November 2015


Blood Pressure and Pulse Rate Lowered with Chiropractic According to Study

The October 15, 2015, issue of the Dynamic Chiropractic Magazine reported on a new study showing that both blood pressure and pulse rate are lowered after specific chiropractic adjustments. The original study was published in the June 2015 issue of the Asian Journal of Multidisciplinary Studies.

This study was unique as it was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) which looked at the results from three separate groups of participants. The three authors of this study, none of whom were chiropractors, were part of a collaboration of professionals from the U.S. and Malaysia.

Study participants were screened to rule out any other factors that might affect the results. All participants were 18 years of age or older, did not have any serious condition or cancer, did not have any recent injuries, were not on any medications or drugs, and did not have an arm or leg prosthetic device.

The participants were randomly divided into one of three groups. One group was a control group in which no chiropractic procedures were given. The second group was the placebo group and were given fake chiropractic adjustments. This was accomplished by setting the adjustment instrument to zero so no force was applied when the instrument was triggered. The third group received a real adjustment using the same instrument with a setting that would deliver a force and create an adjustment.

All participants in each of the three groups had their blood pressures taken using a "digital oscillometric sphygmomanometer" to eliminate variations in how the reading were taken. Readings of BP and pulse rate were taken three times on each participant. The first time was after the participants' history was taken and a 15 minute period. The second reading was later just prior to the real adjustment, the fake adjustment, or an equivalent time in the control group. The third reading was taken immediately after the procedure.

The results showed that only the group that received the real adjustment showed any change with both systolic and diastolic BP decreasing approximately 7 percent. Additionally, only the group that received the real adjustment showed a significant decrease in pulse rate.

Since this study ruled out all other external factors, and since the data collected was by individuals who did not render the procedures, this study represents the purest form of evidence that a chiropractic adjustment has a positive effect on blood pressure and pulse rate. Adding this study to the already existing body of evidence shows that chiropractic can help normalize blood pressure. This should help change public perception that medications are not the only option for correcting blood pressure issues.


Recurrent Ear Infections Resolved with Chiropractic Care

The Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, produced by the Council of Chiropractic Pediatrics of the International Chiropractors Association (ICA), published a case study in their October 2015 issue documenting the case of recurrent ear infections being stopped under chiropractic care.

The study begins by pointing out that Otitis Media (OM or ear infections) accounts for approximately 40% of antibiotic prescriptions for children under the age of 5 and is the number one reason for pediatric medical visits. OM is most common between the ages of 6 and 24 months-of-age. Of those who are diagnosed with OM, nearly one-third will have 3 or more episodes.

Common medical care for OM is antibiotics. However, the authors of this study note that over 30% of OM are viral in nature and are not helped by antibiotics. Additionally, the authors report that antibiotic resistance has become a concern driving many parents to seek alternative forms of care, such as chiropractic, for their children with OM.

In this case, a 23-month-old girl suffering with recurring ear infections was brought to the chiropractor by her mother. The girl's first acute OM episode occurred when she was only 6 months old. Each time, the child would pull on her ear and cry in pain. The girl did not run a fever during these episodes. With each episode, the child was brought to a walk-in clinic and was prescribed 10 days worth of antibiotics.

In a two year period, the baby girl had suffered 6 episodes of ear infections and was given the drug Amoxicillin in all of those instances except one, where she was given Biaxin.

A chiropractic examination led to the diagnosis of vertebral subluxations. Chiropractic care was initiated for the correction of the subluxations. Within one month, the baby's ear infections had completely cleared. The child remained under less frequent regular chiropractic care, and no further ear infections were observed from that point forward.

In their conclusion the authors wrote, "The purpose of this study was to present the chiropractic management of a patient with recurrent otitis media. The patient is still under chiropractic care and has had no other episode of medically diagnosed AOM. Considering the favorable outcome and the absence of adverse effects, this case report suggests that chiropractic treatment may be a natural, effective and low risk approach to managing recurrent acute otitis media in the pediatric patient."


Developmental Advancements in a Child with Dyspraxia with Chiropractic

A case study published in the October 2015 issue of the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics documented the case of a boy suffering from developmental issues and dyspraxia being helped as a result of chiropractic care. The journal is published by the Council of Chiropractic Pediatrics of the International Chiropractors Association (ICA).

