Life Extension Magazine November 2003
|Eric Braverman, M.D.|
An Innovator of Brain and Body Medicine
by Maria Rabat
BEAM differs from CT scans and MRIs because neither of the latter procedures can assess the brain’s signal activities. Due to the fact that these signals regulate the body, abnormalities that originate within the brain may contribute to or worsen physical illness. Dr. Braverman has worked with this tool for over 20 years, and mainstream medical professionals are just now recognizing it as an essential part of any health assessment. “Once we crack the brain code, we can start repairing what needs to be fixed,” says Dr. Braverman. “BEAM picks all this up in 10 minutes, it’s like a cardiogram of the brain. It can tell brain age and how long it will be until a patient develops Alzheimer’s. If a patient is 70 and his Alzheimer’s date is 40 years away, that person can focus on avoiding a heart attack, colon cancer, or a stroke, knowing that he’ll have his cognitive faculties until the day he dies.”
In some cases, Dr. Braverman relies on brain mapping to detect other conditions as well, including the “pauses” of life. Menopause may be the best-known pause, but Dr. Braverman has uncovered 21 others by applying the concept of menopause to all of the body’s organs and systems (see Table 1). Hormonal declines are common in all diseases of aging degeneration. Without exception, every part of the body is subject to “pause.”
“We’re all subjected to these pauses at different times throughout our lives,” Dr. Braverman explains. “The more pauses a patient experiences, the sicker that patient is. What I do in my practice is uncover those pauses and then fix them.”
That obligation requires Dr. Braverman to treat the whole patient, not just specific body parts or organs. “To maintain optimal health, we must be able to recognize and correct all biomarkers of aging,” he explains. “The weakest link can subtract from one’s well-being and even lead to death while the rest of the patient’s body is healthy. For example, the parathyroid gland declines with age, and without proper parathyroid function, osteoporosis develops. Doctors used to insist that taking calcium pills could cure osteoporosis, but I’ve seen plenty of men and women who’ve taken calcium for 20 years and are severely osteoporotic because they’ve received no estrogen, calcitonin hormone, or parathyroid hormone supplementation—because parathyroid malfunction had been completely overlooked. Doctors would correct what I call ‘gastropause’ by providing extra nutrients, but the patient’s disease still progressed because the pauses of other glands were not corrected.”
Because Dr. Braverman searches for the underlying cause of a symptom—a cause that may require him to go beyond what most doctors would consider to be routine care—he can readily identify the shortcomings of conventional medicine, which he likens to assembly-line economics. “A cardiologist fixes the heart, but he neglects to check out what’s going on with the brain, even though the brain controls the heart,” Dr. Braverman says. “The body isn’t that compartmentalized. It’s an interconnected whole.”
At PATH Medical, the patient medical history form is a cornerstone of Dr. Braverman’s medical detective work; it covers an incredibly diverse range of topics that can uncover important information about a patient’s underlying medical condition. In addition to familiar questions about family history of illness, the PATH form also inquires at great length about patients’ stress levels, social supports, and diet. It also requires patients to answer questions about their personalities, spirituality, goals, and fears.
It may be off-putting to some, but the questionnaire is a valuable tool for the PATH team as they assess a patient’s health status and customize a treatment program. “I guess you can say that we’ve made a startling discovery here in these offices—all the patients we’ve encountered have their brains attached to their bodies. So we ask them questions about state of mind, what’s going on in their heads, their level of anxiety. That all plays into what is occurring in their bodies. For any treatment plan to work, it has to combine the disciplines of psychiatry, neurology, and internal medicine. Then the healing process can begin.”
Patient testimonials prove that the PATH approach works. The conditions that have been successfully treated at PATH Medical are too numerous to list, but they include attention deficit disorder, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stress, obesity, and stroke. Common to many patient testimonials is the line, “Thank you for giving me back my life.” The testimonials, many of them framed and hanging throughout the office, compete for wall space with photographs of Dr. Braverman doing his brain map on patients such as Ben Vereen and Oliver Stone. But even the glamour of the Hollywood set can’t distract from the sheer volume of testimonials that speak to Dr. Braverman’s attention to detail, his innovation as a clinician and diagnostician, and his commitment to his patients’ health and recovery.
In addition to his private practice in New York City (with satellite locations in Princeton, NJ, and Penndel, PA), Dr. Braverman is also director of the PATH Foundation, a nonprofit research organization devoted to preventing and treating all aspects of brain chemical disorders as they relate to general health. Dr. Braverman often is called on to lecture at major medical conferences, and has trained hundreds of physicians and health practitioners in his brain-based approach to health care. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Anti-Aging, with training at Harvard, Yale, and NYU medical schools. He serves on numerous committees (e.g., government relations and managed care of the NYC Medical Society). He has written five books, including the PATH Wellness Manual and The Healing Nutrients Within, and is the author of numerous studies published in peer-reviewed medical research journals.
And what are Dr. Braverman’s hopes for the future of medicine? “The vision for a new age of medical healing requires that we engage the public in a medical awakening, one that embraces multiple modalities, including nutritional and natural therapies, and combines the best of Eastern and Western medical practices,” Dr. Braverman says. “Why shouldn’t everyone have the key to his or her life? They can if they know their brain code, and that comes down to balancing the brain’s four neurotransmitters. Once that balance is found, you will be energetic and thin, your memory will be quick and you’ll be cognitively superior, you’ll be stable and less anxious, your mood will be up and level, and sleep will be great. This scenario can be maintained throughout the life span as long as balance is maintained.”
Dr. Braverman may well be the “PATH” that leads us all to achieving total health.
This spring, look for Dr. Braverman’s new book, titled The Edge: The Path to Total Health and Longevity Through the Balanced Brain, from Sterling Publishers.