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.”

Italy Recognizes Chiropractic, Establishes Chiropractic Licenses

In releases from the Italian Chiropractic Association (Associazione Italiana Chiropratici – AIC) on January 13, 2008 and the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) on January 9, 2008, comes the news that Italy has joined the countries in Europe that officially recognize and license chiropractors.

According to the ICA on December 21, 2007 chiropractic was recognized by the Italian Parliament as a primary health care profession. This concluded a long battle for this status by the chiropractors and their patients in Italy. The first law proposal for professional recognition in Italy was made 17 years ago.

According to the official AIC news release: “The amendment (which got chiropractors licensure) was presented by Senator Luigi Lusi from the Margherita party of the majority, who almost single-handedly guided it out of the Senate’s Budget Committee and assured its acceptance by the Senate itself.” This victory came in the face of what the AIC called, “…extensive lobbying attack on the part of the Italian Medical Association, who was trying to monopolize non-conventional medicine through their own legislation.”

“The entire world of chiropractic salutes the Associazione Italiana Chiropratici on this historic milestone for chiropractic,” said ICA President Dr. John Maltby. “We at the ICA deeply respect and appreciate the efforts of all involved and offer our most sincere congratulations.” He continued by saying, “Our colleagues in Italy can now move forward to build chiropractic to even greater levels in that historic nation with official recognition having been secured. Their efforts have added significantly to making chiropractic a truly global profession.”

Chiropractic Rated Highest In Satisfaction For Back Pain In Consumer Reports Study

In April 2009 Consumer Reports released the results of a patient survey study, that will be published in their May 2009 paper edition, showing that chiropractic rated highest among patients in satisfaction of relief of back pain. Results of the study were reported on in several news articles including an April 6, 2009 WebMD article and an April 8, 2009 CBS news story.

The survey noted that 80% of US adults report having back pain some time in their life. Of those responding to the survey chiropractic received the highest grade with 59% saying that they were “highly satisfied” with their results. Physical therapy and acupuncture rated second and third with 55% and 53% respectively. In comparison, satisfaction with medical specialist and primary care medical physicians rated only 44% and 34% respectively.

CBS News medical expert Dr. Jennifer Ashton commented that the results of this study reflect what she is seeing in her practice. She noted that back pain is the most common ailment in the country and it is difficult to treat. Dr. Ashton stated that her patients are looking elsewhere, “They’re staying away from things like medication, prescription drugs and surgery.” Dr. Ashton also warned against a “quick fix” to get rid of the pain. She noted, “A lot of times that’s prescription narcotics, which is actually probably the worst thing for you.” She also warned, “Surgery is another option, but one that should be used as a last resort.”

American Chiropractic Association President Glenn Manceaux, DC, responded in a press release, “For the treatment of back pain, few options are better than chiropractic. As shown in this latest survey, chiropractic spinal manipulation is an evidence-based and effective treatment for low-back pain and other musculoskeletal injuries. Coupled with the high levels of patient satisfaction, patients should turn to chiropractic as their first choice.”

Dr. John Maltby, President of the International Chiropractors Association added, “For well over 100 years chiropractors have been seeing a large number of patients suffering with back problems. And although chiropractic does not directly treat the pain, we do work to correct the underlying structural and neurological problem that in many cases is causing the problem. This study shows what we have known for a long time. Chiropractic get results and helps people lead normal and healthier lives.”

Migraine Sufferers Helped By Chiropractic Reported In News Stories

Several news stories appeared in the general press citing cases of migraine sufferers being helped by chiropractic care. One such story appeared on the June 7, 2007, one in the June 6th Times Plus of Wisconsin and still another on the June 4, 2007 Boston channel 2 news. These stories noted that migraines affect nearly 28 million people and cost an estimated $13 billion a year in reduced productivity.

One of these stories describes the plight of Pam Delrosso a woman who suffered from debilitating migraines for 25 years. Ms. Delrosso described her life with migraines by saying, “My quality of life just went downhill. I’d be in bed for days on end.”

A second migraine sufferer, Adriana Grassi was a personal trainer who was very much into physical fitness. She describes her passion for fitness by saying, “This is my job, my career. I love doing what I do. I think I can help people change their lives.” Unfortunately, Grassi’s career almost came to an end due to the onset of migraines. She remembers, “I had a problem training my clients because I had terrible migraines. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t even see, sometimes, the light.”

According to the two stories both women went to neurologists, both had MRIs, CAT scans, and both were given a variety of medications. In both cases, medical care did not work. Fortunately, both women turned to chiropractic care.

Both articles report that the two women underwent a form of chiropractic care known as Orthogonal Chiropractic. According to Dr. Ryan Alther, a chiropractor interviewed for these stories, “Ortho meaning 90 degrees. We’re trying to get the skull 90 degrees to the atlas, which is the top vertebrae, and the atlas at 90 degrees to the rest of the neck.” Dr. Alther explains that when the head and neck are not at right angles, it can cause nerve interference and alter blood flow, resulting in severe headaches, neck and back pain.