According to the Dyspraxia Foundation, "Dyspraxia, a form of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It may also affect speech."

The authors of the study explain that although each case of dyspraxia can exhibit different symptoms, "Individuals with dyspraxia experience difficulty planning and executing tasks that require fine motor skills, affecting any or all areas of development including physical, intellectual, emotional, social, language and sensory."

In this case, a 4-year-old boy with developmental delays was brought to the chiropractor by his mother. The history noted that the boy's parents started noticing his problems at the age of one. Based upon a medical examination of the boy, a diagnosis of dyspraxia was made. The boy avoided rolling over or crawling, showed sensitivity of touch for different textures, and would move his whole head as opposed to moving his eyes to see things around him. The boy was under the care of a speech therapist but was unable to produce words easily.

A chiropractic examination was performed from which it was determined that there were multiple areas of subluxation creating nerve system interference. Specific chiropractic adjustments were initiated at the rate of twice a week for the initial three weeks of care, followed by one visit per week for six weeks.

The study reported that over the first six weeks of care, the child showed significant improvement in his ability to speak. In what was probably an emotional point, on the eighth visit, the boy had learned how to say twenty new words in the space of a week and also spoke his very first full sentence; "I love you, mum." By the 12th visit, the boy showed vast improvements in both fine and gross muscle control.

As care progressed, the boy continued to show improvement and his vocabulary expanded to the point where he was able to start school.

In answering the question of "What causes dyspraxia?," the Dyspraxia Foundation responds on their website, "Although the exact causes of dyspraxia are unknown, it is thought to be caused by a disruption in the way messages from the brain are transmitted to the body. This affects a person's ability to perform movements in a smooth, coordinated way."

Based on the results of this case, and considering that the goal of chiropractic is to normalize nerve transmission by removal of subluxations, the authors were able to conclude, "This case study reports a possible association between chiropractic care and improvements in delayed development in a four-year-old child."


Chiropractors Aren't Just for Parents, Babies Get Adjustments Too

The headline above comes from an October 30, 2015, news story from KMOV in St. Louis. The article features the fact that babies are seeing chiropractors at an increased rate.

The story, by anchor Carolyn Long, begins by noting, "When a baby goes to the doctor, they typically see a pediatrician. But, more parents are taking their very young children to see a chiropractor." Ms. Long noted that according to the recent National Health Survey, 1.8 million children between the ages of 4 and 17 visited chiropractors in the previous year.

The story highlighted a baby named Ava who received her first chiropractic adjustment when she was just 6 weeks old. "And honestly it was 6 weeks too long," said Ava's mother, Melissa.

Melissa recalled the weeks of long sleepless nights her daughter had suffered due to reflux. "She was miserable and I really was desperate," she said. "She struggled to eat and be a normal baby, all of her energy was spent just trying to breathe." It was then that Melissa decided to bring her baby to a chiropractor.

The results were life changing for both mother and baby. Melissa notes her daughter's reaction to her specific chiropractic adjustments, "Lights came on and she had a little bit of shine in her eyes, you could tell she was more alert. Things just got better for her."

The article addressed safety concerns by noting that an adjustment for a baby is much different than one given to an adult. This is reinforced by the Council of Chiropractic Pediatrics of the International Chiropractors Association (ICA), "Chiropractic's drugless and preventive approach to good health makes it perfectly appropriate for infants, children, and teenagers. Chiropractic is one of the safest forms of children's health care. A chiropractor does not adjust a baby or a child the same way as he or she adjusts an adult. A baby's spine is very supple during the first few months of life, so the doctor of chiropractic applies only a slight pressure to make an adjustment."

Georgia chiropractor, Dr. Robert Braile, who has adjusted many babies in his 37 years of practice and who taught chiropractic pediatric adjusting in a major chiropractic university commented, "In addition to the many infants and babies I have had the privilege to care for over the years, all three of my grandchildren were checked and adjusted within minutes of birth to correct any form of nerve inference from subluxations created by the birth process."

