Chiropocalypse

By Phil Plait | June 10, 2009 9:40 am

The first panicky retreat in the war on free speech in the UK has begun.

As I wrote last week, the British Chiropractic Association is suing science journalist Simon Singh for saying that chiropractors practice "bogus" medicine. Instead of defending what they do with research and testing, they are acting to silence Singh and chill anyone else who may want to expose what they do.

This attack on free speech has been rippling outward over the past few days, and now there is an ironic twist: the McTimoney Chiropractic Association has strongly warned its practitioners to take down their websites and replace any information on their techniques with just brief contact information. Why would they do that?

Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors, we are now issuing the following advice:

The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research. The safest thing for everyone to do is [...] [i]f you have a website, take it down NOW.

Heh. Gee, why the heck would anyone want to make sure that a chiropractor — a person who will be futzing around with your spine — be able to substantiate their claims with (gasp) RESEARCH?

It’s very telling, isn’t it, that the McTimoney group isn’t telling its people to only stick with proven methods, but instead to take down any claims that might get them sued.

Interesting.

If you go to the McTimoney website, all it has now is a terse note with contact information, with no other information on the technique at all.

Interesting.

Of course, this being the web and all, the missing websites are archived and can be found online.

Very interesting!

And the word is spreading; this is on Quackometer, Sys-Con Media, and ChiropracticLive. You can expect to see it lots of other places soon as well.

Maybe the British Chiropractic Association and other such practitioners should have looked up the Streisand effect before acting. But then, "Ready, fire, aim!" is the mantra for a lot of groups like this.

The backlash has begun, folks. Let’s make sure it keeps going.

Comments (127)

  1. Saw this elsewhere.

    If it’s not on the Interwebs anymore, it doesn’t exist.

    Except it’s still on the Interwebtubes….

    J/P=?

  2. I think their rush to remove online information is ironic. After all, the web is how quacks get to sidestep the requirements for backing up their claims with evidence and one of their main tools in silencing critics…

    http://worldofweirdthings.com/2009/06/10/when-everybody-is-an-expert/

    And of course you’re absolutely right. Every website out there is cached and archived about 20 times over so every claim they made is always there for the world to see. It’s just harder to find.

    I wonder if their actions could be presented as evidence of wrongdoing in court, something like obstruction of justice statutes in the U.S.?

  3. David

    This has certainly made for a happier morning for me. Good to see the Streisand effect is alive and well on the tubes.

  4. Sc00ter

    The other nice thing is the part where they tell them to make sure that it’s clear that they’re a doctor of chiropractic and not an MD.

  5. Ginger Yellow

    “The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research”

    Heaven forfend! Unsubstantiated medical claims are illegal, not to mention morally odious. You’d have thought that policing such claims would be the remit of a chiropractic association.

  6. Ginger Yellow

    Incidentally, isn’t this letter proof that chiropractors are knowningly promoting treatments that have no evidence of efficacy? It specifically singles out claims for treatment of whiplash, colic and “childhood problems”, which strongly suggests they know that’s where they’re breaking the law.

  7. Charles

    Backfire if I ever saw one. Try to silence a critic by censoring their own dreck…

  8. Ginger Yellow (#6) makes an interesting point. The MCA announcement could easily be interpreted as an admission that their members knowingly make unsubstantiated claims of efficacy, which fits in nicely with Judge Eady’s interpretation of the word “bogus” in the Singh case.

  9. Richard

    You would hope that the message of a professional body would be “tell the truth” rather than “here is how to hide the bodies”

    Pathetic.

    Almost feel bad for them now, like they’re that kid who is compelled to touch the hot stove again…

  10. I find this whole thing so very very interesting. I think this has to do with living in a province where chiro is covered by my medical (as well as massage and other alternate “medical” treatments) yet physio is not unless you are having to go to physio while in hospital. Medical doctors where I live often give referrals to the alternative health care choices such as massage and chiro. Even some naturopathic treatments are covered.

    I have to see a chiro regularly for many reasons. I have also had to go physio regularly twice. One was due to a dance injury and the other for rehab after my stroke. Dance injury I had to pay for, stroke was covered by my medical. My dance injury visits really didn’t help. My stroke rehab was well, I probably wouldn’t be walking today if it weren’t for the help I received through physio.

    Even so I agree with keeping libel law out of science, this chiro debate I find interesting because chiro is viewed as a good medical alternative where I live and is promoted by both the province and MDs. Maybe that has to do with I have personally never seen chiro’s where I live make any wild claims about treatment. Chiro’s here take a complete medical history including what medications you are on. They do back x-rays before treatment. If you have certain medical issues they will not treat you. And the list goes on.

    This chiro vs medical debate I will definitely have to read more about.

  11. We have a situation locally where a teen gang is torturing and killing cats and posting videos of their activities to YouTube. Prosecutors refuse to take action based on the videos, contending that once the video is posted to YouTube it could be altered by a third party.

    This may be an “only in Northeastern Pennsylvania” thing.* But I wonder if an archived version of a website (archived anywhere other than your own computer) would ever be considered admissible evidence.

    *Much like the case a few years ago where the son of a prominent local family crashed his car on the highway and then carjacked the vehicle – with children inside – of a woman who stopped to help him, so that he could complete his trip to meet someone at the local airport. He abandoned the vehicle, and the kids, at the airport. Prosecutors refused to file kidnapping charges agains him, noting that since he didn’t make a ransom demand, no kidnapping took place. Seriously.

  12. Ginger Yellow

    “The MCA announcement could easily be interpreted as an admission that their members knowingly make unsubstantiated claims of efficacy, which fits in nicely with Judge Eady’s interpretation of the word “bogus” in the Singh case.”

    Indeed it does, and I’m sure Singh’s lawyers will bring this up if the appeal is allowed to proceed, but conversely the BCA will argue that it doesn’t prove they knowingly promoted inefficacious treatments, only the MCA.

  13. I liked this tidbit from the site you linked to:

    Finally, we strongly suggest you do NOT discuss this with others, especially patients, Firstly it would not be ethical to burden patients with this, though if they ask we hope you now have information with which you can respond.

    Yeah. It would be unethical to burden patients with the knowledge that chiropractors are being scrutinized for not following ethical standards of practice.

  14. I used to live down the street from a major chiropractic school.

    If there’s any kind of quackary that’s good at dressing itself up in the trappings of legitimacy, it’s that one. It’s not just the white coats and the illusion of medical expertise, it’s top to bottom.

    The curriculum at the school is quite rigorous and the students have a top notch understanding of anatomy, particularly osteology. They have extensive training in reading X-rays and understand a number of advanced diagnostic techniques. At some point, though, it all goes off into left field.

    Which is the saddest part of it. At least in the US, it takes a lot of time, intelligence and money to become a licensed chiropractor. Someone who does is well trained, medically speaking. They just stick to this foolish and demonstrably false idea that manipulating the spine is a medical panacea.

    It’s quite sad actually. There’s a lot of wasted talent and expertise there.

  15. PhilB

    Any chance we’ll get some knowledgable legal commentary about how this may affect Singh’s case?

  16. Andrew

    I’ve been going to chiropractors for quite a number of years, starting after a car accident when I was 12. I’ve been to several.. some genuinely helped me and made me feel better. A few were quacks that poked me with thier magic stick and expected me to come back and give them more money. There should be resources that help the public distinguish between the two.

  17. Rob

    It seems to me that if this is brought up in a court of law, then it will have a positive impact on Singh’s case. While I think that the judge’s definition of the word bogus is pretty… well… bogus, and I think that it’s bogus that the burden of proof is on Singh to prove the bogosity of said bogus treatments, I think Singh has a very good chance. This definitely seems to strongly suggest that the deception is intentional and that it is known to the deceivers. While it is certainly not proof in and of itself, it will strongly contribute to his case. Add to that the vast amounts of research debunking chiropractic (which any reasonable “expert” in the field ought to have read), and the completely outrageous claims made by some chiroquackers (A properly aligned spine will give you laser eyes!!! Ok a bit exaggerated, but you get the point), Singh has a very strong case. Let’s just hope that the judge sees it like this…

  18. Matt

    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:Wvp5nRZ1EjQJ:www.mctimoney-chiropractic.org/treat_child.htm+http://www.mctimoney-chiropractic.org/treat_child.htm&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

    fascinating.

    “Most children easily shrug off the rough and tumble of daily life. As life progresses, however, there are many incidents which can lead to niggling discomfort, poor concentration, an inability to sit still, and also more specific problems such as back or neck pain, migraines and headaches.

    These childhood problems can be as a result of a difficult birth, the numerous bumps, falls and tumbles that are an inevitable part of childhood, poor posture, carrying heavy bags to and from school, and sitting at ill-fitting furniture.
    Birth – a hard introduction to life

    Birth is probably one of the toughest events we undergo as humans. A baby’s head has to squeeze through a small birth canal to be born. In doing so the baby’s head in particular will absorb much of the shock, and the soft bones will yield slightly allowing it to travel down the birth canal. This is called ‘moulding’. After birth the baby’s head will gradually revert to a more normal shape. However, if this ‘unmoulding’ doesn’t take place completely, the baby can be left in some discomfort which they are unable to communicate.

    Most babies cope extremely well with the process and emerge contented, happy, able to feed, sleep, and grow normally. However, for some, the recovery can take longer, especially those who had a particularly difficult entry into the world and these babies may show some, all, or a combination of the following signs:

    * Irritability, fractiousness
    * Feeding problems
    * Continuous crying
    * Sleeps little, difficult to settle
    * Colic, sickness and wind

    All of these could indicate that there is a misalignment in the baby’s skeletal system and that the baby is uncomfortable as a result. These misalignments could be causing discomfort both when lying down and when lifted, hence many parents report that whatever they do, whether they lift their baby up or lie him down, it seems to make no difference, and the crying continues. Feeding problems may indicate that there is a problem with the nerves at the base of the skull and that the digestive system is compromised, or more simply the baby may be uncomfortable sucking due to mechanical stresses on its skeletal structure.