For Pam Delrosso the results from chiropractic care were life changing. She states, “They don’t devastate me like they did before. I’ll get an occasional headache — maybe once a month, every 2 months. It goes away in an hour and it doesn’t put me in bed for three days.”

Adriana Grassi also had a life changing experience because of her chiropractic care. The articles note that she’s been headache free for months. She commented, “I would definitely say it’s a miracle.”

Antibiotics To Bear New Warnings

Antibiotics soon will bear a big new warning that overusing them makes them less effective. From the February 6, 2003 release of the Associated Press Health News, comes the news that antibiotics will soon carry a new warning message mandated by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The new action was prompted because it has long been known that antibiotics have been drastically overused. According to the AP story, the new warning says that doctors must be sure a patient is suffering a bacterial infection, not a virus with similar symptoms, before prescribing antibiotics. The article notes that all too often, doctors prescribe antibiotics for children with earaches caused by viruses, or for adults with colds or viral coughs.

Antibiotics have no effect on viruses; they only fight bacteria. However, the US government estimates that half of the 100 million antibiotic prescriptions written in physician offices each year are unnecessary.

One of the reasons that the FDA action has become so important is that bacteria are growing increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Many common infections no longer are treatable with old standbys like penicillin, and some have become untreatable by every antibiotic on the market. Anytime antibiotics are used, survivor germs can emerge stronger and spread. It is the overuse of antibiotics that has lead to the increased resistance by bacteria.

The FDA proposed the new warnings two years ago. They will go into effect Feb. 6, 2004. Unfortunately, the warnings would be only on the drugs’ official label, and the AP story reports that very few doctors read drug labels. Because of this the FDA is working on additional ways to spread their concern over the use of antibiotics, including future ads aimed at consumers.

Blind Man Suddenly Sees Again After Visit To Chiropractor

Several news stories appeared on TV and online about Doug Harkey, a man who regained his eyesight after a chiropractic adjustment. Two of the stories appeared on January 11, 2008 in the Telegraph Herald from Dubuque Iowa, and KCRG-TV news from Cedar Rapids Iowa. (Click here to read TV news story and to play video)

Doug Harkey, a 38-year-old resident of Dubuque Iowa, was legally blind in his left eye for 12 years. As he reported it, “I woke up one day and I didn’t have vision in one eye.” Being legally blind did not limit Mr. Harkey’s ambitions as the stories reported that he did parachute out of a plane in 2006.

Doug Harkey’s fiance, Gina Connolly was going to a chiropractor, Dr. Tim Stackis, and convinced Doug to attend a new-patient class. Harkey admited, “I was skeptical about chiropractic”. However, in spite of his skepticism, the stories note that on January 3, 2008 Doug received a chiropractic adjustment, and his world was changed.

Harkey recalled the events after that adjustment, “My blind eye starting watering after I left there and it watered for 45 minutes straight. It started making my good eye water. I went to wipe my right eye and I could see out my left again.” His enthusiasm continued as he remarked, “While I wiped my right eye, I could see out of my left.” He then told a friend, “Oh my God, I can see!”. To which his friend responded, “You always could.” Harkey then exclaimed, “No, out of my LEFT eye!”

Dr. Stackis explained in an interview, “I’ve heard of cases of people regaining their sight, but I’ve never experienced something like Doug’s magnitude. Miracles can happen and some of those miracles are pretty big.” He continued his explanation of what happened by noting that some of the bones in Mr. Harkey’s neck were out of alignment (subluxation), “That interferes with the messages and energy the brain sends down to the rest of the body.” Dr Stackis continued, “Your nerve system controls and regulates every function of your body,”

Harkey concluded his remarks and summed up the situation and optimism for his future by saying, “I’ll have everything back except my peripheral vision. In the daytime, it will be great to see everything

Intestinal Infections May Kill 300 Per Day In Hospitals

A November 11, 2008, report from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, (APIC) suggests that there could be more than 7,000 infections and 300 deaths in U.S. hospitals on any single day from the drug resistant intestinal bacteria clostridium difficile, also called C. difficile. Several news publications ran stories on November 11, 2008 based on this report including the Chicago Tribune, MSNBC, and ABC News.

The stories note that as many as 13 out of every 1000 hospitalized Americans were infected with the C. difficile bacteria. This number is between 6.5 to 20 times higher than previously estimated. The infections are being blamed on overuse of antibiotics and improperly cleaned hospital rooms.

Dr. William R. Jarvis, the study’s lead author commented, “Hopefully this will be a wake-up call about the importance of preventing this organism.” He also noted that the incidence may actually be higher than his study suggests. He said, “Not only is it under-recognized and not tested for, but even when it’s tested for, you have a 25 percent chance you’re going to miss it.”

