MD, PhD, MAE, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

proctophasia

1 2 3 17

The objective of this paper was to review the 10 most recent case reports of cervical spine manipulation and cervical artery dissection for convincing evidence of the causation of cervical artery dissection by cervical spine manipulation. The author, Steven P. Brown, a chiropractor (who is quoted as “the authors have declared that no competing interests exist”), lists the following 10 cases:

Case 1: Yeung et al. (2023) [17]

Yeung et al. [17] reported that a “48-year-old female went to a chiropractor for chronic neck pain and developed right-sided weakness, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting immediately after neck manipulation.” Imaging showed occlusion of the V1 segment of the right vertebral artery and cerebellar stroke.

The adverse event immediately following cervical spine manipulation (CSM) was the cerebellar stroke, not the cerebral artery dissection (CAD). Right-sided weakness, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting are symptoms of cerebellar ischemia, not right VAD. The neck pain prior to the CSM is consistent with a CAD being present prior to CSM, not caused by CSM.

Even if CSM had caused the CAD, it is not biologically possible for a thrombus large enough to occlude the vertebral artery to form immediately [6]. Therefore, the CAD was likely pre-existing to CSM. While an existing thrombus may have been aggravated by the CSM, it was not caused by the CSM. In this case, it is plausible that CSM may have suddenly repositioned an already large thrombus in such a way that it blocked the V1 segment of the right vertebral artery, resulting in thrombotic ischemic stroke from vascular occlusion [26]. The practitioner failed to exclude CAD and performed CSM when it was contraindicated [7]. So, while thrombotic stroke may have been causally related to the CSM, the CAD was not.

Cases 2 and 3: Chen et al. (2022) [18]

Chen et al. [18] reported that “a 51-year-old man with a history of mild hypertension noted new-onset right neck pain two days following chiropractic manipulation.” Imaging revealed dissection of the C3 segment of the right ICA and right-sided stroke.

Chen et al. [18] also reported a second case in which “a 55-year-old man with a history of cigarette smoking, no other cerebrovascular risk factors, received chiropractic cervical manipulation 1 day prior to presentation to the emergency department with new onset of left hemiparesis, facial paralysis, right neck pain, and dysarthria lasting for 5 hours.” Imaging revealed dissection of the C3 segment of the right ICA and right-sided cerebral stroke.

In these two case reports, the symptoms that prompted the patients to seek CSM were not documented. In the first case, neck pain started two days after CSM. In the second case, neck pain started 19 hours after CSM.

In these two cases, there was no adverse event immediately following CSM. As there was no neck pain, headache, or ischemic symptoms noted immediately after CSM, it is not likely that CSM caused the ICA dissection or the stroke. Furthermore, the C3 segment of the ICA is intracranial and has not been identified as an area for strain by CSM.

Case 4: Arning et al. (2022) [19]

Arning et al. [19] reported the case of a 47-year-old female with a two-week history of non-traumatic right neck pain who had increased, severe right neck pain immediately after CSM, and paresis of the right deltoid muscle and hypalgesia in the right C3 and right C4 dermatomes. MRI revealed a dissection of the V2 segment of the right vertebral artery.

The adverse event immediately following CSM was a stroke, not a CAD. Paresis and hypalgesia are symptoms of brain ischemia, not right VAD. The right neck pain prior to the CSM is consistent with a right VAD being present prior to CSM, not caused by CSM.

Prior to CSM, cervical spine disc herniation had been ruled out by MRI. Upon review, the pre-CSM MRI also showed dissection of the right V2 segment, which had initially been overlooked by the radiologist. The practitioner performed CSM when it was contraindicated. Therefore, while the CSM may have caused the ischemic stroke by a thromboembolic mechanism, the CSM did not cause the CAD.

Case 5: Abidoye et al. (2022) [20]

Abidoye et al. [20] reported, “This is a 40-year-old male with a medical history of migraine headaches and cervicalgia, evaluated for a sudden onset of headache, associated with nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and dizziness, two months after a chiropractic manipulation. He also reported rigorous exercise and sexual intercourse prior to the headache onset. Vital sign is significant for a 10/10, non-radiating right-sided headache. Neurological examination revealed right ptosis and miosis. Labs were unremarkable. CTA of neck showed tapering of the right ICA with near occlusion at the skull base.” No imaging evidence or diagnosis of stroke was documented. However, with ischemic symptoms of nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, dizziness, right ptosis, and right miosis, it is likely that this patient suffered a stroke.

In this case, there was no adverse event immediately following CSM, and the most recent CSM was two months prior to the onset of symptoms. As there was no neck pain, headache, or ischemic symptoms noted immediately after CSM, it is not likely that CSM caused the ICA dissection or the stroke.

The patient’s medical history of neck pain and headaches are risk factors for CAD. If there was existing right ICA dissection, it is plausible that rigorous exercise and sexual intercourse could have dislodged a loosely adherent ICA thrombus and caused immediate stroke by a thromboembolic mechanism. However, this is not possible to determine as the temporality from exercise and intercourse to ischemic symptoms of stroke was vaguely documented as “prior to.”

Case 6: Yap et al. (2021) [21]

Yap et al. [21] reported a 35-year-old male who presented with a two-day history of expressive dysphasia and a one-day history of right-sided weakness. The patient reported having CSM for pain relief sometime in the prior two weeks. Imaging showed left ICA dissection and left middle cerebral artery stroke. The dissected segment of the left ICA was not documented.

In this case, there was no adverse event immediately following CSM. As there was no neck pain, headache, or ischemic symptoms noted immediately after CSM, it is not likely that CSM caused the ICA dissection or the stroke.

Case 7: Xia et al. (2021) [22]

Xia et al. [22] reported a case of a 44-year-old male with chronic neck pain who reported sudden-onset left homonymous hemianopia after CSM a few days prior. The patient reported progression from a left homonymous hemianopia to a left homonymous inferior quadrantanopia. Imaging revealed bilateral VAD at the left V2 and right V3 segments, and right medial occipital lobe stroke. The authors noted that a right posterior communicating artery stroke was likely embolic from the right V3 and left V2 dissections. They also noted that the patient likely had a migrating embolus as evidenced by the progression from a homonymous hemianopia to a quadrantanopia.

The adverse event immediately following CSM was the stroke, not the CAD. Left homonymous hemianopia is a symptom of brain ischemia, not VAD. The neck pain prior to the CSM is consistent with VAD being present prior to CSM, not caused by CSM.

Even if CSM had caused the CAD, it is not biologically possible for a thrombus to instantly form and dislodge to cause sudden-onset thromboembolic stroke [6]. Therefore, the CAD was likely pre-existing to CSM. While an existing thrombus may have been aggravated by the CSM, it was not caused by the CSM. In this case, it is possible that CSM dislodged a loosely adherent vertebral artery thrombus to cause thromboembolic stroke [26]. The practitioner failed to exclude CAD and performed CSM when it was contraindicated [7]. So, while thromboembolic stroke may have been causally related to the CSM, the CAD was not.

Case 8: Lindsay et al. (2021) [23]

Lindsay et al. [23] reported a case of a 47-year-old male who presented with left neck pain and headache. His medical history was notable for dyslipidemia and a cerebellar stroke six years prior. Imaging revealed dissections of the left vertebral artery extending from the origin of the artery to the V3 segment. The patient also had a dissection of his right renal artery. There was no evidence of a stroke.

Six years prior, the patient had presented with a one-week history of left neck pain and headache, as well as left facial numbness and dizziness. The pain was not relieved with ibuprofen and previously been evaluated and treated by a chiropractor. Imaging done six years prior showed no evidence of CAD but did show a left cerebellar stroke.

There is no plausible biological mechanism by which CSM six years prior could cause a current VAD. Therefore, it is not likely that there was a causal relationship between CSM and CAD in this case.

Ultimately, the patient was diagnosed with vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a disorder that causes connective tissue weakness and makes a patient susceptible to arterial dissection. This diagnosis is consistent with the left VAD and right renal artery dissection.

Case 9: Monari et al. (2021) [24]

Monari et al. [24] reported a case of a 39-year-old pregnant female with a history of tension headaches presenting with vertigo, vomiting, nystagmus, dizziness, and hindrance in the execution of fine movements of the right arm. The patient reported having CSM by an osteopathic specialist “in the days preceding the beginning of the symptoms.” Imaging showed a dissection of the V2 segment of the right vertebral artery and a right-sided stroke.

In this case, there was no adverse event immediately following CSM. As there was no neck pain, headache, or ischemic symptoms noted immediately after CSM, it is not likely that CSM caused the right vertebral artery dissection or the stroke. Medical history of headache prior to the CSM is consistent with a VAD being present prior to CSM, not caused by CSM. Pregnancy is also a risk factor for CAD.

Case 10: Ramos et al. (2021) [25]

Ramos et al. [25] reported a case of a 48-year-old female with a history of chronic neck pain who experienced sudden neck pain and generalized weakness during CSM. Imaging showed bilateral VAD and occlusion and bilateral acute cerebellar stroke. There was also tetraplegia noted at the C5 sensory level, C5 and C6 vertebral fracture, spinal cord injury, epidural hematoma, and acute disc herniation.

There is convincing evidence that CSM caused CAD and stroke in this case. This case is exceptional as the CSM was contraindicated by pre-existing cervical spine pathology. Cervical spine bony ankylosis was noted which existed prior to the CSM. The CSM appears to have been a posterior-anterior manipulation of the cervical spine at the level of C5-C6, which was contraindicated due to the presence of the bony ankylosis [27].

The practitioner failed to exclude cervical spine pathology and performed CSM when it was contraindicated. The spinal pathology in this case could have been diagnosed with a cervical spine X-ray examination.

As the Ramos et al. [25] study provided limited case information, a case report from Macêdo et al. [28] provides additional information on this exceptional case.

“A 47-year-old Afro-Brazilian woman with long-standing back pain sought chiropractic care for symptomatic relief. Until then, she had never consulted a doctor to treat her axial pain and was not aware of having any specific spinal pathology. Since childhood, she had a moderate cognitive deficit, which probably compromised her ability to adequately describe the pain and, thus, led the family to seek medical advice. During her last session of spinal manipulation, she mentioned new-onset paresthesia beginning on the upper limbs and progressing to the lower limbs. Her complaint was disregarded, and the session continued, at the end of which she was unable to stand. Urinary retention ensued a little after. The patient was referred to our service only a week after, completely bedridden. Spine MRI revealed a transdiscal fracture at C5-C6, resulting in critical stenosis and compressive myelopathy. CT angiography revealed traumatic thrombosis of the vertebral arteries emerging on this level. Whole spine-imaging evidenced multiple syndesmophytes giving a characteristic bamboo spine appearance, as well as ankylosis in sacroiliac joints, uncovering the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis. She underwent laminectomy from C2 to C6 and arthrodesis from C2 to T2 for spine stabilization but did not recover mobility. Even though a systematic review did not find an increased risk of significant adverse events related to spine manipulation therapy, there have been descriptions of vertebral fracture following a session on patients with ankylosing spondylitis and unsuspected multiple myeloma.”

