Clinton underwent cardiac surgery in February 2010 to place two stents in clogged arteries. This surgery occurred six years after his 2004 quadruple bypass surgery.
Chelsea Clinton's orders were clear. Her father needed to lose weight to participate in her wedding ceremony. Following orders, Clinton became a near-vegan, exercised, lost 35 pounds and proudly walked Chelsea down the aisle. At the wedding, Clinton sang the new couple's praises and extolled the virtues of his new diet.
Caldwell Esselstyn, the head of Cardiac Nutrition at the Cleveland Clinic, advises Clinton on his diet and health. According to Esselstyn, people like Clinton who consume a plant-based diet become “heart-attack proof. They're bullet-proof from getting another heart attack.”
Esselstyn maintains that chronic diseases are manifestations of the body's reaction to unhealthy diets and lifestyles and are susceptible to epigenetic-based treatments. For example, a plant-based diet enhances the body's natural healing mechanisms and can prevent disease-causing genes from activating.
This explanation was not apparent to Bill Clinton's cardiac surgeon, Dr. Alan Schwartz, who observed that Clinton's need for two new stents “was not a result of his lifestyle or diet.” Similarly, Dr. Clyde Yancy, then president of the American Heart Association, stated at that time, “Coronary artery disease is a progressive process ... There aren't any cures.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease kills 610,000 Americans each year, accounting for 1 in 4 U.S. deaths. Despite significant surgical and pharmacological innovation, heart disease has remained America's leading killer for over 50 years.
These grim statistics frustrate Esselstyn. He observes, “All our cardiac interventions address symptoms, not the root causes of the disease.”
Irrefutable evidence from agouti mice to Bill Clinton demonstrates that epigenetic-based interventions can prevent and retard chronic disease, which consumes 86% of our national health expenditures. Medical science is spending billions of dollars searching for genetic-based cures for heart disease, cancer and other chronic conditions with limited success.
More of the same will not yield different results. Curing chronic disease requires reversing negative environmental factors. Epigenetics, more than genetics, holds the key.
David W. Johnson spent 28 years as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and BMO Capital Markets before launching 4sight Health, a healthcare consulting firm.