June 2001 Issue

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In this issue:

Breast Feeding Shows Additional Benefits for Mother and Baby

An article from the May 14, 2001 issue of WebMD showed unexpected additional benefits of breast-feeding to both mother and child.  The unique benefits had nothing to do with the known nutritional benefits already reported for breastfeeding. The basis for these claims were two separate studies done on breastfeeding.  One study showed that breastfed babies were more tolerant of pain.  The second study showed that the bones of teenage mothers who breastfed had a higher bone mineral density than teen moms who hadn't breastfed. 

The first of the two studies was conducted at Montreal Children's Hospital in Quebec, where researchers recruited 74 breastfeeding mothers of 2-month-olds.  In this study the babies were observed to see if breastfeeding had any effect on the child's ability to handle pain.  The results of this study showed that no matter what type of observation analysis was used, there was a reported 50% reduction in pain response in the children that were breastfed. The theory for explaining these results is that the sucking, the transmission of the milk, and being in contact with the mother, help to activate systems in the baby's body responsible for reducing pain.

The second study demonstrates a way teen mothers may benefit from breastfeeding.  Prior to this study it was commonly believed that women during breastfeeding lose bone mineral density and teen moms tend to lose more. Adult mothers typically regain the bone loss after weaning their babies from breastfeeding.  However, there was a concern about whether the bones of  teenage mothers -- who are still growing and developing -- could recover from the nutritional rigors of breastfeeding.  The results were surprising to researchers.  What the researchers found was that the bones of teenage mothers who breastfed actually had higher bone mineral density than teen moms who hadn't breastfed even after they took into account factors such as weight, race, diet, and exercise.


Case Study Shows Chiropractic Benefit for Spinal Stenosis

In the May 2001 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) is a case report of how chiropractic helped a patient with Spinal Stenosis.  In this study a 78-year-old man had low back pain and severe bilateral leg pains.  Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a condition resulting in narrowing of the spinal canal and pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. Degenerative changes are also common.  The patient commonly has chronic low back pain and unilateral or bilateral leg symptoms.

The patient in this study was a 78-year-old man with acquired degenerative Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. The onset was slow and progressive with increasing low back pain of 2 years' duration and progressively worsening bilateral anterior leg pain of 4 months' duration.  The patient described an "achy low back" pain with a belt-line distribution and an “electric,” “sharp,” and “crampy” pain along the front of the lower leg.  The MRI study of his lower back reveled a narrowing of the spinal canal.

In this case the man underwent an initial course of chiropractic care for a two week period during which significant changes were noted by the patient.  The conclusion of the case report demonstrates successful care of a patient with symptoms either caused by or complicated by central spinal cord stenosis.


Allergies Often Misdiagnosed

A new study finds that almost two-thirds of those who take allergy drugs don’t need them.  Dr. Sheryl Szeinbach of Ohio State University studied 265 patients taking allergy medications. The study found that 65 percent did not actually suffer from allergies. The consequences are that people who are misdiagnosed can waste as much as $80 a month for the prescription drugs, taking medicines they don’t need. Additionally, side effects from these medications can also be a factor while the medications these people are taking fail to relieve the real symptoms.

Dr. Beth Corn, an allergist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York says, “It's very obvious to anyone who practices in the field of allergy that there are many patients who walk around who are misdiagnosed.”  Dr. Corn tries to explain, “There’s also an incredible influence for marketing where patients will watch television and they’ll see commercials or they’ll be on a bus and they’ll see ads for medications and they want these medications.”

Patients with long-lasting or recurrent low back pain helped with chiropractic care.

The May 2001 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) carried a report of a study on the effect of chiropractic care on patients with recurrent or long lasting low back pain.  Numerous studies over past years have shown that chiropractic care was beneficial for patients with acute and short term back pain.  However, due to the difficulty of conducting a large study, research to show what thousands of chiropractors and their patients have known about help with long term back pain was scarce.  

