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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.