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calls it a very complicated case. "It's not common and requires participation for many specialists," says Dr. Chock. "It's a constellation of symptoms with Kyle. As a lay person one might think the digestive system responds when someone eats bad, but the nervous system is actually tied into it, and there are hormonal system signals that coordinate the digestive track and things happening at the molecular level. The difficulty is locating the breakdown in the system and what triggers it. So in order to help somebody like Kyle it requires a team of specialists and facilities to narrow the focus." Dr. Chock noted that disorders like MacFarlane's appear to be chronic, or lifelong. Once considered a rarity, these chronic disorders are on the rise. MIND OVER MATTER "Some doctors may approach patients like Kyle and think their disorders are functional (of the mind), but that's not necessarily the case," says Dr. Chock. "These patients are sometimes treated as outcasts, because they have an unusual type of illness that hasn't been worked out. Some might suggest these patients have a disorder of the mind, not anatomical that we can fix." He emphasized, the only tools doctors currently have in hand is to treat the symptoms. Unfortunately, that doesn't get to the cause of the disorder. Many times doctors are in "crisis management." He has seen many patients like MacFarlane and he foresees the problem growing. THE HOLISTIC APPROACH There are many non-medical methods of treating digestive disorders that can't be simply ignored because they aren't conventional medicine. "The mind is a powerful thing," says Dr. Chock. "I wouldn't endorse this type of approach for conditions with anatomic amoralities like Kyle's disorder. I truly believe the mind drives a lot of the body functions because almost every organ system has neurologic input and the brain is part of the neurologic system. That's how stress comes into play, and we know stress triggers hormones that affects organ functions (i.e. the heart)." WHAT'S IN THE FUTURE? While breakthroughs in digestive disorders happen occasionally, the medical community is on a constant hunt to find answers to some of the most perplexing cases. Leading hospitals like Stanford Health Care, to the Mayo Clinic are working round the clock to pinpoint the causes and to come up with livable solutions for those suffering. But as Dr. Chock stated, treatment should begin with your primary care physician because many can offer the best local medical expertise and have the confidence to explore the underlying issues of digestive disorders. Digestive disorders may be a global problem, but prevention should begin at the local level. Get regular check- ups and yearly physical exams, and of course, exercise and eat healthy. These are good starters for everyone. (Editor's Note: Dr. Edward Chock grew up in California, and went to Albert Einstein College Of Medicine in New York, where he received his degree in medicine in 1977. He specializes in general surgery, is a board certified surgeon. and is affiliated with Oak Valley Hospital in California.) 37 DiGEST THIS

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