Community Spotlight: Dr. Eduardo Maristany -An Unending Enthusiasm for Medicine
by Linda Sechrist
Observing what interests and excites children the most during their early years can sometimes make it easy to predict their answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. For a young boy whose eyes lit up any time he went with his dad to visit a friend, a resident emergency medicine physician, the prediction would have been a no-brainer. “Around the age of 9, after I’d been very sick with strep throat, I became mesmerized with anything medical. I loved looking through the medical books and playing with stethoscopes, especially the basic surgical suture teaching tools that were in the office of my dad’s friend. On one occasion, I played for an hour with his suture needle and nylon thread. Looking back now, I think to myself, ‘What 9-year old boy plays with a needle and thread for an hour?’” quips Dr. Eduardo Maristany, a board-certified internal medicine physician practicing at the Naples Center for Functional Medicine (NCFM).
A love of knowledge and learning, as well as an insatiable interest in physiology and the miraculous ways that the body works also fueled Maristany’s natural inclination for medicine. “Any time I had a medical issue, I immediately wanted to dive in, do research and find the cause. I’ve never lost that propensity,” says the native Floridian, who was born in Tallahassee, raised in the Boca Raton area, earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Miami and his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine. Also trained by the Institute of Functional Medicine and licensed to practice in Florida and Georgia, Maristany practices functional and integrative medicine and specializes in advanced personalized genomic interpretation, inflammatory diseases and other areas. He is a member of the American College of Physicians and American Medical Association.
Before moving to Naples and joining NCFM, Maristany was a resident of Florida’s Space Coast and an internal medicine hospitalist, academic hospitalist and clinical assistant professor at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia. “It was an incredible experience treating patients, including astronauts and scientists from the space program. It was an exciting time in my career, meeting internationally recognized individuals which I had only previously admired from a distance,’” says Maristany.
While practicing in Savannah, the traditionally trained Maristany became friends with a fellow physician, Dr. Mary Kay Ross, then an attending ER physician. Ross, who later founded the Institute for Personalized Medicine, a patient-centered style that addresses the whole person and not merely a set of isolated symptoms, introduced Maristany to functional medicine, which focuses on understanding the interaction between the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that can influence overall health, as well as correcting the underlying dysfunction of the body to achieve true healing.
She also introduced him to the genetic testing tool, IntellxxDNA, in which he now specializes. “IntellxxDNA, the most sophisticated of genomic reports, examines the complex interplay between DNA variants and how they can affect the individual’s quality of life. Reports include evidence-based, well-researched potential intervention strategies—encompassing environment, lifestyle, nutrition, supplements and medications—that can serve as the basis of discussion between an individual and their children,” advises Maristany.
While shadowing Ross and learning about functional medicine, Maristany began to realize that this was his future. “I had to simply wait until the right opportunity for practicing it full-time presented itself. As a result of that shift in thinking, I’ve been to every functional medicine conference for the last eight years,” advises Maristany, who notes that it was often his patients who helped to convince him of the potentiality of functional medicine.
Maristany offers an example of a patient that made him a big believer in functional medicine. “I was assigned a patient with severe Bell’s Palsy on the right side. She’d been on steroids and had been told by her doctor that the condition was permanent. I was fresh from my second functional medicine conference and suggested practically every supplement that I had learned about there. Two weeks later she reported that she could move her mouth, two weeks after that she had movement in her eye and six weeks later the paralysis was gone. The lingering numbness in her tongue eventually went away and her ability to taste returned. I’ve seen many other patients with remarkable results since then, and although I do use medical protocols when it’s necessary, I still prefer to recommend supplements,” he says.
The Naples Center for Functional Medicine is located at 800 Goodlette Rd., Ste. 270 in Naples. For more information or to make an appointment, call 239-649-7400 or visit NaplesDFM.com.