July 2000

Chiropractic: The Best Kept Secret in Health Care

The above headline came from a web site called www.parentsplace.com .  This web site covers many issues in parenting but seems to do an exceptional job with chiropractic.  In this particular article the authors do a good job of describing the chiropractic philosophy when they say, "Chiropractic is based on a vitalistic philosophy, which recognizes simply, that life, and therefore health, is an expression of an inner wisdom -- an innate intelligence animating every cell within our genetic design."  In that article they go on to quote Deepak Chopra, M.D., "Intelligence is present everywhere in our bodies ... our own inner intelligence is far superior to any we can try to substitute from the outside..."

In addition this web site covers additional areas of chiropractic with relationships to children.  The article gives links to each of those subjects which are worth reading.  These additional articles are: Is Chiropractic Just for Back Pain?, Subluxations and Stress, What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?, Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy, The First Subluxation, Kids and Chiropractic, Ear Infections, Colic, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and The Future.  

The authors of the article, Deb Donovan and Bob VanMetter, sum up the chiropractic approach in a concise and exact manner.  "Chiropractors work with the spine, not necessarily because its the source of neck and back pain, but because it houses and protects the central nervous system -- that system which monitors, controls and regulates all body function, allowing the body to adapt to its environment, both internal and external."

World Health Organization Issues Warning About Antibiotic Overuse

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a warning June 12, 2000 that the present use of antibiotics is creating a dangerous situation by increasing drug resistant infections.  According to the report, which was picked up by the Associated Press and most other news agencies, "drug-resistant infections in rich and developing nations alike are threatening to make once-treatable diseases incurable."  

Dr. David Heymann, WHO infectious diseases chief , stated in the article, "We are losing windows of opportunity. It is something we have to really address immediately or we are going to start losing our antibiotics."  Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who helped the WHO unveil the report also added, "This is a major problem for us, and it is not going to go away."

The problem is that we are using antibiotics so regularly that the bacteria we are fighting are now evolving to be resistant and stronger.  At the same time when we continually use antibiotics instead of our own natural resistance we are becoming weaker, as a species, in our ability to fight these bacteria.

The World Health Organization also pointed out that how we raise animals is also a large part of the problem. The WHO noted that half the antibiotics used worldwide are used on the farm, mostly to help healthy animals grow bigger. That encourages drug-resistant bacteria that cause food poisoning.  According to WHO up to 5,000 Americans may have suffered longer-lasting food poisoning in 1998 from drug-resistant germs in chicken.

The effects are already being felt.  The US Centers for Disease Control states that as many as 88,000 Americans die each year of infections they catch in the hospital, and many are resistant to at least one antibiotic, complicating treatment attempts.

The WHO makes two basic recommendations.  The first is wiser use of antibiotic and antimicrobial drugs. The second is that human antibiotics not be used to enhance the growth of animals meant for human consumption.

Celebrities Seek Chiropractic Care

Celebrities such as Mel Gibson and Arnold Schwarzenegger use chiropractic on a regular basis.  On the cover of the June 22, 2000 edition of  TV Guide Insider, is a picture of Mel Gibson dressed for his upcoming movie "The Patriot".  In that story they talk about how Mr. Gibson uses chiropractic on a regular basis. In the article he states, "I got a chiropractor to come along to the [Patriot] shoot, because they can actually stick you back together within 15 minutes. He used to come every other week, from Los Angeles to South Carolina — spend a week and work on the entire crew. All the stunt guys were like, Oh, fix my disc. He is putting their discs back in. The guy is amazing."  

Arnold Schwarzenegger is another fan and recipient of chiropractic care.  Each year in Columbus Ohio Arnold addresses a chiropractic fitness symposium held in conjunction with his "Arnold Classic". At the event in Feb 2000 he made the following remarks, "Chiropractic is about health and fitness. Chiropractic is about natural, preventive health care. What you are doing, and I have experienced this for the last 30 years myself on my own body, means that whenever I have a problem—or even if I don’t have a problem—and I go to a chiropractor, my problems are gone for a long time."