The author concluded that nine out of the 10 case reports of CSM and CAD did not provide convincing evidence of the causal relationship between CSM and CAD. Only one case report provided convincing evidence of a causal relationship between CAD and CSM. This case was exceptional as the CSM was contraindicated by pre-existing cervical spine pathology. Therefore, we conclude that practitioners of CSM should exclude cervical spine pathology before performing CSM.

I must say that I find it difficult or even impossible to follow most of the arguments of Mr Brown. Do they teach them a different kind of physiology and pathophysiology in chiro-school? Foremost, he seems to think that case-reports can/should establish cause and effect. Do they teach research methodology at all in chiro-school?

Here is what Wiki tells us, for instance:

In medicine, a case report is a detailed report of the symptomssignsdiagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of an individual patient. Case reports may contain a demographic profile of the patient, but usually describe an unusual or novel occurrence. Some case reports also contain a literature review of other reported cases. Case reports are professional narratives that provide feedback on clinical practice guidelines and offer a framework for early signals of effectiveness, adverse events, and cost.

So, case reports “offer a framework for early signals of adverse events”. To expect that they demonstrate a causal link is ill-informed. Their significance in relation to risks lies mostly in providing a signal, particularly if the signal becomes loud and clear due to numerous repetitions, as is the case in chiropractic manipulations. Once the signal is noted, it needs further investigation to determine its nature. In the absence of conclusive further studies, a signal that has emerged hundreds of times, as in chiropractic, it has to be taken seriously. In fact, the precautionary principle demands that we then assume causality until proven otherwise.

As to the research effort of Mr Brown in assembling 10 case reports, I must say it is frightfully daft for the following reasons:

  • Most cases do probably not get connected to a CSM at all.
  • Many lead to litigation and are not published.
  • In the end, very few get published in the medical literature.
  • Being retrospective, they all lack important detail and are thus incomplete.
  • None prove causation and only some render it likely.
  • A sample size of 10 is laughable.
  • Brown’s desire to white-wash chiropractic is plapable.
  • So is his naivety.

This study tested the efficacy and safety of individualized homeopathic medicines (IHMs) in treating hemorrhoids compared with placebo. The double-blind, randomized (1:1), two parallel arms, placebo-controlled trial was conducted at the surgery outpatient department of the State National Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Patients were 140 women and men, aged between 18 and 65 years, with a diagnosis of primary hemorrhoids grades I-III for at least 3 months. Excluded were the patients with grade IV hemorrhoids, anal fissure, and fistula, hypertrophic anal papillae, inflammatory bowel disease, coagulation disorders, rectal malignancies, obstructed portal circulation, patients requiring immediate surgical intervention, and vulnerable samples.

Patients were randomized to Group 1 (n = 70; IHMs plus concomitant care; verum) and Group 2 (n = 70; placebos plus concomitant care; control). Primary-the anorectal symptom severity and quality-of-life (ARSSQoL) questionnaire, and secondary-the EuroQol 5-dimensions 5-levels (EQ-5D-5L) questionnaire and EQ visual analogue scale (VAS); all of them were measured at baseline, and every month, up to 3 months.

Out of the 140 randomized patients, 122 were protocol compliant. Intention-to-treat sample (n = 140) was analyzed. The level of significance was set at p < 0.05 two tailed. Statistically significant between-group differences were elicited in the ARSSQoL total (Mann-Whitney U [MWU]: 1227.0, p < 0.001) and EQ-5D-5L VAS (MWU: 1228.0, p = 0.001) favoring homeopathy against placebos. Sulfur was the most frequently prescribed medicine. No harm or serious adverse events were reported from either of the groups.

The authors concluded that IHMs demonstrated superior results over placebo in the short-term treatment of hemorrhoids of grades I-III. The findings are promising, but need to be substantiated by further phase 3 trials.

Yes, I know: it is not easy to keep a straight face when reading such a paper. And the task is not made easier when considering the affiliations of its authors:

  • 1East Bishnupur State Homoeopathic Dispensary, Chandi Daulatabad Block Primary Health Centre, Under Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of West Bengal, India, South 24 Parganas, India.
  • 2Department of Organon of Medicine and Homoeopathic Philosophy, State National Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Lucknow, India.
  • 3Department of AYUSH, Government of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, India.
  • 4State National Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Lucknow, India.
  • 5Department of Materia Medica, State National Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Lucknow, India.
  • 6Department of Pathology & Microbiology, D. N. De Homoeopathic Medical College & Hospital, Government of West Bengal, Kolkata, India.
  • 7Department of Pathology & Microbiology, Mahesh Bhattacharyya Homoeopathic Medical College & Hospital, Government of West Bengal, Howrah, India.
  • 8Department of Repertory, D. N. De Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, India.

Let’s nevertheless ask three serious questions:

  1. According to classical homeopathy, for a cure, one needs a remedy that, when given to a healthy volunteer, causes the symptom one wants to treat. So, does sulfur etc.cause the symptoms of hemorrhoids?
  2. According to classical homeopathy, the remedy is supposed to cure the condition, not alleviate the symptoms. Is that what the results show?
  3. Is it plausible that homeopathy can have any effects on hemorrhoids?

I am confident that the answers are: no, no and no.

And this leads me to ask my final question: do we believe these findings?

I let you answer this one!

An article in ‘METRO’  caught my eye – not least because it quotes me. Here are a few edited excerpts:

Peter Stott lost his first wife to cancer in 1998. Her death, he believes, was due to geopathic stress (GS) – harmful energies that originate from the Earth. ‘I found out that the house where we had lived had a serious GS problem,’ he says. The discovery prompted him to become a professional ‘dowser’, devoting his life to finding and managing geopathic stress.

