Barry Bittman, MD
Barry Bittman, MD, is a neurologist, author, international speaker, award-winning producer/director and inventor. As CEO and Medical Director of the Mind-Body Wellness Center, a comprehensive, interdisciplinary outpatient medical facility in Meadville, PA., Dr. Bittman has pioneered a new paradigm for treating the “whole person.” Based upon extensive research, he developed Insights for Living Beyond Cancer with Bernie Siegel, MD, a program that integrates the power of mind, body and spirit with conventional medical care. Dr. Bittman has also created similar programs for individuals facing the challenges of asthma, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease and diabetes.
His medical perspectives, emphasizing a mind-body approach have been presented in his book, Reprogramming Pain, written to help individuals transform pain and suffering into health and success. His latest book, Maze of Life, co-authored with Anthony DeFail, is a soul-searching parable about restoring hope, meaning and purpose amidst life’s challenges.
As the host of the first nationally-syndicated integrative medicine weekly Public Radio program, Mind-Body Matters, Dr. Bittman interviewed 115 of the world's leading visionaries. His program featured cutting-edge in-depth perspectives that scientifically substantiate the integration of complementary approaches into conventional healthcare. Dr. Bittman's more than 250 articles on a host of integrative medical topics have been published in his newspaper column, Mind Over Matter.
Based upon his commitment for shaping the future of cancer care in traditional medicine, Dr. Bittman served as a board member of the American Cancer Society at the state level for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He is also CEO of ECaP, Exceptional Cancer Patients, an organization founded by Bernie Siegel, MD in 1978 dedicated to providing retreats, training for health professionals, resources and information for individuals facing the challenges of cancer and other chronic illnesses.
Dr. Bittman has been awarded three patents for his invention, Mindscope®, introduced in 1992 as the world’s first clinical tool linking the nervous system to a multimedia environment. Bittman’s innovative biofeedback technology has been successfully utilized in clinical settings throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. A customized application was also incorporated into the training program of U.S. National Figure Skating Champion, Tonia Kwiatkowski.
Dr. Bittman's "whole person" approach has been featured in numerous leading publications throughout the world, including USA Today, Business Week, Time, Prevention, Discover, O (Oprah Magazine), the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, Scientific American, Men's Fitness, Health magazine, Spirituality &Health, New Age Journal, Self magazine and numerous other leading publications.
In 1995 Dr. Bittman began TouchStar Productions, a company dedicated to providing evidence-based resources to help individuals harness their inner healing potential as a complementary approach to traditional healthcare. With an emphasis on Psychoneuroimmunology, the medical discipline that studies the interaction between emotions, nervous system, endocrine system and immune system function, TouchStar’s initial releases (available through select distributors in the US and Canada) feature multimedia journeys through nature with introductions by world-renowned authors. SmithKline Beecham, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, is distributing TouchStar’s self-help program entitled Affirmations For Getting Well Again, to cancer specialists throughout the nation. Affirmations for Getting Well Again also won the coveted first place awards in the Wellness and Cinematography categories from among 632 entries at the 1997 American Medical Association’s International Health and Medical Film Festival in San Francisco.
Based on his conviction that Recreational Music-making is an effective therapeutic strategy in conventional medical settings, Dr. Bittman led a team of researchers who investigated the biological effects of the HealthRHYTHMS group drumming protocol he co-developed. This foundational study (Alternative Therapies, Jan. 2001) correlated group drumming with increased activity of Natural Killer cells, specialized white blood cells that seek out and destroy cancer cells and virally-infected cells.
Along with Karl T. Bruhn, acknowledged as "Father of Music Making and Wellness," his research team also demonstrated substantial reductions in burnout and mood disturbances in long-term care workers, as well as significant cost savings using a Recreational Music-making protocol (Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, November 2003). A similar approach was also shown to benefit nursing students (The International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, July 2004).
With a focus on the aging continuum, Dr. Bittman led a team of researchers to document the impact of Recreational Music-making in the long-term care continuum. His extensive compilation of data from two long-term care centers documented multiple psychosocial benefits across the aging spectrum (Provider, Nov. 2004).
Dr. Bittman's latest research, a 2-phase study demonstrated for the first time that playing a musical instrument reverses multiple elements of the human stress response on the genomic level (Medical Science Monitor Feb. 2005). His team included researchers from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems, the developer of the original technology that led to the successful mapping of the human genome announced in June, 2000. Stress-reduction was far greater for individuals participating in their first group keyboard lesson (Yamaha's Clavinova Connection) than for subjects who simply relaxed and read newspapers and magazines. In addition, the researchers introduced the concept ofindividualized genomic stress induction signatures, which uniquely demonstrate biological diversity in action.