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May 2010

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Some Lower Blood Pressure With Chiropractic Visit

The above headline comes from a May 6, 2010 feature story on the Pittsburgh, PA, TV News station KDKA. The story starts off by noting that millions of people have high blood pressure. And they note that if left untreated it can be deadly.

Most people treat blood pressure with medication. However, the story notes that some people are turning to chiropractic for help. As a result, these people are seeing improvement in their blood pressure numbers.

The story focused on Dr. Michael Vactor who stated in an interview that, "Basically, one in four adults in America have some form of high blood pressure."

The article also quoted Bill Bird, a patient who is now sold on chiropractic. Bill has a very stressful job selling cars resulting in high blood pressure requiring prescription medication.  After a few visits to the chiropractor, his blood pressure had improved to the point where his medical doctor cut his medication in half. Looking to the future, Bill optimistically stated, "30 to 45 days of my blood pressure staying at the levels it is, I'm going to be off it 100 percent."

In spite of the fact that studies have now shown that chiropractic can help lower blood pressure, some in the medical profession are still skeptical. Dr. Vactor noted, "If we can get somebody's blood pressure to be lowered without medication, it's amazing because most doctors you talk to will tell you it can't be done."

The article also interviewed Dr. George Bakris, a medical doctor whose expertise is high blood pressure, and who conducted a blood pressure study involving chiropractic on 50 patients at the University of Chicago Medical School. "We saw miraculous changes in blood pressure," said Dr. Bakris. "We saw 12 to 13 millimeter reductions in blood pressure."

In the conclusion of the article, Dr. Vactor noted that in spite of the medical approach to treat high blood pressure, chiropractic could have a unique answer. He states, "We've never been able to find a drug or a medication that can lower blood pressure that fast with no side effects."

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Pharmaceutical Companies Earned Over $3 Billion on H1N1 Vaccine

The above headline comes from a May 10, 2010 story by EarthTimes.  In this article, it was reported that makers of the H1N1 vaccines reported sales of $3.3 billion in 2009.  Healthcare market research publisher Kalorama, issued a report, "H1N1 'Swine Flu' Vaccine Market Review" in which they noted that although the vaccine income did not reach the levels anticipated, that the bottom line of several of the companies was boosted by the swine flu vaccine.

In the face of all the reports showing that the H1N1 vaccine scare was dramatically overblown and may have been partially fabricated, the Kalorama report coldly stated that they, "believe the contracting, production and distribution of this vaccine will be a model for future pandemic vaccines."

In what seemed more business than healthcare concern, the report stated, "there was no clear model to follow for the H1N1 vaccine, as marketing it in the traditional sense based on consumer need for the vaccine was not required. Companies were innovative."

Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information, noted the business aspect of the vaccine by stating, "It was a unique product and each (vaccine) company adopted a different strategy."

In an unrelated but ironic new story, Reuters news on May 4, 2010 reports that the "U.S. has 71 million unused flu vaccine doses." They note that these vaccines all have expiration dates and that some of these doses start expiring in June of this year. These vaccine doses have already been paid for and should not impact the vaccine companies bottom lines.

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Baby Girl Saved From Cranial Surgery Because of Chiropractic

A study published in the April 10, 2010 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health, documents the case study of a 3 week old baby girl who was saved from head surgery due to timely specific chiropractic care.

In this case study, a 3 week old girl who was medically diagnosed with craniosynostosis was brought to a chiropractor in an attempt to help avoid skull surgery. According to the website WebMD, "Craniosynostosis is a problem with the skull that causes a babyís head to be oddly shaped. A baby's skull is not just one bowl-shaped piece of bone. It is made up of five thin, bony plates that are held together by fibrous material called sutures . The sutures let a baby's skull expand as the brain grows. Over time, the sutures harden and close the skull bones together. When a baby has craniosynostosis, one or more of these sutures close too soon. The head doesn't form a normal shape."

The research article starts off by noting that a baby's head growth is largely determined by the growth of the brain. At one year of age, the infant brain reaches approximately 90% of its adult size and by 6 years of age, the brain is 95% developed, and is essentially complete by age 7. Craniosynostosis not only affects skull shape but can also affect brain development creating serious issues.

In this case, a mother brought her 3 week old baby girl to a chiropractor following a medical diagnosis of craniosynostosis by her obstetrician and pediatrician. According to the patient's mother, she was advised that the medical care plan was to monitor her child for 3 months and if craniosynostosis progressed further, surgery would have to be performed on her baby's skull. The baby girl had no other health issues at that time.

A chiropractic examination revealed the presence of subluxations, and a course of specific chiropractic care was initiated for correction. Measurements of the size of the baby's skull were regularly taken and showed that once chiropractic care was initiated, the skull started to show normal growth. After 6 chiropractic visits, the little girl was 10 weeks old and her skull had grown from 34.5 cm, to 39.2 cm. After approximately three months of care the girls mother reported that her daughter's cranial development had progressed so well that she would not require skull surgery.

Dr. Joel Alcantara, a chiropractor and Director of Research for the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA) and the lead author of the paper, noted, "In this case we have a defect in the infantís skull that did not require a planned surgery following a trial of chiropractic care of the spine and skull." He concluded, "The research shows that not only is chiropractic for children extremely safe but it is also highly effective."

