August 2007


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Self Health Perceptions Improved With Chiropractic - According to Study

Preliminary results of a new scientific study show that chiropractic care significantly improves both standard physical assessments for health and self-assessment of quality of life.  The study was conducted at the Sherman College Health Center in Spartanburg South Carolina, and was published in the August 6, 2007 issue of the scientific periodical, The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research.

In this study 10 volunteers were tested for a series of standard physical assessments prior to starting chiropractic care.  These assessments include neck and lower back range of motion, spinal balance and postural analysis, as well as sensory testing, reflexes and muscle strength. The same tests were performed after 5.5 months of chiropractic care.

In addition to the physical assessments all participants were also asked to complete a "Health Related Quality of Life Survey" (HRQL).  This standardized test asks participants to self rate areas of their life including their Physical State as well as their Mental and Emotional State. Additionally, participants using the HRQL survey also rate their Stress Evaluation, Life Enjoyment and their Overall Quality of Life. The questionnaires are then scored and analyzed and an overall "wellness" assessment is made.  These tests were also conducted a second time after 5.5 months of chiropractic care.

The ten volunteers included one public utility worker, and one mayor of a local community, The remaining eight volunteers were full and/or part-time firefighters for various municipalities in South Carolina, with one also serving as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician.

The results showed, that as a group, there was improvement in both the physical assessment and the self evaluation wellness assessment.  The researchers reported that physical testing of the volunteers showed a "statistically significant reduction" in the specific tests performed. The physical test scores improved from a pre-test high  of 16.0 down to an average of 9.5.  The researchers also reported that there was a significant improvement in the subjects self-reported mental and emotional state, stress management, life enjoyment, and overall quality of life.

In their discussion, the researchers noted, "The present study has provided data which suggests that over as brief a time as an average of 5.5 months, consistent chiropractic care provides a predictable improvement of both physical findings and significantly enhanced self-perceptions of physical status, mental/emotional status and overall combined wellness, all important benefits for public safety personnel, as attested to through current
literature."  The researchers concluded that, "Even relatively short term chiropractic care has demonstrable benefits for volunteers serving in acknowledged areas of stressful public service." 


Junk Food Ads to Kids Limited - Maybe

Multiple news stories dated on July 18-19, 2007 report on a  voluntary pledge by eleven of the biggest food and drink companies to limit junk food advertisements geared toward children.  The voluntary agreement or pledge was announced by the US Federal Trade Commission on July 18, 2007.  An article on this by the LA Times suggests that the reason for the voluntary pledge is that the food companies want to placate legislators who they fear may want to impose regulations based on the recent fervor over childhood obesity.

The article by the Washington Post notes that these companies are acting on advertising recommendations made by the Federal Trade Commission last year.   Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Deborah Majoras stated, "Responsible, industry-generated action and effective self-regulation are critical to addressing the national problem of childhood obesity. The FTC plans to monitor industry efforts closely, and we expect to see real improvements."

The companies that plan to either comply, or are already in compliance include McDonald’s, Campbell Soup,  PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and General Mills.  Margot Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest also notes in the LA Times story that the companies pledges loosely follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines.  She notes that some foods such as Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs will not fall within the guidelines and can still continue to be advertised to children.  She notes, ""This gets rid of marketing of the very worst junk food, but it doesn't mean that only truly healthy foods are going to be marketed to kids."

Susan Linn, a Harvard professor and co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood argues in the LA Times article that the self-regulated pledges are not good enough.  She states, "We shouldn't be counting on the food industry to safeguard public health. Corporations are bound by law to increase shareholder profits, not to promote the well-being of children."  In an article in the NY Times she adds, "This is great public relations for the companies, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. It is going to be impossible to monitor if the companies are actually doing what they say."

FTC Chairman Deborah Majoras, called the various pledges “a significant step” in the New York Times and urged more food makers to join the effort. She concluded, “While changes in food marketing alone will not solve the nation’s childhood obesity problem, these actions will help make a healthy choice the easy choice.


Back to School and Backpack Safety

Several news stories and articles have appeared speaking to the issue of backpack safety in school children.  One article from the Aug. 1, 2007 issue of the Okeechobee News starts off by noting that backpacks can be purchased anywhere, but very few people ask about the construction of these packs. The article suggests that parents ask the following questions. "How wide are the shoulder straps? Does it disperse weight evenly? Does the bag have a waist belt to disperse weight to the hips?"

The Okeechobee News article reports that according to the the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), there are more than 21,000 backpack-related injuries each year. The article notes that increased weight is a major issue. The result, as they suggest, is that, "This increase in weight can be correlated to an increase in children seeing chiropractors."

On July 12, 2007, the California publication, The Acorn, also published a story on backpack safety. In this story they quote Dr. Gerard W. Clum of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress who advises, "Backpacks weighing more than 15 pounds that are slung over a shoulder produce an imbalance in the rib cage." He continued by saying, "This type of repetitive strain can also initiate arm and hand numbness, headaches or backaches."

