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Learning from keynote speakers, gathering take-home messages, meeting old friends and making new ones were all highlights for our staff who attended April’s Australasian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA) conference in Auckland.
Dr Nicky Baillie says she particularly enjoyed the more practical talks, with information and ideas she can apply to her practice. One was the widespread incidence of mild metabolic acidosis and the large number of studies linking this with various health conditions.
Two other highlights for our GPs and nurses who attended were talks by Rachel Arthur on the highs and lows of iodine, and another by Drs Ric Colman and Tim Ewer about naltrexone.
Highs and lows of iodine
Nicky says Rachel Arthur’s talk reminded her of the prevalence of iodine deficiency, but also the dangers of overdosing with iodine supplements.
Dr Jo McGregor also found the talk very useful and has since been putting some of this into her practice.
“I learnt that identifying iodine status in an individual is complex, and urinary iodine measurement has its limitations. The markers of TSH rising, low T4, and low T4/T3 ratio may point to an iodine deficiency, so I have started looking at these markers, where appropriate, alongside dietary iodine enquiry, as well as asking about halogen exposure and heavy metal toxicity,” Jo says.
“It was good that Rachel confirmed that excess iodine is just as problematic as low iodine intake, as there is a U-shaped curve correlation with iodine intake and thyroid pathology.”
Jo says she learnt to “start low and go slow” with iodine replacement treatment, and to be cautious with dosing in Graves’ disease and thyroiditis, and when thyroglobulin antibodies are present.
Low dose naltrexone more common
Nurse Diana appreciated the opportunity to hear more about low dose naltrexone (LDN).
“Dr Ric Colman talked about case histories and Dr Tim Ewer explained the history of naltrexone and how it has become more common for integrative doctors to prescribe it at the lower dose. LDN is used for autoimmune conditions due to its anti-inflammatory effect. More recent research shows its use for cancers.”
A rewarding community
Staff who attended AIMA were reminded of the rich, diverse and growing group of health professionals interested in more integrative care.
“AIMA was for me like a family reunion – catching up with friends, sharing and discussing our achievements, concerns and patient care questions. On top of this there was a lot of learning from keynote speakers.”
– Dr Nayana Shah
“I love going to the AIMA Conference primarily because it is a getting together of like-minded people who all want to work together for the betterment of people’s health using integrative medical knowledge.”
– Nurse Stephanie