June 2005


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Clinical Trial Shows Chiropractic Helps Migraines

A clinical trial reported in Medical-News.net  on May 22, 2005 showed that 72% of migraine sufferers experienced either 'substantial' or 'noticeable' improvement after a period of chiropractic care.  The study was a randomized clinical trial completed over a 20 year period.  Dr. Peter Tuchin, was the chief researcher and presented his results in a thesis at Macquarie University in Australia.

The study involved 123 migraine sufferers, which was reduced down from aproximatly1000 who applied to be part of the study after responding to a television program about the research. The 123 participants were further divided into two groups.  One group received chiropractic care while the other group was a control group who did not receive any actual care but were told they were receiving a form of electrical physical therapy.

In commenting on the results, Dr. Peter Tuchin, a chiropractor for the past 20 years stated, "Around 22 per cent [of patients] had substantial reduction - which means that more than 60 percent of their symptoms reduced during the course of the treatment. What makes this a really strong result is that this was a really chronic group - the average length of time they'd had migraines was 18 years. To get a change of that sort of magnitude in a really chronic group was quite amazing."

In this study Dr. Tuchin went to great lengths to document the results.  He explained, "Both groups kept a record of their migraines for the whole six months, noting down how often they got them, how severe they were, how long they lasted, and if there was anything they could think of that contributed to them," Tuchin explains. "For two months prior to any treatment they just diarised their migraines, followed by two months of treatment and then two months of post-treatment"  

Dr. Tuchin summed up the results of the study by saying, "Chiropractic is not the be all and end all, but for a good percentage of migraine sufferers the neck is a significant contributing factor, and for them chiropractic treatment is really effective. I'm not saying that everybody's going to be cured, but there's very little to lose."


Acetaminophen Use Associated with Asthma, and Decreased Lung Function

The May 3, 2005 Medical News Today reported on a study that showed that Acetaminophen, more commonly known as Tylenol, if used daily was associated with a greater prevalence of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as directly related to decreased lung function.  The original study was published in the May 1st 2005 issue of the American Thoracic Society's peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Researchers from Britain looked at data from a US survey involving 13,492 participants who were part of the Third National Health and Nutrition Survey which took place from 1988 to 1994.  Participants in the survey were asked whether they had taken aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen during the previous month.  The replies to the survey were then divided into "never users;" "occasional users" (1 to 5 times in the past month); "regular users" (6 to 29 times during the past month); and "daily users" (more than 29 times during the last month). This information was then compared to see if there was a correlation.

The researchers found that those who reported daily use of acetaminophen were nearly twice as likely as non-users to have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  They noted that the results also showed that neither the use of aspirin nor the use of ibuprofen was associated with the prevalence of either asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Researchers also noted that there was a direct relationship between an increase in asthma and a decrease in lung function, with an increased usage of acetaminophen. 

In the published report researchers concluded; "This study provides further evidence that use of acetaminophen is associated with an increased risk of asthma and COPD, and with decreased lung function."  They noted that acetaminophen use can cause an increase in asthma risk with potential effects on the onset, progression, and severity of the disease.


Chiropractic Changes Life of Autistic Boy

In a May 26, 2005 feature article from the "Health.telegraph" news service in Great Britain, comes a feel-good story of Max Willson, a young boy who had been labeled autistic.  The story of Max's problems started at birth.  Max was born in April, 1998 after a very difficult labor. The umbilical cord was wrapped twice around his neck. As he grew, Max's mother, Michaela soon noticed that Max was not developing in the same way that his elder sister  had.  His parents noticed that Max's eyes didn't focus, and his hand movements were more uncoordinated than those of other children his age.

Quentin, Max's father commented, "You never want to admit to yourself that you've got a backward child," he says, "but it was clear that he was very, very behind. He couldn't concentrate, was hyperactive and demanding."  The Wilson's took their son to numerous doctors and received a variety of opinions including the diagnosis of dyspraxia and dyslexia.

Having tried all else the Willsons were close to placing Max on Ritalin when something happened.  One day Quentin, Max's father, went to pick Max up from a birthday party he had been attending.  Quentin noted that Max was acting up as usual, "he'd done his usual trick of sitting underneath the table for two hours". At that party, he met the mother of one of the other children who had been observing Max for the previous hour. She told Quentin that she thought Max's skeleton was out of alignment and suggested that he should see the chiropractor she had used.

Following that advice the Willsons took Max to see a chiropractor. Quentin recalls the first vist and day by saying, "It was just flicking the bones around his neck and shoulders, but that night, Max slept continuously until morning for the first time since his birth, nearly five years before."

