February 2006


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Hearing Improved With Chiropractic - Case Series

A case series study published in the January 19, 2006 issue of the scientific journal, Chiropractic & Osteopathy, documents the improvements in hearing in study subjects after a chiropractic adjustment. The journal, Chiropractic & Osteopathy is the official journal of the Chiropractic & Osteopathic College of Australasia.

The study is significant as it looked for a scientific basis for the story behind the first chiropractic adjustment. In 1895, in Davenport Iowa, Dr. DD Palmer, a self taught healer, encountered a janitor, Harvey Lillard who was working in the building that housed the office of Dr. Palmer.  As history records, Harvey had lost most of his hearing 17 years earlier while working and bending.

Although accounts vary, it is accepted that Dr. Palmer examined Harvey and determined that a bone in his spine was out of place.  He concluded that this spinal misalignment was the cause of the hearing loss that Harvey was experiencing.  Dr. Palmer then proceeded to give Harvey the first intentional and purposeful chiropractic adjustment.  The result was that Harvey's hearing was restored.

In this series case study, fifteen people with various degrees of hearing loss were tested for certain frequencies to establish their degree of hearing loss.  These subjects were then given only a single chiropractic adjustment and subsequently re-tested for any changes in hearing.

After just one adjustment most of the participants experienced significant hearing improvement at various tone levels. Using a standardized testing process known as the Ventry & Weinstein criteria, improvement was shown at various levels of hearing.  At 40dB,  6 subjects had hearing restored, 7 subjects improved and 2 had no change.  At 25dB using the Speech-frequency criteria, none of the subjects were totally restored, however, 11 had showed improvement, while 4 had no change and 3 missed a tone.

The results of this limited study add further credibility to the story of the first chiropractic adjustment.  The researchers concluded, "The observations documented in this case series provide limited support to previous works indicating that, when hearing is tested immediately after a single chiropractic adjusting visit, hearing may be improved in both ears."



New Warnings on ADHD Drugs

An article from the Associated Press on February 9, 2006 reports that experts from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel have recommended that Ritalin and other stimulant drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder should carry the strongest warning that they may be linked to an increased risk of death and injury.  The story, reported by Andrew Bridges, noted that the FDA advisory panel voted in favor of a "black box" warning. This came after the panel heard about the deaths of 25 people, including 19 children, who had taken the drugs.

Dr. Curt Furberg, a professor of public health sciences at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, and one of the FDA panelists said it would be "inappropriate, unethical behavior" not to disclose that there was uncertainty about the safety of the drugs.  The AP article did note that the FDA is not required to follow the recommendations of the panel.

Dr. Robert Temple, director of the FDA's Office of Medical Policy, told reporters, "The committee plainly wanted to tell us certain things ought to be in labeling in a more forceful way."  The article also reported that doctors prescribe these drugs to about 2 million children and 1 million adults a month.

Dr. David Graham, a medical officer at the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research summed up his concerns by saying, "There's smoke. Does that mean there's fire?  We wouldn't be going through this exercise if we didn't think there was a real possibility of increased risk."

These drugs are big business.  The article noted that in the year 2000, sales of these drugs was at $759 million. That number rose to $3.1 billion by 2004.  Additionally it was noted that about 2.5 million children between age 4 and 17 take ADHD drugs including 9.3 percent of 12-year-old boys and 3.7 percent of 11-year-old girls.



Chiropractors Helping Olympians

Several different stories, from two separate countries, highlight chiropractors helping winter Olympians at the 2006 winter games.  One story, from the January 31, 2006, PRNewswire reported that two US chiropractors, Drs. Shapiro and Solomon, have been selected as the team chiropractors for the U.S. Olympic Team during the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy.

The PRNewswire story notes that the athletes seek chiropractic care to maintain their health and improve their competitiveness.  The article also notes that with the increased scrutiny surrounding the use of performance-enhancing drugs, "athletes are turning to safe, drug-free health care whenever possible."

The second story from the February 9, 2006 Calgary Sun Canoe News reports on how Canadian athletes will also be receiving chiropractic care to help them in their pursuit of gold. In this story, Dr. Uchacz, of Calgary is there to help the Canadian athletes competing in bobsleigh and skeleton, with secondary support to the athletes in other disciplines. The story noted that Uchacz is thrilled to be instrumental in helping athletes optimize their performance.  He stated, "The bob and skeleton athletes have a real chance at several medals this time and that makes it quite exciting to be a part of.  This is the culmination of four years of development."

Another story in the February 10, 2006 St. Petersburg Times also reports on a local chiropractor, Dr. Sage Campione, who has been chosen to be one of 15 American chiropractors representing the chiropractic profession at the winter games.

These stories highlight the fact that many athletes see chiropractic as a way to increase their chances of winning while decreasing their chances of injury or lost time.  The articles did note that prior to the official recognition of having chiropractors directly as part of the staffs at the games, many athletes went to chiropractors on their own.

The PRNewswire article concludes by pointing out just some of the athletes that have relied on chiropractic.  They noted, "The roster of Olympic athletes who have benefited from chiropractic care is truly impressive. Star performers such as Derek Parra, Carl Lewis, Greg Louganis, Willi Banks, Edwin Moses, and countless other greats from previous Olympics have taken advantage of chiropractic in order to get a leg up on their competition."



