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Autism Link with Vaccinations Heats Up
"Parents Doubt Vaccine Safety" was the headline of a story from the October 30, 2000 USA Today. This story stems from a study sponsored by the National Network for Immunization Information. For this study, a phone survey of 1,600 expectant parents and parents of children age 6 and younger was conducted. The results of the study were released at the American Academy of Pediatrics meeting in Chicago.
The results showed that 25% of parents are concerned that childrens immune systems could be weakened by too many vaccines, and nearly that many say that "children get more immunizations than are good for them." Amazingly, a full 14% of the parents say they would opt out of at least one vaccine, if they were to have another child in the future.
Much of the public concern about this issue has been sparked by recent links between vaccines and autism or other childhood diseases. So strong is the evidence that Congressional hearings have been convened to focus on the issue.
Barbara Loe Fisher, of the National Vaccine Information Center responded by saying, "The rapidly rising number of vaccines required in recent years may be at least a factor in causing the huge increase in learning disabilities and diseases such as autism and asthma."
This subject has been getting much needed press time lately. This included a Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2000 CBS special segment titled "MMR Vaccine and Autism" on their highly acclaimed TV show 60 Minutes.
Doctors Group Calls for End to Mandatory Childhood Vaccines.
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, (AAPS), on November 2, 2000 issued a press release calling for a moratorium on all government mandated vaccines. This release was based on a resolution passed unanimously by the group at their 57th annual meeting.
Jane M. Orient, MD, AAPS Executive Director stated, "Our children face the possibility of death or serious long-term adverse effects from mandated vaccines that are not necessary or that have very limited benefits." Orient went on to say, "This is not a vote against vaccines. This resolution only attempts to halt blanket vaccine mandates by government agencies and school districts that give no consideration for the rights of the parents or the individual medical condition of the child."
According to the AAPS press release -- Forty-two states have mandatory vaccine policies, and many children are required to have 22 shots before first grade. On top of that, as a condition for school attendance, many school districts require vaccination for diseases such as hepatitis B -- primarily an adult disease, usually spread by multiple sex partners, drug abuse or an occupation with exposure to blood. And yet, children under the age of 14 are three times more likely to suffer adverse effects, including death, following the hepatitis B vaccine than to catch the disease itself.
The press release also mentions numerous cases where parents were threatened by local health officials with having their children taken from them for abuse if they refused to vaccinate. In response to this situation Dr. Orient of the AAPS concluded by saying, "It is obscene to threaten to seize a child just because his parents refuse medical treatment that is obviously unnecessary and perhaps even dangerous. The AAPS believes that parents, with the advice of their doctors, should make decisions about their childrens medical care, not government bureaucrats. This resolution affirms that position."
Low Back Pain Study by Insurance Company Favorable to Chiropractic
Blue Cross/Blue Shield (BCBS) of Kansas in August 1999, presented a study titled "Lumbago Treatment." The information for this study was gathered from a program called the McKesson Episode Profiler. This data program allowed BCBS to sort the health care statistics of different types of doctors as well as the types of conditions that were listed on the insurance claim forms. Using this information BCBS could determine the cost and effectiveness for chiropractic with what they termed "Lumbago".
The results showed that 38 percent of the patients chose to seek chiropractic care rather than medical care. This was in contrast to the fact that less than eight percent of the doctors in the study were chiropractors. This showed that it took fewer chiropractors to care for more people.
The results showed that chiropractic was more cost-effective than anesthesiology; neurosurgery; neurology; registered physical therapy; orthopedic reconstructive surgery; physical medicine and rehabilitation; and rheumatology. The study also showed that most of the chiropractic expenses 89%, were related directly to patient care, while only 45 percent of the medical costs were related to treatment of the condition with remainder of the costs being for diagnostic procedures.
Additionally, the study deliberately excluded any costs for hospitalization, surgery, or any fees paid to orthopedists or neurosurgeons for costs associated with surgery. Without these additional costs being included in the study, the costs related to medical care were reported much lower than they actually were, and the savings from chiropractic care was actually much larger.
This study confirmed what many others have in the past. Patients suffering from back problems are in much better, and cost effective hands with chiropractic care.
