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Better Medicine

Better Medicine

By Dr. Omar Akhter
Welcome to The Better Medicine Podcast. In this podcast, Dr. Omar Akhter interviews various experts in the healthcare field each week to discuss better ways of addressing chronic disease.
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9. Understanding the Mental Healthcare Landscape and How to Access it Better With Dr. Hani Talebi
There is a significant mental health care epidemic going on that has only been worsened in the past few years with the COVID pandemic. Rates of anxiety and depression are sky high, not just for adults, but for adolescents and teens as well. Our current approach to mental health care places the burden of care upon Psychiatrists and therapists and the truth is there just aren’t enough people to meet the incredible demand out there. When Psychiatrists or other mental health care professionals are seeing patients, there are often not able to do so in a holistic and collaborative way - an approach that will ultimately benefit the patient more. This type of a model with better access to care is so necessary and the topic of my discussion today with Dr. Hani Talebi. We discuss: His story and journey into the world of mental health. The growing epidemic of mental health problems and what factors may be contributing to it. What our current models in Psychiatry and Psychology get right when treating depression/anxiety and where they fall short. How a more holistic model of care that incorporates physical medicine with mental health can improve our treatment of it. Social media - a force for good or increasing our mental health problems? Thoughts on the huge amounts of money being poured into mental health funding and what impact it's having. Guest Bio: Dr. Hani Talebi is a licensed psychologist and specialist in school psychology with focused experience in pediatric psychology. Dr.Talebi is an affiliate faculty member in the UT Austin Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a courtesy affiliate faculty member in the UT Austin Department of Pediatrics and the UT Austin Department of Educational Psychology. In his role as Senior Vice President of Health Systems Integration, Dr. Talebi’s work focuses on advancing collaborative care and measurement-based care in primary care and health system settings. With more than 20 years of clinical experience, he has served in a variety of roles including Director of Pediatric Psychology at Dell Children’s Medical Center, Director of Psychological Services at Del Valle Independent School District, Director of Clinical Programming in various community mental health centers, and as a clinical/consultative leader in the private sector. Dr.Talebi’s administrative efforts at the juncture of the medical and mental health models have resulted in innovative program development, various quality improvement initiatives and fiscally sustainable service provision platforms across milieus. Connect with Dr. Talebi Website: ​​ Connect with Dr. Akhter Website: Email: Instagram: LinkedIn:
September 27, 2022
8. The Biomedical Approach to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) With Dr. Emily Gutierrez
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) rates are continually rising. Nearly 1 in 36 school-aged children are affected. Currently, we look at Autism Spectrum as a psychological condition and base therapies around that model but a newer and better model looks at ASD through a biomedical approach, in other words looking at the whole body and how it affects the brain. Many scientific studies now point to the connection between the digestive system and the brain and indeed many kids with Autism have gut inflammation and IBS symptoms. Sure enough, their behavioral and cognitive problems improve when their gut symptoms are treated. Dr. Gutierrez wrote a book on this biomedical approach to Autism called, “The Parent’s Roadmap to Autism” (linked below). This is the newer approach we discuss in today’s podcast. All parents who have a child on the spectrum need to hear this discussion. We discuss: Dr. Gutierrez’s journey into pediatrics and specifically Functional Medicine. The increasing epidemic of ASD and what factors are contributing. Current conventional approaches to ASD and where they fall short. Looking at ASD as a medical disorder & and how we can approach patients practically. The 5 core areas of focus Dr. Gutierrez mentions in her book i.e. genes, gut health, toxins, immunity, nutrition. Guest Bio: Dr. Emily Gutierrez is the chief scientific medical liaison and formulator for Neuro Nutrients and has over a decade of clinical experience managing patients in her busy practice with Neuronutrition Associates, one of the first pediatric-focused functional medicine practices opened in the United States. Gutierrez received her doctorate from Johns Hopkins University with a focus in translational medicine as a doctor of nursing practice. She received her master's degree from the University of Texas at Austin and is board certified as a pediatric nurse practitioner. Dr. Gutierrez is also board certified through the Institute of Functional Medicine, board certified as a clinical nutritionist, and board certified as a primary care mental health specialist. In addition to actively managing patients in her private practice in Austin, Texas, she also is adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University where she lectures on integrative and functional medicine. Gutierrez has published in the peer-reviewed literature multiple times, however, one of her favorite accomplishments was publishing the first chapter on integrative and functional medicine in a textbook for primary care providers. Dr. Gutierrez continues to be an active researcher, writer, and speaker, and her passion for formulating science-based nutrient compounds that meet the strictest standards of quality and efficacy continues to be her favorite tool in managing patients. Book Link: Article Link: Connect with Dr. Gutierrez Website: Instagram: Connect with Dr. Akhter Website:
September 16, 2022
7. Is Limbic System Impairment Contributing to Your Chronic Symptoms? With Lindsay Mitchell
