Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Doctors in 1919 Call for Exercise to Combat Flu


I was doing a little reading about the flu in 1919.  I found a nice article from the New York Times describing how doctors at the time were predicting an outbreak based on last years (1918) outbreak.  [1]

There are two pieces of advice given in this article that can apply to us 90 years later: 

1.  “those who are weak are advised to build up their strength”

2.  As a preventative …exercise, good food and vigilance”

That is solid advice.  Today doctors focus on a vaccine that may not even work.  Last year doctors “still recommend getting the flu shot even if it doesn't prevent you from getting sick.”[2]  There must be a reason most doctors don't get the flu shot themselves? [5]  Maybe it’s because the flu shot does not protect kids [3].   It’s also not so effective in the elderly[4]. 

So what do you do?  Listen to the doctors from 1919.  Since it’s well known that moderate exercise will always boost your immune system?  I would start there.

If your doctor has been in practice since 1919 you may get some good advice about prevention of the flu.  Otherwise do your homework.  Get proactive in your health with exercise, good food and vigilance.

Forced Exercise

By: Dr. Craig Anderson email

brainYou have heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you cant make them drink”. When it comes to your health this is so true.

In the business of healthcare it’s hard to force someone to be healthy. Smoking is a great example of this. Everyone knows why they should not smoke. Telling someone to stop smoking isn’t going to get them to stop. The decision has to come from within. The same is true with exercise. Yes you can force someone to exercise. To get the full benefits, the person has to WANT to exercise.

I came across this little study looking at the difference between forced exercise and spontaneous exercise in rats and I think it has some applicability to humans.

If someone is forcing you to exercise you will get a lot of benefits such as weight reduction, muscles tone increase and good feelings of accomplishment. There is one piece that maybe limited if your not having fun with the exercise. The hippocampus doesn't get the same benefits.

The hippocampus is a structure deep inside your brain. It has many roles one is building your brains architecture. If it’s not working properly stress and anxiety can be the result.

So if you want to get the most from exercise start between your ears then get moving.

Learn More:

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cost-Effective Care: The Evidence Mounts

Tell your legislators: chiropractic reduces health care costs, and a growing body of evidence is proving it

By Peter W. Crownfield, Executive Editor

Only weeks after the release of a Wellmark pilot study that suggests chiropractic reduces both costs and need for surgery, Milliman USA has released findings from "An Actuarial Analysis of the Impact of Chiropractic Care on the Costs of Medical Care for Patients With Common Spinal Diagnoses," a previously confidential report that adds to the evidence linking use of chiropractic services with significant cost savings.

Milliman USA was retained by Triad Healthcare, Inc.

- which administered the chiropractic program for the Wellmark study - to "conduct an actuarial analysis of the cost of medical care for commercially insured (non-Medicare) patients with certain common diagnoses." The analysis was intended to address the following question: 'Does inclusion of chiropractic benefits in a health plan change the total costs of health care for individuals with certain diagnoses, and if so, in what direction and by how much?'"

To answer that question, Milliman analyzed two data sets: one representing approximately 1.9 million member months of claims data (1996-1998) for patients with common spinal diagnoses, and a second featuring 1998 claims data only, representing 665,000 member months. Spinal diagnoses were determined by the ICD-9 code included in the patient data. The first data set came from the MEDSTAT MarketScan Research Database, representing inpatient and outpatient health care utilization by patients nationwide who are covered by the benefit plans of large employers; the second comprised claims data from 14 managed care plans throughout the U.S. provided by a physician-profiling vendor.

According to the executive summary of the report, "[T]he two analyses indicate that spinal patients who seek chiropractic coverage have materially lower health care costs than those who do not. The difference is consistent in all years and between the two data sets. The difference range from 10% to 23% lower costs for those patients who sought [chiropractic] care."

Specifically, total costs per member, per month for patients who sought chiropractic care in 1996, 1997 and 1998 (the first data set) were $178.86, $183.41 and $197.42, respectively, compared with total costs of $231.21, $220.45 and $242.75 for patients who did not seek chiropractic care. Analysis of the second data set showed a similar trend: In 1998, per-member, per-month costs for patients who sought chiropractic care were $213.83 vs. $236.27 for patients not seeking care.

The report then projects these cost savings to a 1 million member population with an assumed incidence of "common spinal diagnoses" of 6 percent and an assumed 50/50 ratio of members seeking chiropractic care vs. those not seeking care, and an assumed per-member, per-month cost savings of $40, leading to a total monthly savings of $1.2 million. Doing a little projecting of our own, that's a total annual savings of $14.4 million when a mere 1 million spinal patients utilize chiropractic care.


No Excuse Not to Exercise, Run In the Water

diet-for-love-handles If you can stand up or walk, or move your arm, or breath, you are a candidate for an exercise program.  I believe that anyone can exercise.  In my 12 years of patient care I have never heard an acceptable excuse.  Don't tell me you are too tired.  I don't want to hear about how it hurts.  Whatever your problem save it.  (Cue little violins…)

You can exercise.  If you can contract any muscle, you can exercise.  If you are bed ridden and can only move your eyes, you can exercise.  You see, exercise is simply taking the function that you do have and using it.  Then pushing the limits to improve that function.

If it is painful for you to walk because you have been carrying a lot of extra weight.  There’s good news…fat floats.  You can walk in a pool. 

A nice little study came out this week about exercise.  Researchers studied fifty-seven physically inactive, overweight, and obese men with an average age of 44.  These guys were randomly assigned to exercise three times per week for 12 weeks on either a treadmill or in a pool.  Body composition was measured and there was absolutely no difference between the two groups.

So throw off the excuses and move your body.

You may also like to read:

Source: Comparative Efficacy of Water and Land Treadmill