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Personalised Functional Medicine in Melbourne: A New Approach to Healthcare

Personalised Functional Medicine in Melbourne: A New Approach to Healthcare

Modern Functional Medicine in Melbourne offers a comprehensive and effective approach for the treatment of chronic and complex diseases.

 

The Australian Centre for Functional Medicine (AUSCFM), currently based in Perth, WA, has created a new model of functional medicine in Melbourne that is focused on an integrative approach to health care.

AUSCFM employs a modern and personalised approach to Functional Medicine in Melbourne that merges standard medical practice with advanced clinical testing and evidence-based complementary medicine treatments. All treatments implemented through this approach to Functional Medicine in Melbourne have a strong clinical background, which guarantees their safety and efficacy.

At its core, AUSCFM’s take on Functional Medicine in Melbourne applies a systems biology approach, focusing on identifying all the contributing factors driving a disease. Factors like exposure to environmental toxins, immune dysfunction, micronutrient deficiencies and alterations to the composition of the gut microbiome (gut dysbiosis) are considered and treated. This approach has proven effective for the treatment of multiple chronic and complex diseases.

 

Melbourne demography

 

Melbourne, founded in 1835, is the capital and most densely populated city of the state of Victoria. It is also Australia’s second most populated city, with nearly 5 million inhabitants and a large immigrant population. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2016 census, around 63% of the population was born in Australia, whereas more than 10% (over 500,000 people) were born in Asian countries like India, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, and Hong Kong.

Like in other parts of Australia, Melbourne is characterised by a strong European ancestry: more than 50% of the population declared English, Irish, or Scottish ancestry.

 

Healthcare in Melbourne

 

Like in the rest of Australia, healthcare in Melbourne depends on Medicare, a government scheme that provides medical services, public hospitals and medicines1. Melbourne’s healthcare is supported by 30 hospitals and 13 health service institutions, as well as multiple medical research institutes, such as the St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research, Australian Stem Cell Centre, the Burnet Institute, the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, the Howard Florey Institute, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, among others.

The standard medical practice in Melbourne follows the same model as the rest of Australia, where patients are evaluated on a disease-centred approach2. Patients are evaluated by a general practitioner and prescribed medicine for their ailment and/or referred to a specialist.

While there is a wide range of different clinical specialities in hospitals and medical practices, there are no specialities involving an integrative or Functional Medicine in Melbourne. An integrative medicine approach draws from different fields of clinical practice to understand and treat the underlying conditions causing a patient’s symptoms.

Most notably, current clinical practices have yet to incorporate the decades of research findings linking the human microbiome with various aspects of health3-4. The human microbiome, particularly the gut microbiome, is a vast microbial community composed of trillions of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms, living in synergy with the cells of our body5. The composition of the gut microbiome has been linked to multiple chronic diseases, from obesity and diabetes to neurological disorders, heart disease and gut disorders3-5. Today, chronic diseases represent a major problem in Melbourne and in the rest of Australia6.

In contrast, the modern take of AUSCFM on Functional Medicine in Melbourne has the human microbiome ingrained in its clinical practice.

 

Health in Melbourne: focus on chronic diseases

 

Chronic diseases include long-lasting diseases such as genetic disorders, trauma, disability and complex health problems like cancer, heart disease, neurological conditions, and diabetes.

In Victoria, according to recent statistics, around 70% of all diseases can be grouped into six chronic conditions: cardiovascular disease, cancers, injuries, mental health conditions, diabetes, and asthma, which affect males and females in different ways (Table 1), according to data from the 2016 Victorian Population Health Survey.

 

Table 1. Proportion of adults with chronic disease in Victoria, according to the 2016 Victorian Population Health Survey

DiseaseMalesFemales
Arthritis15.9%24.3%
Osteoporosis2.3%8.7%
Depression or anxiety20.0%28.7%
Heart disease9.0%5.8%
Cancer8.3%7.3%
Diabetes7.7%6.0%
Asthma9.2%13.8%
Stroke3.1%2.4%

 

The high incidence of chronic diseases in Australia are now reaching epidemic proportions in Melbourne and in the rest of Australia, affecting nearly half of all Australians. As a consequence, chronic diseases are exerting unprecedented pressure on the healthcare system. For example, cardiovascular diseases, oral health, mental disorders, and musculoskeletal disorders were estimated to cost Australia’s healthcare system more than $27 billion, during the period of 2008-9.

This vast economic burden is also affecting patients. A recent study, for example, found high out-of-pocket expenses associated with certain chronic diseases like asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions7. The same study also found that many Australians choose to avoid medical treatment because of the high out-of-pocket costs. People suffering from depression and anxiety, for example, were highly likely to skip healthcare consultations.

There is an urgent need to find a new and more effective way to treat chronic conditions and help half of Australia become healthier. Multiple studies support the importance of diet, lifestyle options and some botanical supplements for the treatment of certain chronic diseases8-10. However, there is a dire need to have a healthcare model that incorporates these research findings into clinical practice.

In this sense, AUSCFM’s implementation of Functional Medicine in Melbourne has long incorporated these important aspects.

 

Modern Functional Medicine in Melbourne: a new paradigm in healthcare

 

At its core, AUSCFM and their approach to Functional Medicine in Melbourne merges multiple aspects of healthcare, investigating genetic, biological, microbiological, mental, neurological, environmental, and lifestyle factors, recognising they can all play important roles in patients’ health.

Modern Functional Medicine Melbourne is unique and distinct from complementary medicine practices like naturopathy, herbal clinics, natural medicine or homeopathy11. These “natural” approaches to healthcare are known to avoid standard medical approaches and medicines, favouring “natural medicines” to treat serious diseases.

