June 2000

Chronic Migraines Helped by Chiropractic, Study Shows

A study published in the February 2000 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, (JMPT), showed that people suffering with migraine headaches were helped with chiropractic care. The study was conducted in Australia at the Chiropractic Research Center of Macquarie University. In this research 177 volunteers were studied who had migraine headaches for over 18 years on average. Many of the participants also suffered from neck pain.

The average response of the group that received chiropractic care showed a statistically significant improvement in migraine frequency, duration, and disability. The study also showed that those who received chiropractic care were able to reduce their medication use, with a significant number reducing their medication usage to zero! Additionally, 59% had no neck pain after a period of two months, and another 35% had a decrease in neck pain.

The researchers concluded this study, built on previous studies that had similar results. "There have now been several studies demonstrating significant improvement in headaches or migraines after chiropractic. The Migraine Foundation of Australia estimates that some 12% of Australians ages 15 and over, experience migraines.

DPT and Tetanus Vaccine linked to Allergies and Asthma

Also in the February 2000 Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) appears a study linking asthma and allergies to the DPT vaccine. The data for this study came from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Interest in this subject has been fueled by the drastic increases in these problems. According to the study, the prevalence of allergic disorders increased between 50% and 100% among adults and more than doubled in children over the past 20 years. In the United States alone, it is estimated that between 30 and 50 million people are affected. Asthma constitutes one of the primary reasons for hospital visits with an estimated 900,000 visits per year. The cost of asthma alone in the US is approximately $6.21 billion yearly.

The JMPT article relates the incidence of certain vaccinations with asthma and allergies. The researchers summed up their findings with the following; "The odds of having a lifetime history of physician-diagnosed asthma was twice as great among vaccinated subjects than among unvaccinated subjects. Vaccinated children had more than 1.8 times greater odds of having sinusitis or sinus problems in the past 12 months and more than twice the odds of having episodes of stuffy, itchy, or runny nose and watery, itchy eyes than did unvaccinated children."

Prozac and Zoloft May be Leading to Suicides

Several articles and stories have recently come to light concerning a connection between certain antidepressant drugs such as Prozac and Zoloft, and suicides. In the May 15th 2000 issue of the Boston Globe appeared a story that revealed the links between these drugs and suicide. This article cited internal documents from Eli Lilly and Co., showing that the makers of Prozac had known for years that its best selling drug could cause suicidal reactions in a small but significant number of patients.

According to Lillys own numbers, 1 in 100 previously non-suicidal patients who took the drugs developed a severe form of anxiety and agitation causing them to attempt to commit suicide during the study. Dr. David Healy, an expert on the brain and director of the North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Wales estimates that, "Probably 50,000 people have committed suicide on Prozac since its launch, over and above the number who would have done so if left untreated. Lillys own figures from 1984 indicated that severe agitation which can lead to suicide occurs in at least 1 in 100 cases. It should be noted that Lilly got more than 25% of its $10 billion income in 1999 from Prozac.

Baby Boomers Seek Chiropractic In Large Numbers, and Pay for It Themselves.

More people are visiting and paying for their care to go to chiropractors. This from a May 16, 2000 WebMD article reporting on a study published in the Journal of the Geriatric Society. That study of more than 800 patients showed that more than half of people over age 55 seek chiropractic care for mild to moderate complaints, without visiting their primary care provider.

The study conducted through 96 various chiropractic offices in 32 states and two Canadian provinces collected data on 805 eligible patients aged 55 years and older during a 12-week study period.

"Many of these baby boomers recognize that the old traditional model of health care that deals with trauma and emergency-type care is no longer applicable to a growing and aging population of chronic illness," said Jerome McAndrews, D.C., a chiropractor and a chiropractic spokesperson. "Sixty million people in the U.S. have used chiropractic -- 27 million in 1999 alone."

The article listed the following as vital information concerning people who go to chiropractors.

News Media May Offer Misleading Drug Information

On June 1st 2000 the Associated Press ran a story that strongly suggested that many of the news releases on drugs commonly run on major news organizations may be very misleading. The AP news story was reporting on a study conducted by researchers from Harvard University and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and reported in the June 1st 2000 New England Journal of Medicine. In that study researchers reviewed 207 stories by U.S. news media of the benefits and risks of three medications that are used to prevent major diseases. These medications were pravastatin, a drug reported for the prevention of cardiovascular disease; alendronate, a drug reported for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis; and aspirin, which has been widely reported recently as a preventative for heart problems.

The researchers noted inaccuracies in reporting the results but noted severe problems with researchers who had a financial interest in the drug they were reporting on. The article said, "Of the 170 stories citing an expert or a scientific study, 85 (50 percent) cited at least one expert or study with a financial tie to a manufacturer of the drug that had been disclosed in the scientific literature. These ties were disclosed in only 33 (39 percent) of the 85 stories." In their conclusion the researchers wrote, "News-media stories about medications may include inadequate or incomplete information about the benefits, risks, and costs of the drugs as well as the financial ties between study groups or experts and pharmaceutical manufacturers."

Variations in Medical Care Costs

In the May 22, 2000 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine appears an article on the variations in costs for the same medical procedures. Researchers from the Program in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research and the Departments of Medicine and Health Administration, University of Toronto and Womens College Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario surveyed the 2 largest general hospitals from every large city (population >500,000) in the United States and Canada.

The contrasts in fees found in this study are so profound that we thought we would share some of them with you.

Procedure Minimum Cost Maximum Cost
Prothrombin blood test $2.96 $118.40
Electrocardiogram with interpretation 3.70 266.89
MRI scan of head with interpretation $514.30 $2000.00
Filling Prozac prescription $25.93 $3.20
Emergency department visit for suture removal $30.00 $700.00
Total knee replacement $160 $46,98 5

The findings were even surprising to the researchers. In their conclusion they said, "Charges for the same hospital service vary substantially. Greater visibility might reduce some variation by bringing outliers into closer scrutiny. Patients seeking care and paying out-of-pocket could save financially by comparison shopping." In this article they print a chart with the highs and lows for certain medical procedures." 

Morning Sickness May Be Good for Fetus

The above headline comes from the May 2, 2000 Reuters Health Information service. The article goes on to say, "morning sickness may be natures way of ensuring that the developing fetus gets the proper nutrition." This information was published in a report in the May issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The report suggests that the nausea and vomiting so many women experience during the first months of pregnancy may nourish their babies by keeping certain hormone levels in balance.

One of the chief researchers, Rachel R. Huxleya, from the Institute of Health Sciences in Oxford, UK, noted that, "women with morning sickness are less likely to suffer miscarriages or have premature or low birth weight babies." She also noted that, "Several studies have shown that women with no morning sickness symptoms have higher rates of miscarriage and underweight babies,"

Bruce Hensel, M.D. a Medical Correspondent may have summed it up best when he said, "This is another example of how what appears to be an adverse bodily reaction to a condition might actually be a protective reaction instead."