January 2013


Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients Helped with Chiropractic

The Journal of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Research published the results of a study on December 11, 2012 showing chiropractic improving the quality of life of a patient suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).  According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, "Chronic fatigue syndrome refers to severe, continued tiredness that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other medical conditions."

The authors of the study note that medical treatment for CFS is only centered on the alleviation of symptoms while attempting to improve a patient’s quality of life. They also note that since there are no clear indicators or tests for CFS, the diagnosis of CFS is confirmed by ruling out other conditions with the continued presence of the symptoms.

In this study 20 people with CFS were selected to participate. Each was given a chiropractic examination and x-rays. One subject was disqualified due to having a metal plate in her head. Of the 19 remaining subjects 15 were female and 5 were male, with their ages ranging from 18 to 65 years.

The measurement of quality of life for the subjects was accomplished using the SF 36-Item Health Survey (SF-36), a standard health questionnaire form with 36 questions used to measure these types of issues and the quality of a persons life related to their health issues. These forms were filled out by participants before care was initiated and then again at the conclusion of the study 6 months later. 

Specific chiropractic care was rendered for subluxation of the top vertebrae in the neck, the atlas. The subjects initial SF 36 scores were then compared to the scores of the SF 36 after 6 months and the chiropractic care.

The results showed that the SF 36 scores increased significantly for the test subjects. The General Health component increased from a score of 30.3 prior to chiropractic care to 55.6 after the care. Additionally, the Mental Health scores of the SF 36, rose from 46.4 before chiropractic to 68.6 after care. The results of these measurements showed that there was a dramatic quality of life improvement as measured by the SF 36 test.

The authors noted that the improvement noticed with the subjects continued to show improvement. They commented, "Unlike treatment approaches for some chronic illnesses, where measurable changes recorded immediately after an intervention dwindle or vanish over time, our subjects’ SF-36 scores continued to improve compared to baseline; appreciably at three months, and substantially at six months."


Surgeons Make Thousands of Errors

The above is the headline of a December 19, 2012 article in the Wall Street Journal.  The WSJ article and several others on the same subject were based upon a study published on December 8, 2012 in the journal Surgery that documents the high number of surgical errors each year.

The study shows that events known as "never events" occur as much as four thousand times per year. According to the authors, "never events" are those medical events that should never occur. Medical News Today, in an article on December 22, 2012, reported that the study notes, "They estimate that at least 39 times a week a surgeon leaves foreign objects inside their patients, which includes stuff like towels or sponges. In addition surgeons performing the wrong surgery or operating on the wrong body part occurs around 20 times a week."

Marty Makary, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and one of the study authors said, "There are mistakes in health care that are not preventable. Infection rates will likely never get down to zero even if everyone does everything right, for example. But the events we've estimated are totally preventable. This study highlights that we are nowhere near where we should be and there's a lot of work to be done."

In their own words, the authors of the study reported in their results that, "We identified a total of 9,744 paid malpractice settlement and judgments for surgical never events occurring between 1990 and 2010. Malpractice payments for surgical never events totaled $1.3 billion. Mortality occurred in 6.6% of patients, permanent injury in 32.9%, and temporary injury in 59.2%. Based on literature rates of surgical adverse events resulting in paid malpractice claims, we estimated that 4,082 surgical never event claims occur each year in the United States."

The authors offered some advice by saying, "Despite our advances in the delivery of health care, surgical never events continue to occur, with serious implications for patients, providers, and health care costs. Strategies used in other complex systems such as aviation may help provide a blueprint to examine both the individual and the institutional factors that contribute to these preventable and costly events."


Twins Breech Presentation Resolved with Chiropractic Care

From the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health, December 27, 2012 issue comes a case study of a set of twins who were in a breech presentation prior to birth but were turned after the application of chiropractic.

According to the study authors, Danita Thomas Heagy, D.C. and Shawn Wrubel, D.C., annually about 4 percent of women go to their obstetrician with a fetus in breech presentation. The authors report that a breech presentation is when the fetus is not head down but rather has their buttocks or feet closest to the cervix. The authors also note that according to the literature 80-100% of  women who have a breech presentation commonly undergo a cesarean section.

In this case a 28 year old woman who was 30 weeks pregnant with twins came to the chiropractor with a diagnosis by her obstetrician of a breech presentation. This was her third pregnancy but the first time being pregnant with twins.

An initial chiropractic exam was performed which revealed loss of range of motion throughout the spine along with other positive findings for the presence of vertebral subluxations. Based on these findings chiropractic care was initiated using a specific type of chiropractic spinal adjusting technique along with a specific technique used with breech pregnancies commonly referred to as the "Webster technique".

The results of the study showed that after the woman underwent five adjustments over three weeks her obstetrician confirmed that the involved twin was in the proper cephalic position and she would be able to have a normal vaginal birth. The patient was able to have an uncomplicated drug free, vaginal birth after the resolution of her subluxations. .

In their conclusion, the authors wrote, "We present a 28-year-old female patient with a twin in breech presentation that resolved over a three-week period of time following the application of Webster technique. The patient had a successful vaginal birth with no complications one month after the initial visit to the chiropractor.