Epidemiologist Dr. L. Clifford McDonald, the CDC’s expert on C. difficile, said, “It’s important data that confirms that there’s an awful lot of this, that’s the bottom line.” He noted that the high use of antibiotics is a key factor in the spread of such resistant bacteria like C. diff. “We’ve long been encouraging the public not to demand antibiotics as a solution to all of their problems,” McDonald said. “This brings it home to roost, doesn’t it?”

Dr. Stuart Johnson, an associate professor of medicine at Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research, voiced his comments to the Chicago Tribune article by adding, “This confirms what many of us have suspected: that this is a very widespread problem in virtually all hospitals.”

Dr. Jarvis concluded the ABC News story on this problem by saying, “I think it’s a combination of factors. One is that we know that our population is aging, and elderly patients are at the highest risk. We know that antibiotic use is increasing, that’s a risk factor for this. And we know that there’s been the introduction of a more virulent strain, which was first recognized up in Montreal, Canada, in Quebec.”

Chiropractic Adjustments For Children With Acute Otitis Media

A recent study published in the March 29, 2004 peer reviewed journal, The Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, (JVSR), showed that chiropractic adjustments had a positive effect on children with acute ear infections. In the study 21 children were examined. All these children showed acute inflammation in the inner ear with a red and bulging tympanic membrane accompanied by an increased mean oral temperature of over 100 degrees F.

The results of the study showed that after the chiropractic adjustments, the red and bulging tympanic membrane returned to normal in 95% of the children and a decrease in average oral temperature to 98.6 degrees F.

A similar story also appeared on the website of the television station, WIS TV news on March 30, 2004. That story featured a four year old girl Taylor, who went to see a chiropractor for ear infections. According to her mother Taylor had been suffering with about eight ear infections a year. Her mother noted that after two chiropractic adjustments, she hasn’t had one ear infection in nine months, “This has been a big great help for us.”

The news report ended with the following, “Besides ear infections another study found chiropractic care helps babies with colic. The study reports children cried two hours less after having adjustments than those who received the standard drug treatment.”

Back To School And Backpack Safety

Several news stories and articles have appeared speaking to the issue of backpack safety in school children. One article from the Aug. 1, 2007 issue of the Okeechobee News starts off by noting that backpacks can be purchased anywhere, but very few people ask about the construction of these packs. The article suggests that parents ask the following questions. “How wide are the shoulder straps? Does it disperse weight evenly? Does the bag have a waist belt to disperse weight to the hips?”

The Okeechobee News article reports that according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), there are more than 21,000 backpack-related injuries each year. The article notes that increased weight is a major issue. The result, as they suggest, is that, “This increase in weight can be correlated to an increase in children seeing chiropractors.”

On July 12, 2007, the California publication, The Acorn, also published a story on backpack safety. In this story they quote Dr. Gerard W. Clum of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress who advises, “Backpacks weighing more than 15 pounds that are slung over a shoulder produce an imbalance in the rib cage.” He continued by saying, “This type of repetitive strain can also initiate arm and hand numbness, headaches or backaches.”

The July 20, 2007 Toledo Free Press also ran a story on backpacks where they offered tips by the American Chiropractic Association to “help prevent the needless pain that backpack misuse could cause the students in your household.” These tips included:


  • Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 10 percent of his or her body weight.
  • The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline.
  • A backpack with individualized compartments helps in positioning the contents most effectively.
  • Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps.
  • The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack fits to your child’s body.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child’s teacher.


Chiropractic Pediatric Guidelines Published

On September 13, 2005, Medical News Today published the announcement of the creation of chiropractic guidelines for pediatric care. The guidelines “The Child Patient: A Matrix for Chiropractic Care” was originally released as a supplement to its peer-reviewed Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics (JCCP) Vol. 6, No.3, 2005.

The release is noteworthy in two respects. This is the first time guidelines such as these have been published with parameters establishing the necessity of chiropractic care for children of all ages. But additionally, since these guidelines were published as a supplement to a scientific, peer reviewed journal, the medical news outlet “Medical News Today” picked up the release and published it in their general release available for all physicians and the general public.

Dr. Joan Fallon, Board of Directors member of the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) and past chair and current Executive Committee member of the ICA Pediatrics Council stated, “The foundation of chiropractic care is the presence of subluxation.” She continued, “For children, subluxation manifests itself differently than in adults, and also may occur as a result of multiple non- pain producing activities especially in the very young child. The Matrix closely examines the presence of subluxation in the child with respect to their anatomy, physiology and development.”

Dr. Lora Tanis, Chairperson of the ICA Pediatrics Council noted the importance of these guidelines by stating, “This is an invaluable contribution to the profession and to the public at large because for the first time we have a published document that explains why infants and toddlers need chiropractic care and how the need and/or frequency of care relates to birth trauma, immune system maturity and developmental milestones along with any abnormal, congenital, traumatic or acquired injuries the child may have.”