A study published in the June 2010 issue of The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, showed that people who used what the study called “Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)” received a “great deal” of benefit. Chiropractic was included in what this medical study defined as CAM care.
The study received attention in a number of news stories including an article in the July 4, 2010 Medical News Today, and in a June 30, 2010 Business Wire release by the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress. The study surveyed people who had suffered from back pain and had used at least one CAM therapy in the last 12 months. Of these participants the results showed that over 60% found remarkable relief using the top six CAM treatments. Those treatments were chiropractic care, massage, yoga/tai chi/qi Cong, acupuncture, herbal therapies, and relaxation techniques – with chiropractic care being the most popular choice.
The Medical News Today story reported that back pain is the second leading reason people walk into a doctor’s office in the U.S. The survey looked at a total of 17 CAM therapies choices. Of those, Chiropractic care was the most popular approach at 74 percent, with massage a distant second at 22 percent.
Dr. Gerard Clum, Foundation for Chiropractic Progress spokesperson and president of Life Chiropractic College West noted, “What we are seeing with these studies is compelling evidence that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for back pain sufferers more and more, that light is chiropractic care and other CAM approaches.”
One of the interesting findings of the study was that an overwhelming number of the people in the survey did not go to a CAM practitioner because of a referral from a medical doctor. In fact only 24 percent of respondents with back pain who received CAM stated that care came at the suggestion of their conventional medical practitioner.
In their study conclusion, the authors of the study stated, “CAM is used by 40% to 60% of the population yearly, and back pain is the most common medical condition for which people use CAM. Using a nationally representative survey, our analyses documented that the majority of respondents who used CAM for back pain perceived great benefit and identified specific factors associated with perceived benefit.”
In the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress release on the study Dr. Clum summed up the study by stating, “Back pain sufferers should be made aware of all treatment options, especially alternatives that have been scientifically proven to provide relief. While chiropractic care has in the past been considered alternative there is now a case to be made for making it the first choice for patients and in the process making interventions like injections and surgery the alternative approach.”
October 6, 1999 Reuters News reports on a story in the Journal of the American Medical Association on the benefits of fruits and vegetables. The study conducted at Harvard’s School of Public Health studied the relationship between fruit intake and the rate of stroke in over 75,000 women. The results clearly showed a decrease in stroke risk in those who had an increase in intake in the number of servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
On May 7, 2009 a story was run on the ABC affiliate, KSPR out of Springfield Missouri, which featured help for allergies through chiropractic. In this story Jami Lynn Lilly was an allergy sufferer who always had problems during the spring in Missouri. Her allergies would give her sinus problems and cause her eyes to water. She commented, “I get really bad sinus infections, for weeks I just look like I’m bawling all the time”
Jami finally decided to go to a chiropractor for her problem. After her first visit she reported improvement. She described the experience by saying, “He adjusted me one time for it, two three days my nose just drained and then I was fine after that.”
Jami’s chiropractor, Dr. Baca, was also interviewed in the news story and he raised an interesting question. “If there’s an allergy floating around out there what makes one person susceptible to it, when it doesn’t make all of us susceptible.” He then explained that the nervous system is the key. He stated, “Your nervous system controls every aspect of your body, including your immune system.”
The story noted that the nervous system is the master controller of the body. The spine protects the spinal cord thus protecting the messages that are carried over the nervous system. According to the article, Dr. Baca explained that, “If one of the vertebrae on your spine is out of place it could be putting pressure or irritating one of your nerves. Maybe the nerve that controls your sinuses, your head, your throat or your immune system.”
He further explained that this could be the reason why one person is susceptible to allergies while another in the same environment is not, “This person’s immune system isn’t functioning as well as this person’s immune system so it can’t fight the allergen off like it should.”
Jami explained that she never knew that chiropractic could help her allergies. She said, “I never knew it; I just came because my neck was bothering me.” The news story concludes by noting that. “Jami is a big believer now. She’s allergy free and passing the word on about allergies and chiropractic.”
The above headline came from a September 7, 2010 WebMD article, and was based on a study published on September 8, 2010 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In that study researchers showed that “The risk of most serious complications was not elevated in adults or children with 2009 H1N1 compared with recent seasonal strains.”
