In this issue:

March 2001

Headaches: Study Shows Chiropractic Effective

Evidence reports recently released by the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research (FCER) show the effectiveness of chiropractic care for sufferers of Tension Headaches.  The story released February of 2001, was the continuation of a release of a study done at Duke University several years earlier.  In the study many different types of physical and  behavioral treatments were used for patients with headaches.  Chiropractic care was specifically compared to amitriptyline, a common medication used for headaches. 

In this study the staff at the Duke Center screened articles from the literature, created evidence tables, and analyzed the quality and magnitude of results from these studies. They then drafted an evidence report with peer review from a panel of 25 reviewers, including researchers and clinicians in chiropractic.

The results showed that chiropractic was highly effective for patients with tension headaches. When compared with the drug amitriptyline, chiropractic and the drug had similar short term effects during the episode.  However, the drug carried with it an adverse reaction rate in 82% of the patients.  

The most profound effects were seen after the care was discontinued in the study.  In these instances the patients who were on drug therapy essentially returned to the same state as before.  However, the patients who were under chiropractic care continued to show sustained reduction in headache frequency and severity even after the chiropractic care was discontinued.  The implications are that chiropractic is not actually a therapy or treatment, but rather gets to the cause allowing the body to effect a correction that lasts beyond actual care.

Healing Power of Humor

Studies are now showing that laughter may be one of the healthiest things you can do.  Several recent studies show that laugher is actually very healthy and promotes healing from within.  One study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Feb 14, 2001 came from research at Unitika Central Hospital in Japan.  In this study the Japanese found that skin welts shrank in allergy patients who watched Charlie Chaplin's comedic classic "Modern Times," but not in patients who watched a video on weather.  

Head researcher, Dr. Hajime Kimata said, "These results suggest that the induction of laughter may play some role in alleviating allergic diseases."  Dr Kimata was influenced by a previous study by Norman Cousins' whose 30-year-old research suggested that laughter and a positive attitude can help reduce pain. Cousins suffered from a life-threatening joint disease and reported that 10 minutes of laughter helped reduce his pain.

In another study on laugher and health, Dr. Michael Miller of the University of Maryland Medical Center, led a study of 300 people, half of whom had suffered a heart attack or had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery. The other half matched the first group in age, but had no heart problems. Both groups were asked to answer two questionnaires designed to find out how much they laugh and what their levels of anger and hostility were in a variety of situations. The results showed that the group with heart disease was 40 percent less likely to laugh, and was also more likely to feel hostility and anger.  

A different but similar study by an Ohio State University researcher also suggests a link between one's happiness and the state of one's heart.  In that large-scale, 10-year study the results showed  that clinically depressed men had been found to be more than twice as likely to die of a heart attack as those who did not suffer from depression.  The Ohio study was published in the October 2000 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

If you had to go for a moral to these stories you might be inclined to say that these studies show that "Health IS a laughing matter!"

A More Balanced Team

From the Savannah, Georgia Morning News, February 23, 2001 issue comes a human story of a young woman basketball player, Caroline Moore.  It seems a year ago Moore was unable to play for her team the "Beach Lady Bulldogs", until starting with chiropractic care.  "I know things happen for a reason," she said. "But I was disappointed. I was crying."

According to the paper, a local chiropractor discovered a problem in her right hip which left her right leg approximately one quarter of an inch shorter than her left leg.  After a chiropractic examination, x-rays and numerous chiropractic visits, as well as her work ethic, her leg difference has been decreased in length to an extremely small amount.  As a result Moore's coach felt compelled to comment.  His comments were, "I have gained a new-found respect for Caroline because of her courage and determination.  I don't know if I could do what she's done."

The Protective Effect of Childhood Infections

Several articles in the February 2001 issue of the British Medical Journal discuss the actual benefits that childhood colds and infections play on developing a normal and healthy immune system.  According to the articles, having many older siblings; attending day care at an early age; growing up on a farm and in frequent contact with cattle, poultry, and cats; and having childhood measles and infections such as hepatitis A are all helpful in promoting normal immunological maturation and in preventing disease. 

Additionally, repeated viral infections other than lower respiratory tract infections, early in life may reduce the risk of developing asthma up to school age. Another important conclusion of the article was that  the risk of developing asthma by the age of 7 is reduced by about 50% percent in children with two or more reported episodes of common cold by the age of 1 year.  These findings lead to the conclusion that children who fight a variety of normal childhood diseases develop strong and more potent immune systems.

Backpack Misuse Leads to Back Problems

More groups are warning about children carrying backpacks.  In two February 2001 stories by the Associated Press and PRNewswire, health groups are coming out about the dangers of overweight backpacks being carried by children. Some of the groups who have issued warnings include, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Physical Therapy Association, the American Chiropractic Association and the International Chiropractors Association.

Some school districts have even begun to address this problem.  The Wayland, Mass., public school system  has distributed extra copies of some textbooks to middle school students so they don't have to carry as many books between school and home.  A recent study conducted in Italy found that the average child carries a backpack that would be the equivalent of a 39-pound burden for a 176-pound man, or a 29- pound load for a 132-pound woman.  Additionally, preliminary results of studies being conducted in France show that the longer a child wears a backpack, the longer it takes for a curvature or deformity of the spine to correct itself.  

Lasik surgery may carry more risk than thought

NBC News February 8, 2001 ran an article on LASIK surgery and the unknown dangers. The NBC report started with, "About 2.6 million Americans are expected to get LASIK surgery, the most common form of laser eye correction, this year. Ads for it are everywhere. But they seldom mention the side effects that strike tens of thousands of patients a year."  

Dr. Richard Braunstein of Columbia University says,  "doctors often don’t describe the dangers and patients don’t listen." He goes on to say, “Patients who have a problem often feel surprised they had a bad result from the surgery.  It’s not a risk-free event, no medical procedure is a risk-free event.”

According to the NBC report even the experts admit they don’t know what the complication rate is from laser vision correction. The best guess is 5 percent or less, but there have been no big studies to try to find out.

"Super bug" danger increases

A story reported in December of 2000 by NBC News carried the headline, "It’s a danger of staggering proportions. Every year, one in 20 hospitalized Americans — 1.8 million people — develop an infection, with 88,000 of them dying. The biggest threat: “supergerms” resistant to antibiotics."  The NBC report was prompted by a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that reported that samples of the deadly Streptococcus bacteria that resist not only penicillin but also two other powerful antibiotics jumped 64 per cent in only three years. The reason most commonly discussed for these increases in antibiotic resistance is the adaptation of bacteria to the over usage of the antibiotics themselves.  

Prescription Painkillers Linked to Miscarriage

From Reuters Health, February 2, 2001 comes a report of a study frm Denmark that shows a link between painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) during pregnancy and a rise in a woman's risk of miscarriage.  In this study, nearly 53,000 women who were pregnant between 1991 and 1998, were studied.  Investigators found that the results suggested a strong link between miscarriage risk and the use of prescription NSAIDs. The research team found no link between NSAID use and premature birth, birth defects or low birth weight, but the drugs were clearly connected to miscarriage risk.   The results of the study were published in the British Medical Journal in January 2001.


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