MD, PhD, FMedSci, FSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

On their website, ‘CBC News’ just published an article that is relevant to much what we have been discussing here. I therefore take the liberty of showing you a few excerpts:

START OF QUOTES

…A CBC News analysis of company websites and Facebook pages of every registered chiropractor in Manitoba found several dozen examples of statements, claims and social media content at odds with many public health policies or medical research.

Examples include:

  • Offers of treatments for autism, Tourette’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, colic, infections and cancer.
  • Anti-vaccination literature and recently published letters to the editor from chiropractors that discourage vaccination.
  • An article claiming vaccines have caused a 200 to 600 per cent increase in autism rates.
  • A statement that claims the education and training of a chiropractor is “virtually identical” to that of a medical doctor.
  • Discouraging people from getting diagnostic tests such as CT scans, colonoscopies and mammograms.
  • An informational video discouraging the use of sunscreen.

…”It misleads the public in two areas. Firstly, those who choose to go for chiropractic care, particularly for things like infection and autism and things that we know they’re not going to be beneficial for, it misleads those individuals and gives them false hope for treatment that will not be effective,” he [Dr. Alan Katz, director of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy] said. “Putting these things up on their website also puts the doubt in the minds of others about what we do know works, and as a result those people may not seek the right type of care for conditions that could deteriorate if they don’t seek that care.”

The Manitoba Chiropractors Association declined an interview request but did say it would review the content.

health-care-lies

This image disparaging medical treatments and physicians appeared on a chiropractor’s clinic Facebook page.

…The Manitoba Chiropractors Association has previously addressed certain issues with its membership through an internal communication. “In Manitoba, the administration of ‘vaccination and immunization’ currently falls outside the scope of chiropractic practice,” the communication said. It also cautioned members that:

  • “Chiropractors may be liable for opinions they provide to patients/public in circumstances where it would be reasonably foreseeable that the individual receiving the opinion would rely on it.
  • “Providing professional opinions on the issue of vaccination and immunization would likely be found by a court to be outside the scope of practice of a chiropractor.”

The association also said, “The degree to which a chiropractor can or cannot discuss ‘vaccination and immunization’ or other health-care procedures that are outside the scope of practice with a patient is currently being reviewed by the board of directors.”…

fluoride-hitler

A local chiropractor shared this message on their company Facebook page. Health Canada says fluoride concentrations in drinking water do not pose a risk to human health and are endorsed by over 90 national and international professional health organizations. (Facebook)

The fact that members of a regulated health profession are actively disseminating questionable medical information while benefiting from public funds is cause for concern, Katz said. “Should we as a society be paying for the services of professionals, and I use that word loosely, that are advocating care that is contrary to the official public policy?”

 

fever-baby-ad

Information on fevers posted online by a Manitoba chiropractor. The College of Family Physicians of Canada says that if a infant has a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher to call the doctor or immediately go to an emergency room.

…A letter by Winnipeg chiropractor Henri Marcoux was published last February in Manitoba’s francophone weekly newspaper La Liberté, in response to an article in which a regional health authority expert was interviewed about influenza immunizations.

Marcoux wrote that he does not recommend flu vaccines, calling them “toxic.” He further stated that the flu virus actually “purifies our systems” and said that he believes flu vaccines are “driven by a vast operation orchestrated by pharmaceutical companies.” People should instead focus on general wellness — which includes chiropractic treatment — to stave off the flu, he wrote.

treating-chiro…Now-retired chiropractor and long-time anti-vaccination advocate Gérald Bohémier wrote a later letter in support of Marcoux that also appeared in La Liberté.

Letters then poured in from members of the community, including a resident and two physicians who took exception to these statements. Marcoux told the CBC’s French service, Radio-Canada, that he does not believe his views are at odds with public health. He stands by his letter, he said, adding if society as a whole took health and wellness more seriously — rather than trying to treat symptoms — the need for vaccines would dissipate or never would have existed in the first place…

END OF QUOTES

Some chiropractors will respond that this is Canada and that elsewhere the situation is much better. I fear that this is not necessarily true – and if it is better in the UK, it is not because of the efforts of chiropractors or their professional organisations. In the UK, the situation has improved because of the work of organisations such as the Nightingale Collaboration and The Good Thinking Society. Likewise, in other countries, progress is being generated not by chiropractors but by critical thinkers and critics of quackery.

22 Responses to Chiropractors are undermining public health

  • In the UK, what has become the General Medical Council, was instituted to protect the public from quacks, charlatans, mountebanks, healthcare hucksters and frauds.

    No regulatory system is perfect.
    Those who hold to un-scientific, or pseudo-scientific belief systems, and who cannot obtain registration and a licence to practice from the GMC, yet still feel they have something to offer patients, may well be tempted to ‘qualify’ in any number of alternatives to conventional medicine.
    And will also try and insinuate themselves into the regular system.

    Just as ‘False News’ currently attracts attention in the mass media, so should ‘False Healthcare Claims’.

