The 10th Lanser Symposium: Internationally renowned medical experts present the latest findings in genetic diagnostics, sleep medicine and burn-out syndrome

Lans/Innsbruck, Austria - At the invitation of The Institute for Regeneration Research at Lanserhof, the 10th Lanser Symposium took place from the 9th to the 10th of June in 2009. This top-class event promotes dialogue between universities and naturopathic orientated doctors, and also attracts a series of internationally renowned consultants and speakers to Tirol in Austria in order to mutually discuss new diagnostic methods in preventive medicine - such as modern genetic diagnostics and the latest knowledge from sleep research and nutrigenomics, amongst others.

Prevention and regeneration are the keys to future-orientated medicine. In the field of early recognition diagnostics, scientists and researchers have made enormous steps in recent years. How can the latest knowledge in the relatively new fields of genetic diagnostics, nutrigenomics or sleep research be employed in regeneration therapy, for example? What can molecular medicine achieve today in regard to 'individual nutrition' in the field of healthcare? How can preventive medicine successfully combat so-called burn-out syndrome? In order to find answers to these pulsating questions, top-class experts converged on the Congress Park in Igls, Austria for the 10th Lanser Symposium, which this year went under the heading 'new early recognition diagnostic methods'.

Amongst others, there were lectures from Europes leading Better Aging specialist Dr. Michael Klentze (medical director at the Klentze Institute in Munich, Germany), Germany's most renowned sleep researcher, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Zulley (head of the sleep medicine centre at the University Hospital in Regensburg) and president of the German Academy for Health and Sleep (DAGS), Dr. Christoph Puelacher (lung specialist and sleep doctor), Dr. Joachim Dietz (medical director of the Schwarzwald Medical Center in Obertal), Dr. Florian Überall PhD (head of the task force for functional gene expression bioinformatics unit at the Biozentrum Innsbruck), Dr. Wolfgang Bayer (Dr. Bayer laboratory for spectroscopic and biological studies), Dr. Alfred Lohninger (Autonomous Health), Dr. Roland Heber (general practitioner, energetic and spiritual medicine in Austria, Germany and Hong Kong), Dr. Karin Ebner (general practitioner and F.X. Mayr doctor at Lanserhof Health Centre), Dr. Andreas Rüffer (L+S Laboratories, Enterosan), Dr. Roland Fuschelberger (internist and F.X. Mayr doctor at Lanserhof), and Dr. Silvia Strolz (nuclear medicine specialist, Nucmed Innsbruck).

The occurrence of the 10th Lanser Symposium once again showed the importance of mutual, inter-disciplinary discourse for the further development of responsible regeneration and preventive medicine.

Preventive medicine integrates modern genetic diagnostics

How is it possible that one can become older, stay healthy and fit, and also remain physically and mentally strong and resilient? The answer lies in one’s genes. Modern medicine today knows that the metabolism, aging process and predisposition to infection and inflammation depends considerably on the individual genetic principles we have been handed down. As a result, genetic diagnostics has found its way into anti-aging and preventive medicine in recent years.

“Although every person possesses basically the same genetic information, the human being is unique. This uniqueness is based on marginal differences in this genetic information, so-called polymorphisms. These individual variations make a person more susceptible to, or resilient to, some illnesses and diseases” according to Dr. Michael Klentze, Medical Director at the Klentze Institute in Munich.

As General Secretary of the European Society of Anti-Aging Medicine, Klentze is significantly involved in the development of anti-aging medicine in Europe and in scientific further education of European anti-aging medicine.

The revolutionary aspect of new genetic diagnostic methods such as the so-called SNP method is that genetically determined health risks can be minimised through specific, well-directed measures. This is significant; as such measures can prevent illness before it manifests itself.

As a result of these completely new methods, certain illnesses can be recognised much earlier than with existing conventional methods. For example, cardiovascular risks, illnesses of the prostate, bladder and kidney, risks of breast cancer and prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. 

These ground-breaking findings in modern genetic research have provided doctors with completely new possibilities in early recognition diagnostics. Consequently, we have integrated the distinguished SNP method into our broad holistic range of Lanserhof diagnostic methods.

The main focus of genetic diagnostics is in the area of nutrition and cardiology. With the assistance of modern genetic testing - which guests can conduct themselves at home if so desired - genetic risks in regard to susceptibility to arteriosclerosis, stroke, heart disease and abnormalities of the lipid metabolism can be detected.

Moreover, every genetic distinction which has an influence on how the body absorbs nutrition can be identified. As a result of this, it now possible for the medical staff at Lanserhof to offer our guests an even more individually focused nutrition concept.

Individualised nutrition: The future lies in our genes

Experts in the relatively new field of research in nutrigenomics are convinced that our diet in the future will be specific to our genes, tailor made to suit our very needs in other words.

At the Lanser Symposium, Dr. Florian Überall, head of the research group entitled ‘functional gene expression bioinformatics unit’ at the Biozentrum Innsbruck in Austria, painted a current picture of the possibilities in nutrigenomics. Since 2005, Dr. Überall has been researching the effect of foodstuffs and nutritional components on the human genome.

