January 2006


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Neck Pain Helped by Chiropractic - Study Shows

A pilot study published in the December 2005 scientific journal, Clinical Chiropractic, from the European association, The College of Chiropractors, showed that chiropractic helped subjects in the study with neck pain.  The study starts off by noting how common neck pain is by pointing out that more than 70% of people in the developed world will experience neck pain at some point in their lifetimes.

In this pilot study, the 21 people who completed the study, were divided into two groups for study. One group was those who had neck pain for less than 7 weeks and the other consisted of those with chronic neck pain of more than 7 weeks duration. Outcomes were measured for values such as pain, disability, and perceptions of improvements in quality of life, as well as levels of anxiety and depression. 

The 21 patients who completed the study all received a regime of chiropractic care.  The number and frequency of visits were determined by the clinical decision of the individual practitioner rendering care to the study subjects. A standardized outcome measurement was made using a scientific method called the Bournemouth Questionnaire (BQ) for neck pain.

The results showed that in the acute group, those with neck pain for less than 7 weeks, all the subjects experienced a decrease in pain with 6 of the 7 reporting a significant improvement. In the group with chronic neck pain of longer than 7 weeks, all but 2 experienced improvement. Most of that group had significant improvement, while one reported no change and one was worse at the end of the study.

The acute neck pain patients were usually suffering from more severe pain than were those with chronic pain.

Researchers summed up the results by stating, "The results demonstrate a positive effect for chiropractic on symptoms of neck pain. The more chronic the presentation, the more treatments were required to achieve asymptomatic status."



People Check the Internet Before Their Doctor for Health Information

An original investigation published in the December 12, 2005 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that more patients are looking for information on the Internet before talking with their physicians.  Lead investigator Dr Bradford Hesse from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, stated, "The context in which patients consume health information has changed dramatically with diffusion of the Internet, advances in telemedicine, and changes in media health coverage."

The information for this report came from the Health Information National Trends Survey in which 6369 persons 18 years or older were polled by telephone.  Of those polled, over 63% had used the Internet, of those 63.7 percent had used the Internet to find health information. The report did note, however, that patients still trust the information they get from their doctor more than what they find on the Internet.

Some doctors see this flood of information as a problem creating more questions.  Dr Hesse, noting that doctors are spending more time reviewing information that patients bring them from the Internet suggested, "Ongoing attention may be needed to adjust reimbursement policies for time spent with patients interpreting printouts, for accommodating shifts toward informed and shared decision making, for steering consumers to credible information sources, and for attending to the needs of those who fall through the cracks of the digital divide."

The most encompassing statement of the study comes from the introduction where the authors said, "The environment in which patients consume medical and health information has changed dramatically during the past decade. Rapid diffusion of Internet technology within the public sphere has placed an unprecedented amount of health information within reach of general consumers."



Cough Medicine Doesn't Work, May Harm Kids

The above headline comes from Fox News and is just one of the many stories appearing in the press based on new guidelines published by the American College of Chest Physicians in the January 2006 issue of their journal Chest.  The guidelines were also endorsed by the American Thoracic Society and the Canadian Thoracic Society.  In a January 9, 2006 USA Today story on the guidelines, it was reported that nearly 30 million Americans visit doctors for coughs each year.

Richard D. Irwin, MD, guidelines committee chair and professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, stated, "There is no clinical evidence that over-the-counter cough expectorants or suppressants actually relieve cough."  Dr. Irwin also noted, "Over the Counter cough medicines have been shown to have a strong placebo effect, and coughs due to colds eventually go away on their own."

The recommendations concerning children were even stronger. “Cough and cold medicines are not useful in children and can actually be harmful." stated Irwin.  He continued, "In most cases, a cough that is unrelated to chronic lung conditions, environmental influences, or other specific factors, will resolve on its own."

The Fox News article reported that there have been very few studies done on over-the-counter cough medicines. They also pointed out that most of the studies were conducted decades ago and involved narcotic products containing codeine. 

William Brendle Glomb, MD, a pediatric lung specialist who helped write the guidelines said, "There are big holes in the scientific literature, and this is one of them. These products just haven’t been studied."



