Archive for April 2011
This kind of hiding of research is similar to what happened in the early days when the tobacco companies said they had studies that would prove cigarettes don’t cause cancer.A version of this article appeared in print on March 31, 2011, on page B9 of the New York edition of the New York Times.
By KATE MURPHY
In a culture where people cradle their cellphones next to their heads with the same constancy and affection that toddlers hold their security blankets, it was unsettling last month when a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association indicated that doing so could alter brain activity.
The report said it was unclear whether the changes in the brain — an increase in glucose metabolism after using the phone for less than an hour — had any negative health or behavioral effects. But it has many people wondering what they can do to protect themselves short of (gasp) using a landline.
“Cellphones are fantastic and have done much to increase productivity,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, the lead investigator of the study and director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health. “I’d never tell people to stop using them entirely.”
Yet, in light of her findings, she advises users to keep cellphones at a distance by putting them on speaker mode or using a wired headset whenever possible. The next best option is a wireless Bluetooth headset or earpiece, which emit radiation at far lower levels. If a headset isn’t feasible, holding your phone just slightly away from your ear can make a big difference; the intensity of radiation diminishes sharply with distance. “Every millimeter counts,” said Louis Slesin, editor of Microwave News, an online newsletter covering health and safety issues related to exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
So crushing your cellphone into your ear to hear better in a crowded bar is probably a bad idea. Go outside if you have to take or make a call. And you might not want to put your cellphone in your breast or pants pocket either, because that also puts it right up against your body. Carry it in a purse or briefcase or get a nonmetallic belt clip that orients it away from your body.
Some studies have suggested a link between cellphone use and cancer, lower bone density and infertility in men. But other studies show no effect at all. Given the mixed messages and continuing research, Robert Kenny, a Federal Communications Commission spokesman, said in an e-mail, “As always, we will continue to study this issue and coordinate with our federal partners.”
The phone used in Dr. Volkow’s study was a Samsung Knack, model SCH-U310, a flip phone that was in wide use when she began planning her experiments two and half years ago. But today’s ubiquitous smartphones emit even more radiation as they transmit more, and more complex, data.
You can get an idea of the relative amounts of radiation various cellphone models emit by looking at their SAR, or specific absorption rate. This number indicates how much radiation is absorbed by the body when using the handset at maximum power. A cellphone cannot be sold in the United States unless an F.C.C.-approved laboratory says its SAR is below 1.6 watts per kilogram. In Europe, the maximum is 2 watts per kilogram.
The SAR number is not displayed when you compare cellphones at your local wireless store, and trying to find it in the fine print of your user manual is an exercise in frustration. The F.C.C. maintains that SAR values “do not provide sufficient information” to reliably compare cellphone radiation emissions because certain phones might rarely operate at maximum power. Still, the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization, has a comprehensive list of the SAR values for most cellphones available from major carriers on its Web site. (For instance, the Apple iPhone 4 is listed at 1.17 watts per kilogram, the Motorola Droid at 1.5 and the LG Quantum at 0.35.)
But more important than looking for a low-SAR phone is how you use it. Many cellphones emit the most radiation when they initially establish contact with the cell tower, making their “digital handshake.” To reduce exposure it’s best to wait until after your call has been connected to put your cellphone next to your ear.
During the ensuing conversation, it’s advisable to tilt the phone away from your ear when you are talking and only bring it in close to your ear when you are listening. That bit of teeter-totter works because the emission of radiation is “significantly less when a cellphone is receiving signals than when it is transmitting,” said Lin Zhong, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice University in Houston.
Moreover, your cellphone emits less when you are stationary because when you are moving rapidly — say, in a car or train — it must repeatedly issue little bursts of radiation to make digital handshakes with different towers as it moves in and out of range. (More cause to hang up when you buckle up.)
Want another reason to complain about your carrier’s poor coverage? Any situation where your cellphone has a weak signal indicates it has to work harder and thus will emit more radiation. “Fewer bars means more radiation,” said Om Gandhi, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Inside buildings and elevators, in rural areas, the Grand Canyon — these are not good places to make a call if you’re trying to reduce your exposure to radiation.
Of course, parents using their iPhones to pacify cranky kids might want to reconsider rattles. Children’s developing brains and tissues are thought to be most vulnerable to cellphone radiation. Health authorities in Britain, France, Germany and Russia have all issued warnings against allowing small children to use cellphones for extended periods, if at all.
