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Doctors' Diagnostic Errors Are Often Not Mentioned But Can Take A Serious Toll

This KHN story was produced in collaboration with The Washington Post

Until it happened to him, Itzhak Brook, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University School of Medicine, didn't think much about the problem of misdiagnosis.

That was before doctors at a Maryland hospital repeatedly told Brook his throat pain was the result of acid reflux, not cancer. The correct diagnosis was made by an astute resident who found the tumor -- the size of a peach pit -- using a simple procedure that the experienced head and neck surgeons who regularly examined Brook never tried. Because the cancer had grown undetected for seven months, Brook was forced to undergo surgery to remove his voice box, a procedure that has left him speaking in a whisper. He believes that might not have been necessary had the cancer been found earlier.

"I consider myself lucky to be alive," said Brook, now 72, of the 2006 ordeal, which he described at a recent international conference on diagnostic mistakes held in Baltimore. A physician for 40 years, Brook said he was "really shocked" by his misdiagnosis.

But patient safety experts say Brook's experience is far from rare. Diagnoses that are missed, incorrect or delayed are believed to affect 10 to 20 percent of cases, far exceeding drug errors and surgery on the wrong patient or body part, both of which have received considerably more attention.

Recent studies underscore the extent and potential impact of such errors. A 2009 report funded by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that 28 percent of 583 diagnostic mistakes reported anonymously by doctors were life-threatening or had resulted in death or permanent disability. A meta-analysis published last year in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety found that fatal diagnostic errors in U.S. intensive care units appear to equal the 40,500 deaths that result each year from breast cancer. And a new study of 190 errors at a VA hospital system in Texas found that many errors involved common diseases such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections; 87 percent had the potential for "considerable to severe harm" including "inevitable death."

Misdiagnosis "happens all the time," said David Newman-Toker, who studies diagnostic errors and helped organize the recent international conference. "This is an enormous problem, the hidden part of the iceberg of medical errors that dwarfs" other kinds of mistakes, said Newman-Toker, an associate professor of neurology and otolaryngology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Studies repeatedly have found that diagnostic errors, which are more common in primary-care settings, typically result from flawed ways of thinking, sometimes coupled with negligence, and not because a disease is rare or exotic.

The problem is not new: In 1991, the Harvard Medical Practice Study found that misdiagnosis accounted for 14 percent of adverse events and that 75 percent of these errors involved negligence, such as a failure by doctors to follow up on test results.

Despite their prevalence and impact, such mistakes have been largely ignored, Newman-Toker and others say. They were mentioned only twice in the Institute of Medicine's landmark 1999 report on medical errors, an omission some patient safety experts attribute to difficulties measuring such mistakes, the lack of obvious solutions and generalized resistance to addressing the problem.

"You need data to start doing anything," said internist Mark L. Graber, founding president of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine and a leading errors researcher. Despite dozens of quality measures, Graber said, he is unaware of "a single hospital in this country trying to count diagnostic errors."

In the past few years, a confluence of factors has elevated the long-overlooked issue. In his 2007 bestseller, "How Doctors Think," Boston hematologist-oncologist Jerome Groopman vividly deconstructed the flawed thought processes that underlie many diagnostic errors, including several he made during his long career.

More recently, an influential cadre of medical leaders has been pushing for greater attention to the problem. They cite concerns about the growing complexity of medicine and increasing fragmentation of the health-care system, as well as relentless time pressures squeezing doctors and the overuse of expensive, high-tech tests that have supplanted traditional hands-on skills of physical diagnosis.

Publicity about the death last year of 12-year-old Rory Staunton, sent home from an emergency room in New York after doctors missed the raging systemic infection that quickly killed him, have put a human face on the problem. At the same time, new digital databases such as IBM's Watson and Isabel promise to boost doctors' accuracy, although their usefulness remains a matter of debate.

"One of the reasons it's time to begin looking at it is that so many of the quality measures we use now assume that the diagnosis is the right one in the first place," said Christine Cassel. A member of the panel that wrote the 1999 IOM report, she is now president and chief executive officer of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

But what if it's not?

In a much-cited essay, Robert Wachter, associate chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, wrote that a hospital could earn "performance incentives for giving all of its patients diagnosed with heart failure, pneumonia and heart attack the correct, evidence-based and prompt care -- even if every one of the diagnoses was wrong."

