Month: October 1999

Prayer may speed heart patient’s recovery

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) — Prayer may reduce the number of complications experienced by hospitalized heart patients, researchers report.

“This suggests that prayer may be an effective adjunct to standard medical care,” Dr. William Harris of Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, and colleagues report in the October 25th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Heart patients who were prayed for by others, but were not aware of being the object of prayers, had an 11% reduction in medical complications or the need for surgery or medication while in hospital, according to the investigators.

The authors examined the medical charts of nearly 1,000 heart patients, following their health histories between hospital admission and discharge.

All patients in the study received standard medical care. But unbeknownst to the patients, Harris and colleagues provided the first names of about half the patients to 15 teams of five self-identified, practicing Christians. These individuals prayed daily for the healthy recovery of selected patients for a period of 4 weeks. The remaining patients were not prayed for as part of the study.

The authors report that the prayed-for patients had significantly lower complication rates than those not prayed for in the study.

The research team effectively ruled out patient bias as a possible factor behind the benefits associated with prayer, since both patients and hospital staff “were completely (unaware of)… the very existence of the trial.”

Indeed, they say they have no “mechanistic explanation” as to how the prayers of strangers might have helped speed patient healing. The odds that chance might explain the findings are about 1 in 25, according to the authors.

Instead, they refer to the theories of those who believe that “natural or supernatural” causes may be behind the ‘healing power of prayer.’ Believers in the ‘natural causes’ theory propose that some as-yet-undiscovered natural force is ”’generated’ by the intercessors and ‘received’ by the patients,” according to the researchers. On the other hand, those subscribing to a supernatural explanation point to the existence of God or some force “beyond the ken of science.”
Source: Yahoo News, click here for entire article @ 08:06 | Article ID: 941029565

Did the Rx Kill, or the Father?

Deadly Treatment
Judge Cites Hyperactivity Drug in Homicide Acquittal

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Ten days after he began taking a widely used medicine called Adderall to control his attention deficit disorder and help him with his college studies, Ryan Ehlis slipped into a psychotic fog and killed his infant daughter.
God, he said, told him to do it.
Today, the 24-year-old University of North Dakota student is out of jail and back in school, acquitted of murder by a judge who ruled his psychotic state was an extremely rare side effect of Adderall. Medical experts and the drug’s manufacturer say that despite the slaying, Adderall remains a safe and effective drug for controlling attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
“Within days after taking Adderall, the man started hearing voices. According to his lawyer, he believed God was telling him to leave his body and bring his daughter with him to save the world.”

Within days after taking the medicine in January, Ehlis started hearing voices. He believed God was telling him to leave his body and bring his daughter with him to save the world, said his lawyer, John Thelen. His conditioned worsened until, on Jan. 30, Ehlis killed his 5-week-old daughter, Tara, with a shotgun, then shot himself in the abdomen. He recovered from the wound and was charged with murder. Earlier this month, psychiatrists testified before a judge that the shootings happened solely because of a psychotic state caused by the prescription drug. Judge Debbie Kleven agreed, ruling that Ehlis lacked the capacity to understand what he was doing. Ehlis has declined comment on the case but said he returned to normal days after he stopped taking the medication. He is back home with his common-law wife and three other children. “I’m doing very well, and my family is doing pretty good, too, considering the circumstances,” he said.
The drug’s labeling warns that in very rare cirumstances, it can cause “psychotic episodes at recommended doses.”
“We have always been aware there was a very slight risk of psychotic side effects with this drug, but this was the most severe case that’s ever occurred,” said Stefan Antonsson, vice president of marketing for Shire Richwood Inc., the Florence, Ky., maker of the drug. Since Adderall was made available on a widespread basis in 1996, the company has received 10 reports of “general psychotic events” from the drug’s use, Antonsson said.
“They all seemed to resolve without significant injury to the user or other people,” he said.
More than a million Adderall prescriptions were written in 1997, Antonsson said. That figure rose to 2.3 million in 1998, and in the first nine months of this year the number has increased to 2.7 million, he said.
Source: ABC News, Click here for entire article @ 10:13 | Article ID: 940950786

Clinton Orders Human Experiments

Executive Order 13139 is requiring military personnel to receive experimental vaccines not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Courts-martial are pending.

