Newsletter Archives > Monthly Health Newsletter: February 2017 Health Newsletter

February 2017 Health Newsletter

Current Articles

» Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure
» Concussion Symptoms in Soccer After “Heading"
» Cardiovascular Health May Begin with Breakfast
» Preventing Cognitive Decline with Mental Stimulation

Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure

Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure

March 16, 2007 -- A special chiropractic adjustment can significantly lower high blood pressure, a placebo-controlled study suggests.

"This procedure has the effect of not one, but two blood-pressure medications given in combination," study leader George Bakris, MD, tells WebMD. "And it seems to be adverse-event free. We saw no side effects and no problems," adds Bakris, director of the University of Chicago hypertension center.

Eight weeks after undergoing the procedure, 25 patients with early-stage high blood pressure had significantly lower blood pressure than 25 similar patients who underwent a sham chiropractic adjustment. Because patients can't feel the technique, they were unable to tell which group they were in.

X-rays showed that the procedure realigned the Atlas vertebra -- the doughnut-like bone at the very top of the spine -- with the spine in the treated patients, but not in the sham-treated patients.

Compared to the sham-treated patients, those who got the real procedure saw an average 14 mm Hg greater drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure count), and an average 8 mm Hg greater drop in diastolic blood pressure (the bottom blood pressure number).

None of the patients took blood pressure medicine during the eight-week study.

"When the statistician brought me the data, I actually didn't believe it. It was way too good to be true," Bakris says. "The statistician said, 'I don't even believe it.' But we checked for everything, and there it was."

Bakris and colleagues report their findings in the advance online issue of the Journal of Human Hypertension.

Atlas Adjustment and Hypertension

The procedure calls for adjustment of the C-1 vertebra. It's called the Atlas vertebra because it holds up the head, just as the titan Atlas holds up the world in Greek mythology.

Marshall Dickholtz Sr., DC, of the Chiropractic Health Center, in Chicago, is the 84-year-old chiropractor who performed all the procedures in the study. He calls the Atlas vertebra "the fuse box to the body."

"At the base of the brain are two centers that control all the muscles of the body. If you pinch the base of the brain -- if the Atlas gets locked in a position as little as a half a millimeter out of line -- it doesn't cause any pain but it upsets these centers," Dickholtz tells WebMD.

The subtle adjustment is practiced by the very small subgroup of chiropractors certified in National Upper Cervical Chiropractic (NUCCA) techniques. The procedure employs precise measurements to determine a patient's Atlas vertebra alignment. If realignment is deemed necessary, the chiropractor uses his or her hands to gently manipulate the vertebra.

"We are not doctors. We are spinal engineers," Dickholtz says. "We use mathematics, geometry, and physics to learn how to slide everything back into place."

What does this have to do with high blood pressure pressure?

Bakris notes that some researchers have suggested that injury to the Atlas vertebra can affect blood flow in the arteries at the base of the skull. Dickholtz thinks the misaligned Atlas triggers release of signals that make the arteries contract. Whether the procedure actually fixes such injuries is unknown, Bakris says.

Bakris began the study after a fellow doctor told him that something strange was happening in his family practice. The doctor had been sending some of his patients to a chiropractor. Some of these patients had high blood pressure. 

Yet after seeing the chiropractor, the patients' blood pressure had normalized -- and a few of them were able to stop taking their blood pressure medications.

So Bakris, then at Rush University, designed the pilot study with 50 patients. He's now organizing a much bigger clinical trial.

"Is it going to be for everybody with high blood pressure? No," Bakris says. "We clearly need to identify those who can benefit. It is pretty clear that some kind of head or neck trauma early in life is related to this. This is really a work in progress. It is certainly in the early stages of research."

Dickholtz has been teaching, practicing, and studying the NUCCA technique for 50 years. He says high blood pressure is far from the only thing an Atlas misalignment causes.

"On the other hand, if people have high blood pressure, there is a tremendous possibility they need an Atlas adjustment," he says.