Discovered Late -- Or Never

Unlike drug errors and wrong-site surgery -- mistakes that patient safety experts consider to be "low-hanging fruit" amenable to solutions such as color-coded labels and preoperative timeouts by the surgical team -- there is no easy or obvious fix for diagnostic errors. Many are complex and multifaceted, and may not be discovered for years if ever, said Graber, a senior fellow at RTI International, a research firm based in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

"There is probably nothing more cognitively complicated" than a diagnosis, he said, "and the fact that we get it right as often as we do is amazing."

But doctors often don't know when they've gotten it wrong. Some patients affected by misdiagnosis simply find a new doctor. Unless the mistake results in a lawsuit, the original physician is unlikely to learn that he blew it -- particularly if the discovery is delayed. While diagnostic errors are a leading cause of malpractice litigation, the vast majority do not result in legal action.

Some environments are more susceptible to error than others. Graber calls the emergency room "a petri dish" for diagnostic mistakes: The doctor doesn't know the patient, the patient doesn't trust the doctor, and time pressures and frequent interruptions are the rule.

Misdiagnosis is not limited to hospitals; a recent commentary on the Texas VA study by Newman-Toker and Martin Makary estimates that "with more than half a billion primary care visits annually in the United States . . . at least 500,000 missed diagnostic opportunities occur each year at U.S. primary care visits, most resulting in considerable harm."

There is another reason such mistakes have been long ignored: They are regarded as an unusually personal failure in a profession where diagnostic acumen is considered the gold standard.

"This really gets to who we are as clinicians," said internist Robert Trowbridge, who directs the medicine clerkship program for Tufts University medical students at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

"Overconfidence in our abilities is a major part of the problem," said Graber, who believes doctors have gotten a pass for too long when it comes to diagnostic accuracy. "Physicians don't know how error-prone they are."

Many, he noted, wrongly believe that the problem is "the other guy" and that they don't make mistakes. A 2011 survey of more than 6,000 physicians found that 96 percent felt that diagnostic errors are preventable; nearly half said they encountered them at least once a month.

In the Texas VA study, more than 80 percent of cases lacked a differential diagnosis, in which a doctor not only declares what he believes is ailing the patient but also lists other potential causes of the problem based on symptoms, test results and a physical exam.

"A differential helps people to cognitively focus," said Hardeep Singh, director of the Houston VA Patient Safety Center of Inquiry. Failure to ask "What else could this be?" can cause premature fixation on the incorrect diagnosis, said Singh, the study's lead author.

At Maine Medical Center, Trowbridge spearheaded a pilot program launched in 2010 to persuade doctors to anonymously report diagnostic errors, which would then undergo comprehensive analysis. He said he had to "hound" his colleagues to report mistakes. During the first six months, 36 errors that would otherwise have gone unreported were identified; most were deemed to have caused moderate to severe harm.

Trowbridge said the program has changed how he practices. "I'm much more reflective, much more attuned to the errors I'm prone to make. I work with checklists more."

It Wasn't Fibromyalgia

While second opinions are one strategy believed to reduce misdiagnosis, the original error may be the basis of a cascade of mistakes.

For nearly three years, beginning in February 2008, financial executive Karen Holliman logged more than 50 visits with various doctors in Durham, N.C., trying to get help for the increasingly severe fatigue that had plagued her for several years as well as back pain so excruciating that she wound up in a wheelchair.

Doctors variously told her she had fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or a psychiatric problem. The real reason for her symptoms was metastatic breast cancer, which had riddled her spine, fracturing her back. Signs of cancer had been found on an MRI scan performed in February 2008. But a bone scan performed a few weeks later did not indicate cancer; her internist told her she did not have cancer, and doctors repeatedly failed to investigate the discrepancy.

To make matters worse, Holliman was taking hormone replacement pills prescribed by her internist to combat hot flashes; the drug fed her breast cancer.

"I'm terminal," she said. In December 2010, when she was told she had Stage IV breast cancer, an oncologist estimated her life expectancy at about three years. "I could have been diagnosed in 2008," she said, adding that she believes timely diagnosis and treatment might have extended her life expectancy to 10 years.

Holliman has regrets: that she never got a second opinion from an internist or orthopedist, that she didn't question the radiologists who performed her scans and that she failed to obtain her medical records earlier.

During meetings last year attended by her family, including a relative who is a prominent physician, as well as by her doctors and the hospital system for which they worked, Holliman said, a hospital lawyer called her case "a series of unfortunate events" but denied that the hospital was liable for the delayed diagnosis.

"I spent a lot of time being angry," said Holliman, who is 52. She said she has not filed a malpractice suit because she was advised she was unlikely to win. "Now I'm just trying to live a really great life in the time I have left."


