Newsletter Archives > ChiroPlanet.com Monthly Health Newsletter: December 2010 Health Newsletter

December 2010 Health Newsletter


Current Articles

» Americans Pay Dearly for Health Care
» Pilot study reveals interesting data
» Taking Probiotics Eases Cold and Flu-like Symptoms in Children
» Chiropractic Care Benefits 40-Yr. Old Sufferer of Meniere's Disease
» Chiropractic Care Helps Child With Chronic Sinusitis to Regain Olfaction
» Survival Tips for Standing in Line This Holiday Season
» Study: Starting with Chiropractic Saves 40% on Low Back Pain Care
» Low Dose Aspirin Reduces Cancer Risk
» Medical Errors Kill 15,000 Patients Per Month

Americans Pay Dearly for Health Care

   Study ranks U.S. health care system the worst among 23 countries.

 Despite spending 16% of its Gross Domestic Product and double the median on health care expenditures compared to any other country in the worldthe United States recorded the lowest score among 23 countries whose health care systems were evaluated in a report published by the Commonwealth Fund. The Commonwealth Fund is an internationally renown private foundation established in 1918 that finances independent research on health care issues while issuing grants for projects designed to stimulate innovative health care practice and policy in the United States and other industrialized countries.

The U.S. health care system received a score of 66 out of 100 in the study which also concluded that by improving its health care system, the U.S. could save at least $50 - 100 billion in health care spending while preventing 100,000 to 150,000 deaths over a calendar year. The low score was attributed to the poor quality of life that the U.S. offers its patients — rated the worst of those reviewed.

This is yet another reason why people are recommended to have a daily regimen that includes exercise, a proper diet and a healthy mental outlook — combined with regular chiropractic care which allows the incredible human body to operate efficiently…a maintenance and preventive care program.

We’ve all read and heard about ‘overweight America.’ Combine an unfit society with a poor health care system and you have a recipe for disaster. The Commonwealth Fund report also gives the U.S. health care system failing grades regarding the prevalent overuse (and sometimes unnecessary duplication) of expensive medical services, a breakdown in communication and coordination among health care providers and an overall uneven quality of medical services provided.

It get worse. The United States scores 15th out of 19 developed nations on easily preventable deaths, like heart attacks, where timely medical care is crucial. We also had the highest infant mortality rate. Moreover, the study found that only 49% of Americans receive preventive care, and even privately insured patients or patients with Medicare don’t necessarily enjoy better life-saving services. And for good measure, only a quarter of U.S. doctors computerize their patient files or keep digital records of written prescription.

Makes you want to go outside and start jogging, doesn’t it? Our nation’s health care system is in the hands of our elected officials. But, you can do something that will have a positive impact on your long-term health. Change the way you live. Maintain optimum health while preventing future concerns. The Commonwealth Fund’s report is pretty clear. Our care system is not healthy — so while it’s always best to stay fit, the importance is magnified while our nation searches for a cure to our health care woes.



Author: Maggie Fox
Source: Reuters, September 20, 2006
Copyright: Maggie Smith 2006


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Pilot study reveals interesting data

   Short-Term Enhancement of Creative Thinking

following a Chiropractic Adjustment

A recent article in the Chiropractic Journal of Australia reported on a pilot study involving the responses of ten subjects to a single chiropractic adjustment and how it affected their creative thinking. Creativity is the ability to generate ideas, "both novel and useful (or influential) to a particular social setting."

Interview responses of the subjects post-adjustment indicated 7 of the subjects elicited new directions in  real-world creative tasks and six of the subjects reported renewed energy towards a creative project as well as improvement in their performance on the alternate uses test.  The procedure for the alternative uses test is to write down as many uses for an object as possible during a ten minute period. For example, naming all the different ways you could use a newspaper was one of the questions used, as was naming all the different ways you could use a chair, followed by naming all the different ways you can use a shoe.

Once testing was completed, each subject was assessed for subluxation, which has been defined as: "A complex of functional and/or structural and/or pathological articular changes that compromise neural integrity and may influence organ system function and general health."  Following the assessment, a chiropractic adjustment was administered.  The adjustment has been defined as, "A maneuver in a specific vector, velocity, intensity of force and point of application that is intended to assist the body in restoring normal tone by correction subluxation in whole or in part."  Following the adjustment, another version of the alternate uses test was administered and participants were interviewed two to eight days later.

