Category Archives: Health

The Bacterial Link Between Crohn’s Disease and Arthritis

Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed. • Mon, March 6th, 2017

A team of researchers from New York has filled in the blanks as to how Crohn’s disease and spondyloarthritis are related. The work, published February 8, 2017 in Science Translational Medicine, revealed a type of E. coli bacteria found in Crohn’s patients that can trigger inflammation associated with spondyloarthritis.

According to the February 9, 2017 news release, “The researchers used fecal samples from patients with inflammatory bowel disease IBD to identify bacteria in the gut that were coated with antibodies called immunoglobulin-A (IgA) that fight infection. Using flow cytometry, in which fluorescent probes are used to detect IgA-coated bacterial species, the researchers discovered that IgA-coated E. coli were abundant in fecal samples from patients with both Crohn’s disease and spondyloarthritis.”

“The investigators found that patients with Crohn’s disease and spondyloarthritis had higher levels of Th17 cells, and that a protein called IL-23 triggers their activity. With the recent FDA approval of an anti-IL-23 medication for Crohn’s disease called ustekinumab, the findings may help physicians select therapies that target symptoms of both the bowels and the joints in these patients.”

Randy Longman, M.D., Ph.D., a gastroenterologist at the Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, led the translational study along with co-author Ellen Scherl, M.D., director of the Roberts Center at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine and the Jill Roberts Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. They worked in collaboration with Hospital for Special Surgery rheumatologists and co-authors Drs. Lisa Mandl and Sergio Schwartzman.

Dr. Longman told OTW, “A critical clinical question for orthopedic surgeons is to differentiate inflammatory from non-inflammatory arthritis, since the treatment options—medicine vs. surgery—could be very different. While a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, for example, will often trigger evaluation of inflammatory musculoskeletal pain, an existing diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may not.”

“Our current data suggest that microbiome characteristics may identify Crohn’s patients with inflammatory arthritis. These findings highlight the need for careful evaluation of these symptoms in patients with IBD in order to identify the most appropriate therapeutic approach.”


Spinal Cord Manipulation Reduces Opioid Use

Elizabeth Hofheinz, M.P.H., M.Ed. • Fri, March 10th, 2017


New research from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia is giving new hope to those suffering with chronic pain. The research, sponsored by Abbott Laboratories, involved the examination of opioid usage in more than 5,400 patients both prior to and after receiving a spinal cord stimulation (SCS) system implant. According to the January 20, 2017 news release, the researchers found that “opioid use declined or stabilized in 70% of patients who received an SCS system.”


“As our society has been seeking ways to stem opioid abuse and [in] addition, our company offers treatment options that can reduce their exposure to opioid medication,” said Allen Burton, M.D., medical director of neuromodulation at Abbott. “Data like these are critical to helping us demonstrate that spinal cord stimulation can reduce exposure to opioids while giving patients comprehensive pain relief.”


Morphine equivalent dose (MED) in patients with effective SCS (blue) and those who had their SCS explanted (gray) before and after SCS implant (dashed line). Left: solid lines are median and shaded areas are interquartile ranges. Right: solid lines are mean and shaded areas are SE./Courtesy of Congress of Neurological Surgeons


Ashwini Sharan, M.D. is director of Functional and Epilepsy Surgery at Vickie and Jack Farber Institute for Neuroscience at Jefferson. He told OTW, “I have always felt that spinal cord stimulation works very effectively in managing patients’ pain but did not know if the therapy helped reduce medication use, as well. We had to complete a population-based study using thousands of patients to find out what is happening with their medication management. We wanted to see if there was a secondary benefit and how it can be measured objectively.”


Asked why this hasn’t been demonstrated previously, Dr. Sharan noted, “The problem is in the process; unless doctors go out and collect data then there will be no compiled evidence. The doctor has to have a passionate about it in order to make the study happen. Also, companies don’t do post-marketing studies. It’s just not the culture. It comes down to time and resources.”


“If they see that patients are taking more and more pain killers then they have to identify that something is wrong. There should be a correlation between the patients’ pain and anxiety levels. An increase in the use of narcotics often just means that patients are developing a tolerance. Narcotic use is almost never a solution to chronic pain.”


“The study needs to be replicated. We need to be able to provide tools to physicians to help identify when patients are developing this narcotic tolerance and identify earlier when patients are candidates for these types of therapies. Right now these tools don’t exist.”

Hashimoto’s Disease of the Thyroid

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland. Left unattended the thyroid gland can gradually be destroyed.[i] Over time, symptoms may develop that include an enlargement of the thyroid gland called a goiter, which is usually painless. As an engine drives a car, the thyroid drives the body.


What is Hashimoto’s Disease?


The disease was first noted in 1912 by Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto. In 1957 it was recognized as an autoimmune disorder. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is thought to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, especially if there is family history of the disease or any other autoimmune conditions. The disease is believed to be the most common cause of primary hypothyroidism in North America. Diagnosis is confirmed by blood tests for (TSH) thyroid-stimulating hormone, T4 Thyroxine test and anti-thyroid antibodies.


