New book explores breakthrough medical stories

The author of "The Other Side of Impossible" opens up about how she refused to give up in the face of her son's daunting medical challenges, and looked outside the box for treatments.
5:17 | 07/31/17

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Transcript for New book explores breakthrough medical stories
We're going to turn now to medical breakthroughs featured in the book called "The other side of impossible." It's about people running out of medical options and finding hope in unconventional approaches. Mara schiavocampo is here with the details. Good morning, the stories are remarkable, a child making a full recovery from a painful illness, a woman confined to a wheelchair walking again, all because they wouldn't stop looking for answers. Reporter: At just three years old, Suzanna meadow's son shepherd was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis causing pain, swelling and fatigue. His doctors prescribed medication but it made him sick. With the pain getting worse, Suzanna felt helpless. She took a leap of faith and researched options outside the realm of conventional medicine. It was desperation. Absolutely. Reporter: She removed dairy, gluten and limited sugar and added fish oil, probiotics and a Chinese anti-inflammatory herb. After six weeks -- He said, mommy, my knees don't hurt anymore and ran out of the room and you can imagine how stunning that was for us. While there's no way to know for sure what helped him, I believe that it was this protocol that we tried. Reporter: Once a skeptic of non-science based medicine, Suzanna wrote about her son's recovery in "The other side of impossible" where she profiles six other stories of people who hope to defy the medical odds, going beyond conventional medicine to take on daunting conditions. One of those stories is of Terry wall, a clinical professor at the university of Iowa, diagnoses with multiple sclerosis in 2000. After just three years, she was confined to a wheelchair. But Terry is a fighter, spending nights pouring through scientific articles looking for the latest studies on M.S. She created a food plan, an extreme form of the Paleo diet. At nine months I got on my bike and biked around the block for the first time. I'm crying, my wife's crying, my kids are crying. Reporter: 17 years later she has regained almost all of her muscle function. Such an amazing story. Suzan Suzanna's son is off medication and is pain-free. The people in this book did work in consultation with their doctors on these treatments and the one thing they had in common, perseverance. They would not give up. The power of positive thinking, amazing, Mara, thank you. Dr. Jen is with us to talk about it. What is your assessment on the link between these elimination diets and chronic disease? There's not a lot of good research out there yet and hopefully there will be. Let me explain basically what's involved in an elimination diet. If you look at this cascade here, this is kind of the major food groups that's part of the typical American diet. The thinking is they all may contribute to a common pathway that ends in some type of inflammation that a lot of chronic illnesses have. With an elimination diet you break that down, bear it down to the bottom level, take all these things out and then you slowly add them in, reintroduce them -- To see which ones are causing the problem. Another way of thinking, you're kind of taking all the junk out of our diet and eating clean and the thinking is that that may reduce inflammation. There's not a lot of research out there yet on this. Nutritional science is lagging way behind medical science. You've probably heard the saying let food be thy medicine. This is an example. We saw the woman with M.S., amazing. There are some patient scenarios that should not try this. Yeah. Any time you take something to an extreme and potentially sacrifice or compromise something that is proven and known to work in most patients, then that becomes a little risky. If you're becoming malnourished in the course of this elimination diet which generally is a temporary thing, it's not meant to be totally long term in most cases, I think that's a problem. Again, Mara said it at the end, the best, in my opinion, holistic health care is when you incorporate the best of western medicine to the best of non-western medicine and really individualize that and find what works. Nutrition and food has to be a big part. It's our fuel, just like a car. Definitely. Mara mentioned perseverance and I'm a huge proponent of that. The energy you put out is the energy you get back. Does that really play into this? Absolutely it does. In medicine and science we call that the placebo effect. This is real. It's thought to work up to 30% of the time which means if you go into something expecting a positive outcome Lieb yoke your hip surgery, you have a good chance at experiencing that. The flip side of that is also true. If you go into something expecting the worst, you have a good chance that that's what you're going to feel. This leads to this. So important. This is really an important story. I hope and pray it's all good. Thank you so much, Dr. Jen. "The other side of impossible" is out now. Check it out.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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