Contract To Be Fooled

A few days ago, my ten year old forwarded an email to me containing one of those modern electronic chain letters. You know the sort: enter your favorite color, your pet’s name and the month you were born, forward it to 20 people and something magical will happen. Not wanting to miss a skeptical teaching moment, I replied to my daughter’s email asking if she thought there was any truth to this exercise. No, she wrote back, but it’s fun. Smart girl.

I recently wasted ninety minutes of my life watching a movie with no positive qualities whatsoever. Of course, my kids quickly declared it the second funniest movie ever. It was edged out by a YouTube video involving a cat and a magic marker. Well, the movie wasn’t entirely without merit. There was one of those scenes shot on a roller coaster from the perspective of a rider. The dips, the turns, the twists. I love those! Is it real? Of course not. But it’s fun.

But while enduring the mind numbing remainder of my kids’ second funniest film, that roller coaster scene got me thinking. Scenes like that in movies are fun because we have given our permission to be fooled. And simply by doing so, we can experience physiological effects like feeling our stomach drop and our bodies shift to balance on the turns of the coaster track.

Allowing our minds to be tricked can be entertaining and provide a physical manifestation. Just remember that you are doing it in fun. When you get carried away and believe the deception, there are problems.

Brett L. Kinsler, DC is a skeptical chiropractor in Rochester.


Up the Nose With a Rubber Hose


Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses that occurs with a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection.  There can be pain and nasal congestion.  Acute sinusitis often follows a cold, but chronic sinusitis can last for extended periods and make people miserable.  More than 30 million Americans suffer from chronic sinusitis, meaning symptoms last longer than two months or regularly recur. Patients repeatedly try antibiotics, decongestants or steroid-containing nasal sprays, but about a quarter are thought to get inadequate relief.  Sometimes, surgery is the best option for chronic sufferers.  Standard surgery involves cutting away bone in the sinus cavity to open the passage way and allow drainage.

This week, a patient asked me about a procedure where they stick a balloon up a patient’s nose and inflate it in order to ‘move the skull bones’ and help with sinus problems.  I thanked him for the idea for a blog article and began to do my research on what I was sure would turn out to be some wacko in a clinic in California (why is it always California?) sticking things up people’s noses and declaring them “Sinus Free!”

Instead, I got educated on a new alternative to the standard sinus surgery.  Balloon Sinuplasty is compared to angioplasty — you know the procedure where a catheter is fed through an artery and plaques are squeezed to the sides with an inflatable balloon.  With the sinuplasty, the catheter is inserted into the sinus cavity and inflated to open the passageway and promote fluid drainage and pressure reduction.  Inflating the balloon aims to stretch the sinus opening back to its original size or little bigger, thus letting air (and antibiotics) into the sinus.

The research looks promising for this technology and it is most certainly not a novel means of cranial adjusting as I initially suspected.  Whew.  Patients who have the balloon catheter procedure appear to have significant improvement in symptoms two years after surgery.

The best part is that the research generally scores patient symptoms using my favorite clinical instrument:  the SNOT – 20 which I discussed in a previous post.


Dr. Kinsler is a chiropractor in Rochester, NY.

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