December 2007


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Chiropractic Changes the Way the Brain Processes Information

Research published in the November-December issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics and reported on by Scoop Health from New Zealand on November 23, 2007, shows how chiropractic helps affect brain and nerve system function.  An excited release on the research by the New Zealand Chiropractors Association states, "Ground-breaking research has, for the first time, identified the actual changes that occur in the body, the nervous system and the brain during chiropractic spinal adjustments."

The study demonstrates that chiropractic care sends signals to the brain that change the way the brain controls muscles. Award-winning Auckland researcher, Dr. Heidi Haavik-Taylor commented, "The process of a spinal adjustment is like rebooting a computer. The signals that these adjustments send to the brain, via the nervous system, reset muscle behavior patterns."  She went on to explain how this can have a broad effect on a person's health by saying, “By stimulating the nervous system we can improve the function of the whole body. This is something that chiropractors and their patients have known for years; and now we have some scientific evidence to prove it.”

According to the Scoop Health article, Dr. Haavik-Taylor has spent the last seven years researching the effects of chiropractic adjustments on the nervous system.  On this new research, Dr. Haavik-Taylor was able to measure how brain waves are altered before and after spinal adjustments.  She reported, “This is the first time that anyone has used EEGs to prove that there are definite changes to the way the brain processes information after chiropractic care.”

Dr. James Burt, President of the New Zealand Chiropractors Association, touted Dr. Haavik-Taylor's breakthrough research by noting, "Heidi’s work is ground-breaking on an international level by proving that chiropractic adjustments do alter and benefit the nervous system.”


Chiropractors Caution Holiday Stress Increases Health Risks

The above is the headline from a November 17, 2007, EMediaWire release from the Connecticut Chiropractic Council and the International Chiropractors Association (ICA). The release gives some simple holiday advice by saying, "With the holiday season upon us and Thanksgiving and other seasonal observances underway, it is important to your good health to take a few simple steps to reduce the stress and strain of this busy time."

The article continues to note that having a little more patience, along with slowing down, and having more thoughtful holiday planning, will go a long way to reducing the stress of the holidays.  The release also cautions about overindulgence at the dinner table over the holidays and the problems that overeating can cause.  Dr. Luigi DiRubba, a local chiropractor and President of the Connecticut Chiropractic Council, advises, "A bulging stomach can put pressure on your body's support systems, including your spine and spinal nerves."

The article notes that additional weight can force the hip bones and torso to shift thus creating abnormal changes in spinal balance. This can lead to spinal misalignments, known as "subluxations" which affect the nervous system and create malfunctions elsewhere in the body Dr. DiRubba warns, "Every extra pound in the abdominal region could put 10 pounds more stress on the lower back. Heavy eating during the holidays may lead to weight gain, and carrying extra pounds can put added strain on the supporting structures of the spine and nervous system."

The International Chiropractors Association (ICA) and the Connecticut Chiropractic Council have prepared a list of health tips to help protect your back and general health over the holidays. These include:

  • Lift packages correctly, firewood, your frozen holiday turkey and other heavy items with your legs, not your back. When lifting, hold objects close to your body; rather than flexing forward, maintain a slight arch in your lower back and bend at the knees before standing up with the object.
  • When cooking or standing for an extended period, elevate one foot with a foot rest or stacked books, about six inches from the floor. Alternately elevating each foot relieves tired back and leg muscles.
  • Travel stress can be minimized if you start your journey having gotten plenty of rest ahead of time, allow plenty of extra time to your destination, pack light, use well-balanced wheeled luggage when you can and be careful to avoid heavy loads on your shoulders from bags with shoulder straps.
  • Place a pillow or folded towel behind the small of the back when traveling by car or plane, to help maintain the arch in your lower back and support the rest of the body properly. This relieves the discs and joint structures of the spine from unnecessary pressure.
  • Get enough rest. Many health problems that occur with the holidays are simply due to fatigue.


More Chiropractors Equals More Health Near Mississippi River - Study Shows

A research study published in the December 5, 2007 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research (JVSR), notes a correlation between overall health status and the number of chiropractors in states along the Mississippi River.  This interesting study was sparked by the news that in the US, the state of Minnesota was ranked first in health, while Louisiana came up last.  The original health ranking was from the 2005 edition of America's Health Rankings, which was published by United Health Foundation and the American Public Health Association.

The JVSR study looked at health assessments for states along the Mississippi River noting that there were several factors related to health rankings.  The America's Health Rankings showed that there was some form of North to South correlation as states further south on the Mississippi ranked lower in health.  The JVSR study looked at that information and attempted to see what other factors were present that might add clues to this situation.

The JVSR study looked at the number of doctors (physician [medical and osteopathic] and chiropractor) relative to the populations for these states and noted that there was a correlation between the ratios of doctors in general to health ranking.  The higher the ratio of doctors to the general public, the higher the health ranking of that state. 

The study also looked at the breakdown of type of doctor to see if there was any difference in health rankings based upon the types of doctors, (medical, osteopathic, or chiropractic).  The study looked at 25 different outcomes to determine health related to doctor ratios.  The results from looking at this information showed that Chiropractors had stronger correlations for improved health outcomes in 20 of the 25 of the outcomes measured compared to medical physicians, who had stronger correlations in only four of the 25 outcomes compared to chiropractors.

The authors of the JVSR study caution that these findings are not conclusive and do not suggest causation. In their conclusion they state, "Chiropractor ratios were more strongly correlated with improved outcomes compared to physician ratios. Further study is indicated to determine possible underlying causative mechanisms for these correlations, such as quality of drinking water, levels of education and income, quality of health care delivery and level of exercise."


