July 8, 2017

The Science Babe is Neither Scientist Nor Babe: She’s Bullshit

By chirosushi In Chiropractic Pop Culture, Chiropractic Success, News, Opinion

Guest Post by Dr. Sean Gaffney

A Chiropractor Replies to “Chiropractic is Bullshit.”

The first time I encountered Yvette d’Entremont was when she wrote a blog for that esteemed, peer-reviewed scientific journal, Gawker, entitled “The Food Babe Blogger is Full of Shit.” The Food Babe is Vani Hari. According to Vani, her mission is: “To empower individuals to take back control of their health and become their own food investigator.” Given some of the well documented, nefarious things the food industry has been guilty of in the past, I was curious to see just how wrong the Food Babe could possibly be. Hello, bait? Click!

Yvette begins her blistering assault of this tofu touting know-nothing with an argument from authority. She lists her credentials: “I am an analytical chemist with a background in forensics and toxicology. Before working full-time as a science writer and public speaker, I worked as a chemistry professor, a toxicology chemist, and in research analyzing pesticides for safety.” She then throws shade at Hari by saying, “She quit her job as a consultant, attended Google University and transformed herself into an uncredentialed expert in everything she admittedly can’t pronounce. Slap the catchy moniker “Food Babe” on top, throw in a couple of trend stories and some appearances on the Dr. Oz show, and we have the new organic media darling.”

Not one for self-awareness, Yvette would soon go on to do the same thing she disparaged. With the success of her Food Babe blog post came a feature in the LA Times, a racy photoshoot, and a new found identity as the “edgy” science blogger, the Science Babe.

Helping science become “relatable and sexy” since 2014. Edgy, brah

In her response to the Gawker article, the Food Babe questions Yvette’s credentials, noting that her tenure as a chemistry professor was actually an assistant teaching gig that lasted less than a year at her alma mater, Emmanuel College. She has never published a scientific paper nor conducted any scientific research of note. She has a bachelor’s degree in theater and chemistry, with a master’s in forensic science. She essentially has the same credentials as every Uber driver from India you’ve ever had. Her last known actual science related job was as a chemical analyst for Amvac, a company which specializes in keeping dangerous pesticides on the market just long enough to make a profit off them

Also not a fan of the Science Babe

The Science Babe’s lack of any substantive background in either health science or healthcare hasn’t prevented her from writing extensively on topics ranging from the epipen to cancer. None of these posts, however, would garner the same level of notoriety she would earn herself after that one time she, like, totally OWNED the Food Babe. If only there was a health topic controversial enough to bring her back into relevance. Oh wait, there is.

Yvette entitles her latest academic treatise, “Chiropractors are Bullshit,” not to be confused with her other groundbreaking missives: The Incomplete List of Bullshit Websites or the Bullshit Proof Diet (patent pending). In her latest quest for page views, Yvette sets her myopic anti, anti-vaccine sights on the chiropractic profession.

Few topics in healthcare elicit such passionate responses as chiropractic. I should know. I’m a chiropractor who has been in private practice for the past 10 years. During that time I’ve pretty much heard it all. To some we are life changing miracle workers; to others we are health care hucksters, peddling bullshit to separate you from your money. Whether you are one of the 35 million Americans who saw a chiropractor last year or an unemployed chemical analyst who tweets sassy memes all day, chances are you already have an opinion of my profession.

Ooooooh! Let’s hope science can create a salve capable of soothing that BURRRRRRRRRN!

I’m not gonna lie, I was a little hurt when I learned that I dedicated the last 20 years of my life pursuing and practicing “bullshit.” Having to learn about it on Joe Rogan’s twitter feed was even more soul crushing. I was a huge fan of his work on Fear Factor. The keyword here being was. #TeamLuda

Several weeks ago on his podcast, Joe was asked a direct question about his opinion of chiropractors. Joe answered by saying he thought they were “bullshit.” He relayed his experience with chiropractic and why he felt the way that he did. That’s why people tune in to his show. Joe is genuine and people relate to that. That’s why I tune into his show. Well, used to anyway. Looks like I’m a Monday Morning podcast guy now.

