We will track it and check back in a few weeks. Now just go a little farther and you will get the rest of the way. All of which is a longwinded answer to a very simple question. In terms of the dose-response correlation, do you see all components of the Ornish program as important? They are all important. We have found direct statistically significant correlations between adherence to each aspect of the program and the amount of atherosclerosis in the arteries, or whatever we happen to be measuring.
We found the same dose-response correlation between adherence and the degree of change not only in heart diseases but also in prostate cancer,  in gene expression,  and in telomere length  the ends of our chromosomes that control aging. It was the same lifestyle intervention, and the more people changed, the better they got at any age. In fact, none of these patients was taking cholesterol-lowering drugs during the 5 years of the intervention in the experimental group. A criticism of the Lifestyle Heart Trial is that it was very small.
Attilio Maseri,  who was one of the pioneering cardiologists who discovered coronary artery spasm, would say that if you need people to show a significant difference, then that means that the intervention must not be very strong.
You give it to one group and not the other—48 people would be plenty. We found that the control group got worse after 1 year and their arteries were even more clogged after 5 years, whereas the experimental group showed some reversal after 1 year and even more reversal after 5 years as measured by quantitative coronary arteriography.
For the blood-flow analysis measured by cardiac PET scans, because perfusion is a fourth-power function of the diameter, it is an exponential improvement in blood flow. Small changes in blockages can cause big improvements in blood flow. That is pretty good. We published data from almost patients who went through our program in 24 sites and found significant improvements in all metrics after 12 weeks and after 1 year. It may be one day. If you have pancreatic cancer and you are trying to personalize an immunotherapy for a particular cell type, then that is a very different thing.
That is brilliant work. Our genes are a predisposition, but our genes are not always our fate.
We found that comprehensive lifestyle changes caused changes in gene expression in over genes in only 3 months. I visited one of our sites at Beacon Hospital.
We have found direct statistically significant correlations between adherence to each aspect of the program and the amount of atherosclerosis in the arteries, or whatever we happen to be measuring. I have to survive so that I can… and you fill in the blanks really be reunited with my love or so to bear witness whatever it has to be. It may be one day. How long do I come up from the flora like forever? I think we can't go around measuring our goodness by what we don't do. Like you are satisfied, like your joy is to be here and then it is sleep and then it is actually joy and to your point I personally believe that if those 3 foundations are not strong everything else just topples why? Start Feeling Better Now.
I met a guy who was on the heart transplant list due to an ischemic cardiomyopathy. We have had several people like that.
It is almost as if when you give your body the right raw ingredients, it can extract or personalize what it needs in order to be able to heal in direct proportion to the degree of change that people make. In , you were a signatory to a commentary in the American Journal of Medicine criticizing the deficiency of nutrition education in medical training,  but even physicians who want to learn about nutrition get frustrated with the seemingly flip-flop headlines: Something is good for you one day and bad for you the next. I think that is because the media like controversy.
There are certain standards and there are certain statistical norms. The Mark Hymans and Gary Taubeses should know better. The metabolic ward study found that calorie for calorie, they are not all alike, but in the opposite way: Yet Mark misquotes this study to support his belief that, calorie for calorie, restricting carbs causes more weight loss than restricting fat, yet the conclusion of the study was just the opposite. In any event, both are important, which is why I have always recommended reducing the intake of fat and refined carbohydrates.
In the metabolic ward study they were controlling every calorie that the participants ate. What are the data? It is not enough to say that people lose more weight on a low-carb versus a low-fat diet. The question is, what is happening in the arteries?
In the New England Journal ,  Steven Smith showed that on a whole-foods, low-fat, plant-based diet that is also low in carbs, the arteries are essentially clean vs with your typical American diet or an Atkins-type, Paleo-type, Mark Hyman-, Nina Teicholz, Gary Taubes-type diet where the arteries are severely clogged. For example, one study found higher flow-mediated vasodilation in those following our dietary recommendations compared with those on an Atkins diet. Gary Foster  and others have done studies where they just look at risk factors. Tell your patients to eat what they like.