But what exactly is this mysterious force erupting from the surface of the Earth – and can it really harm people?Geopathic stress is said to cause discomfort and health issues for certain individuals. These energies, also called ‘harmful Earth rays’ by believers, can be detrimental, beneficial or neutral according to those who think they are ‘in the know’.

Peter Stott
Peter Stott is a professional dowser

The word ‘geopathic’ is derived from the Greek words ‘Geo’ meaning the Earth and ‘pathos’, meaning disease or suffering – hence the term pathogens, the medical terms for bugs that make us ill.

Dowsing, practitioners say, is a method used to detect the presence of various subtle Earth energies and assess their nature and quality. They argue that some of these energies can be linked to geomagnetic anomalies caused by flowing underground water, dry faults and fissures, subterranean cavities, or mineral and crystal deposits.

Dowsing is carried out by a dowser, practitioners who try to find the source of these energies using special tools, such as pendulums, rods, and bobbers – essentially sexed-up tree branches. The person holds the tool, waiting for it to move or react, which they take as a sign that they’ve found what they’re looking for. The odd practice can allegedly also be used to identify leaks, stress fractures, environmental pollutants, electromagnetic fields, nutritional deficiencies, black spots, and, rather oddly, sexing pigeons.

Peter claims that a skilled dowser effectively advises on the optimal placement of buildings and structures to mitigate the impact of geopathic stress, and often possesses the ability to reduce or eliminate it through the use of various methods. He emphasises the fact that GS ‘does not affect everybody in the same way. Cancer has been described as “a disease of location”,’ he says. ‘And if there is a family history of cancer – as there was in my late wife’s case – a person can be more susceptible to GS being a contributing factor in succumbing to the disease.’ Peter believes that GS impacts our immune system, depleting its resources and hindering its ability to function optimally. By eliminating GS from our surroundings, we allow our immune system to operate more efficiently, he contends. Our susceptibility to GS varies, he says, with some experiencing mild symptoms like sleep disturbances and fatigue, while others may face more severe health issues such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis and cancer.

17th Century dowsing illustration
Dowsing has been around for millennia (Picture: Getty)

In 2017, rather incredibly, a report revealed that 10 out of 12 water companies in the UK were employing the practice of water dowsing to identify and locate leaks. Even more incredibly, last year, it emerged that Thames Water and Severn Trent Water were still using this form of ‘witchcraft’ for leak detection, despite scientific research indicating its lack of efficacy.

But water companies aren’t the only ones turning to dowsers for help. Peter believes that ‘it is also possible to carry a token or amulet on your person that has been imbued with the powers of protection by someone who is proficient in [dowsing]’. ‘This can protect you from GS and other detrimental energies wherever you go anywhere throughout the world,’ he claims. ‘Other protection techniques can also offer a degree of protection.’

However, Dr Edzard Ernst, a man who has dedicated years of his life to examining questionable, science-based claims, won’t be enlisting the services of a GS specialist or house healer anytime soon. ‘Geopathic stress cannot cause health problems for the simple reason that it does not exist,’ says the retired physician. ‘It is a sly invention of quacks who exploit gullible consumers. The methods to diagnose GS are as bogus as the ones that allegedly treat it. But the quacks don’t mind – as long as the consumer pays.’

Peter fully acknowledges ‘that dowsing and this work in general is not a catch-all solution for every ailment or every person’s situation’. ‘However, often we are approached by people who are “at the end of their tether” due to their exasperation of experiencing events or circumstances in their lives that are not well catered for in the mainstream wellbeing sector,’ he says. ‘I can only speak personally, I cannot speak for the possibly tens of thousands of dowsers around the world. If our work can help ease a person’s experience of life then that is a good enough reason to continue to help where I can’. He adds that ‘we are never going to change the minds of people like Dr Edzard Ernst’, someone ‘who seems to focus exclusively on debunking anything for which there is not a scientific explanation’. Moreover, science, he notes, ‘is moving on with research done into quantum physics and the theory that everything in the universe is connected and is also accessible to everyone’.

_________________________

Oh, dear Peter!

Perhaps you should learn the difference between critical evaluation and debunking (this ‘debunker’ has shown more forms of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) to be worthy of integrating into the NHS than anyone else).

Perhaps you should read up about the difference between evidence and belief?

And perhaps the chapter on dowsing in my book could help you in this endeavour:

Dowsing is a common but unproven method for divining water and other materials. In alternative medicine, it is sometimes used as a technique for diagnosing diseases or the causes of health problems.

      1. Dowsers employ a motor automatism, amplified through a pendulum, divining rod or similar device. The effect is that the device seemingly provides an independent, visible reaction, while the dowser is, in fact, its true cause.
      2. Dowsing is used by some homeopaths as an aid to prescribe the optimal remedy and as a tool for identify a miasm or toxin load.
      3. The assumptions upon which dowsing is based lack plausibility.
      4. Dowsing has not often been submitted to clinical trials.
      5. All rigorous attempts to test water dowsing have failed, and it is no longer considered a viable method for this purpose.
      6. The only randomized double-blind trial that has tested whether homeopaths are able to distinguish between a homeopathic remedy and placebo by dowsing failed to show that it is a valid method. Its authors (well-known homeopaths) drew the following conclusion: “These results, wholly negative, add to doubts whether dowsing in this context can yield objective information.”[1]
      7. If dowsing is employed for differentiating between truly effective treatments (rather than homeopathic remedies), the risk of false choices would be intolerably high, and serious harm would inevitably be the result.

[1] McCarney et al. (2002).