Bill Burr — the only comedian qualified to discuss chiropractic on a podcast (5/29/16)

Weeks later the Science Babe crawls out of a hole and vomits out her latest Pulitzer candidate coincidentally titled, “Chiropractors are bullshit.” Worst of all, Rogan retweeted this steaming pile of horse shit and actually gave some legitimacy to it. God dammit, Joe. Can’t you see this was a setup from the get go? Confirmation bias is a mother fucker.

Joe’s comments didn’t bother me at all. What bothers me is that he actually had this dunce on his show and provided her with a platform to engage millions of people about a topic she knows nothing about. If Joe wants to round up all the kids Yvette claims we’re crippling and do a week’s worth of podcasts about chiropractic, I will personally fly out there and wheel them into the studio. Just please, please, do not have this dope on your show.

Help me Young Jamie! You’re my only hope! Toss your man an Alpha Brain

With her name now back in the spotlight for a few seconds, Yvette has been on a twitter tirade, gloating at how angry she made all those stupid chiropractic people. She smugly looks down upon these intellectual weaklings. Their “anecdotes” are no match for her cold, hard scientific facts.

Be careful what you wish for, babe. There might just be some maniac out there who possesses that perfect trifecta of a 5-day weekend, knowledge on a subject matter that FAR supersedes yours, and a real intolerance for bullies claiming to be experts on the interwebs. I just hope that my quack brain doesn’t implode after being exposed to all that science you queefed out.

Yvette’s opener is that she once met a chiropractor at a kiosk in the mall, therefore he must be full of shit. No real doctor would need to be out soliciting patients.

As a young practitioner starting out in my own private practice I was forced to do my own marketing. I was also forced to answer my own phones, submit my own insurance claims, and wipe my own ass. Unfortunately you can’t just open up a business and expect people to come in droves. You actually have to go out and do things to let them know you’re there.

During those early years, I would regularly set up a booth at any community event that would allow me to. At these events I would do posture analysis, talk to people about their musculo-skeletal complaints, and give out free chair massages. I rubbed more sweaty, fat backs than a towel boy in a gay bath house. You know who usually had the booth next to me at these events? Hospitals.

“Your hospital is bullshit” — Science Babe

They were giving out information on mammograms, preventative medicine, and whatever else they could to get patients into their facility. While I can’t recall meeting any surgeons or oncologists at these events, I certainly met plenty of their marketing people. I also met plenty of dentists, optometrists, mental health counselors, and a lot of other really nice people who actually work in a clinical healthcare environment and treat real live patients. Thank heavens there were no unemployed chemical analysts there to shame us.

Yvette uses a broad stroke to paint a profession of over 100,000 providers with anecdotal evidence about the online behavior of 3 of them.

I’m just gonna go ahead and assume this is that “statistical significance” thing I keep hearing those brainiac science types talk about.

Yvette doesn’t like chiropractors using social media to promote their own self interest

Keep up with all the other things Yvette doesn’t know jack shit about by following her on Twitter @SciBabe

2017 National Atheist Convention Headliners– Séance!

Want Yvette to come to your town and spout bullshit live and in person? You’re in luck.

Contact: rflutie@flutieent.com to book her for speaking engagements. Act fast, the 2017 Atheist Convention season is right around the corner and her schedule is filling up fast!

Yvette says chiropractic is 19th century buffoonery created at séances and that it hasn’t evolved at all since it’s inception

People like Dr. P. Michael Leahy may disagree with that. Dr Leahy is a chiropractor who invented the Active Release Technique over 30 years ago. Come to think of it, maybe it did appear to him after a séance. I’m gonna have to go back and fact check that. Eh, why bother? The Science Babe certainly didn’t.

