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Personalized Medicine

Personalized Medicine for Astronauts, Soccer Players, and YOU.

AstronautWhat does personalized medicine for an astronaut in outer space have to do with a soccer star playing in the heart of the Amazon?  Both space and the Amazon jungle are two of the most extreme environments humans have chosen to explore.  As I was watching the early matches of the 2014 FIFA World Cup it was quite obvious that the teams from more temperate climates were having muscle and tendon injuries and electrolyte issues.  I was especially distressed by USA’s Jozy Altidore’s hamstring injury that has probably eliminated him from further play in the tournament.  Here are athletes in the prime of their life, in peak physical condition, with some the best sports medicine doctors and trainers, and they are still having problems.  We continue to push human performance under extreme conditions.  Can we do better?  Even a 1% improvement can make the difference between the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

Recently I spoke with Michael Schmidt, PhD who co-authored the article “Personalized medicine in human space flight: using Omics based analyses to develop individualized countermeasures that enhance astronaut safety and performance”.  It isn’t light reading, even for a medical doctor like myself.  Essentially the authors are saying that we are emerging into a new era of personalized medicine that takes into account the differences in our physiology and individually tailors our medical treatments.  This Soccer Playernew paradigm is especially important in extreme conditions as space flight or even playing soccer in the Amazon. Obviously I am more concerned about medicine than sports, but professional and collegiate sports are billion dollar industries providing entertainment, jobs, and education.  What are the practical applications of personalized medicine for professional athletes as well as everyday people?

In the new field of Regenerative Medicine, we utilize Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) derived from the patient’s own blood.  We isolate and concentrate messengers (growth factors and cytokines) from each individual patient’s  blood.  These messengers work with our own stem cells and regenerative cells to expedite healing.  For example, Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably the best professional soccer forward in the world, has a patellar tendon injury that may be interfering with his play in the World Cup.  Greg Simony, an extreme triathlete who swims, bikes, and runs with disabled athletes for the Care2Tri charity (www.care2tri.org) had the same injury.  This injury usually takes months to get better with the standard therapy of rest, ice, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. I injected him with Cytokine Rich Plasma (CRP), our own purified and proprietary form of PRP.   Three weeks later he ran a full marathon.  Rich Lomas, another local runner and fundraiser for the Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Foundation (www.phsf.org), has been suffering for the past 2 years with osteoarthritis, cartilage tears of both knees, and recurring back pain from lifting his disabled son.  With the help of CRP injections and his orthopedic surgeon, Rich is running again and training for the Boston Marathon.  The most exciting use for CRP is to postpone or prevent knee replacement surgery.  We have many patients whose knees are “bone-on-bone” and were told over 5 years ago they needed knee replacements.  Today they are pain free and mobile without prosthetic knees.

For more information about any of these treatments or a free on-line consultation, please go to www.kneepainflorida.com or call 941-952-3300.