Experts offer advise on health |

Experts offer advise on health

Janet Urquhart

Dr. Mark Liponis will offer insights on "Lurking Menace: Everyday Toxins that Undermine Your Health" during the symposium.

What’s in your water?The answer might be surprising, according to Dr. Mark Liponis. He is one of six experts who will discuss everything from the toxins that surround us to the latest developments in the prevention and treatment of heart disease and cancer during the fifth annual Summer Health Symposium on July 25 at Aspen’s Paepcke Auditorium.Sponsored by the Aspen Center for Integrative Health, the symposium program suggests a gloomy prognosis – topics include “Famous Last Words: ‘My Cholesterol is Great'” or “Lurking Menaces: Everyday Toxins That Undermine Your Health” – but the panel of speakers have some good news to offer, according to organizer Bill Johnson.”We try to focus on the latest research and information – how to protect yourself, how to maintain yourself,” said Johnson, chairman of the symposium and co-founder of the Aspen Center for Integrative Health.

“What we want to do is provide the practical information – what people can do on Monday morning to improve their health,” he said.Liponis, corporate medical director at Canyon Ranch Health Resorts in Massachusetts, concedes his “Lurking Menace” talk sounds less than uplifting, but it will be eye-opening. With some 80,000 chemicals in regular industrial and consumer use, only a fraction of which have been tested for acute exposure, little is known about the effects of using the products over a typical individual’s lifetime.”It really leaves us with an incredible lack of knowledge about the chemicals we’ve been using every day,” he said.That doesn’t mean there’s little that people can do, Liponis stressed.

“Filter your water – that’s a simple one,” he said. In advance of his presentation, Liponis said he’s had Aspen’s municipal water tested. He’s keeping mum about the results until the symposium, but said: “I think people will find it interesting.”Liponis will touch on everything from what’s in our environment to our food. “There’s definitely a lot you can do,” he said. “If you know the top 10 things that you should buy organic, you don’t have to buy all organic.” (Topping the list of things to avoid is the produce that is most heavily sprayed with pesticides.)The proverbial canary in the mine, when it comes to one’s household environment, may be the household pets, according to Dr. Gregory Olgivie, director/owner of California Veterinarian Specialists. His talk – “Has Your Health Gone to the Dogs?” – will focus on cancer studies in dogs and cats that have led to discoveries that can help prevent or treat cancer in humans.”Dogs and cats have the same types of cancer that people do,” he said. “The relative risk of cancer in dogs and cats is actually higher than in people.”

Treatment of dogs and cats has led to discoveries that can reduce cancer risk, enhance mental activity and delay cognitive decline, among other advances, according to Olgivie.Scottish terriers, for example, see a high incidence of bladder cancer, but consumption of green leafy vegetables appears to lower the risk, he said.Also on the symposium roster is Dr. Jeffrey Bland, president and chief science officer at Metagenics, Inc. His topic, “Triple Threat and the Silver Bullet,” will address the common denominator between arthritis, diabetes and heart disease and how to protect oneself from all three.Dr. David Leonardi, founder/president of the Leonardi Executive Health Institute in Greenwood Village, Colo., will offer “Famous Last Words: ‘My Cholesterol is Great'” – explaining why cholesterol is a weak indicator of one’s risk of heart disease.”He’ll talk about the fact that overall cholesterol doesn’t tell you a lot about your overall health,” Johnson said.

Dr. Kenneth Ouriel, professor and chairman of the Division of Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, will discuss “Already at Risk? How to Handle Existing Vascular Conditions” – what to do about existing plaque build-up in one’s arteries and prevent the situation from getting worse.The symposium’s Patron Lunch speaker, Dr. Herbert Lyerly, director of the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, will discuss new tests to diagnose cancer and tailored treatments with minimal side effects.Johnson expects the symposium to sell out, as it has in the past. The fee, $119 before Wednesday and $120 after, includes the speaker slides and a workbook on the presentations. The $500 patron ticket includes the lunch and other perks. See for details or to register.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is

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