Generative Medicine

Generativity refers to the phenomenon where a finite set of elements is used to create, generate, produce -- new content unique to that system, by following certain rules of combination and interaction. Your body is generative. At any moment in time, it is comprised of a limited set of molecules that are organized according to certain principles of biological arrangement found in living systems. The molecules are interacting in certain ways to produce new content for various functions - cellular communication, organ repair, growth, reproduction, energy production, etc. Generative medicine is an approach to medicine that understands the creative nature of human physiology and structure, and uses this knowledge to inform clinical practice.

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Human Complexity

system is a set of elements that have relationships among them that are different from the relationships that they have with things outside of the group. Complexity refers to the state of being comprised of multiple interwoven or interconnected parts. You are a complex system. You are complex physiologically and psychosocially. In addition, the mindbody whole that results from the integration of your physiology with your consciousness results in an even more complex system. To understand who you are as a whole, you need to understand how both the subsystems of physiology and psychosociology function on their own, as well as how they interact with one another.

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Self-Organization and Resilience

Complex systems are self-organizing. Self-organization refers to the way a complex system evolves to produce a dynamic state of balance (equilibrium) through local and individual interactions of its component parts. You are a unique, self-organizing biological system  You are also (as a separate entity) part of a larger ecosystem comprised of other self-organizing biological systems.  You interact with these entities to form a higher level self-organizing whole -- your ecological and social community.  This means that you exist in a dynamic state of self-organization on multiple levels simultaneously.  

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Emergence

Emergence has been described as the construction of "novel and coherent structures, patterns and properties during the process of self-organization in complex systems". (Discussed by Jeffrey Goldstein in “Emergence as a construct: History and issues” in Emergence: A Journal of Complexity Issues in Organizations and Management 1 (1), pages 49-72.) The human body demonstrates the phenomenon of emergence on multiple levels.  For example, the liver is a community of cells that self-organize to form an an organ that is responsible for accomplishing detoxification processes than are more complex than those that occur in the individual cells of which it is comprised.

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Genes and Epigenetics

Genes are units of heredity (DNA) that encode instructions (RNA) for the synthesis of proteins that cause the expression of particular biological characteristics. Epigenetics refers to changes in gene expression caused by mechanisms other than inherited changes in DNA. That is, while some of your characteristics may be due to how the genes you inherited from your parents combine and interact with one another, others are determined by how you interact with your environment. This means that how you live can significantly influence your current physiology, giving you tremendous power to influence your physical, mental, and emotional well-being as well as your lifespan. Lifestyle medicine is an approach to medicine that relies upon an understanding of epigenetics.

Bioidentity

Biodentity refers to the identity of a living organism based upon its membership to a category of organisms defined according to biological attributes.  Most commonly categorizations of this type are based upon visible physical attributes.   Whereas it appears to be relatively easy to distinguish one species from another, such as a cat versus a dog, categorizing sub-species is often more complex.  Furthermore, the case of human history, the differentiation of sub-groups of the human population in terms of bioidentity has been used to justify horrific acts of oppression, violence, and murder.  The misuse of bioidentity for political gain notwithstanding, bioidentity can be used responsibly to improve the quality of health care because different human populations have have been shown to be at more or less risk for developing certain diseases depending upon their bioidentity. 

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Bloodtype and Lectins

Bloodtype medicine is an example of how bioidentity can be used to individualize health care using bloodtype-specific self-care guidelines that optimize metabolic function for each bloodtype.   This is possible because chemical reactions occur between blood cells and lectins, proteins that are found in all natural organisms -- plants, bacteria, viruses, human and animal cells, etc. -- and while some of these interactions promote health, others interfere with it.

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The vision for a new naturopathic paradigm

I believe that the time has come for a reappraisal of the core concepts of naturopathic medicine. While I believe that are many are elemental and timeless, most nonetheless require periodic upkeep to stay both rational and current with developments in technology and discovery. To this end, I've employed a generative paradigm ...which explores ... natural processes (such as health and disease)... as generating though continuous interactions between elemental entities (such a people and elements in their environment) (following) ... simple universal patterns and parameters.

The key to understanding the reason for a generative approach to medicine is, quite simply, that without it, we would not have a logical reason to include a holistic (perspective) in our approach to the patient. This is because at the root of all generative science is the quality of emergence. If we can summarize holism as "the whole is greater than the sum (of its parts)", then emergence might be paraphrased as "things assume new levels of significance the further they move up the organizational ladder". Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels (phenonmena arising out of pre-existing phenomena) and complex systems.

Peter D'Adamo, ND, Fundamentals of Generative Medicine (2010: 18)

Parenthetical clarifications and edits by Ani Hawkinson, PhD ND, 2012