    Older Children

    The simple bumps and tumbles associated with growing up can often cause misalignments of the skeleton. In addition, carrying heavy bags, playing sports, sitting on ill-fitting furniture at school, and playing for hours in front of a computer in the wrong position can all lead to problems such as:

    * Headaches or Migraines
    * Back and Neck pain

    There is also a range of problems which cannot necessarily be associated with a bump or fall, but which may nonetheless be due to bony misalignment and the subsequent interference with nerves. There are many recorded incidences where treatment has been beneficial for the following symptoms:

    * Some childhood asthma
    * Learning difficulties and behavioural problems including:
    o Poor concentration and inattentiveness
    o Fidgeting and difficulty sitting still
    o Hyperactivity
    * Vunerability to infections including:
    o Ear infections
    o Repetitive colds
    o Sinus and dental problems
    o Clumsiness or poor co-ordination

    So if I crack my baby’s back before bed, he’ll sleep thru the night? or do I need to squeeze his head?

  19. Scott Nutting

    I have one word to describe these jokers: BOGUS!

  20. Dave S

    I think the Scientologists and the Chiropractors are the same group of people. Or at least they went to the same classes on Organizational Behaviour.

  21. Ginger Yellow

    “This definitely seems to strongly suggest that the deception is intentional and that it is known to the deceivers”

    Yes, but only to the MCA. Singh allegedly libelled the BCA, not the MCA. So it doesn’t matter what the MCA does or says. I wish it were otherwise, but the BCA will have very little trouble batting this away – at least in court. Public opinion is another matter, but then Brits are remarkably indulgent of palpable nonsense when it comes to medicine.

    “Singh has a very strong case.”

    Really, he doesn’t, given the Eady interpretation. He’s said as much himself, as has his lawyer (I was in the room when he said it).

  22. Bad Albert

    “Because of what we consider to be a witch hunt against chiropractors…”

    Shouldn’t that be “quack hunt”?

    “The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research.”

    That covers just about everything they do, doesn’t it?

  23. JSW

    Remember that most Internet archiving services will make the archived copies of your website inaccessible if you insert the appropriate code in your robots.txt file (I know that archive.org does this, at least.) It would probably be best to make your own copies of these before the chiropractors figure this out.

  24. Darth Curt

    I don’t really get what the deal is. When my wife was pregnant the first time, her back muscles started to really really hurt. She went to the Chiropractor, he used this clicky thing on her back, kind of like a center-punch, and the pain went away. He didn’t even crack/pop her spine, like some do. She had to visit the chiropractor about 4 or 5 times over the course of the pregnancy. This was the case with pregnancies two and three as well. She doesn’t need to go when she isn’t pregnant, so how are they quacks? It seemed to work for her, and we aren’t at all into alternative medicines. Give me a doctor and Advil, and fill my kids with Vaccines, because they work, but so did this.

    Anyway… is there something else the chiropractors say they do, other then loosen up stiff muscles?

  25. It’s amazing that there were any claims on chiroquactors’ websites left to complain about! You’d have thought any responsible and aware organisation would have warned their members a year ago when the BCA started to sue Simon.

    It shouldn’t have taken my complaint against 523 chiroquacktors (along with the others making individual complaints) to make them jump into action. However, it seems to be having a beneficial effect. It remains to be seen how the GCC deal with it.

    I’ll be blogging any response I get from them: http://www.zenosblog.com.

  26. John

    No knowledaeable comment, but my understanding is that Simon Singh hopes to appeal against the judges interpretation of the word bogus, that this meant that the BCA knowingly promoted treatments they knew to be ineffective.

    So the apparent admission by the MCA, who are not connected with BCA, as far as I am aware, will have no effect on this.

  27. Ginger Yellow

    “Shouldn’t that be “quack hunt”?”

    Well, if it weighs the same as a duck…

    “Anyway… is there something else the chiropractors say they do, other then loosen up stiff muscles?”

    Yes. That’s the whole bloody point of the Singh lawsuit and this letter. Many chiropractors make all sorts of claims about being able to treat non-back pain related conditions such as colic or childhood asthma.

  28. Witch Hunt? :D

    CROWD: A witch! A witch! A witch! We’ve got a witch! A witch!
    VILLAGER #1: We have found a witch, might we burn her?
    CROWD: Burn her! Burn!
    BEDEMIR: How do you know she is a witch?
    VILLAGER #2: She looks like one.
    BEDEMIR: Bring her forward.
    WITCH: I’m not a witch. I’m not a witch.
    BEDEMIR: But you are dressed as one.
    WITCH: They dressed me up like this.
    CROWD: No, we didn’t… no.
    WITCH: And this isn’t my nose, it’s a false one.
    BEDEMIR: Well?
    VILLAGER #1: Well, we did do the nose.
    BEDEMIR: The nose?
    VILLAGER #1: And the hat — but she is a witch!
    CROWD: Burn her! Witch! Witch! Burn her!
    BEDEMIR: Did you dress her up like this?
    CROWD: No, no… no … yes. Yes, yes, a bit, a bit.
    VILLAGER #1: She has got a wart.
    BEDEMIR: What makes you think she is a witch?
    VILLAGER #3: Well, she turned me into a newt.
    BEDEMIR: A newt?
    VILLAGER #3: I got better.
    VILLAGER #2: Burn her anyway!
    CROWD: Burn! Burn her!
    BEDEMIR: Quiet, quiet. Quiet! There are ways of telling whether
    she is a witch.
    CROWD: Are there? What are they?
    BEDEMIR: Tell me, what do you do with witches?
    VILLAGER #2: Burn!
    CROWD: Burn, burn them up!
    BEDEMIR: And what do you burn apart from witches?
    VILLAGER #1: More witches!
    VILLAGER #2: Wood!
    BEDEMIR: So, why do witches burn?
    [pause]
    VILLAGER #3: B–… ’cause they’re made of wood…?
    BEDEMIR: Good!
    CROWD: Oh yeah, yeah…
    BEDEMIR: So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?
    VILLAGER #1: Build a bridge out of her.
    BEDEMIR: Aah, but can you not also build bridges out of stone?
    VILLAGER #2: Oh, yeah.
    BEDEMIR: Does wood sink in water?
    VILLAGER #1: No, no.
    VILLAGER #2: It floats! It floats!
    VILLAGER #1: Throw her into the pond!
    CROWD: The pond!
    BEDEMIR: What also floats in water?
    VILLAGER #1: Bread!
    VILLAGER #2: Apples!
    VILLAGER #3: Very small rocks!
    VILLAGER #1: Cider!
    VILLAGER #2: Great gravy!
    VILLAGER #1: Cherries!
    VILLAGER #2: Mud!
    VILLAGER #3: Churches — churches!
    VILLAGER #2: Lead — lead!
    ARTHUR: A duck.
    CROWD: Oooh.
    BEDEMIR: Exactly! So, logically…,
    VILLAGER #1: If… she.. weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood.
    BEDEMIR: And therefore–?
    VILLAGER #1: A witch!
    CROWD: A witch!
    BEDEMIR: We shall use my larger scales!
    [yelling]
    BEDEMIR: Right, remove the supports!
    [whop]
    [creak]
    CROWD: A witch! A witch!
    WITCH: It’s a fair cop.
    CROWD: Burn her! Burn! [yelling]
    BEDEMIR: Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?

  29. Curt,

    Pick up singh’s book “trick or treatment” for a history and detailed discussion about different forms of chiropractic “medicine”. It’s an easy read, and it couches everything against a very good description of how we know what works in medicine and how we know what doesn’t, as well as the effects of placebo.

    the quick synopsis: Chiropractic work as well as, and no better than advil and is many many times more expensive. There is also a penchance for using way too much X-ray.

  30. Dodger Dean

    “Bogus” by ANY definition…

  31. @Bad Albert #23

    ” “The target of the campaigners is now any claims for treatment that cannot be substantiated with chiropractic research.”

    That covers just about everything they do, doesn’t it? ”

    I don’t know about that. I decided to go the BC Chiropractic Association’s website and they have links to independent research regarding the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of chiropractic care.

    As well, here in BC it is legislated exactly what chiropractors can and cannot treat.

    The BCCA also only recognizes 2 schools in all of Canada that you can attended to become a licensed chiropractor in BC.

    Like I said in my previous post (10) I find this all so interesting since chiropractors are heavily regulated in BC under the Heath Professions Act and the laws surrounding what exactly they are allowed to treat has been recently updated (Mar 2009).

    As well in Canada, each province has its own guidelines, so that does not mean that in other provinces their scope of practice is limited. However, in BC it is clearly defined what they can and cannot treat and what claims they are allowed to make.

  32. Darth Curt: “Anyway… is there something else the chiropractors say they do, other then loosen up stiff muscles?”

    Yeah, that’s the problem. Here’s a good example: http://www.papillionchiropractic.com/conditions.html

    They list ADHD, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, ear infections and fibromyalgia as conditions they can treat.

  33. wright

    @ Andrew,

    Well, you could consider this backlash as part of the process that could, potentially, reform chiropractic treatment. My impression (mainly from the ongoing debate) is that there are some chiropractors who understand that their specialty has a narrow range of genuine applications and apply it within that range.

    Unfortunately, they are vastly outnumbered by those who claim they can accomplish virtually anything with it, and also denigrate “conventional” medicine and doctors. Organizations like the BCA have a lot of the second sort as members; their reaction is unfortunately not surprising.

  34. I love how the phrase “Streisand Effect” is now kind of a meta-Streisand Effect. Babs is now drawing negative attention to herself by having drawn negative attention to herself!

  35. irritated

    my wife has gone to a chiropractor occasionally to help with her back pain. she says it works for her. (okay, placebo, or nice massage effect)

    anyway, she went in yesterday and the chiro dude started berating her for not coming in more often. she told him our money is tight and that she can’t afford to go in three times a week like he says she needs to. he started saying that she could cancel cable bills and cell phones to help get the money.

    what? we supposed to eat ramen noodles and dry bread? cancel our dental and health insurance? default on our mortgage? sell the car and ride the bus? donate plasma? rob banks? start a pyramid scheme? to pay his frackin’ bills for? is he a chiropractor or a financial advisor?

    WTF?

    seems like he should be more concerned with alleviating my wife’s pain than with fleecing her.

    totally inappropriate.

    if money is tight for him, maybe he should get rid of his frackin’ lexus (really!) and ride the bus himself.

    i am this close -> <- to calling up and ripping him a new a$$hole.

  36. PhilB

    @27, Is there any overlap between the MCA and the BCA? I wouldn’t think it terribly unusual for a chiro to be affiliated with both organizations. But, I don’t really have any knowledge in the matter.

  37. @32. Jules (Julia): Do you know where I can get a copy of the Canadian rules for chiros?