Steroid Treatment Have Negative Affects for Both Young and Old
In two separate studies steroids were shown to be harmful for each of two separate age groups even though these drugs are common treatments. From the October 23rd issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine comes the first report that states, "that men and women older than 60 who take corticosteroids for longer than 6 months are at greatly increased risk of deformities of the bones in the spine." This report was based on a study of 229 patients who had taken corticosteroids for longer than 6 months and was compared with 286 people the same age who did not take the drugs. The results showed that 28% of the corticosteroid-treated patients had at least one deformity of the vertebrae in the spine.
The second study on steroids was on their usage in children for asthma and related problems. This study was published in the October 12, 2000 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. In that article it was stated that studies showed that long-term administration of systemic corticosteroids is a cause of impaired growth in children. The study showed that children treated with inhaled corticosteroids had less growth in height (1 to 1.6 cm [23 to 27 percent] less) than those assigned to other treatments. One of the concerns of the study was that they were unable to predict if this change in growth rate of the skeletal system was also accompanied by a change in organ system growth, including the brain. The authors urge caution.
The NEJM article did not mention or take into account the studies showing the benefits of chiropractic for children with asthma. Such studies concerning chiropractic included a 1996 study published by the Michigan Chiropractic Council and one from the Alberta Childrens Hospital in Calgary, Canada.
Chiropractors Turn Up In Press Much More
Compared to years past, stories depicting individual chiropractors in a positive light are turning up more often than not. Years ago, the only stories the press would publish on chiropractors were attempts to show them as a fringe group well disliked by the medical community. Today very few of those stories arise and more of the positive stories hit the media.
One such story comes from the November 08, 2000 Birmingham News titled, "Chiropractor joins team providing actors' health care". This story is about two chiropractors who are brothers and who both take care of the theater performers in two different cities, Boston and Birmingham. The story is about how these two are relied upon by the actors to stay healthy and perform better.
Another article very favorable to chiropractic was from a Washington Post Staff writer. In his Nov. 6, 2000 article he recanted that prior to his back problem he though he would never go to a chiropractor in a thousand years. But after medicine failed him and his life was ruled by his problem, he decided to go. He spent the rest of the article bragging on how great chiropractic is and how it changed his life.
Probably the best part of these recent articles was a description in a newspaper of what chiropractic is by the Chiropractor they interviewed. In it this doctor said, "Chiropractic has a lot to do with the wellness part of peoples lives. After all, your spine protects your nervous system, and that controls your whole body. To be healthy, you want to make sure the nervous system is functioning at 100 percent. The misalignment of the vertebrae known in the profession as subluxation can cause a wide variety of disorders. These include digestive difficulties, sinus problems and allergies, along with the typical aches and pains of the neck or lower back."
Birth Control Pills Linked to Breast Cancer
From the October 11, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, comes an article reporting on a study of historical data related to the use of oral contraceptive by women. The conclusion of the researchers was that, "These results suggest that women who have ever used earlier formulations of oral contraceptives and who also have a first-degree relative with breast cancer may be at particularly high risk for breast cancer." The family relations also played an important role. The authors conclusions again stated, "Among sisters and daughters of women with breast cancer, users of the pill were three times more likely than nonusers to get the disease."
Chiropractor Appointed by Clinton to Commission
President Clinton named a chiropractor to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The President formed The White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine and charged it with making recommendations on how public policy can maximize the benefits to the public of what they called "complementary and alternative medicine". Originally, no chiropractor was named to this commission. However, in the waning days of his administration, Clinton finally added the first chiropractor. The fact that chiropractic was included last is disturbing considering that an estimated 27 million Americans visit chiropractors each year, and chiropractic is the largest and most popular non-medical health care field in the world, with more than 60,000 doctors worldwide. Better late than never!
Whole Grain Diet Helps Prevent Stroke
From the September 27, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association is the report of a study showing how whole grain bread can drop stroke risk by 43%. Dr. Simin Liu of Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston conducted a study that followed the health and stroke frequency of nurses over a multi year period. The study paid specific attention to dietary concerns and intake of whole grain bread. In the JAMA report Dr. Liu commented, "replacing refined grains with whole grains by even one serving a day may have significant benefits in reducing the risk of ischemic stroke." Her final conclusion of the study was, "higher intake of whole grain foods was associated with a lower risk of ischemic stroke among women."