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Study Shows Chiropractic Safe for Post Disc Surgery Patients

A research article published on April 21, 2010 in the journal, Chiropractic & Osteopathy from Melbourne Australia, looked at the safety of chiropractic care for patients who had previously had disc replacement surgery.

The study notes that spinal disc replacement surgery is becoming more popular. They also report that after such surgery it is common for patients to experience soreness and stiffness of the lumbopelvic region. Many of these people then turn to chiropractic care in the hopes of improvement from these post surgical problems. This study was designed to look at the safety of chiropractic care after the surgery.

This study looked at eight patients who underwent lumbar spine disc replacement, having 1 or 2 total lumbar disc replacements, and continued to have persistent, post-surgical, non-specific lower back or pelvic pain. These patients were referred for chiropractic by an orthopedic surgeon. All these patients were considered stable according to the surgical protocol.

For the purposes of this study, all eight patients were given from 8 to 10 chiropractic adjustments using one of the more forceful side posture lower back adjusting techniques. Safeguards were taken along with frequent examination procedures to make sure that no patients would be subject to any harm.

The results showed that none of the patients had severe or irreversible reactions after the spinal manipulations. There were several cases of moderate soreness after adjustments more common after the first few sessions. Most of these episodes were self limiting and short lived lasting only between hours to a few days. The researchers noted that most of these small reactions were similar to what the general population experiences after the same procedures.

In their conclusion the authors wrote, "During the short treatment period, no major complication was encountered by the patients. Moreover, the benign side-effects reported after lumbar spine manipulation were similar in nature and duration to those frequently experienced by the general population."

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Dramatic Improvement in Symptoms Related to Multiple Sclerosis with Chiropractic

A case study published in the April 27, 2010 issue of the scientific periodical, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health, reported on a case of a fifty-one year old female with history of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and several other conditions who was helped by chiropractic.

In the opening of the study, the authors explained Multiple Sclerosis by noting that MS is a debilitating disease characterized by recurrent or chronically progressive neurological dysfunction. According to the authors, the prevalence of MS has been estimated at 100 cases per 100,000 people.

In this case, a fifty-one year old female came to a chiropractor with a history of being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), asthma, osteoarthritis, and scoliosis. She also had complaints of neck pain, back pain and jaw pain. She was being treated medically by her family medical doctor, a neurologist, an allergist, a rheumatologist, a gastrointestinal specialist, a cardiologist, and a dermatologist.

The chiropractic examination showed postural abnormalities, asymmetry and muscular imbalance. With the addition of spinal x-rays, the presence of vertebral subluxations was noted, and a course of specific adjustments was initiated. Chiropractic care started with 3 times per week for 4 months and 2 times per week for 4 months, followed by 1 time per week thereafter.

The results in this case documented that after approximately 12 visits, the woman reported improvement in pain levels throughout her body, as well as better mobility, increased lung capacity, and she was able to increase her activities as well.

Follow up examinations also showed improvement in all measurements compared to the initial examination and x-ray findings. As care continued, the woman was able to drastically reduce her asthma medication and eventually she was able to discontinue her gastroesophageal reflux medication.

In their conclusion the authors wrote, "The case of an adult female with past history of multiple sclerosis and other conditions is presented. Dramatic improvement in symptoms related to multiple sclerosis is noted following the introduction of chiropractic care concomitant with a reduction in vertebral subluxation."

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Seasonal Flu Vaccinations Suspended for Children Under 5 in Australia

Several news stories in the press in New Zealand and Australia reported on illnesses and a death occurring after administration of the Fluvax flu vaccine. Several of these stories aired on April 23, 2010 from Radio New Zealand and reported that "New Zealand children have suffered serious adverse reactions after being given a seasonal flu vaccine."

One of these stories reported that the government of Western Australia temporarily suspended its free influenza vaccination program for children under the age of five after the reported reactions. High fevers and convulsions were reported at that time in 23 children who had received the vaccine.

The following day, the news agency TopNews reported that 60 children had severe reactions and that one child had died from the reaction. The article noted that warnings had been issued to Australian doctors telling them that they are not supposed to administer the seasonal flu vaccine to kids under the age of 5.

On April 24, Radio New Zealand published an article with the headline, "Health officials in Australia say the number of children suffering adverse reactions to the flu vaccine may be severely underestimated because they have no way of monitoring people's reactions."

On April 26, 2010, ABC News listed the facts of the situation by reporting the following:

  • Dozens of children in Queensland and Western Australia suffered fevers, vomiting and convulsions after being immunized.
  • In Brisbane, a two-year-old girl died a day after receiving the seasonal flu shot.
  • Authorities have temporarily banned the vaccine for those under five.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) influenza center says the cases involved several different batches of the vaccine.

In one of the most recent news stories, ABC News reported on April 27 that over 250 cases of severe reactions were reported in Western Australia alone. In spite of all the negative press and reports of reactions, the medical authorities in Australia are still split over affixing blame to the vaccine and what should be done about it.

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