Friday, May 22, 2009

Bad Research, Bad Bad Research!

The Wall Street Journal reported that a prominent Massachusetts anesthesiologist fabricated 21 medical studies that claimed to show benefits from painkillers like Vioxx and Celebrex, according to the hospital where he worked. .  This brings to light the problem with research that is funded by drug companies.
I remember many years back hearing one of my mentors, Dr. Patrick Gentempo talking about a research study stating that there is an overwhelmingly higher incidence of a positive outcome for a research project when it is funded by a pharmaceutical company (BMJ. 2003;326:1167-1170).  One report, a review of 30 studies, based on a MEDLINE search from January 1966 to December 2002 and an EMBASE search from January 1980 to December 2002, found that trials sponsored by a pharmaceutical company were four times more likely to show positive results for that company's drug than were studies funded by other supporters. This report was published in 2002 and evidently did little to curb the problem.

One of the biggest complaints M.D.s have with regard to Chiropractic is "Where is the research?"    Check out the list of peer-reviewed journals .  I guess the research done to condone the drugging of our society is not all that solid itself!  Bad research, bad bad research!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure says WebMD!

The above headline comes from a March 16, 2007 article on WebMD ( The article is based on a study done at the Hypertension Center at the University of Chicago Medical Center and published in the March 2, 2007 issue of the Journal of Human Hypertension.

In this study, 50 patients with hypertension were divided into two groups of 25 each. One group of 25 received a specific light force chiropractic adjustment (administered by a chiropractor) to the Atlas vertebrae (uppermost bone in the neck). The other group of 25 received a similar procedure but with no adjustment being given. Researchers called this procedure the "sham adjustment". Since the type of adjustment given was very light force, the patients involved in this study did not know if they were receiving the real or sham adjustments.

The results were surprising to even the medical researchers conducting the study. After 8 weeks of care the 25 people in the group receiving the real chiropractic adjustments all showed a significant reduction in blood pressure compared to the group that received the sham adjustment. Those patients who got the real adjustment showed an average of 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure count), and an average of 8 mm Hg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom blood pressure number) over those who got the fake or sham adjustment.

In his interview with WebMD, study leader George Bakris, MD commented, "This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination. And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems."

When they first analyzed the data, Dr. Bakris and his statistician had trouble believing the data. He noted, "When the statistician brought me the data, I actually didn't believe it. It was way too good to be true. The statistician said, 'I don't even believe it.' But we checked for everything, and there it was."

X-rays were used to confirm that the chiropractic adjustments actually changed the position of the Atlas vertebrae. Dr. Marshall Dickholtz was the chiropractor who performed the specific adjustments and commented in WebMD, "At the base of the brain are two centers that control all the muscles of the body. If you pinch the base of the brain -- if the Atlas gets locked in a position as little as a half a millimeter out of line -- it doesn't cause any pain but it upsets these centers."

Even with the overwhelming results, the authors of the study were cautious in their conclusions and posed several questions. They commented, "The mechanism as to why this improvement in blood pressure occurs is unknown and cannot be determined by this study”. They continued, “The data presented, however, raise a number of important questions including: a) How does misalignment of C1 affect hypertension?; and b) If there is a cause and effect relationship between C1 misalignment and hypertension, is malposition of C1 an additional risk factor for the development of hypertension?"