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May 11, 2010 / dgiessman

Why a Big Mac Costs Less Than a Salad


The chart was put together by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, but its figures still, alas, look quite relevant. Thanks to lobbying, Congress chooses to subsidize foods that we’re supposed to eat less of.

Of course, there are surely other reasons why burgers are cheaper than salads. These might include production costs, since harvesting apples is probably more naturally seasonal than slaughtering cows (even though both are in demand year-round). Transportation and storage costs might also play a role, as it’s probably easier to keep ground beef fresh and edible for extended periods of time, by freezing it, than cucumbers.

Whatever the cause of the pricing change, there is little doubt that many healthful foods have gotten much more expensive relative to unhealthful ones. David Leonhardt showed this in another remarkable chart, published here last year, that displays how the prices of different food groups have changed relative to their pricing 30 years ago:

I put this together on Tuesday, with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It shows the price of different foods and beverages over the last three decades. The price of each food or beverage is set equal to 1 in January 1978, and the chart then shows how the price has changed since then.

It’s a fairly striking pattern. Unhealthful foods, with the exceptions of cookies (the blue line), have gotten a lot cheaper. Relative to the price of everything else in the economy, sodas (the orange line) are 33 percent cheaper than they were in 1978. Butter (dark brown) is 29 percent cheaper. Beer (gray) is 15 percent cheaper.

Fish (the yellow line), by contrast, is 2 percent more expensive. Vegetables (purple) are 41 percent more expensive. Fruits (green) are 46 percent more expensive.

The price of oranges, to take one extreme example (not shown in the chart), has more than doubled, relative to everything else. So if in 1978, a bag of oranges cost the same as one big bottle of soda, today that bag costs the same as three big bottles of soda.

In my column this morning, I mention that the average 18-year-old today is 15 pounds heavier than the average 18 year-old in the late 1970s. Adults have put on even more weight during that period. The average woman in her 60s is 20 pounds heavier than the average 60-something woman in the late 1970s. The average man in his 60s is 25 pounds heavier. When you look at the chart, you start to understand why.

May 3, 2010 / dgiessman

A “Kink” in the System

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) – Returning to civilian life can be a tough enough transition for our veterans.  Many also deal with a debilitating and painful condition: back pain.  Help is available but some say there is a kink in the system.

According to a 2009 survey, the number one complaint from Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking care from the VA health system is back pain.  Given the huge demand for care, in 2002 and 2003 Congress enacted legislation making chiropractic care available at 36 VA. facilities across the United States.  None of those facilities are in Massachusetts.  The closest are in Newington and West Haven, Connecticut.

At the Northampton VA Medical Center, veterans in need of chiropractic care are referred to the Connecticut facilities but some exceptions are made.  In a statement on its policy, the Northampton VA said :

If a provider determines that the patient’s condition requires obtaining chiropractic care closer to his or her residence, referral for fee basis care in the community may be authorized.  For veterans responsible for co-payment charges, the basic co-payment charge of $15 will apply for chiropractic services”

By: Elizabeth Corridan Posted: April 29, 2010 08:26 AM PDT

Does VA provide for Chiropractic Care?

VA medical centers and clinics may offer chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for problems of the spine. Eligible veterans may receive chiropractic care after receiving referral from their primary care provider; however, this service is not offered at all VA facilities. In areas distant from the locations that offer this service, eligible veterans may be able to receive chiropractic care through VA’s outpatient fee-basis program after a referral by their primary care provider, and prior authorization by the department. See your primary care provider at your nearest VA medical facility for assistance.

Dale Giessman, DC
350 John Muir Pkwy., Suite 265
Brentwood, CA 94513

April 20, 2010 / dgiessman

Chiropractic care is not just for back pain. This study shows it prevents injuries in athletes.


April 18, 2010

AFL CLUBS could turn to a recent study on hamstring and lower limb muscle strains in a bid to reduce the number of players sidelined through the league’s most common injury.

After West Coast’s Daniel Kerr became the latest player to suffer such an injury on Friday night, following the misfortune of Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt and Hawthorn defender Josh Gibson, a study completed by sports injury consultant Wayne Hoskins from Macquarie University could be called upon to help other players avoid such a fate.

Hoskins completed his PhD on hamstring and lower limb injuries, which was published this week in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.

He found that such injuries could be dramatically reduced through the inclusion of a sports chiropractor to the traditional medical, physiotherapist, massage and strength and conditioning management approach typical of AFL football clubs.

This would also have a performance and cost benefit to clubs and players, he found.

The study lasted an entire season and involved 59 players from two VFL clubs. It showed that the group which included chiropractic management had a four per cent chance of a hamstring injury and a four per cent chance of a lower limb muscle strain.

The group that received the traditional management only, had a 17 per cent chance of hamstring injury and a 28 per cent chance of a lower limb muscle strain.

