The first retrospective cohort study of the #functional #medicine model has recently been published in the Journal of American Medical Association Network Open (#JAMA). The study saw researchers from the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine examine 1,595 patients they had treated there, as well as 5,657 patients seen in primary care at a family health centre. All patients had their health-related quality of life (#QoL) assessed using a patient-reported outcomes measurement information system (#PROMIS). The National Institute of Health (#NIH) validated questionnaires, measured patients physical and mental health across a period of 12 months.
On assessing the results, the study found that those patients seen by the Center for Functional Medicine showed substantial improvements in their PROMIS global physical health. After 6 months roughly 31% of patients from the functional clinic improved their health scores by 5 or more points, compared to just 21% of those from the primary care clinic. The improvements were also shown to be sustainable, remaining significant at the 12 month follow up. The patients seen in functional medicine differed from those in primary care, as a result propensity score matching was used to balance the baseline differences in demographics and other characteristics between the two groups.
Larger scale research, over a longer time scale, is now needed but this study clearly shows that #nutrition and #lifestyle choices can be used to manage #chronic #diseases. Dr. Patrick Hanaway, an author and developer of the study said,
“Functional Medicine focuses on the person, not on the disease. The results of this first-of-its-kind study represent a huge step forward – clearly demonstrating Functional Medicine as an evidence-based approach to address the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and improve global outcomes.”