National Government Services Upcoming Webinars on Chiropractic Services

National Government Services Upcoming Webinars on Chiropractic Services

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Physiotherapists In The United Kingdom Gain New Power

This past month in the United Kingdom, physical therapists gained the right to prescribe medications independently.

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Medical Inc. The Movie in Final Production

Filmmaker and NCLC guest speaker Jeff Hayes is in the process of putting the finishing touches on his latest documentary, "Medical Inc." The film examines the history surrounding the American Medical Association's conspiracy against the chiropractic profession--which ultimately led to the Wilk vs. AMA trial--and dissects the current medical monopoly  and its efforts to suppress complementary and alternative care. With more than 80 interviews conducted and first-hand accounts from people of various backgrounds and professions, this film is certain to shed new light on how important chiropractic services are to the health and well-being of the public. To see a sneak preview of the film and learn how you can play an active role in the anticipated September release of this documentary.

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ACA Mourns Loss of Board Chairman Dr. Robert Mastronardi

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) mourns the loss of its Chairman of the Board of Governors (BOG) Robert Mastronardi, DC, 60, who passed away yesterday following a battle with cancer.

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ACA Awards 2010 Alternate Delegate of the Year Award

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) hosted its annual meeting in Newport, RI September 30-October 2, 2010.  The 2010 ACA Alternate Delegate of the Year was awarded to Louis Lupinacci, DC, FICC.  Dr. Lupinacci is the ACA NY Downstate Alternate Delegate and current NYSCA Vice President.  Accepting the award on behalf of Dr. Lupinacci was Dr. H. William Wolfson ACA NY Downstate Delegate.  Dr. Wolfson acknowledged Dr. Lupinacci’s service to the ACA, “Mild mannered, bright, even tempered, kind, professional, gentleman are only a few of the words you can use to describe this respected, admired and loved doctor … He is deserving of this prestigious ACA award and honor”.  Dr. Wolfson added how appropriate it was for Dr. Lupinacci to receive this award in Rhode Island, as Dr. Lupinacci was born here!  NYSCA extends our best wishes to Dr. Lupinacci on this well deserved award and the ACA by recognizing Dr. Lupinacci for his service to the profession, its doctors and patients!

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The Power of Facebook for Expanding Your Chiropractic Practice

"We ain't one-at-a-timin' here. We're MASS communicating!'" - Pappy O'Daniel

If you think of Facebook as a place for high schoolers and soccer moms, think again. Facebook has quickly earned a following of over 500,000,000 fanatical users who tune in early and often every day. Moreover, as of March 2010, Facebook surpassed Google in daily pageviews. However, that alone is not the reason to make Facebook a part of your chiropractic online advertising strategy.


Until now, when a new patient found you via Google, Yahoo, Bing, Dogpile, or, how many friends could you assume they'd tell about your site. Answer: zero. They might make it a bookmark or favorite but probably did not tell anyone else about your site at least not until after their first appointment. THIS IS WHERE FACEBOOK CHANGES THE MARKETING GAME.

HOW does Facebook spread the word virally?

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B vitamins slow brain atrophy in people with memory problems

The two-year randomised clinical trial is the largest to study the effect of B vitamins on mild cognitive impairment, and one of the first disease-modifying trials in the Alzheimer’s field to show positive results in people.

Around 1 in 6 elderly people over the age of 70 has mild cognitive impairment, experiencing problems with memory, language, or other mental functions, but not to a degree that interferes with daily life. Around half of people with mild cognitive impairment go on to develop dementia – mainly Alzheimer’s disease – within five years of diagnosis.

Certain B vitamins – folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 – are known to control levels of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood, and high levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.

So the Oxford team set out to see whether supplements of the B vitamins that lower homocysteine could slow the higher rate of brain shrinkage, or atrophy, observed in mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s.

The study followed 168 volunteers aged 70 or over with mild memory problems, half of whom took high dose B vitamin tablets for two years and the other half a placebo tablet. The researchers assessed disease progression in this group by using MRI scans to measure the brain atrophy rate over a two-year period. The findings are published in the journal

The team found that on average the brains of those taking the folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12 treatment shrank at a rate of 0.76% a year, while those in the placebo group had a mean brain shrinkage rate of 1.08%. People with the highest levels of homocysteine benefited most, showing atrophy rates on treatment that were half of those on placebo.

Along with rate of brain shrinkage, the team from the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) also monitored cognitive test scores, revealing that those with the slowest rate of shrinkage scored more strongly.