The July 20, 2007 Toledo Free Press also ran a story on backpacks where they offered tips by the American Chiropractic Association to "help prevent the needless pain that backpack misuse could cause the students in your household."  These tips included:

  • Make sure your child's backpack weighs no more than 10 percent of his or her body weight.
  • The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline.
  • A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively.
  • Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child's back.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps.
  • The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack fits to your child's body.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child's teacher.


Study Finds Link to Why Chiropractic Care Helps Blood Pressure

Several news stories reported on a study performed at the University of Leeds in England, and published in the August 1, 2007 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, that showed links between neck muscles and the brain and that this link plays a crucial role in controlling blood pressure.

One report by UPI on August 2, 2007 starts off by stating, "A University of Leeds chance discovery in a British laboratory shows why a chiropractic adjustment for a pain in the neck may do wonders for blood pressure."  This article quotes study leader Professor Jim Deuchars who notes that his finding found pathways between the neck and the brain and shows how the neck muscles could play an important role in controlling blood pressure, and why chiropractic care works so well with blood pressure.  He states, "By identifying the pathways we can see why these treatments might work and it could also explain why some people suffering whiplash injuries may experience a change in their blood pressure."

Another article appearing on Scenta by the Engineering and Technology Board on August 2, 2007 further quoted Professor Jim Deuchars, "Reports from chiropractic journals say that manipulating the neck region helps to reduce blood pressure in some people. By identifying the pathways we can see why these treatments might work and it could also explain why some people suffering whiplash injuries may experience a change in their blood pressure."

As he mentions in the article, Professor Deuchars notes that the Leeds study further corroborates the work done at the Hypertension Center at the University of Chicago Medical Center and published in the March 2, 2007 issue of the Journal of Human Hypertension.  In that previous study 25 people in the study group receiving the chiropractic adjustments all showed a significant reduction in blood pressure compared with groups in the study that did not get chiropractic adjustments.


Adjusting to Pregnancy

The above is the actual headline from the August 7, 2007 Milford Daily News in Massachusetts. This article addresses the benefits of chiropractic care in pregnancy.  The article starts by following the story of one chiropractic patient, Amanda Giampaoli-Martinez, who was receiving chiropractic care throughout her pregnancy.  The story notes that when Amanda was ready to give birth she called her chiropractor Dr. Maryam Ahsan, to be present at the birth.

It was not two minutes after the birth of Amanda's new baby girl, Arianna, that she was checked by Dr. Maryam.  New mother Amanda recalled the activity by stating, "Dr. Maryam was driving when I called her and asked if she could come to the hospital. She just turned her car around."  Giampaoli-Martinez continued, "When I was having bad pain, (Dr. Ahsan) put me on my side and adjusted me while I was on the table."  Ms. Giampaoli-Martinez was pleased with her results and noted, "I went three times a week, and after a month my back pain was gone.  I was also having shooting leg pain and the hip alignment helped to take that away."

The article explains that the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association teaches a technique named after the associations late founder Dr. Larry Webster, called the Webster Technique. The article explains that the Webster Technique decreases intrauterine constraint, resulting in a quicker, less difficult delivery. This technique became prominent after it was discovered that certain adjustments had a high success rate in reversing the position of breech babies.

Dr. Jeanne Ohm, executive director of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, explained the procedure, "There is no deep tissue massage with this technique. It's a really light force," she said. "Chiropractors will check the woman's sacrum (pelvis bone) and press on different areas to restore balance. They (patients) turn her on her back and check her belly and a round ligament for tightness."  Dr. Ohm continued, "There are no known contraindications or complications to the adjustments. No one's ever called back to report a problem, and I would definitely be the first to know. Osteopathic studies have shown the adjustments reduce labor time and fight dystocia (abnormal or overly long childbirth)."

The article also interviewed Dr. David Bilstrom, a board certified physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, and director of Oasis Center for Health in Hinsdale. He feels that most medical doctors are unfamiliar with chiropractic care.  He states, "Chiropractic care tends to be quite safe.  In the right hands, I would feel very comfortable seeing the treatment done."


Diet Soda Poses Same Risk of Heart Problems as Non Diet

A new study published in the July 23, 2007 journal "Circulation" and reported on the WebMD website the next day suggested that drinking diet soda does not decrease the risk of heart attack compared to drinking regular sugared soda.

The study comes from a large, multi-generational heart study that followed residents of Framingham, Mass., a town about 25 miles west of Boston.  In this study researchers observed  approximately 6,000 middle-aged men and women to see the effect drinking diet soda would have on heart health.

Researchers found the results were surprising. Study senior author, Dr. Vasan Ramachandran of the Boston University School of Medicine commented, "It's intriguing and it begs an explanation by people who are qualified to do studies to understand this better."

Barry Popkin, of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill voiced his concern about the study by saying, "There's too much contradictory evidence that shows that diet beverages are healthier for you in terms of losing weight that I would not put any credence to the result on the diet (drinks)."

The study did show that those who drank soda, whether diet or not, were subject to an increase in "metabolic syndrome", a cluster of symptoms that increase the risk for heart disease and a host of other heart issues.

The American Heart Association issued a statement in response to the study, "Diet soda can be a good option to replace caloric beverages that do not contain important vitamins and minerals."


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