 

‘Chiropractic economics’ might be when chiropractors manipulate their bank accounts or tax returns, I thought. But, no, it is a publication! And a weird one at that – it even promotes the crazy idea of maintenance care:

The concept of chiropractic maintenance care has evolved significantly. Initially seen as a method for managing chronic pain, it now includes a broader range of patients and focuses on overall wellness. Modern maintenance care aims to keep patients healthy regardless of their symptoms or history, alleviating and preventing pain through regular, prolonged care. This approach is largely preventive, serving as both secondary and tertiary care.  Studies show chiropractic maintenance care often includes diverse treatments such as manual therapy, stress managementnutrition advice and more, with flexible intervals typically around three months. This evolution underscores the importance of evidence-based, individualized patient care. This article shares the evolution of chiropractic maintenance care, looks at what a modern maintenance care appointment can include and explores best practices for DC maintenance care in 2024. 

Knowledge of chiropractic maintenance care has evolved over the years. In the past, maintenance care in the chiropractic world was often viewed as a way to keep patients going; particularly those suffering from chronic conditions that needed routine care for pain management and prevention. In the last several years, chiropractic maintenance care has changed; no longer does it only involve pain prevention and management for those with chronic conditions. It now encompasses all sorts of patients; no matter their history, symptoms or reasons for seeking a DC…

An interview study of Danish chiropractic care showed maintenance care sessions included a range of treatment modalities, including manual treatment and ordinary examinations alongside multiple packages of holistic additions, like stress management, diet, weight loss, advice on ergonomics, exercise and more. In other anecdotal accounts, chiropractic maintenance care seemed to follow a more traditional guideline of lower back pain management and adjustment. The study hypothesized that maintenance care could also help patients from a knowledge perspective, stating, “DCs could obviously play an important role here as ‘back pain coaches,’ as the long-term relationship would ensure knowledge of the patient and trust towards the DC.” 

Researchers found that three-month intervals were the most common spacing of maintenance care treatments for patients. Most commonly, patients sought or scheduled chiropractic maintenance care over the course of one to three months.  

Chiropractic maintenance care has evolved past simply being a method of ongoing chronic pain management. Today’s patients want to achieve overall wellness, and regular trips to their DC can become a part of that if you work to transition patients into a wellness plan after their acute phase of care is over. 

_____________________________

The author of this article seems to have forgotten two little details:

  1. Chiropractic maintenance care is not supported by sound evidence, particularly in relation to economics (even the above cited paper stated: “We found no studies of cost-effectiveness of Maintenance Care”).
  2. Chiropractic maintenance only serves one economic purpose: it boosts the chiropractors’ income.

Yes, easy to forget, particularly if your name is ‘Chiropractic Economics’.

And also easy to forget that maintenance care would, of course, require informed consent. How would that look like?

Chiro (C) to patient (P):

If you agree, we will start a program that we call maintenance care.

P: Can you explain?

C: It consists of regular sessions of spinal manipulations.

P: That’s all?

C: No, I will also give you advice on keeping fit and living healthily.

P: Why do I need that?

C: It’s a bit like servicing your car so that it works reliably when you need it.

P: Is it proven to work?

C: Yes, of course, there are tons of evidence to show that a healthy life style is good for you.

P: I know, but I don’t need a chiro for that – what I meant do the manipulations keep my body healthy even if I have no symptoms?

C: The evidence is not really great.

P: And the risks?

C: Well, yes, if I’m honest, spinal manipulations can cause harm.

P: So, to be clear: you ask me to agree to a program that has no proven benefit and might cause harm?

C: I would not put it like that.

P: And how much would it cost?

C: Not much; just a couple of hundred per year.

P: Thanks – but no thanks.

It goes without saing that an article entitled Homeopathic Cancer Therapy Research From 2018 To 2022: A Review of the Literatureinterests me. It turned out to be a revellation in BS. Let me just show you its conclusion:

There continues to be an enormous interest in homeopathic treatment for cancer around the world. This is reflected by the number or studies and the increasingly better quality of studies investigating homeopathic cancer therapy. Some studies appear to signal a concern about lacking information among conventionally trained physicians on homeopathy and their limited ability to respond adequately to the increased demand among patients for homeopathic services. While it is still primarily patients rather than physicians that drive this mounting interest, studies reflect a rise in interest and call for innovation, in provision of integrative cancer treatment by combining multiple conventional and unconventional therapies. According to the majority of available studies, homeopathy can safely be added to conventional cancer treatment, and patients can benefit significantly in countering the adverse effects from that treatment, as well as improvement of their quality of life and survival.

In one our previous reviews of scientific research on homeopathic cancer treatment we had concluded that available studies confirm, “homeopathic drugs have proven biological action in cancer; in vitro and in vivo; in animals and humans; in the lower, as well as in the higher potencies. Cancer patients are faced with a life-and-death decision when choosing their treatment. Since most conventional treatments continue to be associated with severe adverse and sometimes fatal effects, while homeopathy has been found to be free from such effects, it would seem plausible and worthwhile, even urgent, to step up the research on, and even the provision of, homeopathic treatment of cancer and other diseases.”

This conclusion continues to apply to the time period covered in this review of published research on homeopathic cancer treatment.

What a remarkable few sentences!

