Performance medicine

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Performance Medicine is a sub-speciality of clinical and diagnostic medicine that is focussed on the optimisation of emotional, mental, and emotional well-being and performance. It is a new and innovative medical speciality that merges the goals of internal medicine, anti-ageing medicine, functional medicine, sports medicine and preventative health care.

Performance medicine differs fundamentally from other areas of medicine by focusing on the healthy non-injured individual that is at low risk of sub-clinical or clinical disease. This population of individuals responds poorly to the current medical paradigm[1]. It uses the principles of evidence-based medicine not to treat disease, but optimise function to reacher higher levels of well-being and performance[2]. This is the medical analog to the field of positive psychology, which uses the scientific principles of psychology not to treat mental disease, but to increase life satisfaction.

The aims of Performance medicine are to increase the bodies ability to resist, postpone or prevent disease and/or injury.[3] and maximise human performance in terms of adaptive capacity, endurance,[4] and physical fitness,[5]. Performance medicine physicians aim to measure the capacity and interaction of the bodies functional systems over time and to modify exposure to environmental factors in such a way that an individuals health is optimised by operating at the "sweet spot" where both performance and longevity are maximimised. This is achieved through an increased adaptive capacity, which is the bodies ability to turn stressors into growth opportunities.


The goals of performance medicine have been summarised and include the following:

  1. a focus on maintaining and increasing an individuals adaptive capacity throughout adult life
  2. the maximisation of an individuals metabolic efficiency
  3. the adoption of strategies that increase an individuals resistance to disease and postpone or prevent disease where possible


Improving Well-Being[edit]

An organisms adaptive capacity determines its ability to adapt to new stressors[6][7]. Performance Medicine aims to increase an individuals adaptive capacity via functional improvements of the immune system, nervous system, hormonal system, and digestive system[8]. This increase adaptive capacity increases the ability of the individual to deal with stressors and thereby increases life satisfaction, as well as emotional, mental and physical functioning[9][10].

Improving Adaptation in Athletes[edit]

The basis of Performance Medicine in improving athletic performance lies in the understanding that the functions of the immune system, nervous system, hormonal system, and digestive system govern adaptation to training[11]. All environmental stimuli (including training and nutrition) are processed by these systems, which will respond with adaptation, if their capacity permits. It is therefore the functions of these systems, which determine the result of all training stimuli[12][13].

Performance Medicine is to be clearly distinguished from sports science and sports coaching, which is mostly concerned with the optimal composition of training stimuli. In Performance Medicine the main concern is the functional status of the athlete's adaptive systems[14].


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ M. Roy, M. Levasseur, Y. Couturier, B. Lindström, and M. Généreux, “The relevance of positive approaches to health for patient-centered care medicine,” Preventive Medicine Reports, vol. 2, pp. 10–12, Jan. 2015.
  2. ^ B. S. McEWEN, “Stress, Adaptation, and Disease: Allostasis and Allostatic Load,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 840, no. 1, pp. 33–44, Feb. 2006.
  3. ^ Preventive medicine
  4. ^ Endurance
  5. ^ Physical fitness
  6. ^ B. S. McEwen, “Chapter 5 - Central Role of the Brain in Stress and Adaptation: Allostasis, Biological Embedding, and Cumulative Change,” in Stress: Concepts, Cognition, Emotion, and Behavior, G. Fink, Ed. San Diego: Academic Press, 2016, pp. 39–55.
  7. ^ McEwen BS, “Allostasis and the epigenetics of brain and body health over the life course: The brain on stress,” JAMA Psychiatry, vol. 74, no. 6, pp. 551–552, Jun. 2017.
  8. ^ B. S. Oken, I. Chamine, and W. Wakeland, “A systems approach to stress, stressors and resilience in humans,” Behavioural Brain Research, vol. 282, pp. 144–154, Apr. 2015.
  9. ^ P. B. Badcock, C. G. Davey, S. Whittle, N. B. Allen, and K. J. Friston, “The Depressed Brain: An Evolutionary Systems Theory,” Trends in Cognitive Sciences, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 182–194, Mar. 2017.
  10. ^ K. V. Sudakov, “The theory of functional systems: general postulates and principles of dynamic organization (dedicated to the Anokhin Centenary).,” Integr Physiol Behav Sci, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 392–414, Dec. 1997.
  11. ^ P. K. Anokhin, “Nodular Mechanism of Functional Systems as a Self-regulating Apparatus,” in Progress in Brain Research, vol. 22, E. A. Asratyan, Ed. Elsevier, 1968, pp. 230–251.
  12. ^ K. V. Sudakov, “The theory of functional systems: general postulates and principles of dynamic organization (dedicated to the Anokhin Centenary).,” Integr Physiol Behav Sci, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 392–414, Dec. 1997.
  13. ^ C. W. Morris, “The Effect of Fluid Periodization on Athletic Performance Outcomes in American Football Players,” p. 110.
  14. ^ K. V. Sudakov, “The theory of functional systems: general postulates and principles of dynamic organization (dedicated to the Anokhin Centenary).,” Integr Physiol Behav Sci, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 392–414, Dec. 1997.

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