Most Sinus Infections Not Helped by Antibiotics or Topical Steroids

 A study published in the December 5, 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), and reported on in a December 4, 2007 article from CNN noted that treating routine sinus infections with antibiotics or topical steroids does not help.  The study, conducted at the Department of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, England, looked at the effectiveness of antibiotics and steroid sprays used in the treatment of sinus infections.

The researchers randomly assigned 240 adults with sinus infections to receive one of four treatments.  The treatments given were either antibiotics (amoxicillin), steroid spray, both amoxicillin and steroids, or a placebo, (fake medicine).  The results showed that there was no statistical improvement for the groups using the antibiotics, steroids or both, over the group that got only the placebo treatment. 

The CNN article noted that in 2001 the American College of Physicians issued guidelines advising against using antibiotics for most sinus infections in otherwise healthy people.  They also noted that about 21 million Americans are diagnosed with sinus infections each year, and this ailment is one of the most common reasons for doctor visits in adults.

Based on these results, lead author Dr. Ian Williamson of the University of Southampton in England, commented that these findings should cause a, "reconsideration of antibiotic use for acute sinusitis. The current view that antibiotics are effective can now be challenged, particularly for the routine cases which physicians treat."  In their JAMA study they concluded, "Neither an antibiotic nor a topical steroid alone or in combination was effective as a treatment for acute sinusitis in the primary care setting."


Severe Asthma with Chronic Cough Helped by Chiropractic - A Case Study

A case study published on November 26, 2007 in the scientific periodical the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research documented the case of a 7 year old asthmatic girl whose life was changed with chiropractic. This documented case followed the care of this little girl who had suffered from chronic asthma since age two.

The study noted that by the age of 4, she was diagnosed as having asthma. Her mother reported that almost anything from dust to cold drafts would trigger an asthmatic attack. Her asthma was so bad that the 7 year old girl was taking oral medication twice a day and utilizing three different inhalers four times per day each, for a total of 24 inhalations per day.

As a complication to her asthma, she was suffering from a cough and persistent fevers. Because of this, she was using more than ten other medications to attempt to manage the cough and fever. Even with this extensive level of medications, this little girl's life was problematic. The study noted that she experienced daily attacks, almost constant wheezing and coughing, and a persistent tight and heavy chest. As a result, she was unable to engage in any physical activities.  Her condition was so severe that she would be forced to go to the emergency room for treatment approximately five times per year.

Finally at age seven, the child was brought into an office for chiropractic care. A chiropractic examination showed the presence of vertebral subluxations, and care was initiated.  She was seen and given specific chiropractic adjustments for 2-3 times per week for an initial period of 3 weeks.

The results for this little girl were life changing.  After just the first adjustment, the case study reported that she had a noticeable reduction in her symptoms that evening, with the cough discontinuing.  Over the next three weeks of care, she experienced no asthma attacks and no coughing. Additionally, her wheezing, and chest tightness and heaviness had subsided.

The girl's mother reported that her daughter was able to increase her activity without the usual increase in symptoms. Three months following the start of chiropractic care, an examination with the girl's medical doctor documented a significant improvement in respiratory function. Her pediatrician was elated with her progress and attempted to give credit to the medications.  When the girl's mother explained they had stopped giving her several of the medications prescribed and that she was receiving chiropractic care, the pediatrician did not approve and terminated his care thus forcing the parents to change pediatricians.

In the conclusion of the case study the authors summed up this case by stating, "We presented the chiropractic care of a patient with severe asthma and chronic cough. Perhaps this case will encourage future testing and screening for subluxations which could potentially cause dysponesis, resulting in a variety of symptoms that include asthma.


Medical Journal Article Recommends Children's Cold Remedies be Taken Off the Market

An article in the December 6, 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) calls for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action concerning over the counter pediatric medications targeted at children under 12 years of age. "We believe that it (FDA) should immediately ask companies to remove these products from store shelves and begin legal proceedings to require them to do so."

The original NEJM article by by Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D., Marisa North, B.A., and Janet R. Serwint, M.D., highlights some very interesting facts related to over the counter drugs being advertised for children. The article notes that, "Since 1985, all six randomized, placebo-controlled studies of the use of cough and cold preparations in children under 12 years of age have not shown any meaningful differences between the active drugs and placebo."

The NEJM article noted that as far back as 1997, the American Academy of Pediatrics created a policy statement on cough medications stating “indications for their use in children have not been established.”  Additionally, the authors of the article noted that as recently as 2006, the American College of Chest Physicians stated that “literature regarding over-the-counter cough medications does not support the efficacy of such products in the pediatric age group.”

Some additional and chilling statistics brought forth in the article note that since January of 2000 there have been 750,000 calls of concern related to cough and cold products to poison-control centers.  Additionally they reported that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2004 and 2005 identified more than 1500 emergency room visits for children under 2 years of age related to cough or cold products.

The article notes that in 1976, the FDA adopted a system for determining children's medications doses using a crude formula.  This formula simply determined the use of pediatric medication by age only. For children between 6 and 11 years of age, the formula said that medications should be dispersed based upon half the adult dose. For children between 2 and 5 years of age, the formula recommended a quarter of the adult dose. The NEJM article notes that this very crude formulation was not based upon any science and has not been changed for over 30 years.

Interestingly, the New England Journal of Medicine article was also reported in several Canadian news outlets but NOT in any major US news publications. In a December 06, 2007 article in the Canadian National Post, Dr. Michael Rieder of the Canadian Pediatric Society commented on the importance of this NEJM article by stating, "Every regulator in the world will pay attention to [the article], and because we share the same unprotected border, Canada will pay more attention than other countries. The pressure has been building to this for over the past 12 to 18 months, and people in the community are saying, 'Let's get this done."


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