A day after Republican Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut ended congressional hearings on the controversial decision mandating the inoculation of 2.4 million U.S. troops against anthrax, President Clinton quietly signed an executive order, or EO, that denies soldiers the right to refuse experimental vaccines.
. . . EO13139, titled “Improving Health Protection of Military Personnel Participating in Particular Military Operations,” caught Congress off guard as it directed the Pentagon to disregard the authority of the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. The order authorized use of experimental vaccines – those not approved by the FDA and therefore illegal – to be administered to members of the armed forces without informed consent.
Source: Insight Magazine, Click here for entire article @ 15:30 | Article ID: 940883448

Medical Doctors sanction lying for patients

Survey: Physicians support deceiving insurers to get needed care
LOS ANGELES – If a doctor believes a patient needs medical care but the insurance company won’t cover it and the patient can’t afford the expense, should the physician lie to the insurer to secure payment? Many doctors polled in a new survey say yes.
Of 169 Internists from eight major markets around the country who responded to a confidential mailed survey, most said they supported deceiving a third-party payer if it meant a patient received warranted care, especially for serious conditions. However, their support for deception declined with the severity of the condition.
In addition, results showed that doctors working in areas with the highest penetration of managed care organizations, which are known to control the use of services, were more willing to deceive insurers than physicians working in areas with the lowest HMO presence.
The results aren’t surprising, according to study author Dr. Daniel P. Sulmasy, head of ethics at Saint Vincents Hospital and Medical Center in New York, adding that many doctors face “moral stress tests” on a daily basis.
“Physicians increasingly find themselves tempted to falsify their documents deliberately in order to secure for their patients services that would otherwise be denied,” he said here Sunday at an American Medical Association science writers conference. “Physicians today are caught between competing moral obligations.”
Source: MSNBC, Click here for entire article @ 09:27 | Article ID: 940861633

Chiropractic Mission to Costa Rica

After five successful chiropractic missions to Panama, Lina and Luis Ocon have been invited to bring their C.R.E.W. of chiropractors to the Country of Costa Rica for a chiropractic mission.
The mission is scheduled for February of 2000. Up to the day information can be found here at Planet Chiropractic. Visit the Costa Rica page for more information. @ 08:52 | Article ID: 940513970

Medical Journal May Have Flouted Own Ethics 8 Times

L.A. Times: Drug reviews by New England Journal did not disclose authors’ ties to firms. Editor concedes lapses.

Thursday, October 21 – The Los Angeles Times reported today that the renowned New England Journal of Medicine – the world’s top-ranked medical journal and a leading voice in biomedical ethics – has apparently violated its own ethics policy numerous times in the last three years, publishing articles by researchers with drug company ties and not disclosing the potential conflicts of interest.
This report coming just days after other claims have been made of financial links to drug manufacturers.
In an analysis of 36 “Drug Therapy” review articles since 1997, The Times has identified eight articles by researchers with undisclosed financial links to drug companies that marketed treatments evaluated in the articles.
The interim editor in chief, Dr. Marcia Angell, said in an interview Wednesday that the journal’s practices were at odds with its guidelines on financial conflicts of interest. “We’re going to try to do the right thing and bring our practice into conformity with our policy.
“There was a problem with the [‘Drug Therapy’] series. There was a misinterpretation of exactly what our policy was.” She said the journal had not yet had time to check all the articles identified by The Times.

Source: L.A. Times, click here for complete article @ 07:31 | Article ID: 940509088

Report slams scoliosis screening in schools

NEW YORK, (Reuters Health) – Screening for scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine, in schools is not effective and often identifies children who never receive treatment, according to a study published Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

“I do not think screening should be continued,” lead study author Dr. Barbara P. Yawn told Reuters Health in an interview.

