Biotyping Patients – The Secret of Integrative Medicine
The ‘one size fits all’ approach is becoming an outdated model in chronic health care. Personalized medicine uses medicines and treatments that are individualized to better manage patients’ health in terms of prevention and achieving the best clinical outcomes.
Integrative medicine harnesses the best of both conventional and alternative approaches to address the biological, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of health and illness. Integrative medicine offers a personal approach to health by combining complementary therapies that have been proven safe and effective with conventional medical approaches.
This multi-disciplinary holistic approach requires a contribution from each discipline to develop strategic treatment plans that is patient-centred and addresses the mind, body, and spiritual needs of the client/patient. Each patient is unique, and therefore diagnosis and treatment plans should be specific to each individual’s needs. Consequently, a formulated treatment plans incorporating effective biotyping methodology as the cornerstone of therapeutic intervention is essential.
In terms of scientific and empirical data,the most comprehensive biotyping evidence is from the Traditional Medicine system of Ayurveda. Ayurveda and Yoga therapy are closely inter-related. Ayurveda takes into account our inherited traits such as body frame, eye colour, digestive capacity, climate likes and dislikes and emotional balance to name but a few.
Ayurveda is the original ‘Patient-centred care’ therapy that focuses therapy on the inter-individual variability of patients, and the methodology assesses susceptibility which means that it is:
Ayurvedic prognosis is determined on the basis of constitution type of the individual anda suitable dietary, therapeutic and lifestyle regime is made on the basis of clinical assessment. This is in contrast with allopathy wherein:
• assessing susceptibility might be based on genetic markers
• diagnosis based on objective parameters
• dietary and lifestyle recommendation are disease based and treatment is mostly symptomatic
• dosage management mostly empirical
The Ayurvedic system and ayurgenomics is gaining popularity as science validates these ancient therapies e.g. it has been scientifically shown that amongst the ‘Three Doshas’ (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) there are striking differences within the constitutions:
• lipid profiles
• uric acid
• blood clotting time
• serum zinc levels
At the expression level ‘doshic’ differences are seen in core biological processes like transport, immune response, blood coagulation etc. Other data has confirmed higher levels of expression of haemoglobin genes in Pittadosha compared to Vata and Kapha; this can be correlated to Ayurvedic practice where redness of the skin is theobserved phenotype in Pitta individuals. Other studies have revealed higher levels of markers of metabolic syndrome such as triglycerides, LDL,VLDL, total cholesterol correlate toKaphadosha.
This is a key example of how a personalized medicine system such as Ayurveda can be integrated into therapeutic models of Integrative Medicine
Savings are made by minimizing diagnostic costs, avoiding high-risk diagnostic procedures, limiting the use of therapies to patients who are most likely to benefit, and addressing the aetiology to minimize the rate of disease progression, and thereby avoiding the high cost, suffering and disability associated with advanced disease.
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