HDL is part of the reverse cholesterol transport mechanism, and it is like garbage men: We know that because in our studies, the HDL-C did go down a little bit, but the LDL-C went down way more and these patients reversed the progression of their coronary heart disease. The disease is what is going on in your arteries and your blood flow, and that is what we actually measured. There are nontraditional risk factors like endothelial-derived growth factors, nonesterified fatty acids, and things that most people have never heard of that play an important role, like TMAO [trimethylamine N-oxide].
Show me some randomized trial data that the Atkins, Paleo, or whatever kind of diet can reverse heart disease—not just risk factors, but the actual measures of the underlying disease process—and my colleagues and I will modify our recommendations. We were trained to use drugs and surgery. We are reimbursed to use drugs and surgery, and so we use drugs and surgery. Through my nonprofit c 3 , beginning in , we trained 53 hospitals and clinics around the country to show that it was scalable. That set me off on a year journey to ask Medicare to pay for this program, which they are now doing in a new benefit category: We train a team of six people: Medicare will pay for 72 hours of training, which we divide into 18 four-hour sessions.
Patients get an hour of supervised exercise, an hour of stress management, an hour of group support, and an hour-long lecture followed by a group meal. I learned that no matter how good the science is, if it is not reimbursable, it is not sustainable. If people are interested in learning more about this, they should go to our website, which is ornish. Everything on there is free, and there is information on how they can contact us. We are ramping up to train as many people as we can. Better Health Begins With You Email will not be published required.
Thank you for printing the transcript of this great interview. It reinforced my commitment to my health, specifically why I am making these changes to my lifestyle, and it reminded me that doing something is better than doing nothing. I wonder how many scripts would be needed if more vets changed their lifestyle to become more health promoting. Start Feeling Better Now. Subscribe Now Submit See what you'll get. We found out that recent lifestyle changes could reverse not only heart disease, diabetes, and prostate cancer it could actually in one of similar a mechanism we might explain that so we looked at their genes as we talked about earlier and we found out that in just 3 months over genes were changed.
In fact at regulating and trending on the genes were keeping us healthy, down regulating and trending off the genes cause so many of these mechanisms that are involved in so many of these chronic diseases. Chronic inflammation, sedated stress, heptoses, changes of the microbiome, changes in ontogenesis and so on and so the more diseases we looked at, the more of these mechanisms we looked at, the more reasons we had to explain why these simple changes are so powerful and how quickly people can heal better. We also found, we did a study with Dr. Wessel Blackburn who got the Nobel Prize for her pioneering work with telomeres and telomeres are the ends of our chromosomes that control how long we live.
And we found out for 5 years it actually got longer for the first time. So the Spectrum idea came from this finding that the more you change the more you improve at any age which is really a very empowering and motivating finding that it is never too late to be making these changes however, whatever age you are.
Part of what I learned, I chaired a google health with Mercer Meyer years ago, 10 years ago and we were trying to come up with these really complex algorithms for personalizing a diet lifestyle program and it got so corky. Yes, something to make money at and I think making a contribution to use this very high tech expensive state of the art scientific measures to prove how powerful its very simple and low tech and low cost interventions to be.
So what we found was that instead of making radically so complex they can make radically so simple and we have also learned and I also learned that by making mistakes along the way and learning from them. But we think more than being healthy we want to go free uncontrolled as soon as I tell somebody what to do they go do the opposite.
It is a great motivator for like a month or 6 weeks after you have been diagnosed with something bad pretty much anything that they tell you and then people stop doing it and the reason is that we all know we are going to die someday but it is not something we think about almost all the time. It is maybe when you have a heart attack or something that is going to bug you to denial then literally for like a month or so and so efforts to try motivate people to change their fear are not really sustainable. But what are sustainable are pleasure and joy and love and support and feeling good and their clause is underlined by logical mechanisms and such dynamic.
When you make these changes to the degree you make them, you feel so much better so quickly, it refrains the reason from making them from fear of dying which is not sustainable to joy and pleasure and feeling that which are. And the other thing we have learned which you mentioned before we just started doing this interview is that when you did this thing does it really give you a sense of meaning and purpose.
