Functional Diagnostics – Redefining Disease


Functional medicine is a disruptive technology that will overthrow the tyranny of the diagnosis.
– Jeffrey Bland

In assessing a patient today a new roadmap is available, one based on networks of function and causality, on a new architecture of thinking and evaluation. It is a diagnostic medicine focused on patterns and disruptions in molecular pathways leading to disturbed function. The declaration of a clinical disease is only a waypoint on the continuum of illness.

How then can we help patients view their symptoms through new lenses? What questions must we ask? How can we deduce proximal causes from diverse symptoms and measurements of physiology and biochemistry? How can we systematically reduce impediments to health and restore optimal function and the capacity for self-regulation and healing?

Ultimately, all the conditions classified by the ICD as “diseases” can be viewed through the prism of 2 questions, 5 causes of illness, and 7 key concepts. This 2/5/7 model of illness may shift with the tides of scientifi c understanding to 2/5/6 or 8 or 9. While the interior landscape is yet to be fully discovered, the shoreline is mapped and the topography can be traversed with a new compass. It is the compass of functional medicine or the clinical application of molecular systems biology.