    @35. PhilB: There could well be some overlap, but I think they are two separate cults of chiro and each association represents their own branch.

  38. @Zeno

    Canadian rules I cannot help you with as each province is responsible for regulating medical services within themselves.

    Here is the link for the BC Chiropractic http://www.bcchiro.com/

  39. Minor point – the link should be to ‘Quackometer’ not ‘Quackwatch’.

    Ta

  40. Dan I.

    While I don’t know much about English law on the subject and I am just a law student it certainly seems to be that, on appeal, this could be viewed as an admission regarding “bogus.”

    This is is going to be whether the appeal is de novo. If its a de novo appeal then the case basically gets heard all over again. If it’s NOT a de novo appeal then all the appellate court is looking for is error on the part of the trial judge. That basically means NO FACTS are argued, just law (or in this case the meaning of the term bogus)

  41. @Zeno as well in B.C. Chiropractors are considered primary-contact health care practitioner and have a Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

    [...]The Curriculum must include: anatomy; biochemistry; physiology; microbiology; pathology; public health; physical, clinical and laboratory diagnosis; gynecology; obstetrics; pediatrics; geriatrics; dermatology; otolaryngology; diagnostic imaging procedures; psychology; nutrition/dietetics; biomechanics; orthopedics; physiological therapeutics; first aid and emergency procedures; research methods and procedures; professional practice ethics and other subjects appropriate to the mission, goals and distinctiveness of the institution or program.[...]

    That information can be found here: http://www.bcchiro.com/bccc/becoming-a-chiropractor/index.html

  42. JPS

    This is fantastic news. Chiropractors who make claims that have no research evidence backing have been given a free-pass for too long. I am certain that there are honest and forthright chiropractors out there who are not as shady as many of these groups highlighted here. But unless they go the way of osteopathic medicine and begin to understand that there is a place for rational inquiry and healthy skepticism, they will continue to hurt, maim, and swindle millions of people.

  43. Alan French

    Chiroquacktic, in many cases.

    Clear skies, Alan

  44. Ginger Yellow

    “While I don’t know much about English law on the subject and I am just a law student it certainly seems to be that, on appeal, this could be viewed as an admission regarding “bogus.””

    Again, it’s an “admission” (and I do think it is such) by someone other than the victim of the alleged libel, so it has no direct bearing on the alleged libel. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there will be no indirect effect on the case, but Singh can’t use this admission directly to argue that the BCA was fraudulently promoting treatments.

  45. Pat

    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:O9qE9TNv2zwJ:www.mctimoney-chiropractic.org/treat_preg1.htm+http://www.mctimoney-chiropractic.org/treat_preg1.htm

    The above page concludes:

    “It is advisable for both mother and baby to have chiropractic treatment within six weeks of the birth. This Mrs C and baby did, and they both continue to have regular check-ups at intervals recommended by their chiropractor. “

  46. Oops! Fixed the Quackometer thing. Thanks!

  47. PhilB

    Yes he couldn’t use it directly, but possibly if it could be shown that both BCA and MCA were making similar treatment claims, would it be feasible to argue that BCA had similar knowledge to the MCA as they would both have the same overall knowledge-base. But the closest I get to being a lawyer is Bosten Legal so I don’t really have a good feel for the territory.

  48. Ginger Yellow

    Like I said before, I think it helps his case in a loose sense, but any libel lawyer worth his/her salt would be able to argue that it’s not relevant. The essence of British libel law is that an identified person’s (including a private body’s) reputation has been defamed. The MCA is not the identified person in this suit. The flipside of not being liable to a defamation suit from someone you haven’t identified is that evidence about someone who you haven’t identified doesn’t provide a defence to defamation.

  49. You’re welcome Zeno :)

  50. theinquisitor

    I laughed so hard I think I hurt my spine.

  51. Anon

    I went to a chiropractor once, barely able to walk or stand up, I had been this way for more than a week, and went to a “regular” doctor for the problem – who prescribed muscle relaxers and pain-medication, neither helped.

    The chiropractor took an x-ray, then showed my on the x-ray what was wrong, and then proceeded to crack my neck and back in the most horrible sounding way possible. (I thought he broke my spine from the noise alone).

    After which, I was 100% and completely pain free.

    The same problem occured again a few years later, and I went to another chiropractor, who was a complete and utter scam artist – there is no other way to describe him. 90% of the time I was there was spent watching video’s and filling out paperwork all propogandized to convince me that chiropractors were a legitimate proffession – he did nothing to help my back at all.

    So, from experience I know there is something to it – and from experience I know there are also frauds.

  52. spinedoc

    I am a Chiropractor… It’s a HUGE shame that those of us who choose to treat our patients only for problems which research shows we are effective get a bad name from these guys. For the record there is a plethora of research on the effectiveness of Chiropractic care with certain conditions. But I am not one of those who believe that it will cure anything.

    There are 2 sides to every story, and in this case I think there are 3 sides. The anti-chiro’s, the super-chiro’s, and the 3rd party is the majority of Chiropractors who do their research, refer and receive referrals from MD’s, have to prove their efficacy with insurance companies with documentation and proof that a patients condition is progressing.

    Please keep an open mind when running into stories like this. Not all of us are like this, in fact most of us are not like this.

  53. mrwynd

    I eventually went to a chiropractor when I wasn’t able to find any help from my doctor short of pain pills for my lower back. After going to the chiropractor I was even more skeptical. It just felt like a faux doctor visit. The first time alleviated a small amount of pain and I was willing to give it another try because I had to get rid of the pain. If you’ve ever lived with a constant back pain like mine you’d understand the desperation. After three visits the pain in my back ceased for over 2 years. Nothing else has achieved this. I’ve only paid one Chiropractor in my life and I can say without a shadow of a doubt it was worth every penny.

    I do agree that scientific proof is necessary, but taking down websites because other doctors are having to go to court due to their claims seems reasonable.

  54. Pink Bull

    You guys wine about free speech yet you want them to stop claiming that their technique might help some people. You could be moderate and request that they clearly specify what is experimental and not, but you talk about taking them down.

    Maybe you never take any risk, maybe you never do anything not proven by science except when you try the latest beta of Firefox. But you know what, some people do try stuff before they are fully understood at the time and endorse the risk. Not everyone stick to their stiff infantile scientific convictions when everything you tried from medicine failed to appease your pain.

  55. truthseeker

    Chiropractic does not treat any disease, however it can help the bodies own inborn recouperative power to express health to a hightened potential. Lets look at the facts. The nervous system is the master controler of the human body, much like a computer, it tells every cell, organ, and tissue what to do and when to do it. If you interfere with its comunication you could have malfunction which leads to a dis-ease process, like the one’s that have been noted. A good Chiropractor understands the nervous system is surrounded and protected by bone. It just happens to be 24 movable bones called vertebrae. Now, you don’t need double blind research studies to show that joints that don’t move right are suseptible to wear and tear, it’s called Arthritis or degeneration. It’s a well known fact, that weight bearing joints are common area to which you find these changes. A Chiropractors focus is to make sure the vertebrae are aligned and moving well, so the nervous system is free from interferance. I have been a Chiropractic patient for 40 years, I have seen the miracles and heard the myths, and in my oppinion if your looking for Quackery you should look into the drug companies and the 100′s of thousands killed every year by M.D’s.

  56. Bunny

    For a group that has never been to or seen a black hole, who have never taken a core sample of the sun, who have never experienced deep space conditions, who have never sailed the solar winds, who have never sampled the air on Jupiter, who hve never set foot on Venus, who have never been to another dimension, who have never used relativity to go back in time, who have never watched the entire lifecycle of one or more stars… you guys have a nerve accusing someone else of quackery!

    By god, everything you “know” is a theory… often dreamed up by a sci fi author. Not one of your theories can be exhaustively tested, most can not be partially tested.

    Pack of Quacks!

  57. For a group that has never been to or seen a black hole,

    … but one that can see the quasars and accretion disks as well as measure the effects being caused by them…

    who have never taken a core sample of the sun,

    … which would be impossible to do considering that the temperatures there are tens of millions of degrees and pressures crush atoms themselves…

    who have never experienced deep space conditions,

    … which would kill us in oh just under 30 seconds or so…

    who have never sailed the solar winds,

    … which again could be impossible because solar winds are such low density, we can only measure and collect them rather than actually sail “on them.” although we can use the photons to help move a spacecraft forward, something actually tested in Earth orbit…

    who have never sampled the air on Jupiter,

    … which was done with the Galileo probe…

    who hve never set foot on Venus,

    … um, the USSR landed several craft on the surface on Venus and took detailed pictures and measurements since humans would be very quickly killed in a volcanic oven with pressures equivalent to the Earth’s abyssal plane…

    who have never been to another dimension,

    … well you got me there. We’ve never traveled into height, width or length although I’m sure you’ll guess why when you’ll learn what the word dimension actually means…

    who have never used relativity to go back in time,

    … because that’s what special relativity technically forbids and general relativity allows only if we can plug a star into an interstellar engine…

    who have never watched the entire lifecycle of one or more stars…

    … which is totally unnecessary when we can see every stage of their life cycle millions of times over…

    you guys have a nerve accusing someone else of quackery!

    And you have an interesting way of proving your point by randomly throwing out nonsensical things of which you clearly haven’t the slightest grasp.

    By god, everything you “know” is a theory… often dreamed up by a sci fi author. Not one of your theories can be exhaustively tested, most can not be partially tested.

    I’m just curious, where did you get your PhD in Everything? And how many decades did it take? Regardless, I would ask for a refund because half the points you brought up should be pretty obvious to a high school graduate with the minimum required science education.

  58. I see a chiropractor regularly and would recommend them to anyone; the clinic I use was recommended by my doctor as she had heard so many great reports about them.

    My chiropractor is brilliant; I went in barely able to stand & he fixed me in no time – I cannot thank him enough & find it incredible that their practices are even being bought into question. I know many people who see a chiropractor & they are just as amazed at what a fantastic job they do… I had to read the post again actually as I couldn’t quite believe what it was saying!

  59. Matthew Cline

    About the MCA advice being seen as some sort of admission of deceit: my take on it is that the chiros who make outlandish claims believe their claims because of their clinical experience, and dismiss the lack of non-clinical evidence for various reasons.

