Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to another mind-expanding edition of Weekly Well-Being. Spring has sprung here in North Carolina, putting a smile on my face more often than not. I hope all of you are doing well...and are starting to get a better understanding of what "being well" actually means. Again, I'm not talking about symptoms and feeling good. Those are subjective. Is an airplane safe just because it doesn't crash? Not necessarily. We need objective tests to determine it. Do we determine the quality of child safety seats by the number of kids not killed in a car accident? Of course we don't...we have objective tests to determine it.

I'm talking about health and well-being, which are not dependant upon how we feel. Now, it just so happens that when our bodies are functioning properly, we tend to feel great. Objectivity is the key, though. Can you objectively tell me that you are healthy? In other words, even if you have a great diet and you exercise, do you have objective evidence to being healthy?

Do not get me wrong...I think that anyone on a good diet that exercises regularly is truly on the right track, but if your body is unable to properly take in the nutrients from your healthy diet and if your body is unable to fully benefit from the regular exercise, then you aren't getting out of it everything that you could. The best way I can relate it is that if you eat right and exercise regularly, your goal is to get to as close to 100% health as you can. You are shooting to be 100%, but if you're body is only functioning at 75%...then that 75% is really what you are shooting for...

Upper Cervical Health Care is based on objective findings. Whether you feel terrible or feel wonderful, it really makes little difference to what we provide for you BECAUSE we base our model of healthcare on objectivity. It makes it very simple for both you and us because we don't have to guess. If we can help you, our objective tests will show it. If we can't, we'll help you find someone who can...

Fabricated Research Studies

Last month, it was reported that a well-known doctor in the Northeast had fudged the results of 21 drug-related research studies. The doctor was trying to garner fact-based evidence for the effectiveness of pain "killing" medications Vioxx and Celebrex, two of the more popular pain killers of the last several years. As it would turn out, not a single one of those studies gave statistical support for the drugs. The doctor, in an effort to salvage his research, simply made up new results! The fabricated results ended up published in medical journals supporting pain medications that had no statistical proof of being safe and effective.

Such a revelation has prompted me to touch a little bit more on how a research study ends up being published in a journal.

When the idea for a research study/project is created, the formal approach is to get it approved by a review board that deems the project worthy of continuing past the "idea" stage. In other words, the reviewers determine if the project will tell people anything useful. Then, the study is conducted. The typical medical, psychological, and general chiropractic research is conducted in what is called a "double-blind" study. It accounts for variables that could skew the data, such as bias and placebo effect. The point is to make sure that the data collected is valid. Once the data is collected, it must be analyzed via a statistical analysis. I have personally conducted two such research projects, one to during my psychology education and the other while receiving my doctorate. The projects are completely dependant upon accurate statistics. In the case of the Vioxx and Celebrex studies, the statistics showed that further investigation was warranted about whether or not the drugs were helping people...were they harming people? Why take a drug that isn't effective? I can only speculate as to why the doctor decided to change the results to favor the continued use of Vioxx and Celebrex (maybe he was brainwashed by the commercial where people that take Celebrex are dancing in the sunny, breezy, perfect day at the park). All that we do know is that he fabricated the results.

As it would turn out, this is a more common phenomenon than we realized.

In 2005, a Dr. John Ioannidis conducted an extensive study of his own, which delved into the amount of research published in journals that was actually true. He found that less than 50% of any random journal article pulled from a published medical journal actually had honest results. More than 50% were full of nonsense, fabricated results!

Again, speculate is all that we can do in explaining such a dreadful trend. Thus, I will let you draw your own conclusions...

A More Natural Approach

Upper Cervical Health Care is based on owing the body to function at as close to 100% as possible. Symptoms such as pain are treated as a serious crisis, and thus, medications such as Vioxx and Celebrex are prescribed. However, symptoms are not always indicative of crisis. Often times, symptoms are actually more of a warning system, alerting the body of a functional issue. Think of a car's "check engine light," which alerts the driver to a problem with the car that needs attention. Taking a pain medication is the equivalent of taking a piece of black tape and covering the check engine light. You may have gotten rid of the annoying pain or engine light, but the problem that caused it still remains.