Taken as a whole, the results indicated improvement in real world creative tasks during the two to eight day period after the adjustment, which is very exciting.  Naturally, due to the small size of the study, these conclusions must be considered preliminary, pending verification by future studies.

Author: Masarsky CS, Todres-Masarsky M
Source: Chiropractic Journal of Australia; Vol. 40. No. 2 2010:57
Copyright: Masarsky CS, Todres-Masarsky M: 2007


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Taking Probiotics Eases Cold and Flu-like Symptoms in Children

 Double-blind, placebo-controlled study has promising results

A recent article in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics reported on a study involving 326 children, ages 3 to 5, who participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled test of the effects of probiotics on cold and flu-like symptoms.  

Dr. Baranski, D.C. and Dr. Emen, D.C. follow health and wellness issues closely in professional journals and other publications.  People often think of chiropractors in terms of treating neck and back pain, but many chiropractors are involved in all aspects of patients' health and well-being, including proper nutrition and illness-preventative measures.

In this particular study, children in the study group were assigned at random to get one of three planned dosages.  One group received just a placebo, or common sugar pill with no therapeutic value.  A second group got a single probiotic dosage, and the third group got a combination probiotic dosage.

The study participants received their allocated dosage twice a day for six months.  They were then analyzed to determine both the incidence of cold and flu-like symptoms during the test period, as well as the duration of such symptoms.  In comparison to the placebo group, those children who had taken the single-strain probiotic had a 53% reduction in fevers, a 41.4% reduction in coughing, and a 28.2% reduction in rhinorrhea, or runny nose.  The combination-strain probiotic group fared even better.  The incidence of fevers was reduced by 72.7%, coughing by 62.1%, and rhinorrhea by 58.8%.

The study also measured the duration of cold and flu-like symptoms in the study group, and, once again, there was a marked improvement for those children using some form of probiotics over the placebo group.  The single-strain probiotics usage resulted in a lesser duration of symptoms by 32%; the combination-strain usage caused a 48% reduction in the duration of the symptoms.  The study also concluded that children getting some form of probiotics had less need to take antibiotics during the test period and also were absent much less from nursery school or other group child care facilities.

Although this is just one study, more studies are needed before any absolute conclusions can be drawn.  Further updates will be posted regarding this research topic. 

Author: Leyer GJ, Shuguang L, Mubasher ME
Source: Probiotic Effects on Cold and Influenza-type Incidence and Duration in Children,
Copyright: Leyer GJ, Shuguang L, Mubasher ME 2009


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Chiropractic Care Benefits 40-Yr. Old Sufferer of Meniere's Disease

 Vertigo, 'ringing in the ears,' and hearing loss resolved

Meniere's Disease was first identified as a specific ailment back in 1861 by Prosper Meniere, a 19th-century French doctor who served as chief physician at an institute for deaf-mutes.  His studies there led to his specialization in diseases of the ear.

Meniere's disease, or MD, is thought to affect one in 1,000 people, or about one-tenth of one percent of the world's population. Both sexes are affected equally, and the Caucasian race seems to be affected more than any other. MD's onset usually occurs between the ages of 20 and 50.

In this particular case study of a 40-year old female, the patient had been diagnosed with MD and had a 3-month history of vertigo and a 16-month history of tinnitus, which is often characterized as "ear-ringing" by lay persons, in her left ear.  She also showed a low frequency hearing loss. According to the case study report, which was published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, the patient underwent a course of chiropractic [care] consisting of spinal manipulative therapy in the cervical and thoracic spine, soft-tissue trigger-point therapy, home ice therapy (as needed), and cervical spine rehabilitation exercises.

The patient's initial course of chiropractic care consisted of three visits per week for two weeks.  After just two weeks, her tinnitus was resolved and her vertigo was much improved. The patient continued with chiropractic care on a less frequent, maintenance program, and her MD continued to remain under control.

