July 2001 Issue

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In this issue:

Hollywood Stunt Performers Credit Chiropractic 

Hollywood stunt performers who depend on their physical abilities are giving credit to chiropractic for their ability to be at their best. Recently in an article in the 06/20/2001 issue of USA Today Health, appeared a report from the World Stunt Awards, where many of Hollywood's top stunt people credited chiropractic with their ability to continue on.  One stunt person,  Jill Brown, the winner for best fall said, "I'd like to thank my chiropractor.  I'm not joking. I couldn't do what I do without him."  

Hal Needham, known as the "king of stuntmen", (pictured right) also chimed in by saying, " Just about everybody I know has been or regularly goes to the chiropractor.  Nowadays, everybody takes care of their bodies better than we used to — they're in excellent physical shape."  Needham has broken 56 bones in a career that has spanned 310 films and more than 4,500 TV episodes. Actor Burt Reynolds, also a chiropractic supporter, praised Needham's ability by saying, "Nothing stops him — there is only one Hal Needham.  I'm just not sure how many pieces of him are left."

"Stunt work is incredibly taxing on the body," says Dr. Bruce Hall, a chiropractor who practices in North Hollywood. "And there's an unwritten rule that if you get hurt doing a stunt, you take care of it yourself — so I treat stunt men and women every day in my office."

"I go every week or at the very least twice a month," says Jeannie Epper-Kimack, who at 60 still performs stunts and can be seen in the upcoming films Spiderman and Rush Hour 2.  After performing stunts for 51 years, Epper-Kimack, who was Lynda Carter's double on Wonder Woman, is in remarkable shape and partially credits chiropractic.  "I've gotten some stitches, but I haven't broken a bone yet," Epper-Kimack says. "I'm not sure if it was luck, talent or God, but staying fit and aligned is certainly part of it."


Fevers in Children, a Normal Healthy Response

For years parents have worried about their children getting fevers.  And for years many authorities, including most chiropractors have said that fevers were a normal response of the body to certain situations.  Now several health publications such as Mothering Magazine, WebMD and Reuters Health have reported in several 2001 issues about how fevers are a normal part of a child's defense system.  However, according to a study in the June 2001 issue of the journal Pediatrics, parents fears and views about fevers have not changed significantly in 20 years.

The author of the study, Dr. Michael Crocetti of John's Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, described parents misconceptions by stating, "In some parents' minds, childhood fevers are linked to the risk of brain damage, seizures, and even death. And this fever fear may result in parents over-medicating their children.  These types of fears are most likely passed down from generation to generation,  and if you look back over the centuries, fever was thought to be the worst thing that could happen to you."

In the current study, Crocetti and his colleagues questioned 340 health care providers--including parents, grandparents and guardians--on their thoughts about childhood fevers and what to do about them. The researchers then compared their new findings with those from a similar study conducted 20 years ago.  They found that 56% of participants in the current study were "very worried" about the potential harm of fever in their children, and 44% mistakenly believed that a temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit was a "high" fever.

Paula Elbirt, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai Medical Center and School of Medicine, in New York says, "Fever is not a disease, it's a signal that the body is working to battle an invasion from bacteria or a virus.  Far from a sign that something has gone horribly wrong, a fever can actually be an indication that the body is actively fighting illness."  Dr Elbert elaborated by stating, "Fever signals the immune system to produce antibodies and, in fact, taking away a fever may even hamper the induction of the immune system to do its job.  It's not necessarily a direct horror show if you take the fever down, but the fever can have a positive function."  Elbirt concluded "Parents have to learn about the true meaning of fever and how to respond to it," "Fever is not 99° -- it's not even 100°.  It's over 100.4° in a newborn or over 101° in an older child."

The study also indicated that because of the fear of fever, parents and other caregivers are over-medicating children just because they are running a temperature. The research team found that 14% of parents gave acetaminophen and 44% gave ibuprofen at rates that were too frequent. "This practice increases the potential for toxicity from the medications," Crocetti added. He concluded, "It is going to take a real concerted effort on behalf of pediatricians and other healthcare providers to help parents understand what fever is and how to handle it."

