Friday, May 30, 2014
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
How Do You Rate?
|Chiropractic Care and Your Health Rating|
As a rising tide raises all boats, regular chiropractic care helps improve all aspects of your personal health. This process occurs owing to the fact that chiropractic care directly addressees the nerve system, your body’s master system.
The nerve system conducts messages between your brain and every other organ, tissue, and cell in your body. As a result, the proper functioning of your cardiorespiratory, digestive, endocrine, immune, and reproductive systems depends on effective and timely reception and transmission of information from and to your brain.
By making sure your spine is aligned, regular chiropractic care helps reduce and remove irritation to centrally located spinal nerves. Regular spinal alignment allows spinal nerves to do their job properly, helping ensure that your heart, lungs, immune cells, pancreas, thyroid, stomach, and intestines are all doing their job at the best level possible. The outcome is enhanced health, all across the board.
In the field of statistics, a five-point rating scale is commonly used to evaluate all sorts of personal responses, feelings, and assessments. This frequently used tool is known as the Likert scale, and most people have completed such a rating device on numerous occasions, most typically in consumer after-sales surveys. The Likert scale asks a person to respond to a statement such as “I would recommend this restaurant to my friends”, choosing from the predetermined answers of “strongly disagree,” “disagree,” “neither agree nor disagree,” “agree,” and “strongly agree.” The Likert scale was developed in 1932 and has been consistently validated over many decades of use. We can effectively apply this rating system to our own state of health by answering the statement, “I enjoy high levels of health and well-being.” We can than employ our truthful answers to make sound decisions on our own behalf regarding future health-promoting activities.
If your truthful response is “strongly agree,” you probably have been engaged for a year or more in a regular, vigorous exercise program and consistently follow a nutritional healthy eating plan. You do at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise five times a week, on most weeks. You are probably at or very near your target body weight (based on a calculation of your body mass index, readily done at numerous online resources) and consume an appropriate amount of calories on a daily basis. Overall, you feel fit. You sleep well and wake up refreshed. You have abundant energy to do all the things you need to do for yourself and your family, every day.
At the other end of the Likert rating system, if your truthful response is “strongly disagree,” you probably haven’t done any form of exercise for some time. Of course, such a circumstance might be the result of a serious illness. But if your lack of engagement in regular exercise and healthy eating is related to apathy or some other form of ennui, or in itself is a personal choice, it’s useful to consider the consequences of such inaction. Or, rather, it could be personally beneficial to consider the value in taking on new habits that result in your becoming a person who responds “strongly agree” to the statement, “I am healthy and well.”
How do you get to “strongly agree”? The solution is three-fold. The first part is to make a choice that you want to enjoy high levels of health and well-being. No one is ever going to make such a commitment because someone else told him or her they should, no matter whether that someone is a spouse, other family member, or a physician. The decision must be a personal choice. The second and third components are to begin an exercise program1 and a healthy eating plan2,3. Exercise needs to be vigorous (“vigorous” is relative, based on your age, overall health status, and other considerations) and done five times per week. Healthy eating encompasses a wide range of selections and options. One of the key elements is to consume at least five servings of fresh fruits and vegetable every day.
The good news is that every person who begins and stays with such a course of healthy living will soon reap the benefits. And not too long after that, you’ll find you’ve become a person who sleeps better, has more energy, and has, day by day, more fun in living. This is what healthy eating and exercise is really all about.
1 Chilton WL, et al: Acute Exercise Leads to Regulation of Telomere-Associated Genes and MicroRNA Expression in Immune Cells. PLoS One 2014 Apr 21;9(4):e92088. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092088. eCollection 2014
2 Michas G, et al: Dietary fats and cardiovascular disease: Putting together the pieces of a complicated puzzle. Atherosclerosis 2014 Mar 27;234(2):320-328. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2014.03.013. [Epub ahead of print]
3 Yoon U, et al: Efficacy of lifestyle interventions in reducing diabetes incidence in patients with impaired glucose tolerance: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Metabolism 62(2):303-314, 2013
Friday, May 2, 2014
The increasing diagnoses of mental health issues in children, along with the prescribing of psychotropic and antipsychotic medication, is beginning to cause alarm. In 2010, children were two times more likely to receive medical care for mental health conditions than they were 15 years earlier. The mental health diagnosis rate for adults remained stable. However, the use of medications for mental health diagnoses doubled during this period.
