May 2004

In This Issue:

Correct Posture Month

May is Correct Posture Month.  In a May 6, 2004 Yahoo news release is a story from the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) proclaiming May as Correct Posture Month. The article notes that a new study published in the journal 'Spine' revealed an urgent need for health promotion programs to increase awareness and reduce risks in the school environment, such as heavy backpacks, desks and chairs that don't fit their users, and an absence of physical activity during recess.

During Correct Posture Month, the ACA is urging school administrators, teachers, and parents' organizations to more closely examine these unexpected dangers lurking in our schools. Parents and schools need to become more aware of the risks associated with heavy backpacks, improper computer ergonomics and physical inactivity.

The article listed a series of recommendations related to posture in several different categories.  These are:

  • Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 10 percent of his or her bodyweight.  A backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline.
  • Make sure your child's workstation chair fits him or her correctly.  Limit your child's time at the computer and make sure he or she takes periodic breaks during computing time.
  • Children should participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
  • Make sure your kids are getting plenty of rest.

The release noted that young children are suffering from back pain much earlier than previous generations, and the use of overweight backpacks is a contributing factor. The release also noted that at least 70 percent of America's 30 million elementary school students use computers, according to a recent New York Times article. As a result, many children are already suffering from chronic pain in the hands, back, neck and shoulders, as well as repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

The release also recommends chiropractic care for children. They note that a doctor of chiropractic can offer advice on lifestyle changes to keep children fit and healthy.

Watchful Waiting Best Approach to Fluid in the Middle Ear

The above is a quote from the title of a May 3, 2004 news release from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The release notes that most toddlers and preschoolers will be diagnosed with fluid in their middle ears known as otitis media with effusion (OME).  According to the release a new practice guideline from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery outlines the best way for pediatricians and other healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat OME.

The article notes that more than 2 million cases of OME are diagnosed in the United States every year.  The estimated cost of treatment is 4 billion dollars each year. OME is different from acute otitis media (AOM). OME is fluid-only, while AOM includes intense signs and symptoms of infection and inflammation. OME can happen spontaneously, or as a result of AOM. Usually OME will clear up on its own without treatment. But OME can affect hearing, and lead to speech, language and / or learning delays if it persists.

In the release there were several recommendations made. These clinical practice guidelines apply to children aged 2 months through 12 years. These include:

  • Physicians should manage children with OME who are not at risk with "watchful waiting" for at least three months before recommending other treatment.
  • Antibiotics and corticosteroids are not recommended for routine management of OME.
  • Adenoidectomy (removal of adenoids) should not be performed unless a specific reason exists to do so.

In the same May issue of the academy's journal, Pediatrics, was also a new set of guidelines for the treatment of Acute Otitis Media, (AOM).  These new recommendations also included some degree of watchful waiting instead of immediate antibiotic treatment. One of the recommendations includes, "Observation without use of antibacterial agents in a child with uncomplicated AOM is an option for selected children based on diagnostic certainty, age, illness severity, and assurance of follow-up."

Chiropractic Life-Changing Success Story Documented

Appearing in the March 2004 issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, was a documented case study of a life changing case.  The subject of the study was a previously healthy 17 year old who was involved in high school sports. 

On one particular occasion he was competing as a pole vaulter in a high school track meet when he had an accident in which he landed on his head from a height of 10 feet.

Immediately following the accident, the young man noticed the onset of neck pain focused at the base of his skull. In addition he started suffering from back pain, daily headaches, and migraine headaches approximately 3 times per week.  He described his pain as an “unbearable everyday occurrence.”  Additionally, several days after the accident he began experiencing “blackouts,” which were later diagnosed as petit mal seizures. These seizures continued to increase until he was experiencing them 4 times per day.

Things continued to get worse for the young man as during the first 6 months following the accident, he started experiencing the onset of depression.  He described a complete loss of appetite, extreme lethargy, a lack of concern for himself, and an extremely erratic sleep cycle that often left him awake for several days followed by periods of 14 to 18 hours of sleep.

The patient and his mother reported that he consulted with approximately 24 practitioners during this time.  Prescribed medications and therapies did not alleviate or reduce symptoms.  To alleviate his pain and depression, he started using illegal drugs in an attempt to “make himself feel better.” After becoming addicted, his parents checked him into a drug rehabilitation program, which he completed. 