Oftentimes, inflammation lies at the heart of chronic disease. Those people suffering from a chronic illness or symptoms have ongoing inflammation due to various factors and for certain patients, many treatment modalities do not help them. This segment of the patient population suffering from chronic disease often has Limbic system impairment which means the sympathetic nervous system is dominant, inhibiting bodily systems from functioning at optimal capacity. For these individuals, brain or nervous system retraining is necessary, helping to facilitate a parasympathetic reset allowing healing to take place. The parasympathetic system helps us enter a state of rest-and-digest, through which we can make positive changes to our brains that result in greater health, diminishing symptoms, and increased resilience to stress. Recent scientific research has discovered that the brain is constantly experiencing new neural activity throughout our entire lives. This concept is known as neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to change, re-organize, and adapt. It is at the core of Lindsay’s mission. We discuss: Lindsay’s health journey with chronic disease and what led her to focus on brain retraining. What is Limbic System impairment and brain retraining and how this is done. How to approach patients with difficult-to-treat chronic conditions that aren’t improving. How to understand neuroplasticity, in other words, making changes to your brain. Guest Bio: Lindsay Mitchell is the founder of Vital-Side, a membership program that empowers those with chronic illness and limbic system impairment to retrain their brain out of the chronic stress response so they can get relief from their symptoms and find freedom in their lives. Her training in medicine as a physician assistant, work as an NLP practitioner, and experience having recovered from Lyme disease makes her uniquely qualified to assist others in learning how to shift their response and experience positive changes to their symptoms. You can find free brain training tips & tools on Instagram @myvitalside or join her Membership at Connect with Lindsay Website: Instagram: Facebook: Youtube: Tik Tok: Twitter: Connect with Dr. Akhter Website: Email: Instagram: LinkedIn:
September 13, 2022
6. Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) - an open secret in the medical world? With Dr. John Kim
Naltrexone is a medication approved for use by the FDA since 1984 for the treatment of opioid and alcohol addiction. It is usually used at a dosage of around 50-150 mg for that indication, however when used at a Low Dose such as 0.5 mg to 4.5 mg, it can be very effective in treating other conditions such as autoimmune disorders, chronic pain and even certain cancers. Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) is currently more popularly used in the alternative/functional medicine world, however given its cost-effectiveness, safety and science based evidence, it should be utilized more frequently in more mainstream medicine. This show aims to create more awareness around the use of LDN.  We discuss:  What is LDN and what conditions is it effective for?  Some of the history and research behind LDN.  What is the mechanism behind LDN use and the different receptors present in our body?  Optimal dosages and potential side effects.  What are the hesitations mainstream medicine has around LDN use and how we can overcome them?  Some interesting research on LDN being used for Stage 4 cancer, especially pancreatic cancer. Book on LDN Review Paper on LDN LDN online resources: Dr. John Kim is board-certified in Preventive Medicine, Medical Acupuncture, and Integrative Medicine. He completed fellowship training in Integrative Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona. He is currently the medical director of an integrative medicine practice in San Antonio which provides Primary Care, Acupuncture, Craniosacral therapy and Integrative Medicine consultations. He is also actively developing and implementing an integrative pain management program. He has extensive knowledge and experience using Low Dose Naltrexone which is the topic of our conversation today. Connect with Dr. Kim: Website: Email:
September 08, 2022
5. Better Ways of Understanding and Overcoming Trauma With Elexia Gonzalez Lowe
Trauma is something many people suffer from - not necessarily physically but psychologically after a stressor or series of stressors. We become traumatized when our ability to respond to a perceived threat is in some way overwhelmed. Many people have significant physical manifestations from this which results in seeking care from Physicians or other providers like mental health professionals. Patients are often not able to find effective ways to address and heal from their trauma and providers often lack the skills needed to heal this trauma. With this conversation, hopefully, we can bring more effective knowledge and strategies around trauma. We discuss: The basics of the central and peripheral nervous system as well as the autonomic nervous system. How trauma manifests physically. What types of patients we are seeing presenting to healthcare professionals. What are some effective modalities in healing trauma. What the biggest barriers are for people trying to access good mental health care resources. Guest Bio Elexia Gonzalez Lowe is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist in the Austin area. She has an eclectic work history spanning over 18 years of experience including community outreach, organizing, and direct practice work with refugees, asylees, immigrants, and survivors of interpersonal violence. She practices radically open Dialectical Behavior therapy or RODPT and brain spotting. As the daughter of an Asian immigrant and as a 1.5-generation biracial, Asian-American, Elexia has experienced first-hand the challenges of accessing resources and inclusion in culturally-relevant services. Connect with Elexia Phone number: (512) 270-1470 Email: Connect with Dr. Akhter: Website: Email: Instagram: LinkedIn:
September 06, 2022
4. Is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) a Misnomer and What Is a Better Way to Address its Underlying Cause? With Eleni Ottalagana
