September 2009


Chiropractic Care of a Pediatric Patient with Asthma, Allergies, Chronic Colds

A case study involving a 7-year-old boy suffering chronic colds, allergies, and asthma since the age of 5 months, who was subsequently helped with chiropractic, was documented in the August 17, 2009 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health.

In this study the young boy's parents explained that their son had been suffering from his problems since age 5, and was now taking the medications Alavert daily for allergies and Albuterol for asthma as needed. The child also required nebulizer treatments for his asthmatic episodes. Additionally steroid injections were also used "regularly".  Because of his illnesses he missed 1-2 days of school per month. He also had monthly visits to the medical doctor for all his health issues.

Finally his parents brought him to a chiropractor to see if he could be helped. The chiropractic examination revealed multiple postural abnormalities and changes in the boy's ranges of spinal movement. Additionally areas of the spine felt abnormal to the doctor's touch. These findings are all indicative of  spinal subluxations.  Subluxations are when bones of the spine are positioned incorrectly and create pressure or irritation on nerves. This causes changes in the function of the nervous system and can result in a variety of health issues depending on the severity of the nerve system interference and the areas of the nervous system involved.

Specific chiropractic care was initiated on the boy at the initial frequency of 3 visits per week for the first month of care. Within two weeks of the child's first chiropractic adjustment, the patient's mother indicated that her son no longer was dependent on his prescription medication for allergies, so they decided to discontinue them on their own. His parents also reported that his frequency and severity of the asthma attacks had greatly improved, and he no longer required his nebulizer treatments since beginning chiropractic care.

According to the study records within 3 months of the initiation of chiropractic care, the boy's mother reported that all the young boy's initial complaints were addressed successfully. The child continued chiropractic wellness care, and after a 16 month follow up, it was noted that the boy experienced only 1-2 minor colds or sinus infections and required the use of his nebulizer on only two occasions. Neither the patient nor his mother reported any adverse reactions to the chiropractic care.


Chiropractic is Part of Swine Flu Prevention Program in Children

The above headline comes from a September 8, 2009 research update release from the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health. The author of the release Matthew McCoy D.C., is an Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences at Life University, a public health specialist, health researcher and editor of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health.

The release notes that on September 4, 2009, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) issued a report on the H1N1 virus known as the swine flu. The CDC report showed that there had been 36 deaths in children under 18 associated with the swine flu. The CDC report noted that a higher than usual amount of these deaths (67%) involved children with serious "high-risk medical conditions". Normally the average death toll in children from the yearly flu shows that only 35% to 55% had previous serious medical conditions. This suggests that children not suffering from serious medical conditions are less likely to die from H1N1 than from previous years flu outbreaks.

Additionally, the CDC report noted that most of the previously seriously ill children, (92%), who succumb to the flu were suffering from "neurodevelopmental conditions". Because of the nervous system involvement reported by the CDC, Dr. McCoy noted, "The number of children with neurological, neurodevelopmental and pulmonary disorders who ended up with complications from the H1N1 flu and who ultimately died from these complications point to the need to make sure that children with such disorders, and in fact all children, have as little interference to their nervous systems as possible". Dr. McCoy added “It (CDC report) also shows that the majority of children who ended up with complications from H1N1 infection were not normal, healthy children. So, if you have normal, healthy children - rather than panic from these media reports its better to consider the things you can do to make sure that your child’s immune system remains functioning at its best.”

The Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health notes that in addition to a healthy diet, exercise and proper sleep, one crucial way to make sure a child’s immune system is functioning at its best is to make sure their nervous system is free from interference. The Journal release also noted that the nervous system has a direct effect on the immune system and the spine houses and protects the spinal cord and nerves, a vital portion of the nerve system. They therefore state that it is important to have children’s spines checked for any interference to the nervous system.

