Read this interview with Dr. Mona Ezzat-Velinov about functional medicine, brain health, and the value of BrainKey.
Dr. Mona Ezzat-Velinov, you are an expert in “functional medicine”. Can you tell us a bit more about your background, how did you get into functional medicine, and what is functional medicine exactly?
I have been a family physician for over 20 years. I began studying functional and integrative medicine 10 years ago.
I believe the best style of medicine blends the best from all modalities of healing for each person uniquely.
Why should people care about functional medicine?
People should care about functional medicine because it gives them the information, insight, and direction to make choices about their bodies that can completely change their life.
“Longevity” is currently a hot topic. How do functional medicine and longevity go together?
Longevity is a popular area! I think of it as staying healthy and active throughout your natural lifetime.
Choices people make directly affect their "natural" lifetime. An individual who commits to functional medicine learns a lot about themselves and how their lifestyle choices affect their health and longevity. Because decisions and conclusions and care plans are based on an individual’s genetics, lifestyle choices, history, environmental factors, etc. we can anticipate health issues much earlier than what is the standard today to stave off disease and enhance physical and mental wellbeing. It also can help a person who has a disease to change the trajectory of that disease because treatment and/or care plans are based completely on the individual.
What do you think is the most exciting aspect of the functional medicine space today?
The most exciting space is a widening of the connections in the body. The microbiome is a particular love for me and how it connects to so many different systems. I am also fascinated by the nervous system responsiveness through practice of breath, stretching, and meditation to enhance our health.
How does your clinic Human Longevity (HLI) fit into the functional medicine space?
HLI and functional medicine are a perfect fit. Our patients come in for an assessment of their whole body, looking for any potential risk for cancer, heart disease, metabolic disease, or brain health and vascular issues. We do whole-body MRI, coronary calcium score, echo-cardiogram, whole-genome sequence to look for genetic risk, full blood panels, DEXA score for bone density, liver fat, and visceral fat for signs of metabolism disturbance, and vascular imaging for aneurysms.
With functional medicine added on top, we can look wide and deep to evaluate your health very thoroughly.
Is functional medicine growing around the country and/or the world?
Functional medicine is growing around the world and across the country slowly. It really is the future of healthcare.
What is the role of the brain in functional medicine?
Brain health is extremely important for healthy aging. Having a brain that is functional, flexible, and helping you make the right decisions is such a plus!
At Health Nucleus we spend a lot of time with our patients teaching them ways how to keep their brains growing. In fact, this is an area of special interest for me. Everything we do, including sleep, nutrition, stress level, and how much we move daily, affects how well our brains work.
Using BrainKey to translate science into action with a deeper understanding of your brain is crucial. It is much easier to stay motivated when you can see what is happening and measure changes over time.
What does BrainKey’s product mean to you as a physician?
BrainKey is a valuable tool in functional medicine for sure. In functional medicine, we address multiple areas that affect health. Gut dysbiosis, and infections, inflammatory burdens, toxic overload, and mitochondria damage. Patients need a healthy brain to feel good, function well and motivate themselves to stay on track with the changes we ask them to make. BrainKey can help us track patient progress and store visual displays of their progress.
What long-term benefit do you see for patients who use BrainKey?
I believe the long-term benefits of using BrainKey would be to track patients over time and pick up changes much quicker that may require further investigation. We can move from being reactive to brain health to much more proactive.
University of Iowa, Iowa City. IA., Bachelor of Arts, Biology with Honors (1991-1998)
Rush Medical College, Chicago, IL, Doctor of Medicine (1992-1996)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI Internship and Residency, Family Practice (1996-1999)
American Board of Family Practice, 2017
American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine 2013
Institute of Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner 2019