June 2004

In This Issue:

America Remembers Ronald Reagan

World news recently has focused on the passing of the 40th President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.  Since his passing on June 5, 2004, all media have been covering the ceremonies and memorials held for Reagan's passing.  Much of this media coverage has been spent examining his past and Midwestern roots.

What most people do not know is that Ronald Reagan had an indelible link to the chiropractic profession.  His first job in show business was as a radio announcer in the early thirties on two radio stations owned by the developer of chiropractic Dr. BJ Palmer.

Dr. BJ Palmer was the son of Dr. DD Palmer who discovered chiropractic. He is widely credited with the development of chiropractic. However, in addition to his life-long career in chiropractic, Dr. Palmer was also fascinated with radio and was a pioneer in this area.

Palmer owned two stations, WOC and a sister station WHO in the Davenport - Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois which is the birthplace of chiropractic. These two stations were where Reagan got his first jobs as a sports broadcaster, covering college football games. 

To read additional information on Ronald Reagan's start in broadcasting, please see the links below.


Report Details Medical Error Horrors

The above is the headline from the June 10, 2004 Canadian publication, "Globe and Mail".  The article reports on a study that shows that the treatment of patients who have been victims of medical errors cost the Canadian health care system $750 million each year and adds an additional 1.1 million days to hospital stays.

The report was released on June 9th by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.  Included in what the article termed the "graphic details" are the following statistics:

  • One in 9 adults contracts an infection while in hospital, ranging from pneumonia to SARS
  • One in 9 patients receives the wrong medication, or the wrong dose
  • One in 16 reported an adverse event for themselves or a loved one in the past year
  • One in 20 women suffers severe tearing during childbirth
  • One in every 81 babies born vaginally suffers trauma, emerging with injuries such as a broken shoulder
  • One in 152 deaths are associated with preventable adverse events for medical/surgical patients in acute care hospitals.
  • One in every 299 patients receiving a blood transfusion will have a reaction
  • One in every 1,124 adults over the age of 65 suffers a broken hip during a hospital stay
  • One in every 6,667 surgery patients will have a foreign object left in his or her body after the procedure
  • One in 72,046 got infected with hepatitis B from a blood transfusion
  • One 1 in 10 million got infected with HIV from a blood transfusion

The article notes that this study follows on the heels of another study revealing that one in every 13 medical/surgical, acute-care hospital patients suffers from an "adverse event," and that these failings, avoidable and otherwise, kill up to 24,000 Canadians annually.

Pull Weeds, Not Your Muscles

GardeningThe above is the advice from the Colorado Chiropractic Association (CCA) and appeared as  a PRNewswire release on May 27, 2004. The article starts out by noting that bending, reaching, and digging in the garden can provide a great workout, but if you're not careful you can get hurt. 

The article suggests that a warm-up and cool-down period is just as important for gardening activities as it is for sports.  The CCA also recommends stretching before engaging in gardening.  They also recommend that if you feel aches and pains from gardening, and the pain persists, consider visiting a doctor of chiropractic.

The article gives several tips for stretching that should be done before gardening.

  • Stand up and prop your heel on a back door step or stool with your knee straight. Bend forward until you feel a slight pull in the muscle at the back of the thigh, called the hamstring. Hold the position for 20 seconds, then relax. Do the stretch once more, then repeat with the other leg.
  • Stand up and put your right hand against a wall or other stable surface. Bend your left knee and grab your ankle with you left hand. Pull your heel toward your buttocks to stretch the quadriceps muscles at the front of your thigh. Hold that position for 20 seconds, relax and do it again. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Weave your fingers together above your head with your palms up. Lean to one side for 10 seconds to stretch the upper body, then reverse. Repeat two or three times.
  • "Hug your best friend:" Wrap your arms around yourself and rotate to one side, as far as you can go. Hold it for 10 seconds, then reverse.

Scientists Link Mercury-based Preservative in Childhood Vaccines to Autism

The June 10, 2004 Belfast Telegraph reported that scientists link preservatives in child vaccines to autism.  The study showed that a mercury-based preservative (thimerosal) used in some childhood vaccines was linked to autism-like damage in the brains of mice. The latest study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, found that mice susceptible to autoimmune disease which were exposed to low doses of ethylmercury showed behavioral and neurological changes in the brain.

The researchers for this study performed at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, said that exposure to thimerosal in their animal model affected the behavior of the genetically susceptible mice, caused abnormalities in the brain and increased its size.  The team, led by Dr. Mady Hornig, noted that over the past 20 years there had been a "striking increase", at least 10-fold since 1985 - in the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

This recent study come on the heels of another report in which the Institute of Medicine (IOM) stated that there was no link between thimerosal and autism.  Barbara Loe Fisher president of the National Vaccine Information Center was quick to criticize the IOM report by saying, "This report is a case of political immunology masquerading as real science. With it, the Institute of Medicine takes a step toward weakening its reputation as an independent body capable of making an objective scientific analysis of complex medical risk issues which are influenced by government policy and industry profits.''

Many Kids Take Too Many Headache Pills

The June 10, 2004 Reuters Health reports that a new study released June 10, shows that nearly one quarter of children and teens with chronic headaches are overusing over-the-counter pain relievers.  The study defined overuse of pain relievers as taking more than three doses per week for over six weeks.

The study noted that approximately one in seven kids said they took the medicines without telling their parents. Almost one in five participants said they had headaches every day, or nearly so. Most of the daily headache sufferers were girls and students who got high grades in school. Study author Dr. A. David Rothner, of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio told Reuters Health, "Most likely children and teens are taking this medicine because they think it will relieve their headaches, and not to get any type of "high."  

The study noted that there are many reasons why kids shouldn't overuse these medicines.  Some pain relievers contain aspirin, which puts children under the age of 19 at risk of Reye's syndrome, a potentially fatal disorder.  Additionally, other risks of overuse of over-the-counter pain medicines include kidney failure, liver problems, and intestinal and stomach bleeding.

The study author, Dr. Rothner concluded with a warning for parents, "If you see they're using the medicine more than twice a week, then bingo! You've got a problem on your hands, and you've got to do something about it."

More Americans Seek Out Non-Medical CareNational Center for Complementary and

A series of stories appearing on May 28, 2004 through PRNewswire and other news outlets reported on a study released the day before by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). The study reveals that 36 percent of Americans are incorporating non medical types of care, what the study refers to as, "complementary and alternative medicines (CAM)", into their health care regimen.

The government's survey, the most comprehensive look yet at the use of alternative medicine in the US, found more than a third of American adults used some form of non-medical care in 2002.  The study pointed out that those who went to chiropractors seem to have even less confidence in traditional medical care than others who had sought other forms of non-medical care.

Richard Nahin of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, explained that more people are using natural products such as herbs or enzymes to treat chronic or recurring pain. He stated, "Many conditions are not easily treated with conventional medicine. It may be the public is turning to complementary and alternative medicine because its not getting relief from conventional medicine.

The survey also showed that 19.9 percent of American adults reported having chiropractic care at some point in their lives, this represented approximately 40 million Americans in total.  On a yearly basis the study showed that about 8 percent, representing about 15 million people, sought help from chiropractors during the previous 12 months.


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