The November 2013 issue of JAMA psychiatry published a study indicating that young people are being diagnosed and treated for mental health issues more often than adults, and are increasingly being prescribed psychotropic medications.
The study raises questions about mental health diagnosis and treatment, according to the Brain Balance Center's online article. While the study did not investigate causes of the increases in mental health care and drug interventions, the results of the study raise important questions about mental health diagnosis and treatment in the U.S. for both children and adults. More research is needed to establish the cause or causes of the rising rates, but developmental and behavioral issues in children leave parents asking what they can do NOW to help their children.
In agreement with the JAMA study, the CDC reported a rise in the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children, as well as a rise in medication usage. The CDC reported that two-thirds of the children diagnosed with ADHD were using medication which is an increase of 28 percent from 2007 to 2011.
The trend of increases in diagnoses and medication of mental health issues in children caused a group of college students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney to begin a campaign to raise awareness about the potential dangers of psychotropic drugs in children, Kearney Hub author, Josh Moody, reported on Dec. 7, 2013.
A psychotropic drug is a drug used to treat a psychiatric condition such as ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia. How the drug is working is it's changing the chemical structure of the human brain; it's adding synthetic serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, or it's inhibiting the release, explained Jeanne Stolzer, a family studies professor at UNK.
The interesting thing about this whole psychiatric paradigm that we're enmeshed in right now is the theory that mental illness — ADHD, depression, anxiety — is caused by low serotonin levels or low dopamine levels, said Stolzer. We cannot measure the serotonin in your brain, so the theory is flawed at the onset.
ConsumerReports.org reported on the use and overuse of antipsychotic drugs in children with the number of children taking antipsychotic drugs tripling over the last 10 to 15 years. According to ConsumerReports.org, The increase comes not because of an epidemic of schizophrenia or other forms of serious mental illness in children, but because doctors are increasingly prescribing the drugs to treat behavior problems, a use not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And a disproportionate number of those prescriptions are written for poor and minority children, some as young as age 2.
ConsumerReports.org also stated, Antipsychotics have become huge moneymakers for the drug industry. In 2003, annual U.S. sales of the drugs were estimated at $2.8 billion; by 2011, that number had risen to $18.2 billion. That huge growth was driven in part by one company—Janssen Pharmaceuticals— and its aggressive promotion of off-label uses in children and elderly patients, relying on marketing tactics that according to the federal government, crossed legal and ethical lines.
Drug companies benefit from the use of the drugs, and push the drugs by emphasizing the benefits of the drugs and not emphasizing the risks of drug use-especially in children. The trends of the increase mental health diagnoses, and increases in the use of psychotropic and antipsychotic drugs in children attracted nationwide attention. This is reflected in the many publications that have reported on these issues, and pointed out the unanswered questions and research that needs to be done to clarify these issues.
Jeanne Stolzer, a family studies professor at University of Nebraska at Kearney stated, The fact of the matter is this, we don't have any idea of the long term effects of what we're doing right now, because we've never done it before. We do know that the earlier you start a drug the more likely there is to be brain atrophy, we know that, it's a scientific fact. And we know that the earlier you begin a drug the more likely there is for addiction processes to occur.
From the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health on September 30, 2013 comes a case study documenting the correction of a breech pregnancy and the elimination of pain in a pregnant woman undergoing chiropractic care. A pregnancy is considered breech if the fetus is in the head up position in the last several weeks of a woman's pregnancy.
In this case, a 24-year-old woman went to the chiropractor in her 37th week of her pregnancy. She was seeking a natural childbirth but was suffering from lower back pain, and leg pain. The woman's obstetrician/gynecologist had diagnosed her as having a breech pregnancy and had scheduled a Caesarean procedure for the birth.
The woman had a history of lower back and leg pain that had started at the 29th week of her pregnancy. She described the pain as constant, burning, sharp, and tingling, with her leg pain being worse than her back. She reported that stretching seemed to help, but that normal activities such as sitting, standing, lifting, sleeping, and walking made the pain worse.
