January 2004

In This Issue:

Infertility and Chiropractic

Several recent published case studies have highlighted the benefits and miraculous results of chiropractic care for patients who were unsuccessful in their attempt to have children.  In three successive issues of the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, (JVSR), case studies were published of women who were having trouble with infertility, and who were helped by chiropractic care.

The December 8, 2003 JVSR reported on a case study of a 32-year-old female with a history of infertility, who had attempted to become pregnant since August 1999, with no success and sought chiropractic care in November of 2001.  Prior to the chiropractic care, she had received unsuccessful conventional medical treatment, including detailed fertility testing, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, and treatment with the fertility drug Clomid. She sought chiropractic care on November 3, 2001. Chiropractic analysis and correction were performed over the next six weeks and during this time, the patientís secondary complaints of low back pain and headaches improved dramatically.  Additionally, the patientís fertility specialists noted that her estrogen levels, endometrial thickness, and cervical mucus levels were all at more favorable levels than at the time of the first in vitro attempt. A second attempt at in vitro fertilization was made on February 17, 2002, and the patient had a positive pregnancy test on March 2, 2002.

The second case was that of a thirty-four year old woman who presented for chiropractic care on January 10, 2000. Her concerns listed a variety of conditions, including a history of infertility. This patient made no other alterations in her lifestyle or clinical situation besides the addition of chiropractic care.  Approximately 4-5 weeks into the care program the patient conceived naturally.

The third case was interesting because the woman was not trying to conceive.  This case was that of a 65-year young female who presented with agonizing low back pain and severe lumbar degeneration.  After four weeks of care she began spotting and was diagnosed as having a normal menstrual cycle. What was really interesting about this case was that she had experienced a severe fall at 13 years of age which resulted in a complete cessation of her menses at 18. She was diagnosed as infertile.

In each of these cases the chiropractic care was specific for correction of vertebral subluxations that were determined to be interfering with the normal function of the nervous system. This in turn disrupted the reproductive system of the patients. The conclusion of one of the studies sums up the process by saying, "The human body is designed to be healthy and to reproduce. Impairment of this ability indicates dysfunction on a fundamental level. Subluxations of the spine and the associated nervous system dysfunction can hinder proper function of body systems."

ADHD Drug Alters the Brain in Young Children

A December 13, 2003 article on WebMD, featured research showing that early use of the commonly prescribed ADHD drug, Ritalin, can lead to depression later in life.  This evidence is based on new studies performed on rats. The article does note that it is an open question as to whether what passes for depression in lab rats has anything to do with depression in humans, but the evidence of the effect on the brain, according to this study was clear.

The findings come from a research team led by William A. Carlezon Jr., PhD, director of the behavioral genetics laboratory at McLean Hospital and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. The study appeared in the December 15, 2003 issue of Biological Psychiatry.

In a news release Carlezon was quoted as saying, "Rats exposed to Ritalin as juveniles showed large increases in learned-helplessness behavior during adulthood, suggesting a tendency toward depression.  These rats also showed abnormally high levels of activity in familiar environments. This might reflect basic alterations in the way rats pay attention to their surroundings."

The article stated that there are some close similarities between Ritalin and Cocaine.  According to the article, although Ritalin and Cocaine have different effects on humans, their effects on the brain are very similar.  The article noted that when given to preteen rats, both drugs cause long-term changes in behavior.  Carlezon and colleagues explained that the drug short-circuits the brain's reward system. That would make it difficult to experience pleasure -- a "hallmark symptom of depression."

"These experiments suggest that preadolescent exposure to Ritalin in rats causes numerous complex behavioral adaptations, each of which endures into adulthood," Carlezon and colleagues conclude. "This work highlights the importance of a more thorough understanding of the enduring neurobiological effects of juvenile exposure to psychotropic drugs."

Low-Tar Cigarettes Not Any Better

Everyone knows of the health hazard that smoking causes. However, some believe that smoking low-tar cigarettes may not be as bad.  A recent study reported by the London Associated Press on January 9, 2004, disputed this notion.  According to the first study comparing lung cancer deaths among smokers of ultra-light, mild and medium filtered cigarettes, low-tar cigarettes do not carry a lower risk of lung cancer.

The study published in the January 10, 2004 British Medical Journal was conducted by scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the American Cancer Society.  Researchers examined the link between the tar rating of the cigarette smoked in 1982 and deaths from lung cancer in the subsequent six years among 940,774 Americans over the age of 30 who were smokers, former smokers or had never smoked.

The results of the study found no difference in the lung cancer death rate among those who smoked the medium filtered cigarettes and those who used mild or ultra light varieties. Researcher Michael Thun, epidemiology chief at the American Cancer Society, states, "There was not a shred of evidence of reduced risk. The ultra light haven't been used as long as the light and it is possible that some difference in risk might emerge with longer term use of the ultra light, but this is very, very solid for the low tar."