However, without clinical research to back up their use, results obtained from such practices are hard to evaluate and may even be dangerous for certain patients and conditions12-13. In contrast, Modern Functional Medicine in Melbourne, as implemented by AUSCFM is based on clinical research.

As a consequence of the lack of clinical value in these “natural medicine” practices, the Australian government removed naturopathy from private health insurance coverage in 2019. While the benefits of using natural products to treat diseases is not disputed, it is important that any “natural treatment” are backed by solid clinical evidence. AUSCFM’s approach Modern Functional Medicine in Melbourne takes a different approach to health care, relying on current research findings and incorporating both standard and complementary medical treatments.

AUSCFM’s focus for Modern Functional Medicine in Melbourne also stands apart from traditional “Functional Medicine” practices currently available in Melbourne, which despite their label are not able to fulfil all the aspects needed to become a truly integrative medical practice (Table 1).

 

Conventional Medical Practitioners
Australian Centre for Functional Medicine
Other Functional Medicine and Complimentary practitioners
can prescribe medications
can prescribe medications
can prescribe medications
can prescribe medications
Australia's most advanced microbiome testing
Australia's most advanced microbiome testing
Australia's most advanced microbiome testing
Australia's most advanced microbiome testing
Advanced allergy testing against 180 food allergens
Advanced allergy testing against 180 food allergens
Advanced allergy testing against 180 food allergens
Advanced allergy testing against 180 food allergens
Can refer for MRI, Ultrasounds and CT Scans
Can refer for MRI, Ultrasounds and CT Scans
Can refer for MRI, Ultrasounds and CT Scans
Can refer for MRI, Ultrasounds and CT Scans
Accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Can prescribe natural supplements
Can prescribe natural supplements
Can prescribe natural supplements
Can prescribe natural supplements
Can diagnose and treat complex health cases
Can diagnose and treat complex health cases
Can diagnose and treat complex health cases
Can diagnose and treat complex health cases

 

AUSCFM  practitioners of Modern Functional Medicine in Melbourne are accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and have the capacity of prescribing medications as well as standard radiological tests, such as Magnetic resonance imaging, Computed tomography Scans, ultrasounds, X-rays and many others.

Our practice of Functional Medicine in Melbourne also employs advanced diagnostic testing, analysing biomarkers from stool, urine, blood, and breath samples, such as levels of glucose, fats, hormones, vitamins, or minerals. Genomic-based tests are also used to identify the composition of a patient’s microbiome, the vast communities of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms found mostly in the gut but also in other parts of the body.

Through its modern approach to Functional Medicine in Melbourne, the Australian Centre for Functional Medicine aims to identify the underlying problems causing a patient’s symptoms.

The central tenet of AUSCFM’s approach to healthcare is that chronic diseases, such as diabetes, IBD, heart disease, or neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease all have complex origins and usually involve a combination of pathologies that need to be identified and treated.

Now, through our Telehealth service, Functional Medicine in Melbourne is a reality. We can treat patients and provide the full support they need to help them improve their health.

 

 

BECOME A PATIENT OF FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE IN MELBOURNE TODAY

 

 

 

After registering with our centre, we will schedule an initial consultation through our Telehealth system. During this consultation, we will consider your main health complaints, your current health, and your medical history. We will also discuss potential options to move forward, including the use of advanced diagnostic testing and potential treatments.

 

Functional Medicine in Melbourne is a promising new approach to health. Join today!

 

References

 

  1. Australia M. Medicare benefits schedule. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. 2010. Read it!
  2. Armstrong BK, Gillespie JA, Leeder SR, Rubin GL, Russell LM. Challenges in health and health care for Australia. Medical Journal of Australia. 2007 Nov;187(9):485-9. Read it!
  3. Round JL, Mazmanian SK. The gut microbiota shapes intestinal immune responses during health and disease. Nature reviews immunology. 2009 May;9(5):313-23. Read it!
  4. Flint HJ, Scott KP, Louis P, Duncan SH. The role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health. Nature reviews Gastroenterology & hepatology. 2012 Oct;9(10):577. Read it!
  5. Huttenhower C, Gevers D, Knight R, Abubucker S, Badger JH, Chinwalla AT, Creasy HH, Earl AM, FitzGerald MG, Fulton RS, Giglio MG. Structure, function and diversity of the healthy human microbiome. Nature. 2012 Jun;486(7402):207. Read it!
  6. Caughey GE, Vitry AI, Gilbert AL, Roughead EE. Prevalence of comorbidity of chronic diseases in Australia. BMC public health. 2008 Dec 1;8(1):221. Read it!
  7. Callander EJ, Corscadden L, Levesque JF. Out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure and chronic disease–do Australians forgo care because of the cost?. Australian journal of primary health. 2017 Mar 15;23(1):15-22. Read it!
  8. Franzago M, Santurbano D, Vitacolonna E, Stuppia L. Genes and Diet in the Prevention of Chronic Diseases in Future Generations. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020 Jan;21(7):2633. Read it!
  9. Wimalawansa SJ. Prevention of Chronic Diseases by Maintaining Physiological Concentrations of Vitamin D. J Clin Endocrin Diabe Rese. 2019;1(1):001. Read it!
  10. Bae M, Kim MB, Park YK, Lee JY. Health benefits of fucoxanthin in the prevention of chronic diseases. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids. 2020 Jan 10:158618. Read it!
  11. Luke JW. Functional Medicine: New name, old ideas. Australasian Science. 2017 Jul;38(4):44. Read it!
  12. Ooi SL, McLean L, Pak SC. Naturopathy in Australia: Where are we now? Where are we heading?. Complementary therapies in clinical practice. 2018 Nov 1;33:27-35. Read it!
  13. Wardle J. Diving into the complexity of integrative medical practice. Advances in Integrative Medicine. 2014;2(1):67-8. Read it!