It was after this long and horrifying 6 year period, that this young man sought chiropractic care from the chiropractor who authored the published study. An examination was performed and it was determined that the young man was suffering due to a subluxation in the upper neck.  A course of corrective adjustments was begun to correct the subluxation and reduce nerve pressure.

The results as reported in the Journal was nothing short of life changing for the young man.  After 1 month of care, the patient reported an absence of seizures and manic episodes and improved sleep patterns. After 4 months of care, seizures and manic episodes remained absent and migraine headaches were reduced from 3 per week to 2 per month. After 7 months of care, the patient reported the complete absence of symptoms. And eighteen months later, the patient remains asymptomatic.  Needless to say, his life was changed!

Children's Blood Pressure Rising

In the May 5, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association comes a study report that shows that blood-pressure levels are rising among young Americans.  The study, suggested that the increase is partially attributable to an increased prevalence of children being overweight.

More than 5,500 children were involved in the study. All of the children were between the age of 8 to 17.  The study was taken from 1988 to 1994 and again in 1999 and 2000.  In that span of time, the blood pressure readings for the group had risen from an average blood pressure reading of 104 / 58 to an average of 106 / 61.

Paul Muntner of Tulane University in New Orleans, chief author of the report, commented, "These results suggest that in another 10 to 20 years we will be facing much higher rates of hypertension, heart disease and stroke as these children become adults."  He continued by saying, " We assume a lot of the increase in blood pressure levels is related to changes in the way children are eating and exercising.”

In the report, researchers said less than 30 percent of the overall blood-pressure increase noted in the study can be attributed to weight gain.  The study recommended fighting high blood pressure among children and adolescents with programs that include weight control, increased physical activity, and changes in diet.  “Such interventions could have a profoundly positive impact on the prevalence of high blood pressure in the United States,” the report said.

No Junk Food Schools

A story that appeared in the April 19, 2004 Associated Press, highlighted schools that were eliminating all junk food from school grounds.  In an attempt to improve the diet and health of students, Nathan Hale School, in New Haven Connecticut has eliminated junk food from the school menus and vending machines.  Principal Kim Johnsky boasted in the story, "There isn't a candy bar in this school".

The story noted that according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for the year 2000, about 15 percent of children and adolescents between the ages 6-19 are obese, and that figure has grown steadily over time.

A medical adviser for New Haven Schools, Dr. Stephen Updegrove, and one of the primary architects of the district's policy, said one of the goals is to create a "ripple effect" from the school to the community.  "Schools are a major area where kids spend a lot of time, a lot of structured time, and that's a real opportunity to model good behaviors".

The article noted that this is becoming a trend. Schools across the country have made similar changes. California has passed legislation to ban junk food from vending machines, and New York City has cut out hard candy, doughnuts, soda and salty chips.  Hawaii's Board of Education also recently put strict limits on machine contents.

Children Sleeping Less Than Recommended

A March 30, 2004 article from Intelihealth states that according to research, children are getting less sleep than they need. The National Sleep Foundation, an independent organization that supports sleep education, announced that its annual survey found that children, from newborns to fifth-graders, are getting one to two hours less sleep every 24 hours than is recommended. Kids who reach for caffeine-containing beverages in the evening can have trouble falling and staying asleep at night, which can make it harder for them to wake up in the morning and stay awake in class

According to the Foundations experts, children ages 3 to 11 months, should be getting 14 to 15 hours of sleep per night.  The survey showed on average that age group was getting only 12.7 hours of sleep daily.  The poll found that  toddlers, age 12 to 35 months, averaged only 11.7 hours of daily sleep, while 12 to 14 hours is the recommended amount.

Richard L. Gelula, the foundation chief executive officer, said in a statement, "Our new poll finds that many children are not sleeping enough and many experience sleep problems. What is troublesome is that the problems start in infancy."

The poll also showed that the parents or caregivers of children are also getting less than the ideal amount of sleep. Among those polled, the average sleep for parents and caregivers was 6.8 hours per night, slightly less than the seven hours that the foundation found in a 2002 poll of adults.


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