Nutrigenomics, also known as nutrition genomics, comprises the interaction between genomes and nutrition, and in turn the effect on our health. Based on the knowledge that nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids etc., can regulate the activity of genes, foodstuffs in the future should be more closely aimed at maintaining or restoring our health

The research group headed by Professor Überall came to the conclusion that genes regulated by nutrition play a considerable role in the development of many illnesses. As the genetic framework of every person is different, metabolic processes do not therefore operate in the same way with every person. Indeed, 99.9 percent of our genetic make-up is identical in every person. The individual 0.1 percent determines however, how each individual reacts to fats or vitamins. In order to regulate cholesterol for example, two particular genes are responsible. This regulation process functions better with some people than others.

The revolutionary findings in nutrigenomics are being employed in various areas in order to provide successful preventive and regenerative medicine of the future. “We are convinced that various hereditary predispositions are responsible for the fact that one particular type of diet is of advantage for some people, but may not be for others” according to cancer researcher Dr. Überall. Experts see great potential in the future of nutrigenomics and its findings.

New approaches to treatment of sleep disorders.

Germany’s most renowned sleep researcher, Professor Dr. Jürgen Zulley (head of the Sleep Medicine Centre at the University Hospital Regensburg, and president of the German Academy for Health and Sleep – DAGS), together with lung specialist and sleep medicine specialist Dr. Christoph Puelacher reported on the latest findings in the field of sleep disorders, and also on diagnostics and therapies.

To give an indication of how current this topic is, we only have to look at the statistics. Presently, ten to fifteen percent of the entire population suffer from a sleep disorder which requires treatment, and this statistic is only set to increase in the future. Additionally, forty-two percent of people in central Europe complain of sleep disturbances, whereas people who live in large cities are particularly vulnerable.

The consequences of chronic sleep disorders are frequently underestimated. They manifest themselves not only in the form of reduced abilities to function on a normal level, but also in profoundly somatic and physical consequential illness. 

From a total of eighty-eight various types of sleep disorders, the most common is insomnia, in other words, characterised by persistent difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep despite the opportunity. This manifests itself in the form of an insomniatic syndrome in combination with other illnesses. 

“For the treatment of disorders such as difficulties in falling asleep and staying asleep, a multi-modal therapy approach is advised. This consists of not only sleep hygiene measures, but also behavioural therapy procedures and medication therapies” according to sleep researcher Professor Dr. Jürgen Zulley. Zulley was one of the first people to research the connection between sleep and our biological rhythms at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany.

New studies from the field of sleep research indicate that insomnia could be a precursor to depression. Therefore, during treatment for insomnia, therapy strategies used in the treatment of depression can be also employed. Concerning this, stronger consideration of current daily events is also required in the planning of therapy.

“A further new therapeutic approach is to change the patient’s attitude towards expectations and anticipation of sleep. The significance of preventive and holistic measures must be more vigorously emphasised in the future. The areas of nutrition and movement also play a strong role in this field,” says Dr. Zulley.

In order to analyse sleep, modern polysomnography is used by sleep specialists. With the assistance of this innovative and highly technological equipment, an individual sleep profile can be compiled. This profile enables a precise diagnosis of a sleep disorder and subsequent determination of an individual therapy programme.

At The Lanserhof Centre for Health, the use of polysomnography on an out-patient basis has been employed to successfully diagnose sleep disorders since 2001. The close cooperation between F.X. Mayr doctors, cooks, physiotherapists, trainers and sleep specialists at Lanserhof enable a process of holistic regeneration.

At the 10th Lanser Symposium, the sleep specialist and lung specialist Dr. Christoph Puelacher discussed the question of what kind of role nutrition in regard to sleep disorders and sleep imbalances plays.

Nutrition associated sleep disorders and sleep imbalances can occur, in particular with intolerances and allergies. Histamine and carbohydrate intolerances, for example, can have negative effects on quality of sleep, and also with insomnia as well as hypersomnia, can result in excessive tiredness during the day.

A multitude of illnesses and deficiencies can lead to sleep disorders as it were. Disorders accumulate in the iron metabolism with the occurrence of the so-called restless legs syndrome. Illness of the lungs can also lead to sleep disorders in the early hours of the morning.  

New diagnostic and therapy options for burn-out syndrome

Modern research into stress has come to the conclusion that burnout syndrome can be caused by underlying psychological as well as organic circumstances. In the context of psychological causes, the inability to adequately deal with the various stressful demands of everyday life can in turn lead to a manifestation of physical symptoms. Organic causes concern metabolic disorders, such as metabolic syndrome, liver disease or a broad spectrum of hormonal deficiencies for example.

Although a diagnosis can only be made through a process of elimination, burnout syndrome is a definable, clinically relevant disorder, the causes and treatment of which are at the forefront of intensive research work.

Dr. Joachim Dietz medical director of the Schwarzwald Medical Center in Obertal, reported in his lecture on proven forms of therapy.

Modern burnout therapy is based on a fourfold principle which comprises exercise, diet, vital nutrients, and a positive approach to stress combined with acupuncture.