By Ken Datzman
Driven by the rise in technological advancements and a growing consumer demand for aesthetic and rejuvenation procedures, the anti-aging market has been on an upward revenue trajectory for at least the last five years.
The fast-expanding segment is forecast to generate revenue of $303 billion by 2025. Earlier this year, an executive from biotech firm Juvenescence predicted the field of longevity will eventually “dwarf the dotcom boom.”
The business of anti-aging and integrative medicine is starting to reshape and transform health care in America, and is attracting veteran physician specialists like Dr. Yale Smith.
Integrative medicine is an approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses all factors that influence health, wellness, and disease, using scientifically sound treatment concepts. And more physicians are incorporating concepts of integrative medicine into their practices, according to a market survey from consultancy Pure Branding.
The survey sample was more than 1,000 physicians around the nation. On average, integrative doctors spend at least twice as much time with their patients as conventional physicians. That’s one of the highlights of the survey. Another is 84 percent of these physicians utilize nutritional protocols to support their patients’ health. The report is titled the “Integrative Physicians Market Landscape” and is touted as the most comprehensive assessment of the state of integrative medicine in America.
Dr. Smith has broad experience in medicine, including a career as an anesthesiologist practicing in both the local market and in other states.
Early in his career, he practiced as a plastic surgeon before becoming a board-certified anesthesiologist. He also worked as an emergency room physician during his anesthesiology residency years. “I would get on a plane on a Friday afternoon and fly out to Indiana or to another state where I would ‘moonlight’ as an ER physician at a hospital for 36 hours. Then I would fly back. I had licenses to practice in 14 states.”
He started his anesthesiology residency at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and finished at Jackson Memorial Health System in Miami, where he rotated at six different hospitals. He transferred to Jackson Memorial “to be closer to his father,” who died from cancer in 1999.
Dr. Smith also did a two-year research fellowship at Duke University Medical Center, one of the top plastic surgery programs in the nation. His work there focused on using “growth factors to improve wound healing in a burn model.” Now Dr. Smith is rolling all of his medical expertise, which spans more than three decades, into his new practice The Center for Antiaging Aesthetic and Rejuvenation Medicine.
His venture is located at 700 Spyglass Court, Suite 300, in Viera. He calls it a boutique one-stop practice offering integrative and functional medicine, along with age-management modalities. His practice treats the patient as a whole being, focusing on optimal health versus disease management. It’s a personalized approach to medicine. “I’m excited,” said Dr. Smith. “This is a new chapter in my life. In functional medicine, we look at the patient’s physiology a deep dive into their blood, everything from food allergy testing to cardiac profiles. We treat metabolic syndrome diabetes, Crohn’s disease, autoimmune disease, sleep disorders, biomedical hormone replacement, and gastrointestinal disease, for example.” The Center for Antiaging Aesthetic and Rejuvenation Medicine offers a new noninvasive cardiac test called Protein Unstable Lesion Signature, or PULS. “This is an FDA-approved test that was designed by an interventional cardiologist in Los Angeles. The test is based on more than 42,000 profiles. It can predict an individual’s risk of having an MI (myocardial infraction or heart attack) within five years.
“We look at the patient’s heart age and compare it to their chronological age. If the patient is at a very high risk, we send them to a cardiologist,” he said.
Coronary heart disease remains the number-one cause of death and disability in the U.S., yet it is 80 percent preventable. Many individuals who appear “healthy” by current coronary heart disease detection methods, such as cholesterol testing, often go on to have a heart attack.
The American Heart Association’s recent “Get With the Guidelines” study showed that 70 percent of people who had a “cardiac event” requiring hospitalization had cholesterol levels that were within target levels. The PULS cardiac test is a simple blood test that uses “breakthrough medical technology” to identify individuals with active, yet undetected sub-clinical coronary heart disease who are at risk of experiencing a heart attack, and for whom early intervention can help, said Dr. Smith.
