Monday, June 11, 2007

Paying Less and Happy About It!

CAM-Oriented Primary Care Providers Result in Cost Savings, High Patient Satisfaction

Patients visiting chiropractors and other holistically-oriented physicians who serve as primary care physicians (PCPs) have lower utilization costs and higher patient satisfaction levels than patients treated by conventional medical doctors, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics that tracked data from a unique Independent Physicians Association (IPA) where chiropractors serve as first-contact, primary care physicians.
The recent report analyzes data from 2003 to 2005 and is a follow up to the original report published in 2004, which compared data from1999 to 2002.“Our most recent analysis supports earlier findings that patients visiting CAM-orientated primary care physicians (PCP) – primarily chiropractors – experienced fewer hospitalizations, underwent fewer surgeries and used considerably fewer pharmaceuticals than HMO patients who received traditional medical care,”Dr. Winterstein said. “Moreover, doctors of chiropractic succeeded in diagnosing and treating patients at a level nearly equal to medical doctors.”Researchers found that over the course of the seven-year study, patients visiting chiropractors and other CAM-oriented PCPs had 60 percent fewer hospitalizations, 62 percent fewer outpatient surgical cases, and 85 percent lower pharmaceutical costs when compared with total network HMO utilization rates and costs. The chiropractors and other CAM doctors treated and managed cases ranging from upper respiratory tract infections and allergies to headaches, orthopedic and other medical conditions. In 2005, the chiropractic PCPs managed 60 percent of their enrolled patients without requiring a referral to a conventional medical specialist. These data mirror the 2001 findings, which also demonstrated that 60percent of the patient population within the integrative IPA was solely managed by their chiropractic PCPs. “The most current data from our ongoing study suggests that doctors of chiropractic are well-suited to provide patients with valuable primary-care services,” Dr. Winterstein notes. “We have demonstrated that it is possible to deliver CAM-oriented primary care in a highly regulated environment without compromising either quality or safety.”Patients reported on the quality of care they received through the use of annual patient satisfaction surveys.

Dr. Zach's Comments:

  • Studies like these have been done in the past and have shown very similar results. Chiropractic Care, because of it's holistic nature and understanding of the body's ability to heal itself, shows time and again to both save you and the system more money.
  • Patients in our office often tell us how they have saved significantly more money on health care expenses when they participate in our wellness care program, but quite frankly I cannot take the credit. It's your body and it's God given ability to heal that deserves the accolades. When your body is given what it needs (sufficient nutrients, water, and exercise, a less toxic environment, and a clear nerve pathway), it can and will do amazing things.

The Anti-Cancer Effects of Vitamin D and Sunlight

The New Super-Vitamin

OMAHA, Neb., June 8 -- Most Americans and others are not taking enough vitamin D, a fact that may put them at significant risk for developing cancer, according to a landmark study conducted by Creighton University School of Medicine. The four-year, randomized study followed 1,179 healthy, postmenopausal women from rural eastern Nebraska. Participants taking calcium, as well as a quantity of vitamin D3 nearly three times the U.S. government's Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) for middle-age adults, showed a dramatic 60 percent or greater reduction in cancer risk than women who did not get the vitamin. The results of the study, conducted between 2000 and 2005, were reported in the June 8 online edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. "The findings are very exciting. They confirm what a number of vitamin D proponents have suspected for some time but that, until now, have not been substantiated through clinical trial," said principal investigator Joan Lappe, Ph.D., R.N., Creighton professor of medicine and holder of the Criss/Beirne Endowed Chair in the School of Nursing. "Vitamin D is a critical tool in fighting cancer as well as many other diseases."Other Creighton researchers involved in the study included Robert Recker, M.D.; Robert Heaney, M.D.; Dianne Travers-Gustafson, M.S.; and K. Michael Davies, Ph.D.
Research participants were all 55 years and older and free of known cancers for at least 10 years prior to entering the Creighton study. Subjects were randomly assigned to take daily dosages of 1,400-1,500 mg supplemental calcium, 1,400-1,500 mg supplemental calcium plus 1,100 IU of vitamin D3, or placebos. National Institutes of Health funded the study. Over the course of four years, women in the calcium/vitamin D3 group experienced a 60 percent decrease in their cancer risk than the group taking placebos. On the premise that some women entered the study with undiagnosed cancers, researchers then eliminated the first-year results and looked at the last three years of the study. When they did that, the results became even more dramatic with the calcium/vitamin D3 group showing a startling 77 percent cancer-risk reduction. In the three-year analysis, there was no statistically significant difference in cancer incidence between participants taking placebos and those taking just calcium supplements. Through the course of the study, 50 participants developed nonskin cancers, including breast, colon, lung and other cancers. Lappe said further studies are needed to determine whether the Creighton research results apply to other populations, including men, women of all ages, and different ethnic groups. While the study was open to all ethnic groups, all participants were Caucasian, she noted. There is a growing body of evidence that a higher intake of vitamin D may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of cancer, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases. Humans make their own vitamin D3 when they are exposed to sunlight. In fact, only 10-15 minutes a day in a bright summer sun creates large amounts of the vitamin, Lappe said. However, people need to exercise caution since the sun's ultraviolet B rays also can cause skin cancer; sunscreen blocks most vitamin D production. In addition, the latitude at which you live and your ancestry also influence your body's ability to convert sunlight into vitamin D. People with dark skin have more difficulty making the vitamin. Persons living at latitudes north of the 37th parallel -- Omaha is near the 41st parallel -- cannot get their vitamin D naturally during the winter months because of the sun's angle. Experts generally agree that the RDA** for vitamin D needs to be increased substantially, however there is debate about the amount. Supplements are available in two forms -- vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Creighton researchers recommend vitamin D3, because it is more active and thus more effective in humans.* Study participants came from the Nebraska counties of Douglas, Colfax, Cuming, Dodge, Saunders, Washington, Sarpy, Burt and Butler. ** RDA recommendations for vitamin D are 200 IU/d, birth-age 50; 400 IU/d, 50-70 years; and 600 IU/d, 70 years and older.

Dr. Zach's Comments:

  • Another study showing the outstanding health benefits of vitamin D. In fact, this vitamin and it's health effects have been highlighted extensively in the past year.

  • The key points of this research are important take home points. 1) Vitamin D is an essential vitamin if you want to maintain good health and quite possibly prevent cancer. 2) The most effective way to get vitamin D is through direct sunlight exposure to your skin(but not too much). 3) Sunblock prevents vitamin D production by skin.

  • Here in the Upper Midwest we cannot rely on the sun in the winter for our vitamin D intake, therefore we need supplementation. Our ancestors received their wintertime vitamin D from the animals they hunted and ate. We, however, cannot rely on our supermarket meats to give us much if any vitamin D.

  • My recommendation to you is a simple vitamin D3 supplement at 1000 iu. It's an inexpensive way to assure your health. Cod Liver Oil also has natural vitamin D (usually 400 iu), and between the two you will have the same dosage as was reported in the study.

  • I do not recommend supplementing more than 1000 iu in the summer, however unless under the guidance of a health care professional. Try to get most of your summertime vitamin D through moderate sun exposure as this is the most beneficial way, and supplement your diet with Cod Liver Oil which usually contains about 400 iu vitamin D. Vitamin D can become toxic at high levels. The most common sign is nausea.