix consists of systems, not organ systems, but seven biological systems that represent how the body works as a whole. The truth is the body works as a connected, cooperative web in which, for example, the food we eat interacts with our immune system, gut bacteria, hormones, nerve signals, energy systems, waste management systems, structure-building, and the transport routes (like blood vessels) that connect it all together. Each of these systems influences the other system. Unlike traditional medicine which treats problems with one organ system as somehow separate and disconnected from problems with another organ system functional systems are interdependent and connected.
  3. There are the modifiable lifestyle factors. Sleep, food, movement, stress, relationships, perceptions, attitude, and beliefs all influence the systems that make up the Functional Medicine Matrix, which genes are turned on and which genes are turned off. Considering all the systems influenced, applying lifestyle in medicine is more powerful than any drug. Given their ability to heal targeted lifestyle strategies are sometimes referred to as therapeutic lifestyle medicine.
  4. There are the action steps: Prioritize-Initiate-Track. Once all the information from the Timeline, Matrix, and Lifestyle factors have been gathered this information needs to be prioritized, a plan of action initiated, and outcomes need to be tracked. A number of tracking tools are available, such as the Medical Symptoms Questionnaire, along with important labs and test results, and your chief concerns. After all, the purpose of tracking is to make sure you get the results you want.
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For the Brain Optimization for Life Plan?

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