January 2002 Issue
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In this issue:
US Military and Veterans to Receive Benefits for Chiropractic Care
In a recently passed bill, the US House and Senate agreed on language that sets up open access to chiropractic care in the VA (Veterans Administration). This new law, when enacted, will open access for all US military and veterans to receive chiropractic care under that program. The details and implementation of the program have still to be worked out but the intent was clear.
The bill contains the following language, "at least one site for such program (chiropractic) in each geographic service area of the Veterans Health Administration" (VHA). The chiropractic care specifically includes subluxation care, as well as a training program to orient the VHA personnel regarding the benefits of chiropractic care and services and employment of doctors of chiropractic. This means that chiropractic care should be made available through the hiring of chiropractors at each geographic location that the VA has a health care facility.
Chiropractic organizations have been attempting get a law such as this passed that gave these benefits to US veterans since 1936. In response to the law passage, the International Chiropractors Association released the statement, "This represents a great victory for the chiropractic profession and the veteran beneficiary alike, and comes in the face of massive opposition from competing professions as well as agency bureaucrats who have opposed and obstructed any meaningful access for veterans to chiropractic services for decades."
Although it is not entirely clear how the VHA will fully implement this new law, or how long it may take to be up and running, the language of the law does ensure that care will be provided. Probably one of the most telling portions of the law reads, "The chiropractic care and services available under the program shall include a variety of chiropractic care and services for neuro-musculoskeletal conditions, including subluxation complex."
The Power of Prayer in Medicine
The above headline is the title of a story from the November 6, 2001 online issue of WebMD. The article starts off by reporting on two recent studies involving the use of prayer in medicine. In one of these recent studies, women at an in vitro fertilization clinic had higher pregnancy rates when total strangers were praying for them. In the other study the findings showed that people undergoing risky cardiovascular surgery have fewer complications when they are the focus of prayer groups.
Rogerio A. Lobo, MD, the chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University School of Medicine in New York City, published his study which appeared in the September issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine. The fertilization research was conducted at a hospital in Seoul, Korea, and found a doubling of the pregnancy rate among women who were prayed for.
The study involved 199 women who were undergoing in vitro fertility treatments at a hospital in Seoul, Korea, during 1998 and 1999. Half the women were randomly assigned to have one of several Christian prayer groups in the U.S., Canada, and Australia pray for them. A photograph of each patient was given to "her" prayer group. While one set of prayer groups prayed directly for the women, a second set of prayer groups prayed for the first set, and a third group prayed for both groups.
"We were very careful to control this as rigorously as we could," states Dr. Lobo. "Neither the women nor their medical caregivers knew about the study, or that anyone was praying for them. We deliberately set it up in an unbiased way. That meant not informing patients they were being prayed for, so it would not influence the women's outcome."
The results of the study were that the women in the "prayed for" group became pregnant twice as often as the other women. "We were not expecting to find a positive result," says Lobo. "Researchers have re-analyzed the data several times, to detect any discrepancies, but have been unable to find any," he says.
In a separate study, Mitchell W. Krucoff, MD, director of the Ischemia Monitoring Laboratory at Duke University Medical Center and the Durham Veterans Administration Medical Center in Durham, NC., studied 150 patients, who had serious heart problems, and were all scheduled for an angioplasty procedure. According to Dr Krucoff, the results of that study showed that patients who were prayed for during their procedure had far fewer complications. His results were published in the current issue of the American Heart Journal. "This was a very rigorously controlled study, just as we would look at any therapeutic, a new cardiovascular drug, a new stent, and see the results in terms of patients' outcomes," states Dr. Krucoff.
Olympic Speed Skater is Chiropractic Spokesperson
Derek Parra, a U.S. Olympic speed skater, should have a good shot for a medal in the 1,500 meters at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He previously won the gold medal in the men's 1,500 meters November 24 2001, at the World Cup in the Netherlands.
Derek made the 1998 Olympic speed skating team, but a technicality prevented him from competing. He is determined nothing like that will happen again. “I’m working pretty hard and gradually climbing the ladder,” Derek says. “Over the past few years, I’ve been getting better and better. I’m starting to feel the comfort and the confidence on ice I had on inline skates.” The fact he was a roller skater first, then an ice skater has both drawbacks and advantages. “I had so many habits from inline and roller skates that didn’t apply to the ice,” he says. “I got tired from scratching the ice and had to get off my inlines for a while so I could figure out the ice skates.”
Derek is also a huge fan of chiropractic care. "I've always believed in chiropractic care. I've used a lot of other treatments for injuries and pain, but the problem doesn't get fixed until I go to a doctor of chiropractic," Derek explained. Derek is also an "endorsed" (spokesperson) athlete of the American Chiropractic Association.