The team suggests that, since the rate of brain atrophy is known to be more rapid in those with mild cognitive impairment who go on to develop Alzheimer’s, it is possible that the vitamin treatment could slow down the development of the disease. Clinical trials to test this should now be carried out, they add.

‘It is our hope that this simple and safe treatment will delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease in many people who suffer from mild memory problems,’ said Professor David Smith of the Department of Pharmacology at Oxford University, a co-leader of the trial. ‘Today there are about 1.5 million elderly in UK, 5 million in USA and 14 million in Europe with such memory problems.

‘These are immensely promising results but we do need to do more trials to conclude whether these particular B vitamins can slow or prevent development of Alzheimer’s. So I wouldn’t yet recommend that anyone getting a bit older and beginning to be worried about memory lapses should rush out and buy vitamin B supplements without seeing a doctor,’ he said.

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, which co-funded the study, said: ‘These are very important results, with B vitamins now showing a prospect of protecting some people from Alzheimer’s in old age. The strong findings must inspire an expanded trial to follow people expected to develop Alzheimer’s, and we hope for further success.

‘We desperately need to support research into dementia, to help avoid the massive increases of people living with the condition as the population ages. Research is the only answer to what remains the greatest medical challenge of our time.’

Professor Chris Kennard, chair of the Medical Research Council’s Neurosciences and Mental Health Board which co-funded the study, said: ‘This MRC-funded trial brings us a step closer to unravelling the complex neurobiology of ageing and cognitive decline, which holds the key to the development of future treatments for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. The findings are very encouraging and we look forward to further research that is needed in order to test whether B vitamins can be recommended as a suitable treatment.’

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Red Flags Rule

On Friday, the FTC issued a notice indicating that the Red Flags Rule would not be enforced until January 1, 2011.  Over the past few months Congress has been debating whether this regulation should apply to healthcare providers.  The AMA has also filed a lawsuit against the FTC because they believe that the FTC has overstepped its bounds by attempting to apply this regulation to healthcare providers.  In the next few months I believe we will see a bill passed which would exempt healthcare providers from this regulation.

For more information on the Red Flags Rule visit:  Read the FTC’s release here

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NBCE Staff Publishes Article on Performance-Based Testing

Greeley, Colo.— Paul D. Townsend, D.C., the NBCE Director of Practical Testing Research and Development , is the lead author on an article published in the January 2010 issue of the journal Teaching and Learning in Medicine.  NBCE Director of Testing and Executive Vice President Mark G. Christensen also contributed to the article.

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Red Yeast Rice for Dyslipidemia in Statin-Intolerant Patients (A Randomized Trial)

ABSTRACT Background: Red yeast rice is an herbal supplement that decreases low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness and tolerability of red yeast rice and therapeutic lifestyle change to treat dyslipidemia in patients who cannot tolerate statin therapy. Design: Randomized, controlled trial. Setting: Community-based cardiology practice. Patients: 62 patients with dyslipidemia and history of discontinuation of statin therapy due to myalgias. Intervention: Patients were assigned by random allocation software to receive red yeast rice, 1800 mg (31 patients), or placebo (31 patients) twice daily for 24 weeks. All patients were concomitantly enrolled in a 12-week therapeutic lifestyle change program. Measurements: Primary outcome was LDL cholesterol level, measured at baseline, week 12, and week 24. Secondary outcomes included total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglyceride, liver enzyme, and creatinine phosphokinase (CPK) levels; weight; and Brief Pain Inventory score. Results: In the red yeast rice group, LDL cholesterol decreased by 1.11 mmol/L (43 mg/dL) from baseline at week 12 and by 0.90 mmol/L (35 mg/dL) at week 24. In the placebo group, LDL cholesterol decreased by 0.28 mmol/L (11 mg/dL) at week 12 and by 0.39 mmol/L (15 mg/dL) at week 24. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level was significantly lower in the red yeast rice group than in the placebo group at both weeks 12 (P < 0.001) and 24 (P = 0.011). Significant treatment effects were also observed for total cholesterol level at weeks 12 (P < 0.001) and 24 (P = 0.016). Levels of HDL cholesterol, triglyceride, liver enzyme, or CPK; weight loss; and pain severity scores did not significantly differ between groups at either week 12 or week 24. Limitation: The study was small, was single-site, was of short duration, and focused on laboratory measures. Conclusion: Red yeast rice and therapeutic lifestyle change decrease LDL cholesterol level without increasing CPK or pain levels and may be a treatment option for dyslipidemic patients who cannot tolerate statin therapy. Annals of Internal Medicine 16 June 2009 Volume 150 Issue 12 Pages 830-839

