2nd European Health Conference in Bucharest, Part I
The first day of the conference
The title of this conference is Reversing Diseases with Lifestyle Medicine. Sharing health, healing and hope.
The conference was opened by beautiful music and with the greetings from the GC president Ted Wilson that was followed by the words of the Romanian Union president, who welcomed the participants of the conference with salt and bread as it is a tradition in Romania.
The main speaker of the first evening was Valerie Dofour, the Director of Health Ministries Department of the Inter-European Division. She started her presentation with an old legend of the blind men, who touching an elephant, had a completely different understanding of it. However, an elephant is not like a tree trunk, wall, rope or snake. An elephant is not equal to the sum of its parts. Likewise, our Universe exhibits incredible complexity, and the most complex creation is human. A brain of a person is believed to have so many neural connections as the Amazon forest has leaves. But we are so much more than cells, tissues and organs that form our bodies. We are talking about things that are too wonderful for us to understand (Job 42:3).
Reductionism that pervades the medical science assumes that information about individual body parts is sufficient to explain the whole, which raises a lot of questions, like for example, why do we believe that the medical history of a patient is more important than their life history?
As Adventists, we have a holistic understanding of health and healing. Our teaching in health is based on three pillars – the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and the evidence-based science. This conference is an effort to reflect on lifestyle medicine, which is not about controlling the diseases, but treating the causes.
The evening was closed by Dr. Fred Hardinge, the Associate Health Director of the GC, who talked about Daniel and his friends and the experience they had in Babylon. It can be called the first recorded nutritional experiment in history. “What was this mysterious experiment that made them so different from others just in 10 days – sharper, more handsome and clear-minded?” – he asked. In his practice Dr. Hardinge has seen amazing results that lifestyle changes have brought to people’s lives. Mental and spiritual changes usually occur first. People have clearer mind; they feel better. Physical changes are to follow. In Daniel’s case we do not know, however, if it was a diet that played the main role or were there also other factors, since good health behaviours tend to cluster; those who exercise, sleep better and have better diets, they are also more optimistic; those who sleep better, make better diet choices, etc. There is so much that the world offers today, may God help us make good choices that won’t separate us from Him.
There are about 700 participants registered to this conference.
A few of the programmes will be live-streamed. The times below are Swiss times.
Tuesday April 17: 4 – 6 pm – Opening session
Wednesday April 18: 8 – 8.30 pm – Devotional
Thursday April 19: 8 – 8.30 pm – Devotional
Friday April 20: 7 – 8 pm – Sabbath opening
Sabbath April 21: 9.55 am -11.30 pm – Divine service
The presentations will be available by accessing the following weblink:
Some thoughts of the second day of the conference.
Heidi Schultz, MD, PhD How lifestyle overrides the genes.
There is always this question; what has more powerful influence on our health – nature or nurture. Studies done on identical show that environment (including lifestyle) has power over genetics: 51% vs 49%.
Only 5 – 10% of cancer is determined genetically, at the same time as obesity has 15% influence on getting cancer. Our lifestyle determines which genes are turned on and which genes are turned off. Running, for example, inhibits tumor onset, meditation decreases the expression of inflammatory disease, and fasting regenerates diabetic pancreas. And it is not only our life that are influenced by our lifestyle, but the lives of our grandchildren and even our great-grandchildren.
“Age is inevitable, but aging isn’t”. Marv Levy
Jason Aragon, MPH, B.S. Exercise as medicine
Physical inactivity causes abdominal adiposity (fat around stomach), which results in macrophage infiltration of visceral fat that causes chronic systemic inflammation that can cause insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, neurodegeneration, and tumor growth.
But even 7 min. of intensive workout can have a big positive effect on our health. Exercise helps prevent cardiac attack and stroke, reduces blood pressure, controls blood glucose, controls weight and helps prevent obesity, helps prevent bone loss, can increase self-esteem and energy, improve mood and decrease stress.
Hanna Kahleova, MD, PhD Resetting your body clock with nutrition.
We have a master clock in our brain – hypothalamus. But we have peripheral clocks in each cell of our body. These clocks need to be synchronized. The easiest way to do it is by the cycle of eating and fasting. Circadian rhythm is 24 hours long. Shift workers, for example, have higher risk of developing obesity and diabetes. The easiest way to reset your body clock when travelling long distances is with the nutrition – skip your dinner before the flight and have a rich breakfast when you arrive.
Clock genes rhythms is set by the breakfast in the morning. Research shows that people who eat breakfast are leaner, even if they eat more, than people who don’t eat breakfast. Carbs should be eaten in the morning because our insulin system is most effective in the morning. According to studies, people who have breakfast were protected from getting type 2 diabetes by 30 – 40%. Eating breakfast reduces blood glucose by 20% during the whole day due to enhanced insulin and incretins secretion.
Eating two larger meals a day (breakfast and lunch) is more effective than having 6 small meals a day for people with type 2 diabetes. The depression was also improved with 2 meals a day and hunger was reduced. Six small meals leave you hungry. 2 meals a day worked also well with weight loss. Harvard study on meal frequency showed that eating more than 3 meals a day increased food intake, obesity and risk of type 2 diabetes.
Chidi Ngwaba, MB BS Friendly fire? Understanding the causes and cures for auto-immune diseases.
Most diseases involve outside factors, but disease that comes from within involves our immune system. A body has natural defenses to keep out the foreign invaders. When they find it (tumor, bacteria) they swipe it out. Autoimmunity is friendly fire – the body starts to attack itself. There are over 300 identified autoimmune diseases, for example, rheumatoid arthritis, anemia, MS, etc. Recent studies show that 10 – 20% of western population have at least 1 autoimmune disease. Women are 3 times more affected than men. Autoimmune diseases are more prevalent in the northern hemisphere. Areas with a lot of Sun exposer have fewer autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D3 boosts good and suppresses bad. In places with less sunshine, people should take vitamin D3.
Where does it all start? Emerging research shows that probably most autoimmunity starts in the gut. It’s called a leaky gut syndrome and milk and wheat proteins are most recognized culprits. Sugar is inflammatory, induces the leaky gut and inflames all other organs making the autoimmunity worse. How to fight sugar cravings? Use the Dr. Chidi method: when you see the cake you want, the worst thing you can do is to say to yourself, “you cannot eat the cake”. The best thing is to say, “I’ll eat the cake, but in a half an hour”. Then eat an apple. Your blood sugar arises during this half an hour. Then you’re more likely to resist the temptation. If not, then you can eat another apple. The sourness of an apple (and bitterness does the same thing) suppresses your appetite.
Driven people, who have stressful lives, are mostly people who have autoimmune diseases. However, it is not the environment that causes stress, but the way we think about it.
Peter Landless MBBCh, MMed, MFGP (SA), FACC, FASNC
We have a very specific message. The purpose: To fit the members and leaders for service to others – share the message of wholeness and health.
Comprehensive Health Ministry is meeting people’s needs in a practical way by demonstrating God’s love and compassion. Every member should be a such kind of medical missionary.