There are cellphone attachments that purport to shield users from radiation, and most are “hoaxes,” said Mr. Gandhi. Beware of pendants that sellers claim snatch radiation from the air. Pong Research offers a cellphone case for iPhones and BlackBerrys that it says has been shown by an F.C.C.-approved testing lab to redirect radiation from the phone’s antenna away from the head.
While the manufacturer says it reduces radiation more than 60 percent, some electrical engineering experts question whether the case may have the opposite effect at orientations where your head is in the way of the cell tower because your phone may have to increase its transmission strength somewhat to compensate for the redirected signal. The company disputes this. Nevertheless, the net effect of using the device throughout the course of the day may be a reduction in total exposure.
Texting, instead of talking, might be safer. “The whole trend toward texting instead of talking on cellphones is probably a good thing,” said Mr. Slesin at Microwave News.
That is, if you don’t rest your cellphone against your body while typing out your message.
Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485. www.communitychiropractic.net[Translate]
Proper posture simply refers to maintaining the body in a position which protects against excessive stresses which cause injury, while requiring a minimal amount of muscular effort to maintain. In other words, a comfortable position which will not irritate your spinal tissues.
Posture plays a significant role in the development of chronic conditions such as chronic back and neck pain. Poor posture is responsible for overstretching ligaments and other supportive spinal structures as well as exhausting spinal musculature, all of which quickly leads to the development of chronic spinal pain.
Proper Seated Posture
Learning and practicing proper postural habits will help reduce the likelihood of acquiring back and neck injuries, reduce spinal degeneration, and help keep your spine and body happy and healthy.
Prolonged sitting is a frequent cause of back and neck pain. And while extended periods of sitting are best avoided, for many, it’s a fact of life.
When sitting, it’s important to keep the back straight, knees bent, and head centered over the shoulders. Slouching forward may be comfortable and allow the spinal muscles to relax but gradually overstretches spinal ligaments, leading to back and neck pain among other problems. We always encourage patients to maintain a “neutral spine” position at all time is ideal.
Seat Backrest – The proper chair has a backrest which slightly inclines backwards. This has the effect of relaxing the spinal musculature and decreasing spinal discal pressure.
Armrests – Armrests provide support for the arms which helps to reduce the work load and stress on the trapezius and shoulder muscles. The armrest height should allow the forearms to comfortably rest while being low enough to go underneath tables or desks in the work area.
Lumbar Support – Having a lumbar support either built into the chair or inserting a portable lumbar support helps to maintain your natural lower back curve. These small supports are quite handy, effective and relatively inexpensive.
Seat Bottom Angle - The seat angle relative to the floor is more of a personal preference than an exact science, as long as a neutral spine can be maintained in comfort. In general, the more the seat bottom tilts forward the more extension of your lower back will occur to keep you in a neutral position.
Seat Height – The height of the seat should be so that it allows you to sit all the way back in the seat while your feet are still able to reach the floor. If they can’t and you’re stuck with the chair, use a footrest to remedy the problem.
In addition to the suggestions provided above, it’s important to:
- be aware of your posture throughout the day and be sure to maintain a neutral spine -no slouching
- take mini breaks on a regular basis when in a prolonged position and remember to stretch
- have the right equipment and tools for working in a prolonged position, use ergonomically designed furniture and keep a lumbar support in your car for “chair crises”
Although standing is something we do everyday most of us have never really given “the art of proper standing” a second thought. Many people are actually unaware that their standing habits can contribute to their back and neck problems.
If you’re one of those people, the following “general standing guidelines” should help you out.General Rules For Standing
- maintain a straight spine rather than slouching to the side
- avoid slouching forward or hyper-extending
- keep the chin up with the head centered over the shoulders
- keep the feet slightly less than shoulder width apart
- keep the knees slightly bent
- wear comfortable shoes and leave the heels at home
- avoid standing still for long periods of time, rather, sit down or move around
Approximately 1/3 of our life is spent lying in bed, on the couch, and on the floor. Like other positions, there is a right way and a wrong way to lie. For individuals suffering from pain, modifications may be necessary to obtain a “pain-free” position or a position which does not aggravate the pain.