In addition, the chiropractic group missed only four matches during the season through hamstring or lower limb muscle strains, compared with 14 matches missed through hamstring injury and 21 matches missed through lower limb muscle strain in the group of players not receiving chiropractic help.

The group receiving chiropractic assistance also had significant reductions in non-contact knee injuries, low back pain and showed improvements in physical components of health, although this was not the goal of treatment.

Hamstring and lower limb muscle strains are the most common injuries in the AFL, with their management of such injuries a source of constant frustration for clubs and players, Hoskins said.

AFL injury surveys show no change in injury rates of this nature in the past 15 years.

”No previous scientific research of this nature on injury prevention has been conducted at the elite level of Australian football, making it a first,” he said.

”The study concluded that based on the results, consideration should be given for the inclusion of sports chiropractic in the management options of elite footballers.”

Dale Giessman, DC
350 John Muir Pkwy., Suite 265
Brentwood, CA 94513

March 24, 2010 / dgiessman

What to avoid if you want to make it to 90

An article published in the February 11, 2008 issue of the American Medical Association journal Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that avoiding five modifiable factors can significantly increase the odds of living to the age of 90.

Laurel B. Yates, MD, MPH, of Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and associates evaluated data from 2,357 older participants in the Physician’s Health Study, a trial of aspirin and beta-carotene as cardiovascular disease and cancer preventives in 22,071 male physicians. Demographic information, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes and angina history, exercise frequency, smoking status, body mass index, and other data were obtained upon enrollment between 1981 and 1984. Follow-up questionnaires were completed annually to ascertain changes in health or lifestyle habits, or the occurrence of chronic diseases or risks through March, 2006.

Nine hundred-seventy men in the current investigation survived to age 90 and beyond. The research team identified five controllable factors associated with failure to reach 90: smoking, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Not surprisingly, smoking more than doubled the risk of dying before the age of 90. Diabetes, obesity, and hypertension also significantly elevated mortality risk, while regular exercise lowered it by 30 percent compared to those who rarely or never exercised. Men who survived to 90 had a healthier lifestyle, less chronic disease, and were older when disease was diagnosed. They also experienced improved late-life function and well-being.

From the results of this study, the researchers estimated that a 70 year old nondiabetic nonsmoker with normal weight and blood pressure who exercised two to four times per week had a 54 percent probability of living to age 90. The presence of three of the identified risk factors conferred a 14 percent probability, while having all five resulted in only a 4 percent chance.

“Although the impact of certain midlife mortality risks in elderly years is controversial, our study suggests that many remain important, at least among men,” the authors write. “Thus, our results suggest that healthy lifestyle and risk management should be continued in elderly years to reduce mortality and disability.”

In an accompanying editorial, William J. Hall, MD notes that the fastest-growing group of older Americans is aged 85 years and older. “This unprecedented increase of the oldest old is occurring in an era of extraordinary rapid development of new knowledge of the human genome, holding tantalizing promise for novel solutions to human disease and even increased life extension,” he writes. “This study suggests that adherence to sound medical management and lifestyle modification pays enormous dividends in life extension and probably substantial reductions of aggregate medical care costs.”

Here again is a solution to our nation’s health care crisis.  It’s not the lack of the availability of drugs and surgery but rather the daily care we provide to ourselves.  Let’s grow old together!

March 23, 2010 / dgiessman

Increased calcium intake associated with lower mortality from all causes over 10 year period

An article published online on February 19, 2010 in the American Journal of Epidemiology reports an association between greater intake of calcium and a reduced risk of all cause mortality among Swedish men during 10 years of follow-up.

Alicja Wolk and associates at the Karolinska Institutet evaluated data from 23,366 men aged 45 to 79 who enrolled in the Cohort of Swedish Men between 1997 and 1998. Questionnaires completed by the participants were analyzed for calcium and magnesium intake from diet alone. Cause-specific mortality was determined for deaths that occurred between enrollment and December, 2006, and all-cause mortality was analyzed through 2007.

Over the follow-up period, 2,358 deaths occurred. Through 2006, there were 819 deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and 738 by cancer. Men whose calcium intake was among the top one-third of participants at an average of 1,953 milligrams per day had a 25 percent lower risk of dying from any cause than those whose intake was among the lowest third, which averaged 990 milligrams. When deaths were analyzed by cause, having the highest calcium intake was associated with a 23 percent lower risk of dying of cardiovascular disease compared to the group with the least intake. No association was found between calcium intake and cancer risk, and between magnesium and mortality.

The authors suggest that the protective effect of calcium suggested by this study could be explained by the mineral’s ability to aid in the reduction of blood pressure, serum cholesterol and glucose. Greater calcium intake has also been associated with a lower risk of diabetes, a disease that has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality during specific periods studied. Dr Wolk and colleagues note that the lack of an association between magnesium and mortality observed in the current research could be due to the absence of deficiency in this study population.