Chiropractic Association Issues Gardening Safety Tips

In the International Chiropractors Association's (ICA) July 5th 2001 issue of the Chiropractic News Service appears tips and warnings concerning safe gardening related to spinal health.  Because of the emphasis on a healthy spine relating to a healthy nervous system and therefore overall good health, the ICA issued the gardening tips as a preventative measure.  The ICA release starts by saying, "The best preparation for safe summer gardening is a body properly conditioned and supported by exercise, good posture, and chiropractic care all year round.

The ICA went on to recommend a list of 10 “Do’s and Don’ts of Gardening” These guidelines are designed to help you garden safely. 

The ICA's Do’s and Don’ts of Gardening

  1. Warm up with light movement or a brisk walk to loosen your muscles and increase your flexibility. The smooth coordination of your muscles and ligaments is an important part of safe exertion in gardening and other activities.
  2. Know your strengths and limitations. Do not overexert, vary your activities, and take regular rest breaks.
  3. Avoid bending over repeatedly while standing upright when performing ground-level work like weeding. Get down closer to the task by kneeling or sitting on the ground or a gardening bench, rather than bending and twisting from the waist.
  4. Keep your back protected when you stand up from a sitting or crouched position. Rise up by straightening your legs at the knees, not by lifting your torso at the waist.
  5. Lift dirt and plants by letting your arms, legs and thighs carry the load: bend and straighten at the knees instead of the back and hips. Lift the load close to the body’s torso and center of gravity, and handle smaller, more manageable loads at a time.
  6. Use long-handled tools to give you leverage and help you avoid having to stoop while raking, digging, pushing or mowing.
  7. Switch hands frequently when doing prolonged raking, hoeing or digging actions. Repetitive motion on one side can bring on progressively serious joint imbalances and may produce postural misalignments and pain, including muscle spasms in the neck, shoulder and lower back.
  8. Don’t work too long in one position, especially one that is awkward or unusual. This can reduce circulation, restrict mobility, and promote strain injuries.
  9. Carry objects close to your body. Keeping the load close to your center of gravity reduces the risk of straining your neck and back.
  10. Don’t overexpose yourself to long periods in the sun. Utilize protective measures for your head and skin, drink plenty of fluids, and take frequent breaks.


Drug Advertising Debate Heats Up

The debate over Direct-to-Consumer Drug Ads, known as "DTCs" has heated up on several fronts as some in the medical profession and government see it as an expensive threat to consumer health, while others see it as the next step in consumer education.  In the July 2, 2001 issue of the AMA News, was a report from the recent AMA annual meeting where the debate raged on and the opinions varied.

Recently, an effort by many doctors to press the AMA to petition the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to ban DTC advertising failed.  Angelo Agro, MD, a New Jersey delegate from Voorhees who proposed a policy to ban DTC ads said. "We recognize that a ban is just not going to happen for all sorts of reasons. What we really want is some oversight with some real teeth."  Another dissenting  voice came from Dr. Fryhofer who stated, "Not only do we have to explain to our patients the nature of the medical problems that they have, but we also have to discuss why they don't need the drug that was advertised and what is the best option."

 Dr. Agro summed up his opinion by saying, "The public is not being given the whole truth. By its very nature advertising is biased, and it's compressed. We are not against information being brought to the patient, but we have a problem when it's biased, limited and brought about by multimillion-dollar organizations that have a profit motive only."

Even state legislature are starting to get into the debate. According to a report in Reuters Health Jun 27, 2001, "A handful of states have introduced bills this year to force pharmaceutical manufacturers to disclose what they spend on advertising and promoting their products to consumers."  State legislatures are not only concerned about the health implications, they are also concerned about the bottom line.  Legislation targeting direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising is part of a growing strategy that states are using to contain double-digit growth in drug spending.  According to the National Governors Association and National Association of State Budget Officers, prescription medication now represents the third largest expenditure in state Medicaid budgets.  Drug costs under Medicaid are growing about 18% annually nearly double the rate of growth in overall state Medicaid spending, they report.

This trend is reflected on a national basis where some of the largest increases in prescription drug utilizations have been shown over the last 5 years.  Currently drug companies spend approximately $2.5 billion per year on DTC ads.


