Dallas ER Doc Promotes Whole Body Approach to Wellness
Dr. John Roland
Dr. John Roland, founder of Evolution Medicine Dallas, leaves no stone unturned when it comes to seeking knowledge about links between disease and treatments. As a student at the University of Texas - San Antonio Medical School, he often wanted more answers than what were presented. “I felt like I didn’t fit in at medical school, because there’s just so much to learn, and there really wasn’t time to ask why and find unique answers to questions,” he reflects.
Roland comes from a family of physicians—his grandfather was a doctor and his father was a dentist—and he wanted to combine his passion for math and chemistry with his desire to help people. Roland worked for 20 years as an emergency medicine physician, has a background in biochemistry and currently serves as director of the Texas Health Resource freestanding emergency room. The fast-paced emergency setting gave him the opportunity to see a great deal of the disease process and how allopathic medicine primarily masks symptoms without addressing the underlying causes of disease.
That inspired Roland to form Evolution Medicine Dallas in 2016, where he uses functional medicine and stem cell therapy to address root causes; an approach he likens to a tree. “The leaves of the tree are specific diseases, but just knowing the diagnosis does not tell you the cause,” he explains. “The tree is the immune system, and the roots are different causes of disease—lack of sleep, poor diet or chronic stress—and then the body’s common response is that the cells get sick. That sickness is represented by inflammation, leading to autoimmune disease.”
Functional medicine is the concept that genetics, diet, environmental and lifestyle factors all influence long-term health. Roland takes time with each patient to discuss diet and lifestyle modifications to achieve optimal wellness. In 2012, he took his first stem cell course to further understand the effect of stem cells on the immune system. Through combining functional medicine principles with stem cell medicine, Roland helps patients effectively regulate their immune systems.
Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, can build and repair tissue by promoting the reparative response of disease. Roland cites arthritis—a common autoimmune condition—as an example of how stem cells heal. “With an arthritic joint, we see that the immune system is hyperactivated, causing the white blood cells to literally devour and melt the joint,” he explains. “By injecting stem cells into the injury site, the stem cells reregulate the immune system and allow the foundation to regrow cartilage.”
Stem cells are obtained from bone marrow, blood and fat tissue. They can also be harvested from umbilical cord blood and placental structures. Candidates for stem cell therapy include people facing joint replacement surgery or suffering from osteoarthritis. But Roland notes that stem cells are not a panacea, and won’t fix everything. “If I give stem cells to a joint, it will get better, but that doesn’t mean the battle is over,” he says. “We still need to address the whole body system.”
Roland sits on the board of the American Academy of Stem Cell Physicians, an organization that works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help establish guidelines for stem cell use. He says, “Our goal is to make stem cells part of mainstream medicine. We’re establishing an internal review board to help make decisions about safe protocols for research.”
Stem cell medicine is still a developing science, but Roland is optimistic about the future of stem cells and functional medicine. Insurance companies still do not cover most stem cell procedures, but he sees third-party administrators that manage health care systems beginning to recognize the health and cost benefits of stem cell therapy as alternatives to joint replacement surgery.
Roland speaks nationally on autoimmune disease and stem cells. He hosts podcasts, public talks and gives TV interviews to educate other doctors and patients about functional medicine. He also enjoys educating the community by participating in events such as the Arthritis Foundation’s Fun Run, taking place this winter.
Evolution Medicine Dallas is located at 8226 Douglas Ave., Ste. 740, in Dallas. For more information, call 972-658-0928 or visit EvolutionMedicineDallas.com.