The authors note that the study’s findings are in line with results from the Women’s Health Initiative randomized trial. “They are also in line with results from a prospective cohort study of 34,486 postmenopausal US women, in which the highest versus the lowest quartiles of dietary and total (diet plus supplements) calcium intake were associated with statistically significant 37% and 33% lower mortality from ischemic heart disease, respectively,” they write. “Similarly, in an ecologic study, a high level of calcium in drinking water was associated with a statistically significant lower risk of noncerebrovascular (10%) and cerebrovascular (14%) causes of death among elderly people from the southwest of France.”

“This population-based, prospective study of men with relatively high intakes of dietary calcium and magnesium showed that intake of calcium above that recommended daily may reduce all-cause mortality,” they conclude.

Dale Giessman, DC
350 John Muir Pkwy., Suite 265
Brentwood, CA 94513

March 10, 2010 / dgiessman

Laser Therapy Effective for Reducing Neck Pain

Laser Therapy Effective for Reducing Neck Pain
Reduces acute pain immediately, chronic pain up to 22 weeks following treatment, concludes literature review.

A literature review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo or active-treatment controlled trials concludes that low-level laser therapy “reduces pain immediately after treatment in acute neck pain and up to 22 weeks after completion of treatment in patients with chronic neck pain” and compares favorably with other forms of therapy for neck pain – particularly pharmacological interventions.1 The authors of the review study, published in the Lancet, note that clinical benefits take place when laser therapy is administered as a stand-alone treatment or in conjunction with an exercise/stretching program, and that adverse effects from treatment are mild and similar to placebo.

Delta Spine & Sportcare uses the Irradia Low Level Laser which was developed by Lars Hode, Phd, the worlds leading authority on low level lasers for medical use.

Dale Giessman, DC
350 John Muir Pkwy., Suite 265
Brentwood, CA 94513

February 22, 2010 / dgiessman

Chiropractic Care Supports Olympic Athletes

New York (MedscapeWire) Sept 29  Many US Olympic athletes striving for gold in Sydney, Australia, will be using a secret weapon to help achieve their goals  chiropractic care. Many athletes use chiropractic not only for rehabilitation purposes, but also because they feel it gives them an edge in their competitions.

Dr. Andrew Klein, the official chiropractor for the 2000 US Olympic medical staff, identified a key reason why athletes have taken to chiropractic: it keeps them in top shape without the use of drugs. “Athletes have come to rely on manual therapy because the list of banned substances (for the Olympics) is so long, and also because they feel it enhances their performance.”

Nicole Freedman of Stanford, California, qualified for the 2000 US Olympic squad as a cyclist at the Olympic Team trials in Jackson, Mississippi, after being adjusted by American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA’s) Mississippi delegate Dr. Alfred Norville. Freedman penned a note to Dr. Norville, thanking him for his “winning adjustment.” Dr. Norville explained, “[Freedman] told me that she thought she needed an adjustment to be at her peak [performance level]. So I gave her an adjustment, and she went on to qualify for the Olympics.”

Dr. Jan Corwin, a past president of ACA’s Council on Sports Injuries and Physical Fitness, became the first doctor of chiropractic to travel overseas with the US Olympic Team in 1988, when he represented the chiropractic profession in Seoul, Korea. The athletes in Seoul were delighted with the chiropractic care they received.

Dr. Corwin said, “They were totally into it. I had so many patients while I was there, I didn’t even have time to eat. By the time I left Seoul I had lost 12 pounds.” Dr. Corwin went on to say, “At least 50% to 75% of all the athletes I treated had prior chiropractic care and were very aware of the benefits of chiropractic to them as athletes.” He suggested that chiropractic care “has been so successfully appreciated and received by the athletes because of all the chiropractors around the country who have been doing such a great job with the athletes in their offices on a daily basis.”

The roster of Olympic athletes who have benefited from chiropractic care is truly impressive. Star performers such as Carl Lewis, Greg Louganis, Willi Banks, Edwin Moses, and countless other greats from previous Olympics have taken advantage of chiropractic in order to get a leg up on their competition.

ACA member Dr. Steven Horwitz served as the chiropractic physician for the U.S. Olympic medical staff at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. Dr. Horwitz found his helping the athletes and the appreciation they showed for his work to be the most rewarding elements about the time he gave to the U.S. team. Sheila Taormina, 1996 U.S. Swimming 4×200 gold medallist, and Marisa Pedulla of the U.S. Judo Team, each took the time to write to Dr. Horwitz and thank him for the care he gave them. He explained that the athletes in Atlanta were so excited about the chiropractic care available to them that, “They wanted to be sure I was there for the American athletes only.” They said to him, “We fought hard to get you here, and we don’t want to give an advantage to the other athletes.”  Chiropractic Care Dale Giessman 94513 at Delta Spine Care in Brentwood, CA