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November 18, 1988 - Image 70

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-11-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Offer expires Nov. 30, 1988 JN_

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Adults
Children 12 & Under

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Radio Doctor

Continued from preceding page

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70

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1988

J

last four years," Jacoby ex-
plains. "I think he's genuine-
ly interested in people and
they can sense that. He tries
to help people help
themselves, through learning
more about nutrition,
vitamins and exercise."
Though some of his col-
leagues criticize Portner for
going public and label him
self-serving, there are others
who appreciate the public ser-
vice role he performs.
"Leonard has done more to
alleviate patient anxiety than
all the tranquilizers prescrib-
ed in Southeastern Michi-
gan," says Berkley cataract
specialist Dr. Henry Spiro.
And Dr. Michael Salesin, a
Southfield obstetrician-
gynecologist, thinks
"Leonard is the most
qualified physician in terms
of vitamins and nutrition."
Holistic medicine is what
Portner practices and defines
as "a branch of medicine that
helps teach people to assume
responsibility for their own
care, integrating the physical,
emotional and psychological
aspects of a person. It involves
using the best of everything
that's available to help people
help themselves, not closing
your mind to treatments that
may be helpful.
"I use the same techniques
as other doctors but I also use
techniques I've learned in my
travels like dance, laughter,
acupuncture, massage,
energy-balancing, natural
cures, vitamins, nutrition, ex-
ercise and psychology.
Everything is important,"
Portner stresses, "including
biofeedback, hypnosis and
some kinesiology."
The Wayne State Universi-
ty Medical School graduate
and staff member of Beau-
mont Hospital where he com-
pleted his residency, has
always strongly recommend-
ed natural remedies when
appropriate.
In addition to the precepts
of American Indian medicine
which have interested him for
years, he learned natural
remedies from his paternal
grandmother.
"When I was a kid, my
grandmother gave me special
teas she made up with a lit-
tle wine, brandy and honey
for colds," Portner recalls. His
updated prescriptive version
today, as listed in his newslet-
ter, includes Vitamin C, Zinc,
Goldenseal and Cherry Bark
teas.
On the other hand, he has
also always been the first to
clarify that "If a man is hav-
ing a heart attack, I'm not go-
ing to sprinkle herbs on him.
I'm going to get him to the
hospital fast."
Not only does Detroit's

Dr. Portner distributes medical advice with a little bit of humor.

holistic guru know a lot about
his radio audience but,
through the years, they've
learned about him too, both
over the air waves and
through the press. They know
that, as a young man in his
30s, his blood pressure was so
high, he was medically unin-
surable. A two-fisted smoker,
he managed to down 12 cups
of coffee a day, not to mention
a diet that didn't include the
term "low-fat." He and three
parnters shared a very
lucrative practice in Berkley
that looked, according to a
friend, like a bus station with
wall-to-wall people, with a pa-
tient load of about 115 per
day.
In 1979, Portner sold that
practice and began to think
about healthier living. He, his
wife, Laurel, and their two
small daughters, Toby and
Julee, departed for Israel to
participate in an ulpan on a
kibbutz. The girls attended
school while Laurel worked
as a nursery teacher, in the
kitchen and at a doll factory.
Portner, because of his profi-
ciency in chemistry, was
assigned to the computerized
kibbutz laundry which servic-
ed more than 800 residents a
day.
This experience was won-
derful for the whole family
but particularly for Portner
who felt healthy and relaxed
for the first time in years. At
the end of their five-month
stay, they received an invita-
tion to become permanent
kibbutzniks but opted to
return home. Before their
departure, they visited with
Portner's parents, Ethel and
Sam, who had made aliyah in
1974, toured Israel extensive-
ly and also visited Egypt.
The Leonard Portner who
returned to Michigan was a
different man. He excluded
red meat, most fats, refined

sugar, salt and preservatives
from his diet, adding more
complex carbohydrates,
vegetables and fruits. His
cholesterol went from 260 to
130 while his blood pressure
dropped from 220 over 140 to
120 over 80. He began a
regular exercise routine,
became an avid swimmer. He
practiced relaxation techni-
ques and meditated.
He had changed his life and
lifestyle and now he would
help others to do the same.
The quality of practice would
becme top priority and he
would now see about 15 pa-
tients a day.
At about this same time,
the management at then-
WXYZ spotted Portner on
Sonya Friedman's show. Soon
after, he substituted for the
psychologist who was out of
town. So impressed was
Michael Packer, then-station
operations manager he hired
Portner for the station's new
"Ask The Doctor" program, a
prime three-hour time slot on
Saturday afternoons.
Portner was just what
WXYZ was looking for, said
Packer at the time, "A physi-
cian who was not an apologist
for the American Medical
Association, not a pill pusher
but someone with a well-
rounded outlook on the art of
medicine."
Well-rounded is definitely
the term for Portner's ap-
proach. He loves to give out
recipes for health food
casseroles, soupl and his
famous oat bran fried
chicken, although the dimen-
sions could be a bit more
specific. He is proud of the fact
that he had recommended oat
bran for lowering cholesterol
three years before the Jour-
nal of American Medicine did
last spring.
Listeners are continually
impressed with his concern

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