Translator: Queenie LeeReviewer: Rhonda Jacobs I can make diseases disappear.
To be more precise, I can make chronic diseases disappear.
You see, chronic diseasesare the long-term conditions, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, depression or even dementia.
There are 15 million people in England who have already been diagnosedwith a chronic condition.
So that means looking out amongst you now, there are probablyabout 250 people in here who have one of theselong-term conditions.
Just one of these alone, type 2 diabetes, is costing the UK20 billion pounds every single year, and I'm standing here before you saying I can make these diseases disappear.
See, I'm not a magician, I'm what the Americans call an MD.
That's not a magical doctor, that's a medical doctoror what I call a mere doctor.
You see, the reasonI can make diseases disappear is because diseases are just an illusion; diseases are not real.
In fact, diseases don't really exist, at least not in the waythat we think they do.
So 15 years ago, I qualified for medical school, and I was ready, I was full of enthusiasm, full of passion, ready to go out and help people.
But I always felt likethere was something missing.
I started off as a specialist.
I moved from being a specialistto becoming a generalist, or a GP.
And I always got this nagging sense that I was just managing diseaseor simply suppressing people's symptoms.
And then, just five and a half years ago, came the turning point for me.
See, five and a half years ago, my son nearly died.
My wife and I, we were on holiday in France with our little baby boy, and she called out to me, said 'He's not moving', so I rushed there, and he was lifeless.
I thought he was choking, so I picked him up, I tried to clear his airway.
Nothing happened, and I froze.
She called out to me and said, 'Come on, we've got to get to hospital'.
So we rushed there; we were worried because when we got there, he still wasn't moving.
The doctors were worried because they didn't knowwhat was happening.
That night he had two lumbar punctures because they thoughthe might have meningitis, and he stayed ina foreign hospital for three days.
What actually transpired was my son had a low levelof calcium in his blood that was causedby a low level of vitamin D.
My son nearly diedfrom a preventable vitamin deficiency and his father, a doctor, knew nothing about it.
You see, as a parent that is a harrowing experiencethat never leaves you.
But I was a doctor, I was his dad; and the guilt that stayed with me, and is still here today, that changes you.
So I started reading, I started readingabout this vitamin deficiency.
And as I started reading I started to learn a lot of science – a lot of science that I did not learnin medical school, a lot of science that I thought: 'Hey, this makes lots of sense to me'.
So I started applying this science.
I started applying it, first of all, with my son, and I saw the amazing benefits.
So then I started applying itwith my patients, and do you know what happened? People started getting better, really better.
You see, I learnt how to resolvethe root cause of their problems rather than simplysuppressing their symptoms.
Just over a year ago, I had the opportunity to makea series of documentaries for BBC One where I got to showcasethis style of medicine.
I'm going to tell youabout one of the patients – a 35-year-old, Dotti, lovely, lovely lady, but she was struggling with her health, weight problems, joint problems, sleep problems.
See, despite Dotti's best efforts, Dotti was unable to makeany sustainable changes.
So I went into Dotti's house, and in the first weekI did some blood tests, and I diagnosed her with type 2 diabetes.
Six weeks later when I left Dotti's house, she no longer had type 2 diabetes.
You see, her disease had disappeared.
So health exists on a continuum.
Okay? At the top right we've got disease, and at the bottom leftwe've got optimal health, and we are always movingup and down that continuum.
Take Christmas, New Year, for example, right? We drink too much, we eat too much, we stay up late; we probably start to move up that curve.
But if we recalibratein January and February, we start to move back down it again.
We get involved in medicine and give you a diagnosisof a chronic disease .
here, but things have been startingto go wrong .
See, when I met Dotti, she was up here, she had a disease.
You see, you can think of ita little bit like a fire that's been burningin Dotti's body for years; it's getting bigger till it's finally raging out of control.
At that point, I can say, 'Hey Dotti, you have a disease'.
And I told her that, 'You do have a disease.
' But what caused it in the first place? The thing we have to understand is that acute disease and chronic diseaseare two different things.
