June 2006


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Chiropractor Key to Bonds' Power?

The above headline excerpt is from the June 10, 2006 "Giants Notebook" section of the San Francisco Chronicle. This story reports on Dr. Ron Mitchell, a chiropractor who travels with the San Francisco Giants baseball team as their team chiropractor.  The story starts by noting that Dr. Mitchell loves to watch Bonds hit home runs and during Bond's recent chase of Babe Ruth's record, Mitchell would stop adjusting, and run outside to see Bonds at bat. (photo by Agência Brasil)

Dr. Mitchell is present at the games adjusting players.  The story also notes that pitcher, Jason Schmidt, also loves to get adjusted and typically does so during the games to avoid the rush of other players who get adjusted before the games. Ironically, Dr. Mitchell missed both Barry Bonds' 715th and 716th home runs as he was in the clubhouse adjusting Schmidt.

The story noted that Jason Schmidt offered to halt the chiropractic session when Bonds was at bat chasing home run number 715, but Mitchell showed his dedication and responded, "No, let's do what we've got to do. Let's get you treated and get you ready."  The article reported that a few pitches later Bonds hit his 715th home run.  After missing seeing the historic home run Dr. Mitchell commented, "Schmidty looked and me and laughed, and I laughed, and we kind of blew it off and that was it."

It was a few days later when Dr. Mitchell was once again adjusting Jason Schmidt while Bonds was at bat that Bonds hit number 716. After this repeat performance all Dr. Mitchell could say was, "There goes the next one."

In typical baseball superstition, the players even joked about it saying that they were going to schedule Schmidt for an adjustment with Dr. Mitchell whenever the Giants are behind so that Bonds would hit a home run and win the game.

Even Barry Bonds himself found the situation amusing saying, "I'm going to have to get on the table with him." Jason Schmidt, however, felt bad having caused Dr. Mitchell to miss two historic sporting events.  Schmidt  commented, "I kind of felt bad. ... He takes a lot of pride on working on Barry, so I felt kind of bad he wasn't able to be out there at the time. He's been out there so many times, and it's like, it's not going to happen this time, so let's take our chances."



ADHD Drugs Send Thousands to Emergency Rooms

The above is a headline from the May 24, 2006 AP article appearing on ABC News Health website.  According to the story, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention released the first national estimates of this problem.  According to the CDC these drugs cause approximately 3,100 people to have to go to the emergency room each year. Of those the CDC estimates that nearly two-thirds are overdoses and accidental use.

The article notes that an estimated 3.3 million Americans who are 19 or younger and nearly 1.5 million ages 20 and older are taking ADHD medicines.  From the years 1999 to 2003 there were 25 deaths and 54 cases of serious heart problems, including heart attacks and strokes, that were reported to the US Food and Drug Administration, (FDA). Additionally, the CDC reported that in the 64 hospitals they monitored alone from August 2003 through December 2005, there were 188 emergency room visits due to these drugs. Researchers extrapolated these numbers to all U.S. hospitals resulting in an estimated 3,075 ER visits occurring each year.

The article noted that many of the incidents were due to children getting into parents prescriptions, but side effects such as cardiac problems, chest pain, stroke, high blood pressure and fast heart rate were also noted.

According to CDC epidemiologist Dr. Adam Cohen, other common symptoms from ADHD drugs include abdominal pain, rashes and spasms, and pain or weakness in muscles.



Elite Athletes Benefit from Chiropractic

From the May 19, 2006 issue of the Lawrence Journal-World from Lawrence, Kansas comes a story of a chiropractor, Dr. Michael Stuart, who has won the trust of some elite track and field athletes. One in particular is Justin Gatlin, who is the world’s fastest man.  According to the article, Gatlin, tied the world record in the 100-meter dash less than a month after getting his neck, middle back and lower back adjusted by the chiropractor.

Dr. Stuart started caring for Gatlin, Maurice Greene and other top notch athletes during the Kansas Relays. Director of the event, Tim Weaver is the one who facilitated Dr. Stuarts entrance into the event.  Weaver, a former track athlete, had been a patient of Stuart for over a year, stated the importance of chiropractic for these athletes by saying, “These athletes, their body is everything, and getting it to perform at a high level is everything."  He went on to stress how chiropractic helps the athletes perform, "They’ve taken their bodies to extremes and are doing things on the edge of what evolution is meant to do here in 2006. They’re constantly looking for things to keep their bodies moving, and this is another way to keep that engine fine-tuned.”