Dr. Christopher Kent, chiropractic researcher and President of the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation, advised, "Nerve interference can result from spinal misalignments or abnormal motion in the spine called vertebral subluxations and because the nervous system affects immune function it is important to reduce or correct any vertebral subluxations if found.” Dr. Kent added, “The lesson in all of this is to go back to the basics. The best defense against viral and bacterial diseases, in addition to the recommendations for hand washing and covering your mouth, is a highly functioning immune system. Chiropractic should be part of an effective flu prevention strategy.”


Many British Nurses and Doctors Not Willing to Have Swine Flu Vaccine

Several news stories mainly in British publications show that doctors and nurses in the United Kingdom are openly questioning the efficacy and safety of the Swine Flu vaccine. One such story in the August 17, 2009 issue of the Telegraph, reports on a survey done of British nurses showing that only one-third were willing to have the vaccination.

This article noted that of the nurses who said they would not get vaccinated, 60 per cent said concern about the safety of the vaccine was the main reason. The results were taken from a poll of 1500 nurses of whom 91% said that they were "frontline" healthcare workers who are the people most told they need the vaccine by pro-vaccine efforts. One nurse, echoing what is probably a predominant view, responded to the poll by commenting, "I would not be willing to put myself at risk of, as yet, unknown long-term effects to facilitate a short-term solution."  Another respondent added, "I have yet to be convinced there is a genuine health risk (from swine flu) and it’s not just government propaganda."

In another article on August 26, 2009 also in the Telegraph, it was reported that up to 50% of all general practitioners do not plan to take the vaccine. Similarly they report that another study published online by the British Medical Journal showed that half of 8,500 healthcare workers in Hong Kong said that they would refuse a swine flu vaccine, because of safety concerns and worries that it would not work very well.

In response some government officials in the UK are exerting pressure on healthcare workers to fall into line on the issue of vaccinations. On the August 17, 2009 Nursing Times.com, website an article appeared that starts by reporting, "The (British) Department of Health’s director of immunization Professor David Salisbury has said nurses have a responsibility to be vaccinated against swine flu."

Some of the genuine concern may have come from the safety revelation reported on in several news outlets including the August 16, 2009 American Chronicle which ran a story with the title, "Letter Leaked Showing New Swine Flu Jab Linked to Guillain Barre Syndrome."  The US story reports that a UK newspaper has received letters showing a link between the new Swine Flu vaccine and Guillain Barre Syndrome, a serious neurological disease that can cause paralysis and in extreme cases can lead to death. The article reports that on July 29, 2009, "A member of the JCVI Professor Elizabeth Miller and head of the HPA's Immunisation Department has sent a confidential letter to senior neurologists warning to be on the alert for new cases of GBS (Guillain Barre Syndrome) which she says could be linked to the vaccine."

With all the confusion, the minimal time for testing and the concern over safety issues many people are planning on passing on the vaccine. Several groups including the National Vaccine information Center, www.nvic.org, in the US have urged caution and are against any attempt to mandate this vaccination to any group of US citizens. Statements and a video can be seen on their website.


Developmental Delay Syndromes and Chiropractic: A Case Report

A case study research article published on August 31, 2009 in the scientific periodical, the Journal of  Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health, documented a case of a 2 year old girl with developmental and emotional growth issues, also known as Developmental Delay Syndrome or DDS. In this case study these issues were subsequently resolved with chiropractic care.

In this case a 2 year old girl was brought to the chiropractor with an interesting history. It seems that she was the younger of fraternal twins, with her brother being born vaginally, while she required a c-section to be born. From the trauma of her birth it was noted that her head and facial features were asymmetrical.

At the age of 28 months the young girl was suffering with Developmental Delay Syndrome or (DDS), and exhibiting frequent rages, furious temper tantrums, and nightmares that caused her to wake up screaming. She was described as a child that was not able to function in pre-school or at home with the family. She was notably slower than her twin brother in both intellectual and emotional development.

