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Medicine Presents: A Great Opportunity
The changing nature of health care presents both opportunities and challenges. While we tend to focus on our profession, we can sometimes forget the impact other health care professions can have on us.
Economics of Complementary/Integrative Care
Although this column doesn't usually feature a book review, we're going outside of our usual public health format to discuss a new book written by Patricia Herman ND, PhD.
SOAP Notes: It's Time for a Cleaning
I have been planning for some time to write an article about how traditional SOAP notes do not fit chiropractic practice, and the unfairness of holding DCs to a model clearly created for and primarily applicable to medical physicians.
Helping Infertility Patients with the Spirit Essence
As many of you know, when it comes to treating infertility, we are dealing with a patient population that is, generally speaking, in emotional turmoil. These patients often experience fear, anxiety, despair, hopelessness, grief and anger.
Side Effects From Big Pharma: Wellbutrin – Dangerous for You and Your Baby
Are some of your pregnant patients taking Wellbutrin? If so, it could be a danger to them and their baby. This drug is extremely popular, but it has a serious history.
Correcting Kid Logic in Health Care and Research Design
A recent broadcast on public radio described a fascinating phenomenon known as kid logic.
We Get Letters & E-Mail
Patient Perception and the Farce of "Fast Relief"; A Fly in the Ointment; Persecuted for Choosing to Practice Chiropractic.
Helping Patients Through Pregnancy Loss
There is a lot of focus in the acupuncture world on fertility and helping women get pregnant. It's exhilarating to hear the news that a patient is expecting a baby. The other side of that is pregnancy loss. That includes abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth.
Research Abstracts From the Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics
Effect of Pain Relief on Lumbar Muscle Function and Activation; Effects of Thrust Amplitude and Duration of HVLA Spinal Manipulation; Immediate Effects of Upper Thoracic Manipulation on Cardiovascular Response.
The Potter's Wheel: Reflections on Practicing in a Technology-Driven World
In my very early years of practice, an older patient named Cora would call me at home, usually late Sunday night after she had consumed an unknown quantity of beer.
Why You Should Get to Know the National Vaccine Information Center
Barbara Loe Fisher has been a diligent advocate for providing parents with the information necessary to make informed decisions regarding the usage of vaccinations for their children.
A Building Block of Healthy Aging
Coenzyme Q10 has gained enormous attention in recent years, and with good reason —it's the Energizer Bunny of the cellular world.
Some Thoughts on the TMJ
The temporomandibular joint is an interesting and dynamic articulation that can cause a lot of problems.
Going Shoeless: The Pros & Cons of Barefoot Running
With the subculture of barefoot runners and the products catering to them growing daily, just about every chiropractor has been asked at one point or another about their opinion regarding barefoot running.
Remembering Joe Weider (1920-2013)
With the death of Joe Weider, the world's most famous body-building visionary, crusader, fitness magazine publisher and icon, on March 23, 2013, chiropractic has lost one of its greatest friends and supporters.
What They Don't Say Could Hurt You
I have written previously regarding the difficulties of drawing information from patients who are poor historians, forgetful or just plain uncooperative. The thought to revisit the topic occurred recently during preparation for an upcoming seminar.
Let's face it – patient evaluation takes time. Unless you are really into the diagnostic evaluation game, you probably have found the formal exam protocol tedious if not downright annoying.
You are What You Eat Part II: Integrative Protocols
In the previous installment of this article I discussed important ideas concerning gastrointestinal health and foundational ideas from TCM, which can provide key insights into creating effective protocols for healing the gut.
Energy is a hot commodity. Society pays dearly for it and for the expertise of those who know how to cultivate it.
Herbal Medicine: Go Mainstream
When it comes to practicing herbal medicine in a mainstream setting, there are a number of important points to understand when it comes to prescribing formulas. Some important questions to ask are - what method of prescribing and dispensing is most effective in this setting?
Happenings in Our Evolving Profession
Good things seem to be happening for our profession and recent developments show we are all on board. Talking about being on board, this September The Veterans Express-Purple Heart Tour is expected to make its way out of the station.
What the Science Says About Magnesium Stearate
It's often been said that scientific studies can be used to support just about anything. But discoveries are never made one study at a time.
The Spirits of the Points: The Gall Bladder Official
The Gall Bladder is known as The Official of Decision Making and Judgment. In any given day, this Official makes countless decisions – conscious and unconscious, which influence every aspect of our being.
Peer Points: Stories of Practice Success
When patients go see Arizona-based acupuncturist Jing Liu, it is to get top care from an practitioner well versed in all aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Have a Heart: Say No to Soda
It's not enough that soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages have been linked to cavities and weight gain, among other negative health consequences.
Chiropractic: The Right Choice for Relieving LBP
"Low back pain (LBP) is a common threat to medicine and a reasonable threat to all national health care systems. ... Reducing ineffective treatments is necessary to decrease the LBP associated costs."
News in Brief
Controversial Florida PIP Law Under Review; D'Youville Chiro. Students Learning Art of Co-Managing; And the Award Goes To...; F4CP Recognizes Major Contribution by ChiroTouch.
Are They Finally Fixing Medicare Reimbursement?
