October 2004

In This Issue:  
  • Chiropractic Care May Reduce Anxiety
  • Prescribed Drugs Top Abuse List
  • Chiropractic More Cost Effective Than Medical Care For Workers Compensation Cases
  • Hepatitis B Vaccine Linked to Multiple Sclerosis
  • Walking May Ward Off Alzheimer's
  • October is Spinal Health Month


Chiropractic Care May Reduce Anxiety

The above headline appeared on the October 1, 2004, "Newswise", and the October 6, 2004 "News-Medical.net".  These news stories stemmed from a published report appearing in the September 20, 2004 issue of the peer-reviewed periodical, "Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research" Anxiety(JVSR).  The report was a case study of a 19-year old female diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) who suffered from psychiatric symptoms as well as other problems for two years.

This case study noted that this patient’s previous medical treatment had included multiple emergency room visits; private specialists; and a rotation of drug therapies including Paxil, Xanax, and Celexa all of which had failed to help her.  The patient’s history also included at least three motor vehicle accidents between 1995 and 1997, including one where her head shattered the windshield.

The articles note that according to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety is the most common mental health illness. It affects more than 19 million Americans ages 18-54.  Patients suffering from General Anxiety Disorder make three to five times more visits to doctors’ offices and emergency rooms and the Anxiety Disorders Association of America reports that direct healthcare costs and lost productivity of these conditions cost more than $42 billion per year.

In December, 2001, the patient started chiropractic care for correction of nerve interference called "subluxations". This patient's results were then documented over a four month course of care.  It was observed that medication was discontinued successfully. Additionally, the articles noted that after a four-month course of chiropractic care, the young woman reported an 80% reduction in her anxiety symptoms, including a 90% decrease in her headaches. The patient was able to resume a normal lifestyle without resorting to prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

The research was co-authored by Dr. Madeline Behrendt, Associate Editor of JVSR, and Dr. Nathan Olsen, a chiropractor in private practice in Boise, Idaho.  They noted in their conclusion that, "These improvements suggest positive changes in mental health function may be associated with subluxation correction from the application of chiropractic care."

Dr. Behrendt additionally commented, "This young woman spent two years in crisis, going from emergency room to private specialist, spending thousands of dollars for tests and drug therapy, without any resolution of her problems. A simple, non-invasive spinal screening ultimately provided the findings that made the difference: her spine was subluxated, impinging on nerves, and altering the proper function of her nervous system.”  Behrendt continued by asking, “How many other people are suffering unnecessarily because they are missing the proper screening?”


Prescribed Drugs Top Abuse List

On September 9, 2004, a startling report titled, "2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health" was issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration.  The study was a good-news, bad-news scenario in that it showed that fewer American youths are using marijuana, LSD and Ecstasy, but more are abusing prescription drugs.

The report noted that more people had tried prescription pain relievers who did not need them for medical reasons. The most striking increase was a 15 percent rise in prescription drug abuse by people 18 to 25. In the broader population of 12 and over, the study showed that 5 percent more people took those drugs recreationally.  There were 6.3 million people using prescription medications non-medically in 2003, about 2.7 percent of the population ages 12 or older.  Of these, an estimated 4.7 million used prescription pain relievers; 1.8 million used tranquilizers; 1.2 million used stimulants, including methamphetamine; and 0.3 million used sedatives.

The study found that young people who were exposed to anti-drug messages outside school took notice -- with rates of current pot use 25 percent lower than those who did not get those messages.  Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson highlighted the good news by saying, "It is encouraging news that more American youths are getting the message that drugs are dangerous, including marijuana."  

The study also noted that fewer youths were using marijuana, but alcohol abuse remains steady with no noticeable increase or decrease.


Chiropractic More Cost Effective Than Medical Care For Workers Compensation Cases

A study published in the September 2004 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal, "Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics" showed that chiropractic care was more cost effective than medical care for many workers compensation injuries. 

The study was a retrospective review of 96,627 closed injury claims between 1975 and 1994 that had been  archived by the North Carolina Industrial Commission.  The Office of Technology Services of the North Carolina Department of Commerce extracted the raw data for this study.