  60. @ Joanne Munro

    The issue are those chiropractors that claim they can fix things that in reality they cannot, where there are no studies to support these claims (colic, ear infection etc) not the chiropractors that stick to what they can actually treat.

  61. Michael Gray

    Just where the hell is this mythical ‘plethora’ of research that the quacks claim exists?
    (Including an anonymous poster above)

    Somewhere over the Rainbow?

    Until it sees the light of day, I have no reason to believe that such a ‘plethora’ even exists.

  62. @Michael Gray

    I posted links to where some of it can be found. I haven’t had a change to read them all fully but they do exist

  63. Kris

    If you want a doctor that is a professional in both medicine and manipulation, I would suggest you see an Osteopathic Physician. Not only do they have medical licenses but they are knowledgeable in the neuromuscular system. Chiropracters do not have near the medical background and only know a fraction of what D.O.’s and M.D.’s know about the human body. Chiropractors should not be proclaiming themselves as doctors, this just confuses the public about what they actually are.

  64. Johan G

    Are there any subjects skeptics won’t comment due to lack of knowledge? So few of the skeptics I meet have any real education in science yet even fewer possess any reticence about making definitive statements on such diverse topics as medicine, space science, geology, evolution, physics, and of course, metaphysics and theology. All know the real truth, enough at least to shout down, ridicule, or gently enlighten those who don’t. This blog in particular seems to be written by an authority in multiple disciplines.

  65. Michael Gray

    64. Jules (Julia) Says:

    I cannot locate your post where you say “some of it can be found”.

    How about a bit more of pointer?
    I suspect that it will consist of the same list of old discredited or irrelevant ‘papers’ that have been dredged up before now, and presented as ‘evidence’.

    Where, *SPECIFICALLY*, is the PLETHORA of peer-reviewed science-based journal papers that show that chiropractic has any benefit whatsoever for the range of infant disorders that are in contention, such as colic, asthma etc?

    I’ll tell you where. Nowhere.
    They do NOT exist.
    If it did exist, the various Chiroquacktic bodies would be proudly and very publically displaying them, linking to them, have a website established specifically to highlight them, etc.
    They have no such thing.
    Chiropractors have been recently advised to stop making such claims, and to remove any and efficacy claims from their websites, printed material etc., by a Chiropractic Professional Body, no less.
    They seem to know that they are making claims that are not supported by any evidence.
    If you think that there is sufficient evidence, I expect that they would be very relieved if you showed it to them.

    That would be quite unneccessary if the ‘plethora’ of evidence actually existed.

    Now you tell me that they DO exist, but do not reveal quite where, and that you have not read them all yet?
    Sheesh.

    If you choose to respond further, how about a link to say, the BEST evidence available for say, the treatment of infant asthma?

  66. @Michael Grey

    “Just where the hell is this mythical ‘plethora’ of research that the quacks claim exists?
    (Including an anonymous poster above)”

    You did not say anything about asthma, colic etc in your first post. You mentioned research period and did not clarify.

    I have never seen a Chiropractor where I live make any quack claims. In fact it is legislated what they can and cannot treat and are considered primary care practitioners here.

    Please see comments 10, 32, 39, 42.

    You follow the links since the Chiropractors in B.C. make the independent research accessible. They do proudly display them on their websites!

    Quack claims apparently exist. I have never encounters any such claim until Phil brought it to light as where I live MDs constantly refer patients for chiropractic care, they are a licensed government legislated body who’s treatment is covered by medical because of the research done into the effective of treatment for certain ailments and medical conditions and that is all they are allowed to claim where I live.

    So before you jump down my throat about something I have not even said re: asthma and colic etc, read what I have already posted on said subject as I just wasted minutes repeating what should not have been necessary had you opened your bloody eyes.

  67. Charlie Young

    There are also quacks in other fields. There are dentists on the fringe promoting removal of amalgam fillings to cure a whole host of diseases such as MS, fibromyalgia, neuralgias, etc. There’s even a dentist in Texas who promotes Young Earth Creationism.

  68. Larian RE: Witches!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g

    J/P=?

    moderate, moderate….

  69. @Jules (julia)

    In all fairness you are repeatedly reciting that you have never heard a quack claim from a chiropractor along with the mantra that MDs constantly refer patients so they must be good. Well how about this one, as I was first delving into the skeptical community I was hearing the same legitimate criticisms of chiropractic but I was still visiting mine 2-3 times a week. I just brushed aside the genuine medical reports that showed that spinal manipulation was not the be all end all it was cracked up to be I just kept blindly paying $40 (Canadian) a session for a guy to pop my back while ignoring the fact that minutes after leaving I felt no better than when I went in.

    What finally broke me of the delusion that Chiropractic was helping me out was after a friend’s fiancee died from the rare disorder TTP. I mentioned it to my “doctor” of chiropractic and he didn’t know what it was. After I explained what Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura was and what it did to this so called doctor he claimed that chiropractic would have cured it. The moment that came out of his mouth I woke up to the BS he had been feeding me for several years, and from the look on his face I’m sure he realized it too.

    As for whether I started to feel worse now that I wasn’t getting adjusted for $120 a week ($480/month) I felt the same. In fact about a year later I started walking about a couple kilometres a day and that made me feel better than spinal manipulation ever did.

    Now Jules regarding the requirements to become a “Doctor” of Chiropractic reading the link you provided shows that it is not from any accredited university like the University of British Columbia, or University of Victoria, or University of Calgary or from my own hometown the prestigious University of Alberta. No these are given out at a so called “chiropractic institution”. If it were considered a genuine science then other truly accredited institutions would be listed.

    Jules you have also failed to provide any of this plethora of evidence in any of your posts, you have linked to the BC College of Chiropractors a couple of times but that is it, so it is understandable that there is growing frustration with a lack of further evidence. Please understand that most skeptics are not close minded we are just evidence driven like true science should be.

    Nathan

  70. Autumn

    Well, there is one verified and proven medical condition that is influenced by chiropractic treatment in the (thankfully, very rare) cases in which a “doctor” of chiropractic actually succeeds in “adjusting” someone’s spine: it is called paralysis.

  71. @Northernskeptic

    I am not denying the validity of being skeptical when it comes to chiropractic care. The point I am trying to show is that it is all not quackery and it is a very diverse thing. I don’t know how chiropractors are governed in Alberta so I cannot speak to your experiences as it is different that how it works where I live, to the point where it is covered by BC Medical. I can only speak on what the state of this situation re: quack claims from chiropractors are where I live. That is all I can speak to. In doing so I not trying to devalue what is a huge problem within the broad scope that seems to plague this particular profession but illustrate that it is not the situation for the whole profession. Chiropractic care does have benefits for specific conditions.

    As for the links, they are on the BCCA site, as I said dig. But I guess people are unable to do that for themselves so here:

    http://www.bcchiro.com/bcca/publications-and-resources/research-studies.html

  72. I am amazed there are over 30,000 chiropractors in the US, however I shouldn’t be surprised. Compared to getting an MD, this is an easy way to become a “doctor” and hang up a shingle and make good money. Palmer Chiropractic is the college here that started it all, and I had the experience of teaching intro physics there one summer. Let’s just say I am not very impressed with the caliber of student they get, compared to a reputable medical school. It was not pretty.

    Palmer often has seminars with invited speakers who tell the students how they can see 100 or more patients a day in their practice. Their concern seems very focused on making quick money, and going through a process more than learning medicine. The school has branches in Davenport, San Jose and Daytona Beach. With a small student base, it has five fraternities, I think. I am not going to say anything I can get sued over here, but I remain a skeptic of chiropractors.

    If a person has a medical condition, I cannot think of a thing that a legitimate chiropractor would do to actually provide therapy that a good, certified physical therapist could not also do, better. That’s been my experience, and that’s my recommendation for anyone with a medical condition.

    The comparison with homeopathy is warranted, because when both started out, they were definitely bogus, claiming magical cures by either drinking magic water or by adjusting your bones. At least the official colleges in the US attempt to set ethical standards, and do train their students on basic science these days. It has come a long ways, but I still have a hard time seeing it as much more than a money-making endeavor. I agree with Nathan – after physical therapy for a couple weeks, and regular trips to the gym, I lost some weight and got more limber and felt much better. We live in a society where people think they should sit around, eat and not exercise, and then go to a doctor to cure them when they aren’t feeling in their prime.

  73. Tom Jones

    I have gone to a Chiropractor on and off for 3 or 4 years, he only does tightened-up joints, does not use tools other than his hands, and I have obtained a great deal of relief from being treated. He has never said that he could treat ADHD or anything like that. He has, however, cured me fully of Catarrh, Vapors, and Galloping Insanity.

  74. @ truthseeker,

    You seem to be saying that if my TV blows, I should always call the power company and get them to check the lines that run from the station to my house looking for problems. After all, we know that those powerlines are the master controller of everything electrical.

    Does the nervous system really tell EVERY cell what to do? I thought cells could survive quite happily in a petri dish.

  75. Bunny

    @ Greg Fish

    Not one of our excuses proves in any way that you know 100% for sure about anything. In fact not one of your excuses proves that you are any more than 1% sure of anything.

    Watching quasars means nothing when all you can do is assume their source and their behavior. Again, even if you were studying quasars, at your current level of technology (equivalent to a stone club) all you can do is break things and watch them disintegrate.

    Quack!

  76. Bunny

    @Johan G

    Sorry, but YOU and your colleagues are claiming to be the experts. Tell us how you create a self sustaining fusion reaction. Can’t? Well I thought that you and your mates were all experts? Get back to us when you can actually crerate the things you claim to be an expert on, instead of theorising what may happen when you break something smaller than someone else has broken… and then theorise as to why you got some weird magnetic effects… of course you will be able to write the book on those effects, meaning you can come up with any reasoning at all, or make it fit any prior theory, true or not.

    Quack!

  77. I have gone to a Chiropractor on and off for 3 or 4 years, he only does tightened-up joints, does not use tools other than his hands, and I have obtained a great deal of relief from being treated. He has never said that he could treat ADHD or anything like that. He has, however, cured me fully of Catarrh, Vapors, and Galloping Insanity..

  78. Peter B

    #67 Johan G said: “Are there any subjects skeptics won’t comment due to lack of knowledge? So few of the skeptics I meet have any real education in science yet even fewer possess any reticence about making definitive statements on such diverse topics as medicine, space science, geology, evolution, physics, and of course, metaphysics and theology. All know the real truth, enough at least to shout down, ridicule, or gently enlighten those who don’t. This blog in particular seems to be written by an authority in multiple disciplines.”