After a chiropractic evaluation was performed a specific regimen of care was initiated. After only 2 visits the child had noticeably improved posture. The case study also reported that after the 5th visit, the child was very stable within her family and pre-school environments, and she had stopped walking on her toes as she had prior to beginning chiropractic.  Long term follow up years later at age 7, showed that she was equal in development to her twin brother and she was doing well in school.

In the conclusion to this case study the authors wrote, "Since there is some question as to the causation of the various developmental delay syndromes, this ultimately leads to some lack of clarity on treatment options, particularly for children sensitive to medication or who do not choose medication as an option. Patients are seeking alternative care, and particularly care that offers low risk and some benefit should be brought to their attention. While the studies are inconclusive, there is an emerging evidence base that does show chiropractic care can be involved in the treatment and care of patients with developmental delay syndromes."


Dead by Mistake

A collaborative effort by a group of journalists from the Hearst newspapers and television stations, spearheaded by Phil Bronstein, Editor-at-Large, Hearst Newspapers and the San Francisco Chronicle, has resulted in a series of articles and a website to expose what they call a, "critical and neglected health care issue that dramatically affects hundreds of thousands of Americans every year."

The website and articles are called "Dead by Mistake" and can be seen at the following address: http://www.chron.com/deadbymistake/ as well as on many Hearst publications. The Dead by Mistake website itself contains several articles with many interesting facts. They report that 200,000 people die each year from medical errors and infections in hospitals. Even with this high toll less than half of all states require adverse medical event reporting. When states do mandate such reporting, consumer access to hospital-specific information is either extremely limited or not available at all.

The series of articles started on August 9, 2009 in the San Francisco Chronicle with 2 articles titled, "Secrecy shields medical mishaps from public view", and "DEAD BY MISTAKE - Avoidable errors kept out of view". These articles and the subsequent ones by the team of investigational reporters not only reported on a series of tragic deaths caused by medical error, but also noted some glaring deficiencies in the system.

The authors of the reports note that experts acknowledge that there are some 98,000 deaths per year from known medical errors and an additional 99,000 from infections in hospitals. For some perspective, this means that more Americans die each month of preventable medical injuries than died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The authors admit that these numbers are not absolute, but that part of the problem is that there is no definitive study or system of reporting to track the carnage.


Americans Spending More for Non-medical Healthcare

Several news stories recently reported on the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine study released on July 30, 2009 titled, "Costs of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Frequency of Visits to CAM Practitioners: United States, 2007".  Although it was included in this study, many no longer consider chiropractic as an "Alternative Medicine" since the profession has become more accepted as a main stream form of healthcare.

The study focuses on the amount of out-of-pocket money spent by consumers on the non-medical forms of care they refer to as "CAM" for the year 2007. The study reports that in 2007 Americans spent $33.9 billion of their own money out of pocket on visits to CAM practitioners and purchases of CAM products. The largest portion of that amount, $22 billion, was spent on CAM products classes and materials. Another $11.9 billion was spent on practitioner visits which include all chiropractic care.

The study points out that in 2007, 38.1 million adults made an estimated 354.2 million visits to CAM practitioners. Of this number almost half were chiropractors accounting for about $3.9 billion out of pocket expenses. As a comparison the study noted that Americans spent $49.6 billion out of pocket for medical doctor visits.

The study results also noted that chiropractic was one of the most affordable types of CAM care as they stated, "Some of the highest per-person, out-of pocket costs are associated with visits to practitioners of naturopathy and chelation therapy, while one of the lowest per-person, out-of-pocket costs is associated with visits to practitioners of chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation therapy."

In the total scheme of healthcare CAM is not a large portion of the expenses but is a large part of the number of people receiving care. The study notes that all of the CAM expenditures combined only amounts to 1.5% of the total health-care expenditures in the United States. However, as many people are willing to pay for these services CAM does total 11.2% of all out-of-pocket health-care expenditures in the US.


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