March 2006


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Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Addresses Chiropractic Symposium

On March 4th, 2006 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a long-time chiropractic supporter, addressed a group of around 200 Doctors of Chiropractic at the 14th annual International Chiropractors Association (ICA) Symposium on Natural Fitness.  The event is held each year in conjunction with the Governor's own bodybuilding and fitness event, the Arnold Fitness Weekend.

In his appearance at the ICA event Governor Schwarzenegger spoke to the group of professionals on a number of issues including his most recent mishap on a motorcycle.  In his candor he admitted that after the accident he had been suffering and in some pain.  He then sought the help of a long time friend Dr. Franco Columbu.  Dr. Columbu is a chiropractor and a former champion bodybuilder, having won numerous bodybuilding championships including the most coveted Mr. Olympia in 1975, 1976, and 1980.

Mr. Schwarzenegger told the chiropractic audience, “As Governor, you have a chance every day to help people. This is what we have in common…We are friends of chiropractors because chiropractors are dealing with health, fitness, strength and energy…That’s what chiropractors are all about, helping people, to make them strong and fit and get their lives back together. So here we are for fourteen years, holding interesting meetings, working together, learning from each other, and I just wanted to tell you how proud we are of all of you, and how happy we are that we have joined together in this great program.”

Governor Schwarzenegger also spoke about his own personal experience with chiropractic, telling the audience that after his recent and much publicized motorcycle accident, “ Even though on screen I am the robot, the mechanical man, in reality I am also vulnerable and I have my accidents; and you probably heard about my motorcycle accident…my head was thrown forward and I had stitches on my lip…but you know your neck and back afterwards are sore, and I went to the chiropractor who fixed me up and it was really bad for a few days and I couldn’t move; and he gave me just three adjustments and I was perfectly fine after that. So I just want to say that I love your profession.”

Governor Schwarzenegger concluded his talk and then took the time to pose for individual pictures with each of the doctor's present. His ongoing support of chiropractic is evident as he continues to make a point of being present for the chiropractic event even though he has cancelled most of his other appearances during the Fitness Weekend since becoming governor of California.

The Arnold Fitness Weekend is the largest family fitness festival in the world. This year's weekend hosted more than 30 events, drew over 120,000 spectators and featured over 15,000 athletes, which is more than six times the number present at this year's Winter Olympics.



Study Suggests Low-Fat Diet Does Not Cut Health Risks

A series of studies characterized as "revolutionary" seem to show that low fat diets do not reduce the health risks from diseases such as Breast Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, and Cardiovascular Disease.  This shocking news was reported in the February 8, 2006 issue of the New York Times, and was originally published as three separate but related studies in the February 8, 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA).

These studies were part of a very large US federal study costing $415 million and included  49,000 women ages 50 to 79 who were followed for eight years.  The researchers reported that those assigned to a low-fat diet had the same rates of breast cancer, colon cancer, heart attacks and strokes as those who ate whatever they pleased.  The results of this study shocked not only the medical community, but even the researchers themselves.

Dr. Jules Hirsch, physician in chief emeritus at Rockefeller University in New York City, who has spent a lifetime studying the effects of diets on weight and health, stated, "These studies are revolutionary. They should put a stop to this era of thinking that we have all the information we need to change the whole national diet and make everybody healthy."

Dr. Michael Thun, who directs epidemiological research for the American Cancer Society, chimed in on the validity of this large study by classifying this study as,  "the Rolls-Royce of studies", and saying, "We usually have only one shot at a very large-scale trial on a particular issue."

According to the New York Times the study investigators agreed that low-fat diets to the public to reduce their heart disease and cancer risk was no longer justified.

There are however, opponents to the study. Dr. Dean Ornish, a longtime promoter of low-fat diets and president of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, disagrees and stated that the women in the study did not reduce their fat to low enough levels or eat enough fruits and vegetables. He also argued that the study, even though eight years long, did not give the low fat diets enough time to show effect.