I have to survive so that I can… and you fill in the blanks really be reunited with my love or so to bear witness whatever it has to be.
So I always ask patients now who come to see me or who go through the program that we are training in hospitals and clinics and physician groups around the country and insurance companies and anyone who comes after that. But I always say why do you want to live longer? You know if you can get people and touch that sense of meaning, which is really in synthesis of their depression. They may not be predominant in our cultures as heart disease and diabetes as loneliness and depression and isolation. I was so depressed when I was in college that was my doorway into focus on this area which I am helping to free this whole lifestyle medicine just use lifestyle changes not only to help prevent but actually to treat and even reverse those common chronic diseases.
So I asked you why you are a smoke, or I drink too much, I work too hard or I abuse substances you know, we have this epidemic and so on. They are very adaptive because they lowers our pain, our loneliness, our depression. A few weeks ago the minister of loneliness was appointed in the United Kingdom. I had several meetings with that Murphy when he was the treasury general and he did make loneliness and disruption of social networks one of those two major focus of his tenure as treasury general. I in fact having gone from my experience realized that the way we have been going about addressing our health crisis now.
The health care crisis, the health crisis is actually upside down and in fact, I created something called the health pyramid. Like you are satisfied, like your joy is to be here and then it is sleep and then it is actually joy and to your point I personally believe that if those 3 foundations are not strong everything else just topples why? Because you end up having the cravings, the addictions.
Sleeping incredibly late or not sleeping or sleeping 4 or 5 hours and thinking that somehow your body is going to thrive on that mode of lack of repair so I think the point you have made is just so important anyone who is watching this or listening to this please check out the health pyramid as well in terms of the articles and the thoughts behind it and to what Dr. Ornish is now sharing because I think diet is instrumental if not your foundation this week.
I have got 20 friends in this pack of cigarettes and they are always there for me and nobody else is taking all my 20 friends what are you going to give me? Or food fills that void a well-known a food writer told me that fat calms my nerves and numbs the pain or video games numb the pain they help you or your alcohol numb the pain or working all the time is a more social acceptable way of numbing the pain. You did five startups; you had a pretty good sense of how effective that is really numbing your distance in yourself from that but what we have learned is that the pain is not the problem.
The pain is the messenger saying hey, listen up, pay attention, you are not doing something that is in your best interest and so in your life you used your pain, your illness as a doorway for transforming your life that normally got you back to where you were before but actually it took you so much further in terms of what really matters in life. It will help you perform better if you are a lead athlete. There are really powerful tools for calming down our mind and body enough to experience more than inner sense of peace, joy and well-being.
That is a very different concept than so much of our western culture teaches us I mean the whole advertising industry is based on the idea that if only you have a successful startup, if only I can get in a medical school. Now once you set out that sort of looking at the world, however it turns out you are going to feel bad I mean even though you think about it like that because until you get it you are stressed like I hope I get it.
People say I make sure I got a dozen projects running at the same time so that I can be focusing my attention to something else. No he would say I am an undo. That really refrains what we do so the paradox is that when I was a freshman in college I could take all the meaning out of everything that is why I got supersonic depressed you know, who cares, why bother, so what, nothing matters, the guilt all those kind of existential ex you might say. But later I realize that just like I can take all the meaning out, I can review my choices with meaning and one way to do that is consciously choose not to eat certain foods or not to reveal them in honest relationship or whatever you are choosing not to do because what you gain is so much more than what you give up.
Another one says I am doing this work so that I can get paid so that I can provide for my family who I love so dearly and the third one says I am building this cathedral that will inspire people for thousands of years to come. It is the same work but what meaning do we administer that makes the difference not only the quality of our life but even our survival because the more lonely and depressed you are, you are three to ten times more likely to get sick and die from stroke.
You control your own health yeah. I mean one thing that you just said I want to emphasize that. So okay how am I going to fool myself into thinking I am healthy again when I can see my 28 symptoms and I really liked Sad Guru. Find someone that resonates with you and follow that right because everyone wants something resonates.