    G’day Johan G

    Yes, I’m one such skeptic – I make comments on all sorts of topics without being an expert in any of them. But the reason I can make comments is that I learn from the experts in those topics.

    So when people in the medical profession point out the flaws in chiropractic and the evidence to support their conclusions, I can be confident in repeating what they say.

  79. Ginger Yellow

    “You guys wine about free speech yet you want them to stop claiming that their technique might help some people. You could be moderate and request that they clearly specify what is experimental and not, but you talk about taking them down.”

    Making unsubstantiated medical claims to be able to treat something is illegal. Something the MCA admits in its letter. If chiropractors don’t want to be “taken down”, they should avoid breaking the law and stick to claiming to be able to treat conditions for which they have evidence. Which many seem perfectly capable of doing.

  80. Damon

    Lot of undeserved, under-educated anti-chiro bashing going on in this thread. Just because our overseas brethren went a little too far with the censorship (it’s the UK, what’s new) suddenly chiropractors are all evil, science-hating people.

    Wrong.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Chiropractic works. I have the personal experience to prove it, as well as the signatures of several thousand satisfied customers in my region alone. If that sounds too anecdotal for you, then I’ll spell it out in flashy science-talk:

    Spine crooked, bad. Subluxations pinch nerves. Nervous system not running at full capacity. Immune system compromised. Straight spine good. Curve in neck good. Symmetrical posture good. Improve health, mood, overall demeanor. Get sick less. Ug ug.

    Remember: Chiropractors are doctors. They go to special schools to earn degrees in their profession, just like their apathetic medical brethren. Even better, they are trained in doctor-patient relations, i.e., actually caring about your personal life and not whoring themselves out to the pharmaceutical industry.

    A few strokes here and there is dust in the wind compared to the constant deaths from malpractice and misdiagnosis at the hands of “medical” doctors. Just ask my poor girlfriend, who missed her window for preventative treatment because three doctors in a row refused to acknowledge that fibromyalgia exists.

    Good times, good times.

  81. Matt S.

    Well said, Peter B.

    Scrutinizing the validity of the method by which knowledge is gained is just as important as possessing the knowledge.

    In the context of medicine, for example, you don’t need to be an MD to point out that a certain study was methodologically flawed, a pilot study at best or just plain worthless. Was the study blinded? Where there controls for obvious variables like placebo? Where the test groups randomized? How does the medical community at large react to the study? How does the study fit into the larger context of medicine and are there other, maybe better designed (blinded, randomized, controlled, larger sample size, longer term?), that show a different result? What’s the prior plausibility (eg. “How could manipulating the spine have ANY effect on the ear?” it’s like breaking your arm and putting a band aid on your knee). If it turns out to be an unlikely (read: extraordinary) claim, you would expect a clear-cut, definite result from a study to be necessary. Etc. etc.

    I might add (and this is only my personal experience), that skeptics are often quite good in evaluating their own ignorance on a subject. I have yet to see a skeptic who claims to be an expert in everything that he is talking about, just that skeptics normally know who the experts are and where they publish their findings (hint: it ain’t anonymous phone surveys allá Age of Autism).

    On the other hand, those who support fringe theories often seem to be 100% sure that it is their position that is right, if you point out that maybe the way they came to their conclusion is flawed or unreliable (ie. “I took this herb and I got better”, never mind that you can’t be your own control group, how do you establish causality with a sample size of 1?). Whereas the skeptic will change his position when the normal standard of evidence is met. With “normal standard of evidence” I mean the same standard that applies to normal medicine.

  82. Tim

    I am British. I think the majority of chiropractors are hard working professionals who are able to cure a range of muscle and joint-related pain. The British Chiropractic Association is a reputable organisation which has a right to sue Mr. Singh for what is slander. I remember this story being in the news many weeks ago, Mr. Singh tried to clarify his meaning of the word “bogus” to apply only to those claims which are unsubstatiated, however the courts allowed this to go to trial due to the dictionary definition of the word. Calling an entire industry bogus is slanderous and potentially damaging, no amount of bias in the blog or in the comments will change that.

    When I was little I used to get terrible migraines, after a few treatments with a chiropractor she referred me to a podiatrist and I was able to get free treatment to solve the problem. This isn’t homeopathy for god’s sake.

  83. dreamstretch

    Damon, you are a gullible fool. Chiropractic subluxations are entirely imaginary.

  84. AndreasB

    “Spine crooked, bad. Subluxations pinch nerves. Nervous system not running at full capacity. Immune system compromised.”

    Sounds like a big load of nonsense to me. Got any research to back that up? What the hell is it even supposed to mean that the nervous system is not running at “full capacity”?

  85. Damn! I thought this was an update related to the massive extinction event going on with bats. I guess chiropractors are a little batty, but White Nose Syndrome is no laughing matter.

  86. TheBlackCat

    Lets look at the facts. The nervous system is the master controler of the human body, much like a computer, it tells every cell, organ, and tissue what to do and when to do it. If you interfere with its comunication you could have malfunction which leads to a dis-ease process, like the one’s that have been noted. A good Chiropractor understands the nervous system is surrounded and protected by bone. It just happens to be 24 movable bones called vertebrae. Now, you don’t need double blind research studies to show that joints that don’t move right are suseptible to wear and tear, it’s called Arthritis or degeneration. It’s a well known fact, that weight bearing joints are common area to which you find these changes. A Chiropractors focus is to make sure the vertebrae are aligned and moving well, so the nervous system is free from interferance. I have been a Chiropractic patient for 40 years, I have seen the miracles and heard the myths, and in my oppinion if your looking for Quackery you should look into the drug companies and the 100’s of thousands killed every year by M.D’s.

    Wow, just wow. The complete and total lack of understanding of the nervous system demonstrated here is absolutely mind-boggling. First, the nervous system is not like a computer at all. It is hard to draw anything but the most superficial comparisons between the two.

    Second, it doesn’t tell “every cell, organ, and tissue what to do and when to do it”. In fact this claim is so far from the truth I would be surprised anyone who has taken more than a week of physiology could make such a preposterous claim. Certainly no one with even a cursory understanding of the nervous system could make it. Most organs work just fine without the need for input from the nervous system. The only exceptions are the few organs regulated by smooth muscle, like the lungs and bladder. For instance the heart will beat just fine without any input from the nervous system, the kidneys will still work, the immune system will still work, the liver will still work, the list goes on and on.

    Third, no the nervous system is not “surrounded and protected by bone”. The central parts of it are, some partially. But most of it is not.

    Fourth, although a nitpick, you seem to ignore that a major component of the nervous system is not surrounded by the spine: the brain. I find it extremely odd that a discussion of the nervous system completely ignores the existence of the brain.

    Fifth, yes arthritis exists, and yes pinched nerves can have an effect. But you are ignoring, or aren’t aware of, a very important fact. The same holes through which the neurons that affect the organs pass, are also the whole through which the neurons that affect the skeletal muscles pass. If there were pinched nerves, and there are occasionally, there is a large and noticeable effect on the skeletal nerves, either a feeling of pain or problems with muscles in a specific part of the body. You are proposing that changes in the spine can have effects on one class of neuron while magically ignoring another.

    Fifth, although pinched nerves are well-known to medical science, chiropractors require the existence of an entirely new class of pinched nerves that is undetectable by normal medical technology like x-rays (which are great for seeing bone) or MRI (which can see soft tissue perfectly). In other words, you are proposing the existence of bends or damage to the spinal column that is invisible to everyone but you, even though the instruments others have available are much, much, much more sensitive.

    Finally, you have not provided any evidence that these pinched nerves can actually cause a given specific disease, nor have you provided any evidence that chiropractors are able to actually fix the changes to the spinal column.

  87. TheBlackCat

    Sorry, that should have been “The only exceptions are the few organs regulated by skeletal muscle, like the lungs and bladder. “

  88. OhReally

    TheBlackCat writes that the lungs are regulated by smooth muscle… I learned in 1st grade that the lungs don’t have any muscles at all… Hello it is the diaphragm!!!
    TheBlackCat also writes that organs function just fine without being innervated… when was the last time you saw someone with a full heart transplant run a marathon, or a fun run or down the street? Oh that’s right the nervous system actually lets your heart change its innate rhythm. While I applaud their attempts at trying to sound smart, they failed.

    Yes some of chiropractor’s claims are unsubstantiated by research… by so are plenty of claims from MDs. There is actually research that shows surgery on the knee is less effective than a sham surgery at relieving pain and increasing function of the knee. There is research that shows NO improvement in respiratory function from cough medicine (in fact the studies show that cough medicine doesn’t even reduce the number of coughs). For those who decry the use of ‘alternative’ medicine in place of aspirin or ibuprofen the rate of serious complications for these non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-drugs (NSAIDs) is harmful to the intestine, with some studies showing a large increase in colorectal cancer from the use of these to treat back pain.

    MD’s usually only average term of gross anatomy, which is not more than (an in some cases less than) that which an acupuncturist or chiropractor spends on learning the human body. Plus the latter two spend much more time learning about the orthopedic and functional aspects of the body (over two years of biomechanics in the case of chiropractors) while MDs focus on learning about the drugs they will be using. So to say that the MDs know much more about the body is disingenuous. MDs know more about drugs and alternative doctors know more about the way the body moves and functions without drugs.

    If you need heroic medicine, or have been in a recent trauma, MDs are the way to go and are unsurpassed. However, if you have a nagging pain or your knee ‘doesn’t feel right’ they have nothing but drugs for you and mechanical pain IS NOT a chemical problem. Go and see someone who is focused on how to fix the way your body moves, whether they are a chiropractor, acupuncturist, Ayurveda they will try to get your body performing/moving correctly to fix the problem.

  89. @OhReally,

    TheBlackCat writes that the lungs are regulated by smooth muscle… I learned in 1st grade that the lungs don’t have any muscles at all… Hello it is the diaphragm!!!

    Actually, TBC corrected the statement to be “skeletal muscle” rather than “smooth muscle”, which is true. The muscles that are attached to the rib cage regulate the lungs, in addition to the action of the diaphragm.

  90. TheBlackCat

    TheBlackCat writes that the lungs are regulated by smooth muscle… I learned in 1st grade that the lungs don’t have any muscles at all… Hello it is the diaphragm!!!