Acute disease is somethingwe're pretty good at as doctors, we're good at this.
It's quite simple.
Okay? You have something like a pneumonia, that's a severe lung infection.
So in your lung you havethe overgrowth of some bugs, typically a bacteria.
We identify the bacteria, we give you a treatment, typically an antibiotic, and it kills the bacteria.
The bacteria dies and hey, presto, you no longer have your pneumonia.
The problem is we applythat same thinking to chronic disease and it simply doesn't work, because chronic diseasedoesn't just happen.
You don't just wake upwith chronic disease one day and there are many different causesof chronic disease.
By the time we give you that diagnosis, things have been going wrongfor a long, long time.
So when I met Dottiand she had her 'diagnosis', her blood sugar was out of control, because that's what people say, many people say that type 2 diabetesis a blood sugar problem, but they're missing the point.
There is a problemwith blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, but type 2 diabetesis not a blood sugar problem.
The blood sugar is the symptom, it's not the cause! If we only treat symptomswe'll never get rid of the disease.
So when I met Dotti, I said, 'Dotti, you've got a problemwith your blood sugar.
Dotti, for the last few years your body has becomemore and more intolerant to certain foods.
At the moment, Dotti, your body does not tolerate refined or processed carbsor sugar at all.
So you've got to cut them out'.
So what does that do? Well, it stops putting fuelon Dotti's raging fire.
But then we've got to work outwhat started the fire in the first place? And what was the fuelthat caused it to burn for so long? In most cases of type 2 diabetes, this is somethingcalled insulin resistance.
Now insulin is a very important hormone, and one of its key functions is to keep your blood sugartightly controlled in your body.
So, let's say you're at the bottom leftin optimal health, like all of us in here, and you have a breakfastof say, a sugary bowl of cereal.
What happens is your blood sugar goes up, but your body releasesa little bit of insulin, and it comes back down to normal.
As you move up that curve, you are becoming moreand more insulin resistant; that means you needmore and more insulin to do the same job.
And for all those yearsbefore you get anywhere near a diagnosis, that raised level of insulinis causing you a lot of problems.
You could think of ita little bit like alcohol.
The very first time you have a drink, what happens? Say, you have a glass of wine, one or two sips, maybe half a glass; you feel tipsy; you feel a little bit drunk.
And as you become a more seasonedand accustomed drinker, you need more and more alcoholto have the same effect; so that's what's going on with insulin.
You need more and more insulinto have the same effect, but that insulin itself is problematic.
And when the insulin can no longerkeep your sugar under control, at that point we say, 'Oh, you've got a disease'; at that point, you have type 2 diabetes.
So what causes this insulin resistance that then causes type 2 diabetes? Well, there are many different things.
It could be your diet.
It could be that your dietfor the last ten years has been full of processed junk food.
That could be a cause.
Or there's something else.
What if it's the fact that youare chronically stressed? Work stress, emotional stress, perceived stress.
For me, just seeingmy email inbox sometimes, that's a stress.
See, that raiseslevels of cortisol in your body, and cortisol, when it's up, raises your sugar which causes insulin resistance.
What if it's something else? What if it's the factyou have been sleep deprived because you are a shift worker? See, in some people, one night's sleep deprivation can give you as much insulin resistanceas six months on a junk food diet.
What if it's the fact that as you'regetting older, you're losing muscle mass? That causes insulin resistance.
Or what if it's something to do withsomething we call your microbiome? See, inside our body, we have trillions of bugs living there, and the balance of those bugsis critical for our overall health.
If you have a disruption to that balance, you can get the overgrowthof certain bacteria, and on their jacket, these bacteria have somethingcalled lipopolysaccharide, or LPS.
And what that doesis when it gets in your blood, it causes insulin resistance.
You see, the problem is there are many different causesof insulin resistance, and if we don't address the causesfor that particular patient, we will never get rid of the disease.
That's what I did with Dotti, and that's why six weeks after I met her, she no longer had a disease.