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Effects of prenatal multimicronutrient supplementation on pregnancy outcomes: a meta-analysis

Abstract Background: Reduced intake of micronutrients during pregnancy exposes women to nutritional deficiencies and may affect fetal growth. We conducted a systematic review to examine the efficacy of prenatal supplementation with multimicronutrients on pregnancy outcomes. Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and the Cochrane Library for relevant articles published in English up to December 2008. We also searched the bibliographies of selected articles as well as clinical trial registries. The primary outcome was low birth weight; secondary outcomes were preterm birth, small-for-gestational-age infants, birth weight and gestational age. Results: We observed a significant reduction in the risk of low birth weight among infants born to women who received multimicronutrients during pregnancy compared with placebo (relative risk [RR] 0.81, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.73–0.91) or iron–folic acid supplementation (RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.74–0.93). Birth weight was significantly higher among infants whose mothers were in the multimicronutrient group than among those whose mothers received iron–folic acid supplementation (weighted mean difference 54 g, 95% CI 36 g–72 g). There was no significant differences in the risk of preterm birth or small-for-gestational-age infants between the 3 study groups. Interpretation: Prenatal multimicronutrient supplementation was associated with a significantly reduced risk of low birth weight and with improved birth weight when compared with iron–folic acid supplementation. There was no significant effect of multimicronutrient supplementation on the risk of preterm birth or small-for-gestational-age infants. CMAJ • June 9, 2009; 180 (12). doi:10.1503/cmaj.081777.

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The time is now for ChiroVoice!

The New York State Chiropractic Association asks members to support the ACA chiropractic advocacy network, (ChiroVoice). Through this chiropractic advocacy network, patients and chiropractic supporters can stay informed about important health care issues and contact their legislators in Washington. Chiropractic supporters will be able to educate policymakers about the value of chiropractic and work to positively impact any legislative efforts to reform the current national health care system. ChiroVoice will also enable the NYSCA to mobilize patient support at the state level for legislative action when necessary. Ask your patients to sign up now! (Please be sure to adhere to all HIPAA regulations if signing patients up in your office.) The time is now for ChiroVoice! The opportunity to challenge some of the long standing issues beleaguering our profession. Prevention... Wellness... Fee Parity....Anti Discrimination Statutes, Full Scope Medicare, etc. These are just a few of our issues to be debated in DC. Historically, when given the chance to compete on a level playing field our profession shines. Along the same lines, historically the way we get there is through grass roots activities. The ACA has iniated ChiroVoice. Yet, many docs have not asked patients and staff to sign up. Please take time today to get your patients and staff involved. The Senate is marking up legislation this week and the House in a few weeks. President Obama wants a bill on his desk by the fall if not sooner. We can shape our future. It is said "Inaction has as significant of an impact as action," please don't let inaction cause us to fail. It's up to all of us to get involved, be involved, stay involved and be triumphant...we all benefit! Thanks for your help! Louis Lupinacci, DC, FICC NYSCA Vice President H. William Wolfson, DC, FICC NYS Downstate Delegate

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Greeley, Colo.—On May 7, two directors of the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE), were honored by the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards (FCLB) who bestowed upon them the 2009 George R. Arvidson Award for Meritorious Service. This award is the highest individual honor presented annually at the FCLB annual meeting. NBCE President Dr. Vernon R. Temple was honored by the FCLB for his exceptional leadership, innovation and service to chiropractic. Dr. Temple was first elected to serve the National Board as District III director in the year 2000. Since then, Dr. Temple has also served on the NBCE Executive Committee as secretary and vice president. He was elected as president of the board in 2007 and will continue in that role until May 2010. Dr. Temple is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, and has been in practice in Vermont since 1978. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedists. He is a former chairman of the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards and has also served as president of the Vermont Board of Chiropractic Examination and Regulation. NBCE Director Dr. Oliver R. Smith, Jr., and outgoing president of the FCLB received an Arvidson Award for his work in financially stabilizing the FCLB and strengthening the organization’s focus. Dr. Smith previously served as president, vice president, treasurer, and District IV director of the FCLB. He served as and NBCE director from 2005-2009 and was elected as director-at-large on the NBCE board in May 2009. He is a past president of the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners and received the Keeler Plaque Award in 1997 as an outstanding chiropractic practitioner in Texas. Dr. Smith is a graduate of Texas Chiropractic College. Headquartered in Greeley, Colo., the NBCE is the international testing organization for the chiropractic profession. Established in 1963, the NBCE develops, administers and scores legally defensible, standardized written and practical examinations for candidates seeking chiropractic licensure throughout the United States and in many foreign countries.