This study represents a very preliminary level of findings, and much more research is needed, but the results should offer some encouragement for people suffering with the symptoms of Meniere's Disease. 

Author: Peter C. Emary, D.C.
Source: Peter Emary, DC
Copyright: Peter C. Emary, D.C. 2010


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Chiropractic Care Helps Child With Chronic Sinusitis to Regain Olfaction

 A child's sense of smell is restored

A recent article published in The Journal of Pediatrics, Maternal and Family Health reports the case study of an 11-year old female patient who had been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis and who had lost her sense of smell for one year. 

The child's mother indicated that her daughter had been undergoing "escalating medical and pharmaceutical recommendations" and that she wanted to explore more conservative options for helping the youngster.  The girl's symptoms included a persistent stuffy nose with concomitant difficulty in breathing and a lack of smell, even when her sinuses felt clear.

Loss of olfaction, or the sense of smell, is a common occurrence with the condition known as sinusitis. The inflammation associated with sinusitis and the build-up of mucus in the nasal cavity restricts the functioning of our olfactory cells.

In the case of this 11-year old, the mother wanted to try chiropractic care as a way to avoid using the drug regimen usually prescribed.  The examining chiropractor found the existence of cervical and sacral subluxations in the child's spine.

A subluxation is a misalignment of the spine that disturbs normal nervous system function.  Many chiropractors, including Dr. Baranski and Dr. Emen, have technology that allows them to conduct non-invasive thermal and Surface Electromyography (sEMG) tests to assist in locating where such conditions exist.

The patient underwent chiropractic care, including spinal adjustments.  After the first adjustment, olfaction returned for six hours, as reported by the mother.  After the second adjustment, this improvement lasted for 12 hours.

Two weeks after beginning chiropractic care, the patient was seen by her medical doctor, who noted a marked change for the better in the physical appearance of her sinuses.  Chiropractic care was continued, and elimination of the subluxations and full restoration of the child's sense of smell was obtained after just three months.  The patient and her parents decided to end all medications, and elected to continue chiropractic care on a periodic basis to monitor subluxations and obtain adjustments as necessary.  The child's restoration of her olfactory senses has continued without interruption for more than four years.

Obviously, this is just one case study.  More studies are needed before any absolute conclusions can be drawn. But this is an important step in helping patients to understand the options that are available to them in their health care.

Dr. Baranski and Dr. Emen's chiropractic practice features the InsightTM Subluxation Station.  This technology is certified by the Space Foundation, a non-governmental agency founded in cooperation with NASA.  The Insight has been used by 8,000 chiropractors worldwide to measure nervous system health and performance.

If you are experiencing chronic sinusitis and would like to schedule thermal and sEMG tests, please feel free to contact our office for an appointment. 

Author: D.T. Heagy, A. Canty
Source: The Journal of Pediatrics, Maternal and Family Health, September 14, 2009
Copyright: D.T. Heagy, A. Canty 2009


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Survival Tips for Standing in Line This Holiday Season

The holiday season is here and with it comes lots of reasons for good cheer…but it can also bring added demands and stress for our bodies. Whether you're shopping for presents, waiting to pick up the perfect dessert or checking out a holiday performance, chances are you'll spend a good deal of time standing in line this season.  The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) offers the following tips to help you avoid muscle cramps, neck stiffness and back pain while waiting in line.  First, dress the part. If you're planning to spend the day shopping or strolling around town checking out the holiday displays, wear comfortable, supportive shoes—not high heels. It's also a good idea to dress in layers so that you will be comfortable going from outdoors to indoors, and vise-versa. And leave huge shoulder bags at home; bring only those items that are necessary for your day—wallet, keys, cell phone—and consider carrying a fanny pack or a backpack rather than a one-shoulder purse.  Once you're actually in line, there are several stretches that you can do to keep your legs from cramping and your back from aching. Start with your toes and work your way up:

  • Spread your toes out as wide as you can and hold for a few seconds and then bring them back to neutral.
  • Stand on one foot while you rotate the opposite ankle and then switch legs.
  • To stretch your calves, lean forward on your toes keeping your legs straight.
  • Bend your knees a little bit, just 5 to 10 degrees, and then straighten them.     
  • Tighten the muscles in your thighs and bottom and hold for 5 seconds and then release.
  • Tuck your butt underneath while sticking your bellybutton out then switch and stick your butt out. This pelvic tilt can be a very small movement, but it is great for taking the pressure off your lower back.    
  • Roll your shoulders backwards several times and then push your shoulder blades together to stretch out your chest.    
  • Open your hands as wide as you can and then gently close them.    
  • In addition to stretching, shift your weight and alter your stance every 3 to 5 minutes to give your body a postural break.