Barbara V. Howard, an epidemiologist at MedStar Research Institute, a nonprofit hospital group, and a principle investigator in the study, said, "We are not going to reverse any of the chronic diseases in this country by changing the composition of the diet. People are always thinking it's what they ate. They are not looking at how much they ate or that they smoke or that they are sedentary"

At the end of the New York Times article, Dr. Nanette K. Wenger, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta summed up the findings by saying, "What we are saying is that a modest reduction of fat and a substitution with fruits and vegetables did not do anything for heart disease and stroke or breast cancer or colorectal cancer."  She then placed this in context by adding the comment, "It doesn't say that this diet is not beneficial."



Scoliosis Helped in Clinical Case Studies

Published in the January 12, 2006 issue of the scientific journal, Chiropractic & Osteopathy from Australasia, comes a report of a series of case studies documenting chiropractic helping multiple cases of idiopathic scoliosis.  In this report three documented case studies are followed and the results reported after chiropractic care.

Idiopathic scoliosis is the most prevalent form of scoliosis and occurs to some degree in approximately one half million adolescents in the US.  Scoliosis is a bending or curvature of the spine.  The term idiopathic means that the origin is unknown.

In this report the three subjects each had uniquely different situations.  The first subject was a 37-yr-old female who came to a private spine clinic with a chief complaint of neck and back pain.  Her history included surgical spinal fusion and implantation of a Harrington rod against her spine.  The second subject was a 30-yr-old male who also went to a private spine clinic with a chief complaint of chronic mid thoracic pain. His history included scoliosis and a previous diagnosis of Scheuermann's Disease.  The third subject was a 23-year-old female who presented with neck and mid-back and shoulder pain.

The subjects in this study were noted as having curvatures measuring 35°, 22°, and 37° respectively.  These curvatures were measured using the "Cobb angle" which is a standard technique used to measure the severity of a spinal curve - in degrees - from spinal x-rays.

The chiropractic care consisted of a 12 week period of adjustment and home care treatments. These were followed up by post-treatment x-rays and examinations in order to evaluate the progress. The results were measured using the Cobb angle method and the measurements were compared to the Cobb angles recorded at the beginning of care. 

The results in these cases all showed improvement. The patient with an initial 35° Cobb angle showed a 13° reduction after the 12 week period.  The patient with the initial 22° Cobb angle showed an 8° improvement, and the patient with the 37° initial Cobb angle, showed a decrease of 16° over the 12 weeks. 

The researchers noted that this study was small, and they said that the findings suggest the need for a larger controlled study.  They concluded, " Given the perceived results of the cases outlined here, it is worthy of future investigations in such cases."



Chiropractic Mission to India Helps Thousands

A feel-good story appeared in the March 8, 2006 issue of the Gwinnett Daily Post of Georgia that reported on a mission to Shivpuri, India to render chiropractic care to the people of that area.  The story noted that in the span of 10 days, the American team of four doctors and 19 interns estimates they cared for about 5,000 people, totaling 10,000 visits

Included in the mission was Dr. Dennis Rattiner, pictured right, of Lilburn Georgia who was on his second mission to India.  The mission began when Dr. Louis Leonardi, a chiropractor in Atlanta, went to the Indian town to study a form of local meditation called “agnihotra.”  In an attempt to thank the community, Leonardi set up a chiropractic table and offered free adjustments. The article reported that each day the lines grew longer until Leonardi called Rattiner and other chiropractors to assist him.

Also present on this mission for the first time was chiropractic student intern, Maria Raimondo.  Raimondo was one of 19 students from Life University in Marietta and Parker Chiropractic College in Dallas, Texas who were along on the trip.  She commented, "Chiropractic is a foreign concept to people anyway and trying to communicate even through a translator was difficult."