A chiropractic examination was performed, subluxations were determined to be present, and care was begun including the Webster Technique which was developed to help women with breech pregnancies. The Webster Technique was administered once a day for two days.
According to the patient, her fetus shifted from the breech to vertex position following the second visit, and was confirmed by ultrasound imaging. The study also reports that the woman's leg and back pain was reduced by 50% by the 5th visit and continued to reduce up untill her delivery.
In their conclusion, the authors summed up their results coupled with the growing body of evidence showing chiropractic helping pregnant women. They wrote, "We described the successful care of a pregnant patient presenting with pregnancy-related low back pain and leg pain concomitant with a breech presentation. This and other publications reviewed provide some measure of chiropractic effectiveness in the care of pregnant patients."
The headline above is from a Reuters article published on November 18, 2013, in the Washington Post. This article, as well as several in other publications, reports on a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on November 18, 2013, that addresses the issue of antibiotic usage in children.
The problem noted in the Washington Post article and CDC report is that children with upper respiratory infections are often prescribed antibiotics even though most of these infections are caused by viruses and will not respond to antibiotics. Theoklis Zaoutis, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, warns, "People tend to not recognize how big of a problem this is."
A press release by the CDC on the study explains, "Every year as many as 10 million U.S. children risk side effects from antibiotic prescriptions that are unlikely to help their upper respiratory conditions. Many of these infections are caused by viruses, which are not helped by antibiotics."
Our primary goal is the best outcome for a child," said lead report author Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on infectious diseases. "The best treatment for a child doesn't always include an antibiotic."
Dr. Lauri Hicks, a coauthor of the report noted, "Many people have the misconception that, since antibiotics are commonly used, they are harmless. Taking antibiotics when you have a virus can do more harm than good." The biggest harm being reported in the articles is the growing antibiotic resistance to bacterial infections caused by what are being called "Superbugs."
The CDC release clearly stated the danger overuse of antibiotics creates in their release, "Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria evolve and are able to outsmart antibiotics, making even common infections difficult to treat. According to a landmark CDC report from September 2013, each year more than two million Americans get infections that are resistant to antibiotics and 23,000 die as a result."
The headline above is from a June 27, 2013, HealthDay article that appeared in the US News and World Report health section of their news website. The article, and several others on this subject, are reporting on a study published on June 21, 2013, in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Another article on the Mayo report in PharmaLive on June 19, 2013, starts with the results of the study by noting, " Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center researchers say." Even more ominous is that the study showed that a full twenty percent of patients are on five or more prescription medications. The study found that antibiotics, antidepressants, and painkilling opioids are most commonly prescribed.
Study author, Jennifer St. Sauver, Ph.D., a member of the Mayo Clinic Population Health Program in the Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, added that, "...the second most common prescription was for antidepressants — that suggests mental health is a huge issue and is something we should focus on. And the third most common drugs were opioids, which is a bit concerning considering their addicting nature."
The study also showed that medication usage, as expected, was higher in the elderly. However, the study also noted that women are more likely to be taking prescription medications than men. In people under the age of 19 years, the most common drugs prescribed are vaccines, antibiotics, and anti-asthma drugs .
The trend toward increased prescription drug usage is alarming. The PharmaLive article writes, "Prescription drug use has increased steadily in the U.S. for the past decade. The percentage of people who took at least one prescription drug in the past month increased from 44 percent in 1999-2000 to 48 percent in 2007-08. Spending on prescription drugs reached $250 billion in 2009 the year studied, and accounted for 12 percent of total personal health care expenditures. Drug-related spending is expected to continue to grow in the coming years, the researchers say."
Chiropractic represents a drug-less approach to healthcare. In response to this new study, Dr. Michael McLean, President of the International Chiropractors Association commented, "America is awash with drugs. These numbers speak to a problem with how healthcare is viewed in the United States." He continued, "In the US, we spend more money, take more drugs, and have more chronic disease than any other advanced nation in the world. It is time we as a society question the practice of taking more drugs, as it has not yielded improved health."