Active Release is a deep tissue therapeutic technique used to reduce adhesions in soft tissue, thereby reducing pain, increasing range of motion, and significantly decreasing recovery time from athletic injuries. It has been taught to over 10,000 providers worldwide, including medical doctors, chiropractors, athletic trainers, and physical therapists. It is utilized by athletes at the highest level of competition, from the NFL to the NBA and even to the US Olympic Committee.

“Men’s 4×400 relay is bullshit” — Science Babe

If you are wondering why an organization like the US Olympic Committee would allow 19th century buffoonery into their medical facilities, it’s because our people took that shit over years ago. Legend has it that an elite, core group of chiropractic illuminati went up to Bohemian Grove and séanced so hard that the Olympics called the next day and named Dr. William Moreau the Managing Director of Sports Medicine for the entire United States Olympic Committee. That’s right. We own it, bitches. Never underestimate the power of a good, old fashioned séance.

Another possible explanation for this is that the people who actually work with athletes on a regular basis see the benefits of chiropractic first hand and want competent, knowledgeable leadership. But that’s all anecdotal anyway, which at this point is still light years ahead of anything Yvette has offered. But since science is the topic of the day here’s some studies on it too.

Yvette says chiropractic treatments cause strokes, disc herniations, and death. Citation: People magazine

You know what else has been shown to cause those things? Medicine and sex. Where’s your scintillating exposé on those two hot button issues?

If what she says is true, how is it that my profession survived this long? More importantly, why is my malpractice insurance premium so low? If chiropractors are out there recklessly maiming everyone they touch why in the hell would any insurance actuary take a gamble on us? Probably because chiropractors rarely get sued for malpractice. Kinda flies in the face of Yvette’s opening salvo, but here’s a table I found to do battle with her scientific “hunch.” I believe her people call this “data.”

If chiropractors are haphazardly maiming people, why does the data from independently conducted patient satisfaction surveys continue to give the profession some of the highest scores in all of health care? Do these people like being hurt? Maybe I’m doing this whole data thing wrong. Let’s move on.

Yvette says chiropractic hasn’t evolved like other areas of medicine and lacks research

The Evolution of Chiropractic Research

Hold up. We may actually agree on something. The lack of large scale, peer reviewed, case-controlled studies within our profession is a legitimate issue. That’s not to say that research doesn’t exist. Websites like chiro.org have a vast collection of chiropractic research studies for people to scroll through. It is undeniable, however, that the volume of valid data is nowhere near that of our traditional medical counterparts.

Contrary to Yvette’s assumptions, it’s not because chiropractors are too busy jerking each other off around the séance table to “science.” It’s because quality case-controlled studies are expensive, like really expensive. In 2012 alone, the United States spent over $161 billion dollars on medical and health research. The majority of that money (53%) came from private industries like pharmaceutical and medical device companies. 31% of that money was paid for by the federal government, and the additional 16% of that came from other sources like Universities and charitable donations.

The pharmaceutical industry is not in any rush to share the record breaking profits they made robbing taxpayers and seniors so there goes that first 53% of the pie.

While the federal government does contribute to chiropractic research, the bulk of our research funding comes from chiropractic schools and private donations. Things like that allow researchers like Heidi Haavik to continue her work. Heidi is a neurophysiologist and chiropractor in New Zealand. She studies the effects that chiropractic adjustments have on somatosensory processing, sensorimotor integration and motor cortical output. I don’t know what any of those things are but they certainly sound measurable and sciencey.

Some learning institutions, like the University of Toronto, have even begun working with local chiropractic colleges on research. Yvette’s friends over at ScienceBasedMedicine did a whole write-up on it. They’re not fans. They seem to think that because something is unfounded and not backed by valid scientific research, we shouldn’t research it. Sound scientific thinking. Now I see where she gets it.

In terms of federal government spending, Palmer College of Chiropractic recently received a $7m grant from the Department of Defense to research chiropractic care for active duty military. The Department of Veteran Affairs has even gone as far as placing chiropractors in 50 VA hospitals across the country. That’s right, we own that shit too!

“Thank you for your service, but you’re bullshit!”

