Patient’s Perspective – Greg Buchanan
Welcome to my latest newsletter which looks at Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD). As there is an increasing
tendency for drugs to be prescribed to our children and lately adults
for the treatment of this condition I felt that it is timely to provide
some information with regards to the potential treatment of this disorder
using an upper cervical chiropractic approach.
I hope you enjoy this edition and as always
feel free to provide me with any feedback and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The purpose of my newsletters is to challenge the mainstream
thinking on what may be the cause of some conditions and to
encourage researchers to think outside the 'normal' boundaries
when looking for solutions. I am a patient and not a medical
practitioner; however I am entitled to my own opinions. People
are free to disagree with me. My newsletters are provided as
an informational source only, and are not a medical opinion.
Therefore you should do further research for yourself and make
your own decisions.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
I recently watched a TV news show in which
a doctor was being interviewed about Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD). Apart from the increasing
numbers of children being diagnosed with these disorders the
doctor claimed that around 4% of the US adult population was
also suffering from the disorder. Ah! I thought here we go,
yet another market opportunity opens up for pharmaceutical companies.
It made me think about the current drug advertising. Some of
the current drug advertisements make you feel like you are missing
out on something and that you should run straight to your doctor
to get a prescription! Isn't it amazing to think that a product
which is supposed to help sufferers of diseases is peddled as
if it was the latest consumer 'got-to-have'! Such are the dynamics
of a global multi-billion dollar drug industry.
Mercola and Droege reported
(2004) that "well over 1 million
American children are on drugs for ADHD" and "that
drugs for attention disorders bring in $2.2 billion a year" despite
evidence that "the effect of
treatment beyond four weeks has not been demonstrated. In other
words, no one knows what the long-term effects will be." Mercola
and Droege further state that "Although
it is estimated that more than 8 million adults in the United
States have ADHD, the disorder is typically thought of as something
that is outgrown during adolescence. Why, then, would adults
need these drugs? Perhaps it has something to do with one pharmaceutical
executive’s statement in a Reuters interview, "The
adult market is three times the size of the children's market.
The market is ripe and is moving in the right direction."
A newspaper article recently
reported a case of a woman who was incorrectly diagnosed with
bipolar disorder and ADHD and subsequently prescribed medications.
According to the article she "suffered
a drug induced psychosis from the range of medications which
included Prozac and dexamphetamine." Additionally
she was told that her 7 year old son had ADHD which turned out
to be yet another misdiagnosis. The article goes on to say that "doctors
are increasingly prescribing drugs to treat an array of conditions
including ADHD" and "despite
ongoing education campaigns and research into ADHD, debate about
the prevalence and treatment of the condition continues." Further
a report in the lower house of the West Australian parliament "estimated
11,500 children in that state - some as young as two were prescribed
psychostimulant drugs, mainly dexamphetamine, for ADHD." Perhaps
even more disturbing is that a survey of parents "found
11 per cent thought their child was suffering from the symptoms
of ADHD." The article concludes with figures showing that
prescriptions for dexamphetamine (the top-selling ADHD drug)
rose from 46,000 in 1994 to 246,000 in 2004 in Australia. Sadly
this trend is increasing.
For those of you who read my Parkinson's disease
newsletter http://www.upcspine.com/news_vol2_0304.htm you
will note that I covered off on Dr Fernandez-Noda's    assertion
and findings that Parkinson's and other diseases (Alzheimer's,
multiple sclerosis & epilepsy) may well be a consequence
of a reduction of oxygenated blood flow to the dopamine producing
cells of the brain and compression of the brachial plexus of
nerves, the assumption being that the restoration of correct
blood flow and nerve impulse amplitude may well have a positive
effect on peoples' health and go some way towards reversing
Why do I mention Parkinson's disease in an
ADHD newsletter you ask? Well as I started to research various
treatments I found that the dopamine link could also be found
in pharmaceutical approaches to treating ADHD. Many imaging
studies of children with this ADHD have found an imbalance of
the neurochemical dopamine. Methylphenidate, (Ritalin) a dopamine
reuptake inhibitor, is the most common pharmaceutical treatment
for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder despite there being
little evidence of any long-term benefit, nor knowledge of potential
chronic side-effects. However, according to Gottlieb reporting
on an article in the Journal of Neuroscience, "Methylphenidate
works in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
by increasing levels of dopamine in children's brains".
Apparently "the drug seems to raise levels of the hormone
by blocking the activity of dopamine transporters, which remove
dopamine once it has been released."
If Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis,
epilepsy and now ADHD drug treatment targets dopamine depletion,
could there be a common causal link in all of these diseases?
If the end result is dopamine depletion then I assume the causal
link could be something which reduces the production of dopamine?
