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PalMD Gets Mail

It turns out chiropractors are no better than creationists when it comes to intellectual honesty:

A long while back, at the original wordpress incarnation of this blog, I wrote a piece on the reasons that chiropractic is unscientific nonsense. Because it was popular, I moved it over here. Well, a chiropractor has come to bravely defend his field and left us a comment.

A study in the May 2007 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reports health plans that use Chiropractors as Primary Care Providers (PCPs) reduce their health care utilization costs significantly.

The study covers the seven-year period from 1999 to 2005. Researchers compared costs and utilization data from an Independent Physicians Association (IPA) that uses Chiropractors as PCPs and a traditional HMO that doesn’t.

[snip]

Study co-author James Winterstein, D.C. says that patients using Chiropractic PCP health care groups “experienced fewer hospitalizations, underwent fewer surgeries and used considerably fewer pharmaceuticals than HMO patients who received traditional medical care.”

I know what you’re thinking. You don’t even need to read PalMD’s delicious dissection of the study to know where the problem lies, do you? It wouldn’t really even matter if the study had been written up in a respectable medical journal rather than the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, which hasn’t the most stellar reputation. No, all you’d have to look at is the fact that patients using chiropractors as their Primary Care Physicians obviously didn’t use as much traditional medical care because their PCP is an alt-med fucktard. Duh-huh.

Read PalMD’s smackdown anyway, as it is absolutely delectable. I’ll give you a morsel. Now, keep in mind, this poor schmuck emailed PalMD this study to try to defend chiropractic against charges that it’s complete and utter bullshit, full of pseudoscience, and has no place in medicine outside the treatment of minor lower back pain.

Now savor this:

The goal of the study is quite clearly set out:
In this article, we are not taking a position on the efficacy of any CAM treatment. Rather, we are interested in the current use of CAM modalities and cost effects of such use, regardless of treatment outcome. These clinical utilization and cost outcomes are compared with previously published results.

In other words, they are looking at alternative medicine vs. real medicine to see which is cheaper, not whether it actually works.

Ha ha ha ha FAIL.

Comments

  1. says

    I spotted a different problem first (probably one that indicates that I'm a stats geek) – people who go to a chiropractor will also tend to have more chronic-but-relatively-mild conditions which might be conceivably – to the patient – helped by chiropracty (such as minor backache) compared to people going with traditional medicine (who will be relatively more likely to have expensive conditions like congestive heart failure or cancer). That is, they also see different subpopulations of the ill. So the costs will be lower that way also.