One of the moles our sorcerers implanted into the US Military is Dr. Howard Wasdin. He was a member of Seal Team Six. He was involved in a helicopter crash in Somalia which came to be known as the “Black Hawk Down” incident. He was awarded a Purple Heart and a Silver Star Award for the heroics he displayed that day. Unfortunately, the injuries he sustained would put an end to his active duty military career. He found chiropractic so helpful he pursued it as a profession. He currently runs his own chiropractic clinic in Georgia. Rumor has it that a movie about his life is being made starring Vin Diesel. Can you imagine the power we will hold once we get our greasy paws into that hunk of man meat? Bring it on, Hollywood!

Yvette’s panties, emblazoned ironically to commemorate the Great Food Babe Slaughter of 2015

Nothing gets Yvette’s panties in a bunch like non-evidence based medicine. If I have any hope of working in health care after her “science based” evisceration of my profession, I figured I should look into it

Evidence based medicine is an approach to medical practice that was implemented in the early 90’s. It was intended to optimize decision making by emphasizing the use of evidence from well designed and well conducted research. It ranks various treatment options based on the amount of data that supports them, as well as recommendation to implement them. The ranking system looks like this:

Evidence grade:

  • I (High): the described effect is plausible, precisely quantified, and not vulnerable to bias
  • II (Intermediate): the described effect is plausible but is not quantified precisely or may be vulnerable to bias.
  • III (Low): concerns about plausibility or vulnerability to bias severely limit the value of the effect being described and quantified.

Recommendation grade:

  • A (Recommendation): there is robust evidence to recommend a pattern of care
  • B (Provisional Recommendation): on balance of evidence, a pattern of care is recommended with caution
  • C (Consensus Opinion): evidence being inadequate, a pattern of care is recommended with caution

So, the highest ranking a particular treatment can have would be a 1A, meaning there is robust evidence to recommend a pattern of care and a general consensus within the community that the treatment is effective. Let’s see if we can find a study to show how this all works.

How about this one which analyzes the treatment plans endorsed and used by the American College of Cardiology as well as the American Heart Association. Now here we have some real doctors acting on real science. I’ll bet you none of these guys ever had to shamefully choke back tears while rubbing a stranger’s fat rolls in their mall kiosk.

The study found that out of 2711 treatment options analyzed, only 11% had an Evidence level of A, meaning they were backed by substantial research. Only 19% of those with Evidence level A were also given a ranking of 1, meaning there was a general consensus within the profession that this was the best course of treatment. 48% of all treatments analyzed had an evidence level of C, meaning there was little evidence to back them up. They were mostly derived by expert opinion. Problem with that is, sometimes that expert opinion can be bought and paid for.

Lucky for me, people don’t really expect the “sham” treatment they receive at the mall to be backed by evidence, but the guy cutting into your chest? That sounds cray-cray!

I imagine that the Science Babe and others like her would be foaming at the mouth right now accusing me of “cherry picking” data to make a point. They would be correct. Apparently this type of behavior is par for the course within the sanctified world of “evidence based medicine.”

Manipulating scientific data is a pretty common occurrence in the world of evidence based medicine. Dr. Richard Horton, Editor-in-chief of the Lancet, published a statement declaring that as much as half of all published research is unreliable at best, if not completely false. When people rely on that data to design treatments, things can go wrong. Like that one time Avandia caused 100,000 heart attacks, strokes, and deaths, or that other time when Vioxx killed anywhere from 27,000 to 500,000. Ah well, can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, right? The benefits of this system must show some significant improvement in healthcare since it was implemented. According to this study, not really. But I did find some data that shows a few major shifts that have taken place.

Hmmmm, now if I was a “skeptic” who got all chubbed up over data the way that the Science Babe and those nerds at ScienceBasedMedicine did, I might look at this and say that “Evidence Based” medicine is bullshit that actually kills people while lining the pockets of pharmaceutical companies. But alas, I am not. I am but a lowly chiropractor.

