Nutritional medicine: a vital partner of 21st century medicine: special reference to the case of Cyprus.
DProf thesis, Middlesex University.
This action research was carried out within the context of a Professional Doctorate thesis. The aims were: to build up sound evidence to substantiate my arguments for the role of Nutritional Medicine as a vital partner of 21st century medicine, particularly in the area of prevention and treatment of chronic disease; to critically investigate the context and conditions within which this profession aspires to secure a respectable position along the spectrum of contemporary medical practice; and to evaluate the possibility of inclusion of Nutritional Medicine in the National Health System of Cyprus. Aiming to enhance and strengthen the validity and reliability of the evidence, four different methodologies were used, based on the logic of triangulation. A volume of existing knowledge, obtained from a profound review of the work and writings of several scholars, and researchers, and from official reports, both at national (Cyprus) and international level, was contrasted, compared, and updated with fresh knowledge created by: A Survey conducted in Cyprus during the period October-December 2008, with the support of the University of Nicosia; Interviewing a representative number of key actors, on the basis of their authority to directly or indirectly influence the workings and politics of the practice of medicine in Cyprus; and, Analysis of a number of randomly selected case studies from my clinical practice as a Nutritional Medicine practitioner. The analysis and synthesis of findings revealed that the first decade of the twenty first century coincides with a high awareness, both worldwide and in Cyprus, for the rising incidence of chronic disease which, in spite of the unprecedented developments in several areas of the provision of healthcare of the last decades, appears to occur at increasingly lower ages and within the most deprived groups of the population. A multitude of developments at all levels - political, medical, academic, and social - demonstrate significant trends towards a new philosophy in the provision of healthcare which, as proposed by key actors and scholars, focuses on the whole patient rather than the disease and emphasises prevention rather than treatment. Within this New Paradigm in the provision of healthcare Nutritional Medicine appears to be an important, evidence-based, partner. The volume of evidence substantiating the vital inter-disciplinary role of Nutritional Science is impressive and increasingly rising. The example of the United Kingdom is presented in this report, where, in recognition of its important contribution in enhancing public health, Nutritional Medicine (otherwise termed Nutritional Therapy) is coming under regulation.
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