Book Summary “The Spectrum” By Dr. Dean Ornish #Chapter 2

July 16, 2018by Reena0

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Book Summary Video Interviews with Dr. Dean Ornish on his book “The Spectrum for HealthBootcamps.

Dean Ornish, MD, is the founder and president of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif.  He is the clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.  Ornish received his medical training in internal medicine from the Baylor College of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and the Massachusetts General Hospital.  He received a BA in Humanities summa cum laude from the University of Texas in Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address.

For more than 32 years, Ornish has directed clinical research demonstrating, for the first time, that comprehensive lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery. He directed the first randomized, controlled trial demonstrating that comprehensive lifestyle changes may stop or reverse the progression of early-stage prostate cancer.  His research showed that comprehensive lifestyle changes affect gene expression, “turning on” disease-preventing genes and “turning off” genes that promote cancer and heart disease. In collaboration with Nobel laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, Ph.D., he also showed that these lifestyle changes can lengthen telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that control how long we live.

He is the author of six best-selling books, including New York Times bestsellers Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart DiseaseEat More, Weigh LessLove & Survival; and his most recent book, The Spectrum. 

The research that he and his colleagues conducted has been published in the Journal of the American Medical AssociationThe LancetProceedings of the National Academy of SciencesCirculationTheNew England Journal of Medicine, the American Journal of Cardiology, The Lancet Oncology, and elsewhere.


This is auto-generated and may have mistakes. Please listen to the interview for accuracy.

[00:01] REENA JADHAV: All right chapter two why does it work

[00:02] DR. DEAN ORNISH: It works because these different chronic diseases share very similar chronic underlying mechanisms and they’re all influenced by the dying lifestyle choices that we make each day and to the degree that you make them and so the more you change the more you improve. And then it comes out of your own experience so that you don’t have to wonder history you can actually see that. So let’s say you wanted to lose 10 pounds or get your blood pressure down 10 points or get your cholesterol level down 50 points whatever happens to be. So you can saying, what are you eating now? I’m eating mostly unhealthy stuff. Okay instead of saying well here’s your diet and then to have that pushed back because you don’t feel in control. Okay how much are you willing to change? It’s like oh no one has ever asked me that before. Oh I don’t know I will eat less sugar maybe I’ll eat more fruits and vegetables. Great how much exercise are you doing now? Not that much. How much are you willing to do? Well I don’t know I’ll walk twenty minutes a day. Great how much meditation yoga are you doing? Zero! How much are you willing to do? All right, I will meditate ten minutes a day. Great how much love and support you have in your life? Well not enough. Okay what are you willing to do? Well I will spend more time with my friends and family. Great so we track it and we see how you do this so after a month or so. Let’s say you wanted to lose 10 pounds you lost 6 we want to get your LDL cholesterol level at 50 points it came down at 30. Great look at how much you have improved you’re on the right track now if you do even more you’re going to get the rest of the way. Now that’s different for someone who’s got a life threatening condition that needs to reverse it and then you really do have to be pretty strict about it but even then by in doing those choices with meaning we are finding paradoxically we are actually getting bigger changes to health and lifestyle changes. Then the modest ones which sounds counter intuitive because most people think I can’t get my patients to take their status, their cholesterol or drugs or the way they are going to change their lifestyle too hard but most people are not taking their step. 30 to 40% of people are taking them after six months to a year, 25%of people never even fill the prescription for that and status are proven value if you have heart disease so why are people taking them. The reason is that they are fear base. Patients feel the doctor says it’s not going to make you feel better hopefully it will make you feel worse preventing something really awful from happening years down the road that you don’t think about so you don’t think about. But when you make your lifestyle changes you really make big changes because these underlying biological mechanisms are so dynamic most people find that they feel so much better so quickly. It refrains the reason for making these changes from fear of dying, which is not sustainable to joy and pleasure and love, and feeling at the time.

[02:37] REENA JADHAV: I have an insight on why people don’t fill prescriptions because I never filled my prednisone prescription and it’s because if filled it, it meant I had given up. That I was choosing this Band-Aid and as I have been told, I may be on it for life.

[02:51] DR. DEANN ORNISH: Yes.

[02:52] REENA JADHAV: I looked at the prescription a whole bunch of times because I was told you know what just a couple of years and boy every symptom will be gone and yeah of course there is here is this long laundry list of symptoms of side effects.

[03:05] DR. DEAN ORNISH: Yes well.

[03:06] REENA JADHAV: I could never fill it and I think that’s why a lot of people don’t fill the status because…

[03:09] DR. DEAN ORNISH: Well you’re right and the same thing is you know why people you know if you have to take a medication two or three or four times a day for the rest of your life every time you take it reminds you that you’re sick and the doctors say take this forever. Now what we’ve learned is that if you turn off the faucet, if you treat the cause, the need for drugs and surgery is often greatly reduced and often eliminated. So under your doctor’s prescription, under your doctor’s supervision let’s say you have high cholesterol say okay let me try changing my lifestyle and make big changes. We found for example 40% average, reduction in LDL cholesterol comparable to what you get with drugs here side effects are good once you know. And so ask your doctor can you start to wean me off his medication and then as you start to be able to do that normally you get the benefit of not the side effects but the cause but it reminds you for the reasons you talking about hey I’m really getting better I don’t need these pills. That’s some really powerful virtuous cycle of people get into.


Health Bootcamps



Dr. Dean Ornish, MD
Phone: 415-332-2525, x-229
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