Yvette can’t understand how any child could possibly benefit from chiropractic. She asks if anyone has ever heard a third grader complain about their back.

I’m gonna go ahead and assume Yvette doesn’t have kids. If she did she would know that third graders complain about everything. They’re annoying. As to why they might have back pain, I dunno. Maybe this?

Yvette says chiropractors routinely administer Stone Cold Stunners to children. These adjustments hurt and kill. She’s got the science to back it up.

Dr. Kenny Omega demonstrates a typical pediatric chiropractic adjustment

Well this is awkward. Up until this point our industry has been able to keep a lid on this. Yes, it’s true. For years chiropractors have been satiating their lust for blood by violently ripping spines out of children. Like most things in our profession, it all started with a séance.

The thing that surprises me the most about this claim is that for the first time ever in this lazy, horribly researched, factually inaccurate pile of cow shit, Yvette FINALLY links to an actual scientific study involving chiropractic. Not only that, but this one proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that chiropractic adjustments FUCK KIDS UP!

Since I’m not really a man of science I’ll skip right to the conclusion. It reads “Serious adverse events may be associated with pediatric spinal manipulation; neither causation nor incidence rates can be inferred from observational data. Conduct of a prospective population-based active surveillance study is required to properly assess the possibility of rare, yet serious, adverse events as a result of spinal manipulation on pediatric patients.”

Uhhhhhhh, can I get an assist here? My feeble, non-science brain can’t comprehend what I just read. Thankfully the Science Babe has already taken the time to write an entire blog post about correlation and causation right here. She says that correlation does not necessarily mean causation. In other words, a small percentage of children who were adjusted by a chiropractor experienced health issues, and some of them were serious. There is no evidence that the adjustments actually caused these health issues, but that doesn’t stop this thunder dunce from saying, “There are well-documented case studies of children being severely injured by chiropractic.” I suppose technicalities like this only matter when they support Yvette’s argument.

I wonder if this is the same type of science Yvette used to decide which chemicals were safe to spray around kids. If it is I would like to thank her right now. It gets tiring having to find a new child every time I want to pop a head off. Now I can just relocate my practice near a farm spraying Yvette’s approved chemicals.

Yvette lazily botches the origin story of chiropractic

According to Yvette, Harvey Lillard was a janitor who worked for local magnetic healer, DD Palmer. Harvey somehow hurt his back and it caused his hearing to go out. Palmer adjusted his back into place and his hearing came back. Chiropractic was born!

On the surface this story is so patently absurd that it has to be bullshit, right? As Yvette so kindly points out, there aren’t even any nerves in the back that affect hearing. Duh.

Or perhaps the Food Babe needs to help Yvette enroll in some of those classes at Google University because a quick search reveals Harvey Lillard actually injured his neck, not his back. As legend actually has it, DD Palmer adjusted his neck and his hearing was restored.

Admittedly, this story still reeks of horse shit. Who has ever heard of a neck injury causing deafness? Apparently the folks over at the Journal of Otology and Neurotology have. Those dum dums are still investigating the link between acute neck injuries and sudden onset hearing loss.

Didn’t they get the memo? The Science Babe shut the door on that shit last week. Case closed. Thanks Science Babe!

Joe Rogan would throw more bullshit on the fire during his discussion with renowned chiropractic historian, Sargon of Akkad, on E979 of the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Joe claims that BJ Palmer ran over his father to take over the lucrative business of quackery. He found this out during his “research,” which I’m guessing was the Science Babe’s article and someone tweeting a Wikipedia link to him. As we all know, Wikipedia is rarely wrong about anything.

The passing of DD Palmer led to a fairly messy estate dispute between the executor of his will, Joy M. Loban, and DD Palmer’s son, BJ Palmer. Loban had filed civil charges against BJ in the amount of $50,000. During the course of that case, Loban had also asked for an indictment against BJ on the ground of criminal negligence in the death of his father. According to this very detailed account, the matter was brought before two grand juries. The second time around, the jury dismissed this complete and utter bullshit, even threatening to investigate Loban for fabricating claims with personal self-gain as her motivating factor. If that cited account isn’t enough for you, here’s DD Palmer’s actual death certificate, listing cause of death as Typhoid Fever

Jamie, bring up that death certificate

Yvette claims the Palmer School of Chiropractic has an acceptance rate of 100%

Kim Jong Un and Dennis Rodman marry in secret ceremony.