Lying On Your Stomach
Extended periods of “stomach lying” should be avoided. This is because excessive stress is placed on the joints of the low back and because excessive rotation must take place in the neck. Neck pain, back pain, headaches, dizziness, as well as arm paresthesias are commonly experienced when in this position for an extended period of time. If you must lie in this position to relieve pain or for some other reason, keep one leg bent with the same side arm raised with approximately 90 degrees of flexion at the shoulder and elbow joints.Lying On Your Back
Most people find lying on their back to be a relatively comfortable position. For individuals suffering from back problems, placing a folded pillow underneath the knees will help reduce tension in the lower back and make this position more tolerable. Some individuals may also find placing a small pillow or towel under their lower back to be helpful. This will help to maintain the natural curve of the lumbar spine.Lying On Your Side
Lying on your side is a favored position by many individuals. It may also be a comfortable position that provides relief for individuals with back problems. It’s important while in this position to have adequate support for the head and neck. A pillow which fills the gap between the head/neck and the bed should be used to keep the head and neck in line with the rest of the spine. Additionally, placing a pillow between the knees will help reduce lumbar and pelvic torsion. Women with larger hip and small waists will find a small pillow under the waist will prevent lateral bending of the spine while lying on the side.[Translate]
Everyday patients come to my office complaining about problems that plauged them since childhood. That is what lead me into specializing in Pediatrics. Fix them when they are young and they will be much healthier adults. Well as my practice grew, I realized that problem teenagers had problems as toddlers and challenged toddlers had problems as infants and infants with issues such as colic had problems in-utero with being in the wrong position and/or birth trauma from c-sections or interventions such as forceps.
That is why this case study is important to me. Most of the kids I see with problems such as ear infections, colic, reflux and other challenges, started off having a difficult birth. Using the Webster Technique throughout the WHOLE pregnancy will reduce the likelihood that the baby will be malpositioned (breech, transverse) and need interventions at delivery. Then the baby will truly start off life as healthy as possible.
Resolution of Breech Presentation Following Application of Webster Technique: A Case ReportHelya Dashtkian DC Bio & Heather Whittle-Davis DC, FICPA, CCEP Bio Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health – Chiropractic ~ 2011 ~ Issue 2 ~ Pages 40-42
Objective: To discuss the outcome of chiropractic care using the Webster Technique on a pregnant female with breech presentation of fetus.
Clinical Features: A 25 year old female sought chiropractic care at 31 weeks gestation to avoid cesarean section due to breech presentation, which was confirmed by her Ob/Gyn. The patient also had low back pain that was exacerbated by the pregnancy.
Interventions and Outcomes: The patient was evaluated using Webster Technique protocol and was found to have sacro-iliac subluxations, as well as trigger points along the round ligament. Webster Technique was administered a total of two times to address subluxations and trigger points. The fetus shifted from the breech position to transverse after the first visit. After the second visit, the fetus shifted from transverse to vertex. The patient continued to seek chiropractic care due to pregnancy related low back pain.
Conclusions: The patient avoided cesarean section and had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery following administration of the Webster Technique protocol.[Translate]
Chiropractic care is extremely important for the maturing and elderly adult because of the dramatic changes that occur in the spine with increasing age. As we age, spinal discs, facet joints, ligaments, muscles and other spinal tissues become weaker, less hydrated, more fibrotic, and less able to withstand normal stresses. As a result, spinal pain from spinal degeneration (arthritis) becomes more prominent, tissue injury from relatively benign events occurs, and the time to heal from injuries increases.
Chiropractic procedures take into consideration the nature of the aging spine and the many abnormalities present to provide a strategically effective, safe and noninvasive treatment plan. Through the use of gentle adjustive and mobilization techniques and incorporation of stretching and exercise programs spinal pain is reduced, spinal stresses on the nerves are decreased, flexibility and mobility are improved, and degeneration is minimized.
Treatment techniques must focus on the underlying problem and involve participation of the patient in order to be truly effective and long lasting. Treatments which solely focus on pain and other “symptoms” only, are far less effective, and are often dangerous since the conditions causing the symptoms remain untreated and uncorrected.
What Benefits Does Chiropractic Care Provide For The Maturing Adult?
Routine chiropractic care has a number of benefits which are especially important for maturing adults:
- spinal and extremity pain relief
- decreased stiffness and muscular spasms
- increased mobility and range of motion
- increased balance and coordination
- increased sense of well being
- increased energy
- enhanced tissue healing
- decreased tissue inflammation
- increased joint health
- decreased arthritis and arthritic joint pain
- minimized spinal stress and subsequent degeneration
- minimized risk of fall injuries
Are There Any Studies Showing The Benefits of Chiropractic Care In The Aging?
