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December 2000

In This Issue:

Asthma Study Shows Chiropractic Benefits

From the November / December 2000 issue of Todays Chiropractic, comes a study report on Asthma.  The article notes that approximately 14 Americans die each day from asthma. Asthma is only one of three diseases that has shown an increasing death rate in recent years, up 58% since 1979.  Presently estimates say that 17 million Americans suffer from the disease making it the most common and costly illness in the United States today, costing over $13 billion annually. Presently, asthma causes more hospitalizations of children than any other childhood disease.

In the study, 47 patients were observed for a two year period.  These patients had all been medically diagnosed with persistent asthma ranging from mild persistent in 11 cases, moderate persistent in 28 cases, to severe persistent in 8 cases.  The care rendered consisted of specific chiropractic adjustments.  The range of visits was from 14 to 44, with the average being 26 during the study period. Most patients in the study began care at a rate of 3 visits per week with this frequency being reduced after 4 to 8 initial weeks.

The patient results were very good with all 47 of the study patients showing a marked improvement ranging from 87 to 100 percent. Patient observed improvement was measured by both improvement in their symptoms as well as a decrease in  their usage of acute asthma attack medication. Even more impressive was that all of the patients in the study reported maintaining their improvement after a two-year follow up. 


One In Three Medical Doctors Unlikely To Get Routine Medical Care, Including Flu Shots

According to the results of a recent study published in the November 27, 2000 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, one-third of MDs are unlikely to follow the advice given to patients of routine checkups and flu shorts.  SurgeryA survey of 915 physicians by the Hopkins team, showed that 312 (34 percent) said they had no regular source of medical care.  Those in the study that did not get medical care did so because they thought that regular medical attention was unnecessary.

The study did show that as a group doctors were more interested in prevention than the general public.  The report illustrated that of those who were studied, 28 percent,  had no medical care at all, while 7 percent treated themselves.  Approximately 43 percent had an independent physician as their main source of care, while 18 percent saw a colleague in their own medical practice. Not having a regular medical doctor was unrelated to either age or gender.  There was, however, a wide variation based on practicing specialty. The range was from 21 percent among psychiatrists to 46 percent among pathologists. Internists were the most likely to engage in self-treatment.


Holiday Stresses Can Increase Health Risks

The International Chiropractors Association (ICA) has issued helpful holiday hints and recommendations to ward off health problems over the holidays. Overeating was of particular interest as it related to physical stress placed on the spine.  According to the release, "A bulging stomach can put pressure on your body support systems, including your spine and spinal nerves.  Every extra pound in the abdominal region could put 10 pounds more stress on the lower back.  This stress can last a short time, such as just after eating a heavy meal or lifting a package improperly.  It may also become chronic, as heavy eating during the holidays may lead to weight gain, and carrying extra pounds can put added strain on the supporting structures of the spine and nervous system.

The release also notes that additional weight can force the pelvis and torso to shift and cause changes in spinal balance, leading to spinal misalignments (known as subluxations) and malfunction in the entire body.  The ICA has prepared several helpful tips to follow.  They are:


US Military to Get Chiropractic

An Associated Press story of Nov. 26, 2000, reports on legislation passed by the US Congress that mandates that chiropractic care be made available to all active-duty personnel in the United States armed forces. Prior to the bill passage personnel in the military had to pay for chiropractic services out of their own pockets.  When this bill is implemented, military personnel will be able to receive chiropractic care just as they do the medical care they receive without any out of pocket expense.

Pvt. Robert Zemla, who started having back pains from a car accident and decided to go to a chiropractor, is one soldier excited about the news. "All the military doctors do is give you painkillers and tell you to take (physical therapy) at your own pace," the 27-year-old private stated. "I wanted to feel some real relief."

The program will be phased in over a 5 year period. How it will exactly work  depends on the US Department of Defense implementation plan, yet to be released.


Back Belts Worn at Work Not Effective

The above was the conclusion of a study published in the December 6, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA).  The report in JAMA started off by noting that usage of these devices is becoming more common. "Despite scientific uncertainties about effectiveness, wearing back belts in the hopes of preventing costly and disabling low back injury in employees is becoming common in the workplace."

The study interviewed 9377 employees from 160 stores.  Of those stores in the study, 89 required back-belt use and 71 had voluntary belt use.  The study would then track the incidence rate of material-handling back injury workers compensation claims as well as a 6-month incidence rate of self-reported low back pain among the workers.

The conclusion of the study was clear. As explained by the JAMA article, "In the largest prospective cohort study of back belt use, adjusted for multiple individual risk factors, neither frequent back belt use nor a store policy that required belt use was associated with reduced incidence of back injury claims or low back pain."  In simpler terms, these belts do not work to prevent the problems for which they were designed.


Chiropractic Inclusion Decreases Costs to HMO

From the Chicago Tribune comes an article dated November 26, 2000 entitled, "New Respect Boosts Chiropractic as a Mainstream Therapy". In this article are various chiropractic success stories from patients.  The story then discusses an HMO company, Alternative Medicine Inc. This HMO, headquartered in Highland Park, is the first insurance company in the country to combine chiropractic and conventional medicine in an HMO setting. The real difference is that here chiropractors are used as primary care physicians and gatekeepers.  

James Zechman is the co-founder of Alternative Medicine Inc., and reported in the article that the inclusion of chiropractic into the HMO is a huge success.  According to Zechman, the combination has resulted in an almost 80 percent reduction in hospitalizations during the last two years. Outpatient surgery was reduced by almost 85 percent and pharmaceutical drug usage was reduced by 56 percent. 

A common saying in chiropractic is that, "Chiropractic does not cost, it pays!"  Based on the experience of this HMO, it appears to be more than just a slogan.


Medical Doctors Group takes Different Approach

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons is a group of medical doctors that has as a goal, "preserving the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship and the practice of private medicine." This group, founded in 1943, calls itself, "the Delta Force of private medicine".  According to Jane Orient, M.D., executive director of AAPS, "The AAPS believes in the oath of Hippocrates and that the physician should work for his patient, not some third party,"

In an interview for the December 3, 2000 issue of the WorldNetDaily,  Dr. Orient went on to say, "It is interesting that the 'do no harm' clause has been eliminated from the supposedly updated oaths," Orient noted. "We are seeing an inversion of medical ethics lately that is based on population ethics, in which physicians are being indoctrinated to believe that it is OK to sacrifice the individual to the good of the whole."

The AAPS Patient Power newsletter sums up their positions by explaining to patients why their doctor is a member; "As a member of AAPS, your physician is one of the elite of the medical profession--those dedicated to the sanctity of the patient/physician relationship through the practice of private medicine.  He has agreed to practice the art of medicine under uncompromising ethical principles: to treat you with the highest respect for your dignity and to protect your privacy and rights as a patient from intrusion by the government, insurance companies or HMOs."  The AAPS web site can be viewed at, www.aapsonline.org .

Chiropractors have always supported the patients right to choose whatever type of healthcare they desired. For the longest time throughout the history of chiropractic patients were discouraged from seeing chiropractors by their medical doctors.  It is good to see that a growing group of the medical profession is now in support of a patients right to choose and more in support of the patients rights.