YouTube Video Promo for the On The Other Hand Podcast

I keep being told that in order to maximize our exposure with the podcast, we need to also have some video. I produced this video promo in order to let more people know about the project in which we help to uncover more scientific, ethical, intelligent people in chiropractic, alternative medicine and health care.

Edzard Ernst, CAM Critic, Talks with Dr. Brett Kinsler on Chiropractic and Bias

Book by Edzard Ernst complementary and alternative medicine

Professor Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, FRCP, FRCP holds the Laing Chair in Complementary Medicine at the Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter and is the Editor-in-Chief of two medical journals. He has also been seen as a major public opponent of chiropractic and alternative medicine. He has devoted most of his career to publishing articles that are critical of complementary and alternative medicine….an unbelievable number of papers. Like 1500 or so. He’s been especially critical of chiropractic and, in the opinion of many researchers, has glossed over important research and exaggerated results. To me, what’s most interesting about Ernst is that he claims objectivity and lack of agenda. This podcast asks some tough questions of Prof. Ernst.

You can get the podcast episode on iTunes by searching the podcast section for “On The Other Hand” or you can just click here.

Thanks to this episode’s sponsor: Audible.com, the audiobook company. Get a free audiobook download just by trying their service free for 14 days.

Blogito Ergo Sum: Skeptical Chiropractor

Critical_thinking

I like to use the term “skeptical chiropractor” to describe some aspects of my professional personality.  Lately, I have been asked to further define the phrase.  I’ll try…you let me know what I’ve missed.

1. Being a skeptical chiropractor means not clinging to a set of beliefs.  I try not to have any set of principles that are not based upon scientific evidence or, lacking that, at least based on rational, logical thought thought and reason.

2. I am willing to change my thinking as the scientific evidence changes or improves.  If my practice was only based on 100+ year old beliefs, this would not happen.  And while I may be passionate about my convictions, the core is logically founded and I possess enough open-mindedness to alter those cores if and when I am presented with additional, quality evidence. 

3. I do not take it personally when science changes and challenges my practices.

4. I question new methods, procedures and products and do not blindly accept information simply because “some expert” says it is so.  Any gurus I subscribe to are those who I respect because of their critical thinking, not simply rote absorption of their sermons.  I begin from a point of doubt and add confidence as supporting information dictates.

5. I examine new information for bias and attempt to strip that away in looking only at factual information.  I also try whenever possible to remove my own bias in the presentation of information, advice or treatment of patients.

6. I completely avoid using the term “vertebral subluxation” as it is an entity that is unproven, unscientific, confusing to professionals and patients alike and wrought with controversy.

I hope this helps shed some light on what it means, in my opinion, to be a skeptical chiropractor.  As for skepticism in general, let me know if you’d like my JFK conspiracy theory, sightings of Bigfoot or an opinion on crop circles.

 

Dr. Brett L. Kinsler is a skeptical chiropractor in Rochester, NY.

Saline Irrigation for Sinuses – Fact or Full of Snot?

Oh, thank you U.S. researchers, for your cleverness and sense of humor.  Thank you for having the courage to shoot salt water up the noses of 121 adults with chronic nasal and sinus symptoms (stuffiness, congestion, or thick/ discolored nasal discharge).   Thanks for referring to part of the procedure as a large volume nasal irrigation flowed into the nostril and drained out the mouth.  Well, maybe not so many thanks for that as I am actually choking in the back of my throat a little just thinking about a large volume of anything being instilled into my nostril and drained out my mouth.  Echh.

The patients in this study were evaluated using a previously validated instrument, a 20-item Sino-Nasal Outcome Test.  Yes, this tool is called…are you ready…the SNOT-20.  (Thanks for, without a doubt, my favorite named clinical measurement tool to date).  Interestingly, this study showed SNOT scores improved approximately twice as much on average in the irrigation group versus the group that just had regular old saline spray.  There were significant changes at both 4 and 8 weeks.

Bottom line: Nasal irrigation using a stream of normal saline, is more effective in decreasing general nasal or sinus symptoms than saline spray. The saline can be made at home, purchased as a kit, or administered using a neti pot (online videos in places like YouTube will have demos of this).

I know you’re excited but I feel it is my duty to warn you not to go randomly shooting large volumes of liquid up your nose and out your mouth at home without at least doing a smidge of research first.

 

Source: Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007 Nov;133(11):1115-20

Dr. Brett Kinsler writes RochesterChiro, the skeptical chiropractor in Rochester, NY.

Honest Decompression Salesperson One Flight Up

A lawyer relative used to have a sign in his office that read “Honest Lawyer – One Flight Up”.  The oxymoronic possibilities of the phrase ‘honest lawyer’ struck me at a young age.  I would have thought, with all of the hyperbole and dogma attached to non-surgical spinal decompression therapy, finding an honest spinal decompression representative would prove to be equally difficult.  Not so fast.  This week I met Chris Peetros from the Chattanooga Group.