Author: Health News by Daniel J. DeNoon
Source: Rush University Hypertension Center Chicago IL
Copyright: Journal Of Human Hypertension 3

page toppage toppage top

Concussion Symptoms in Soccer After “Heading"

Concussions in soccer may not only come from unintentional hits to the head. "Heading" is a common action taken by soccer players where they intentionally take hits to the head from the soccer ball. In 2013, a study called the Einstein Soccer Study was conducted to research the effects that heading has on soccer players. For over a year, researchers collected information from 222 participants. These participants were asked to answer surveys regarding any accidental or intentional heading, and any symptoms that followed in a given two week span. The participants of the Einstein Soccer Study were predominantly males ages 18-55, and resulted in a total of 470 surveys. Although the study did not unearth the long-term effects of heading on soccer players, it did discover some interesting findings on the primary effects of heading. Of the male participants in the study, 37% claimed to take hits from the ball unintentionally and reported intentional heading an average of 44 times. While 43% of women participating in the study claimed to take hits from the ball unintentionally, and reported intentional heading an average of 27 times. 20% of the participants claimed to experience moderate to severe concussion symptoms after intentionally heading the ball and unintentional hits to the head. Researchers found that the participants who experienced the most hits through unintentional hits and intentional heading, correlated directly with those experiencing concussion symptoms. In the future, studies may be conducted to research the longterm effects of heading and the complications it may cause. For now, it is evident that there are short-term effects on soccer players experiencing both intentional and unintentional hits to the head.

Source: Neurology, online February 1, 2017.
Copyright: LLC 2017

page toppage toppage top

Cardiovascular Health May Begin with Breakfast

There are several ways to lower the risks of heart attack, cardiovascular disease, blood vessel diseases, and stroke. Although it is important to watch the kind of food that goes into the body, many studies have shown that it may be equally as important to pay attention to the timing of meals. Here are three ways to boost cardiovascular health:
1. Meal Planning. According to a statement released by the American Heart Association, planning the meals and snacks that you have throughout the day can help lower the risks of cardiovascular disease. This is due to the metabolic rates of the body throughout the day.
2. Eating Breakfast Daily. Several studies have found correlations between increased cardiovascular health and people who consume breakfast regularly. There is a much lower risk of high cholesterol and high blood pressure associated with those who consume breakfast daily.
3. Lowering Food Consumption in the Evening. At night it is harder for the body to digest and process various foods. Many studies have shown that this may be due to a decreased metabolic rate in the evening. For this reason, lowering the amount of food eaten in the evening can lead to better cardiovascular health.
Using these methods to carefully plan meals and snacks for each day can help reduce the many risk factors surrounding cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and insulin complications such as insulin resistance.

Source: Circulation, online January 30, 2017.
Copyright: LLC 2017

page toppage toppage top

Preventing Cognitive Decline with Mental Stimulation

With the increasing global concern surrounding dementia and related cognitive problems in the elderly, being able to successfully prevent these issues is of great importance. JAMA Neurology conducted a study to research the effects of various forms of mental stimulation on cognitive delays in elderly participants. The study found several forms of mental stimulation that can reduce the risks of cognitive problems in the elderly. For instance, playing games and participating in regular social events was found to decrease the risk of cognitive delay by more than 20%. While participating in crafting activities can lower the risk by 28%, and learning to use a computer can reduce the risk as much as 30%. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by choosing to eat healthy and exercise regularly has also been proven in many studies to reduce cognitive delay. Combining this with regular mental stimulation is a great way to help reduce the risks even further. According to Dr. Denise Park of the University of Texas, participating in new activities or tasks may be more effective than the repetition of familiar activities in preventing cognitive problems. Overall, it is important for older adults to participate in mentally stimulating activities and try to maintain a healthy lifestyle through proper diet and exercise. This may prove to be their best defense against cognitive decline.

Source: JAMA Neurology, online January 30, 2017.
Copyright: LLC 2017

page toppage toppage top

Articles 1-4 of 4 << first < previous next > last >