Live From Miami Beach: A4M March Symposium Highlights 

Reporting live from Miami Beach, A4M is hosting hundreds of modern medicine’s leading game-changers this weekend at the March Symposium. We’re thrilled to be amongst such an inspiring crowd of renowned experts, pioneering researchers, and dedicated practitioners committed to elevating their knowledge, practice, and patient outcomes — a thriving community we are honored to be a part of.

This highly anticipated event marks the kickoff of A4M’s 2024 educational season — and it’s set to be groundbreaking. Featuring beloved returning programs and brand-new courses alike, the weekend’s diverse agenda empowers practitioners across every specialty and sector to level up their clinical toolkits and gain practical knowledge of emerging and in-demand therapeutic modalities.

From the best-selling BHRT Symposium to the inaugural iteration of State Of-Mind: A New Era in Psychedelic Medicine – a three-day immersive training in pioneering psychedelic-assisted therapies, transformative insights, and clinical pearls abound.

If you couldn’t join us this time, we want to ensure you don’t miss out on the wealth of cutting-edge learning taking place. Since we cannot teleport you to the Loews Miami Beach Hotel — although we wish we could — our on-site team has been sharing real-time updates for us to relay. Discover some key takeaways and event highlights from all the offerings on the agenda.

A4M in Miami: March Symposium Educational Highlights

The BHRT Symposium

Drawing hundreds of leading attendees for a weekend of practice and patient outcome-optimizing learning, our bi-annual BHRT Symposium kicked off the day with insightful lectures led by endocrinology experts Tara Scott, MD, Pamela Smith, MD, MPH, MS, Terri DeNeui, DNP, APRN, ACNP-BC, and numerous others. These acclaimed clinicians explored the critical role of endocrine balance in women’s health and delved into proven strategies to restore and optimize hormone homeostasis for ideal well-being across the lifespan.

Essential Takeaways:

• Many myths surround the use of testosterone therapy in women. However, most recent literature works to dispel them with mounting scientific evidence. A comprehensive literature review reveals that testosterone is not masculinizing unless administered in very high supra-therapeutic doses. When used appropriately, the hormone has proven to be safe and efficacious for alleviating symptoms related to low testosterone, stabilizing mood, energy, sexual health, and more – without increasing aggression.

• Clinicians must identify patients who have a high predisposition for impaired estrogen metabolism. Best practice guidelines emphasize checking estrogen metabolism in all high-risk patients before prescribing any form of hormone replacement therapy.

• Abnormal cortisol levels are increasingly associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss. While moderate levels of stress exposure have a beneficial hormetic effect that bolsters cognitive function, research indicates too high or too low levels of chronic stress are detrimental – severely impairing one’s ability to consolidate and retrieve memories.

• Improving the state of women’s health is paramount. The current poor and declining condition of women’s health calls for the comprehensive development of the women’s health medical specialty along with ample avenues for accessible patient education focused explicitly on the unique needs of the female population across the lifespan. There is a tremendous unmet need for further provider training on total female health, emerging science, and evidence-based best practices to optimize well-being. Simultaneously, additional educational platforms enabling women to take ownership over their bodies and overall health are necessary to truly make an impact.

State Of-Mind: A New Era in Psychedelic Medicine

This brand-new course pioneered psychedelic medicine training for forward-thinking practitioners and featured a lineup of industry-leading experts and specialty visionaries, including Michelle Weiner, DO, MPH, Scott Fisher, MD, Jocelyn Strand, ND, Sheldon Jordan, MD, and many more.

Kicking off the first day of revolutionary education was a comprehensive introduction to psychedelics, psychedelic pharmacology, and the importance of preparation for the optimal psychedelic experience and integration process.

Attendees gained perspective into the latest research on using substances like psilocybin and MDMA to treat depression, PTSD, end-of-life anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Additional sessions explored the complexities of crafting personalized treatment protocols for lasting outcomes.

Essential Takeaways: 

• Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that blocks the glutamatergic NMDA receptor on GABA neurons. It increases dopamine and serotonin availability in the brain, reduces inflammation and chronic stress signals, and activates opioid receptors. Through these mechanisms, ketamine has shown promising results in treating depression, PTSD, and other mental health conditions. Recent studies reveal that a single subanesthetic dose of IV ketamine may immediately reduce suicidal ideation in depressed patients. Ongoing research investigates optimal dosing, frequency, and delivery methods for long-term relief.

• Common exclusionary criteria for psychedelic-assisted therapy are divided into two categories: absolute and relative. The following risk factors would prohibit a patient from being qualified for psychedelic therapy: a history of schizophrenia or psychosis, an active manic state, and active and severe cardiovascular or respiratory illness. Factors that must be considered and risks and benefits weighed include a family history of psychosis, a history of bipolar disorder, and active substance use disorder.