He said the test detects the early stages of heart disease by detecting the initial “arterial or endothelial” damage leading to the unstable cardiac lesion rupture the number-one cause of heart attacks. When the lining of the artery is damaged, the body’s immune system is activated, causing a cardiac lesion to form.
The PULS test measures “multiple biomarkers of the immune system’s response to arterial damage, and predicts whether a cardiac lesion could rupture within a five-year period.” Seventy-five percent of heart attacks are caused by unstable cardiac lesion rupture, according to a study in the “American Heart Journal.” His practice also treats male erectile dysfunction using “GAINSWave,” a new procedure. Dr. Smith said GAINSWave is an “all-natural solution” that addresses the root cause of the issue using “low- intensity extracorporeal soundwaves” to remove “micro- plaque, stimulate the growth of new blood vessels, and improve blood flow.” On the aesthetic side of the practice, Botox and fillers are some of the offerings.
The Center for Antiaging and Rejuvenation Medicine also features The Aura MedSpa. The practice’s aesthetician is Anna Valdez, who holds licenses in aesthetics and cosmetology. She is certified in acupuncture, chemical peels, LED light therapy, microdermabrasion, and other procedures.
The Aura MedSpa offers top-of-the-line anti-aging products favored by Hollywood stars such as Sandra Bullock and Halle Berry. “I did a lot of research before starting The Center for Antiaging Aesthetic and Rejuvenation Medicine,” said Dr. Smith, who is board certified by the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regeneration Medicine and is an Advanced Fellow in Anti-Aging, Metabolic, and Functional Medicine.
Dr. Smith is also a clinical assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Central Florida School of Medicine. “I believe we have a unique practice, in that we are not only dealing with a patient’s internal health, but we also focus on antiaging and longevity.” Weight loss and diet and exercise are areas of the practice. “We have a nutritional consultant. We sell nutraceuticals, too, which are pharmaceutical-grade vitamins. You have to be a licensed physician in practice to sell these kinds of vitamins,” he said.
A recent article in the “Journal of the American Medical Association” said that physicians need to pay more attention to nutrition in their practices. The commentary points out obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and many forms of cancer are driven by unhealthy diets, and that “most doctors do not have the knowledge to turn this problem around.” In a 2018 survey, 61 percent of internal medicine residents reported having “little or no training in nutrition.”
Research shows that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans can help fight heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. But just 9.3 percent of U.S. adults meet the daily vegetable intake recommendation, while only 12.2 percent of adults get enough fruit, according to the article. Legislators throughout the U.S. are calling for nutrition education for physicians.
In June of this year, Washington, D.C., councilwoman Mary Cheh introduced a bill recommending continuing education on nutrition for physicians, nurses, and physician assistants. In New York, lawmakers have introduced similar legislation.
To showcase his new practice to the community, Dr. Smith will host a Medical Health Fair from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15. The Medical Health Fair will be set up on the three floors of the building that houses The Center for Antiaging Aesthetic and Rejuvenation Medicine. The companies that are sponsoring the event include: Allergan, PULS cardiac testing, Metagenics, Neuroscience, Thorne, OnMacabim, Emerson, MitoQ, Klaire Labs, Marty’s Skin Care, Genova Diagnostics, Supreme Nutrition, DaVinci, Vinco, Shields Peptide Pharmacy, and Rockledge Discount Pharmacy.
“These companies will have booths at the Medical Health Fair and there will be 10-minute lectures on various health-related topics. The presentations will include the avenue for a physician to take to transition into this field of medicine and how to become board certified.”
The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, or A4M, a nonprofit organization with more than 26,000 members, is dedicated to educating health-care professionals and practitioners, scientists, and members of the public on biomedical sciences and breakthrough technologies.
The A4M also promotes the research of practices and protocols that have the potential to “optimize the humanaging process.” Dr. Smith added, “We invite the community to see our new practice and what we have to offer. We’re looking forward to this event and providing consumers with information about how they can improve their health and maintain their health.”