Alternative Medicine Turns Mainstream

The above headline comes from the June 20, 2000 PRNewswire.  In that article they state that "Latest Research From InterSurvey Reveals Two-Thirds of Americans Have Tried At Least One Form of Alternative Treatment or Therapy".  The term Alternative Medicine from a chiropractic standpoint is not accurate.  Chiropractic is not a form of medicine therefore it can not be referred to correctly as an "alternative medicine".  However many authors and researchers inside the medical field continue, as in this story to use that term.  According to the research, herbal medicines, chiropractic service and massage are the most popular forms of what they called "alternative medicine".  

The survey showed that slightly more men went to chiropractors than women.  Of those in the survey, a full 37% had been under chiropractic care.  This represents the highest number yet published in similar studies and continues to show a steady growth in the number of people seeking chiropractic care.

According to the research, 62% of those who used "alternatives" did so because of the recommendation of a friend.  Other reasons listed in the article were: traditional medicine was not working (sited in 28 percent); looking for a complement to a health routine (23 percent); recommendation from a doctor (amazingly mentioned by 22 percent of those in the study); and information from the printed press or Internet source (listed by 20 percent).

Drug Errors In Children Draw Alarm

Medscape reported on July 2, 2000 that errors in medication for children are creating a growing problem.  The article states that the problem is due to the lack of information on the effects of many drugs on children.  Most research is done with drugs on adults, little information is then known on the effects on children.  The article states that improper dosage is the most common error that causes problems.  They note that infants and children are not "little adults" and should not be treated as such.  The article lists several facts demonstrating the "Big Problems".  They are: 

Highlighting this problem is an article from Reuters News dated May 15, 2000 which headlines the fact that more children are being placed on a combination of medications such as Ritalin and Prozac.  In this article Dr. Jerry Rushton of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, states, "I think the safety of these medications--in the young child especially--is not known, and when you take them in combination it is a whole new level of safety concern."  The alarming numbers in this article show that by 1998, 10% of children aged 6 to 14 years were on Ritalin or stimulants, as were 1% of preschoolers aged 1 to 5 years.

Chiropractic care has long suggested that a proper functioning nervous system, free from interference creates a healthier functioning child.  Studies done such as the one at Mississippi State University, published in the October 12, 1989 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, showed that a non-drug approach can help children with hyperactivity.  The researchers remarked, "the majority of the children in this study did, in fact, improve under specific chiropractic care."

Money Can Not Buy Health or a Longer Life 

The World Health Organization, (WHO) released figures on health and life expectancy as reported by Reuters on June 4 2000.  In this release the United States was shown to be the biggest spender at around $3700 per person per year.  With those numbers you might expect the US to do well as compared to the rest of the world.  Unfortunately, the US came in a disappointing 24th compared with the rest of the world.  

Japan had the longest life expectancy at 74.5 years.  Overall, Japan, Australia, France, Sweden, Spain and Italy enjoy the longest, healthiest lives.  In comparison, the Middle Eastern country of Oman spends only $330 per person on health, but ranks a high eighth on the list. Christopher Murray, director of WHOs Global Program on Evidence for Health Policy sums it up by saying "It is not more money for health, it is more health for the money."

Death Rate Drops During Doctor Strike

The June 10, 2000 issue of the British Medical journal reports on an interesting statistic that has occurred in Israel. It seems that three months ago physicians in public hospitals implemented a program of sanctions in response to a labor dispute over a contract proposal by the government.  The article stated that the Israel Medical Association began an action in March to protest against the treasurys proposed imposition of a new four year wage contract for doctors. Since then, the medical doctors have cancelled hundreds of thousands of visits to outpatient clinics and have postponed tens of thousands of elective operations. 

To find out whether the industrial action was affecting deaths in the country, the Jerusalem Post interviewed non-profit making Jewish burial societies, which perform funerals for the vast majority of Israelis.  Hananya Shahor, the veteran director of Jerusalems Kehilat Yerushalayim burial society said, "The number of funerals we have performed has fallen drastically."  Meir Adler, manager of the Shamgar Funeral Parlour, which buries most other residents of Jerusalem, declared with much more certainty: "There definitely is a connection between the doctors sanctions and fewer deaths. We saw the same thing in 1983 when the Israel Medical Association applied sanctions for four and a half months."

In response Avi Yisraeli, director general of the Hadassah Medical Organization, offered his own explanation, "Mortality is not the only measure of harm to health."  He goes on to say that, "Elective surgery can bring about a great improvement in a patients condition, but it can also mean disability and death in the weakest patients."