August 2005


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Woman Gets Vision Back After Chiropractic Adjustment

A feel good story appeared in the August 3, 2005 issue of the The Daily Times of Delaware. The story starts off by reporting, "Doctors said after Laura Hattier was born, she'd never be able to see like a normal person, let alone drive a car -- but that didn't stop her. She later entered a beauty pageant -- and won. After a chiropractic adjustment, her vision came back and she married the chiropractor."

According to the article, Laura was diagnosed at birth, with congenital nystagmus.  This is a condition where the eye experiences involuntary shaking, causing severe vision loss.  According to Laura one in a thousand children are born with this condition.  She noted, "When I was born, I was completely blind. The doctor's told my parents there was no hope."

This situation did not stop Laura from working to achieve. As a child her vision improved, but she was still unable to play or read like normal children. "When I was a child, I would look in an adult text book and all I could see were dots," Hattier said. "I thought, 'Wow, grown-ups are really special to be able to look at dots and get words out of that!'."

By the time Laura turned 16 her vision had improved a little but she was still legally blind.  Additionally she had begun suffering from severe stomach ulcers.  Doctors continued to tell her there was no hope for either of her conditions.

However, Laura did not let that stop her.  She then entered the Miss Laurel beauty pageant -- and won.  She noted that event changed her life and opened doors that would have otherwise remained closed.  She commented, "That was the best things about my teenage years."

While continuing on to college, Laura took a part-time job at chiropractor Donald Hattier's office in Delmar. She noted his belief in chiropractic by recalling, "He suggested that everybody should get adjusted (chiropractic) if they need it or not just because it's a healthy and holistic thing to do."

It was in this circumstance that her life was changed forever.  After just her first adjustment, her ulcers disappeared and her vision began to improve. Laura commented, "I don't know if it was coincidence or chiropractic." 

On her last day of employment, Dr. Donald asked her on a date. The rest as they say is history.  The article notes that Laura and Dr. Donald Hattier now have four children and live near Dagsboro. At age 39, Laura is living the life she never thought possible.  Her vision has improved to 20/50 and she reports that she is able to take care of her family and run daily errands. "I can pick my kids up from school, I can drive my kids to church and I can go to the grocery store for my family," she said. "I am truly thankful for that."


Home Births With Certified Midwives Just as Safe as Hospitals

A new large prospective study in North America published in the June 18, 2005 British Medical Journal revealed that there was no difference in mortality rates between planned home births and hospital births for low risk women. The study found that "planned home births for low risk women in the United States are associated with similar safety and less medical intervention as low risk hospital births."

The researchers followed 5418 women who intended to deliver at home at the start of labor, and compared them with all women who gave birth to a single normal delivery baby.  In this group they found that rates of medical intervention for home births were consistently less than half of those in hospitals.

The reduction in medical intervention for some specific procedures was drastic in the low risk home birth group.  Rates of electronic fetal monitoring was shown to be 9.6% for home births versus 84.3% in the general population of low risk hospital births.  For caesarean section, the rate of those home births that had to be transported to the hospital and then received a caesarean was 3.7% versus 19.0% of the hospital low risk births.  Additionally, rates for episiotomy was 2.1% for home births versus 33.0% in hospitals for the low risk groups.

In the study group no maternal deaths occurred. The study also noted that over 87% of mothers and their babies did not require transfer to a hospital. The study also noted that that an uncomplicated vaginal birth in a hospital in the United States cost on average three times as much as a similar birth at home with a midwife.

The researchers concluded, "Our study of certified professional midwives suggests that they achieve good outcomes among low risk women without routine use of expensive hospital interventions."  They went on to add, "Our results are consistent with the weight of previous research on safety of home birth with midwives internationally. This evidence supports the American Public Health Association's recommendation to increase access to out of hospital maternity care services with direct entry midwives in the United States. We recommend that these findings be taken into account when insurers and governing bodies make decisions about home birth and hospital privileges with respect to certified professional midwives."


Chiropractors Offer Backpack Safety Checklist

The  August 04, 2005 Business Wire ran story about backpack safety and chiropractic. 

Dr. Kassie Donoghue, president of the California Chiropractic Association (CCA) states, "As the mother of an elementary school aged child, I know the pressure that comes from kids who want a certain cartoon character or color. As a doctor, I want to do what's most important for my child's long term health."  She continued, "Before going out to buy a backpack, it's helpful to talk to your kids about the type of backpack you want to buy. By following a few simple guidelines, you can help your child choose a backpack they like and avoid serious back problems."

When choosing a backpack for your child the CCA  made some simple suggestions to look for. They include:

  • Padded shoulder straps
  • Padded back
  • Lumbar support
  • Waist belt
  • Multiple compartments
  • Correct size

"This is an important issue for doctors of chiropractic because we focus on wellness and preventative care," said Dr. Donoghue. "Our job is to help prevent health problems and that's why doctors of chiropractic are so concerned about children carrying backpacks that don't fit well or that are too heavy."