It was sprinter Maurice Greene who originally requested that Dr. Stuart come help him at the event.  According to the story, it was not long before word started to spread among other professional athletes that a chiropractor was around.

Weaver tells the story, “They liked him so much they brought him back the next day. He’s working on once and future world-record holders, and that’s of great value to the meet. It gives us the added respect, that the Kansas Relays takes better care of superstars than any other meet in the U.S.”

Dr. Michael Stuart, pictured left, with sprinter Justin Gatlin before the Gold Zone II competition at the Kansas Relays.



Antipsychotic Drug Use Among Kids Dramatically Increased

An AP story appearing on the May 3, 2006 InteliHealth website paints a disturbing picture of increased antipsychotic medication usage in children.  According to a study done by Medco Health Solutions Inc., the four years ending in 2005 saw an increased usage of antipsychotic medication in children by 73 percent. Additionally, a new class of these drugs known as "atypical antipsychotics" used primarily by people 19 and younger saw an increase of 80 percent over the same period.

The article did note that even with the dramatic increase in usage among the young, adults were still the overwhelming majority of those using these medications. In 2005, 85 percent of prescriptions for antipsychotic medications were for adults while only 15 percent were for children.

Dr. Amita Dasmanapatra, senior director of medical affairs at Medco noted that she believes that some doctors are prescribing the drugs for children with behavioral problems, which she believes would be better controlled by other means.  She stated, "Still, the sharp increase is noteworthy because the powerful drugs are for individuals with serious psychosis such as schizophrenia so there is some concern the medicines may not always be prescribed appropriately."

The article notes that the atypical antipsychotics aren't approved for use in children, but that nothing stops doctors from using them on children if they wish.



Over-the-Counter Drugs Carry Dangers

A story with wide impact appeared on the June 8, 2004 online InteliHealth website and ran at headline with a stern message that read, "A Dangerous Myth: If It's Over The Counter, It Must Be Safe".  The article, by Robert H. Shmerling, M.D. of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center starts off by noting how easy it is for anyone with a symptom to go to their local store and purchase an over-the-counter drug.

The article notes that, "there is no such thing as risk-free medication". They list some of the problems that can occur which include:

  • Wrong treatment for the problem - Taking the wrong over the counter medication for the set of self-diagnosed health issues.
  • Side Effects - All medications carry the risk of side effects. Some, in certain instances can be serious.
  • Drug interactions - They note that any drug, even over the counter drugs, can interact with any other drugs.  The results can be serious and unpredictable.
  • Worsening of existing illness - The article notes that sometimes nonprescription medications may cause a pre-existing problem to worsen.
  • Nonprescription medicines are often taken incorrectly - A common problem is when over-the-counter medicine is taken more frequently or in higher doses than recommended.
  • Duplicate medicines - Some over the counter medications are similar to prescription drugs and can cause overdoses when taken with them.
  • Unpredictable reactions - In this area the article notes, "Just because a medicine is available without a prescription does not eliminate the rare and unpredictable allergic reaction."

The author recommends caution.  He recommends that you "Read the fine print."  They also recommend, "Pay particular attention to warnings about conditions you might have that would make the medicine more risky."



Painkillers May Raise Risk of Heart Failure

From the May 22, 2006, Reuters Health comes a report of a study from Spain that suggests that common pain killers in the category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), carry an increased risk of a first hospitalization for heart failure.  Medications in the category include include over-the-counter analgesics such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

In this study Dr. Consuelo Huerta compared a group of individuals ages 60 to 84 who were hospitalized for heart failure to a control group.  Of those hospitalized for heart failure, fourteen percent of the heart failure patients were current NSAID users compared with only 10 percent of those not using the drugs. Researchers concluded that after ruling out heart failure risk factors, this represented a 30 percent increased risk of a first hospitalization for heart failure when using these drugs.

Researchers termed this as a "considerable public health impact."  Oddly, according to the study, the dose and duration of use of the drugs had no apparent effects on the rate of increased risk. The article notes that a history of heart problems greatly increased the risk factors of a first hospitalization due to these drugs. 

Researchers did point out that their findings corroborated others that showed that NSAIDs exacerbate heart failure symptoms.  However, they note that this new study adds the finding that NSAIDs increase the risk of hospitalization for heart failure in patients who do not have a history of heart failure.



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