British Chiropractors vs. Simon Singh: what next?

A “grumpy scientist” at Dr. Aust’s Spleen weighs the positions in the BCA’s libel suit against science writer Simon Singh, and wonders if they’ll force him to prove in court that there’s no good, scientific evidence for the effectiveness of chiropracy for things like infant feeding problems.

3 Responses to “British Chiropractors vs. Simon Singh: what next?”

  1. CrticalOfModernMedicine Says:

    I certainly hope so. For if nothing else it’ll force chiropractors to get more studies done on the efficacy of their work, so I can stop reading things like this because then there will be scientific literature to back up claims of those that think they should just stick to adjusting the lower back and that’s all they’re good for.

  2. monado Says:

    Chiropractic was invented in the 1800s. Chiropractors have had over a century to conduct scientific research and publish the results if they so desired.

    By what mechanism does chiropractic improve infants’ feeding behaviour?

  3. CriticalOfModernMedicine Says:

    I don’t disagree with that. It was invented/started in the late 1800s, and it has had time to do studies. And at the start anyway, I’m not aware of them doing many/any.

    Now, however, to do a double-blind study using chiropractic appears to be much more difficult than simply giving someone a pill of something because the act and noise itself usually would allow the recipient to know whether they were the control or not (not in all cases of course). Is this an excuse for the lack of larger studies? No. Just a statement on why some choose to ignore studies being done or stating that they aren’t being published in, what they call, reputable journals.

    Now, I’m assuming your reference is to this: “The British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence”.

    The improvement in infants’ feeding behaviour is most likely (again, this is me giving what I believe to be a reasonable answer rather than fully researched in clinical study or even by a chiropractor answer) because the baby is in pain before the chiropractic care, and with the adjustments is in considerably less pain and so feels and feeds better.

    Here are a few case studies. No, they, by themselves, prove nothing, especially if you want studies that show statistically significant improvement over placebo or the control group, but they do appear to show that what is being said is most likely truthful, at least in these cases from the point of view of the one recording the patient notes.
    http://mcc.chiroclinic.com.au/index.php?Itemid=68&id=43&option=com_content&task=view

    Here’s a website that gives one chiropractor’s view on it (likely better than what I said above):
    http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVDecJan04p126.html

    Another article, yes, from a chiropractor (cites his sources): http://www.seamanchiro.com/chicago/2009/02/infants.html

    And to be honest with you, I’d like the chiropractors to prove what they’re saying too, and if they can’t then they shouldn’t continue to say it.
    They may help alleviate the problems they mention through some other path (having the body fix itself) without curing it themselves, but then you (and Simon Singh) are right in that they shouldn’t say that they can cure it, they should say that they help alleviate some of the problems/symptoms associated with it. In that way it would like what drugs or other medicines can say/advertise about their products.


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