Primary Care Near Collapse in US

The above statement sums up the headlines of a Reuters article by Maggie Fox appearing January 30, 2006. The article is based on a statement by the American College of Physicians (ACP) who warn that, "Primary care is on the verge of collapse." In a statement by that organization they continue, "Very few young physicians are going into primary care and those already in practice are under such stress that they are looking for an exit strategy."

Dr. Bob Doherty, senior vice president for the American College of Physicians wants more focus on health instead of what they call, "just-in-time" care. He highlighted the problems with an example, "Medicare will pay tens of thousands of dollars...for a limb amputation on a diabetic patient, but virtually nothing to the primary care physician for keeping the patient's diabetes under control."

Income also plays a part in the decline of Primary Care physicians.  The ACP statement noted that, "Primary care physicians -- the bedrock of medical care for today and the future -- are at the bottom of the list of all medical specialties in median income compensation."

The ACP is calling for a number of reforms.  One of those reforms includes using e-mail to consult on minor and routine matters. This would free up more expensive office visit time for when it is needed. The group is then suggesting that doctors be compensated for any e-mail consultations.

Many believe that the chiropractic profession has offered an avenue of wellness care long sought after in medical primary care. In response to these articles International Chiropractors Association Executive Director Ronald M. Hendrickson stated, "The massive decline in the availability of primary care medical physicians will force the system, and encourage the consumer, to look at other approaches to health and other care pathways.  The ICA Executive continues, “The chiropractic profession offers a powerful, proven and highly cost-effective resource, since doctors of chiropractic are well-trained and exceptionally well equipped to provide drugless, non-surgical care that can contribute significantly to the prevention, early intervention and the natural resolution of the health care needs of millions.”



Antidepressant Poses Risk to Unborn Baby

This February 8, 2006 USA Today article starts off with a grave warning to pregnant women, "Women who take a common type of antidepressant during the second half of their pregnancy are about six times more likely to give birth to a baby with a rare but potentially fatal heart and lung condition."

The problems come from drugs called SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil.  The potential problem is a rare but serious situation called PPHN: persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. Normally, the rate of PPHN is one or two per 1000 babies.  The recent study shows the rate of this problem to rise to 1 in 100 in women taking these antidepressants late in their pregnancy.  PPHN kills up to 20 percent of babies and half the survivors are left with serious abnormalities

The study, prompting the alarms, is published in the February 9, 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.  Lead author on the study, Christina Chambers, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Departments of Pediatrics and Family and Preventive Medicine at UCSD noted that the risk of incidence of these problems are higher in women taking these antidepressants. She states, "Based on our findings, we estimate that six to twelve mothers per thousand who use an SSRI after 20 weeks’ gestation, are likely to deliver a child with PPHN."

Dr. Sandra Kweder, deputy director of the office of new drugs at the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research commented, "This appears to be a very well-conducted study and we find the results to be very concerning." 

In an unrelated study published in the February 2, 2006 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, it was determined that almost one-third of infants born to mothers using SSRI antidepressants at or near term experienced withdrawal symptoms known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS.  In other words these infants are subject to withdrawal symptoms.  This syndrome is characterized by high-pitched crying, tremors, and sleep disturbances.  The authors of the study also note, "The long-term effects of prolonged exposure to SSRIs, particularly in neonates who develop severe symptoms, have yet to be determined."



Chiropractic Care Beneficial for Chronic Neck Pain According to Study

A new study published in the February 2006 issue of the scientific periodical the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT), shows that patients with chronic neck pain benefit from chiropractic.  The authors start off by noting that neck pain is, "a very cost-demanding health problem."  The study was performed at the Scandinavian College of Chiropractic in Stockholm, Sweden.

In this study patients with complaints of continuous neck pain during the previous 3 months were considered chronic and accepted for participation in the study.  Of all those participating, the patients were divided into two groups.  One group was a control group with no chiropractic care while the other group received chiropractic.

The same outcome measurements were used on both groups to be able to compare the results. A follow up assessment was done on all patients at the time of the initial consultation and then a second time at the end of the 5-week study period which was 2-4 days after the conclusion of the treatments for the patients in the treatment group.

The assessments were done to review three areas, symptoms, cervical range of motion, and head repositioning accuracy. Head repositioning accuracy, (HRA) is a test that measures the ability of the neuroarticulomuscular system to reposition the head in a neutral posture after active movements.

The results showed that for two of the areas tested, the group that received chiropractic care on average showed improvement.  With respect to pain, after the intervention, the chiropractic group showed a significantly lower degree of pain intensity. The results of the testing for head repositioning (HRA) were even more impressive, where significant improvements in all aspects of HRA were seen for the group that received chiropractic care. There was however, no perceivable difference in the groups relative to range of motion at the conclusion of the study.

The researchers noted, "The results of this study suggest that chiropractic care can be effective in influencing the complex process of proprioceptive sensibility and pain of cervical origin."  In other simpler words, chiropractic helped for people with long standing neck pain.



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