Please allow me put the record straight on a few points:

  1. enormous interest in homeopathic treatment for cancer around the world – NOT TRUE.
  2. increasingly better quality of studies investigating homeopathic cancer therapy – WISHFUL THINKING, NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE.
  3. concern about lacking information among conventionally trained physicians on homeopathy and their limited ability to respond adequately to the increased demand – CONCERN IS, IN FACT, DIRECTED AT CHARLATANS USING OR PROMOTING HOMEOPATHY.
  4. homeopathy can safely be added to conventional cancer treatment – YES, BECAUSE IT IS A PLACEBO.
  5. patients can benefit significantly in countering the adverse effects from that treatment, as well as improvement of their quality of life and survival – ONLY IF, LIKE PROFESSOR MICHAEL FRASS, ONE FALSIFIES DATA.
  6. homeopathic drugs have proven biological action in cancer – NO.
  7. it would seem plausible and worthwhile, even urgent, to step up the research on, and even the provision of, homeopathic treatment of cancer and other diseases – NO, ACCORDING TO A BROAD INTERNATIONAL CONSENSUS, SUCH RESEARCH WOULD BE AN UNETHICAL WASTE OF RESOURCES.

The truth of the matter is that homeopathy for cancer is a dangerous misconception that could hasten the death of many vulnerable patients.

Those who promote it are amongst the worst charlatans on the planet.

In response to criticism voiced against Australian chiropractors’ decision to re-commence manipulating children, the Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) president, David Cahill, welcomed the updated statement on paediatric care by the Chiropractic Board of Australia. “The statement serves to reinforce the confidence the Australian public has in chiropractic care provided by registered ACA member chiropractors,” said Cahill.

The Safer Care Victoria Review has shown chiropractic care for children to be extremely safe. Of the 29,599 online submissions received from across Australia (the largest survey of its kind), there were no reports of harm to a child receiving chiropractic healthcare. Of those submissions, 21,824 responses were from parents who had accessed chiropractic healthcare for their children, and there was not a single report of significant harm in these submissions. “In a particularly strong endorsement, 99.6% of those parental submissions affirmed that chiropractic healthcare benefitted their child highlighting the exemplary safety record of chiropractic healthcare,” Cahill said.

ACA member chiropractors are healthcare professionals who effectively treat a wide range of musculoskeletal disorders. Chiropractors are 5-year university degree educated healthcare professionals, equipped with expertise enabling them to tailor the appropriate care for people of all ages including children. Established in 1938, the Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) is the peak body representing chiropractors. The ACA promotes the importance of maintaining spinal health to improve musculoskeletal health through non-invasive, drug-free spinal health and lifestyle advice to help Australians of all ages lead and maintain healthy lives.

_________________________

Mr Cahill and the Australian Chiropractors Association have thus demonstrated that they fail to understand how one needs to establish the benefits and harms of a therapy. That chiropractic spinal manipulations are “extremely safe” cannot be established by an online survey which might or might not have been manipulated by the chiropractors who have an interest in not loosing the lucrative option of treating children. It cannot even establish “the confidence the Australian public has in chiropractic care”.

Mr Cahill and the Australian Chiropractors Association should know that chiropractic spinal manipulation – just like any other intervention – must be evaluated according to accepted principles of risk-benefit analyses. No proven benefit and a possibility of harm mean that the risk-benefit balance fails to be positive. And this means that it is irresponsible to use chiropractic spinal manipulations.

Mr Cahill and the Australian Chiropractors Association, however, seem to not know even the essentials of ethical healthcare. The obvious conclusion, therefore, is to send the lot of them back to school.

It has been reported that HomeoCare Laboratories Inc. is recalling two batches of Homeopathic StellaLife Oral Care Products citing microbial contamination. The recall involves Homeopathic Stella Life Vega Oral Care Spray Unflavored and Advanced Formula Peppermint Oral Care Rinse manufactured in 2024, which are marketed to promote oral health, hydrate oral cavities and support healthy gums. The recall is to be performed at the consumer level.

StellaLife VEGA Oral Care, Spray Unflavored comes with NDC 69685-121-01, lot no. 2552 and expiration date of 02-2026. StellaLife Advanced Formula Peppermint VEGA Oral Care Rinse comes with NDC 69685-143-16, lot no. 2550, and expiration date of 02- 2026.

The affected products were manufactured at HomeoCare Laboratories, shipped nationwide, and distributed through various dental practices. As per the FDA, higher than acceptable levels of TAMC was found in the Advanced Formula Peppermint Vega Oral Care Rinse, while Bacillus sp was found in the StellaLife Vega Oral Spray, Unflavored. Bacillus is a common species found in the environment and are generally non-pathogenic, while patients with oral disease, undergoing dental surgical procedures or with compromised immune systems hold potential risks. In the immunocompromised population, the impacted product may cause severe or life-threatening adverse events due to the introduction of bacteria to the disrupted oral mucosa, possibly leading to bacteremia and sepsis. However, the manufacturer of homeopathic products has not received any reports of adverse events related to these two recalled products so far.

Dental practices and consumers, who have the recalled products, are urged to return the impacted products to HomeoCare Laboratories or to the place of purchase or discard them. The company said it is implementing enhanced quality control measures to prevent recurrence.

On the manufacturer’s website, we find the following:

Homeopathy is a safe, gentle, and natural system of healing that works with your body to relieve symptoms, restore itself, and improve your overall health. It is safe to use and has none of the side effects of many traditional medications, because it is made from the natural substances and is FDA regulated. Homeopathic medicines – known as “remedies” – are made from natural sources (e.g., plants, minerals), and are environmentally friendly and cruelty free.

Homeopathic remedies when used as directed, are completely safe for everyone. They are given in such small doses that they don’t cause side effects.* Homeopathy is not a general or “umbrella” term that describes a variety of different natural therapies. Although homeopathic remedies are derived from natural substances, homeopathy should not be confused with herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, or other types of natural medicines. It is its own, unique therapeutic system.