A study in Clinical Chiropractic evaluated the health status of 414 elderly individuals (average age of 80 years) and compared those individuals under chiropractic care with those not under chiropractic care. The researchers found a number of significant findings which included:
- 87% of those who used chiropractic care rated their health as good or excellent compared with only 68% in the nonchiropractic group
- 13% of those who used chiropractic care rated their health as fair or poor compared with 32% in the nonchiropractic group
- 44% of those who used chiropractic care reported having arthritis compared with 66% in the nonchiropractic care group
- those who used chiropractic care were more likely to do strenuous levels of exercise
- at 3 years follow-up, less than 5% of those who used chiropractic care used a nursing home while a staggering 48% of those who did not use chiropractic care did use a nursing home
- at 3 years follow-up, only 26% of those who used chiropractic care were hospitalized compared with 48% of those in the nonchiropractic group
Coulter, PhD et al. Chiropractic and Care for the Elderly. Top Clin Chiro 1996;3(2):46-55.What Can Chiropractic Care Do For Me?
Chiropractic Increases Spinal Range of Motion
Increasing spinal range of motion can positively influence lives in many ways. For some, an increased range of motion means being able to bend down to pickup the grandchildren. For others, it translates into an extra 30 yards of distance out of their driver on the golf course.
Chiropractic care has a long history of helping individuals like yourself reach these and other goals through increases in spinal range of motion. Best of all, increases in spinal range of motion can occur immediately following chiropractic treatments. This is one of the reasons why many top professional sporting teams have team chiropractors treat the athletes prior to and during sporting events.
Chiropractic Decreases the Frequency and Severity of Back, Neck and Head Pain
The treatments utilized by chiropractors have been consistently shown to be one of the most effective and safest forms of care to treat the majority of back, neck and head pain complaints. This is because most causes of back, neck and head disorders are related to abnormalities of the soft tissue components within the spine – something doctors of chiropractic are specifically trained to identify and treat.
Chiropractic Increases Balance and Coordination
As we age, balance and coordination become increasingly impaired. Studies have shown that the receptors located in the joints of the upper cervical spine are largely responsible for providing the brain with essential information important for balance and coordination. Research has also shown that injury to these “neck” receptors is a significant cause of balance and coordination problems in humans.
According to Dr. Caranasos, MD:
Mechanoreceptors in cervical facet joints provide major input regarding the position of the head in relation to the body. With aging, mild defects impair mechanoreceptors function. Loss of proprioception can also involve the legs, especially with diabetes. With decreased proprioception, body positioning in space is impeded and the patient becomes reliant on vision to know the location of a limb.
To compensate for the loss of proprioception in the legs, the feet are keep wider apart than usual. Steps become irregular and uneven in length. As impairment increases the patient becomes unable to compensate. With severe loss of proprioception, the patient is unable to get up from a chair or rise after a fall without assistance.
Caranasos, MD, Isreal, MD. Gait Disorders in the Elderly. Hospital Practice. 1991; June 15:67-94.
According to Dr. Guyton, MD:
By far the most important proprioceptive information needed for the maintenance of equilibrium is that derived from the joint receptors of the neck.
Guyton, MD. Textbook of Medical Physiology. 9th edition. WB Saunders, Philadelphia 1996;714.
Studies have shown that chiropractic care can help restore balance and coordination by stimulating the joint receptors (mechanoreceptors) in the cervical spine. This stimulation is thought to restore or normalize joint receptor functioning which leads to improvements in balance and coordination.
Chiropractic Can Decrease Fall Injuries, as well as Other Injuries
Fall injuries are extremely prevalent in the elderly population and are one of the most detrimental events that can occur to the older individual. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are responsible for 90% of the 850,000 bone fractures which occur annually among Americans past the age of 65.
Chiropractors reduce the risk of falls by (1) utilizing specific chiropractic adjustive techniques in the cervical spine to normalize cervical joint receptors which provide the brain with important balance and coordination information, (2) utilizing stretching and exercise programs to increase strength, flexibility, mobility, balance and coordination, and (3) utilizing diet and nutritional counseling to improve nutritional status, increase energy levels, and increase sense of well-being.
The above benefits also minimize other types of injuries as well as improve the outcome for injuries already sustained.
Chiropractic Increases Joint Nutrition and Decreases Spinal Joint Arthritis
Spinal discs and spinal facet joints, similar to other joints, receive their nutrition and eliminate their wastes through joint movement. Without sufficient movement, adhesions and scar tissue will soon develop in the joints.