A total of 19 Norwegian chiropractors participated in this study.  In all 158 patients were studied, all of whom fit the criteria of suffering from long lasting or reoccurring lower back pain for at least two weeks duration, with at least one previous occurrence in the previous 6 months.  All subjects could not have had any chiropractic care in the prior 6 months to be eligible to participate in the study.  Participants were questioned each visit to rate their progress as it relates to the pain.  

The results showed that approximately 50% of patients reported that they had “improved” at the 4th visit.  By the 12th visit, approximately 75% of the patients reported that “improvement” had occurred.  The study only recorded data for the first 12 visits so no data on additional benefits after 12 visits was available.  The researchers did conclude, "there seems to be a distinct recovery pattern among chiropractic patients with relatively long-lasting or recurrent lower back pain."  


Vaccines Largest Cause of Insulin-dependent Diabetes in Young Children

At a recent meeting of the American College for Advancement in Medicine, Dr. Bart Classen, an immunologist at Classen Immunotherapies, presented data providing proof that vaccines cause insulin-dependent diabetes.  The report of this meeting appeared in the May 14 PRNewswire.  Dr. Classen's presentation included data from a randomized clinical trial in Finland that showed that groups vaccinated with the hemophilus vaccine had a 17% increased risk of diabetes in a 10 year follow up study.  Even worse, further analysis of people receiving the newer, more potent, hemophilus vaccine indicated that these vaccines increased the risk of diabetes by about 25%.

Dr. Classen also indicated that from the data he found, common vaccines were not only causing insulin-dependent diabetes but a wide range of chronic diseases including autism, allergies, asthma, type II diabetes and many different autoimmune diseases.  Even more surprising was a poll that was taken of physicians at the meeting.  The attendees were polled to see if they agreed with Dr. Classen and his findings and were asked to raise their hand if they believed that vaccines can cause chronic diseases. The vast majority of the attendees agreed.  Dr. Classen's response to the poll was, "The poll clearly shows that our findings and the findings of others, which indicate vaccines cause chronic disease, is well accepted in the medical community.''


Increased Psychotropic Medication Use Causes Concern

The May 2001 issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine featured a study that showed a consistent increase of psychotropic medication usage in children and adolescents.  This study showed that prescription prevalence in school-aged children 6 to 14 years increased from 4.4% to 9.5% of the population for stimulants during the study period.

These alarming numbers lead to an editorial by Mark L. Wolraich, MD, also published in the same issue.  Dr. Wolraich, of the Child Development Center Vanderbilt University Medical Center South, opened his remarks be saying, "Are We Improving Mental Health Care or Drugging Our Kids?"  Numerous articles over recent years have shown a dramatic increase in psychotropic drug usage in children.  

Ritalin is probably the most widely used psychotropic drug for children.  Many health care professionals are recommending that other means be used instead of drugs like Ritalin. Several studies have shown that this drug is quite dangerous and can cause the following effects. 


Doctors See Flaws in Healthcare System

As reported by Reuters Health on May 08, 2001, according to the results of a national survey released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, more than 70% of healthcare professionals believe that fundamental changes to the US healthcare system are needed to improve the quality of care delivered to patients.  Even more drastic, another 11% of survey respondents said the system's quality flaws are so deep that a complete overhaul is needed to remedy them.

In the study, researchers asked 600 doctors, 400 nurses and 200 top-level hospital executives from around the nation about the quality of healthcare.  They wanted to know if the professionals considered healthcare safe, effective, timely, patient-centered, efficient and equitable.  In response 58% of those asked said that the quality of the US healthcare system is good or fair, while 2% said it is poor and forty-two percent said that the system had very good or excellent quality.

David Richardson, the executive vice president of Wirthin Worldwide, a New York-based research firm that conducted the survey said, "In almost any industry, this lukewarm self-assessment would be seen as a sign of serious shortcomings."

This issue became headline news in November 1999 when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report blaming medical errors for up to 98,000 deaths per year.   Donald M. Berwick, the president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement said, "Healthcare is in trouble. The quality is not what we need it to be and people in healthcare know that."