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Dr. Michael Wald photographed in his Mount Kisco office last month. Wald overcame a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis when he was 18 years old. He will be running his second New York City marathon this November. / Seth Harrison/The
Dr. Michael Wald was just 18 when he got some devastating news: He had multiple sclerosis. While in a science class at Brooklyn's John Dewey High School, Wald was peering through a microscope when the professor asked him to describe what he saw to the class.
"I said, 'I don't see anything,' thinking that the professor was playing a joke on me. He eventually came over and took a look into the scope and saw on my face that I was not joking. I realized that I had a blind spot in my right eye preventing me from seeing completely. My parents brought me to two neurologists who worked me up and gave me the diagnosis."
It never slowed him down, and in fact, his diagnosis propelled him to study medicine and find a more holistic way to manage his disease.
Today, he's a doctor and a holistic nutritionist. He's the director of nutritional services at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco; he's run the New York Marathon; lectures about his methods across the United States and has written more than a dozen health books.
He also has developed the "Blood Detective," a software program for doctors which allows them to medically and nutritionally interpret blood work and find hidden problems. (Find out more at www.blooddetective.com)
As for the name — when a grateful patient told him he was like a "real life blood detective," the name stuck.
In his practice, Wald treats patients whose doctors have not been able to find cures for their headaches, dizziness, stomach problems, cancer, seizure disorders, bone and other diseases like MS and epilepsy.
"My patients are constantly frustrated with their physicians partly because they know that their knowledge is limited to their specialty," he says. "Others are frustrated because their doctors are not trained in nutrition and prevention and practice symptom suppression with medications."
It sounds odd, but he says along with the obvious negatives, having MS has affected his life in positive ways, too.
"For years after the MS diagnosis I read about health. I quickly realized that medicine had little to offer in terms of health," says Wald, who is now 45.
With the help of his father, who was a well-known nutritionist, chiropractor and biologist, he developed natural methods to manage his MS. " Most people with MS have at least three exacerbations (flare-ups) of the disease every 10 years. I have had no exacerbations in 26 years," he says.
His quest to overcome MS also inspired him to write a book, "Multiple Sclerosis: Medical & Nutrition approaches to Optimal health," published in 2009.
"Why live longer if you cannot enjoy life to its fullest," he asks. "I shoot for quality as opposed to only quantity of life."
Here are 10 things you didn't know about Michael Wald:
1. His father was his greatest influence: "As a small boy he would always tell me to “persevere,” to listen to my heart and my head, to treat people as if they were my own family. He always encouraged me, and so did my mom (and she still does), but I followed in the footsteps of my dad — someone who helps others heal and search for healing solutions."
2. He and his wife Robin — she's a yoga instructor — have lived in Chappaqua for 17 years with their kids. Maya, 16, sings with the Quaker Notes at Greeley High School, and she's a photographer with her own website and business; Aaron, 14, is focused on making the Olympics as a high-diver, and has a brown belt in karate. Eli Wald, age 11, is an artist and future scientist.
3. You might see him running around town: "I love to run throughout the town of Chappaqua and often up Route 117 into Bedford, but I especially love to run the biking trail beginning in Millwood."
4. His favorite pit stop is lunch at Lefteris Gyro in Mount Kisco. "The best salads ever!"
5. Of all his published works, his favorite might be "Anti-Aging Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine." "It is a recommended text for the largest nutritional organization in the United States, The International and American Association of Clinical Nutritionists," he says.
6. The ultra-fit Wald ran the New York Marathon last year in 4 hours and 1 minute. "I trained six months and a total of 633 miles," he says, "and I did not miss a day and experienced no injuries. I thought the marathon was the goal for me, but I realized afterwards that what made it all worthwhile was that I set out to do something and kept my word to myself."
7. He doesn't reject traditional medicine: "Integrated medicine the way I have developed it (and how I practice) is not a rejection of allopathic (standard medicine) methods, but simply recognizes that health is best achieved when the causes of ill health are identified, managed and potentially cured with the tools of healing: namely diet, nutritional supplements, exercise, stress management, etc."
8. Don't call the Walds health nuts: "We eat out like everyone else, order a pizza, but we do not eat red meat. My wife and son are vegans and the rest of us avoid red meat, but eat some dairy and fish. We choose free-range animal products and purchase organic foods for home."
9. Running the marathon is not his most impressive athletic accomplishment: "I can do 25 pull ups in a row and I seem to need only a few hours of sleep per night."
10. Not surprisingly, one of his favorite fictional doctors is Gregory House. "I don't watch much TV, but I have seen a few shows of the "House" series. This guy does not think in the conventional way and he is uncompromising in his efforts to get people well; sometimes having to be painfully honest with people."
Dr. Michael Wald can be reached at
495 E. Main Street Mt. Kisco, NY 10549 Phone: 914-242-8844 www.intmedny.com