The FDA’s present policy does not require homeopathic medicines to go through the FDA approval process.  The homeopathic ingredients monographed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States have been reviewed for homeopathic efficacy, toxicology, adverse effects and clinical use. The historical safety record with the use of homeopathic drugs, some for close to 200 years. The FDA drug monitoring process does not reveal any significant instances of problems with homeopathic drug products, thus establishing a positive safety profile.

Homeopathy’s Basic Principle: The Law of Similars It is accepted knowledge that every plant, mineral, and chemical can cause in overdose its own unique set of physical, emotional, and mental symptoms. It also is readily acknowledged that individuals, when ill, have their own idiosyncratic physical, emotional, and mental symptom patterns, even when people have the same disease. Homeopathic medicine is a natural pharmaceutical science in which a practitioner seeks to find a substance which would cause in overdose similar symptoms to those a sick person is experiencing. When the match is made, that substance then is given in very small, safe doses, often with dramatic effects.

Homeopaths define the underlying principle for this matching process as the “law of similars.” The “law” is not unknown to conventional medicine. Immunizations are based on the principle of similars. No less a person as Dr. Emil Adolph Von Behring, the “father of immunology,” directly pointed to the origins of immunizations when he asserted, “By what technical term could we more appropriately speak of this influence than by Hahnemann’s word “homeopathy.”

Homeopathy is a natural form of medicine used by over 200 million people worldwide.  The holistic nature of homeopathy means each person is treated as a unique individual and their body, mind, spirit and emotions are all considered in the management and prevention of disease. Taking all these factors into account a homeopath will select the most appropriate medicine based on the individual’s specific symptoms and personal level of health to stimulate their own healing ability.

Homeopathic medicines are safe to use as they rarely cause side-effects. This means when used appropriately under the guidance of a qualified homeopath they can be taken by people of all ages*.

* Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated. Individual results may vary.

__________________________

I feel like congratulating the manufacturer: not only have they managed to produce normally harmless products in such a way that they are dangerous, but also they are promoting a plethora of untruth and misleading statements about homeopathy. A most remarkable effort!

 

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also named Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), is a common condition characterized by stomach contents flowing into the esophagus, causing distressing symptoms and potential complications. GERD is primarily linked to lower esophageal sphincter dysfunction, and its symptoms can impact quality of life. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery. Homeopathy is sometimes advocated as an alternative to conventional orally administered drugs for GERD.

This review examined the clinical evaluation of homeopathic treatments for GERD, highlighting their potential role by analysing existing clinical studies. The authors conducted a comprehensive database search for clinical studies RCT, open label, retrospective, perspective, and observational studies on homeopathic treatments for GERD, adhering to inclusion criteria related to homeopathy in GERD treatment.

Six clinical studies were identified:

  • 1 open label study,
  • 3 retrospective studies,
  • 1 prospective study,
  • 1 observational study.

Renu Mittal’s study demonstrated significant symptom improvement and enhanced quality of life with homeopathic
treatment. Dr. Leena Dighe’s study reinforced the effectiveness of homeopathic medicines in GERD, Acid-Peptic Disorder (APD), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), while Sitharthan’s retrospective analysis supported the potential of homeopathy for gastrointestinal disorders. A study exploring Robinia pseudoacacia in GERD treatment showed positive results.

The authors conclused that these studies suggest the potential of homeopathic treatments in managing GERD and related gastrointestinal disorders. These findings encourage future studies and applications of homeopathic interventions in GERD management. Further research, including randomized trials, is needed to solidify homeopathy’s role in gastroenterological care.

Does anyone really think that this paper is worth publishing?

Its authors and the editors of the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HIGH DILUTION RESEARCH evidently do:

  • Parth AphaleDR D Y PATIL VIDYAPEETH PUNE
  • Dharmendra SharmaDr. D.Y. Patil Homoeopathic Medical College & Research Centre, Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth (Deemed to be University), Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra, India
  • Himanshu ShekharDr. D.Y. Patil Homoeopathic Medical College & Research Centre, Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth (Deemed to be University), Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra, India

But I don’t!

Why?

Because none of the primary studies come anywhere near of being reliable evidence.

I think that reviews of this nature drawing such unwarranted conclusions are counter-productive – counter-productive even to those people whose aim it is to promote homeopathy. Nobody with an ounce of critical thinking capacity can take such nonsense seriously. The only possible conclusion that can be drawn from the presented evidence is along the following lines:

This review failed to generate any sound evidence that homeopathy is an effective therapy for GERD.

 

We have discussed the LIGHTNING PROCESS before:

Now, the BBC reports that it is promoted as a treatment of Long-COVID. Oonagh Cousins was offered a free place on a course run by the Lightning Process, which teaches people they can rewire their brains to stop or improve long Covid symptoms quickly. Ms Cousins, who contracted Covid in March 2020, said it “exploits” people.

Ms Cousins had reached a career goal many athletes can only dream of – being selected for the Olympics – when she developed long Covid. By the time the cancelled 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo were rescheduled for 2021, Ms Cousins was too ill to take part. When she went public with her struggles, she was approached by the Lightning Process. It offered her a free place on a three-day course, which usually costs around £1,000.

“They were trying to suggest that I could think my way out of the symptoms, basically. And I disputed that entirely,” the former rower said. “I had a very clearly physical illness. And I felt that they were blaming my negative thought processes for why I was ill.” She added: “They tried to point out that I had depression or anxiety. And I said ‘I’m not, I’m just very sick’.

In secret recordings by the BBC, coaches can be heard telling patients that almost anyone can recover from long Covid by changing their thoughts, language and actions. Over three days on Zoom, the course taught the ritual that forms the basis of the programme. Every time you experience a symptom or negative thought, you say the word “stop”, make a choice to avoid these symptoms and then do a positive visualisation of a time you felt well. You do this while walking around a piece of paper printed with symbols – a ritual the BBC was told to do as many as 50 times a day.

