February 2008



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Blind Man Suddenly Sees Again After Visit to Chiropractor

Several news stories appeared on TV and online about Doug Harkey, a man who regained his eyesight after a chiropractic adjustment.  Two of the stories appeared on January 11, 2008 in the Telegraph Herald from Dubuque Iowa, and KCRG-TV news from Cedar Rapids Iowa. (Click here to read TV news story and to play video)

Doug Harkey, a 38-year-old resident of Dubuque Iowa, was legally blind in his left eye for 12 years. As he reported it, "I woke up one day and I didn't have vision in one eye."  Being legally blind did not limit Mr. Harkey's ambitions as the stories reported that he did parachute out of a plane in 2006. 

Doug Harkey's fiancée, Gina Connolly was going to a chiropractor, Dr. Tim Stackis, and convinced Doug to attend a new-patient class. Harkey admited, "I was skeptical about chiropractic". However, in spite of his skepticism, the stories note that on January 3, 2008 Doug received a chiropractic adjustment, and his world was changed.

Harkey recalled the events after that adjustment, "My blind eye starting watering after I left there and it watered for 45 minutes straight. It started making my good eye water. I went to wipe my right eye and I could see out my left again."  His enthusiasm continued as he remarked, "While I wiped my right eye, I could see out of my left."  He then told a friend, "Oh my God, I can see!".  To which his friend responded, "You always could."  Harkey then exclaimed, "No, out of my LEFT eye!"

Dr. Stackis explained in an interview, "I've heard of cases of people regaining their sight, but I've never experienced something like Doug's magnitude. Miracles can happen and some of those miracles are pretty big." He continued his explanation of what happened by noting that some of the bones in Mr. Harkey's neck were out of alignment (subluxation), "That interferes with the messages and energy the brain sends down to the rest of the body." Dr Stackis continued, "Your nerve system controls and regulates every function of your body,"

Harkey concluded his remarks and summed up the situation and optimism for his future by saying, "I'll have everything back except my peripheral vision.  In the daytime, it will be great to see everything."



Smoking Will Kill One Billion This Century

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a report that includes some ominous projections for smokers.  According to the report the WHO projects that one billion people will die of smoking related diseases in the 21st century.

The WHO released these figures as part of a report and recommendations called "MPower." (Click here for WHO summary and link to full downloadable report.) The report also contained other facts that include:

  • There were 100 million deaths from smoking related diseases in the 20th century

  • Currently there are 5.4 million deaths every year

  • By the year 2030, that toll will increase to more than 8 million deaths every year

  • By 2030, more than 80% of tobacco deaths will be in developing countries

Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General states in the report, "Reversing this entirely preventable epidemic must now rank as a top priority for public health and for political leaders in every country of the world."   The MPower report lays out six strategies to combat this problem.  Dr. Chan emphasized the importance of these strategies, "While efforts to combat tobacco are gaining momentum, virtually every country needs to do more. These six strategies are within the reach of every country, rich or poor and, when combined as a package, they offer us the best chance of reversing this growing epidemic.”

The six MPOWER strategies are:

  • Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies

  • Protect people from tobacco smoke

  • Offer help to quit tobacco use

  • Warn about the dangers of tobacco

  • Enforce bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship

  • Raise taxes on tobacco

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the initiatives and the report.  He commented, "The report released today is revolutionary,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “For the first time, we have both a rigorous approach to stop the tobacco epidemic and solid data to hold us all accountable. No country fully implements all of the MPOWER policies and 80% of countries don’t fully implement even one policy. While tobacco control measures are sometimes controversial, they save lives and governments need to step up and do the right thing.”



Chiropractors Don't Raise Stroke Risk, Study Says

Opponents of Chiropractic have attempted a smear campaign over the last several years by suggesting that chiropractic adjustments to the neck increased the risk of a certain type of stroke.  This campaign was never based upon any scientific evidence, but rather on biased opinions.  A new study to be published in the medical scientific journal "Spine" on February 15, 2008 puts those false accusations to rest and clearly shows that chiropractic does not increase the risks of these types of problems.

The story only received limited press coverage including a story in the January 19, 2008 issue of the Globe and Mail out of Canada.  The scientific journal "Spine" is an international journal and recognized as one of the most prestigious publications on spinal health matters. In this study, published on February 15, 2008, researchers conducted one of the largest studies of this kind.  They looked at 818 patients with a specific kind of stroke that some suggested might be the result of neck manipulations.  The difference in this study was that the researchers checked the prevalence of visits to chiropractors and to medical doctors related to this problem.

Dr. Frank Silver, one of the researchers and a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and director of the University Health Network stroke program, noted that there was no incidence of increased stroke for a visit to the chiropractor  than for a visit to the  medical doctor.  He explained the results, "We didn't see any increased association between chiropractic care and usual family physician care, and the stroke."