Dr. John Maltby, President of the International Chiropractors Association added, "Nothing is more important than the health and proper function of a child's nervous system.  The spine houses a major part of the nervous system, the spinal cord. A healthy spine free of subluxations is essential for nervous system function.  Backpacks when carried improperly, or overloaded can be a major form of stress on a young developing spine, create subluxations, and can have serious effects on nerve system function and general health."


Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic Among Teenagers

An article in the July 7, 2005 Washington Post starts off by saying, "Abuse of prescription drugs is epidemic, with teenagers the fastest growing group of new abusers."  They also note that this problem has drawn little attention from  health and law enforcement agencies, physicians, pharmacists and parents. 

The article reports on a study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (NCASA) at Columbia University.  The study reports that 15.1 million people are abusers of prescription drugs.  To put this in perspective the article notes that this number exceeds the combined number of people abusing cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants and heroin.

The study reports that of the total number abusing prescription drugs, 2.3 million are teenagers.  They also note youngsters turn to prescription drugs at much higher rates than adults do.  The story even notes that teens are having what is called "pharming parties", to share prescription drugs obtained at home or purchased on the Internet.

Joseph A. Califano Jr., the chairman of NCASA and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare stated, "Availability is the mother of abuse."  He continued, "When I was young my parents would lock their liquor cabinet. It may be parents should be thinking of locking their medicine cabinets."

The number of abusers of medications was determined from a three-year study by the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health which analyzed 15 national data sets .  The study classified an abuser as anyone who reported using an unprescribed drug or one taken only for the feeling it caused. 


In Australia, 34% of Patients Have Been to a Chiropractor

A recent study, commissioned by the publication, Australian Doctor and the drug company Pfizer Australia showed chiropractic was by far the most popular of what they termed alternative therapies surveyed.  The study was a national survey of 1250 patients in Australia.  The results showed that 34% of patients had visited a chiropractor.  Additionally the study showed that 18% had used  acupuncture, 16% had taken megavitamins, and 13% had used homeopathy.

In all, the study noted that more than half of Australian patients have used what they termed as alternative therapies.  The researchers in this study were puzzled by the results as they consider these forms of care to be unscientific.  Dr. Craig Hassed, complementary medicine researcher and senior lecturer in the department of general practice at Melbourne Australia's Monash University, explained why so many people are using non-medical forms of care by saying, "That search for holistic health care is one of the main drivers behind the growth of complementary therapies."

Dr. Hassed also said that some patients actually distrust science. He noted, "Some people are very suspicious of science. It might be that a lot of these do have a scientific basis and there is research patients might not have come across. They might trust that people have used these for a long time so there must be something in it."  He continued, "But they don't trust research anyway because [they believe] it must have been driven by pharmaceutical companies trying to make a buck."

The article noted that a report on cancer care released by the Senate Community Affairs Committee the previous month showed that other factors motivating patients to turn to what they grouped together as "complementary therapies" were, "holistic views, dissatisfaction with medical outcomes, a desire for improved health and increased access to health information, as well as growth in research-based evidence supporting the effectiveness of complementary medicine."


Hormone Pills Added to List of Carcinogens

This headline comes from a July 29, 2005 Associated Press story reporting from London that the United Nations' International Agency for Research on Cancer has added hormone pills to the list of substances that can cause cancer.  The article noted that hormonal menopause therapy was being reclassified from “possibly carcinogenic” to “carcinogenic" because of the consistent evidence from studies in recent years.

World Health Organization’s cancer agency is widely regarded as the international authority on cancer-causing agents.  The agency made the declaration after several recent high-profile studies linking combination hormone replacement therapy, (or HRT), to breast cancer.

A panel of 21 scientists conducted the analysis and concluded that estrogen and progestin therapy for menopause slightly increases the risk of endometrial cancer when progestin is taken fewer than 10 days a month.  One study used in the U.N. agency’s analysis showed the chance of a woman developing breast cancer during her lifetime rises from 1 in 7 in the general population to 1 in 6 with long term use of hormones.

The UN's cancer research agency also concluded that a common type of birth control pill, taken by about 10 percent of women of reproductive age, increases the risk of more types of cancer than previously thought.  Previously the agency had determined that the birth control pill combining estrogen and progestin can cause liver cancer.  Now, because of further research, the agency has determined that these pills also slightly increase the risk of breast and cervical cancer.

Vincent Cogliano, head of the UN's agency that evaluates the cancer risk of chemicals stated, "It’s a complicated picture. There are still other reasons to take it. Each woman has to discuss it with her doctor and weigh the risks and benefits."


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