Commonly prescribed to menopausal patients, individuals with human growth hormone and thyroid imbalances, as well as males with hypogonadism, hormone replacement therapies (HRT) have had a tumultuous history within the medical industry and scientific community. Despite several ups and downs, these therapeutics are now widely popularized solutions to hormonal imbalances, specifically menopause, and constitute a global, high-revenue market. Additionally, research developments have contributed to the introduction of bio-identical hormone-based products, which provide a natural alternative to synthetic HRTs and have been surging in popularity.
A4M valued member Donna Barsky shares insight from her professional experience in this Member of the Month feature.
Dr. Donna Barsky, born and raised in Oklahoma, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education, from East Central State, in 1972, her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1979 and completed her Doctorate of Pharmacy in 1999.
She ran her own pharmacy relief service for independent compounding pharmacies and nursing home consulting practice from 1980 until April 2006. She has been compounding for over 30 years and has developed many of her own formulas to address specific patient needs. In June 2006 she opened Texas Star Pharmacy, a full-service independent compounding pharmacy in Plano, TX. Dr. Barsky is also the owner of Dr. Donna’s SilverSkin, a cosmetic company, in which she developed all the cosmetic products.
Donna is a preceptor, IV and Immunization Certified, MTM provider, and Certified Diabetic trainer and Travel-Health Service Provider and a speaker for multiple organizations including NCPA (National Community Pharmacy Association) and Richland College. She is also a regular contributing author for Living Well magazine, Le Femme FOCUS International, an online magazine and has been on Good Morning Texas, NBC 8 and several other local stations.
Texas Star Pharmacy has received Plano Star Courier Reader’s Choice Best Pharmacy in 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016 and received the Fred Moses Minority Business Development Award in 2011. Dr. Barsky is also an active member of the National Community Pharmacist Association and also holds active memberships with the Pharmacy Compounding Centers of America, Texas Pharmacy Association, APHA (American Pharmacy Association), IACP (International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists) and A4M (American Academy of Anti-Aging).
Q1: Before joining A4M, what was your medical background?
Pharmacy was my livelihood, but I always pushed toward a more holistic approach toward aging. Nutrition was a big part of pharmacy as well, because there are numerous pharmaceuticals that can cause nutritional depletions that need to be addressed for better health.
Q2: What anti-aging techniques have you incorporated into your practice? And how did you so?
We have a Certified Clinical Nutritionist on staff and have started to work with physicians in our area to help their offices become more efficient in nutritional guidance. Then, we also help the physicians, in a collaborative effort, determine the best pathway for new hormone/thyroid patients to follow. With this Texas Health Initiative, we have helped hundreds of patients find their pathway to better aging.
Q3: What are the benefits of practicing anti-aging medicine: as a professional, and for your practice?
The patients achieve a new perspective on healthy eating, as well as nutritionals for any deficiencies that may be occurring from medications. Hormone and thyroid changes can be a problem as we age and when the hormones are balanced, the patients feel like their old self again and they come into the pharmacy feeling wonderful.
Personally, I also practice what I preach and feel better now than I did in my 40’s. But, secondly, I have found that moving patients toward more natural solutions have added to my bottom line. The benefit is the fact that I am not fighting with insurance companies as much as I was prior to the natural movement on a daily basis.
Q4: What are the changes you see in your patients?
Happier, healthier individuals who have lower Ha1c levels, lower LDL levels, more energy and more efficient thyroid function. It’s great to see the husband of one of my patients and hear him tell me that I saved his marriage because he now can do something right for a change, or to hear another one walk through the door, throw her hands in the air and say, “I’ve lost 17 pounds, just by taking my hormones!”
Q5: Why would you recommend Anti-Aging Medicine to your peers?
Just because you were taught traditional medicine only in med school, doesn’t mean that there is no other way to practice. The only reasons why there are no natural products tested in this country is because companies cannot patent a natural product. Go beyond your schooling, look at the studies that have been done in other countries and see what might help your own clientele. With an open mind, who knows, you might find the right answer to some of the questions that have plagued you for years.
Q6: Where do you see the future of Anti-Aging medicine 20 years from now?
I truly believe that with healthcare as expensive as it is today, patients are trying to find a better, more effective and less expensive way to live a longer, healthier, active life. We are more active than we were 20 years ago and have more options for retirement than we have ever had before. I firmly believe that the functional/anti-aging approach will become a major factor in patients’ health for now and in the future. Certainly, if we are living longer, why wouldn’t anyone want to live better?
The Basics of Stem Cells
In layman terms, what are stems cells with regards to anti-aging?
Stem cells are the ‘mother’ of all cells, recruited for the replenishment and regeneration of the tissue of the organs in which they live. Stem cells are very useful for regenerative therapy. and are capable of releasing various growth factors that can participate in the healing process.
How are they used cosmetically in the field of anti-aging?
Adipose-derived stem cells can give dramatically results in terms of anti-aging. Essentially, the process begins with the extraction of a small amount of fat (20cc) using syringe liposuction; the fat is then sent to a labs, in which the stem cells and extraction are cultured to produce millions of stem cells. These can be immediately injected into the desired area, or they can be cryo-preserved for further use. Stem cells injected superficially in the dermal layer of the skin are differentiated into fibroblasts (collagen producing cells), which then produce collagen and elastin: the structural foundations of the skin. In terms of scalp regeneration, the stem cells improve the health of existing hair follicles. Stem cells are now also being used during the process of fat transfer, during which millions of stem cells are mixed with autologous fat that is grafted to areas such as the face, breasts or buttocks.
This is completely different from a standard fat transfer, which does not produce the same healing, regenerative, and restorative benefits. Moreover, a fat transfer to the breasts or face is generally reabsorbed by the body, and disappears within months. With adipose-derived stem cells, the results have been proven to be long-lasting.
What are some of the key benefits of stems cells and why do you feel they are the wave of the future?
Stem cells are attractive candidates for the development of new and novel therapies, targeting indications that involve functional restoration of defective tissue. In addition to using stem cells for anti-aging, they can also be used for natural body shaping and contouring. By using the patient’s autologous cells, we eliminate the chance of rejection, while we simultaneously maximize the benefits such as healing and regeneration of the targeted tissues.
What can we expect to see in the future in the field of anti-aging and stem cells?
Potentially, the most important application of human stem cells is the regeneration of tissues that could be used for cell-based therapies. Currently, donated organs and tissues are often used to replace destroyed tissue, but there is a limit to the supply of transplantable tissues. It might be possible to direct stem cells to differentiate into specific cell type; hence, we would have a possible renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, spinal cord injury, and burns.
Dr. Khattar is the only Director of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) outside the U.S. who is certified to conduct the hands-on modules for the U.S. Aesthetic Medicine Fellowship. For more information on the latest treatments in regenerative medicine, follow Dr. Khattar on Instagram @dr.maria.khattar, or contact the Aesthetic Clinic in Dubai at 04 429 8533 / www.aestheticaclinic.com.