A “plethora” of evidence for chiropractice
h yes. The British Chiropractic Association has finally released the “plethora” of evidence that support their non-bogus treatments, and that put Simon Singh in his place. Indeed, BCA has produced an immense list of… 29 references*.
This vast amount of conclusive trials prove the efficacy of chiropractice for the conditions mentioned in Simon’s article beyond any doubt. One can understand why it took the BCA more than a year (after they chose to file a lawsuit instead of resolving a scientific and public health debate using -gasp!- science) to present their evidence: it was purely a matter of logistics! Someone (oh the hero) had to dig out and collect this abysmal number of references. I can imagine the endless hours spent in trying to order and arrange the list -presumably in order of importance (?)
Which makes the very first reference the most important piece of evidence that chiropractice is effective and safe. The Ace of Spades for the BCA; the mother of all evidences; the Optimus Prime of research pieces that completely thrashes Simon Singh’s unfounded claim. This masterpiece is none other than the General Chiropractic Council’s… code of practice!
Not much to discuss here really. This is a truly pathetic evidence base, as Prof. Colquhoun notes, that if anything, totally proves Simon’s point: there is no solid evidence to back up a practise that claims to treat potentially serious conditions… in babies! If you cannot realize the seriousness of this issues I suggest you have your head checked by a homeopath and your spine manipulated by a chiropractor…
The Lay Scientist has a great post up, destroying the BCA’s “plethora” of evidence and providing a plethora of references to other bloggers that were quick to dissect BCA’s document. It’s funny though to go through BCA’s list through the eyes of the Lay Scientist, to try and understand what they think constitutes good evidence in the arena of public health. So let’s do that, shall we?
We start with 29 references:
Of the 29 references, 1 is just the GCC’s code of practice; 6 is an irrelevent paper about medical ethics; 8, 9, 10 and 17 are about osteopathy; 26 is a description of evidence-based medicine; 27, 28 and 29 are about NSAIDs. That’s 10 down straight away, but what’s interesting about these is that 6 of them are just attacks on conventional medicine. In other words, this is not a particularly comprehensive or focused review of the literature.
We are down to 19 already.
A further three papers, (12, 13 and 14) cover the safety of chiropractic, which has come under considerable criticism. Curiously, this brief selection ignores the numerous studies showing an increased risk from chiropractic. 14 isn’t a study at all, 12 is considerably less bullish than the BCA suggest it is pointing to a significant number of side-effects “with a possible neurologic involvement”, and 13 provided stronger support (”We found no evidence of excess risk of VBA stroke associated chiropractic care compared to primary care.”), but should be taken in the context of the wider range of studies finding the opposite.
Down to 16 possibly relevant.