Daily Aspirin Use Could Cause Blindness

The above is the headline of a story from Northwestohio.com, the online presence of WNWO TV, published on December 19, 2012. This news story was one of many reporting on a study released in the December 19, 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

The study showed that the daily use of aspirin over a ten year period can cause an increased rate of Age-related Macular Degeneration AMD which can lead to blindness. Numerous other studies have shown daily aspirin use linked to a number of problems including intestinal bleeding, and other bleeding issues.

A Star-Tribune article earlier this year on June 5, 2012 started off by warning, "Unless you're at high risk for cardiovascular disease, you probably shouldn't take a low-dose aspirin every day, a new study suggests. Researchers report that daily low-dose aspirin use may significantly increase the chance of major gastrointestinal or cerebral bleeding."

The current study showed that daily aspirin usage for a ten year period could double the risk of blindness from AMD. Lead author Barbara E. K. Klein, MD from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health commented in an article covering the study by saying, "There are a lot of people taking aspirin for cardioprotection." She continued, "Heart attacks have a high risk of death, so the question is: is it worth the possible increase in [risk for] age-related macular degeneration, compared to the risk of getting a heart attack?"

In their conclusion, the authors of the study wrote, "Our findings are consistent with a small but statistically significant association between regular aspirin use and incidence of neovascular AMD. Additional replication is required to confirm our observations."


Study Shows Neck Pain and Dizziness Helped with Chiropractic

A study published in the January 7, 2013 issue of the journal Chiropractic & Manual Therapies shows that people with neck pain and those with both neck pain and associated dizziness respond equally as well to chiropractic care. The study was designed to see if the added factor of dizziness created a change in the response to chiropractic care.

In this study the authors describe the reason for the study by stating, "The symptom dizziness is common in patients with chronic whiplash related disorders. However, little is known about dizziness in neck pain patients who have not suffered whiplash."  The authors also wanted to look at any gender differences with the patients in this study to see if gender played a part in the outcome of care.

The study was done with the cooperation of the Swiss Association for Chiropractic. The study notes that consecutive new patients over the age of 18 with neck pain of any duration who had not undergone chiropractic or manual therapy in the prior 3 months were recruited from 81 different chiropractor's offices who were members of the Swiss Association for Chiropractic. A total of 405 patients in Switzerland, who suffered with neck pain and who had consented to be part of the Chiropractic Outcome Study were included.

Researchers conducted telephone interviews at 1, 3 and 6 months after the initiation of chiropractic care to document the patients' progress. A seven point scale ranging from ‘much better’, ‘better’, slightly better’, no change’, slightly worse’, ‘worse,’ and ‘much worse’ was used to track the results. From the total number of patients, 177 (44%) reported neck pain with related dizziness while 228 reported that they had neck pain without dizziness. A significantly larger number of the patients with dizziness were women. As expected the patients with dizziness suffered more severe pain as well as other complaints.

The study results showed that after only the first month of care 72% of the patients with neck pain and dizziness showed improvement in their neck pain, while 73% of those with only neck pain had improved. Additionally, half (50%) of those with dizziness showed improvement in their dizziness in this same one month time frame.

After 3 months of care 81% of all patients, with neck pain only or with dizziness, showed improvement in both the neck pain and their dizziness. After six months the results remained almost the same being within 2 percentage points for any of the groups and all of the complaints.

In their conclusion the authors wrote, "Although neck pain patients with dizziness undergoing chiropractic treatment reported significantly higher pain and disability scores at baseline (beginning of study) compared to neck pain patients without dizziness, there were no significant differences in any outcome measures between the two groups at 6 months after start of treatment." In other words, the participants in this study all got good results regardless of the presence or lack of dizziness with their neck pain.


More Expensive Medicine Wrongly Perceived Safer According to Study

A study to be released in the April 2013 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research shows that consumers generally believe that more expensive medicine is safer than medicines costing less. Articles on the pre-released study appeared in Science Daily on January 4, 2013, and December 11, 2012, as well as on Futurity on January 7, 2013. 

Researchers noted that prior studies showed that consumers believe that items that cost more are of better quality. Additionally, studies have shown that people believe that more expensive medicine is more effective. However, they point out that no research has looked at people's perception of the safety of medications as it relates to the price of the medicine.

In one part of the study one group of consumers were told that a flu vaccination costs $25, while another group were told that the vaccinations would cost $125. Both groups were told that the vaccinations would be covered by insurance. The study showed that the group that was told the higher price felt that they were less likely to get the flu.

Janet Schwartz, study co-author and assistant professor of marketing at Tulane's A.B. Freeman School of Business commented, "Your chance of winning at blackjack has nothing to do with how big the payout is and most people know that," Schwartz says. "But when it comes to understanding what prices reflect for medicine, people look at the price and they do think that it somehow tells them something about their own risk of getting a disease. In reality, those two factors are completely independent."

The researchers also concluded that consumers erroneously believe that higher medical prices mean that this is less of a need while lower prices suggest that the medical need is greater and therefore the price is more accessible. "Price and risk should be very independent from one another, when you think about consumers making informed health care choices", stated Janet Schwartz.

The study authors concluded, "Low prices for life-saving products may increase perception of risk and intention to consume care, even when unnecessary. However, high prices may make consumers feel less at risk, and thereby less likely to seek beneficial treatments. In short, prices may influence how consumers seek medical care in a way that doesn't accurately reflect real risk."


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