You know that feeling you get when you see something online that just can’t possibly be true? That’s how I felt when I read this. I mean, even community colleges turn down a handful of drooling mouth breathers every year, right? I decided to fact check Yvette by googling “Palmer College Acceptance Rate.” You can imagine my surprise when the first result that came back said 100%.

Fuck! Really? Had I known Palmer was a lock I wouldn’t have wasted all that time coloring inside the lines on my applications to other chiropractic schools.

But wait a minute. Palmer College has three campuses around the country and offers multiple graduate and undergraduate programs. How do I know that this is the acceptance rate for their chiropractic program specifically? Could the Science Babe have taken a shortcut to get out of actual research? No way. She’s a woman of science.

If I was gonna get to the bottom of this I would need to up my research game to match hers. I needed to be willing to dig deeper and go harder than she possibly could. After taking a deep breath, I scrolled to the bottom of the page, threw caution to the wind, and explored the uncharted territory of “PAGE 2.”

Turns out this page lists the acceptance rate at 44%. A far cry from 100%, but a bit more in line with the acceptance rate of other chiropractic schools, like Life University in Marietta, GA, which has an acceptance rate of 57.1%, and Northwestern Health Science University which has an acceptance rate of 56%. Interestingly enough, every single chiropractic school I found was still harder to get into than Emmanuel College, which boasts an acceptance rate of 78%. My opinion of their most famous alumni, Nancy Kerrigan, just went down a notch.

Nancy Kerrigan after learning she was rejected from all but one of the schools she applied to.

I’m gonna go ahead and assume that Yvette didn’t actually reach out to Palmer for their official admission statistics because it doesn’t look like she did fuck all for the rest of this article. I went ahead and took the liberty of doing so for both of us. Unfortunately it’s a holiday weekend, but as soon as I hear back I will be happy to update.

While we’re on the topic of chiropractic college admission, Yvette also neglected to mention that admission requires at least 90 credit hours, with most chiropractic colleges requiring bachelor’s degrees. They also require you to take the pre-med sequence of basic sciences. That means that every chiropractor has taken at least 6 semester hours in biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. This is why most of us pursue undergraduate degrees in science related fields. Before turning my back on science for the lucrative payday of quackery, I actually obtained a Bachelors of Science in Biology from the State University of NY at Albany (Acceptance rate — 56%) Unfortunately I wasn’t talented enough for their theater program so I had to settle for a minor in Performance Aerobics.

Yvette Dives into Subluxation Theory

As a profession, chiropractic has its fair share of discord. This is a legitimate issue. At the heart of this century old conflict is the term “subluxation.” For those of you interested in learning about the history of the term and its use within health care, click here. For those of you who are readers of Yvette and don’t like to click, think, or explore perspectives other than your own, I will summarize for you

Acording to DD Palmer, there was a vital life energy floating through all of us that caused our nerves to vibrate like strings of a guitar. He theorized that segments of the spine could slide out of place, adjusting the tension of those nerves, and essentially “de-tuning” them, causing problems in the organs that they innervate.

It was actually his son and, according to Joe Rogan, patricidal conman, BJ Palmer, who put forth the theory that Yvette incorrectly attributes to DD. BJ Palmer believed that a vital life force flowed from our brain, down through the spinal cord, and out to all parts of the body. His theory was that when vertebrae came out of alignment they would narrow the forminal openings that the nerve roots exited from. This created mechanical pressure on the nerve roots and interrupted the flow of mental impulses between the brain and body.

Wacky? Perhaps. But is it really any wackier than other metaphysical concepts like chi in Chinese, Ki in Japanese, and Prana in Hindu and yoga?

