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Today's episode of Redefining Medicine features features Ken Sharlin, MD. Dr. Sharlin began his career as a neurologist whose training through prestigious research-oriented medical centers took him down a traditional path. Dr. Sharlin worked as a neurologist in private practice, in large hospital-affiliated practices, emergency rooms, intensive care units, and inpatient wards. His diverse experience has allowed him to sharpen his skills in the management of complex neurological conditions, from multiple sclerosis, to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, migraine, epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and fibromyalgia, among others. In whatever direction his interests took him, he has always maintained one hand in clinical research as principle investigator in large, multi-center trials to help bring new treatments to market and broaden our understanding of medicines already approved. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals (Ethnicity & Disease, 1993 vol 3(4): 337-43; Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease, 1999;8:271). He has been a guest speaker on many occasions over the years, and is often asked to share his knowledge and expertise with his peers and the public.

Dr. Sharlin’s personal and professional life took an important turn when, as a cycling enthusiast, he completed rides over 100 miles in one day, the MS 150 Bike Ride, and RAGBRAI, the ride across Iowa in one week. This led to the sport of triathlon, and because of his competitive spirit, Dr. Sharlin trained to compete in the pinnacle of multi-sport races, the Ironman Triathlon, to become not once, but three times a finisher. As his fitness and his awareness of the impact of lifestyle on health was changing his own body and brain, Dr. Sharlin became increasingly conscious of problems within his field of neurology, and with medicine in general. He realized that available treatments either focused on symptoms exclusively, or controlled the disease process only if prescribed drugs remained in continuous use. He learned that medicines designed to prevent premature death, heart attack, or stroke, were often more likely to fail an individual. He came to understand that even surgery, with its “to cut is to cure” motto, does not address why the illness occurs in the first place. Unwittingly, he had learned to accept the notion that we don’t know why we get sick and there’s nothing we can do about it except follow the conventional path. And he was beginning to question this notion.

Then, he found functional medicine. “Functional medicine,” to quote Dr. Mark Hyman, “is medicine that just makes sense.” It is medicine that connects mind, body, and spirit. It helps each of us find the imbalances that have directed the trajectory of our lives down the road towards illness, and shines a light that guides each one of  us personally, by helping to re-map and re-route the course back toward health and vitality. Functional medicine is based firmly in science. It embraces food as medicine, as well as sleep, movement, stress, gut and immune health, hormones, and our mitochondria, the energy-producing engines of the cell. It recognizes the relationship between our genetic blueprint and the environments both within and outside of our bodies that can promote either the expression of health or disease-causing genes, even across generations.



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The views and opinions expressed on this program are those of the persons appearing on the program and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine A4M/MMI™