Hashimoto’s thyroiditis affects about 5% of the population at some point in their life. It usually develops between the ages of 30 and 50 and generally affects more women than men; approximately 8 to 15 times more often in women. The disease may affect young women, while in men it may not occur until middle age.[ii]


It occurs more frequently in regions of high iodine dietary intake and among people who are genetically susceptible.[iii]


Signs and Symptoms:


There are many symptoms for the onset of Hashimoto’s and it is often misdiagnosed as depression, PMS, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. The most common symptoms are fatigue, weight gain, pale or puffy face, feeling cold, joint and muscle pain, constipation and depression.


If a goiter swelling is present, but not painful, no action may be recommended by the doctor, while others may try to reduce the size of the goiter. Those affected should avoid consuming large amounts of iodine. If TSH levels are elevated they can lead to an enlargement of the thyroid gland as the body attempts to trap more iodine and produce thyroid hormones.


Thyroid Gland Function:


The thyroid gland consists of two lobes on either side of the trachea in the neck sitting under the thyroid cartilage. This cartilage gives us the ‘Adam’s apple’ prominence. The gland produces hormones from iodine picked up from the blood circulating through the gland, which are necessary to maintain a normal level of metabolism in all body cells. Metabolism is the chemical process in our bodies resulting in the production of energy and growth. Thyroid hormone helps cells in their uptake of oxygen to support the metabolic rate in the body. Another hormone produced by the thyroid gland is secreted when calcium levels in the blood are high. It stimulates calcium to leave the blood and enter the bones.


Risks of Iodine Deficiency:


Pregnant mothers may be at risk for iodine deficiency as the growing fetus places additional pressure on the thyroid and can lead the thyroid either to have decreased function or to fail. Without sufficient iodine in the mother’s system there can be multiple adverse effects on the growth and development of the fetus, such as low birth weight, neonatal respiratory distress, fetal abnormalities, miscarriage or pre-term delivery.[iv] These risks are for women whose low thyroid function has not been stabilized by medication. Those people who have a family history of thyroid dysfunction may also be at risk, especially young women who may become pregnant.


As well, anyone who may already have an autoimmune disease are further at risk if the disease is untreated. Autoimmune diseases most commonly associated to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis include celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, vitiligo (loss of skin pigment) and alopecia (hair loss).[v]



Hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is treated with thyroid hormone replacement in tablet form, usually taken once a day. The tablets will likely be required for the rest of the person’s life and blood tests required on a regular basis to monitor the thyroid-stimulating hormone levels.



All the body’s organs are connected to our brain, nervous system and our spine; therefore, it is most important to make sure that your spine is always kept in alignment for all parts of your body to function properly. Regular visits to your chiropractor will take care of adjusting any subluxations that may interfere with your health.

[i] “Hashimoto’s Disease”. NIDDK. May 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2016.

[ii] “Hashimoto’s disease fact sheet”. Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, (or 16 July 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2014.

[iii] Fabrizio Monaco (2012). Thyroid Diseases. Taylor and Francis. p.78. ISBN 9781439868393.

[iv] Budenhofer, Brigitte K.; Ditsch, Nina; Jeschke, Udo; Gärtner, Roland; Toth, Bettina (2012-10-27). “Thyroid (dys-)function in normal and disturbed pregnancy”.

[v] Akamizu, T; Amino, N; DeGroot, LJ; De Groot, LJ; Beck-Peccoz, P; Chrousos, G; Dungan, K; Grossman, A; Hershman, JM; Koch, C; McLachlan, R; New, M; Rebar, R; Singer, F; Vinik, A; Weickert, MO (2000). “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis”. PMID 25905412.

Strengthen Your Immune System

Whenever the flu season comes around, the available vaccine supplied does not cover the actual virus that people are infected with, which again confirms that any vaccine should be avoided. You need to keep your immune system in top condition to help combat any disease and chiropractic care is central to a strong immune system.


Your immune system works around the clock to keep you healthy and disease free. Your immune system patrols every part of you, attacking, neutralizing and destroying useless and dangerous things such as bacteria, viruses, splinters, dirt, dead cells, cell pieces and even cancer.

Your Powerful Healing Ability:


The landmark book “Spontaneous Remission” is a collection of hundreds of documented cases of individuals whose cancers, infectious and parasitic diseases, endocrine, nutritional, metabolic and immune disorders, diseases of the blood, nervous system, mental disorders and other diseases that spontaneously healed. The authors state:


There is a wide body of evidence suggesting that extraordinary healing, including regression of normally fatal tumors, takes place, with no known scientific explanation.[i]


The body is fighting cancer all the time and winning. Early cancers are probably being detected and combatted in the body on a regular basis. If you take this process and step it up in intensity, you have the “miracle” of spontaneous remission.[ii]


In the foreword of the book “Remarkable Recovery”, ¬Larry Dossey, MD observes how medical doctors often relate to this phenomenon:


“As a young doctor I once saw a case of untreated metastatic lung cancer disappear. I sought out two of my professors and asked their opinion about what had happened. One simply responded, “We see this,” and walked away. The other replied, “This is the natural course of the disease.” Cases of cancer that “just went away” are a reminder that doctors don’t know everything. In the wake of this experience, I gradually drifted into the typical response of the medical profession toward this type of remarkable recovery. Ignore it.” [iii]


How Do You Ignore That?


