MBBS iBScPsychology MRCPsych IFM member
Dr Corcoran, Dr Liz (to her patients) has a passion for empowering people to restore their health through changing how they interact with their world. Through her own and family members’ struggles with health she was led to Functional Medicine. She graduated from the Royal Free University College London in 2005 and completed higher training in psychiatry. She has pursued further education with the Institute of Functional Medicine as a means to ‘come alongside’ her patients to help them make changes and improve their health. She also runs the only UK charity focused on medical research helping people with Down’s syndrome (hyperlink to www.dsrf-uk.org).
Returning to her medical foundations she is utilising the powerful tools of Functional Medicine to help people get well and reduce the risk of chronic disease in their future.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms and can help children and families achieve better physical and mental health through tailored advice on nutrition and lifestyle. Research has broaden our understanding of areas such as the gut-brain link and how our emotional health can affect our physical health- Functional medicine brings all this together and treats us as unique whole individuals.
The relationship between core clinical imbalances and disease
As the graphic illustrates, a diagnosis can be the result of more than one cause. For example, obesity can be caused by many different factors, including inflammation. Likewise, a cause such as inflammation may lead to a number of different diagnoses, including obesity. The precise manifestation of each cause depends on the individual’s genes, environment, and lifestyle, and only treatments that address the right cause will have lasting benefit beyond symptom suppression.
It has long been known that lifestyle interventions are key to reducing chronic disease as sole interventions, i.e. exercise or diet alone. Now the first retrospective cohort study of the functional medicine model, Cleveland Clinic researchers found that functional medicine was associated with improvements in health-related quality of life. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open. This demonstrates the power of combining interventions and working in a personalised way with patient as the driver of change.
Hallmarks of a Functional Medicine approach include:
- Patient-centred care. The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centred care, promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease.
- An integrative, science-based healthcare approach. Functional Medicine practitioners look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
- Integrating best medical practices creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques and psychotherapy.