Iron Man Chiropractor Beats Osteoporosis

A story of one mans triumph over adversity appeared in the January 07, 2006 issue of the Pennsylvania publication, The Record Herald. The subject of this article is Dr. Keith McCormick, (right) a chiropractor who himself suffers from osteoporosis. The story starts off by noting that the 51 year old McCormick was once an Olympic caliber athlete, who knows that because of his condition an accident on his bicycle could shatter every bone in his body.

Dr. McCormick is well aware of his situation as he states, "I was an Iron Man competitor, Olympic athlete, a young male with no risk factors - not your typical osteoporosis patient. I was 45 and had the skeleton of a 100-year-old woman.”

In his drive to push himself, McCormick was not satisfied with the medical status quo concerning his situation. "Anything I do I go all out ... I'm not going to rely on someone else. They just wanted to give me medicine. I wanted to find out why (this happened) and fix it the right way."

In his extensive study of osteoporosis, McCormick admitted that he may have been the cause of his own problem, "I studied osteoporosis endlessly for two years. I came up with theories about why I have it and I'm trying to correct it.  It's very complicated - bone physiology is incredibly difficult and involved - in a nutshell, it came from overtraining."

Prior to finding out about his condition, McCormick training for his first Iron Man competition in 1982 was described as hard core.  He trained an average of 35 hours a week which included an average 450 miles a week on his bicycle.

Dr. McCormick's new knowledge concerning his problem did not weaken his drive, but did temper his new training regime with some wisdom.  "This time I rested more and I had an impeccable diet - no sweets, lots of fruits and vegetables and nothing too high in protein which can lead to calcium loss. My whole way of attacking dietary nutrition was an aspect I paid more attention to. I realized it's important that if I train I need to fill my cup afterward."



Adjusting Animals

From the online news, TheReporter.com of Vacaville California, comes a story of a chiropractor caring for a quarter horse named Barbie, (seen right in photo by Brad Zweerink from The Reporter).  As the story is told, a couple of years ago, Antionette Staniewicz noticed her blonde-haired quarter horse didn't saunter as vivaciously as she once did. 

The story reported that Staniewicz had tried a veterinarian to no avail when she decided to call Dr. Troy Stevens. Dr. Stevens is a chiropractor who had completed a 200-hour course and is now certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association.  Dr. Stevens is one of the few chiropractors who is certified in California to care for misaligned spines of animals as well as humans.

Dr. Stevens, whose animal patients are primarily horses, dogs and cats, notes, "The philosophy and principles in animal and human chiropractic is the same, except we're vertical and they're horizontal."

While standing on a Styrofoam block, Dr. Stevens noted that his care often helped horses with symptoms such as lameness, shortened strides and general lethargy.  The story noted that his ability to help animals with these conditions often baffles veterinarians. 

Dr. Stevens noted that many times the results with animals are better than with humans.  He stated, "You get faster results with equines and dogs (than with humans) because they don't have all the stress between their ears."



The Age of Autism

The above is the title of a December 14, 2005 UPI article written by senior editor Dan Olmsted who weighed in on the ongoing debate on Autism and the connection with vaccinations.  Olmsted starts off by noting, "This was the year Big Media pitted parents against experts over whether vaccines cause autism -- and decided the experts are right. But they may have forgotten to ask an embarrassingly obvious question."

The article notes that there has been a growing surge of information and publicity suggesting that vaccinations are related to the huge increase in the incidence of Autism. Much of this information has appeared on the Internet and has fueled much debate.  Recently, a large media blitz from the medical community struck back stating that there was no link between vaccinations and Autism.

Olmsted, in his article points out one glaring shortfall in those who try to state that there is no connection. He points out that there has never been a study comparing the rates of autism in a group of children who have been vaccinated verses those who have not been vaccinated.  He stated, "We were surprised we couldn't find comparisons between real-live American kids who've gotten vaccines, and those who haven't. Officials say such a study would be hard to do, in part because so many kids are vaccinated that you couldn't find a "control group" of kids who aren't."

The article notes that there are groups of never-vaccinated children who could be compared to vaccinated children. These groups include the mostly unvaccinated Amish as well as children from home-schooling families.  In true journalistic fashion Olmsted reviewed these groups in an admittedly non scientific manner, and found that there was very little Autism in these groups. 

Olmsted concludes his article by saying, "Maybe 2006 will be the year journalists ask them about the autism rate in never-vaccinated American kids. That would be the question of the year."



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