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Synopsis: Week 1 of ACNEM Online Conference
by Dr Jim Parker (Nutritional and Environmental Medicine Health Researcher)
Opened by Professor John Hewson
Professor John Hewson opened the 2020 ACNEM Online Conference: Environmental and Viral Disruptors with a summary of the ten catastrophic global risks threatening the survival of humanity. He outlined how the confluence of multiple planetary threats menace our future and discussed the role of the Commission for the Human Future in bringing the issues and possible solutions to the attention of citizens and politicians.
Professor Hewson's background in politics and economics and his track record of interest in environmental issues provided a unique insight into both the problems and politically workable solutions.
An in-depth look at environmental pollution
Professor David Carpenter followed with an overview of the wide-ranging impact of environmental pollution on human health and chemical pollution in particular. He explored the sad fact the effects of chemical pollution are poorly researched but many have been shown to contribute to chronic disease. He also emphasised why it was essential for physicians to understand how environmental agents influence the risk of human disease in order to both prevent and treat these problems. His deeper look at the underlying mechanisms of chemical pollution will bring a valuable understanding and new insight to many clinicians.
Essential viewing for health practitioners
The opening series concluded with a succinct but far-reaching presentation by Julian Cribb. His research and ideas inspired the establishment of the "Commission for the Human Future" and his presentation contains a summary of decades of research on the effect of environmental issues on both the planet and human health. These three presentations really provide the background knowledge and rationale which will motivate clinicians to consider the wider implications of the root causes of human health problems. They are essential viewing for all health practitioners wanting to survive and thrive in the 21st century.
Watch the one-minute overview of the opening week of the ACNEM Global Conference
COVID-19 from a nutritional and environmental perspective
A number of presenters outlined the role of nutrient supplementation in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infection. Dr Richard Cheng was in China during the outbreak and outlined how high-dose intravenous vitamin C was being used in critically ill patients. He summarised results of studies which show vitamin C is able to prevent virus infection, shorten the duration of pneumonia, provide effective treatment of sepsis and shorten the length of stay in ICU patients.
Dr Andrew Saul outlined the "Shanghai Protocol" and discussed the political barriers preventing the use of vitamin C in the USA. He also gave an excellent overview of historical studies supporting the therapeutic use of vitamin C.
Professor Anitra Carr discussed the use of high-dose vitamin C in New Zealand ICU's and outlined the results of clinical trials performed by her research group. She explained how the enhanced utilisation of vitamin C in critically ill patients with sepsis can be compensated for by intravenous administration of high doses. Professor Carr also suggested an increasing dosage protocol for prevention and treatment of infection depending on the severity of symptoms, a useful tool for clinicians.
Dr Robyn Cosford presented an excellent case study on ICU management of a critically-ill patient with COVID infection and the practical aspects of using high-dose vitamin C.
Professor Avni Sali discussed the role of vitamin D in maintaining human health, including the mechanisms of action, the role of deficiency in elderly patients and political impediments to more widespread testing and treatment. Robbie Clark and Dr James Maskell outlined the practical aspects of implementing telemedicine in clinical practice.
The bonus presentation by Kiran Krishnan summarised the pathophysiology of how COVID-19 infection targets compromised cells in patients with chronic disease and underlying low-grade inflammation. He outlined the role of dysbiosis, immune activation and inflammation in chronic disease including a detailed description of the role of the ACE receptors in COVID infection. He summarised the most recent research on how the integrity of the gastrointestinal barrier is maintained and the mechanisms of how dysbiosis can create increased gastrointestinal permeability and leaky gut. The connection between dysbiosis and infection susceptibility was presented as well as the rationale for a treatment approach with a combination of prebiotics and probiotics to increase the concentration of keystone strains and microbial diversity.
Dr Richard Horowitz gave a detailed description of the pathophysiology of severe COVID-19 infection and outlined the similarities between the cytokine storm occuring in COVID infections, Lyme disease and chronic fatigue-type syndromes. Dr Horowitz outlined cellular pathways and the innate and adaptive immune responses involved and provided a practical management protocol based on well-researched supportive nutrients to boost immunity, enhance endogenous antioxidant systems and lower inflammation.
He urged us to reconsider the "one cause one disease model" and emphasised the need to transform the health system by making a paradigm shift to a new "multifactorial model of chronic disease". This model appreciates there are multiple causes of dysbiosis resulting in immune dysregulation and chronic inflammation leading to a variety of downstream "disease" effects specific to each individual. He concluded by stating it won't be until we identify and treat the root causes of the chronic disease epidemic we will be able to advance the health-care system, lower costs and improve the quality of care.
Dr Julie McCredden PhD is an expert on the harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and electromagnetic fields (EMF) on children and adolescents.
She says humans are now bathed in man made electromagnetic fields.
"We know children and babies are being exposed from a very, very young age," she says.
"In the US more than a third of babies at six months use computerised toys, smartphones and tablets."
Have you ever considered where your patients live could be making them sick?
Do you ask them how close they live to heavy traffic or if they are near a cell phone tower?
Building biologist Nicole Bijlsma says clinicians need to know more about the proven health hazards lurking in our homes.
More Australians are reportedly suffering severe psychological distress due to COVID-19 as are individuals in China, Italy, Norway and the US.
The Australian National University has tracked the mental health of Australians and found higher levels of psychological distress and serious mental illness, particularly in young adults, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presentations forming a part of the ACNEM 2020 Online Conference provide information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or a substitute for care by a qualified medical professional. If you or any other person has a health or medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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