It has become obvious that the H1N1 flu scare was much less serious or wide spread than was initially declared by health authorities or the press. This study adds yet another piece of evidence to the growing speculation that the Swine Flu scare was grossly over exaggerated.
In a Medical News Today article on September 8, 2010 reporting on the same study, the authors noted that the results of this study showed that when compared to the seasonal (H3N2) flu, the H1N1, “was not linked to higher rates of hospital admission or pneumonia among children.” Additionally they reported that,” In adults, a similar picture emerged, with no significantly higher rates of hospital admissions or pneumonia for 2009 H1N1 swine flu than for seasonal flu.”
This study comes on the heels of a report released by the World Health Organization, and reported on by the CBC News out of Canada on August 12, 2010, disclosing that at least 6 of the 15 WHO advisors who were instrumental in the H1N1 pandemic declaration had conflicts of interest and ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
The issue is further complicated by the fact that in May of 2009 the WHO, after the urging of various nations’ health authorities, changed the definition of pandemic thus allowing the H1N1 to be declared a pandemic. It was after this declaration that billions of dollars were prioritized for the creation and production of vaccinations. Millions of these doses have gone unused and have since been destroyed.
Fox News and Reuters December 14th, 1999, reported that US employers were sweetening their health benefit packages in order to keep workers happy in this tight labor market. One of the things that have been added was chiropractic coverage. In 1999, coverage for chiropractic was offered by 78% of employer health plans. This represents a jump of 17% in that year alone. The study was conducted by a New York based consulting firm, William M. Mercer Inc..
A literature review of existing studies shows that chiropractic care is effective for patients suffering from chronic neck pain. The study, published in the scientific periodical, the March 2007 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, looked at 16 prior studies and put the data from these studies together to get a larger picture of results.
The results of this literature review were also picked up by several news outlets including the May 6, 2007 Medical-News.net and the May 3, 2007 United Press International. This review was very specific and did not look at cases involving whiplash, headaches, or arm pain. The reviewers only looked at scientifically sound cases that involved chronic neck pain.
Howard Vernon, DC, PhD, the review’s chief author and his colleagues found what they called “high-quality evidence” that patients with chronic neck pain showed significant pain-level improvements following chiropractic. They also found that in reviewing all these previous studies none of the groups studied remain unchanged, and all of the groups showed positive results in the first 12 weeks. Additionally, they noted that no trial reported any serious adverse effects.
The fact that all these different studies found the same results shows the consistency of chiropractic for these problems. Dr. Vernon commented, “The results of the literature review confirm the common clinical experience of doctors of chiropractic: neck manipulation is beneficial for patients with certain forms of chronic neck pain.”
The authors of the review noted that neck pain is a very common problem, second only to low back pain in its frequency in the general population.
Several articles appearing on February 9, 2009 reported that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued letters to companies that make opioid drugs, including morphine, oxycodone and methadone, requiring them to develop plans to reduce the misuse of their painkillers. These drugs include such commonly used drugs like OxyContin, fentanyl patches, methadone tablets and some morphine tablets. According to the articles these drugs are highly addictive and meant for usage in cases requiring round-the-clock pain management for patients with cancer and other serious chronic conditions.
One article in the New York Times noted that in an effort to reduce deaths and injuries from the improper use of these drugs, many doctors may not be allowed to prescribe them. According to an American Medical News article deaths from accidental overdose of these drugs among people age 15-64 has increased 83% from 1999 to 2005.
In the AMA news article, Scott Fishman, MD, past president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine stated, “The prescription drug abuse problem is enormous and … it seems to be getting worse. There’s a substantial role that doctors have in this, and we have got to understand that we have a responsibility to our patients but also to society.”
In an Associated Press article on the same issue, Dr. John Jenkins, FDA’s chief of new drugs added that the FDA has issued a number of warnings over the past few years. He stated, “Despite these efforts, the rates of misuse and abuse, and of accidental overdose of opioids, have risen over the past decade.” The article reported that about 21 million prescriptions for opioids were dispensed in 2007.
The above is from the title of an article published in the June 15, 2009 issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry. The study was also reported on in the June 19, 2009 issue of Medical News Today and on June 15, 2009, on WebMD. The results of this study suggest that children and teens who take stimulants like Ritalin for ADHD have a 4 time greater risk of sudden cardiac death.