Upper Cervical Healthcare is designed to identify a condition that can have cascade of effects on the body called a brainstem subluxation. The brainstem is the hub for the entire nerve system responsible for all of the human body's automatic functions. A stress to the brainstem affects multiple nerve pathways. Being that the brainstem is responsible for the nerves that govern the function of the heart, liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, stomach, arms, legs, head, face, and neck (just to name a few), it's vitally important that if there is a brainstem subluxation, that it is discovered and eliminated as quickly as possible. Upper Cervical Care, in regards to pain, gets you out of pain and then keeps you out of pain.

Condition of the Week: Ear Infections

Ear infections are one of the most common conditions affecting children. It has been noted that 5 million kids per year are diagnosed with ear infections. Chronic cases of ear infections often result in tubes being placed in the ears, a method that has been controversial in its effectiveness. Ear infections actually can be broken down into three categories, each specific to the part of the ear affected: inner ear (otitis interna aka labyrinthitis), middle ear (otitis media), and outer ear (otitis externa aka swimmer's ear). Children's ear infections typically fall into the otitis media category.

Otitis media is caused by fluid build-up. A simple example of how this occurs. Take a 2-liter soda bottle and put it on it's side. After a few seconds, the fluid will balance. Then, take that same bottle and tilt it up just a few degrees. You'll notice that the fluid distribution is altered, as more fluid rushes to one side versus the other. Well, the human ears have a fluid in them called endolymph and perilymph. If the head is balanced, then the fluid will remain balanced. That balance is critical because it is largely responsible for our balance and equilibrium. So, let's say that the head moves off balance just a few degrees. What happens is that the fluid distribution is altered, and more fluid rushes to one side versus the other.

Otitis interna, meanwhile, is caused by a viral infection. It was once treated with anti-biotics. Anti-biotics are rarely used now because they don't have much affect on viruses...they are for bacterial infections. So, NOTE THAT IF YOU ARE EVER diagnosed with a viral infection and they give you an anti-biotic, say "thanks but no thanks" because your body will heal faster without it. Anyhow, viruses have been pinpointed as the cause for inner ear infections. Viruses can be pesky...kind of like ants. And why do we get ants? Ants are scavengers, so they go after food. If you leave food out or don't clean up after yourself, you might get ants if they can get to the mess. That's what they do. Most people put down ant traps or spray them down with a insect repellent to get rid of them. But why did you have ants? Because your messy! Clean up and the ants go away. Well, why do we get a viral infection? Viruses look for hosts that can't resist them so that they may thrive. If your immune system isn't strong enough to fight off a virus, you might get a viral infection if it determines you are a good host. Most people run to the drug store and load up on pills trying to get rid of the infection. But why did you have a viral infection? Because your immune system wasn't strong enough to fight it off! Get the immune system boosted back to its optimal function and the virus goes away!

The lessons to be learned in these cases is 1) When the top bone in the neck misaligns, it does so in such a way that causes the head to be off balance. Because the head rests on the top bone in the neck, the head goes wherever that bone goes. Again, the fluid in the ears is balanced as long as the head is level. The top bone misaligning causes the head to not be balanced. It's simple mechanics influencing function. 2) The immune system is controlled by the brainstem as much as any other organ. A stress to the brainstem decreases the normal function of the immune system. A natural boost to the immune system consists of removing that stress from the brainstem. Again, simple...

Thinking good things for everybody. Next week's edition comes live from Las Vegas, Nevada. Each year, Upper Cervical Health Centers hosts an annual conference where all the Upper Cervical Docs around the country get together. It's awesome...sure to produce a very exciting and passionate edition next week...