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GREELEY, Colo.—On May 8, the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) held its Annual Board Meeting in conjunction with the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards’ (FCLB) 83rd Annual Educational Conference in Hollywood, CA. At the meeting, NBCE delegates elected Dr. Paul N. Morin (ME) as District III Director, replacing Dr. Mary-Ellen Rada (NJ). The delegates re-elected Dr. Norman E. Ouzts, Jr. (SC) as District V Director. Dr. Robin R. Lecy (SD), District I Director; Dr. Donna L. Craft (MI), District II Director; and Dr. Theodore J. Scott (UT), District IV Director will continue their terms. NBCE Directors-at-Large Dr. Vernon Temple (VT), and Dr. N. Edwin Weathersby (AZ) were re-elected to their at-large positions. Dr. Oliver Smith was elected as a new at-large director and NBCE Director-at-Large Dr. Richard L. Cole (TN) will continue his term. The two remaining positions on the 11-member NBCE Board of Directors are filled by the president and vice-president of the Federation of Chiropractic Licensing Boards: Dr. Daniel Saint-Germain (Quebec, Canada) and Dr. Lawrence O’Connor (NJ), respectively, were appointed to serve on the NBCE Board of Directors. The Executive Committee was then elected by the board. Dr. Vernon Temple was re-elected as President, Dr. N. Edwin Weathersby as Vice President and Dr. Theodore Scott as Treasurer. Dr. Richard L. Cole was elected to the Executive Committee as Secretary. Headquartered in Greeley, Colo., the NBCE is the international testing organization for the chiropractic profession. Established in 1963, the NBCE develops, administers and scores legally defensible, standardized written and practical examinations for candidates seeking chiropractic licensure throughout the United States and in many foreign countries.

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Virginia Chiropractic Association and Virginia Society of Chiropractic Form Unification Committee

The Virginia Chiropractic Association (VCA) and the Virginia Society of Chiropractic (VSC) announced their intent to unite into a single entity and the formation of a Unification Committee. The unification will create a single, more influential association in the Commonwealth of Virginia that will better serve chiropractic doctors, patients, and the profession as a whole. The goal is to reduce duplication, allowing the profession to devote more resources and expertise to public policy, education, legal and legislative initiatives. Over the past several years, the organizations have begun collaborating more and more frequently, assisting each other in legislative activities and conducting joint educational programs. Both presidents accepted honorary memberships in the other organizations and face-to-face meetings and conference calls between the two Boards and staff became regular occurrences. The Unification Committee is charged with fleshing out the myriad of organizational, operational, and legal details and considerations involved in bringing the two groups together. In addition, it will outline a plan to provide a framework for the rules that will govern the organizations during the consolidation period, thereby ensuring a smooth transition.

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Legislation would end insurance discrimination against those who live with pre-existing or chronic illness