The study compared sudden cardiac deaths in hundreds of children to the same number of children who had died in auto accidents and then looked at the percentage of those using stimulant medications. The results showed a 4 fold higher rate of sudden death for those taking the stimulant medication.
The study was initiated by the US Food and Drug Administration who asked a researcher, Dr. Gould, a professor of clinical epidemiology in psychiatry at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City, to investigate the safety of ADHD drugs after a handful of deaths were reported in children, starting in the 1990s. This study represents the first rigorous attempt to figure out whether there’s a real risk.
The New York Daily News also carried the story on June 18th 2009, but added the perspective of Dr. Gerry Clum, a chiropractor and president of Life Chiropractic College West in California. Dr. Clum commented that many young people with ADHD can benefit from chiropractic care. He stated, “A number of case reports have been published with chiropractic care and there has been a positive resolution in the severity of symptoms.”
From a January 7, 2010 article on Veterinary Practice News comes a warning for pet lovers about pets being poisoned by medications intended for humans. Justine A. Lee, DVM, DACVECC, associate director of veterinary services at Pet Poison Helpline reports that when it comes to pets being poisoned by medications, “they are unfortunately very, very common.”
Surprising to most people is that human medications are the most common type of poisoning that animals are exposed to. On the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website is listed the Top 10 Pet Poisons of 2008. The first item on the list is “human medications”. The ASPCA notes that, “For several years, human medications have been number one on the ASPCAs list of common hazards.”
The Veterinary Practice News article was more specific and listed the types of medications that are most commonly ingested by animals. These are:
NSAIDs (e.g. Advil, Aleve and Motrin)
Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol)
Antidepressants (e.g. Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro)
ADD/ADHD medications (e.g. Concerta, Adderall, Ritalin)
Benzodiazepines and sleep aids (e.g. Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta)
Birth control (e.g. estrogen, estradiol, progesterone)
ACE Inhibitors (e.g. Zestril, Altace)
Beta-blockers (e.g. Tenormin, Toprol, Coreg)
Thyroid hormones (e.g. Armour desiccated thyroid, Synthroid)
Cholesterol lowering agents (e.g. Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor)
The ASPCA reported that they receive over 50,000 calls per year on pets being poisoned by medications. They warn that, “Pets often snatch pill vials from counters and nightstands or gobble up medications accidentally dropped on the floor.”
The above is a portion of a headline from the October 27, 2006 issue of the United Kingdom publication the Telegraph. The article, and several others on the same subject, were initiated because of a report appearing in the October 28, 2006 issue of the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ). In the BMJ report, Dr. Tom Jefferson notes that many studies on flu vaccinations were of poor quality and showed evidence of bias.
Dr. Jefferson is the coordinator of the vaccines section of the Cochrane Collaboration, an independent group that reviews research and tests its validity. According to the Telegraph article Dr. Jefferson has analyzed the best available evidence showing the impact of vaccination on the population. He states, “I am interested in the gap between evidence and policy. I have looked at the facts. All I can say is that I have not found the evidence.”
After an extensive review of scientific studies available on Flu vaccinations, Dr. Jefferson found that up to the age of two, infants were no better off getting the vaccination than getting a placebo. Likewise, he also found that there was little evidence of benefit for older children as well. Contrary to common vaccination recommendations he could not find enough evidence of benefit for people with chronic chest problems, asthma and cystic fibrosis.
The report even points out the lack of consistent evidence in elderly populations. Dr. Jefferson noted the wide swing in statistics and attributes this inconsistency to biased reporting and inconsistencies in surveillance. In healthy populations, the BMJ report showed no evidence of need for Flu vaccine. The evidence showed among healthy people under 65 who received a flu vaccination, there was no effect on possible hospital stay, time off work, or death from influenza and its complications.
Dr. Jefferson’s report calls into question the aggressive vaccination policies and recommendations. The report noted, “The large gap between policy and what the data tell us (when rigorously assembled and evaluated) is surprising.” In concluding his report, Dr. Jefferson remarks on the common fear spread about Flu predictions which commonly make the general press and send masses scurrying to get their shots, “The optimistic and confident tone of some predictions of viral circulation and of the impact of inactivated vaccines, which are at odds with the evidence, is striking.”
As a side note, 28 news outlets reported on this finding from the BMJ. It is interesting to note that no mainstream US news outlets covered the story and only 3 news publications of any kind in the US even carried this story.