Friday, March 12, 2010

Up to our generation

Throughout this class on cancer over the past two weeks, I’ve been paying special attention to the role of diet in both the cause and treatment of various cancers. The take away points are:

1) The food we eat impacts virtually every part and process in our body: inflammation, immune function, metabolism, oxidative damage, and more.


2) There is not enough funding for studies on diet (or other lifestyle changes). The big money goes towards drug development.

One researcher said that his generation has largely failed in this area, and “It will be up to your generation to introduce some of these dietary changes.”


  1. Hello!
    I read your blog with interest as an MD with 15 years of clinical practice, and an interest in the ways in which we can support the body back to health and healing.

    Are you aware of the Food as Medicine conference held annually? This year it is in June in wdc. Also have you checked out the field of integrative medicine? Harvard and university of arizona both have programs in this area.

    Keep up the questions, they are good ones!


  2. A free online course thru Yale University
    check it out

  3. Hey Christina, given that you know about Cohen's group doing yoga studies, I was hoping you could comment on the following study I just found on pubmed:

    it is an RCT comparing yoga and regular care on pre-htn and stage 1 htn, and the results could be interpreted as either positive or negative, depending on your outlook. Yoga does produce significant drops in BP, but when compared to usual care, there wasn't a significant difference.

    What are your thoughts about the implications of this study, an RCT (a good thing!) that was perhaps too small and too short to be clinically meaningful?

  4. Hi Vicki, great to hear from you! I had not heard of the Food as Medicine conference - I will definitely look into that. I am very interested in the field of integrative medicine... it seems as if there are more and more of these programs being developed (Penn is in the process!)

    Thanks for that link, Adam - what a great resource.

    Mike, thanks for sending that study! I actually wrote a post about that paper a few weeks ago:

    First, great to have some data from a RCT despite it being small (57 patients). This study provides preliminary evidence that a 12 week Iyengar yoga intervention can lead to a clinically significant decrease in blood pressure. The usual care control group (dietary modifications) also had a decrease in blood pressure at 6 weeks (but was not significant at 12 weeks).

    Interestingly, at the end of the 12 week intervention, the yoga group had a significant decrease in blood pressure, while the usual care group was no longer significant. This suggests that the yoga group had a more long-term and sustainable decrease in blood pressure.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what they find with the much larger and longer-term study that they're currently running!

  5. Yes, we are all counting on you Doctor. May your passion and curiosity take you on an amazing journey and shine the way for others who will follow you. You are a student now but one day you will be the teacher who other students will question as you do here. I have no doubt that your future work will allow those students to ask new questions that we cannot yet contemplate. You are the link in the never-ending chain of energy that strives to bring greater light to the world.