Archive for October, 2009

Vaccine Time

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Our office did get another shipment of the regular (seasonal) flu vaccine.  Vaccines ideally should be received by the end of November and certainly at least by the end of December.  There is then plenty of time still, but not necessarily plenty of vaccine at least at our office.  Drop in days are for established patients, mid mornings or afternoons, T,W,TH. and we request a phone call (503-293-1515) from those planning to stop by.

More Quackary

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Yesterday I blogged about a local chiropractor’s claim that bordered on the insane and certainy lacked evidence.  These kinds of claims are more pervasive and common than many know, but no more so than in the field of alternative medicine, especially naturopathic medicine.

On my desk today is an invitation for me to attended a seminar on QRA.  What is QRA you might ask?  According to this brochure, it is a “breakthrough” in understanding “true root causes of chronic health” by using “quantum physics to permanently restore quantum biofield energetics.”

If that sounds confusing to you, then relax, you are normal.  Silly claims often ride on the coattails of scientific words and ideas (like quantum physics) but then add to them.  In this case by suggesting then there exists something like “biofield energetics” which is made up mumbo-jumbo.  Despite using these complicated words, they assure those that attend that this incredible discovery “can be easily learned in one weekend” and (get ready for this one) one will learn how to do a “one-second test” that so quickly identifies “toxic nutrients, foods or supplements” that could be avoided.  In one second!

What happens next?  I am glad you asked, as it then will somehow magically “induce quantum cellular resonance in specific glands and organs.”  This ultimately will acheive a “rejuvenated bio-energy pattern” and I guess some amazing health.

There may be some cellular responses that are at the quantum level, but that could not be known and certainly one could not measure this change.  Moreover, there is not such thing as a bio-energy pattern.  Craziness, plain and simple.

Perhaps it is true some might say.  Of course that is not even slightly feasible.  The wonders of science and medicine is that true statements are rapidly distributed and supported and usually adopted worldwide.  Of course that is not even slightly true in this case.   This is just another example of modern day snake oil hogwash, and in this example a naturopathic (not chiropractic) one of a heaping pile of male cow poo poo.

Snake oil

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

The flu season continues along and at least for my few unlucky patients made ill by this germ; so far it has been a mild illness with recovery in a week to 10 days.

This has not stopped the concern and worry of course.  It also has not stopped some unusual claims by others.  In the local community paper this week was an ad by Steven Pettigrew, a chiropractor.    This provider suggests that manipulation or spinal adjustments can help “the body fight illness” and should be considered in order to stay healthy.

It’s worth taking a look at his subsequent claims both for education and to serve as a warning about some conclusions people can make.

First he notes that “the spine is the central corridor from which the body’s nervous system emanates.”  Well, this is partially true.  There are nerves traveling to the face, the cranial nerves, that avoid the spinal cord.  Still, I have no major worries about this first point.  It is pretty much everything else that I consider hogwash.

“Nerves control every aspect of the body, including the immune system.”

No, goodness no, that is not true.  This is reducing a complex process to a simple statement that is not accurate.  It is beyond the scope of this blog to address this in great detail, but suffice it to say that there are massive numbers of chemicals released from different organs independent of the effects of nerves.  Sugar levels sway how the pancreas works, thyroid levels feedback to the brain and on to the thyroid and other chemicals and blood numbers are influenced by so many other factors that have no nerves controlling this process.  This is especially true for the immune system made up of billions of cells of various sorts floating about in the body (hence, could not have a nerve attached) or in glands (lymph glands, spleen in particular).  The immune system is not under control of any of the nerves from the spinal cord.  Individuals with complete paralysis due to spinal cord injury, have normal immune systems.

“The brain and the immune system are the two major adaptive systems in the body” he adds next.

No, this is wrong.  The endocrine system (hormones), the digestive system (stomach and intestines), the renal system (kidneys) and cardiovascular system (heart and vessels) would all disagree.  They all work, adjust, adapt in a constant dance of life without claims to superiority.

“When the immune system has to respond to a (flu), it reacts with the brain to maintain balance in the body” is his next sentence.

No, how absolutely wrong and silly is this comment.  The flu is a virus that invades cells throughout the body, mostly the respiratory system.  It does not react, in a positive way, with the brain.  As it spread in the body, immune cells release chemicals that may cause a fever (feedback on the brain) or the flu may infect the lining of the brain (viral meningitis) or worse get in the brain (encephalitis).  There is no brain effects that balance anything.

“Any misalignment in the vertebrae can cause malfunction and weaken the immune system” is his following sentence.

What?  Wait, I thought it was about the brain?  What does the spinal cord have to do with it?  The answer is nothing of course.  Not to mention the fact that there is not a shred of evidence to suggest a bone in the back (or several) can be moved around to then have some distant effects on the chemicals floating about in the body that fight infection.  This is all just complete silliness and wishful thinking.

He finally ends by suggesting chiropractic treatment should be done to help the nerves to help the immune, hence to help you stay healthy.

Save that money and instead work on eating well, exercising, washing your hands and avoiding those who are ill.  If you can, and most importantly, get a flu shot!