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In this issue:
Major University Adds Chiropractic to Their Game Plan
The May - June 2002 issue of Today's Chiropractic Magazine featured a story of the Mississippi State University football team's usage of chiropractic care. In the article head football coach Jackie Sherrill stated, "Our players have no qualms about chiropractic." He further stated, "When we say, you have an appointment with Dr. Allen (their team chiropractor) they don't miss their appointment. They have enough belief and confidence that it does help them or they would not be getting on the (adjusting) table."
The endorsing remarks from coach Sherrill continued in the article. He stated that even when he was head coach for Texas A&M he was using chiropractic care for his teams. "We were fortunate that we were able to use chiropractic services back in the early 80's." He continued, "Is there a place for it? Definitely yes. We're very fortunate because our medical staff and Dr. Allen work very well together."
Dr. Allen the team chiropractor explains his success with the team by saying, "There are problems in the neck that can cause nerve interference and definitely effect equilibrium, and you just remove the nerve interference and it goes away. In whiplash injuries, the head and neck goes into a flapping motion, and football players can experience whiplash-type injuries every time they hit the the field. What we want to do is make sure the athletes have flexibility and stability."
Study Finds Neonatal Care Excessive
From a May 15, 2002 Associated Press story reported on the MSNBC website comes the above headline with a story that starts, "Specialty has mushroomed into too much of a good thing." A study of newborn death rates at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H, found that there were few differences across the country of newborn death rates regardless of the extent of neonatal care specialties available.
With the exception of the areas that the researchers identified as having very few specialists the study suggests there are far too many doctors and hospital units specializing in intensive care of premature or sickly babies. The results of the study showed that once a certain threshold of care is reached, having even more doctors offers no extra advantage or additional protection to newborns.
The AP article stated that, "This oversupply is not only a profound waste of medical resources, it may also be harmful, because it may subject babies to unnecessary tests and treatments." Dr. Kevin Grumbach, a public health researcher at the University of California at San Francisco, commented on the study in an article he wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine. In his response he wrote, The researchers “raise disturbing issues regarding the nation’s unquestioning acceptance that more is always better with respect to the supply of specialist physicians and hospital technology.”
The results of the study showed that, newborns in areas with a very low number of doctors, such as a ratio of 2.7 for every 10,000 births, had a slightly higher death rate than normal. This translated into a 7 percent higher death rate than in better-equipped areas. On the other hand, areas with a supply of doctors ranging from 4.3 to 11.6 neonatologists per 10,000 births all had about the same death rate. Even the most premature babies were found to die at roughly the same rate in these areas. This basically showed that after a certain point, more is not necessarily better. Dr. David Goodman, the pediatrician who led the study said, “Enough may be enough.”
The article reported that the researchers claim that because of the oversupply, some healthy newborns may be subjected to unneeded tests and treatments that can produce harmful side effects. Dr. Grumbach said. “If I have a healthy full-term baby, I actually don’t want anyone messing around with that baby. There’s a downside where we meddle too much.”
Website Review - A Good Source for Patients and Doctors
A good source of information on Chiropractic and children is the website of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). Their web address is www.icpa4kids.com. This site contains articles, information and research on health related issues concerning children. Their mission statement reads, "The mission of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association is to bring the life saving benefits of chiropractic care to all children."
Their website contains information for the general public about the benefits of chiropractic care. In one section, entitled, "Why chiropractic for children", the ICPA discusses such issues as "Why should children have chiropractic care" and "Is chiropractic safe for my child". The articles on this site are well referenced and thorough.
In addition to articles and information about chiropractic for infants and children the ICPA website also contains a vast resource of information on subjects that relate to child health and well being in general. Subjects such as ADHD, Asthma, Child safety, Scoliosis, Speech disorders, and many other topics are presented in articles and research in language that is easily understood. Additionally their website contains links to other health related sites on such subjects as natural child birth and vaccinations.
Two other sections that are well laid out and informative are the sections on family wellness and research. Each of these sections has large numbers of pages of pediatric health related information. If you are making critical decisions about the health and well being of your children or family, you should consider the website of the ICPA for valuable information.
Dangers of Vaccine Preservatives Revealed
For decades, half of all childhood vaccines contained a chemical preservative called Thimerosal. Thimerosal is made from mercury, one of the most poisonous substances on Earth. Recently two investigative stories from WFAA a television station from Dallas - Fort Worth Texas, reported that government regulators and some pharmaceutical companies knew of the dangers, but never told the public. The reports dated 5-21-2002 and 6-20-2002 highlighted the issue and suggested that children were harmed needlessly for decades.
The WFAA report stated that before the 1990s, 1 in 10,000 children were diagnosed with autism. But in the past decade, as the government has increased the number of mandatory vaccines, some recent studies suggest the rate of autism has risen to 1 in about 250 children. One of the stories highlighted the story of Jac Counter who was born normal and after numerous vaccinations became autistic. Upon testing it was found that the levels of mercury in his system were, "off the chart". His father, father Joe Counter said, "It's not that any one shot (did it)." "The Thimerosal or the mercury in one of my son's vaccinations - well, he didn't get one shot, he got 30 shots or whatever, or however many he got. And it was the cumulative effect that, at some point, his body said, 'Stop it, I can't take this any more.'"