Dr. Braile, director of public relations of ICA, continued, "Nothing is more natural, and healthier than a young life starting off with a properly functioning nervous system free from any type of interference.


Prescription Drug Use Increases to 60% of Americans

A study published in the November 3, 2015, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that nearly 3 in 5 American adults used prescription medication. According to the study, this represents the highest level in U.S. history.

In this study, researchers reviewed prescription drug use data for nearly 38,000 adults ages 20 and older. They concluded that the percentage of American adults using prescription medications rose from 51% in 1999, to 59% by 2012. Additionally, the percentage of Americans using 5 or more medications almost doubled, rising from 8% to 15% in that same time frame.

The researchers considered and ruled out the aging population as a reason for the increased drug usage. Elizabeth D. Kantor, PhD., formerly of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, now at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, could not identify a clear factor for the increase, stating in a Reuters interview, "For example, we know that older adults tend to take more medications than younger adults, and so we'd expect prescription drug use to increase as the U.S. population ages. She continued, "...something beyond the aging of the U.S. population appears to be driving the increase in prescription drug use."

The numbers of people taking prescription drugs may not be totally accurate. In a prior study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings in July of 2013, it was estimated that 68.1 percent of the population were using prescription medications.

One  possible explanation is that only the United States and New Zealand allow direct to consumer advertising of prescription drugs. In 2000, the drug companies spent $2.5 billion on direct to consumer advertising of prescription drugs. By 2014, that figure rose to $4.53 billion dollars.

Much of the increase in prescription usage is for treating conditions such as depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and several other conditions that can be related to lifestyle choices.

In a November 4, 2015, CBS News story on this issue, Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, noted that living a healthy lifestyle would prevent most of the problems for which these drugs are being used. He pointed out the contradiction by saying, "Consider the irony. Here in the U.S., we aggressively peddle foods that propagate illness, and drugs to treat the illness that ensues. 'Big Food' and 'Big Pharma' are the winners -- we and our families, the losers."


US Spends More on Health Care But Has Lower Life Expectancy and Worse Health

The Commonwealth Fund issued a release on October 2015 with the title, "US Spends More on Health Care Than Other High-Income Nations But Has Lower Life Expectancy, Worse Health." The study looked at healthcare and outcomes of the top 13 income countries. The study showed that spending more money does not translate into better health.

The analysis for this study was based on information gathered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and other sources. The study reviewed data on health care spending, supply, utilization, prices, and health outcomes.  The countries included were: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The data collected in this study was prior to the enactment of the major components of the U.S. Affordable Care Act, meaning that the information in this study was before any changes created by what is commonly known as Obama Care.

The study showed that healthcare spending in the U.S. was not created by more visits to doctors as U.S. citizens went to doctors less often than the people of many nations who had a lower cost of healthcare. The increase in spending did not translate into better health for the U.S. population as the study reported that, "Despite spending more on health care, Americans had poor health outcomes, including shorter life expectancy and greater prevalence of chronic conditions."

The economic impact of healthcare in the U.S. is large. As of 2013, U.S. healthcare spending accounted for 17.1% of their gross domestic product (GDP). This number is almost 50% more than France, the next highest nation, and twice the level of the GDP percentage for all of the United Kingdom.

As of 2013 the U.S. spending on healthcare was $9,086 per every man woman and child in the U.S.. Switzerland is the next highest level of per capita spending at $6,325 per person. The United Kingdom is at the low end of the spectrum in this group spending only $3,364 per person.

In looking at the data for a reason for the high spending in the U.S., the study authors ruled out factors such as more visits, as the U.S. citizens only average 4 visits to doctors per person. This number is far less than the average, as well as less that the highest country Japan which averages 12.9 visits to the doctor per person per year.

After ruling out many other factors such as the number of doctors, percentage of the population over 65, and smoking, the U.S. leads in chronic illness and infant mortality, while being last among the studied nations in life expectancy.

In their discussion, the study offers a possible explanation by stating, "How can we explain the higher U.S. spending? In line with previous studies,19 the results of this analysis suggest that the excess is likely driven by greater utilization of medical technology and higher prices, rather than use of routine services, such as more frequent visits to physicians and hospitals."


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