Even with federal sequestration cuts taking effect in March, including a 2 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement to health care providers, hope may be on the horizon in the form of a much-anticipated, perpetually suggested overhaul of Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which serves as the basis for determining physician reimbursement.
There Are No Secrets: Treating Complicated Conditions with TCM
Including standardized extra points, there are just over 400 acupuncture points on the body. You get 400 and I get 400 - same. Yet, time and time again treatment protocols are coveted as if they were some secret formula only intended for the right and privileged.
March, 2012, Vol. 12, Issue 03
Trying to Get Something From Nothing
By Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB
"Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand" – Paul Newman in the movie, "Cool Hand Luke."
You are going to be hearing more and more about evidence-based massage therapy (EBMT). Partly, this reflects a current trend in health care to re-evaluate treatment and to determine what has a sound basis for use and what doesn't. One example of this is the Institute of Medicine report, "Evidence-Based Medicine and the Changing Nature of Healthcare."
A second factor is the existence of the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF), which has goals of making those in the profession aware of research, promoting research literacy and integrating research with practice. I would count the forthcoming book on such integration by Dryden and Moyer as among the efforts facilitated by the MTF.
A third factor is massage therapy now being regulated by the majority of states, combined with the legal presumption that such regulation is done for the protection of the public. If we consider that training is necessary for safe practice, the presumption of public protection can only be fulfilled when state-mandated training is based upon a solid foundation of objectively validated knowledge.
A final factor is the modern technology embodied in an interactive web. Communication without regard to physical proximity is facilitating extensive discussions among those both with a stake in massage therapy and with backgrounds in research and statistics. Alice Sanvito discusses evidence-based massage on her web site and provides a number of links there to additional resources. I like the definition she gives for EBMT.
Evidenced based massage therapy is massage therapy founded on ideas and principles supported by evidence. Many of the claims made and practices used by massage therapists are founded on tradition rather than evidence. Since there is not yet a large body of knowledge documenting the physiology of and effects of massage therapy, if we were only able to make statements strictly on the basis of scientific studies, we would be severely limited indeed. Some people prefer the term "evidence informed practice" as more accurate. An evidence informed practice takes into consideration scientific evidence, clinical experience and careful observation.
The concept of being evidence-based, however, necessitates having methods to collect such evidence. In this, we also need to be careful to distinguish between whether or not an intervention can be shown to work (beyond random chance) and the model that we believe is the mechanism underlying the intervention. It is fully possible, as with massage relieving muscle soreness and the lactic acid myth, for an intervention to be effective while the supposed mechanism is incorrect. The randomized controlled trial (RCT) is taken as the "gold standard" of clinical proof, but how does that work? We need three things: a study population, a methodology for the study and the ability to analyze the results for effectiveness.
For example, our study population might be those diagnosed with high blood pressure, over the age of 40, not having other medical complications and not knowing Morse code. The goal of our study might be to determine whether or not listening to relaxing messages keyed in Morse code by a live practitioner were effective in reducing blood pressure. A complicating factor for the study is that people respond to the presence of other people. As put by Ravensara Travillian recently, "As psychosocial beings, we respond psychologically and socially in ways that can be described as healing body and mind due to presence and caring attention from others." Thus, our study will need a means of differentiating the effects of the Morse code from those effects simply from the practitioner's presence and the setup of the trial itself.
After gaining a sufficient number of suitable participants, we would fulfill the "randomized" concept of the trial by randomly dividing them into three groups: control, sham Morse-code and Morse code. The intervention might be three-times per week for 12 weeks. Controls would come in, have their blood pressure (BP) measured, wait 30 minutes, and have their BP measured again. Those in the Morse-code group would, in the 30 minutes wait, listen to Morse-code keyed by one of several live practitioners. Those in the "sham-group" would listen to 30 minutes of keying, similar to Morse-code, but keyed by "practitioners" unfamiliar with Morse-code. With this protocol, we can look for short-term effects between sessions, beginning and session end, as well as for longer term effects over the length of the study. By taking follow-up measurements after the end of the 12 weeks, we can also look for persistence of any changes.
Now we get to the point of getting something from nothing. We assume the null hypothesis, that any differences between the groups is simply from random chance, and calculate the probability (p) that this assumption is true. We conclude that there is a statistically significant difference between groups only when the probability of our observations being due entirely to chance is less than 5% (p<0.05). We have three separate probabilities to check: whether the sham group is statistically different from the control group (psychosocial effect), whether the Morse code group is different from the control group (psychosocial plus Morse code), and whether the difference between the sham and code groups is significant (Morse code effect). In a recent paper, Bakker and Wicherts underscore the importance of doing the third test explicitly, even when the differences between the sham and control groups is not significant.
If there is no difference between the three groups, the study would conclude that, in the clinical trial as designed, neither psychosocial factors nor messages in Morse-code were effective. If the sham group differed statistically from the control, we would conclude that there was a psychosocial effect. Because the psychosocial effect would also be present in the code group, only if the code group was statistically different from the sham group could we conclude that there was an effect from Morse-code itself. Note that this code effect could be of either sign, adding to a psychosocial effect or negating it.
There you have the outline of a randomized control/clinical trial. Assuming initially that we get no difference, we end up with information. Sometimes "nothing can be a real cool hand."
Click here for previous articles by Keith Eric Grant, PhD, NCTMB.
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