What about something elsecompletely unrelated? What about depression? You see, one in five people are going to get depressionat some point in their lives.
So what is depression? There's no blood test for depression; there's no scan for depression.
Depression is simply the namethat we give to a collection of symptoms.
But what causes the depression? Well, we know thatmany cases of depression are associated with somethingcalled inflammation.
Now this isn't the same inflammationas if you trip up, you sprain your ankle, it gets red, it gets swollen, it gets hot for a few days.
But this is entirely different.
This is chronic inflammation.
This happens when your body thinksit is under constant attack.
Now, King's College London three weeks agopublished a study on this.
This is current up-to-date stuff.
Patients with depression, if they had high levelsof inflammation in their body, they did not respondto antidepressants.
Take a step back, it sort of makes sense, doesn't it? Because an antidepressant is designed to raise the levelof a chemical in your brain.
But what if the cause of your depression is actually coming from your bodyand the inflammation that's in your body? Surely, it makes more senseto address that.
See, what causes this inflammation? Well, your diet plays a part in that, your stress levels play a part.
Chronic sleep deprivation.
A lack of exposure to the sunwhich gives you vitamin D.
Disruptions in the gut microbiome.
There are many different things.
If we do not address the cause, we'll never get rid of diseases.
Diseases are the symptom.
What about something else? What about Alzheimer's disease? See? We're all living longer, aren't we? But we're scared.
We're scared that as we live longerand as we live older we may have to live with the devastatingconsequences of things like Alzheimer's.
I'm sure many of us in herehave experienced that ourselves, with our family.
It's a heart-wrenching condition, and we, the doctors, we're scrambling around, and we're trying to find the cure.
There's a professor in San Francisco, Professor Bredesen, who was actually demonstratingthat you can cure dementia.
He's shown that you canreverse cognitive decline in his patients with dementia; and how is he doing that? Well, one thing he's not doingis he is not saying, 'Well, all these patientsin my office have got dementia, Alzheimer's disease, what is the cure?' No, he's going the other way; he's saying, with all these patients, let's say ten patients in my office, he's trying to work out what have been the triggersfor the last 20 years that have ended up with this patientexpressing themselves as dementia? And he identifies them, and he corrects every single one of them.
And when he does that, guess what's happening? They are reversing their symptoms, they are no longer being classifiedas having dementia.
It's a brand new wayof looking at disease.
It's looking at what is causingthis disease in this individual patient.
It's totally different.
So what factors is he looking at? Well, he's looking at their diet; he's looking at their stress levels, their sleep quality, their physical activity levels, their exposureto environmental toxins, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Is this starting to sounda little bit familiar? See, what if all these seeminglyseparate diseases actually at their coreshare common root causes? See, we need to update our thinking: Our genetics are not our destiny.
Our genes load the gun, but it's our environmentthat pulls the trigger.
All these factors here, these are the factorsthat basically interact with your genes and determine how your genesare expressed, whether you are in optimal health, whether you have a disease, or whether you are somewhere in between.
Collectively, as a society, I genuinely believewe can do better and we have to do better.
Type 2 diabetes aloneis costing us 20 billion pounds a year.
Just a 1% saving therewould be 200 million pounds.
I think we can do way better than 1%.
In the United States today, the new generation of kids that are bornhave a lower life expectancy than the generation before them.
Is this evolution or is this devolution? You see, we need to evolvethe way that we practice medicine.
We need the medicine of aetiology, not symptomatology – the medicine that asks why, not only tells you what.
This is personalized medicine, this is precision medicine, this is progressive medicine.
And actually, if you take a step back, this is preventative medicinein its purest form.
We have got to stop applying 20th century thinkingto 21st century problems.
We need to take back control, empower ourselves, and re-educate ourselvesaway from our fear of disease and right back down the curveto optimal health.
Because if we do, together, I genuinely believe that we canchange not only our health, not only the health of our communities, but maybe, just maybe we could start to change the healthof the entire world.