Currently, 26 states require scoliosis screening in school, but the effectiveness of the screening programs are not well-established. If caught early, scoliosis can be treated without surgery.

Citing reasons for discontinuing screening, Yawn said in the interview that screening children in schools “for a rare condition (such as scoliosis) is not appropriate” since it doesn’t interfere with the ability to learn, “the screening test is not good and no better screening test is available” and screening does not appear to prevent surgery.
Source: Yahoo News @ 08:10 | Article ID: 940425008

Drug company-sponsored studies less critical than independent studies

CHICAGO (AP) – Studies on the cost-effectiveness of drugs are far more likely to report favorable findings if they are sponsored by the drug companies themselves rather than independent groups, researchers found.

Their study – funded by a pharmaceutical company – appears to confirm long-held suspicions that doctors are less critical about a drug’s safety and effectiveness when they have financial ties to the manufacturer.

“It is possible that these factors may result in some unconscious bias” in interpreting a study’s findings, the researchers said.

Last year, the conflict-of-interest issue made headlines when a report found that the vast majority of doctors who defended the safety of calcium channel blockers had a financial relationship with manufacturers of the blood pressure pills.

In the current study, published in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association, the researchers looked at 44 studies on the cost-effectiveness of cancer drugs. Twenty of the studies were funded by pharmaceutical companies and 24 by nonprofit organizations.

Those sponsored by nonprofit groups reached unfavorable conclusions 38 percent of the time, compared with just 5 percent for studies sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. Also, researchers in company-backed studies were slightly more likely to overstate the cost-effectiveness.

Some researchers receive funding directly from pharmaceutical companies. Some get funding in the form of honoraria or travel expenses. Some hold stock in drug companies and profit directly from increased drug sales.

Dr. Charles Bennett, the lead author and a professor at Northwestern Medical School, said that in addition to the possibility of unconscious bias, there could be other explanations for the findings.

For example, pharmaceutical companies are given early looks at studies. That enables them to abandon studies that appear to be unfavorable and focus on those they think are going to be positive, Bennett said.
Source: Fox News, Click here for entire article @ 16:33 | Article ID: 940368800

Can childhood vaccinations cause devastating illnesses?

Shots in the Dark
October 18th, 1999 – The Los Angeles Times today reported an article on vaccine safety. “Can childhood vaccinations cause devastating illnesses? Researchers haven’t confirmed a link, but some concerned parents argue that inoculations are posing a threat to their children.” Although there was not much discussion over the recent news of the failed rotovirus vaccine, the article appears to be less biased than in the past.
L.A. Times
Complete Article @ 09:04 | Article ID: 940255460

Our Love and Prayers to Dr. Guy Riekeman and Family

The Chiropractic community continues to share the grief of Dr. Guy Riekeman, whose younger daughter, Alexis, died Thursday, Oct. 14. She was 20 years old.

Dr. Riekeman sent obituary information to Palmer Chiropractic College Friday afternoon, ending it with these wishes from the family: “Rest and peace and love, our sweet daughter and sister.”

A memorial service will be held on Monday, October 18th, at 2 p.m. at the Shrine of Remembrance in Colorado Springs. Visitation is from 1 to 2 p.m.

Alexis grew up in Colorado Springs where she was an athlete and graduated with honors from Cheyenne Mountain High School. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder for one year before following her passion for art at the prestigious Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, where she was a second-year student.
Alexis is survived by her mother, Dr. Deborah Raisner of Colorado Springs; her father and stepmother, Dr. Guy Riekeman and Annie Schmitt, of Davenport; her sister and family, Vanessa Helfrich, Jason and son Tyler of Davenport; grandparents, Roy and Marie Crafk, and Dr. Al and Ruth Riekeman.
In lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund is being established in the name of Alexis. Donations will be accepted in the President’s Office.
Palmer college’s address is as follows:
Palmer College of Chiropractic
Guy F. Riekeman, D.C., President
1000 Brady Street
Davenport, IA 52803 @ 13:24 | Article ID: 940184697