Needless to say the Willsons were extremely delighted at their son's progress.   Max's dad Quentin summed up their feelings by saying' "He sleeps like a log and has lost all that weirdness. He no longer has a classroom assistant and we've taken him out of his second genteel preparatory school with five children in the class and put him into a little village state school where he's flourishing. He's still a bit behind because he effectively missed out on a couple of years of education, but you can reason with him and he's reading and writing and it's amazing. I can only put this down to the chiropractic."


Study Shows Low Back Surgery No Better Than Rehabilitation

New research published in the May 28, 2005 British Medical Journal suggests that surgery to relieve chronic lower back pain is no better than intensive rehabilitation and nearly twice as expensive.  The study did not look at the benefits of chiropractic care, but did compare patients who underwent surgery for lower back pain and those who had rehabilitation led by physiotherapists.

Dr. Jeremy Fairbank, an orthopedic surgeon and lead researcher at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Center in Oxford, England, along with his co-researchers studied 349 chronic back pain sufferers, defined as pain lasting more than 12 months.  Of the 349 patients, 176 had spinal fusion surgery while the remainder underwent intensive rehabilitation involving exercises and cognitive behavioral therapy. 

Dr. Fairbank stated, "This is strong evidence that intensive rehabilitation is a good thing to do for people with chronic back pain who are thinking about having operations."  The researchers concluded that there was no evidence that surgery was any better than the rehabilitation they compared the surgery to.  However, there was a big difference in price with the surgical expense being nearly twice as expensive according to the study.

Helen Campbell of the University of Oxford summed up the results by commenting, "In the short term, compared with intensive rehabilitation, surgical stabilization of the spine as first line treatment for chronic low back pain patients who have already failed standard non-operative care seems not to be cost effective."


Exercise Helps  Aging Bones

A June 8, 2005 release from "HealthDay News" reported on a study of 104 men and women that participated in six months of aerobic exercise using a bicycle, treadmill or stepper, combined with weightlifting. The results of this study were better overall fitness and fat loss without significant change in bone mineral density. In fact the researchers found that participants who exercised the hardest and had the greatest increases in aerobic fitness, muscle strength and muscle tissue showed bone mass increases of 1 percent to 2 percent.

Co-author and endocrinologist Dr. Suzanne Jan de Beur, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University, said in a statement, "Fat loss with exercise did not result in a loss of bone mass, a problem commonly seen when patients lose weight with diet alone."

Lead investigator Kerry Stewart, professor of medicine and director of clinical exercise physiology and heart health programs at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute, explained, "Older people are very concerned about how best to reduce their body fat as a means of preventing other health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. However, excess fat does have the benefit of maintaining bone mass."  She added, "But fat loss through diet alone can lead to loss of bone, worsening the body's natural bone loss due to aging, a major risk factor for bone fractures."

Dr. de Beur recommended that older people should either exercise at a higher level of intensity or for longer than six months in order to achieve a substantial increase in bone density.  She stated, "Our results show that moderate-intensity exercise can increase fitness and reduce body fat, which are important for overall health, but gains in bone density were found only among those who achieved the greatest gains in fitness in six months."


Milk, Does a Body Bad?

This June 9, 2005 suggestive headline comes from ABC News, and is one of a flurry of articles based on a new study that suggests that the more milk that kids drink, the fatter they grow.  The study was performed by a team at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard University in Boston and, published in the June 2005 issue of the journal, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The study involved a survey of more than 12,000 children aged 9 to 14. In the study researchers found that those boys and girls who drank more than three servings of milk a day were 25 percent more likely to become overweight than those who drank two to three servings a day. 

Catherine Berkey, who led the study noted, "Contrary to our hypotheses, dietary calcium and skim and 1 percent milk were associated with weight gain, but dairy fat was not."  She concluded, "It could be that the youngsters drink lower-fat milk more freely. Thus, it may not be milk itself but the calories in milk that are to blame. The take-home message is that children should not be drinking milk as a means of losing weight or trying to control weight."

Helaine Rockett, research nutritionist and one of the lead authors of the study stated, "We are saying that if a child has a weight problem, their first beverage choice should be water." She also noted, "Milk has calories and there's an advertisement out there that says if you drink milk you will lose weight. But if you eat or drink too much of anything you will gain weight."

Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health, who also worked on the study said, "The basic beverage should be water," Willett added. "We know that in many parts of the world, kids don't drink any milk at all and they end up with healthy bones."



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