Chiropractic argument ‘spurious’

In his previous Hokum Locum column (NZ Skeptic 90) John Welch commented on an article on Chiropractic that appeared in the Marlborough Express on 22 August 2008. This relied upon innuendo, blog sites, opinions and basic mistruths to validate a spurious argument.

Dr Welch was critical of the Nelson chiropractor John Dawson using the courtesy title ‘Doctor’. Perhaps we should have the use of the title solely reserved for those people who actually have the post-graduate doctorates eg PhD’s, etc. Thus all medical practitioners, dentists, chiropractors and vets would cease being able to use it.

On a matter of public safety, it was responsible of the Ministry of Health to prosecute Michael Dawson for calling himself a chiropractor, when it was illegal for him to do so. If Dr Welch has a problem with this then he should really take it up with the Ministry of Health.

If Dr Welch had bothered looking at the Chiropractic Board registration and examination processes and reviewed the moderator’s report he would see that the procedure for registration is robust and fair ( The examination moderator has a medical degree and is very competent and well qualified.

The $100 million budgetary blowout that ACC is experiencing is the direct result of physiotherapy care within the Endorsed Provider Network scheme. It has nothing to do with the chiropractic profession. The recent study of low back pain quoted by Dr Welch in Medscape ( made no mention of chiropractic, but did comment on manipulation. Dr Welch was incorrect in referencing this article to chiropractic care.

In regard to a patient that may have had a stroke as a result of a manipulation of the neck, the most recent research (Cassidy et al, 2008: Spine 33(45): S176-S183) identifies that 80 percent of dissections of the vertebral or carotid arteries are pre-existing prior to any manipulative procedures (irrespective of the practitioner type). Cassidy found that a patient has as great a likelihood of experiencing a cerebral vascular accident following visiting their medical practitioner than they do visiting a chiropractor.

Every form of health care has its dangers. To discuss the dangers of chiropractic care, Dr. Welch should also have provided the mortality statistics for the use of Viox and other anti-inflammatories. In the five-year period that Viox was available in the US, there were 88,000 additional heart attacks and 38,000 deaths. (Reference available.)

Everybody has a ‘bad health care provider’ story. In regard to Dr Welch’s comments about chiropractic treatment of wisdom teeth, if it was true, then a complaint should have been made to the HDC. I believe there is a special responsibility when one criticises other health care professions. The author should look at both sides of the issues, be objective and honest as well as referencing the articles properly. References should be peer-reviewed journals.

Justin Vodane B.Soc.Sci.,B.App.Sci. Chiropractor Hamilton


John Welch’s comments regarding Chiropractors led me to share this post from the ‘Traffic Light Thoughts’ series on my blog:

I’m not advocating graffiti but I must admit a desire to modify one logo I stare at every day, if the light is red, from “Chiroworks” to “Chirodoesn’t”.

Commuting means time spent sitting at traffic lights. Random thoughts occur in an attempt to fill the void. I call them Traffic Light Thoughts –

Robin Capper Waitakere

Gonorrhoea and astrology

Well done for the excellent Summer 2009 edition of the NZ Skeptic. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Dr Goodyear-Smith’s article on non-sexual transmission of gonorrhoea highlights the degree to which the sexual abuse industry (including relevant law) is based on unproven assumptions, feminist propaganda, poor research and superstition. She is a brave seeker of truth whose contribution to our country will be seen as enormous, but possibly not until after she has been burned at the stake by those whose sacred cows she keeps threatening.

And Vicki Hyde, who tells those enquiring of her star sign that she is an Asparagus, might like the reply I often give to that sadly frequent question: “I’m an Aries, and Aries don’t believe in astrology.”

Hans Laven Tauranga

Islamic creationism on the telly

I’ve been a bit disturbed by something the local Canterbury TV puts on. It is done as a paid hour, and comes with a disclaimer from CTV, but is a Muslim ‘Voice of Islam’ hour every Saturday night and Sunday morning. First time I saw it I was channel surfing late at night, and thought it was a nature documentary – the wonders of the animal world or some such – until it did the same thing as the creation science crowd and claimed that the eye/behaviour/structure was much too complex and only their god could have designed or made this!

Is Voice of Islam putting this stuff all over? It clearly has money behind it to 1) make the shows and 2) pay for two full hours each week. Sometimes you get talking heads, and some of it is quite amusing in its twisted logic at times. If this is being shown to half-literate or scientifically illiterate groups in other parts of the world, it is no better than the creation science people.

Change the name from Allah, and you wouldn’t know it wasn’t creation science stuff.

Louette McInnes Christchurch

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