How to Prevent Heart Disease, Cancer, and Other Chronic Diseases

Anti-Aging Psychologist, Dr. Michael Brickey

Host: Anti-Aging Psychologist Dr. Michael Brickey

Guest: Preventive Health Researcher Dr. Duke Johnson

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Preventive Health Researcher Dr. Duke Johnson

When health study results are announced, the news feeds us sketchy, piecemeal results with little attention to the quality or limitations of the study. Radio and TV thrives on the diet of the week and sensationalism. No wonder Americans are confused about what to do to be healthier. Research is becoming increasingly clear, however, that there is a common denominator to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and other chronic diseases. Dr. Duke Johnson, author of The Optimal Health Revolution, shares with us what that commonality is and how it can guide us in preventing chronic diseases.

Most health and wellness gurus and authors emphasize their niche or try to be comprehensive and cover diet and exercise. Dr. Johnson or Dr. Duke as he is often called, presents a very holistic approach with avoiding inflammation as a key integrating concept. In interviews, I try to focus on what is most unique about the expert and their area of greatest expertise. Consequently, time did not permit going into all of the issues and recommendations Optimal Health covers.

To recap Dr. Johnson’s big picture, a century ago, most Americans died from acute illnesses. Today modern medicine can prevent or cure most acute illnesses. We also are better educated, more informed, and have money to take care of ourselves. Consequently it is the chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes that kills most Americans. In the last decade, researchers are increasingly converging on inflammation as the common denominator of most chronic diseases. We also are seeing a convergence on the Mediterranean diet. Thus, Dr. Johnson’s comments on how few people in Mediterranean countries are following that diet anymore is an important heads up. We need to be following the principles and not the current practices.

Of course we are also seeing a convergence on the importance of exercise-both cardiovascular and strength (and I might add flexibility and balance). Most researchers also give a passing nod to the importance of stress. I really like way Dr. Johnson not only underscores stress, but also ties it to a sense of purpose and whether how you use your time fits with your values and purpose.

Some take aways are to, at least once, include a C-reactive protein test in your next physical, avoid high fructose corn syrup, and choose whole grain rather than multi-grain. I also note that in his book Dr. Johnson recommended investing in a whole house water filter. I heartily agree. Including the plumbing bill you should be able to do this for about $600 and about $15 a month in filters and charcoal material.

Dr. Johnson’s website is Dr. Brickey’s other websites are and

P.S. If you have a good term for what term should replace retirement, I’d love to hear it, share it with other listeners, and I’ll also pass it on to Dr. Johnson and Dr. Forman. Just send an email to

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