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the number one cause of infertility among women in the United States. It affects between 6-12% of the population or around 5 million women of reproductive age. The name can sometimes be a misnomer because it does not stress upon the insulin resistance and inflammation that underlies this condition.  In this episode, I speak with Eleni Ottalagana who is a nutritionist specializing in PCOS and herself suffered from this condition. She’d used a holistic approach to improve her health and is now helping many other women do the same. We discuss: What led her to be passionate about PCOS and specialize in it? How does PCOS present and how is it diagnosed? Why nutrients are mentioned much in the treatment of PCOS How she evaluates and approaches a patient who is struggling with PCOS Her thoughts on a lower carb diet vs. the concern for disordered eating patterns to develop What other supplements and treatment options are available for PCOS Eleni is a Registered Dietitian, she specializes in women’s health and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). More specifically, supporting women to make nutrition & lifestyle changes using holistic, integrative and functional nutrition approaches. Eleni is passionate about shifting health care for women and works to empower females when it comes to advocating for their health. Wellness isn’t just a job to her, but a way of life. She has traveled around the globe to study various diets, sustainability, plant medicine and to immerse herself in different food cultures. As an educator and professional in the wellness space, Eleni commits to providing sound and impactful nutrition education. She continues to work towards marrying the principles of healthy living and eco-conscious living through client care, online platforms and volunteer work. Connect with Eleni: Website: Youtube: Instagram: Connect with Dr. Akhter: Website: Email: Facebook: Instagram: LinkedIn:
August 30, 2022
3. The Struggle with Ulcerative Colitis and How to Find a Better Solution with Cecili Eckert
Ulcerative Colitis affects over 1 million people in the United States. The symptoms can be debilitating and often hard to treat effectively. They can cause significant impairments in a person’s life. Often, not enough emphasis on the immune nature of Ulcerative Colitis is given and many diet and lifestyle approaches aren’t used in its treatment, but they can be extremely effective. In this episode, I speak with Cecili Eckert who is a nutritionist and who herself suffered from Ulcerative Colitis. She knows firsthand the struggles of Ulcerative Colitis from the patient side. She used a holistic approach to improve her illness and put it into remission. We discuss: Symptoms, diagnosis, and basic immune pathology of Ulcerative Colitis. Conventional approaches currently used and where they fall short. What type of nutritional and lifestyle approaches may be beneficial. How to not lose hope when struggling with this illness! Cecili is a functional Nutritionist who is extremely passionate about helping people with chronic digestive issues use natural methods (think food and lifestyle changes) to return their bodies to a state of balance and wellness. Having received a diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis, she intimately understands the physical, emotional, social, and mental challenges that accompany disease and illness. She wholeheartedly believes that there are real solutions towards and hope for healing when we work with the body as opposed to against it. She uses a very individualized approach to fully understand each client's health story and creates comprehensive plans designed to help them achieve a real feeling of nourishment, wellness, and a true sense of healing. Cecili has three amazing children and a wonderful husband. She dreams of visiting as many state and national parks with her family as possible. She loves learning and reading books of all kinds. Connect with Cecili: Website: Functional Nutritionist | Revival Nutrition and Health | United States Instagram: Cecili Eckert (@cecilieckert) • Instagram photos and videos Facebook: Revival Nutrition and Health | Facebook Connect with Dr. Akhter: Website: Email: Facebook: Instagram: LinkedIn:
August 23, 2022
2. The Right Approach to Low Back Pain with Dr. Courtney Clark
Today, I'm speaking with Dr. Courtney Clark who is a Doctor of Physical therapy, about low back pain. Low back pain is so common in our society with a significant number of people seeking good care options. We dove into some statistics on low back pain, some common causes and red flags for more significant pathology, and what approaches she uses when evaluating a patient. We also touched on pain in general and the different factors that go into the experience of our pain. Guest Bio: Dr. Courtney Clark has a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. She is a board-certified Orthopedic PT specialist as well as the clinic director of East Riverside Results PT. She has a great passion for Orthopedic care and an in-depth knowledge about the science of pain. She uses an individualized approach with each of her patients. She lives in South Austin with her two dogs and enjoys a variety of outdoor activities. Connect with Dr. Clark Website: LinkedIn: Connect with Dr. Akhter Website: Email: Facebook: Instagram: @dromarakhter LinkedIn:
August 16, 2022
1. How a Functional Medicine Doctor with Type 1 Diabetes Approaches Her Health with Dr. Hannah Hamlin
Today, I'm speaking with Dr. Hannah Hamlin, a functional medicine doctor, on her approach to Type 1 Diabetes and why this is such a personal topic for her. We discuss what role diet and lifestyle, especially mindset, has on Type 1 Diabetes as well as various other issues like the cost of insulin. Guest Bio: Dr. Hamlin is a general practitioner who specializes in Functional Medicine. She received a bachelor's Degree in Nutritional Sciences from Texas A&M University prior to attending medical school at William Carey College of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed an internship at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center and has completed training through the Institute of Functional Medicine. She believes that mindset is an integral part of the healing process and is passionate about optimizing health in the presence of autoimmune disease. Connect with Dr. Hamlin Website: Connect with Dr. Akhter Website: Email: Facebook: Instagram: @dromarakhter LinkedIn:
August 16, 2022