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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."
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."
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."
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 WIStv.com, 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 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.