“You’re all bullshit” — Science Babe

Yvette wonders how these magnetic healing quacks could ever detect this made up subluxation

“Though x-ray imaging was discovered the same year as the inception of chiropractic, it’s highly doubtful that the magnetic healer Daniel Palmer would have had access to such a highly advanced technological breakthrough, and thus he identified subluxations through, well, séance science.” — Science Babe

BJ Palmer, pictured here with one of the first X-ray machines ever made — Palmer College campus, 1910. No, seriously. It really is

In 1903, three of Palmer’s original students branched off and opened their own chiropractic school. It was called the American School of Chiropractic. These three students would work together to create the first ever text book for the chiropractic profession. It was a two volume set known as Modernized Chiropractic.

Around this same time the medical practice of osteopathy was also in its infancy. Pioneers in that field were also using the term “subluxation.” They saw it as the result of pressure applied by muscles to the blood vessels coursing through or around them, thereby shutting off the vital nutritional life force of the involved tissue. Defending one or the other of these concepts of subluxation became a matter of principle and an indication of one’s allegiance to one’s chosen profession. These competing schools of thought didn’t know it yet, but fate had already set the wheels in motion for an epic showdown.

The year was 1907. What a year it was. The primary issue in those days was the illegal entry of Chinese and Japanese laborers into the U.S. and its territories. There was a growing undercurrent of prejudice toward all Orientals. This was partly due to new immigration laws, and partly due to a strong influence on the public’s perception; i.e — race-baiting by some segments of the American press. I know what you’re thinking. Thank God that could never happen today.

A local newspaper in La Crosse, WI was doing a story on a potential war between Japan and America. They reached out to the local chiropractor, Dr. Shegataro Morikubu, for his perspective as a Japanese American. They asked Morikubu if he thought there would be war. He told them that he hoped there wouldn’t be. When asked if Japan would defend itself against America he befuddedly answered, “Yes.” That was all the court of public opinion needed. They had a traitor on their hands and that slope needed to be dealt with.

Two weeks later that same publication would run the headline, “JAP CHIROPRACTOR ARRESTED TODAY! Charged with Practicing Without a License. JAP will test State Law.” Morikubu was not only a chiropractic pioneer, he was also the first Asian American doctor to receive the United Airlines treatment.

Never one to avoid drama, BJ Palmer and his fledgling chiropractic community put their differences aside and traveled to LaCrosse to rally behind their man. Palmer and his attorneys argued that Morikubu was not practicing medicine because chiropractic was a separate and distinct art, science, and philosophy from traditional medicine. It was during the course of this trial that the chiropractic term “subluxation” began to delineate from the traditional medical definition. In order to prove that chiropractic was indeed separate and distinct, defense lawyers entered the two volume textbook, Modern Chiropractic, into evidence. The authors of Modern Chiropractic did not describe subluxation as a static displacement of bone, but an aberrant motion of spinal segments. They stated:

When a vertebral joint is normal it is capable of a certain definite field of motion over which its articular surfaces travel in performing the various movements to which it is subjected. Having as it does a circumscribed field of motion it must also have a center of motion, and when subluxation occurs it may be likened to a wheel, the hub of which is not in the center.

They further went on to say:

We are in hopes that the publication of this work will clear away the false conceptions which have hitherto been entertained regarding subluxations, not only by Chiropractors but also by the other schools believing in subluxation as the cause of disease.

So contrary to Yvette’s “science,” the first ever chiropractic textbook explicitly moved away from the theories she claims “all” chiropractors adhere to. And they did it to separate themselves from that wacky bullshit the osteopaths were up to.

The Palmers were not particularly thrilled with this definition, but they went along with it because the fate of a man’s life was at stake. It took the jury 25 minutes to agree with the defense in the case. Morikubu was set free and chiropractic was now a separate and distinct profession in the eyes of the law.