Author: American Chiropractic Association
Source: American Chiropractic Association. November 03, 2010.
Copyright: American Chiropractic Association 2010


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Study: Starting with Chiropractic Saves 40% on Low Back Pain Care

A new study finds that low back pain care initiated with a doctor of chiropractic (DC) saves 40 percent on health care costs when compared with care initiated through a medical doctor (MD), the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) announced today. The study, featuring data from 85,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield beneficiaries, concludes that insurance companies that restrict access to chiropractic care for low back pain treatment may inadvertently pay more for care than they would if they removed such restrictions. Low back pain is a significant public health problem. Up to 85 percent of Americans have back pain at some point in their lives. In addition to its negative effects on employee productivity, back pain treatment accounts for about $50 billion annually in health care costs—making it one of the top 10 most costly conditions treated in the United States. The study, “Cost of Care for Common Back Pain Conditions Initiated With Chiropractic Doctor vs. Medical Doctor/Doctor of Osteopathy as First Physician: Experience of One Tennessee-Based General Health Insurer,” which is available online and will also be published in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, looked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee’s intermediate and large group fully insured population over a two-year span. The insured study population had open access to MDs and DCs through self-referral, and there were no limits applied to the number of MD/DC visits allowed and no differences in co-pays. Results show that paid costs for episodes of care initiated by a DC were almost 40 percent less than care initiated through an MD. After risk-adjusting each patient’s costs, researchers still found significant savings in the chiropractic group. They estimated that allowing DC-initiated episodes of care would have led to an annual cost savings of $2.3 million for BCBS of Tennessee. “As doctors of chiropractic, we know firsthand that our care often helps patients avoid or reduce more costly interventions such as drugs and surgery. This study supports what we see in our practices every day,” said ACA President Rick McMichael, DC. “It also demonstrates the value of chiropractic care at a critical time, when our nation is attempting to reform its health care system and contain runaway costs.”

Author: American Chiropractic Association
Source: American Chiropractic Association. November 16, 2010.
Copyright: American Chiropractic Association 2010


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Low Dose Aspirin Reduces Cancer Risk

British researchers have discovered long-term low dosage aspirin consumption appears to be successful in reducing the risk of many types of cancer. In their study reviewing more than 25,000 individuals from previous trials, cancer deaths during the trials were 21 percent lower and 25 percent lower after 5 years post trial in those taking low dosages of aspirin. The most significant cancer reduction for those taking low dose aspirin was that of gastrointestinal cancer where death rates were 54 percent lower after 5 years. Findings indicated the cancer benefits increased with duration of aspirin consumption. Although aspirin consumption has an associated risk of stomach bleeding, given these new findings researchers suggest healthy people could consume 75 mg of aspirin daily from the age of 40 to 45 through to 70 to 75 years of age. After 70 to 75, the increase risk of bleeding may become too great.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 7 December 2010.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2010


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Medical Errors Kill 15,000 Patients Per Month

The U.S. government has reported an estimated 15,000 elderly U.S. patients die each month in hospitals due to medical errors and unavoidable problems such as hospital infection spreads. In addition, an estimated 13.5 percent of hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries experienced adverse events during their hospital stays. According to the report, “Hospital care associated with adverse and temporary harm events cost Medicare an estimated $324 million in October 2008.” Clearly, mistakes and adverse events are occurring at an alarming rate and are also associated with an extreme financial cost. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for the public to know the degree of medical errors made at different hospitals and which may be safer. Best bet - Do all that you can to become and remain healthy!

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Reuters. November 17, 2010.
Copyright: ProfessionalPlanets.com LLC 2010


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