I am not writing to endorse any product or company and my readers know that I will not hesitate to call someone on their bullcrap when I see it.  That is why it was so refreshing to hear Mr. Peetros discuss the line of spinal decompression devices from Chatt.  I asked him numerous questions about research and superiority and each time, he answered with honesty.  There was no exaggeration, no dogma, no suggestions on how to squeeze more money out of patients.  Here were some take home points:

(1) Chiropractors are getting ripped off by spinal decompression companies.  In many cases, doctors are spending two to ten times more than a product is worth.

(2) Chiropractors in turn upcharge their patients in order to pay off these ridiculously overpriced machines.

(3) Spinal decompression is a result, not a procedure.  These machines are mechanical traction guided by a computer for accuracy and repeatability.  There is nothing magical, mystical or truly new about this therapy.

(4) Non-surgical spinal decompression is traction.  Period.  It is mechanical muscle and ligament stretching in the axial plane.

(5) There is no proof of superiority for spinal decompression to flexion-distraction or any other means of traction but some patients tolerate it better and with an acute patient, it might be easier to start slowly with a computerized traction device.  Many traditional traction devices do not have the same control of depth and rate.

None of this is news.  None of this is groundbreaking.  All of it was honest and was spoken by someone whose company sells these units.  The difference from what I can see is that Chattanooga sells theirs for a much more fair price (around 10k) and without all the hype and claims of the other companies.

Am I buying one?  Probably not yet.  I am still not convinced that I cannot achieve the same results and with better control manually.  Most of our patients do extremely well without spinal decompression so I am not sure where the advantage would be.  However, I have now located a device that I would consider using should the research so sway me.

Got an opinion or comment?  Do you have any experience with these tables?  I’d love to hear it.

 

Dr. Brett Kinsler is RochesterChiro, a skeptical chiropractor in Rochester, NY.  www.RochesterChiro.com

Our Critics Plus Cocktails

A few weeks ago, the leader of a local chiropractic organization sent out a panicky email to the local chiropractors.  “Please read this!  Important!  This is an outrage!”  Or something to that effect.  What was sent was a link to a satirical article commenting on the questionable and often ridiculous history of the chiropractic profession.

We need to act!  We cannot stand for this!

So what is a skeptical, reasonable chiropractor to do?  I tracked down the author of the article and took him out for drinks last night.  Seriously.  We had a great chat.  I brought along a fellow responsible chiropractor and the three of us chatted about everything from politics to religion to, of course, chiropractic.

You see, people who are critical of us are actually doing us a favor.  Often times we may be too close to a situation to see the flaws.  To have someone else point them out can be quite educational and provide us a pathway for improvement.  People who automatically call out the dogs and become defensive miss the opportunity to learn from such an experience.

Here is a link to the article: http://www.baskeptics.org/ (look for the article “Chiropractic History.”)  It is certainly not without its flaws and some misguided facts but I’m glad I had the opportunity to discuss those points with the author in a rational, peaceful environment. 

Oh, and to the bartender at Hogan’s: please stop asking people if they want a cherry in their Johnnie Walker Black – it’s embarrassing and silly.

What are your thoughts?

Rochesterchiro is written by skeptical chiropractor Brett L. Kinsler

Cellphones Popping Popcorn? Could it be true?

It never ceases to amaze me that people will see something outrageous and their first instinct is to, well, actually believe it.  Skepticism is dead in this country and I am certain it is the Internet, and probably YouTube, that killed it.

“But I saw it!  I saw it!”

Yeah, you saw with your own two eyes the videos where people put a few cellphones together pointing at a few kernels of popcorn.  They call the phones simultaneously and, POOF (or POP), the popcorn begins popping.  Supposedly, it is the cell phone radiation causing the popcorn to cook.  And imagine what it does to your brain?

Well, not much.  Apparently, these videos of the cell phone popped corn were staged by Cardo Systems, the maker of bluetooth wireless headsets, as a publicity stunt.  Cardo admits to that on their website posting that the popping of popcorn with a cell phone occurs only in the movies.  The company also stated “The ‘cell phone and popcorn popping campaign’ is completely untrue and a joke. It has been seen by over 4.1 million users already and has become a sort of global urban legend as it continues to be tried throughout the world.”

Urban legend indeed.  When I get one of these e-mails, my first stop is Snopes.com to check the validity.  Sure enough, you can’t cook an egg between two cell phones on a 60 minute call and you can’t pop popcorn with cell phone RF.

 

Dr. Brett Kinsler is a skeptic and chiropractor who practices in Rochester, NY.  His website is www.RochesterChiro.com

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