The trial of 1907 would set off a rift within the profession that still lingers today. Some practitioners adhered to Palmer’s belief that a subluxation is a static displacement of a vertebrae that narrows the vertebral foramina, applies mechanical pressure to the nerves exiting the spinal cord, and interrupts the flow of mental impulses throughout the body.

Others moved towards the concepts presented in the Modern Chiropractic textbook.They see the subluxation as an aberrant motion of the spine. They see their goal as restoring that range of motion in a palpable, measurable way.

Today the World Health Organization defines the subluxation as a “lesion or dysfunction in a joint or motion segment in which alignment, movement integrity and/or physiological function are altered, although contact between joint surfaces remains intact. It is essentially a functional entity, which may influence biomechanical and neural integrity.” This is the way it is taught today and most chiropractors practice in a manner consistent with restoring motion to segments of the spine that are not moving properly. In addition to adjustments they also use soft tissue techniques like Active Release, myofascial release, dynamic stretching, and active rehabilitation exercises to help the body heal naturally.

While Yvette tries her damndest to paint the chiropractic profession as a bunch of lunatics who desperately cling to some metaphysical, magical concept of health, that is simply not reality. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely chiropractors who still adhere to the BJ Palmer theory of subluxation, and do believe that subluxations have an impact on nerve conduction that potentially alters organ function, but they are not the majority of chiropractors practicing today. How do I know this? Because unlike Yvette, I actually went to chiropractic school and know chiropractors. If she bothered to do 10 minutes of research she would know it as well. But as we are learning:

The lack of uniformity within the profession is a problem. We’re all well aware of it. Considering it’s been going on for 100+ years I’m guessing it’s gonna take someone with actual knowledge of the profession and a bit more brain power than Yvette to solve it for us. Thanks anyway, babe.

Chiropractic has always had its share of detractors. Pioneers in the field were routinely arrested and prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license. This would go on all the way up until 1987, when a US District Court Judge ruled against the American Medical Association and said, “Cut the shit, assholes.”

I’m paraphrasing here. What the ruling actually said was that the AMA had engaged in a “lengthy, systematic, successful and unlawful boycott” designed to restrict cooperation between MDs and chiropractors in order to eliminate the profession of chiropractic as a competitor in the United States health care system. They were ordered to stop.

Yvette’s heroes over at ScienceBasedMedicine have a different take on it. While they acknowledge that the AMA acted a little inappropriately with their decades long campaign to make the chiropractic profession go away, they believed it was for the greater good of keeping people away from dangerous quacks like us.

Speaking of ScienceBasedMedicine, I ran a search on their site for “chiropractic.” Unsurprisingly I found an endless array of articles prominently featuring the words “dangerous” and “quackery” in their titles. Just for shits and giggles I decided to run a search for “opioids.” Despite having all the appropriate research behind them and being the treatment option of choice for low back pain pain in the traditional, evidence based, medical community, they somehow still managed to create an epidemic that has killed approximately 183,000 Americans in the past 16 years. I was curious to see what those brave warriors in the fight against dumb-fuckery had to say about that. Interestingly enough, nothing related to the epidemic came up.

If I was really interested in protecting the public from dangerous healthcare practices I would probably focus a little more of my energy on the things that are actually killing people and a little less on chiropractors. But hey, that’s just me.

Author Note: To ensure this type of thing doesn’t happen in the future, I have registered the domain chirobabe.com. My mission is to protect the public from factually incorrect advice given by people with no medical background. I will be sure to keep an eye on all future Science Babe articles and comment as I see fit.

About the Author:

Dr. Gaffney grew up in the Poughkeepsie, NY area. He received his Bachelors Degree in Biology from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. While there he suffered an injury to his mid-back. He went to see a local chiropractor and received tremendous relief from his symptoms. As a result he decided to enroll in Sherman College of Chiropractic. Upon graduation, he went to Lake Charles, LA to continue his post-doctorate study and practice in a large, clinical setting. In 2006, he moved to South Carolina, where he currently resides in Mt. Pleasant. He is trained in diversified, Gonstead, and activator techniques.

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