    I’m not sure whether to feel sorry for those without the necessary abilities in critical thinking to avoid practising outmoded and anachronistic treatment modalities, or whether to be outraged they should promote their businesses at the expense of gullible and vulnerable patients.

    I guess, caveat emptor. But the efforts of the Nightingale Collaboration and Good Thinking Society are to be applauded – and should be better known.

  • How long before Colin shouts ‘FAKE NEWS!’ and runs away?
    I’m intrigued by the notion of ‘eating light’ though. Is that like drinking air?

    • breatharian [noun]: a person who believes that it is possible, through meditation, to reach a level of consciousness where one can obtain all the nutrients one needs from the air or sunlight.

      See also:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inedia

      According to Ayurveda, sunlight is one of the main sources of prana, and some practitioners believe that it is possible for a person to survive on sunlight alone.

      Breatharianism is considered a lethal pseudoscience by scientists and medical professionals, and several adherents of these practices have died from starvation and dehydration. Though it is common knowledge that biological entities require sustenance to survive, breatharianism continues.[1][2][3]

  • These are very embarrassing advertisements/claims to the chiropractic profession. Still, the title of Edzard’s post would have been more accurate had it been “SOME chiropractors are undermining public health.” The reductionist title he chose is purposely misleading. After all, would it be accurate or fair (not that Edzard’s goal is to be fair regarding paramedical disciplines) to title a post, “Drug manufacturers are undermining public health” based on the disgraceful conduct of GSK and its Paxil scam? Of course not! However, when the goal is a sensationalist title, this chosen title of Edzard’s is a fine example; certainly it is pleaseing to his followers.

    • as long as I don’t state ALL CHIROPRACTORS ARE…, the title is correct. but that is a mere trivial distraction! why don’t you comment on the content of the ads? why don’t you admit that very many chiros do that sort of thing. if you don’t believe me, go on twitter and see for yourself. your profession is full of the worst charlatans imaginable.

      • You should learn to read more assiduously, Edzard. My first sentence stated my embarrassment. Do know that I am well aware of the scammers within chiropractic and medicine.

        “As long as I don’t state ALL CHIROPRACTORS ARE……,” you wrote. Nice try at a walk-back of your misleading title. The NYT would be proud of you.

        • your 1st sentence:”These are very embarrassing advertisements/claims to the chiropractic profession.”
          vis a vis the thousands of bogus claims advertised by your fellow chiros every day, this is hardly sufficient, in my view.
          YOU SHOULD LEARN TO THINK MORE ASSIDIOUSLY, LOGOS!

          • Still trying to walk back your title via the old “but what about you?” retort, aren’t you, Edzard? Sorry, I’m not buying your attempt to deflect it’s misleading nature.

            Speaking of bogus claims (and thousands of deaths of children and violence by children, BTW), the Paxil/GSK quack-scam led to more morbidity and death than chiropractic has in its history; “modern medicine” must certainly be embarrassed by the debacle, no? Certainly I’m embarrassed by the chiropractic ads you posted, but you should know (but, of course, not admit) that such ads are not legal in many US states simply because they are misleading (like the title of your post) and unethical; violation of advertisement statutes can result in temporary or permanent loss of license to practice.

          • tu quoque and other fallacies

          • Edzard,

            You should more assiduously choose when to use all caps. Unless that was an intentional joke – in which case, bravo!

          • “tu quoque and other fallacies,” you wrote as you deflected my legitimate criticism of the title of your post. Certainly you’re familiar with logical fallacies as they recurrently abound on this site from just about everyone; I have pointed out such fallacies in some of your past comments and am calling you out on the title of this post which itself represents a bifurcation fallacy. I assume your “other fallacies” statement referred to your title. Your walk-back is not proceding smoothly for you. Why not simply admit that your title was misleading?

    • Logos-Bios; don’t undermine the case for ‘paramedical disciplines’ by defending the indefensible.

      This is the reason that I come back to this site to take a look at the latest story – it is because I believe that all medical disciplines should be honest about what they offer.

      Of course, the reverse side is that some of the commenters on this site don’t believe CAM can offer anything positive. That is a position that I disagree with.

      • @Greg

        I did not defend the bogus, unethical chiro ads. I stated I was embarrassed by them in my very first post in this thread at 16:03.

      • Of course, the reverse side is that some of the commenters on this site don’t believe CAM can offer anything positive. That is a position that I disagree with.

        You may disagree with it, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

        And it’s not that we don’t believe in CAM, it’s more that we’re supporting the scientific consensus on it. If that consensus moves and something currently considered CAM is found to actually work, it’d be incorporated into the body of actual medicine that we know works. At this point it wouldn’t be considered CAM though.

      • I think we all acknowledge that most camists offer care, compassion and solace. Some patients like to have this ‘condimentary’ approach.

        But without any plausible reproducible evidence that the pillules, pin pricks, pummelling, preternatural powers and potions actually have any effect on any specific ailment – camistry represents alternative modalities of healthcare – modalities which are harmful to rational science-based methods if attempts are made to have them ‘integrated’.