Although Raimondo tried to mentally prepare herself for the trip, the story notes that she was not prepared for the culture, or conditions of the patients who came for help.  She said, "What we saw were different mentalities, clothes, beliefs and it was so overwhelming and yet eye-opening."  The patients from the Indian village of Shivpuri and surrounding areas were suffering from ailments such as polio, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, diabetes, neurological conditions, stroke, pain syndromes, migraines and degenerative disc disease.

In commenting on comparing his most recent trip to the first time he went to India on a chiropractic mission Dr. Rattiner commented, "One big difference (between this trip and the last one) was there was a lot more media attention. Indian politicians and the media were interested in finding out how chiropractic could be a part of the Indian culture.”   He summed up what he liked best about the experience, "The best part for me as a chiropractor was not only seeing amazing miracles at my hands but this time I was able to give the experience to the student."



Chiropractor at Bethesda Medical Center Takes Care of Congress and Supreme Court

An interesting article appeared on the March 1, 2006 CNN.com health website, that came from the CNN partner MedPageToday.com.  The story is of a Chiropractor, Dr. William Morgan who is the first chiropractor to receive hospital privileges at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland.

The story starts of by saying, "When a Supreme Court justice is nursing an aching back or a senator has a crick in the neck, Dr. William Morgan is the man they may call for help."  Dr. Morgan is not new to the military. His history noted that after high school, he joined the Navy where he received training as a hospital corpsman, He was assigned to a Marine Corps reconnaissance unit and a Navy special warfare unit. 

After his time in the Navy, Morgan did not know what career to follow.  That is where fate seemed to step in.  The story notes that he found a career after he injured his back.  "For months I tried traditional treatments and had no relief," he said. "Finally, when I could barely walk, I went to a chiropractor. I was 90 percent better in just a week."

His experience led him to attend chiropractic school and he received his Doctor of Chiropractic degree. After school he started his chiropractic career with a three-month missionary team in western Africa.  He then practiced for 13 years in California when he heard that the National Naval Medical Center was looking for a chiropractor. He commented, "From my time in the Navy I knew that Bethesda was a world-class medical center and that working there would be something very special."

With his history in the military, and his desire to serve at Bethesda, Dr. Morgan packed up his family and moved to Maryland, where he became a contract employee of the U.S. Navy.   Since then he has enjoyed his time of being the chiropractor to many government officials.  Dr. Morgan concluded the article by saying, "I have the best job in the hospital and I get immediate gratification for what I do. When people come to me they are at the end of the line. They have tried everything and nothing worked. So, when I try something and it works, I am gratified."



Chiropractic Helps Patients With Acute Back Pain and Sciatica with Disc Protrusion

A new study from Italy published in the March issue of The Spine Journal, showed that chiropractic care was effective in helping patients with acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion.  This randomized double-blind clinical trial involved 102 ambulatory patients with at least moderate pain or radiating pain, who had an MRI study showing disc protrusion.

The patients were divided into two groups.  One group received chiropractic adjustments 5 days per week by experienced chiropractors, with a maximum of 20 visits.  The second group received what the study termed, "simulated manipulations" in order to have a group for comparison to those receiving real chiropractic care.

The results showed that those who got the real chiropractic care improved significantly over the group that received the simulated manipulations.  In the group that received the chiropractic care, 55% were free of  radiating pain in the follow ups compared to 20% of patients who got the simulated manipulations.  Additionally, when measuring local pain, 28% of those who received real chiropractic were free of local pain, versus only 6% of those who got the simulated manipulation.

The results also showed improvements in days of pain with the group that received the real care reporting 6 less days of pain than those in the simulated care group.  In addition to these benefits the group with the real care reported using less medications to help with the pain as a result of the chiropractic care. 

In this study none of the patients in either group had any adverse effects, and one from each group did report no results at all and were listed as "treatment failures".  The researchers conclusions were, "Active manipulations have more effect than simulated manipulations on pain relief for acute back pain and sciatica with disc protrusion."



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