In response to this and other reports of such problems, Congressman Dan Burton, Chairman of the Committee on Government Reform initiated a congressional hearing into this subject and issued a statement called "The Status of Research into Vaccine Safety and Autism." In his June 19, 2002 paper he stated, "I might have been like many of the officials within the public health community – denying a connection - had I not witnessed this tragedy in my own family. I might not have believed the reports from parents like Scott and Laura Bono, Jeff Sell, Jeff and Shelly Segal, and Ginger Brown, who came to me with pictures, videos and medical records. I might have been like so many pediatricians who discounted the correlation between vaccination and the onset of fever, crying, and behavioral changes. Because both of my grandchildren suffered adverse reactions to vaccines, I could not ignore the parent’s plea for help. I could not ignore their evidence." He went on to recall his personal experiences by saying, "My only grandson became autistic right before my eyes – shortly after receiving his federally recommended and state-mandated vaccines. Without a full explanation of what was in the shots being given, my talkative, playful, outgoing healthy grandson Christian was subjected to very high levels of mercury through his vaccines. He also received the MMR vaccine. Within a few days he was showing signs of autism."
On of the most heated parts of the congressional hearing came when Congressman Burton was questioning the government health officials about what they knew of the dangers and when. "You mean to tell me that since 1929, we've been using Thimerosal," Congressman Dan Burton (R-Indiana) said to the officials, "and the only test that you know of is from 1929, and every one of those people had meningitis, and they all died?" As a result Burton has proposed bringing criminal charges if it's proven the government agencies were involved in a cover-up. "Look, I don't think it makes any difference whether it's a private company or a government agency," Burton said. "If they know they're harming somebody and they continue to let it happen, then they should be held accountable."
The WFAA story went on to report on Dr. Jane Siegel, a professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern in Dallas. The report noted that for the past five years, Dr. Siegel sat on the government vaccine committee that decides which vaccines are mandatory for children. Her comments were, "I believe there is no data thus far that's been looked at to prove that there's a connection, that there's a causative relationship," Siegel said. However, the investigative team provided a report that showed that just two years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did conduct a study, which showed that three-month-old babies exposed to just 63 micrograms of mercury were two-and-a-half times more likely to develop autism.
The story noted that "under pressure from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC, pharmaceutical companies agreed to stop manufacturing vaccines containing Thimerosal in March 2001. But while production may have ceased, vaccine vials already containing Thimerosal were not recalled."
Sham Knee Surgery Just As Good As Real Thing
In an interesting research project published in the July 11, 2002 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)comes a study of the effectiveness of knee surgery on the elderly. What may be most interesting about this study is that some patients in the study got "sham surgery" instead of the real thing. Presently, the popular knee surgery is performed on about 300,000 mostly elderly patients per year. Arthroscopic knee surgery for osteoarthritis costs roughly $5,000, per operation or a total of $1.5 billion a year in the United States.
The NEJM study states that many patients report symptomatic relief after undergoing arthroscopy of the knee for osteoarthritis. However, researchers are not sure why patients report such relief. To investigate this researchers and surgeons at the Houston VA Medical Center divided 180 potential knee surgery patients into three groups. One group got arthroscopic débridement, one group received arthroscopic lavage, while the third group got placebo surgery. Patients in the placebo group received skin incisions and underwent a simulated procedure without actual insertion of the arthroscope. The patients in the study did not know which group they were being divided into and therefore did not know if they were receiving the real or fake surgery.
All the patients who participated in the study were evaluated for two years after the procedure. During this time these patients still did not know which group they were in or if they received the sham surgery. The results showed that during the two year follow up, all three groups said they had slightly less pain and better knee movement. However, the sham-surgery group often reported the best results. Researchers attribute this to the well-known "placebo effect," in which patients feel better simply because they believe they have been treated.
These findings could prompt insurance companies to refuse to pay for the procedure. In the Associated Press story on this study Dr. William W. Tipton Jr., executive vice president of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, suggested that other researchers should conduct a similiar study and duplicate the results before doctors, patients and insurance companies react. But he did confirm that the study confirms some doctors' growing suspicions about these procedures.
Dr. Todd P. Stitik, associate professor of rehabilitation at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, said patients he has sent for arthroscopic surgery were not helped much. "I don't think this is now necessarily a reasonable option," he said.
Chiropractors Step Up In Colorado
The June 25 2002 PRNewswire reports on a group of chiropractors offering help to the firefighters in Colorado who were fighting the tremendous wildfire blazes that ravaged the area. The story stated, "In an overwhelming demonstration of goodwill, over 100 Colorado doctors of chiropractic have volunteered their time, talent, and equipment to provide chiropractic care to firefighters and the support staff working on the Colorado wildfires. Chiropractic care is available virtually all day to support staff, but especially during the evening hours after the firefighters return from over 12 hours of grueling work on the fire lines."
The chiropractors involved organized a state-wide chiropractic relief effort that included stations at locations such as a local fairground, a fire department, and a high school. Chiropractors have also assisted in efforts to raise money to assist the families of firefighters in the area. Additionally, several chiropractic suppliers have helped by supplying tables and other supplies needed in the effort.