Tuesday, September 26, 2006

MDs Get Chiropractic Technology

I was watching TV last night and came across an infomercial for a new medical device, the DX9000. It seems that the device is designed to treat lumbar and cervical back pain, instead of surgery.

I just started laughing. Isn’t that what Chiropractors have been doing for years?

The even funnier part is that it’s not a device you can buy, as a regular man on the street. You have to be a doctor. The infomercial wasn’t to sell the device to doctors, though, it was to sell patients on the device, and let them know which doctors in their area used it.

Reason with me for a minute. For years, many MD’s and various medical organizations have given Chiropractic lots of heat. They make wild claims that (contrary to many scientific studies and tons of clinical evidence) that chiropractic manipulation (which sometimes includes heat and traction therapy in addition to manual spinal adjustment) doesn’t work, hurts people, and that the only way to treat back and neck pain is through drugs and surgery. They complain chiropractors as scam artists who just want to treat you over and over again, using multiple treatment sessions, in order to get more money.

But now that they have a machine they can capitalize on, the MD’s are okay with something other than drugs and surgery. From what I can see, the DX9000 is an advanced traction machine, designed to provide localized traction of the spine in order to take pressure of the discs, and allow them to realign themselves and heal. From what I can see it may even include an infra-red light source to provide localized heat during treatment. There are two versions of it: one for low back treatments, the other for cervical treatments. According to the infomercial, you need to come back to the doctor’s office (paying for another office visit) to get treatment five times the first week, three times the second week, an then one or two times the third week. It’s effective in 80% of cases. It’s also got a built in DVD player so the patient can watch his favorite movie, or receive instruction about the treatment, while he or she is being treated. Long term use was hinted at as being needed by the patients they interviewed.

What’s even funnier is that the infomercial claimed it was FDA approved. Since when did the FDA get involved with medical devices? Maybe I’m wrong, but I thought they were solely concerned with pharmaceuticals and food.

So here we have a machine that an MD can purchase, strap a patient on, bring that patient back for at least three weeks worth of treatments (nine or ten office visits), and charge up the nose for (gotta pay for the machine, after all), that mimics certain chiropractic techniques.

I have to admit, it is a great alternative to surgery. But tell me, how is this kind of spinal manipulation new? Chiropractors have done it for years and have been considered suspect by MDs and all kinds of media campaigns.

Oh yeah! MD’s can make a buck on it, it must be okay!

(John shakes his head and moves on.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

My Uncle Jack

My great Uncle Jack died the other day. He was my mom’s uncle, but he was a pretty “young” uncle. It was one of those deaths that was for the best. He was suffering a lot, and couldn’t get out of bed or recognize his family in the last few days. That’s no way to live.

To be honest, I didn’t know him all that well. I have only a few recollections of him, but I always remember he was kind to me. He would always smile when my Mom and I would visit. Even though I was a kid, and usually sat in a corner reading books until my Mom was done visiting, I felt comfortable being in his home, and above all, welcome.  

I doubt it every dawned on him how good, important, and respected, even as a ten year old, he made me feel. It never dawned on me how I’d miss his memory.

Thanks, Uncle Jack.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Today is Perfect

My life has been very interesting of late. It’s been a strange sea of both chaos and order, financially, professionally, and within my family. It’s odd, though. I had a strange epiphany within the chaos. The past is memory. The future is hope. The present is perfect.

Today is a perfect day. Sure, life is messy. But this very moment, this very point in which I actually exist is perfect.

The essence of human perfection is in our ability to look at ourselves and accept what we see as perfect in the present moment. Even though we are constantly changing and growing into very different things than we were in the past, we are still perfect. Why is it that we can think of other animals as perfect but deny that quality in ourselves?

Why is it that we feel imperfect? We’ve got it all mixed up. We’ve convinced ourselves that the real purpose of life is to try and outdo everyone else. We chase endlessly after goals that elude us. Some of us not only want to “keep up with the Jones” we want to outdo them to the point where they will give up and concede that we are just “so much better than they are.” In doing so, we hunt for external objects of one kind or another so fervently that we forget to take time to simply enjoy our lives in the very moment we live them.

So here I am. Do I have to get moving and retake chemistry? Yes. That’s the (near) future. Does the bumps in my life mean that I had to delay a few things for a year (or may be more)? Yes. But so what? Today, this moment, and the next, and the next, can be perfect.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ambien Wakes Some People Up

A new use, for an old drug, that is “waking up” people suffering from a “persistent vegetative state” (PVS). 60 % of PVS patients that have been given the sleeping aid Zolpidem, (sold here in the U.S. as Ambien) are regaining enough cognitive functions, while on the drug, to be able to speak and interact with their environments. The sad part is that it took seven years to get this effect noticed enough to get people to do some serious research and go to trials.

This article at the Guardian is amazing. Go check it out.