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Critics lie to conflate the adverse effects of a brain tumer with chiropractic care.

In a rather condensed article full of misinformation and professional slander, the chiropractic profession has received its latest contrived attempt to discredit its practice. This time, like so many times before it, we see a series of statements that come protected via the arguing from authority that’s typical of these kinds of attacks. The hope is that reason and evidence remain eluded in the public eye.

The article is called, “Pediatricians alarmed by chiropractic treatments for babies that ‘border on the fraudulent.'” “Pediatricians being alarmed” is not what we are going to concern ourselves with in this post, even though it’s full of potential and fun. What we will talk about, however, and what we wish to draw the reader’s attention to is the foundational statement that comes a few paragraphs later:

“A 2007 study led by University of Alberta researchers who reviewed 13 published studies found 14 injuries to children who received chiropractic treatments. Nine of them were serious, and two were fatal. One child died from a brain hemorrhage, the other after a suspected neck fracture.
Ten of the injuries were attributed to chiropractic care. “

Before showing the blatant lies and misdirection behind these claims, we can first of all remark that, even if they were true, it would represent 8 cases of documented adverse events and 2 deaths spanning a 105 year period and amounting to over 89 million pediatric visits by the year 2007 in the U.S.

This is a great example of how scary adverse events can lose their “scariness” once they are evaluated under a global lens; the same kind of “global lens,” mind you, that we are expected to use in regard to “established” medical interventions that carry much higher risks. However, this is taking the purported claims to be true. After looking at the underlying evidence, what we find is that nobody would be able to come away with the same conclusions as these authors do, unless they too were serving an agenda of deliberate deceit. As we will see, the evidence of the 2007 study does not support the claims of damage. Rather it further proves the culpability of the authors to commit biased scientific review–something chiropractors have become quite used to seeing directed by their competitors.

So let’s look at the evidence underlying the two most damaging claims: Death from brain hemorrhage and “suspected” neck fracture.

The specific case report by Zimmnerman and colleagues referred to in the 2007 study refers to a child suffering from complete occlusion of the left vertebral artery at the middle of the C2 vertebral body leading to hemorrhage. This occlusion was claimed to be the result of chiropractic care. However, upon closer examination of the case report, the 7-yr-old boy was shown to have suffered from recurrent unilateral headaches occurring without prodrome (without early signs or symptoms), once to twice per week often following gymnastics exercises in which he attempted mid-air somersaults, landing on the occiput and cervical spine. Vohra (study author) and her colleagues irresponsibly failed to discuss this history of trauma to the nervous system as a possible confounding or competing explanation to the child’s neurological complaints, complaints which likely brought him to the chiropractor in the first place.

Then there is the case report by Shafir and Kaufman cited in the 2007 study concerning a 4-month-old boy taken to a chiropractor who became quadriplegic from a “suspected” fracture. What Vohra and her colleagues failed to disclose, almost unbelievably, was that magnetic resonance imaging of the child revealed a pre-existing mass within the infant’s spinal cord from the medulla, occupying the entire canal from the mid-cervical to the lower thoracic region. Chiropractic was deemed responsible for the quadriplegic event despite this pre-existing condition.

In both cases we see a vicious attack on chiropractic care which pivots on the deliberate absence of vital information. And here is the major point to be drawn. It’s deceit. It’s what comes when diabolical-interests are secured in a place of presumed authority. It’s what happens when those situated “above” act on the people’s behalf, “for their benefit” discerning what’s right, wrong, safe, unsafe.

For an entire detailed rebuttal to this latest attack on chiropractic safety, read: ICPA Responds to Article in Canadian National Post.

To conclude, we can say that the attempt to demoralize the chiropractic profession requires ugly and outstanding tactics, more so than most other competing professions that may indeed have actual risks attached to them which might be empirically ascertained. But because chiropractic is so infallibly safe, attackers and critics must stand on patently false claims and employ lies and debased suggestions in truly uncanny ways. Their hope is that what Johnathan Swift said centuries ago remains the case today, namely, that “Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect: like a man, who hath thought of a good repartee when the discourse is changed, or the company parted; or like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead.” 

May the truth be with you, before it’s too late!

-Pathways Magazine