Trust your gut

Wright State’s Dr. David Novick’s new guide to your internal health

Photo: Dr. Novick does a book signing at the Booksellers at Fountain Square, Cincinnati

By Tim Walker

Looking good and feeling good are closely intertwined, and good health can manifest itself in many different ways. Too often, people who are concerned about their own health and wellness focus on the more obvious popular physical activities such as jogging, walking, working out, and cardio, and ignore one of the most vital components of remaining in good health: the food that we eat, the effect that what we eat has on our bodies, and how to maintain good digestive tract health in general. A Dayton doctor, however, has written a book with an eye toward changing all of that.

“I wrote the book to try to explain modern medicine,” says Dr. David M. Novick when speaking with the Dayton City Paper recently. “I wanted to explain it in a way that’s understandable for the general public, to answer the questions that people ask me all the time. I wanted to have people be a little more knowledgeable when they go to the doctor, to make it easier for them and to take away some of the fear and the stress associated with the procedures that we do.”

Dr. Novick is a gastroenterologist, a physician who specializes in diseases of the digestive system, also called the gastrointestinal or GI tract;  therefore his book focuses primarily on our internal health and well being – a subject which, unfortunately, many people feel uncomfortable discussing. The book, which is very well-written and easy for anyone to understand, is copiously illustrated and contains chapters on colonoscopies, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, heartburn and acid reflux, liver disease, and how to maintain good eating habits. As a 52-year-old man who underwent his first colonoscopy last year – a procedure which is feared and far too often avoided – I cannot recommend Dr. Novick’s new book highly enough.

“There’s a very interesting philosophical question,” Dr. Novick continues. “Is health just the absence of disease, or the absence of symptoms, or is it something positive? People are starting to talk about gut health in a more positive way, and I did want to address that a little bit in the book. We’re learning a lot about the bacteria and other organisms that we carry in our body, and I think this is going to lead to tremendous advances in our knowledge and in our ability to treat gut problems and maintain gut health.”

Dr. David M. Novick, a clinical professor of internal medicine at the Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine, maintains a local practice in association with Kettering-based Digestive Specialists and has decades of experience in internal medicine which inform and lend authority to his writing. He has been practicing gastroenterology since 1991, with a special interest in hepatology, or liver disease. He is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. In 2014, Novick was selected to be in the inaugural group of fellows of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases – this designation was created for members that epitomize excellence and contributions to the field of liver disease. He is also a member of the American College of Gastroenterology, and the American Medical Association.

In his book, however, Novick’s easy, relaxed writing style belies his expertise, really shining and making it easy for the lay reader to grasp the material. Dr. Novick is the author of more than 65 medical publications to date, and he has also received recognition for his humor writing, receiving an honorable mention in the 2014 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. He has attended seminars sponsored by Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio and by the local Antioch Writers’ Workshop.

It is when he is discussing people and their gut health, however, that Novick’s real passion asserts itself. “I would say that when people do think about gut health,” he continues. “They probably think about maintaining their bowel pattern in a predictable way – not too much or too little. They say that after the common cold, the most common reason for people to miss work is irritable bowel syndrome, which can be manifested by either diarrhea or constipation, or both, or pain. I think people would like to maintain that and control it a little better.”

When asked if there are any current “fads” related to digestive health that people subscribe to, Novick replies “People today are very interested in probiotics as a way to maintain good gut health, and they certainly can help with certain digestive conditions. But there’s so much more that we don’t know about – which probiotic, for how long, and what organisms are better? So we’re really at the very beginning of our knowledge about that.”

Gut health, and keeping your digestive tract in good working order, may not seem like an interesting or suitable subject for “light reading”. In “A Gastroenterologist’s Guide to Gut Health”, however, Dr. David Novick has written a simple yet important book, one whose information is – forgive me – easily digested, and one which all adults need to examine.

 

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Tim Walker
Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com

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