In some cases the Lightning Process has encouraged participants to increase their activity levels without medical supervision, against official advice – which could make some more unwell, according to NHS guidelines. Lightning Process founder, Dr Phil Parker, who’s not a medical doctor but has a PhD in psychology of health, told us his course was “not a mindset or positive thinking approach,” but one that uses “the brain to influence physiological changes”, backed by peer-reviewed evidence. The coach on the course the BBC attended said “thoughts about your symptoms, your worry about whether it’s ever going to go – that’s what keeps the neurology going. Being in those kind of thoughts is what’s maintaining your symptoms. They’re not caused by a physical thing any more.”

___________________

As I pointed out previously, The Lightning Process  (LP) is a therapy based on ideas from osteopathy, life coaching, and neuro-linguistic programming. LP is claimed to work by teaching people to use their brains to “stimulate health-promoting neural pathways”.

LP teaches individuals to recognize when they are stimulating or triggering unhelpful physiological responses and to avoid these, using a set of standardized questions, new language patterns, and physical movements with the aim of improving a more appropriate response to situations.

Proponents of the ‘LP’ in Norway claim that 90% of all ME patients get better after trying it. However, such claims seem to be more than questionable.

  • In the Norwegian ME association’s user survey from 2012 with 1,096 participants, 164 ME patients stated that they had tried LP. 21% of these patients experienced improvement or great improvement and 48% got worse or much worse.
  • In Norway’s National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, NAFKAM’s survey from 2015 amongst 76 patients 8 had a positive effect and 5 got worse or much worse.
  • A survey by the Norwegian research foundation, published in the journal Psykologisk, with 660 participants, showed that 62 patients had tried LP, and 5 were very or fairly satisfied with the results.

Such figures reflect the natural history of the condition and are no evidence that the LP works.

Is there any evidence supporting the LP specifically for long COVID?

My Medline search retrieved just one single paper. Here is the abstract:

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Long COVID (LC) is now prevalent in many countries. Little evidence exists regarding how this chronic condition should be treated, but guidelines suggest for most people it can be managed symptomatically in primary care. The Lightning Process is a trademarked positive psychology focused self-management programme which has shown to be effective in reducing fatigue and accompanying symptoms in other chronic conditions including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Here we outline its novel application to two patients with LC who both reported improvements in fatigue and a range of physical and emotional symptoms post-treatment and at 3 months follow-up.

Well, that surely convinced everyone! Except me and, of course, anyone else who can think critically.

So, I look further and find this on the company’s website:

Do you know how it feels to…

  • …be exhausted and tired no matter how much rest you get?
  • …be stuck with re-occurring pain, health symptoms and issues?
  • …get so stressed by almost everything?
  • …feel low and upset much of the time?
  • …want a better life and health but just can’t find anything that works?

If any, or all, of these sound familiar then the Lightning Process, designed by Phil Parker, PhD, could be the answer that you’re looking for.  There are lots of ways you can find out more about the suitability of the Lightning Process for you, have a look through below…

___________________________

Let me try to summarise:

  • The LP is promoted as a cure for long-Covid.
  • There is no evidence that LP is effective for it.
  • The claim is that it has been shown to work for ME.
  • There is no evidence that LP is effective for it.
  • A 3-day course costs £1 000.
  • Their website claims it is good for practically everyone.

Does anyone think that LP or its promoters are remotely serious?

Anyone who writes a lively blog like this one is bound to receive all sorts of attacks, accusations, insults, innuendo, etc. I certainly have been claimed or implied to be many things that I am simply and objectively not. Many of them are quite hilarious in their stupidity, in my view. Perhaps it might be fun to list (some of) them.

Here we go (in no particular order).

I am not:

  • woke
  • anti-woke
  • someone who thinks that woke is a useful concept
  • against restricting discussions on certain topics (but I may not be interested in some subjects)
  • an expert on any subject other than so-called alternative medicine (SCAM)
  • like Trump (I think it was D Ullmann who stated that I was like Trump)
  • young (recently, I was repeatedly criticised for being an ‘old white man’)
  • a woman (recently, I was repeatedly criticised for being an ‘old white man’)
  • black (recently, I was repeatedly criticised for being an ‘old white man’)
  • an anti-semite
  • a racist
  • right-wing (I have not even once voted conservative in my life)
  • devoid of experience in SCAM as a patient
  • a researcher who has never practised SCAM
  • someone who has never done any original research
  • someone who does not know what he is talking about
  • unqualified
  • someone who was fired from an academic appointment
  • a pseudoscientist
  • a man who has falsified his research
  • on the payroll of BIG PHARMA
  • receiving any money for running this blog
  • relying on any finacial support other than my pensions
  • a liar
  • a fraud
  • someone who took the Exeter appointment in order to ditch homeopathy
  • out to defame SCAM (I am advocating solid evidence and criticising claims that are not evidence-based)
  • running an evil empire
  • devoid of self-confidence
  • someone who despises women
  • suffering from digestive problems
  • unable to process feelings
  • someone who manipulates data
  • the head of a lobby group
  • perfect (sadly, that’s the only claim nobody ever made).

Have I promised too much?

The list is long and the claims are as funny as they are unfounded. Evidence that (some of) these allegations have indeed been made can be found here, here, here, and here or, if you are really keen and gifted at doing searches, on X [formerly Twitter].

1 2 3 17
Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new blog posts by email.

Recent Comments

Note that comments can be edited for up to five minutes after they are first submitted but you must tick the box: “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”

The most recent comments from all posts can be seen here.

Archives
Categories