Could Fernandez-Noda et al be correct in their conclusions that
it is muscular compression of structures (arterial and neurological)
which is the causal factor in the lack of dopamine production?
Seems quite plausible I would think and certainly worthy of
at least some amount of focus from research organizations. Given
that all of these conditions reportedly respond positively to
upper cervical chiropractic treatment to realign the relationship
between the skull and cervical vertebrae could the causal link
be upper cervical subluxations causing compression of neurovascular
structures at the base of the skull and/or further down at the
base of the neck, where it meets the shoulders?
The phenomenon of upper cervical subluxations
causing various health issues needs to be researched vigorously
now, and I call on all Governments to pour funds into upper
cervical chiropractic research. I have found it no use whatsoever
approaching various research organizations to get them to put
some of their funds towards chiropractic research. They are
usually polite but dismissive that chiropractic would produce
any positive results. Surely scientists need to keep an open
mind when it comes to research and investigate all avenues and
Conservative treatment for ADHD is becoming
a viable alternative as my research shows. In particular the
application of manual therapy (chiropractic) appears to result
in both reversal of the condition and the elimination of the
need for administration of pharmaceuticals.
I came across a really wonderful book "Manual
Therapy in Children" edited by Heiner
Biedermann which communicates the benefit of manual therapy
in the treatment of children for various disorders including
ADHD. When one reads this book one could be forgiven for thinking
one was reading a chiropractic textbook because it discusses
and advocates the manipulation of the skeleton including the
upper cervical spine using many of the approaches developed
by chiropractors over decades. The book is a great reference
for any practitioner.
In fact, this book has contributions from
various medical doctors (MD) including surgeons! In the 'Introduction'
(p5) Biedermann says "the problems
associated with and labeled ADHD have a close connection with
problems originating in functional spinal disorders".
At the end of the book, in the 'Epilogue' (p321), as if out
of frustration he says "From
the inside out it (manual therapy) is a wonderfully all-encompassing
variant of the healing professions" and it
is "this very ability which turns
manual therapy into an unwelcome guest of one's own field of
work." He cites comments from his peers like "How
dare these people claim to solve problems which have been hounding
us for many years ... branding those intruders as confidence
tricksters." Sound familiar? If you have been
following the chiropractic scene you would immediately see the
parallels between what Biedermann and his associates are now
facing from their own peers and the systematic denigration of
chiropractic over the past century. The fact is that Biedermann
et al are right on the money and history will eventually show
that they and chiropractors have been right all along.
Chapter 12, "Attention
deficit disorder and the upper cervical spine", 133-42;
Theiler R. DrMed FMH is of particular significance for this
newsletter. Theiler discusses findings relating upper cervical
spine (sub-occipital) subluxations or what they call KISS (kinematic
sub-occipital strain syndrome) to ADD/ADHD. In particular he
notices that children with ADHD exhibit postural distortions
and associated movement deficits of the upper cervical spine.
He finds that following manual therapy applied to the cervical
spine not only do postural deficits resolve in the children
but so do concentration and cognitive abilities. As such visual
concentration span and thus reading difficulties were improved
immediately following manual manipulation. "Ten
children achieved an oral reading fluency appropriate for their
age usually in the days following therapy." Interestingly
there is a discussion about one of the main findings being "reduced
capacity for processing information" which
is "an expression of deficiencies
in executive functions, which are carried out in the dopamine-dependent
structures of the frontal lobe and corpus striatum."
The chapter finishes with the discussion of
three case studies of ADHD, the first one (p139) of a female
7.2 years who apart from a "fall
from a swing" had no other trauma. She showed "persistent
postural asymmetry and insufficient gross motor functions" and "her
attention span was short and she was impulsive when assigned
tasks." Examination revealed head tilted to
the right and rotated to the left with a C1/C2 blockage. She
was treated with manual therapy left C1/C2. Apart from initial
giddiness, her posture straightened and motor coordination improved
and her verbal capacities and visual component became better
than an 8 year old. A later reoccurrence of the subluxation
was subsequently corrected following a relapse, and after the
correction things returned to normal again.
The second case study (p140) is of 6.5 years
female who was born with a fractured clavicle. It was noticed
that as she developed, her clumsiness was remarked and drawing
and scribbling skills lagged her age group. At age 6 she could
not use scissors nor fasten her shoes and jumping on one leg
was impossible for her. Fine motor tasks were also below par
and her memory capacity and processing capacity were 1.5 years
below average. An examination revealed impaired side bending
of the head and reduced left sided rotation, as well she had "excessive
thoracic kyphosis." X-rays showed "a
lateral displacement of C1/C2 to the right",
in other words upper cervical subluxation. The treatment administered
was "a sagittal impulse on C1
and a HIO C1/C2 from the right side (impulse manipulation)." I
take the HIO reference to mean "Hole-in-One" as developed
by B.J. Palmer http://www.upcspine.com/tech8.htm.
