Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Sunday, January 16, 2005

School could prove -- or dispel -- claims: Annotated

This version of the Miami Herald article contains annotations by Greg Smith, MD.

MH = Miami Herald
GLS = Greg Smith, MD

Miami Herald
Posted on Thu, Jan. 13, 2005


School could prove -- or dispel -- claims


GLS Wonders:
Why do we need a new school to do this? Can't we disprove or prove claims with the existing infrastructure?


Chiropractors argue that a chiropractic college at FSU
would help distinguish facts from myths and improve
treatment for the 15 million Americans who visit chiropractors.


GLS Wonders:
Why do they need a new school to distinguish facts from myths. You mean, we're treating 15,000,000 people, and yet we haven't yet separated out
facts and myths?



''The chiropractic profession as a whole . . . is ready to
step up to the plate and to let its belief systems be tested
scientifically,'' said Dr. John Triano, a chiropractor who
served on the advisory committee for the FSU school.
"Let the chips fall where they may."


GLS Wonders:
OK, so when does this testing start? ;-) They're "ready to step up to the plate"--dandy. Let's go. Has the antivaccine (1) information on the ACA site been tested and found wanting? Has the ADHD (2) nonsense been tested and found wanting? Why is it still offerred to the public?

What is so magical about FSU that's going to speed the adoption of science by the profession as a whole? I don't get it. Saying they're "ready" to let science be their guide seems to imply that they haven't so far--so, when does this magical moment begin! ;-)

We learn later that at least 20% of DCs are still subluxation based. Hardly sounds like "the profession as a whole" has embraced science in a slow motion fuzzy lens run through a flower-filled meadow...


That theory holds that correcting the spine's alignment is
central to good health.

Scientific scrutiny of the field does not support this claim.
A recent analysis of existing studies found no good evidence
that chiropractic treatments help diabetes, chronic pelvic
pain, menstrual irregularities or hypertension.


GLS Wonders:
So, when is it going to become unprofessional conduct to make such claims? When will the ACA come out against them? When will licensing boards react? When will professional groups so inform the public? Oh, right, after FSU is approved and funded....


Some evidence suggests chiropractic treatment can help
headaches and neck pain, although neck treatments may
carry a slight risk of stroke. The best evidence is for
short-term back pain, which chiropractic appears to treat


GLS Wonders:
So, when are the chiro apologists going to stop claiming that there is no risk of stroke from a neck manipulation, and vilifing anyone who claims otherwise?


FSU's refusal to teach subluxation theory could force the
accreditation body to revise its standards.


GLS Wonders:
Hold on! If the science won't force the accreditation body to change their standards, why does one more school do it? This is really incredible--they're admitting that there's a problem, that the science isn't there, that large numbers of DCs have been inappropriately trained and/or continue to believe and do inappropriate, unsubstantiated things--yet, there's no hope for it. We just HAVE to get that new school opened! Then the lamb and the lion can lay down together.

I have to shake my head to convince myself this isn't some sort of Kafkaesque fantasy. Things are screwed up, but we're all ready to change, we're ready to let the chips fall, we just need this new school. That will fix everything?




I'm not saying I'm against a new chiro school or anything. I don't really care one way or the other, though an association with a regular university strikes me as premature unless closely monitored.

But, I think this picture has something wrong with it, and anyone who says that one new school is going to somehow accomplish the conversion of chiropractic _en masse_ to science is either naive or disingenuous. There's not one thing mentioned by its advocates that DCs couldn't do NOW, today, with their existing resources and infrastructure--if the professional will and desire existed in "the profession as a whole."

As I keep saying--if the ACA can't or won't get the anti-vax crap off their website, then there is neither the professional interest, will, or agreement about the science to make it a priority. And, if you can't agree about vaccine data, or want the public to be properly informed on a matter of vital public health importance, then heaven help you with any other data....


Greg Smith, MD


Links to misleading ACA information:

(1) Vaccines:

(2) ADHD: