I grew up in Assuame, Africa, a small town located three kilometers North of Agnibilekrou. In the 1960s and 1970s, we were spraying DDT on coffee crops before harvesting to prevent ant bites. I can still remember my father carrying the DDT spray machine on his back and we all inhaled the fumes. My beloved adoptive mother died of lymphoma (I know because I have done a retrospection of all untimely deaths in our family to understand the cause of these deaths). My mother had enlarged lymph nodes on both sides of her neck and died in 1970, at age 37. What caused her lymphoma?
The probability of escape from Assuame and the farm was slim and yet, I obtained a government scholarship to pursue graduate studies in the US. I earned my PhD in economics at SUNY-Albany, NY, in 1988 and taught economics at the University of Toledo for seven years before entering medical school in the mid-1990s. I graduated medical school in 1999 from the Medical College of Ohio and completed my internal medicine residency at Ohio State University Medical Center (OSUMC) in 2002, and became Board Certified in Internal Medicine. I then spent two years in pharmacoeconomics, and outcomes research fellowship sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline.
In 2004, I started training in Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center in Baltimore, completing that fellowship in 2006, and became Board Certified.
I thought I was ready to embark in medical practice, make my patients happy, and change the world. After all, I have had one of the best medical educations anyone can get in the US. I started my practice as an associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Tyler, Texas (UTHSCT). I worked very hard, both in teaching medical students and also caring for my own patients, until I attended a conference in Dallas in March 2007. It was at that point, that I realized I am not equipped to address the 21st century chronic medical conditions I encountered daily in clinic! That conference changed my life, and the course of my medical career for the better, which I will share in a moment...
Initially, when I saw obese patients with multiple comorbidities including adult onset allergies, I told them to "go lose weight." Many of the patients took offense for addressing their weight issues. Other doctors have told these same patients that weight gain comes from overeating and sedentary lifestyle. After all, that is what we learned in medical school as aspiring MDs. We are made to believe that obesity is a "calorie in, calorie out" problem.
Do you know that obesity is not uniform in the US? If it were a matter of calorie in, calorie out problem, the rate of obesity will be the same across the US! In medical school, were never taught anything about environmental toxins, their connection to hormone imbalance, and the hormone imbalance impact on chronic diseases including obesity, allergies, and anxiety/depression. These topics are so crucial in the world today that I have invested my time and energy in writing four books on these important topics and how they are related to each other.
If you are a doctor, I don’t know if your medical school training was any different… Currently, the same 19th and 20th century medical school curriculum is taught in The US and around the world. We are well trained in the art of differential diagnoses and pharmacology tailored to addressing each diagnosis. We are never taught to look at the impact of the environment and nutrition in health! How many hours of nutrition did you get in medical school? How many hours of environmental medicine did you get in medical school? How many of us know about the obesity maps, the pesticides maps, and the history behind these maps? How many of us know about the CDC biomonitoring and the CDC Fourth Report? How many of us know why we are told to avoid plastics? How many of us know why there is an important warning on common brand toothpastes? How many of know why so many children are reacting to peanuts, dairy, eggs, tree nuts...Do environmental toxins have any role in these reactions?
Even as an allergist and clinical immunologist, I was never taught anything about the environment. I know that pollens, dust, molds, pet dander… cause allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and asthma... I learned that many foods and food proteins cause food allergies and until today, when I go to conferences, there is scant information about why all at a sudden different food protein have become monsters that attack humans. When we talk about Gluten protein sensitivity; it is as if the Gluten (which until the mid-1990s was consumed in the US and the rest of the world without any real consequences), all of a sudden has become a poison for women, men, and children, especially in the US.
I think we have lost our way, and the reason is that we completely ignore the toxic environmental factors that play a major role in all the complex chronic diseases of the 21st century. We can no longer use 19th, or 20th century diagnoses and treatment protocols to address 21st century environmentally driven chronic diseases. There is a mismatch between the diagnoses and treatment of environmentally driven health problems, and that's the reason for poor health outcomes. Poor health outcomes beget frustrations for patients and for practitioners; we are all patients!
The advent of the internet has started to close the information gap between healthcare practitioners and patients; and patients are unhappy. They are demanding more education and better treatment protocols that the practitioners do not possess. Let’s face it- how many of us would like to live with one or multiple chronic diseases and take medications for the rest of our lives? If most us do not complete a course of an antibiotic, how many of us can be compliant with taking medications every day, and for the rest of our lives? And yet, that is what we are asking many of our patients to do. They are fed up with this practice of medicine and they are complaining. They are griping about this maltreatment and many are actively seeking alternatives. They are disenchanted with the “Western Medicine” approaches, and they are looking everywhere to cure their chronic ailments.
Some groups, such as functional medicine groups, are created to fill the gap, but many healthcare practitioners have heard of these groups and thought that they are outliers of "quackery," and do not want to associate with them. Other practitioners do see tremendous value in functional medicine, but do not have time for additional training and retraining to acquire the necessary skills to practice safely in the 21st century. Many healthcare practitioners are lost and do not understand why their patients are dismissing their treatments and disrespecting them.
On the organizational front, there are many unduly demands on the practitioner to perform better, to work faster, to pile up quantity of patients to generate revenues. The people at the top of the medical organizations equate discontentment of patients to lack of medical knowledge and force their members to take archaic and inadequate exams every ten years to prove that they are intellectually capable.
In the face of all the disrespect, performance demands, and incomes that do not commensurate with efforts, many practitioners are burned out. Any solutions? Not really. Practitioners are venting their frustrations on forums such as Doximity, but they do not offer any solutions. The WHO (The World Health Organization) has made practitioner “burn out” a diagnosis, but what is the therapy?
In response to the ill adaptation of current medical practice to the sources of chronic diseases, I have created a course called INTEGRATIVE IMMUNITY TRAINING PROGRAM for healthcare practitioners. The course is based on the four books I have written to elucidate the QUADEPIDEMICS (Estrogen-Obesity-Allergy/Immune Complex-Anxiety/Depression Epidemics)...
This course is accredited, and you will earn 24 AMA Category I CME for attending! If you are a practitioner, I invite you to attend this life changing training program. I guarantee you that your CME monies will be well spent by taking this timely course. You will understand the root causes of most chronic diseases and how to approach these conditions in the 21st century for optimal outcomes for the patients and for you.
Thank you for reading!
Dr. Benoit Tano, MD