Chiropractic care involves restoring and optimizing spinal and extra-spinal joint motion which brings vital nutrients into the joint and flushes toxic waste products out. This helps keep the joints healthy and minimizes the degenerative joint changes which lead to arthritis.
Chiropractic Decreases Joint and Tissue Degeneration through Optimizing Biomechanics
Similar to an out-of-aligned wheel on an automobile, a misaligned spine with abnormal biomechanics will wear out prematurely. As all moving parts will eventually wear down over time, it’s important to get the maximum “mileage” out of your spine, especially since it’s the only one you’ll ever get.
Chiropractic care is focused on optimizing spinal biomechanics which reduces spinal stress and, as a result, decreases spinal degeneration and other arthritic changes.
Chiropractic Increases Health and Well-Being
When you’re free from nagging pain, stiff joints and can do the things you enjoy (golf, gardening, playing with the grandchildren, etc.) life is far more enjoyable. Feeling good, staying healthy and doing the things that make us happy are what keeps us looking forward to each new day.
Regular chiropractic care in those over the age of 40 is aimed at increasing the quality of life, and not just the elimination of pain and correction of soft tissue abnormalities. Don’t cheat yourself from living life to its fullest… call today and let us get you started on a personalized health plan.
Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485. www.communitychiropractic.net[Translate]
Do you want to calm your crying baby or infant? There are many reasons that can make babies cry and when the parent cannot console the baby it is frustrating. It breaks my heart to hear people say a non-crying baby is a “good baby” because of what that does to both the parent and the child of a colicky baby. Not only is colic a problem with the baby, it leads to agitation and tension in the home. Let’s talk about how Chiropractic can help get your baby back to that bouncing bundle of JOY!
If you are a parent of a baby suffering from colic, you are bound to feel frustrated, stressed and helpless. Over 1 million babies suffer from colic every year so you are not alone.
Colic has been a source of great frustration for babies, parents and doctors alike. Colic is more defined by its symptoms than diagnostic findings. The symptoms are described as uncontrollable, relentless crying for hours at a time, at least three days per week in an otherwise healthy child. This crying behavior often lasts for up to three months before the baby seems to grow out of it. Enough to drive any parent batty. Parents and family members find it difficult to cope and are hopeful for a solution.
Medical doctors haven’t discovered the cause or solution to this common problem. The medical solution is not promising. Medical recommendations include drug therapy that is not very effective. The use of medications containing simethicone is based on the assumption that infant colic is due to SWALLOWED AIR; however numerous studies have shown that swallowed air is NOT a cause of infant colic.
In several studies on the various anti-colic treatments available, simethicone worked NO better than a placebo (sugar pill) in reducing the level of distress experienced by a colicky baby.
There are two common theories for the cause: an immature nervous system or an immature digestive system. The good news is that Chiropractic can help with both!
The solution may be as close as your Wellness Chiropractor who focuses on restoring a healthy nervous system. There are numerous case studies that have been published on the benefits of chiropractic care and colic babies, but the most compelling research is a study that included 316 babies with colic. In this study, 73 chiropractors treated 316 babies with moderate to severe colic. An incredible 94% of the babies demonstrated satisfactory results within 14 days of chiropractic care. 25% showed great improvement with just one treatment!
In another study of 132 babies suffering from colic, an amazing 91% of the parents reported improvement within 1 week of care.
As for the immature digestive system, a reduction of dairy in the mom’s diet will help and adding probiotics to the mom’s and the babies diet will ensure there is the right balance of good bacteria in both. I also recommend that the mom stays away from the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts) as they are gas producing.
If you or someone you love has an infant suffering from colic, be sure to tell them about Wellness Chiropractic. A Wellness Chiropractor can quickly and safely evaluate a child’s nervous system for hidden disturbances. If the child demonstrates a problem, your Wellness Chiropractor may be the solution.Krauss LL Chiropractic Pediatrics Vol. 2 No. 1, October, 1995 Klougart N, Nilsson N and Jacobsen J (1989) J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1989 (Aug);12 (4): 281-288 Nilsson N Eur J Chiro 1985;33 (4) :264-65. Cuhel JM, Powell M, Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics Vol. 2, No. 2 1997. P. 150-154.
Dr. Stephanie Maj has a thriving pediatric family practice in the heart of Chicago. Her clinic is located at 1442 W. Belmont Ave., 1E, Chicago, IL 60657. 773.528.8485.www.communitychiropractic.net[Translate]