    Yes, I said that. It was a mistake, a mistake I pointed out myself almost two hours before you posted.

    TheBlackCat also writes that organs function just fine without being innervated… when was the last time you saw someone with a full heart transplant run a marathon, or a fun run or down the street? Oh that’s right the nervous system actually lets your heart change its innate rhythm. While I applaud their attempts at trying to sound smart, they failed.

    Yes, the nervous system does let the heart change its rhythm. But the heart will keep beating away without the need for the nervous system.

  91. Oh yeah, take it down baby, opps for got about that internet history thingy

    http://yaxu.org/tmp/chiros.html

  92. Johan G

    @Bunny

    I am not a chiropractor, nor do I personally believe in the efficacy of chiropractic. Your reply speaks volumes about your own assumptions, which was precisely the point of my original post. I am a skeptic, and my skepticism extends to replies such as yours, which are long on ad hominem and short on everything else. Did you consider for one moment I’m not playing a side, like you, before reflexively accusing me of being a “quack”?

    @John B

    Thank you for your reasoned and insult-free response. I must disagree that merely talking to experts qualifies one to speak with the same authority, however. Without cultivating real expertise before launching into advocacy, how are you not committing a fallacious appeal to authority? You can’t say you have knowledge; you have only the testimony of someone else who ostensibly has knowledge. How do you even vet that information with no background in the discipline?

  93. @Nonreflective feline:
    I find it extremely odd that a discussion of the nervous system completely ignores the existence of the brain.

    Depends on the person speaking, in a manner of speaking.
    ;)

    J/P=?

  94. @76. Jules (Julia)

    It is not our responsibility to find the evidence to back up your claims, you need to provide such evidence when you are challenged. You have said the evidence is out there, I can thus make 1 of 2 conclusions based on such a claim. 1 you have read and have access to the source of such evidence and so should be able to provide it for us, or 2 you do not have this evidence and are merely trying to distract from it. We also are asking for sources that are of a peer reviewed scientifically backed nature not the slanted propaganda that the BCCA has written in it’s own self interest.

    I’ve also noticed your repeated references to the funding of chiropractic treatments by the BC government, this says absolutely nothing about the efficacy of the treatment. I could name any number of quack therapies that receive government funding, it doesn’t change the fact that they have not be shown be be effective it only shows that a politician has granted funding for any number of reasons (usually due to a powerful lobby group). If such funding is important to your argument however consider this, Alberta recently STOPPED funding chiropractic.

  95. me

    If this is a witch hunt, there must be a group of people looking for other people to pin a false, hidden identity on. I suppose the first group is meant to be Singh and his supporters, and the second group Chiropractors. But they freely admit to being Chiropractors. There are no accusations of people secretly being Chiropractors involved here.

  96. Dr. Heath Motley D.C.

    Chiropractic Research Studies

    The chiropractic profession has always relied on clinical research and experimentation and chiropractic research is occurring around the world. Also, the chiropractic colleges are active in research as are several excellent research organizations which adhere to the strictest scientific standards. Here are a sampling of some of the most noteworthy research studies conducted since 1980.

    Oakland University Study

    At Michigan’s Oakland University, Miron Stano, Ph.D. compared the health care costs for medical and chiropractic patients. By reviewing the insurance claims paid, Dr. Stano concluded that patients who received chiropractic care, either alone or in conjunction with medical care, experienced health care costs that were $1000 lower on average than those who received only medical care. Total insurance payments for patients who received only medical care were thirty percent higher than those who were under the care of a chiropractor. This lower cost was attributed to lower in-patient and out-patient costs and showed that “the chiropractic care substitutes for other forms of out-patient care.

    The Manga Report

    “The Manga Report, from the University of Ottawa, reviewed all the international evidence on the management and low cost of back pain care. Pran Manga, Ph.D. concluded that significant cost savings would occur if the management of low back pain were transferred from physicians to chiropractors. He determined that chiropractic is safer than medical management of low back pain. “Many medical therapies are of questionable validity or are dearly inadequate. Chiropractic care is greatly superior to medical treatment in terms of scientific validity, safety, cost effectiveness and patient satisfaction.” Dr. Manga concluded that “chiropractic should be fully insured (and) fully integrated into the Ontario health care system.”

    The British Medical Research Council

    The British Medical Research Council documented a ten-year study which compared chiropractic and hospital out-patient management of seventy-four (74) patients with acute and chronic mechanical low back pain. The results showed that chiropractic care was significantly more effective than medical treatment for patients with chronic and severe pain. Furthermore, these results were long-term and remained consistent throughout the two-year follow-up period. Chiropractic was also shown to save the British more than 10 million pounds a year by having hospital out-patients with low back pain under chiropractic care.

    New Zealand Study

    These findings reinforced the conclusions of the New Zealand Report (377 pages) which was one of the most thorough and positive studies of chiropractic care on record. The twenty-month project was conducted by a government commission.

    It concluded that spinal adjusting is a vital, very safe and clinically effective form of health care. Chiropractors have more thorough training in spinal mechanics and spinal care than any other health professional. Furthermore, chiropractic is scientifically based and must be made an integral part of all hospital care. Finally, the report said that “modern chiropractic is a soundly based and valuable branch of health care in a specialized area neglected by the medical professional.”

    Washington Study

    J. S. Wright, D.C., conducted a study and reported to the Journal of Chiropractic that 74.6 percent of patients with recurring headaches, including migraines, were either cured or experienced reduced headache symptoms after receiving chiropractic adjustments. Daniel C. Cherkin, Ph.D. and Frederick A. MacCormack, Ph.D., a survey in 1989 that concluded that patients who were receiving care from health maintenance organizations (HMOs) in Washington State were three times as likely to report satisfaction with chiropractic care as they were from other physicians. The patients also reported they believed that their chiropractor was concerned about their welfare.

    AV MED HMO Study

    AV MED, a large HMO in the southeast, wanted to see if it could save money by having patients visit chiropractors for back pain. They chose one-hundred patients, eighty of whom had already been treated medically–without results. In each case, the patient had been seen by an average of 1.8 M.D.s. After receiving chiropractic adjustments, not one of the 100 patients had to have surgery. Furthermore, 86 percent of them got better and none of them got worse. Herbert Davis, M.D., the medical director of AV MED, said that chiropractic care saved the HMO $250,000 in surgical costs alone!

    Nevada Worker’s Compensation Study

    The State Industrial Insurance Systems (SIIS) in Nevada compared the average medical and chiropractic care for patients who suffered industrial injuries from 1988-1990. The results showed that 24.4 percent were back injuries but they accounted for more than 50 percent of all medical costs. Over the three-year period, the average medical cost per patient was $2,142 which was 260 percent higher than the average chiropractic cost per patient of $892; Loss of work time under chiropractic care is less than one-third that for medical care. Furthermore, injured workers are able to continue working while receiving chiropractic care which may not be an option for medical care patients who are advised to have bed rest and medication. The Nevada Worker’s Compensation Study emphasized that chiropractic eliminates the concern and expense of inappropriate hospitalization, unnecessary surgery, improper use of medication including the high dosage of narcotic painkillers.

    University of Saskatchewan Study

    In 1985, the University of Saskatchewan Study monitored 283 patients “who had not responded to previous conservative or operative treatment” and who were initially classified as totally disabled. The study revealed that after daily spinal adjustments were administered, “81 percent …became symptom-free or achieved a state of mild intermittent pain with no work restrictions.

    The Bristish Medical Journal

    The British Medical Journal reported in the June 2, 1990 issue that T.W. Meade, M.D. studied patients over a two-year period. Dr. Meade found that “for patients with low-back pain in whom spinal adjustments are not contraindicated, chiropractic almost certainly confers worthwhile, long-term benefit in comparison with hospital outpatient management.”

    Florida Study

    In 1991, Steve Wolk, Ph.D., studied 10,652 worker’s compensation cases in Florida. The results reported by the foundation of’ Chiropractic Education and Research concluded that: “A claimant with back-related injury, when initially cared for by a chiropractor versus a medical doctor, is less likely to become temporarily disabled, or if disabled, remains disabled for a shorter period of time; and claimants treated by medical doctors were hospitalized at a much higher rate than claimants care for by chiropractors.”

    The Gallup Study

    The Gallup Organization conducted a demographic poll in 1991 which revealed that ninety percent of chiropractic patients felt their care was effective. More than eighty percent were satisfied with the care they received and almost seventy-five percent felt most of their expectations had been met during chiropractic visits.

    Oregon Study

    Also in 1991, Joanne Nyiendo, Ph.D., conducted a worker’s compensation study in Oregon. She concluded that the median time loss in days for comparable injuries on any case was 9.0 days for patients who received chiropractic care as compared to 11.5 days for those who received medical treatment.

    Saskatchewan Hospital Study

    Two years later, in 1993, researchers at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatchewan concluded that “the care of lumbar intervertebral disk herniation by side posture adjustments is both safe and effective.” The researchers involved in the report, J. David Cassidy, D.C.; Haymo Thieli D.C.; M.S. and W. Kirkaldy-Willis, M.D., are all on staff at the hospital’s Back Pain Clinic.

    Journal of American Health Policy

    A 1992 review of data gathered from over two million users of chiropractic care in the United States appeared in the Journal of American Health Policy. It stated that “chiropractic users tend to have substantially lower total health care costs”. The data also indicated that chiropractic care reduces the need for both physician and hospital care.

    The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) issues guidelines for low back problems.

    The U.S. agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) formed a 23-person panel to find out the best ways to care for low back problems in adults. These health care professionals, including experts in orthopedic surgery, family practice, internal medicine, physical and rehabilitative medicine, emergency medicine, neurosurgery, rheumatology, and many other disciplines reviewed more than 3,900 studies on the topic. These guidelines released in December 1994 verified what chiropractors had been saying for years: surgery and medication should be a last resort treatment for most cases. Moderate exercise and chiropractic adjustments are far more effective and less risky.

    Philip R. Lee, M.D. assistant secretary for health and director of the Public Health Service, said, “By encouraging people with acute low back problems to resume normal activities, using only those treatments that have been scientifically shown to be effective, these guidelines could save Americans considerable anguish time and money now spent on unneeded or unproven medical care.”