Multiple Sclerosis Patient Helped with Chiropractic: A Case Report

In the May 2001 issue of the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research (JVSR) comes a Case Report study of a Multiple Sclerosis patient who was helped with chiropractic care.  According to the case report a 47-year-old female first experienced symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at age 44.  These symptoms included cognitive problems and loss of bladder control. She then went to a neurologist who diagnosed her with MS after viewing multiple lesions on MRI (MS plaques).  Two years later her condition worsened as she noticed additional symptoms of leg weakness and paresthesias in her arms and legs. Her condition progressively deteriorated without remission. At that point her neurologist categorized her as having chronic progressive MS and recommended drug therapy. 

At this point the patient decided to begin chiropractic care.  The patent's history also included a fall approximately one decade prior to the onset of her symptoms.  A chiropractic examination and x-rays were performed and it was determined that there was the presence of an upper cervical (upper neck) subluxation.  At this point regular specific adjustments were begun to correct the subluxation.  The patient’s progress was monitored through observation, patient’s subjective description of symptoms, thermographic scans, neurologist’s evaluation and MRI.  The patient continued to be cared for with upper cervical chiropractic care for two years.

The patient continued to have the chiropractic care, as well as check ups with the neurologist and MRI studies. After four months of chiropractic care, all Multiple Sclerosis ( MS) symptoms were absent. A follow-up MRI showed no new lesions as well as a reduction in intensity of the original lesions. After a year passed in which the patient remained asymptomatic, another follow-up MRI was performed. Once again, the MRI showed no new lesions and a continued reduction in intensity of the original lesions. Two years after upper cervical chiropractic care began, all MS symptoms remained absent.


Drug Company Found 80% Guilty of Murder

A jury in Wyoming found the British based drug company GlaxoSmithKline 80% responsible for a family murder - suicide committed by a patient taking a drug produced by the company.  The drug was was an anti depressant marketed as Praxil in the United States and Seroxat in Britain.  

According to the report published in the June 16, 2001 issue of the British Medical Journal, a 60 year old Wyoming man who was suffering from episodic depression but who was not showing any signs of homicidal or suicidal tendencies was prescribed the drug.  Several years earlier he was given Prozac, but was taken off the drug because he became agitated.  

In February of 1998 he was put on Praxil for mild depression.  Within several weeks he then went on his murderous rampage.  In the trial several experts were brought in to testify including Dr. David Healy, director of psychological medicine in Bangor, North Wales. Dr Healy testified that both his own research and the research of the drug maker GlaxoSmithKline both showed that a full 25% of healthy volunteers who were given this type of drug became "extremely agitated".  Dr Healy also testified that in his own studies of volunteers who were not depressed who were given these drugs that only 33% felt better while on the drug, while 33% felt worse, and 33% felt no change.  However, two previously non-suicidal and non-depressed volunteers became suicidal and depressed while on the drug.

The jury in the Wyoming case awarded the surviving family $6.4 million and found that the drug company was 80% responsible for the deaths.  This court decision is the first time that a drug company has been held responsible for suicidal and homicidal actions of patients who were using it's product. Representatives of GlaxoSmithKline said that they were surprised by the verdict and continue to state the drug is safe.  


Osteoporosis Less Likely in Men Who Jog

Researchers report in the July 2001 issue of American Journal of Public Health that men in their 30s who jog at least nine times a month develop a bone density that is at least 5 percent higher than that of men who jog less.  The study analyzed answers to questions in a health survey of 4,254 men, including 954 joggers and 3,300 who did not jog. The study included results of hip bone X-rays taken of each of the men to determine bone density. The researchers compared the findings from joggers with results from non-joggers.

Dr. Michael E. Mussolino, a researcher at the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention office in Hyattesville, Md. said the results showed, "The men who were jogging nine times a month were doing much better than those who were jogging only one to eight times a month,'' said Mussolino. ``Even those who jogged eight or fewer times a month had a higher bone density than those who did not jog at all." He also stated that the study shows that it does not require marathon-like running to build strong bones. "This shows that just a casual frequency of jogging is beneficial."

The National Institutes of Health estimates that about 10 million Americans now have osteoporosis and another 18 million are at risk of the disease due to low bone density. Eighty percent of these people are women. It is estimated that one out of every two women and one in eight men will break a bone as the result of osteoporosis within their lifetime. The report states that building dense strong bones in young adulthood is considered by experts to be an important hedge against osteoporosis, the brittle bone disease that generally develops in later years.