A new paradigm
Signal Medicine is a medical paradigm which emphasises the Signal mechanisms that our body uses in order to regulate its homeostasis. Through rigorously following the scientific method, this new perspective on many pathologies is supported by a long list of scientific works, which underpin all of our claims.
Signal Medicine is, in fact, based upon the concept of biological signals, which is a term we use to refer to the various types of information which our body produces internally or receives from the external environment. In biological terms, these signals can be transmitted through substances such as hormones, the nervous system and the microbiota, to mention but a few.
Signal Medicine aims to prevent and treat pathologies via the stimulation of positive biological signals which result in improved health (examples of these are moderate physical activity, a sufficient intake of nutrients, and keeping the use of drug therapy to a minimum), and the limitation of negative biological signals (such as chronic inflammation, malnutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle).
A brief history of Signal Medicine
The first incarnation of Signal Medicine was GIFT Diet: The Signal Diet, a dietary regime that, amongst very few, rejected the restrictive approach typical of low-calorie diets, which had long been demonstrated to be inefficient and unsafe. Through careful study of the delicate balance of leptine, adiponectin and irisin, and of the complex interactions between our immune system and the food we eat, and through the use of state-of-the-art methods, such as bioelectrical impedance analysis, to measure experiment results, GIFT has developed a number of guidelines which, if followed, lead to regaining fitness, good health and peacefulness.
To respond to the growing interest in GIFT: Signal Diet, AMPAS (Italian acronym for Medical Association for Signal Nutrition) was founded. Open to any medical practitioner who supports and applies the principles of Signal Nutrition, the association now comprises over 400 members.
Thanks to the contributions at GIFT/AMPAS congresses, and to the establishment of valuable and tight collaborations, Signal Medicine has reached a level of maturity which could not have been achieved by one medical practitioner alone.
The birth of Signal Medicine was therefore a natural consequence of the application of the concept of Biological Signal to the science of medicine. This type of medicine does not shy away from focusing on data, scientific evidence and publications, yet, at the same time, considers the individuality and complexity of the patient, interpreting any anomalies in a new way, by focusing on stimulation and physiological regulation as tools to regain balance and good health.
The Biological Signal
Everything within our bodies is in constant communication. Our cells are constantly producing signals which influence the cells in their immediate vicinities, as well as the rest of the organism. And the organism responds, directly or indirectly, through feedback mechanisms. The idea that our organism is able to “talk to itself”, which is certainly widespread and present in all medical specialties, is at the basis of the concept of Biological Signal. Therefore, a Biological Signal is a datum which, when placed within the context of a body in constant communication, can be interpreted from an evolutionary perspective, thus gaining a new meaning.
As an example, a sedentary lifestyle constitutes a negative biological signal, which leads to gaining fat, not only due to burning fewer calories, but also because inactivity is not a physiological situation in which we have evolved. The increased production of proinflammatory cytokines resulting from a long period of physical inactivity, is not only considered in isolation, but is interpreted within a wider context: the absence of regular physical activity is a situation typical of a hunter gatherer who is wounded, ill or suffering, and whose immune system, which is more ready to fight diseases and infections, has favoured him from an evolutionary perspective, in comparison to his peers. It follows that, in order to counteract the chronic inflammation sustained by the presence of proinflammatory cytokines in the blood flow, regular exercise is needed. This is one of the fundamentals of Signal Medicine, and an important positive Biological Signal.
A few examples
Signal Medicine sees already-known data in a new light. These acquire a different meaning once interpreted as signals of well-being, of activity, of imbalance, or fat storage. GIFT Diet (the Signal Diet) is one of the first applications of the concept of biological signal. Leptin is an important cytokine which is produced by different types of cells in our organism, in particular by adipocytes. It stimulates specific hypothalamic nuclei, thus activating the hypothalamic-hypophyseal tract, which is responsible for the balance and regulation of numerous other organs.
Leptin is naturally stimulated by a variety of positive biological signals such as physical activity (as mentioned earlier), a normal protein intake (which facilitates the development of a toned body and growth of lean mass, which cannot occur under conditions of malnutrition) and normal calorie consumption (in contrast to low-calorie diets, which lead to loss of muscle mass and to quickly regaining the lost weight). Amongst the organs which are stimulated by the hypothalamic-hypophyseal tract is the thyroid, which regulates basal metabolism and the storage of nutrients, the reproductive system, which regulates fertility and the incretion of sexual hormones, the adrenal gland, which allows us to respond to stress, and the muscular-skeletal system. These organs are dynamic, and they not only support our organism, but also influence its various biological processes.
Through the application of this strategy, involving the regulation of glands, organs and immunitary responses, today Signal Medicine is a way to interpret pathological processes and to develop therapeutic strategies which are suitable to numerous medical specialties.
The Signal Medicine practitioner
Signal medical practitioners have certain specific characteristics. They will have completed ad hoc training, including training for GIFT professionals (both doctors and others) on the nutritional aspect, as well as training which extends to various medical problems and how these are interpreted and dealt with by Signal Medicine.
Signal practitioners have the highest level of training within the GIFT world, and are the only practitioners able to apply Signal Medicine.
- Medical practitioners can take part in specific training, partly online and partly in person, thus achieving high levels of professional knowledge.
- Patients have a variety of methods available to find, and get in touch with, the Signal doctor nearest to them.