Tim Lord, chief executive of the London-based Tobacco Manufacturers Association, said. "This was not a dastardly plot by the tobacco industry to launch products on health claims," Lord said. "We never claimed it to be safer and we did it at the request of the government. We were even asked to spend more of our advertising and promotional pounds to promote the lighter products than the stronger products."

Medical Spending Continues to Rise

A feature story in the January 9, 2004 issue of the Boston Globe highlights just how expensive medical care is in the United States. According to the article medical expenses climbed at a much higher rate than the rest of the US economy. The article reports that according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which tracks health care spending annually, employers, consumers, and government programs such as Medicaid spent $1.6 trillion, or $5,400 per person, in 2002 on medical care, a 9.3 percent jump over the previous year.

The major factor driving up the nation's health care bill was spending on hospital services. According to the article Americans spent 9.5 percent more on hospital care over the previous year.  This trend is partly because patients underwent more surgery and had more MRIs and other expensive diagnostic tests in 2002.

The study, originally published in the journal Health Affairs, said that consumers spent $212.5 billion out of their own pockets on co-payments and deductibles for hospital stays, doctors' appointments, and prescription drugs. This represented a 6 percent increase from 2001. The total of consumers' personal spending accounted for just 14 percent of overall health care costs.

Joseph Newhouse, a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health observes, "The one thing we can say is the savings we had from managed care in the mid-1990s is a thing of the past. The question the study doesn't answer, however, is whether the increased spending bought patients better health.  In other words, was it worth it? Over long periods of time you can show the benefits of increased spending, but in any one given year, who knows?"

Interesting Health Facts for 2003

From the 2003 year end wrap up of the American Medical News comes an interesting section with some very interesting facts.  Some of these facts may be startling and may not be generally known.  Much of health care information available today does not reflect the facts.  So we will attempt to sort out some truth from the sea of fiction.  Below is a list and explanation of just some of the most interesting health facts for 2003.

  • 47 million adults in the U.S. are smokers. While most of the adult smokers in the country say they would like to quit, only 5% manage to do so each year.
  • About 8% of the adult population and 5% to 9% of children are affected by serious mental illness.
  • Asthma is the No. 1 reason for school absenteeism. In all 4 million children have an asthma attack each year.
  • Only 22 states have regulations or guidelines on office-based procedures. During a two-year span, patients in Florida were 10 times more likely to die or be injured in surgeries performed at doctors' offices than those performed at surgical centers.
  • Only 38% of health professionals get annual flu shots. (What does that tell you?)
  • Medication errors cost the health care system more than $1 billion a year.
  • Only 2 states have laws requiring doctors to write legible prescriptions.
  • Only about 10% of Americans die a sudden death. The other 90% experience a steady decline in health punctuated by a short "terminal phase" of rapid decline.
  • Although 20 states have some type of mandatory system for reporting medical errors, 90% of adverse drug reactions go unreported.
  • By 2030, 1 of every 5 Americans, will be 65 or older.
  • Childhood vaccines were 38 times more expensive in 2001 than in 1975.
  • $1.4 trillion was spent on health care in 2001, about $5,000 per person.
  • 70% of older teens have used the Internet to look up health information.
  • Administrative costs account for 40% of the price of an individually purchased health plan.

Four Legged Athletes Depend on Chiropractic

The January 9, 2004 issue of the Daily Racing Form carried a story of how race horses depend on chiropractic care.  The article begins, "Marty's Zee", now 7, didn't make her first start until December of her 2-year-old year. But she romped by 10 lengths in just her second race, won a stakes in her fourth, and, overall, has won eight races from 25 starts and earned $292,504."  The story then went further to explain, "These accomplishments have come despite chronic back problems, and without regular chiropractic treatments, Marty's Zee may never have made it to the races.

The story notes that Marty's Zee is just one of many horses at Golden Gate Fields and other tracks whose careers have been saved or prolonged by chiropractic care. One of the most notable recent examples was the race horse Ten Most Wanted, who injured his back in the Kentucky Derby and, after undergoing chiropractic care, finished second in the Belmont and won the Travers and Super Derby. "Ten Most Wanted's spine got knocked out of line," said his trainer, Wally Dollase, adding that the chiropractic care "really helps."

The trainer of Marty's Zee, Bill Mahorney testified, "I could tell she had a problem when I worked her. I had used a chiropractor with some of my horses before, and I've been using it on her since she was 2. She couldn't have done what she has without it." "When I think it will help a horse, the first question I always ask owners is if they've ever been to a chiropractor," Mahorney said. "If they have, it's usually easy to get them to say yes."

Jerry Hollendorfer, northern California's leading trainer, has used chiropractic with his horses. But Hollendorfer notes that chiropractors can't make a slow horse run fast. "They don't move a horse up that can't run," he said. "It only helps horses reach their potential."