May 2000

Chiropractic Principles and Philosophy

Some interesting articles have been printed lately on the issues listed as "Principles and Laws of Healing" and the "Wisdom of the Body".  What is even more interesting is that these articles are being written by medical professionals.  These two articles were written by Michael Loes, MD and Dr. Zajicek respectively, and printed in the "American Journal of Pain Management" and "Medical Hypothesis", again respectively.
The language of these two articles sounds familiar to chiropractors.  For example Loes states in his Principles, "Life (the vital force) is God-given but not necessarily God-maintained; free choice exists. Build vital force and health ensues." He also states, "The Body will make every effort to preserve homeostasis and avoid stasis. Rid stasis and healing happens."  
On the other hand, Dr  Zajicek in his article states, "Modern medicine still fails to explain processes that operate in self-healing diseases. We may thus distinguish between two kinds of processes that operate in the body: explained and unexplained. The latter operate in self-healing diseases, and are either ignored by medicine or called placebos. The unexplained processes in physiology were defined by Starling and Cannon as Wisdom of the Body. The  Wisdom of the Body  is an attribute of live organisms. It directs growing plants toward sunshine, guides amebas away from noxious agents, and determines the behavior of higher animals. It is essential for individual survival and was molded by natural selection. During evolution the Wisdom of the Body encountered all diseases, knows how to heal itself, and anticipates all diseases. The main task of the Wisdom of the Body is to maintain health, and improve its quality. It controls processes in the body so as to make them healthier. The  Wisdom of the Body has its own language and should be considered when examining patients."
Well said for a non-chiropractor!  But to look back we can see that the founder of chiropractic, DD Palmer may have said it best when he said, "That which I named Innate is a segment of that Intelligence which fills the Universe. This portion of the whole never sleeps, nor tires, recognizes neither darkness nor distance, is not subject to material laws, bodily wants are not essential, substantial conditions are not needed for its existence. It continues to care for and direct the organic functions of the body as long as the soul holds the body and spirit together."
It is nice to know that the rest of the health care world is finally starting to understand the Principles and Philosophy that chiropractic has been based on for 100 years.

Ritalin Usages Increases in Small Children

In the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is an article that reports on the increased usage of psychotropic medications (Ritalin, etc.) on preschool children.  On average the study quoted in JAMA shows a three fold increase in the usage of these medications on children from the ages of 2 - 4 years old.  
Probably the most alarming part of these statistics is that these medications were not tested for children this young.  As the study concluded, "Conclusions in all 3 data sources, psychotropic medications prescribed for preschoolers increased dramatically between 1991 and 1995. The predominance of medications with off-label (unlabeled) indications calls for prospective community-based, multidimensional outcome studies."  In case the wording appeared vague, the term "off label" means that these medications are being used in a way that they were not intended for and not tested for.
A related story comes from the Associated Press speaking about how the long term use of Ritalin caused the death of a 14 year old Michigan boy.  An Oakland County medical examiner said that the young boy, who collapsed at his home on March 21st, died of a heart attack, the likely cause of which was 10 years of taking Ritalin.  This means the child was started on the medication at the age of 4. 
This disturbing trend has not gone unnoticed as CNN reported that, "Hillary Rodham Clinton announced a new federal program that cautions parents about giving preschool children Ritalin and other psychiatric drugs meant to treat attention-deficit disorders."   Mrs. Clinton said that from 1991 to 1995, use of Ritalin among U.S. preschoolers increased 150 percent and antidepressants like Prozac went up more than 200 percent. She commented, "Some of these young people have problems that are symptoms of nothing more than childhood or adolescence."

New Surveys Shine Light on Chiropractic

A magazine not normally shown to be favorable to chiropractic, Consumer Reports, (CR), conducted a survey of its readers to determine their views on what they called "Alternative Medicine."  Although the term does not really fit chiropractic, since we are not a medicine, CR did include chiropractic into that category. The results of the survey were favorable toward alternatives in general and chiropractic in particular.  Here are some of the results.