Two months post the manipulation and even though the mother
reported no change, the doctors found she now had unhindered
head movements, could "jump a
bit on one leg now", was more considered and
less impulsive when working, was able to concentrate longer
and her verbal memory was now +2 years her age. Her mother conceded
an improvement when showed comparisons of test results.
The third case study (p141) is of a 11.5 years
female with concentration and long term attention span problems,
fine motor coordination difficulties with increasing speed,
problems with writing and becoming impulsive when tackling difficult
tasks. "In copying of dots and
in repeating nonsense syllables, her performance was at the
level of an 8 - 8 1/2 year old." Examination
revealed scoliosis with associated postural deviations, a blockage
at the SI joint, right head tilt, C1/C2 blocked on the right
and x-rays revealed "an offset
of the atlas to the right". Hmmm ... sounds
like upper cervical subluxation to me. The family decided upon
Ritalin therapy and the girl improved immediately. After a time
manual therapy was finally applied and simultaneously the medication
was stopped. She was able to function normally without medication
but the parents requested resumption of the Ritalin to see if
they could get further improvement. When it was determined there
were no more "perceptible gains" the
medication was stopped. The improvements have lasted well into
the next school year. The authors conclude "we
are in favour of examining and treating functional problem of
the cervical spine .... even if a pharmacotherapy seemed top
have already resolved the problem at hand."
Erin Elster reports in
a case study about a 9 y.o. boy suffering from Tourette syndrome,
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), depression,
asthma, insomnia and headaches that he was born via forceps
delivery and was taking various medications for his conditions.
Chiropractic examination revealed evidence of an upper cervical
subluxation and he was treated with an upper cervical chiropractic
technique (IUCCA) http://www.upcspine.com/tech12.htm.
After 6 weeks of care all six (6) conditions were absent and
all medications except a small amount of one were discontinued.
Five months post all symptoms remained absent. Elster suggests
a link between the patient's traumatic birth, the upper cervical
subluxation, and his neurological condition. Further research
In another case Giesen, Center and Leach discuss
4 of 7 children who showed statistically significant improvement
in their ADHD condition following specific chiropractic care
and although not conclusive the authors suggest that chiropractic
manipulation has the potential to become and important non-drug
intervention for children with hyperactivity.
Interestingly a newspaper article suggests "Head
injuries could be responsible for some behaviour disorders
in children and adolescents, a study has found. As many
as 20 per cent of children who have suffered mild head injuries
through sport or playground falls may develop symptoms years
later. These symptoms, according to Uni of New England lecturer
Dr James Donnelly, may be misdiagnosed as ADD or attitude
or motivational problems. "Blows to the head that cause
changes in the child's ability to think clearly, especially
those that cause a loss of consciousness, may have jarred
the brain in the skull," Dr Donnelly said." A
well known Sydney neurosurgeon once told me that the results
of brain injuries are usually evident immediately and do
not become evident years later. I think that this is just
another piece of evidence that the contributing event to
many conditions is head and/or neck trauma, and I think
one could rightfully conclude that this leads to an upper
cervical subluxation. I've also heard that Daniel G. Amen
the author of "Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program
That Allows You to See and Heal the 6 Types of ADD" runs
a clinic for treating ADD/ADHD in California and apparently
when someone goes to his clinic they will be asked no less
than 5 times whether or not they have sustained a head injury.
I also find many people on discussion forums questioning
whether or not a head injury was the initial event in their
disease or condition. It seems many people do recall a head
injury prior to the onset of symptoms. I know I did!
In a case study Bastecki et al report
that a 5 year-old patient diagnosed by a medical practitioner
with ADHD and for which Ritalin treatment for 3 years was not
effective, and who exhibited cervical kyphosis (reversed neck
curve), underwent multiple chiropractic treatments. During chiropractic
care the child's facial tics and behaviour vastly improved and
the child's paediatrician stated that the child no longer exhibited
the signs of ADHD. The reduction in symptoms was significant
enough to discontinue medication. The authors suggest a possible
correlation between cervical kyphosis and ADHD.
In 1995 Lahat et al in
a study of 114 children with ADD concluded that they have brainstem
dysfunction as measured using BAEP (brainstem auditory evoked
potentials) and that BAEP, may contribute to the diagnosis of
ADD. Wehrenberg and Mulhall-Wehrenbergin
their SIDS book discuss how an upper cervical (atlas) subluxation
can affect the brainstem area in SIDS kids.