    One clear message from all these studies is that chiropractic remains a cost effective and efficient method of healing that is, in many instances, equal or superior to medical care. The studies, which have often been conducted by state health or workers compensation agencies, have shown that chiropractic is often less expensive, significantly reduces the time away from work and often eliminates the dangers of drugs and surgery.
    Harvard Study

    According to a 1991 report by the Harvard Medical Practice Study Group in Cambridge, Massachusetts:

    80,000 persons die every year–one person every 7 minutes–and 150,000 to 300,000 more are injured annually from medical negligence in hospitals.

    –A Measure of malpractice, Harvard University Press 1993

  97. Na

    Phil, I hope you see this: one of your Google ads lead me to this site..

    http://www.ourchiro.com.au/treatments.html

    Note on their treatments, they include colic and baby reflux (anybody know what baby reflux refers to?)

    Can I suggest you add this site to your banned list for adverts?

  98. @Dr. Heath Motley D.C.

    Please provide proper links to the studies you mention. If you cannot do that, at the very least, provide the study title, title of the journal in which it appears, date of publication, and author(s). This will allow readers to evaluate the studies themselves to see if they are relevant to the discussion of safety and efficacy and how scientifically sound they are, rather than just take your word for it.

    Thank you.

    [Edit] Oh, and without proper context or adequate comparison, your remark about medical negligence, from the Harvard University article, is merely inflammatory and adds nothing to the discussion.

  99. TheBlackCat

    @ Dr. Heath Motley D.C.: First, it is not clear that any of those studies are valid scientific studies, including proper controls and blinding and selected from a random sampling of patients. In fact, for most of them it is clear that they have no controls whatsoever, amounting more to satisfaction surveys or financial reports rather than scientifically valid studies of efficacy.

    Second, most of those studies deal with back pain, essentially the only condition which there is any evidence that chiropractors are able to help with. Some studies it is not clear what they are looking at, and one that I noticed that clearly does not deal with back pain (it deals with headaches).

    However, almost all of the studies that were not clearly tied to lower back pain are also ones that were clearly not double-blind placebo controlled studies. The only possible exceptions are the Oregon Study, which is has too little information to be able to draw any conclusion, and the Washington Study (the first one), which as stated would not have controls but there may be other results not mentioned. The former has far too little information to find, and the latter almost certainly has an incomplete journal title, and I cannot find it in a literature search.

    So in short we really don’t need a list of the original publications, almost all of those studies are worthless and/or tell us something we already know. Only the two mentioned above need further analysis.

    If you had looked at the article that sparked this whole discussion, and the discussion itself, you would see that we are not complaining about chiropractors treating lower back pain. That is fine. The problem is them claiming to be able to treat other conditions like colic, allergies, and many other conditions that there is zero evidence chiropractors are able to treat yet which a large number of chiropractors nevertheless claim to be able to treat (as the article shows).

    Here is an article-by-article breakdown;

    Oakland University Study
    Based on insurance claims, so not the least bit controlled, blinded, or randomly selected. May or may not deal with back pain.

    The Manga Report
    Deals with back pain, a review, may or may not be scientifically valid depending on the quality of studies used in the review, the criteria used to include them, the exhaustiveness of the review, and the methodology used to asses the studies.

    The British Medical Research Council
    Deals with back pain, may or may not be scientifically valid.

    New Zealand Study
    Appears almost certainly to deal with back pain. Of unknown scientific validity.

    Washington Study
    Appears to be two studies, one of which, based on the description, had no controls or blinding and the second was a survey which, by definition, is neither controlled, blinded, or randomly selected. Explicitly does not deal with back pain (headaches). Also, I do no think the “Journal of Chiropractic” actually exists, it should probably be “Journal of Chiropractic _____”, which there are a bunch of. Whatever the case, I can’t find the study.

    AV MED HMO Study
    Deals with back pain, not the least bit blinded, controlled, or randomly selected.

    Nevada Worker’s Compensation Study
    Deals with back pain, appears to be a review of insurance reports so not the least bit controlled, blinded, or randomly selected.

    University of Saskatchewan Study
    Not the least bit controlled or blinded.

    The Bristish Medical Journal
    Deals with back pain. May or may not be scientifically valid.

    Florida Study
    From worker compensation records, so not the least bit blinded, controlled, or randomly selected. Further, the data was provided by a Chiropractic organization, so it is unknown how representative it is.

    The Gallup Study
    A satisfaction survey, so not the least bit blinded, controlled, or randomly selected. May or may not deal exclusively with back pain.

    Oregon Study
    Does not appear to appear double-blind, use proper controls, or use a random selection of subjects since it appears to use worker’s compensation reports, but hard to tell. May or may not deal exclusively with back pain.

    Saskatchewan Hospital Study
    Deals with back pain, may or may not be scientifically valid.

    Journal of American Health Policy
    Says it is a “review of data gathered from over two million users of chiropractic care”, so not double-blind, controlled, or selected from a random population. May or may not deal exclusively with back pain.

    The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) issues guidelines for low back problems.
    The title says this deals with back pain. Literature review, not a study. May or may not use scientifically valid studies or scientifically valid method to select or analyze studies.

  100. Peter B

    #100 Johan G said: “Thank you for your reasoned and insult-free response.”

    No worries.

    “I must disagree that merely talking to experts qualifies one to speak with the same authority, however. Without cultivating real expertise before launching into advocacy, how are you not committing a fallacious appeal to authority?”

    I hope I don’t claim to speak with authority, rather to say that this is what the experts say. Secondly, I don’t use the experts to assert correctness. Instead, I use the experts to find out what the mainstream is in that field, and why they reject non-mainstream views. Thus, a skeptic’s position relies on logic as well as specific knowledge. Thirdly, because experts are generally acknowledged as such in a particular field because they’ve demonstrated their expertise, usually through the acquisition of relevant credentials. In that sense, I don’t see too much of a problem with appealing to authority.

    Therefore, for example, I’ll listen to my doctor when it comes to matters relating to my health, but not when it comes to diagnosing problems with my car; those problems I entrust to my mechanic. In each case, they’ve had to demonstrate their expertise in their relevant fields.

    “You can’t say you have knowledge; you have only the testimony of someone else who ostensibly has knowledge. How do you even vet that information with no background in the discipline?”

    By doing my own research. This is the thing about expertise in various fields – it’s usually not hidden away, but available for people to learn for themselves.

  101. Bunny

    Johan G

    You are not a skeptic, and you are the one playing sides. I am not a chiropractor nor am I advocating for them.

    I am the skeptic here. I am skeptical of the ridiculous claims made by so called scientists who deal in a belief system instead of facts. A group so sure of their own beliefs that it leads to arrogance over other fields of study.

    Go feel sorry for yourself somewhere else. Don’t assume that your the skeptic when your the one defending your own belief system. Quack! Yes, I really do mean that you are a charlatan trying to push falsehoods on unsuspecting people using your elevated position in society. In short… Quack!

  102. Jules – contrary to your claims there are a number of “quack” therapies offered by BC chiros. Laser Therapy. This was found with a minimum of googling, actually simply picking the second result from Vancouver BC chiros. I note that all Canadian DC’s are permitted to use “Dr.” as their title, despite having no training in medicine. Calling a chiropractor a general practioner is erroneous and dangerous.

    OhReally espouses tu quoque fallacious claims – referencing cough medicine, arthroscopic knee surgery (each of which was discovered by science and published – thus abandoned by medicine). They also imply that real medical practioners only prescribe drugs – ridiculous. They more often than not advocate rest and recuperation or physical therapy for soft tissue damage.

    It is chiropractors who must validate their extraordinary claims which stem from the fabricated beliefs of DD Palmer and others. Any visiting DCs want to comment on subluxation? Or describe the Winslow Autopsies as “proof” of their practices?

    The BC College of Chiropractic provides some stunningly strong restrictions on practice.

    Restricted activities
    4 (1) A registrant in the course of practising chiropractic may do any of the following:
    (a) make a diagnosis identifying, as the cause of signs or symptoms of an individual, a disease, disorder or condition of the spine or other joints of the body and the associated tissue, and the nervous system;
    (b) move a joint of the spine beyond the limits the body can voluntarily achieve but within the anatomical range of motion using a high velocity, low amplitude thrust;
    (c) put an instrument, a device or a finger into the external ear canal for the purpose of assessing the ear and auditory systems;
    (d) put a finger beyond the anal verge for the purpose of manipulating the coccyx;
    (e) apply X-rays for diagnostic or imaging purposes, excluding X-rays for the purpose of computerized axial tomography;
    (f) issue an instruction or authorization for another person to apply, to a named individual,
    (i) electromagnetism for the purpose of magnetic resonance imaging, or
    (ii) X-rays for diagnostic or imaging purposes, including X-rays for the purpose of computerized axial tomography.
    (2) Only a registrant may provide a service of chiropractic as set out in this regulation if, on the day before this section comes into force, the provision of the same service by anyone other than a person authorized under the Chiropractors Act was prohibited.

    Clearly this would hardly qualify one as a primary care practitioner – but equally clearly BC area DCs are not following this guideline.

  103. Not one of our excuses proves in any way that you know 100% for sure about anything.

    So pointing out errors in arguments and evidence for conclusions is the same as making excuses? Well, if that’s the case, all of science is just a big excuse. Also, I never made the claim that I’m 100% certain about anything and everything. There’s always a margin of error to consider. The claim I did make was that a conclusion backed by evidence is better than one made without any.

    In fact not one of your excuses proves that you are any more than 1% sure of anything.

    How do you get that 1% level of certainty? Is there a formula? Did you do some sort of huge, comparative study on all the topics and assign certainty levels to each conclusion?

    Watching quasars means nothing when all you can do is assume their source and their behavior.

    If you can provide a better, more accurate explanation for the origins and behaviors of quasars, let’s hear it. Science is about testing ideas. All your nay-saying is doing is showing me that you have no idea what you’re talking about. You just want to argue because you’re incensed that someone knows a particular subject better than you.

    So if you want to play scientist, go ahead and enlighten us on the mechanism behind quasars, show us some proof for your assertions and answer our questions when you’re done. If your hypothesis seems plausible and well supported, we’ll pay attention. That’s how science works.

    Again, even if you were studying quasars, at your current level of technology (equivalent to a stone club)

    Our level of technology compared to what? A million years from now? That of the Grays on a world orbiting Zeta Riticuli? What’s the technological baseline?

    all you can do is break things and watch them disintegrate.

    Not true at all. We can put a lot of things together very well. And when we do break them to see what they’re made of, we learn quite a bit so there’s nothing wrong with smashing an atom or two or ten if we can learn more about the universe in the process.