        • @ Richard

          By your (and other camedics on this site) comments implying the necessity of reproducible evidence for procudures, drugs, or programs of care to not be considered “harmful to rational science-based methods,” I suggest you complain to the many hospital-based IMATCH medical organizers around the US. It seems as if they are generating gobs of money via their use of procedures and interventions which, as you would say, “are harmful to rational science-based methods.”

          Chronic headaches are a major problem for many people and Edzard(and now Richard) has opined in various threads that good evidence/positive-outcome research is necessary to warrant a treatment’s or a durg’s use; sans such provenance, the treatment should be viewed(per Edzard) as quackery). The IMATCH program is generating up to $30K for a 3-week program for “modern medicine” clinics and hospitals across the USA. “Elizabeth Loder, MD, chief, Division of Headache and Pain, Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, said the approach to treatment offered by the IMATCH program “has promise(despite limited evidence).”

          “Comprehensive multimodality treatment is likely (weasel word, according to Edzard in past threads) to be the best approach for severely disabled headache patients, but evidence to support that assumption is LIMITED,” said Dr Loder. “The improvements in outcome for patients who completed this study are encouraging (yet evidence is still limited).”

          She pointed out, however, that “a substantial amount of information about outcomes is missing and that could affect the findings.”

          Also, she said, without a control group, “it’s not possible to know how much of the improvement is due to the intervention itself or other factors such as natural improvement over time or expectation or belief.”(These words are similar to those Edzard has written myriad times relative to paramedical research).

          Dr Loder agreed that, as with all studies that evaluate complex interventions, it is not possible to study the contribution of individual treatment components.” Yet “modern medicine” has continued to utilize IMATCH protocol despite a lack of evidence for its use….and is profiting handsomely. Go figure!

          Surely Richard would complain, as he has about paramedical disciplines, about such interventions by “modern medicine” as being scientifically unfounded (dare I say it?) quackery.

          • No complaints from Richard on this profitable (very!) medical program which exists despite a lack of evidence for its use. No surprise here!

  • 30 out of 215 practices is still 30 too many.
    The regulators and associations need to make an example of them.
    The Canadian Chiropractic Association has clear guidelines. Time for the BS merchants to follow the guidelines and best practice or be shown the door. Feedback from the WFC ACA Research conference in DC over the weekend indicates that the ACA has reached this point.
    I have even heard that one of the associations here in Australia (CAA) that used to advocate “Unity with Diversity” which was a call to tolerate the BS merchants have had enough though I remain skeptical. I have all too often seen the BS true believers rise to positions of authority in CAA for the sole purpose of protecting their religious/business beliefs.
    Critics both within and without the profession are vital to reform but ultimately its up to the profession to clean house. The Subluxation BS merchants will have to have reform shoved down their throats by the regulators, associations, insurers, third party payers and their peers.

    • “The Canadian Chiropractic Association has clear guidelines” wouldn’t it be nice if chiros followed them?

      • Critical_Chiro wrote: “I have even heard that one of the associations here in Australia (CAA) that used to advocate “Unity with Diversity” which was a call to tolerate the BS merchants have had enough though I remain sceptical.”

        I remain sceptical, too. Let’s not forget that, at the end of last year, the British Chiropractic Association announced *covertly* that “unity need not mean uniformity”…
        http://www.mccoypress.net/i/bca_bennett_letter_december_2016.jpg

        Moreover, around the same time, the European Council on Chiropractic Education decided to give its seal of approval to the subluxation-based McTimoney and Barcelona Colleges of Chiropractic:
        http://www.cce-europe.org/accredited-institutions.html

        Professor Ernst wrote in the OP: “Some chiropractors will respond that … elsewhere the situation is much better. I fear that this is not necessarily true”

        Indeed. Glance beyond the chiropractic musculoskeletal window-dressing and you’ll see an awful lot of snake-oil pits. For example, page 12 of the following link shows that the vitalistic Alliance of UK Chiropractors represents over 1,000 General Chiropractic Council registrants:
        http://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/docs/default-source/publications/performance-review—gcc-2015-16.pdf?sfvrsn=0

        That means that more than 30% of the UK chiropractor population are ‘out’ as adherents of pseudoscience. How many more are ‘in the closet’ is anyone’s guess.

  • @Edzard
    “The Canadian Chiropractic Association has clear guidelines” wouldn’t it be nice if chiros followed them?
    Hmmm. To be accurate
    “Wouldn’t it be nice if ALL chiro’s follow them”
    Guideline adherence is a major issue. For MSK it is around 75%. The average for all medical procedures is 55-60%. Have a look in PubMed it is very interesting.
    @BW
    In regards to chiropractic it will be the regulators, associations, insurers and third party payers who enforce guideline compliance. This is happening now in Australia with chiro’s being audited by the health funds if they treat excessively.
    Barcelona has me scratching my head Blue. I believe they are like NZCC who tick all the evidence and core curricular boxes to satisfy accreditation then add the BS on top. Very annoying.
    There are a couple of key players here who need to be dethroned. They talk about “unity with diversity” yet obstruct reform quietly in the background.

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