Derek joins the large and growing list of Olympic and professional athletes who regularly depend on chiropractic care. Chiropractic care not only helps them in recovering from injuries, but because chiropractic removes interference from the nervous system, (subluxations) it allows the athletes to compete at a higher level. And at the Olympic or professional level, any extra advantage or edge in performance can make all the difference in the world.
Surgical Calamities on Rise
The above headline appeared on the December 6, 2001 issues of the online MSNBC and the Washington Post. According to the Post story author David Brown, "The number of surgical calamities in which a doctor operates on the wrong part of a patient's body, and occasionally on the wrong patient, appears to be increasing." This information is according to the organization that accredits U.S. hospitals. The president of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) reports that the number of "wrong-site surgery" has risen from 16 in 1998 to 58 in 2001 including 11 in one month alone.
There is a controversy according to the Commission as to whether or not this report accurately reflects an increase in these problems or just an increase in reporting of such mishaps. If this increase is due to more frequent reporting it would suggest that the problem has been worse than expected for a longer period of time. “I think it’s real,” said Dennis S. O’Leary, a physician who heads JCAHO, which accredits about 95 percent of the hospital beds in the United States. “If you look at the trend line, you see an increase in every single year” since 1995. He goes on to say, “People are busy and patients are being put to sleep before there is an opportunity to verify who the patient is, what procedure is going to be performed and on what site.”
The report revealed that the mistakes include such things as operations on the wrong finger, replacement of the wrong hip joint, fusion of the wrong spinal disk, cataract removal from the wrong eye and biopsy of the wrong side of the brain. JCAHO’s “sentinel event alert” report included three categories of mistake: operations on the wrong body part (76 percent of cases), operations on the wrong patient (13 percent) and the wrong operation on the right patient (11 percent).
Neck Range of Motion Increased with Chiropractic
The results of a recently published study in the November/December 2001 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics showed that cervical range of motion was significantly improved with chiropractic adjustments. The study was a double-blind randomized controlled trial performed at the outpatient clinic at Phillip Chiropractic Research Centre, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.
The initial study involved 105 subjects who were randomly separated into two groups. One group received chiropractic adjustments while the other group received a "sham", or fake adjustment. Range of motion testing was performed every few weeks over the course of the 12 week study. Active range of motion was measured with a strap-on head goniometer consisting of an inclinometer dial for measuring lateral flexion and a compass dial for measuring rotation. These motions were chosen because gravity would play less of a role and therefore the results were more accurate.
According to the researchers, in the group that got the real adjustments, "active range of motion in the cervical spine increased significantly." Their conclusion was, "Spinal manipulation of the cervical spine increases active range of motion."
As obvious as this may seem, the results are profound for a large portion of the population. Not only does restricted range of motion play a large part in many health problems, but one of the largest areas of concern for the aging population is mobility.
Tylenol and Aspirin Increases Risk of Kidney Failure
An article in the December 19, 2001 online issue of WebMD reporting on an article from the December 20, 2001 New England Journal of Medicine reports that two of the most common over the counter drugs can have serious effects. The study was conducted in Sweden by interviewing 1924 subjects half of who had been recently diagnosed with renal (kidney) failure. In the half that had the renal failure the usage of Aspirin and Tylenol was 37 percent and 25 percent, respectively. In the control group, the usage of Aspirin and Tylenol was considerably lower with the rates only being 19 percent and 12 percent, respectively. These results clearly showed a higher rate of long-term usage of these drugs in the patients who eventually suffered renal failure.
Michael Fored, MD, author of the study and a kidney specialist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden stated, "What we have seen is that there is an association between acetaminophen [the generic name for Tylenol] and aspirin and chronic [kidney] failure. Our results are consistent with the existence of exacerbating effects of acetaminophen and aspirin on chronic renal failure."
The WebMD story stated that taking either of the two drugs increased risk of kidney failure for people with kidney disease. The article further pointed out that taking just one of the drugs increased this risk 2.5-fold while taking more of each drug over the course of a lifetime, greatly increased the risk. Cumulative (lifetime) risk increased faster with Tylenol than with aspirin. A lifetime dose of at least 500 grams increased risk of kidney failure 3.3-fold. "This is not that high a dose," Fored says. "For the usual 500 mg pill that is 1,000 tablets. That is three tablets a day for a year. It is not that high a dose for a person with chronic pain."
The very next article published in the same December 20, 2001 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reports on a study that shows that taking ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) almost totally wipes out any positive heart effects that taking aspirin was hoping to cause.
In this report by Dr. Muredach Reilly, a University of Pennsylvania cardiologist who took part in the 30-patient study, he noted that when patients took a single dose of ibuprofen beforehand, aspirin lost 98 percent of its blood-thinning power. When aspirin was taken first, three daily doses of ibuprofen sapped aspirin of 90 percent of its benefit. He concluded, “It would not do you a lot of good to take one medication only to have another wipe out its effects.”