Hospers presents case
studies of 5 children, two with petit mal (absent seizures),
two with hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder and one
rendered hemiplegic (one-sided paralysis) following a car accident.
Following upper cervical adjustment in the seizure cases a reduction
in the frequency of seizures resulted, for the ADHD cases, increased
attention span and improvement of social behaviour were reported
and in the hemiplegia case the child was able to utilize his
arm and leg without assistance.
McPhillips et al as discussed in Kirk Eriksen's
book studied 60 children with "persistent
primary reflexes (relating to the balance system) and reading
difficulties". In a number of studies there
has seen to be a correlation between movement disorders or problems
and reading difficulties. This study also found such a link
and the authors suggest a "new
approach to the treatment of reading difficulties involving
assessment and remediation of the underlying neurological functioning."
Robert Goodman http://www.nucca.org/articles/attention_deficit_disorder.htm presents
a case history of a 9 y.o. female diagnosed with ADD "with
signs of hyperactivity, short attention span and poor impulse
control". Examination revealed postural distortions
consistent with upper cervical insult and X-rays revealed atlas
subluxation complex and hypolordotic cervical curve. A NUCCA
www.nucca.org upper cervical adjustment was delivered and follow-up
results indicated a complete remission of the symptoms associated
There are two further references in Kirk Eriksen's
book p404 one being a Peet case
of a 4 y.o. child whose ADHD and asthmatic symptoms improved
following upper cervical adjustment and Hospers et al a
case of a 15 y.o. with a history of head injury and concussion.
His EEG showed "lack of synchronization
of alpha and beta frequencies between left and right hemispheres" and
he exhibited restlessness and "compulsively
handled objects around him". Following upper
cervical adjustment the restlessness and compulsiveness resolved
and his social communication improved. A follow-up EEG revealed
synchronisation between alpha and beta frequencies.
To me it seems quite plausible that sub-occipital
strain caused by upper cervical subluxations can cause problems
for young children. When your head is not on straight you experience
all kinds of symptoms. It also makes complete sense that following
a well administered precision upper cervical adjustment that
these kids' symptoms improve or disappear. The explanation can
only be that these skull base subluxations do occur and do interfere
with the body's normal control mechanisms and blood flow to
and from the brain. Let's get serious and put at least a fairer
portion of available research funds toward 'disease
analysis and correction utilising upper cervical chiropractic
methodologies and techniques'. We owe it to our
kids to open up every avenue and analyse every possible option
for the eradication of the symptoms associated with Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
|Ritalin Use Linked to Chromosome Abnormalities
Whilst the following study http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/510069/ involves only a small sample, parents should be made aware
of the possible dangers of treatments like Ritalin. After
just three months, each of 12 children receiving methylphenidate
(Ritalin) for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
experienced significant chromosome abnormalities that are
often associated with increased risks of cancer and other
health problems. A small sample yes, but 100% of kids sustained
|ADHD drug dangers - Treatment stunts growth, fails long term
|Source: The Daily Telegraph, Australia. 13th November 2007 - Page 13
By CHARLES MIRANDA in London ... DRUGS used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have no long-term benefits and could stunt growth.
Scientists have conceded test results that led to the parental craze to dole out the drugs to their kids may have been exaggerated.
The BBC’s Panorama program last night aired the results of an influential long-term monitoring program of 600 children across the US since the early 1990s.
The Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD concluded that, while drugs such as Ritalin and Concerta worked in the short term, there was no demonstrable improvement in children’s behaviour after three years of medication.
In Australia, the use of the prescription drug has been treated by some as a panacea for disruptive behaviour by their children.
The popularity of ADHD drugs has almost doubled during recent years causing concern among medical authorities.
Eight years ago, studies found one year of ADHD medication worked better than behavioural therapy.
The report’s co-author, Professor William Pelham, said he now believed the findings were overstated.
"I think we exaggerated the beneficial impact of medication in the first study," Professor Pelham, from the University of Buffalo, said.
"We had thought that children medicated longer would have better outcomes. That didn’t happen to be the case.
"The children had a substantial decrease in their rate of growth - they weren’t growing as much as other kids both in terms of their height and in terms of their weight. And there were no beneficial effects - none.
"In the short run [medication] will help the child behave better, in the long run it won’t. And that information should be made very clear to parents."
Panorama found last year ADHD drugs had cost the British Public health system more than $60 million.
The program aired disturbing footage of a 14-year-old Briton who had been on ADHD medication for a decade. His family kept a video diary of his behaviour; he recently assaulted three school teachers.
Dr Tim Kendall from the Royal College of Psychiatrists said: "Doctors are at the point where they don’t know what else to offer."
Professor Pelham said he believed behavioural therapy such as concentration tests in the first instance and a Simple diet of omega-3 helped.
Suggested Further Reading