In addition to the Consumer Reports survey they mentioned that several national telephone surveys showed that over half of all North Americans ages 35 to 49 have tried "alternatives".  In a recent survey in Minnesota, 48% said they had tried what that survey called "complementary therapy", (again a poor choice of terms to include chiropractic).  Of that number a full 70% said they used chiropractic.  
Considering the growing number of people who go to chiropractors, and considering the high level of patient satisfaction, maybe it is time to reconsider what type of care is actually alternative?  Chiropractic, by every measure, is now in the main-stream.

Breast Fed Babies Have Lower Risk of Heart Disease

This title comes from the Healthmall Newsletter reporting on a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.  In that study investigators studied a group of 625 adults born in Amsterdam between 1943 and 1946, during the Dutch famine. Most study participants (83%) had been exclusively breast-fed during their hospital stay at birth, (at least 10 days) with the remainder being partially or completely bottle-fed with cows milk or buttermilk.  Blood samples were later obtained from these men and women when they were between 48 and 53 years old, in 1995 - 1996.
The researchers report that the group who had been partially bottle-fed, or had no breast feeding showed impaired insulin functioning.  When insulin function is disturbed, diabetes and other problems may result.  In addition, the bottle-fed group also had higher levels of cholesterol, indicating an increased risk for heart disease.

Health Defined, Not Only a Chiropractic Perspective.

How do you define health?  Is health to you not having a cold?  Is it feeling good? Or maybe health is something more.  In chiropractic we have always considered health to be something much more than not being sick, something more than just pain free, something that speaks to a higher quality of life itself.  But do not take our word for it.  Here are two definitions of health that seem to approach the fullness of what we are speaking about in chiropractic.
World Health Organization - Definition of Health:  "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity"
The Vatican - Pope John Paul, Definition of Health:  "Health is a dynamic tension towards physical, mental, social and spiritual harmony, and not only the absence of illness, which gives man the ability to fulfill the mission which has been entrusted to him, according to the state of life in which he finds himself."

Inappropriate Prescribing

The above headline came from April 3rd, 2000 site.  This article points out a large problem caused by the rate at which Americans use prescribed drugs.  In the article it states that last year alone an estimated one and a half million Americans were admitted to hospitals suffering from adverse side effects of medications.   Dr. Brian Strom of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine commented “We have an epidemic of death due to problematic prescribing in the United States."  
One of the problems cited in the article is that newer drugs with little track record are replacing older ones. The comments made in the article call for reflection as they suggest human experimentation on a large scale. "Some doctors are prescribing new drugs rather than older more established ones. Only when a drug is on the market for several years, and used by hundreds of thousands of people, however, are its risks well understood."  Does this mean that drugs are prescribed on a large scale before enough data is obtained to fully understand the harmful effects?
Several MDs interviewed claim the drug sales people are partially to blame promoting drugs immediately upon release before the doctor has a chance to understand them. “There are sales representatives in your office the day the drug is released on the market encouraging you to use it and saying no one uses that old stuff anymore,” says Dr. Jerry Avorn of the Harvard Medical School.
In spite of these numbers Reuters Health news service reported on April 20, 2000 that Medical doctors wrote 9% more prescriptions  in 1999 than in 1998.  That translated out to each medical physician writing an average of 2060 prescriptions in 1999 alone.  As high as this number seems it only accounted for 53.5% of prescriptions written.  According to the report, the bulk of the remainder of prescriptions were written by nurse practitioners and physicians assistants. 

Antibiotics Usage Shown Not helpful for Kids In New Study

The Associated Press reported on a study by a group of Pediatricians who studied 383 children with acute respiratory tract illness, ranging from infants to age 12.  The study conducted over a one year period was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Of the three hundred eighty-three children in the study, 293 (77%) did not receive antibiotics.  
The doctors compared the return office visits for the group that received antibiotics with the group that did not.  The results showed that 44% of those treated with antibiotics returned for additional treatment while only 29% of those who did not receive antibiotics had to return. Dr. Michael Pichichero, one of the authors of the study, concluded that while some doctors will prescribe antibiotics for nearly all patients with respiratory infections, "there is no scientific rationale for such antibiotic use."
In spite of these numbers, a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed that 86% of pediatricians in Georgia routinely prescribe antibiotics for bronchitis, even though such use is rarely justified. The CDC goes on to say that 42% of pediatricians surveyed prescribe antibiotics for the common cold which is caused by a virus and which antibiotics have no effect on.