WASHINGTON, D.C. —During a conference call today with reporters, Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), Chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, and Congressman Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Member of the House Education and Labor Committee, announced the introduction of the Pre-existing Condition Patient Protection Act that would end insurance discrimination against those who live with pre-existing or chronic illness. “We have 133 million Americans living with chronic illness – insurance companies should no longer be allowed to reap profits by denying care to sick Americans,” said Senator Rockefeller. “We as a nation can no longer stand by and continue to allow this practice to occur. These medical services are not optional, and most times, they are not affordable without insurance. Our system is broken—which is why we must eliminate the ability of insurers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions in every single market. The time for serious action is now.” “It is wrong and impractical to commit ourselves to health care reform without addressing the faulty and ill-advised pre-existing condition exclusion,” stated Congressman Courtney. “This discriminatory practice prevents millions of hardworking Americans from changing or finding new jobs and in this economy that is just plain wrong. Senator Rockefeller and I agree that it is time for the most advanced nation in the world to have a world-class health care system that is fair and affordable.” Background The Pre-existing Condition Patient Protection Act will eliminate pre-existing condition exclusions in all insurance markets, a major step forward for the 133 million Americans living with at least one chronic condition. Eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions is a priority of the Obama Administration and Senator Rockefeller and Congressman Courtney plan to work closely with President Obama to enact this vital legislation. Insurance market reform must be a central part of comprehensive health reform. Both Senator Rockefeller and Congressman Courtney believe that all individuals should have access to comprehensive, meaningful, and affordable health insurance coverage—and this legislation is a critical component of achieving that goal. Summary of the legislation ****The Pre-existing Condition Patient Protection Act is a bill to protect consumers excluded from receiving health insurance coverage due to a “pre-existing condition.” ****The Pre-existing Condition Patient Protection Act would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to submit a report to Congress on the extent of adverse selection (i.e. which happens when less healthy people disproportionately enroll in a risk pool) that occurs because insurers can no longer exclude patients with pre-existing conditions. This report must include data from private insurers on the characteristics of their insured population. This new reporting requirement would provide transparency on the true mix of patients and patient claims experience among private insurers; and ****Require the Government Accountability Office to submit a report to Congress addressing the impact of this legislation on reducing the number of uninsured and underinsured, as well as its effect on the affordability of health insurance coverage. This is meant to highlight both the positive impact this new policy will have on making coverage more accessible for individuals with chronic conditions, but also recognize that without further regulatory changes, coverage may not be affordable for these individuals. ****The Pre-existing Condition Patient Protection Act of 2009 has been endorsed by twenty-two organizations, including: American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association; American Heart Association/American Stroke Association; Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc.; Association of Community Cancer Centers; Breast Cancer Network of Strength; Children’s Cause for Cancer Advocacy; Congenital Heart; Information Network; Dermatology Nurses’ Association; First Focus; International Myeloma Foundation; Lung Cancer Alliance; Lupus Foundation of America; Mended Little Hearts; National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners; National Patient Advocate Foundation; Oncology Nursing Society; Ovarian Cancer National Alliance; Pediatric Stroke Network, Inc.; Sarcoma Foundation of America; Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association; The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; and The Wellness Community.

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Vitamin C Intake Linked with Reduced Gout Risk in Men

Vitamin C Intake and the Risk of Gout in Men Abstract A Prospective Study Background Several metabolic studies and a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial have shown that higher vitamin C intake significantly reduces serum uric acid levels. Yet the relation with risk of gout is unknown. Methods We prospectively examined, from1986 through 2006, the relation between vitamin C intake and risk of incident gout in 46 994 male participants with no history of gout at baseline. We used a supplementary questionnaire to ascertain the American College of Rheumatology criteria for gout. Vitamin C intake was assessed every 4 years through validated questionnaires. Results During the 20 years of follow-up, we documented 1317 confirmed incident cases of gout. Compared with men with vitamin C intake less than 250 mg/d, the multivariate relative risk (RR) of gout was 0.83 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.71-0.97) for total vitamin C intake of 500 to 999 mg/d, 0.66 (0.52-0.86) for 1000 to 1499 mg/d, and 0.55 (0.38-0.80) for 1500 mg/d or greater (P < .001 for trend). The multivariate RR per 500-mg increase in total daily vitamin C intake was 0.83 (95% CI, 0.77-0.90). Compared with men who did not use supplemental vitamin C, the multivariate RR of gout was 0.66 (95% CI, 0.49-0.88) for supplemental vitamin C intake of 1000 to 1499 mg/d and 0.55 (0.36-0.86) for 1500 mg/d or greater (P < .001 for trend). Conclusions Higher vitamin C intake is independently associated with a lower risk of gout. Supplemental vitamin C intake may be beneficial in the prevention of gout. Authors Affiliations: Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, Vancouver General Hospital, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (Dr Choi); Channing Laboratory (Drs Choi, Gao, and Curhan) and Renal Division, Department of Medicine (Dr Curhan), Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; and Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston (Drs Gao and Curhan). Dr Choi is now with the Rheumatology Section, Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(5):502-507.

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FCER’s DCConsult® Web Site Now Open Access

