11 Oct 2023
Hidden inflammation presents a unique dilemma. The idea that it may be a shared biological mechanism between diseases as distinct as obesity and aging, or depression and heart disease, fosters a new understanding of human health. It pushes us to consider preventing or treating these diseases in concert rather than in parts, taking into account the totality of a patient’s body and mind, including the germs that live within and on top of us. The biomedical framework of the nineteenth century divided by organ systems and an understanding that a specific cause results in a specific disease - is no longer effective for most health conditions that plague us today.
This is an excerpt from Dr Shilpa Ravella’s book “Silent Fire”, it’s one of the most beautifully written books that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Shilpa’s eloquent writing style complements the wonder of inflammation as a benevolent, yet destructive force that weaves it’s thread through a multitude of conditions including auto-immunity, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
Dr Shilpa Ravella is a gastroenterologist who treats a range of general gastrointestinal ailments and has unique experience in managing complex rare diseases, including intestinal failure and intestinal or multiple-organ transplantation. She’s also an expert in the field of nutrition and is particularly interested in the interactions between lifestyle, the microbiome and the immune system.
Today we talk about inflammation and cancer, immunity, dementia, cardiovascular disease as well as the components of an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle such as spices, fibres, greens and exercise. We also talk about what inflammation actually is; the various terms like para inflammation, meta-inflammation, inflammageing and why it’s so important to control it.
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Shilpa Ravella is a transplant gastroenterologist with expertise in nutrition and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center.
Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, New York Magazine, Slate, Discover, and USA Today, among other publications, and she has appeared as an expert on ABC's Good Morning America and in print media outlets including Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Food and Wine, Glamour, and Women's Health.
Her TED-Ed lesson, 'How the Food You Eat Affects Your Gut,' has garnered over five million views.