Research Summaries #1

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Research Summaries #1
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It has been awhile since you have heard from me and I will be sending new E-Mail health tips in the near future. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these research summaries that may be off interest to you, a family member, relative, or co-worker to which you can forward. These research summaries are sent via e-mail to chiropractors from a chiropractic news source called Dynamic Chiropractic. They plan to send these out to us on a monthly basis. They also have a very complete web site at


MAY 1998

Can't Escape Those Migraine Headaches?

Ask Your Chiropractor for Help

Patients in this clinical trial were checked for symptoms of migraines and their responses to chiropractic adjustments. The four selected cases of migraine responded dramatically; a number of self-reported symptoms were eliminated or substantially reduced. The average frequency of migraine episodes was reduced by 90%, the duration of each episode was reduced by 38%, and the use of medication to treat the migraines was reduced by 94%. In addition, several associated symptoms were substantially reduced, including nausea, vomiting, photophobia (sensitivity to light) and phonophobia (sensitivity to sound). These four cases illustrate how chiropractic adjustments can help people suffering from migraine headaches.

Request Written Exercise Advice

A study of 456 sedentary patients compared the effects of verbal vs. written exercise advice given by their doctors. The patients were randomly placed into two groups: one which received a written "green prescription" and one which received verbal advice. The advice given in 79% of the cases was simply to increase walking.

The number of people who took part in any recreational physical activity increased substantially, but significantly more so in the exercise-sheet group. More patients in the exercise-sheet group also increased their activity over the six-month period. In both groups combined, the percentage of patients who exercised (in any form) increased from 54% to 81%, with an average two-week increase per participant of 156 minutes.

Asking for written, goal-oriented advice (such as an exercise sheet) can be a great way to motivate yourself to "follow doctor's orders" and achieve better health.

Chiropractic Can Improve Your Vision

Two juvenile patients (13-yr-old female cousins) were found to have constricted visual fields and diminished visual capabilities. Chiropractic care (spinal manipulation) brought about the recovery of normal vision over a period of seven sessions. It was noted that significant improvement in vision occurred immediately after the adjustments.

The change in visual function immediately following spinal manipulation has been described as the "step phenomenon." The step phenomenon raises questions about the nature of the condition that may be treated by spinal manipulation and the method of action of the treatment. The consistent occurrence of the step phenomenon indicates that spinal manipulation may have an effect on brain function. Ask your doctor for more information.

Benefits of Breast Feeding--Higher Intelligence?

An 18-year study of 1,000 New Zealand children examined the association between breast-feeding and childhood cognitive ability and academic achievement.

The breast-feeding practices of the mothers were assessed from the birth of their children through the first year. From ages 8-18, the children were given a variety of cognitive and academic tests.

The study showed small but consistent tendencies for increased duration of breast-feeding (i.e.-the number of months that a child was breast-fed) to be associated with increased IQ, increased performance on standardized tests, higher teacher ratings of classroom performance, and better high-school achievement.

These findings add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that breast-feeding may have multiple health and other benefits for children.

Back Pain Linked to Genetics/Childhood

A study of 65 pairs of monozygotic male twins looked at the relative effects of anthropometric factors (measurements of the human body), physical activity, back and neck pain, overall health, and familial aggregation (a combination of genetics and childhood environment) on adult back-muscle function. Familial aggregation proved to be the strongest determinant of lifting strength and back-muscle endurance.

Results indicate that the combined effects of genetics and childhood environment play a dominant role in determining adult back-muscle function. It may be more important to identify and deal with potential back problems when we are young. Ask your chiropractor for more information on this topic.

Give Your Child a Healthy Start by Breast Feeding

Babies who are exclusively breast-fed for at least the first 15 weeks have less risk of respiratory illness. This study of 545 infants also found that children who breast-fed tended to have lower blood pressure and less body fat than those started on solid food before four months of age. These findings suggest there is a link between adolescent and adult disease, and nutritional factors in the womb and during infancy. Breast-feeding, and waiting to feed your infant solid food until after the first 15 weeks, may have a beneficial effect on his/her future health and resistance to disease.

Exercise and Aging: Don't Throw in the Towel

As people age, there is a direct association between the loss of strength and the loss of muscle. Decreased strength seems to be the result of atrophy, not some inevitable change in the function of the muscles.

There are, however, changes to skeletal muscle that are associated with aging, specifically the shift in muscle fibers from type II to type I fibers. This results in an increase in endurance, but a decrease in power.

Studies have investigated the effectiveness exercise programs in preventing and reversing the age-related loss of muscle strength. These studies have shown that the ability of the elderly to increase muscle strength is comparable with that of young people. The conclusion: Exercise can help prevent the changes thought to be the result of aging. Degeneration seen in the muscles of the elderly seems to be the result not of aging but of lifestyle.

Abdominal Training Reduces Back Pain

A recent focus in the treatment of patients with back pain has been the specific training of muscles surrounding the spine (the deep abdominal muscles and lumbar multifidus--the muscles surrounding the lower spine). Forty-four patients suffering from back pain were assigned to two groups. The first group underwent a 10-week exercise program involving the specific training of the deep abdominal muscles and the lumbar multifidus. The second group (the "control group") underwent treatment as directed by their medical doctor.

The specific-exercise group reported a significant reduction in back pain and an increase in back mobility/function; these results were maintained at a 30-month follow-up. The control group showed no significant changes after treatment or at follow-up. A "specific exercise" approach appears more effective than other commonly prescribed programs for patients with chronic back pain. If you have back pain, ask your doctor of chiropractic which exercises will help the most.

Exercise Each Day Keeps Gallstones Away

Gallstone disease is a painful and dangerous condition which results in an estimated 800,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. every year. People with blood-sugar intolerance and excess insulin levels may be at the most risk. A study of 45,813 men (aged 40 to 75) showed that vigorous exercise reduced the risk of gallstone disease. An increase in physical activity of 25 metabolic equivalents (METs) per week was associated with a significant reduction in relative risk. (One MET was defined as the energy expended by sitting quietly.) Activities that required six or more METs per hour were classified as vigorous; those that required less than six METs per hour were considered nonvigorous.

Conclusions: Physical activity, especially rapid walking, jogging or hiking, may decrease the risk of developing gallstone disease by improving blood-sugar utilization. The overall level of activity, rather than the particular form of exercise, may be the most important factor.