After carefully listening and reviewing member comments, the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research has opened its popular new DCConsult® website to all at no cost. The former subscription only site has been revamped, with a new emphasis on the needs of the practicing clinician. Driven by two major search engines anyone can now visit and instantaneously run a search for the most current research abstracts. A click of a button and the site immediately translates from English to Spanish, French, German, Italian or Portuguese. For the past two years, it has been the goal of the FCER’s Board of Trustees to provide easy access for the profession to the literature, articles, links, educational products and more. DCConsult is now the globally recognized repository of such information. From South Africa, Evalie K. Heath, DC writes, “This is Wonderful news. A Very Big Thank you for your new policy to make DCConsult available to everyone at no cost. DCConsult will be a wonderful tool for ALL Chiropractors to access chiropractic articles, research and news. Those of us in more remote areas of the Earth (remote from Chiropractic schools and centers of research) and especially those in areas with economic difficulties greatly appreciate this decision.” Dr. Heath goes on to encourage colleagues in Uganda, South Africa, Nambia, Mozambique, Mauritius, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia, Congo: “Dear Africa Members, DCConsult opens the world of Chiropractic information to our very finger tips. Please enjoy this new privilege. Please inform all of your members and colleagues.” FCER’s President, Dr. Charles Herring stated, “As long as new research and articles emerge – DCConsult will never be finished. Information, as well as translations are being added as quickly as possible. The web site will continually change – so visit often.” FCER Vice President, Dr. Ronald Evans explains, "Moving DCConsult into the open access domain has not been without significant challenges. Newer site designs require more data to keep content current. FCER/DCConsult is seeking volunteer expertise to make the content more robust in several ways: 1) Contribution of original Evidence Based Medicine/Evidence Based Principles (EBM/EBP) material, 2) Abstract mining from any source germane to chiropractic science, 3) Book/Textbook recommendations for a website book list, and 4) Occasional chiropractic research consultancy. Never before in the 65-year history of this foundation has the need been greater for the chiropractic profession to step forward and assist with a project of this global magnitude." Coming soon is a FCER Member only section offering free audios, patient handouts and other downloads especially for those who financially support FCER activities. DCConsult would not be possible without the support of Standard Process Inc., National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, Future Health Inc., Academy of Chiropractic Orthopedists, American College of Chiropractic Consultants, College on Forensic Sciences and others. The Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research celebrates its 65th Anniversary in 2009. FCER is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit foundation with a mission To promote the health and well being of humanity by encouraging and supporting research and education relative to the field of chiropractic care, and to provide information needed to document and improve chiropractic healthcare capacity worldwide. DCConsult directly aligns with FCER’s mission and is worthy of your support.

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Treadmill Exercise and Resistance Training in Patients With Peripheral Arterial Disease With and Without Intermittent Claudication

A Randomized Controlled Trial ABSTRACT Context Neither supervised treadmill exercise nor strength training for patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) without intermittent claudication have been established as beneficial. Objective To determine whether supervised treadmill exercise or lower extremity resistance training improve functional performance of patients with PAD with or without claudication. Design, Setting, and Participants Randomized controlled clinical trial performed at an urban academic medical center between April 1, 2004, and August 8, 2008, involving 156 patients with PAD who were randomly assigned to supervised treadmill exercise, to lower extremity resistance training, or to a control group. Main Outcome Measures Six-minute walk performance and the short physical performance battery. Secondary outcomes were brachial artery flow-mediated dilation, treadmill walking performance, the Walking Impairment Questionnaire, and the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey physical functioning (SF-36 PF) score. Results For the 6-minute walk, those in the supervised treadmill exercise group increased their distance walked by 35.9 m (95% confidence interval [CI], 15.3-56.5 m; P < .001) compared with the control group, whereas those in the resistance training group increased their distance walked by 12.4 m (95% CI, –8.42 to 33.3 m; P = .24) compared with the control group. Neither exercise group improved its short physical performance battery scores. For brachial artery flow-mediated dilation, those in the treadmill group had a mean improvement of 1.53% (95% CI, 0.35%-2.70%; P = .02) compared with the control group. The treadmill group had greater increases in maximal treadmill walking time (3.44 minutes; 95% CI, 2.05-4.84 minutes; P < .001); walking impairment distance score (10.7; 95% CI, 1.56-19.9; P = .02); and SF-36 PF score (7.5; 95% CI, 0.00-15.0; P = .02) than the control group. The resistance training group had greater increases in maximal treadmill walking time (1.90 minutes; 95% CI, 0.49-3.31 minutes; P = .009); walking impairment scores for distance (6.92; 95% CI, 1.07-12.8; P = .02) and stair climbing (10.4; 95% CI, 0.00-20.8; P = .03); and SF-36 PF score (7.5; 95% CI, 0.0-15.0; P = .04) than the control group. Conclusions Supervised treadmill training improved 6-minute walk performance, treadmill walking performance, brachial artery flow-mediated dilation, and quality of life but did not improve the short physical performance battery scores of PAD participants with and without intermittent claudication. Lower extremity resistance training improved functional performance measured by treadmill walking, quality of life, and stair climbing ability. Click on the link below to read the full article:

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