The results showed that the average cost of treatment, hospitalization, and compensation payments were higher for patients treated by Medical Doctors than for patients treated by Doctors of Chiropractic. The results further showed that average number of lost workdays for patients treated by Medical Doctors was higher than for those treated by Chiropractors.  However, it was noted that when patients were treated by both Medical doctors and Chiropractors the costs generated were higher than patients treated by either MDs or DCs only.

The conclusion indicates lower treatment costs, less workdays lost, lower compensation payments, and lower utilization of ancillary medical services for patients treated by Chiropractors than for those treated by Medical Doctors.  The implications are clear and can have far reaching effects.  Many state governments are grappling with the concept of how to lower claims by injured workers in the workers compensation systems.  Some lawmakers have suggested that the reduction, or elimination of chiropractic care will help reduce the financial costs.  This study clearly shows that those efforts are not supported by the evidence, and that steps in that direction would actually raise the overall costs in workers compensations claims.


Hepatitis B Vaccine Linked to Multiple Sclerosis

The BBC news reported on September 14, 2004 on a study done at the Harvard School of Public Health, that showed a three-fold increase in the incidence of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) associated with Immunization by the vaccine used for hepatitis B.  The BBC article starts off by plainly stating, "People who are vaccinated against hepatitis B are at increased risk of multiple sclerosis, a study shows."

Image of a syringeThe study looked at hepatitis B immunization patterns among 163 patients with MS and compared it to 1604 control patients without MS from the same database.  The results clearly showed a link between the vaccine and MS. 

The article notes that the Harvard researchers do not know why there is an apparent statistical link.  They note that the Harvard researchers can not determine whether the vaccine causes MS in those prone to the disease or speeds up MS in those destined to have it. 

One of the researchers, Dr Miguel Hernŕn stated, "We estimated that immunization against hepatitis B was associated with a three-fold increase in the incidence of MS within three years following vaccination."

The conclusion of the study sates, "These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that immunization with the recombinant hepatitis B vaccine is associated with an increased risk of MS, and challenge the idea that the relation between hepatitis B vaccination and risk of MS is well understood. "


Walking May Ward Off Alzheimer's

From the September 22/29, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) comes a study that shows that walking may help prevent mental decline and Alzheimer's disease.  The study looked at 2257 physically capable men aged 71 to 93 years.  In this study the amount of walking that these men did was tracked against their mental health over several years.

The study showed that those men who walked less than a quarter-mile a day were almost twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia as men who walked more than two miles daily.  University of Virginia biotstatistician Robert Abbott, the lead author concluded, "Findings suggest that walking is associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Promoting active lifestyles in physically capable men could help late-life cognitive function."

In a similar study involving 16,466 female nurses ages 70 to 81, found that even women who walked a leisurely 1 1/2 hours a week did better on tests of mental function than less active women.  Jennifer Weuve, a Harvard School of Public Health researcher and author of that study noted, "We were a bit surprised that something so modest as walking would be associated with apparent cognitive benefits."


October is Spinal Health Month

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA), is sponsoring Spinal Health Month in October.  During that month people are urged to talk to your local doctor of chiropractic about the natural ways you can improve your spinal health and enhance your overall well being.

A national spokesperson from the ACA noted, "The goal of a doctor of chiropractic is to offer the highest-quality, professional health care, while teaching patients how to maintain their physical well being and a healthful lifestyle. Spinal Health Month is the perfect time to take control of your health by discovering this natural approach to wellness."

The article published on Wednesday October 6, 2004 in Yahoo Finance, also notes that over 30 million Americans sought chiropractic care last year alone, and recent studies show that patient satisfaction is extremely high for those who seek care from a doctor of chiropractic.

The article lists several recommendations by the ACA.  They are:

  • Don't lift by bending over. Instead, bend your hips and knees and then squat to pick up the object. Keep your back straight, and hold the object close to your body.
  • Don't twist your body while lifting.
  • Push, rather than pull, when you must move heavy objects.
  • If you must sit for long periods, take frequent breaks and stretch.
  • Wear flat shoes or shoes with low heels.
  • Exercise regularly. An inactive lifestyle contributes to lower-back pain.


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