This scientific study shows that past assumptions attempting to relate chiropractic care with certain types of strokes were not due to the care, but rather to the fact that the people who went to chiropractors and medical doctors with certain types of problems were slightly more likely to suffer this type of problem anyway. Dr. Silver explained, "The association occurs because patients tend to seek care when they're having neck pain or headache, and sometimes they go to a chiropractor, sometimes they go to a physician. But we didn't see an increased likelihood of them having this type of stroke after seeing a chiropractor.”

Study Co-author Dr. David Cassidy, who is also a senior scientist at the University Health Network and a professor of epidemiology at the University of Toronto, added his comments to the article by stating, “If someone says ‘Has it ever happened that a chiropractor has caused a stroke?' I can't say it's never happened. But if it's happening, it's not happening at a greater risk than when it is in a GP (General Practitioner, MD) office.”



Montel Williams Testifies About Chiropractic Helping Him With His Multiple Sclerosis

A video published on December 23, 2007, on the popular website YouTube, shows Montel Williams testifying about the great results he got under chiropractic care. The daytime television personality was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  His personal experience has caught the eye of many in chiropractic and in the MS community.

On the video, Montel starts by saying, "I'm not certain because I haven't done the scientific research on it to know if this can work for everybody else out there, but I want to tell you I suffer from MS (multiple sclerosis), I have extreme neuralgic pain in the lower extremities, I'm in pain 24 hours a day seven days a week 365 days a year, and then I go to see this doctor, I've had pain in my feet, I've struggled with my balance, so Dr. Erica sent me to see a man who I will tell you now, 12 days ago... and there's not a person that knows me who will not confirm this, if you just ask them, everybody who sees me, I am walking differently, my pain is less, I have already regained strength in my left leg, my left leg has dropped because I found out that my pelvis was tilted, it's dropped back down, they are now the same length, it's the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me."

In the video Dr. Patrick Kerr, Montel’s chiropractor, explains that the positive results Montel experienced are the direct result of removing pressure on the brain stem resulting from misalignment of the atlas (subluxation), the top bone of the spine. Dr. Kerr further explained how misalignment of the spine causes mechanical compression of the nerve roots that exit the spine, causing all kinds of dysfunction. Properly aligning the spine reestablishes proper communication between the brain and the rest of the body. (Click on image below to see actual YouTube video.)

On the website MSNews, a website for the MS community, Bonnie who also suffers from MS posted her comments which may well represent the reaction to this video. She stated, "Hmmm... I have heard some cautions against chiro adjustments with MS - something about the body interpreting it as trauma? I used to love seeing my chiro years ago - with all the jolly cracking noises - but have not been back since my DX 11/02. Anyone else aware of any pros or cons with adjustments? Maybe it's time for me to go back."



Public Health Ministry of Thailand Recognizes Chiropractic

A news article published on January 27, 2008  in "The Nation", Bangkok's independent newspaper from Thailand, reports that Thailand is the second country in Asia to issue chiropractic licenses.  This past July, a total of 17 of the first chiropractic licenses were issued to the candidates who passed the licensing examination. 

The article, written in the English language paper in Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, was designed to announce to the people of Bangkok the introduction and new acceptance of chiropractic care in their country of Thailand.

Dr. Oat Buranasombati, president of the Thailand Chiropractic Association noted that chiropractic was first introduced in Thailand about 10 years ago but is relatively unknown outside the United States. He also noted that chiropractic care is not available in hospitals but is available in about 10 other facilities in the country. He also estimates that 30 percent of those currently getting care in Thailand are from outside that country while 70 percent are local citizens.

The article attempts to explain chiropractic to a people who are totally unfamiliar by saying, "Treatment begins with a general inquiry followed by a thorough body-structure examination."  They then continue by explaining, in basic terms the concept of adjustments of subluxations, "Vertebrae that have moved are restored by hand to their original place to improve the patient's nervous system."



Italy Recognizes Chiropractic, Establishes Chiropractic Licenses

In releases from the Italian Chiropractic Association (Associazione Italiana Chiropratici - AIC) on January 13, 2008 and the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) on January 9, 2008, comes the news that Italy has joined the countries in Europe that officially recognize and license chiropractors.

According to the ICA on December 21, 2007 chiropractic was recognized by the Italian Parliament as a primary health care profession.  This concluded a long battle for this status by the chiropractors and their patients in Italy. The first law proposal for professional recognition in Italy was made 17 years ago. 

According to the official AIC news release: “The amendment (which got chiropractors licensure) was presented by Senator Luigi Lusi from the Margherita party of the majority, who almost single-handedly guided it out of the Senate’s Budget Committee and assured its acceptance by the Senate itself."  This victory came in the face of what the AIC called, "...extensive lobbying attack on the part of the Italian Medical Association, who was trying to monopolize non-conventional medicine through their own legislation."

“The entire world of chiropractic salutes the Associazione Italiana Chiropratici on this historic milestone for chiropractic,” said ICA President Dr. John Maltby. “We at the ICA deeply respect and appreciate the efforts of all involved and offer our most sincere congratulations.”  He continued by saying, "Our colleagues in Italy can now move forward to build chiropractic to even greater levels in that historic nation with official recognition having been secured. Their efforts have added significantly to making chiropractic a truly global profession.”



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