As chiropractors know, you have an incredible healing ability protecting you all the time. It has many levels: your skin and the mucus membranes in your nose and throat create a physical barrier to invasion; digestive juices dissolve germs; urine cleans your urinary tract; skin secretions kill many germs. Other defenses include fever to “burn off” infections; swelling to bring healing to injured areas and specialized cells that attack and devour intruders: macrophages, T-cells, killer cells, antibodies and others, each with its own special way of taking care of “bad guys.” Your “internal defense industry” that creates high quality weapon systems is in your bone marrow, spleen, thymus, tonsils, adenoids, appendix and lymph nodes.


Immune Diseases:


But what’s powerful for good can be potent for bad. An unhealthy immune system can overreact as in allergic or hypersensitivity disorders; can underreact as in immune deficiency disorders or can attack the body itself, as in autoimmune disorders.


Disorders of the immune system, once-rare diseases such as allergies, asthma, lupus, cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, autism, chronic fatigue syndrome and others, are increasingly common. Today an increasing number of clinicians and scientists feel that childhood immunization is a cause of immune system disorders.[iv] The famed pediatrician Robert Mendelsohn, M.D., asked: “Have we traded mumps and measles for cancer and leukemia?” [v]


Do Emotions Affect Your Health?


A depressed person has a depressed immune system, a happy person a healthier one. According to Bernie Siegel, M.D., unexpressed feelings depress immune response, but more importantly, relationships strengthen your immune system:


People, relationships are what nourishes and keeps everyone alive. That’s why women live longer than men and married men live longer than single men with the same cancers. When your life is only about what I can do, or a role you’re playing or you’re unable to work anymore, you curl up and die. Connection with others clearly keeps you going!


All Connections Are Healthy:


People with pets have fewer health problems, require fewer visits to the doctor, have fewer risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels.[vi]


Many other things boost your immune system: inspiring stories and even enjoying comedy! Laughter and humor improves your immune defenses against colds and cancer, decreases your stress hormone levels and is protective against heart conditions and high blood pressure.[vii][viii]


Psychologist Leo Buscaglia reports that insurance companies find if a wife kisses her husband good-bye in the morning he has fewer auto accidents and lives five years longer.


Can Chiropractic Help Your Immune System?


Chiropractic is a powerful immune system “wake up.” Doctors of chiropractic analyze your spine to locate vertebral subluxations, a serious condition that causes spine and nerve stress and impairs your immune function. Over a hundred years of chiropractic observations have demonstrated spinal care’s effect on immune function.[ix] The study of how the spine & nervous system affect immune health is one of today’s hottest areas of scientific inquiry today: psycho-neuro- immunology (PNI).[x] It is increasingly revealing that health of your brain, spinal cord and nerves profoundly influences your physical and emotional health, something chiropractors and their patients have observed for over a hundred years.


Your body wisdom, your inner healer is always working to balance your chemistry, strengthen your systems and awaken your connection to life. See your chiropractor on a regular basis to correct subluxations so your immune system functions closer to its optimum level to fight disease, prevent illness and function at your best!

[i] Spontaneous Remission, an Annotated Bibliography by O’Regan and Hirshberg, Institute of Noetic Sciences: Sausalito, CA 1993

[ii] Chopra, D. Quantum healing. NY: Bantam Books, 1989, p. 24

[iii] Remarkable Recovery by Caryle Hirshberg and Marc Ian Barasch. Riverhead Books: New York 1995. From the foreword by Larry Dossey, MD. p. xi

[iv] Scheibner, V. Vaccination: The medical assault on the immune system. Blackheath, NSW Australia, 1993. p. xxi.

[v] How to Raise A Healthy Child In Spite Of Your Doctor, Robert Mendelsohn, M.D.

[vi] Siegel JM. Stressful life events and use of physician services among the elderly: the moderating role of pet ownership J Pers Soc Psychol 1990 Jun;58(6):1081-6.

[vii] Bennett MP, Zeller JM, Rosenberg L, McCann J. The effect of mirthful laughter on stress and natural killer cell activity. Alternative therapies Mar/Apr 2003 Vol. 9. No. 2.

[viii] Tan SA, et al Mirthful laughter, an effective adjunct in cardiac rehabilitation. Can J Cardiol 199 7;13 (Suppl B:190B)

[ix] Nansel, D., Jansen, R. et al. Effects of cervical adjustments on lateral-flexion passive end-range asymmetry and on blood pressure, heart rate and plasma catecholamine levels. JMPT,1991, 14(8), p. 450.

[x] Felton, D. & Moyers, B. The brain and the immune system. In B.S. Flowers & D. Grubin (Eds.). Healing and the mind. NY: Doubleday,1993, pp. 213-216.