March 2000 Issue

Poll Says Consumers Want and Appreciate Chiropractic

In a report released on January 10, 2000 from the development firm Sorelli B of Illinois comes the results of a survey that shows the public wants chiropractic and considers it a necessary part of health care coverage.  Over 400 random adults from all over the US participated in the survey.  Here are some of the results.
Over 46% said that they strongly agree that, "chiropractic benefits should become core benefits in my health plan."  Only 33% of those who had visited a chiropractor in the year before the survey had those visits covered by insurance.  Interestingly enough, slightly more people, 36% were willing to pay more than $20 for a visit to a chiropractor while only 32% were willing to pay that amount to see an MD.  In addition, 64% were willing to increase their monthly insurance premium to include chiropractic care in their policy.
Patient satisfaction with chiropractic care was also surveyed.  The results were equally impressive. Of those surveyed 37% agreed strongly that, "spending money on chiropractic today saves me money tomorrow."  When compared to medicine, chiropractic did well in the consumers eyes.  A full 14% of respondents reported that their condition was the same or got worse after going to the MD, while only 2% said they were no better or worse following the chiropractic visit.  Amazingly, 93% expressed that they had a positive outcome after chiropractic care compared with 81% for medical care.  But probably the best measure was that aside from having a positive outcome 60% of consumers in the survey reported that, "my chiropractor has improved the quality of my life."

Psychiatric Drug Use Soars in Toddlers Despite Limited Knowledge of Effects

A widely publicized study first published in the Feb. 23, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA), questions the rise in prescription drugs such as Ritalin and Prozac in toddlers 2 to 4 years of age.  The study indicates that there was a 50% jump in usage of these psychiatric drugs in this age group between the years of 1991 and 1995.
A number of news organizations picked up the story including MSNBC who reported, "Experts said they are troubled by the findings because the effects of such drugs in children so young are largely unknown."  They go on to say that doctors are worried that these drugs used so early could be dangerous for a childs development.  The study showed that in 1991 about 100,000 children were getting the drugs.  In 1995 that jumped up to 150,000 children.  Of that 60% were age 4, 30% were age 3, and 10% were 2 year olds!
US News and World Report also carried the same story in their March 6, 2000 issue.  In that report they also questioned doctors ability to understand using these drugs.  This story cited a 1999 survey from the University of North Carolina sent to Family Physicians and Pediatricians. In that survey 72% of the doctors said they had prescribed antidepressants to children under 18, but only 16% of those said they felt comfortable doing so, and only 8% said they had adequate training to treat childhood depression.  The article in US News goes on to say, "Almost nothing is known about how antidepressants and other psychoactive drugs affect a childs developing brain."
Just last week the United Nations, "lambasted" the United States for "over prescribing psychiatric drugs."  According to the UN panel the United States consumes 80 percent of the worlds methylphenidate (generic of Ritalin).  The US News article then asks the question,  "Are American youngsters indeed suffering more behavioral illnesses, or have we as a society become less tolerant of disruptive behavior?"
The lead author of the original study, Julie Mango Zito PhD, sums it up best as reported on Feb 22, 2000 in when she said, "I am very concerned about long term safety.  They are starting kids earlier on medication and keeping them on longer.  Who knows what development process could be influenced by regular daily dosage?  It could affect their brain, heart, liver, or other organs." 

Premenstrual Syndrome and Chiropractic

A positive report was published in the November / December 1999 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics concerning the effects of chiropractic on the symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. The study was completed on 25 women.  Estimates of the prevalence of this condition vary depending on criteria.  This study estimated that between 10% and 20% of reproductive age women have severe symptoms associated with this condition.  The study included chiropractic adjustments for a ten day period prior to the beginning of the subjects cycles.  The women were asked to monitor their symptoms and rate them with a score using "0" = none to "3" = severe.  The results showed a reduction in symptoms from between 42% and 32% for the group that received chiropractic for only a short time.  Although these findings are encouraging, and long term study would be interesting to see if the results were even greater,  the researchers concluded, "results support the hypothesis that the symptoms associated with PMS can be reduced by chiropractic". 

Fluoride in Drinking Water Does Increase Risk of Hip Fracture.

From the October 1999 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology comes a study that collaborates several previous studies linking hip fractures and fluoride in drinking water. The study looked at 144,000 elderly Finnish people admitted to hospitals with their first hip fracture.  The results showed that women ages 50 to 64 had significantly more hip fractures when exposed to greater levels of fluoride. Dr. John Lee, an authority on fluoride and bone effects concluded from the study, "The scientific evidence clearly shows that fluoride damages bone even at levels added to public drinking water." 

Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy Damages the Unborn Brain

Reuters Health news service ran an article dated Feb 10, 2000, that stated that researchers now know how drinking alcohol during pregnancy can affect the brain of a fetus. This study also published in the February 11, 2000 issue of the Journal of Science, was conducted at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis Missouri.  One of the authors, Dr. John Olney, stated that "Its a mechanism that involves interfering with basic transmitter of the systems in the brain, which literally drives the brains nerve cells to commit suicide."   The shocking part of the report was that it was reported that just one episode of getting drunk during the third trimester of pregnancy would be enough to damage the brain of a fetus.

Hysterectomies Being Performed Needlessly in 70% of Cases

This shocking revelation comes by way of Reuters Health News Feb. 14, 2000 issue.  The article reports on a recent study published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology and done at the University of California in LA.  In this study researchers looked at nearly 500 women who had hysterectomies for reasons other than emergency or cancer.  Of these, the researchers reported that about 70% of them were judged to be inappropriate.  Some of the reasons given for judging them inappropriate was because many of the patients did not have an adequate evaluation before the surgery to determine if other types of care would be better. In a politically kind comment the researcher stated, "We found that the care leading to recommendations of hysterectomies in our cohort was suboptimal." 

Presidential Candidate Supports Chiropractic

Recently the American Chiropractic Association sent a questionnaire to each of the officially declared presidential candidates asking them about their views on chiropractic and support or access to chiropractic for the general public.  To date only one has responded.  Al Gore, the current Vice President returned a letter in support of chiropractic access.  In his letter he said, "More and more Americans are turning to you for help.  They know what I know - that more and more studies have shown chiropractic care is effective."  The letter goes on to comment on access to chiropractic care, "together we can guarantee Americans the freedom of choice they want and deserve." If  other candidates voice an opinion on chiropractic we will pass it on.

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