Check out IFM’s Educational Opportunities

Here are some intriguing presentations from The Institute for Functional Medicine’s 16th International Symposium, titled “Illuminating the Path Forward: Integrating New Approaches for the Evaluation and Treatment of Mood Disorders”.


Though this conference was just held this weekend, you can become a member of IFM and take advantage of future webinars, educational seminars and educational publications.

Using Urinary Neurotransmitters and Amino Acid Therapy in the Treatment of Anxiety and Depression

A review of the literature reveals that urinary measurements of neurotransmitters and their metabolites have been used in some human clinical studies. However, there have been virtually no attempts to evaluate the use of those urinary neurotransmitter levels as primary indicators of patient status. Dr. Konrad Kail will present information from a case series he has conducted looking at urinary neurotransmitters as part of a testing protocol. Endpoints measured include quality of life questionnaires (State Anxiety Scale, Self-Rated Depression Scale, SF-36, Thyroid and Adrenal Symptom Scales), brachioradialis reflex times, urinary neurotransmitters, and adrenal hormones. Therapy included individual amino acids and nutraceutical pathway support based on urinary measurements. Dr. Kail will discuss his findings, along with pertinent biochemistry involved in anxiety and depressive disorders and the interactions of stress, hormones, and cytokines.

The War Within: The Immune System, Infections, Inflammation, and Mood Disorders

There is now substantial evidence that the nervous system can modulate immune function. However, the interactions are not unidirectional–the immune system can also have powerful influences on the nervous system, and these may manifest in mood disorders such as depression. It is clear that effective defense against infections and immune dysfunction requires a complex coordination of the activities of the nervous and immune systems. Dr. Hedaya will provide a framework for assessment and treatment of immune dysfunction that may be related to mood disturbances.

Mood Disorders and HPTA Dysfunction: Assessment and Treatment

Depression and PTSD can be the cause or effect of imbalances in the production, secretion, transport, sensitivity, metabolism, and/or excretion of thyroid and adrenal hormones. Attending to and correcting these dysfunctions can have profound effects on mood. Dr. Filomena Trindade will describe how modulating these hormonal signals with diet, nutrients, botanicals, and hormone replacement can be a key to helping some individuals with mood disorders.

Mood Disorders: Replacing a Broken Model with a Functional Medicine Approach

Identification and management of mood disorders have advanced considerably in the past 50 years with the advent of various assessment tools, medications, and other therapies. However, it is still clear that we have a long way to go in fully understanding and managing these conditions. The common paradigm in medicine looks almost exclusively to powerful pharmaceuticals, but these potent medications often result in unacceptable side effects, poor compliance, and incomplete resolution of symptoms. Such a limited approach is inherently inadequate as we have become aware of the variety of antecedents, triggers, and mediators that conventional pharmaceutical medications cannot resolve. Dr. Robert Hedaya, an expert in the field of functional medicine and mood disorders, will trace where we have been and where we can go in employing a more functional approach to assessing and treating mood disorders.

Toxic Metals: An Underappreciated Cause of Mood Disorders (non-CME)

Various reports indicate that our toxic environment may have a profound effect on mood. Studies examining health consequences of the release of mercury from dental amalgams, occupational sources, and dietary intake suggest that this specific toxin may be an important and yet underappreciated risk factor for depression. But how is the clinical determination made for the association between mercury and depression, and what is the best way to relieve that toxic burden? Dr. Mark Hyman, who has spent the past 15 years treating mercury toxicity, will outline the chelation and general detoxification program he uses and describe through case studies his clinical experience in this critical area.

Treating Mood Disorders Associated with PMS and Perimenopause

This workshop will provide an overview of mood disorders in women as they relate to hormonal balance. Such imbalances can occur at various times in a woman’s life–premenstrual, postpartum, and perimenopausal. Mood changes such as depression, dysthymia, and anxiety can result. An appropriate clinical approach and laboratory assessment can lead to the creation of individual treatment protocols that include dietary changes, hormonal dosing strategies, detoxification programs, and gastrointestinal restoration. Dr. Anna Cabeca, a board-certified gynecologist and obstetrician, has a wealth of experience in managing these issues and will help participants individualize patient treatment protocols.

The Science Behind Nutrients and Phytonutrients as Antidepressant Treatments

Over the past decade, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine have widened their support for research on the efficacy and safety of various dietary and botanical treatments for mood disorders. So with this increasing database, what is the current state of knowledge on some of the primary nutritional and botanical therapies used today? Dr. David Mischoulon, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a primary researcher in this area, will review research by his group and others on the validity and usefulness of St. John’s wort, S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), folic acid, docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid (alone or in combination), and other therapies in mood disorders.


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