• Psilocybin is reported to have the most favorable safety profile of all psychedelics. Studies have found it to be effective in treating long-standing, moderate-to-severe major depressive disorder with a lower incidence of unwanted side effects compared to traditional antidepressants.

• Mindset is critical to the success and tolerance of psychedelic therapeutics. It’s essential to thoroughly prepare patients for what to expect, build trust between the patient and treatment team, and describe a range of potential dissociative sensations and experiences that may surface. This lowering of defenses allows for the possibility of repressed memories or trauma resurfacing, which must be addressed appropriately.

Peptide Therapy Certification: Module I

The first day of our Peptide Therapy Certification Program’s Module I welcomed a jam-packed room of practitioners eager to learn from an esteemed panel of peptide experts, including James LaValle, RPh, CCN, MT, DHM, DHPh, Erika Schwartz, MD, and more. The comprehensive curriculum covered an overview of potential clinical applications, using peptides for controlling metaflammation, optimizing metabolic health, and more. Additional key topics included:

• FDA regulations and the current legal landscape
• Quality assurance protocols
• Manufacturing sterile injectable products
• Practical approaches for integrating peptides into clinical practice.

Essential Takeaways: 

• New methodologies in peptide design involve engineering long chains of peptides specific to biological targets that are strung together, essentially making a protein. Further developments include inserting pepsin breaks at the end of peptides so that they break down into their intact, active form when taken orally.

• Liposomal oral delivery systems maintaining peptides in a sub-100 nm particle size have shown promise in enhanced absorption and bioavailability.

• Exciting new peptides like KCF-18, thymagen, SS-31, and numerous others show potential based on the latest scientific evidence and their position in the emerging drug development pipeline.

• Physicians must avoid making definitive claims when marketing peptide therapies and use careful phrasing such as “the use of peptides may…” and “has been shown…”. Furthermore, they should provide reputable supporting scientific evidence and implement fair and transparent peptide pricing models.

• Among popular supportive supplements, bovine colostrum continues gaining traction given its rich supply of bioactive proteins, immune-modulating factors, growth factors, vitamins, minerals, and more – broadly supporting immune function, cytokine balance, gut integrity, and overall health.

• Effective clinical integration involves a layered treatment approach. Begin with lifestyle interventions, dietary optimization, physical activity, sleep hygiene, selected nutraceuticals, etc. Then, layer in hormone modulation therapies where needed. Finally, introduce peptide therapies as an adjunct for refinement and more directed cellular signaling support.

Module III: Brain Optimization for Longevity

This advanced education module covers leading-edge science and clinical best practices at the frontier of brain health, function, and optimization for longevity. The robust curriculum presented on day one was led by renowned neurologic experts, such as Sheldon Jordan, MD, Elizabeth Stuller, MD, Todd LePine, MD, and others. Discussions focused on personalized strategies for optimizing the aging brain, leveraging the gut-brain axis, and targeted treatment protocols for inflammation-driven conditions. Specific topics included depression, autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other prevalent mental health conditions – reviewing brain anatomy, neurotransmitter physiology, and emerging interventions that show great promise.

Essential Takeaways: 

• A paradigm shift is underway in the integrative medicine approach to neurology and psychiatry, catalyzed by new advances in biomarker testing and functional neuroimaging that allow far greater personalization and objectivity.

• Cutting-edge labs enable testing of neurotransmitters, stress hormones, sex hormones, inflammatory markers, Lyme disease, cytokines, and additional biomarkers to hone in on specific areas of dysregulation.

• Optimizing the aging mind is a multidimensional approach that accounts for sleep quality, stem cell activity, epigenetic expression, mitochondrial efficiency, GI integrity, appropriate supplementation, and more.

• Trending topics in neuroscience include the brain’s reward circuitry, cue-induced behavioral sensitization, transcriptomics, the role of the gut microbiome, video game and technology addiction, and numerous others warranting further research.

Five diverse educational programs are taking place over the course of the weekend, packed with an awe-inspiring amount of timely takeaways and actionable insights. This A4M March Symposium is a testament to the power of convening the brightest minds to tackle challenges across all realms of medicine and advance new care delivery models.

Stay Tuned, The A4M March Symposium Continues!

With an incredible first day in the books, we kicked off day two on Saturday morning, which included a coveted addition many had been looking forward to: the IV Peptide Therapy Masterclass! Sunday marks this thought-provoking conference’s third and final day, wrapping up an immensely informative weekend that leaves participants equipped and empowered to amplify their clinical outcomes.

Stay tuned to our Instagram profile for live event updates from Miami Beach, and follow along from wherever you are.

Follow Along on Instagram