    So really, what is your point? That we’re all stupid? Then what?

  104. Chris

    It seems strange that you think so much of medicine IS fact. For example the new vaccine Gardsil is promoted as being a vaccine against cancer of the cervix, yet it is no such thing. There have been no long term trial to prove this, and so far girls have been paralysed and there are even suspicions of a few deaths. Compared with the possibilty that chiropractic may be placebo I think we should be investigating the deaths and maiming caused by so called scientific medicine.

  105. @Chris

    new vaccine Gardsil is promoted as being a vaccine against cancer of the cervix

    Technically, the vaccine is against 4 strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), which is linked to cervical cancer. It will not prevent all strains of HPV, but it will cut down on the risks of infection. The evidence supporting its efficacy in preventing infection thus far is sufficient for WHO to recommend its addition to national immunization programs. See http://www.who.int/wer/2009/wer8415.pdf for their position paper.

    There have been no long term trial to prove this, and so far girls have been paralysed and there are even suspicions of a few deaths.

    The deaths that some people think have been caused by Gardasil have been investigated by FDA and CDC and found to not be related to the vaccine. See http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048985.htm for more information.

    As to the paralysis, do you have any links to studies showing such a reaction? Also, what is the incidence rate, out of the millions of doses distributed so far?

  106. Chris

    I know that the vaccine is for the prevention of certain HPV’s but it is publicly known as an anti-cancer vacine, of which there is no proof, just theory, yet they are allowed to do it and other people defend it. Yes the FDA have investigated the deaths, but who pays them? So far we have some paralysed girls and NONE saved from cancer. I believe the paalysis was mentioned in a Scottish Newspaper, I shall get back to you on that one.

    While I’m on the subject of drug companies getting away with it – how come the 5 largest studies on cholesterol (the Framingham, Honolulu, Russian, Japanese, and the other one escapes me at moment) show that there is REDUCED risk of death with increasing cholesterol over 5mmol, yet doctors want to reduce it. Leeds University in the UK and Harvard in the US also concluded that there was no evidence anywhere for the lowering of cholesterol to the standards now set by the drug companies.

    Ineresting to note that as cholesterol creeps under 4.12 mmol there is a triple increase in deprssion and suicide, meaning more anti-depressents can be sold!

  107. Johan G

    @John B

    I agree with almost 100% of what you say when it comes to deciding what I believe personally…I should hope all skeptics would say the same. This is because I’m not deciding for anyone but myself, so I can accept the ethical implications of my decisions entirely. If my understanding is flawed, so be it–the damage is limited to me only.

    But I can’t agree that that same level of knowledge is acceptable for trying to talk others into, or out of, their beliefs. In areas where I have substantial experience and authentic knowledge, I can be quite forceful in advocacy. Ethically, I am responsible for the outcome of the decisions others make based on my advice, so I have to have a much higher certainty of the quality of the advice I give. In these cases, credentials, or repeating what I’ve read somewhere else, or heard another say simply won’t cut it. On those occasions, I simply reserve comment, despite my strongly held personal beliefs.

    @Bunny

    Utterly baffling. I am embarrassed for you. Let’s agree to disagree, or something.

  108. @Chris

    Yes the FDA have investigated the deaths, but who pays them?

    Uh, the Federal Government? Or did you mean user fees, which are applied to all corporations?

    So far we have some paralysed girls and NONE saved from cancer. I believe the paalysis was mentioned in a Scottish Newspaper, I shall get back to you on that one.

    Scientific sources would be a better place to look for support. Newspapers, though getting kernels of truth in their stories, are not reliable for unbiased information.

    Regarding the cholesterol stuff, can you provide links to the studies? Also, include links to the studies that show an increase in depression and suicide as cholesterol (which kind – LDL or HDL?) levels decrease below that threshold.

  109. Chris

    The Framingham Study is used by those who endorse the lipid hypothesis, as proof of the validity of the lipid hypothesis. In this study approximately 5000 people were followed and studied every five years. There were two groups. Those who consumed large amounts of animal fat and cholesterol were compared with those who consumed very little. Forty years after the start of this study, its director, Dr. William Castelli, reluctantly admitted, In Framingham, Massachusetts the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum cholesterol. We found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, and ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most active. Yes, those who ate the most cholesterol and fat gained the least amount of weight. Although the study did find an association between high levels of blood cholesterol and increased likelihood of future heart attacks, the elevated cholesterol was only one of over 240 “risk factors” that were associated with increased risk of heart attacks. And this association was found only in young and middle aged men. In the 30 year follow-up of the Framingham Study, high cholesterol was not predictive of heart attack at all after the age of 47. In other words, according to the Framingham Study, once a man reaches the age of 48 there is no relationship between high levels of cholesterol and dying of heart attack. And most alarming is the fact that those whose cholesterol dropped without any intervention ran a much higher risk of heart attack than those whose cholesterol increased. The significantly increased risk of dying from heart disease and from other diseases in those whose cholesterol decreased is so contrary to what we have been led to believe that I feel it is important to print the whole abstract of the article that points out that fact.

    This article appeared in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association on April 24, 1987 under the title, Cholesterol and mortality. Thirty years of follow-up from the Framingham study. Its authors are the chief investigators of the Framingham study, W.P. Castelli, K.M. Anderson, and D. Levy.

  110. Chris

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11502313
    BACKGROUND: A generally held belief is that cholesterol concentrations should be kept low to lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, studies of the relation between serum cholesterol and all-cause mortality in elderly people have shown contrasting results. To investigate these discrepancies, we did a longitudinal assessment of changes in both lipid and serum cholesterol concentrations over 20 years, and compared them with mortality. METHODS: Lipid and serum cholesterol concentrations were measured in 3572 Japanese/American men (aged 71-93 years) as part of the Honolulu Heart Program. We compared changes in these concentrations over 20 years with all-cause mortality using three different Cox proportional hazards models. FINDINGS: Mean cholesterol fell significantly with increasing age. Age-adjusted mortality rates were 68.3, 48.9, 41.1, and 43.3 for the first to fourth quartiles of cholesterol concentrations, respectively. Relative risks for mortality were 0.72 (95% CI 0.60-0.87), 0.60 (0.49-0.74), and 0.65 (0.53-0.80), in the second, third, and fourth quartiles, respectively, with quartile 1 as reference. A Cox proportional hazard model assessed changes in cholesterol concentrations between examinations three and four. Only the group with low cholesterol concentration at both examinations had a significant association with mortality (risk ratio 1.64, 95% CI 1.13-2.36). INTERPRETATION: We have been unable to explain our results. These data cast doubt on the scientific justification for lowering cholesterol to very low concentrations (<4.65 mmol/L) in elderly people.

  111. Chris

    I also sugegst reading this article on cholesterol, it has plenty of supporting data for you http://www.ravnskov.nu/myth2.htm

  112. Chris

    Low cholesterol ans depression/suicide BBC reporst refer to the research
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/352216.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/435305.stm

    Epidemiology 2001 Mar;12:168-72

    Further references “British Medical Journal published in September of 1996, where a French study looked at over 6,000 men. The study revealed that men with low cholesterol were three times more likely to commit suicide. A similar study at Payne Whitney Clinic in New York showed a similar result: when dividing men into four groups based on cholesterol levels, suicide risk doubled in the group with the lowest levels.”

  113. Chris

    FDA to Receive More Money from Drug Manufacturers, But Denies “Undue Influence”
    http://aahf.nonprofitsoapbox.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=787&Itemid

  114. Chris

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article5337885.ece

    Paralysis happens 30min after jab, but everyone denies it could be the vaccine.

    Daily Mail article
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1160516/Paralysis-epilepsy-blurred-vision-1-300-girls-reaction-cervical-cancer-vaccine.html

    Sorry they are only newspaper articles, but I hope you understand. Dr’s seem to think this is an OK risk, but in reality they have no way of telling if the vaccine will actually save lives.

  115. @Chris

    Re: FDA Funding

    Believe me, I would be very happy to have industry user fees done away with. As the article you linked to says, it creates the impression of conflicts of interest. I, personally, would like to see an actual study that looks at whether there really is a difference in FDA behavior specifically linked to the user fees. I’m not aware of any such study, though.

    The fees themselves, unfortunately, are necessary because Federal funding simply doesn’t cut it. FDA has never had adequate funding to accomplish what they are tasked with, since the first beginnings of the agency. A sad state, really, given the importance of what they do, and to have confidence in them eroded (rightly or wrongly) due to the added funding derived from fees paid by industry, is awful.

  116. @Chris

    Re: Paralysis and HPV vaccination

    The first article you linked to from the Times we cannot properly evaluate. We do not know the girl’s medical history. The article does not mention what tests were performed or what the results were. We don’t know if she traveled anywhere before she received the vaccine. No clues are given whether any other individuals who receive jabs from that lot of vaccine also experienced ADRs. In short, there are a very large number of factors that we just don’t know. It cannot, therefore, be used to support a claim that Cerverix causes paralysis. Nor can it be used to exonerate the vaccine. All we can say is that, scientifically speaking, it’s worthless.

    Likewise, the Daily Mail article is woefully devoid of pertinent details to make any kind of reasonable judgment. From what is there, the rates of the serious ADRs listed appear to be at a rate of less than 1 per 100,000. The only one that wasn’t was the blurred vision (just shy of 3 per 100,000). We are not told how many of those individuals recovered from the ADRs vs. how many were permanent. However, given the little that we can glean from the article, the benefits of the vaccine still appear to outweigh the risks (considering both the risk of ADRs from the vaccine, as well as risks from cervical cancer if not vaccinated).

    I’ll take a look at the cholesterol bits as I get time to read the studies and comment on them. Thanks for providing the links!

  117. John Wiens

    #67. Johan G Says: “All know the real truth, enough at least to shout down, ridicule, or gently enlighten those who don’t. This blog in particular seems to be written by an authority in multiple disciplines.”

    Well said Johan. The phenomenon of is one I’m all too familiar with myself and can be explained thus. “Why can’t everyone just think like me, dammit??”

  118. I suggest that every person who receives health care (swine flu shots or antibiotics or antidepressants or exploratory surgery) should also ask for substantiating research. Any MD or DC should be able to explain in layman’s terms why a plan of care is suggested, what the risks and alternatives are, and why it costs so much.

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