Spine Care Crisis: Can YODA Help?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Special to the Nugget

There is a crisis in spine care. Costly, dangerous procedures, today touted as the next magic solution, are tomorrow shown to have low effectiveness, or worse, to pose a threat to the systemic health of the patient.

And yes, YODA can help. Not the big-eared, short-statured wiseman-creature we know from Star Wars. This Yoda is the Yale Open Data Access initiative, which is an attempt to allow a look behind the scene of medical research on drugs and devices.

YODA resulted from the use of Bone Morphogenic Protein (BMP), a genetically derived ‘bone-product’ used to improve bone repair at spinal fusion sites.

This product was originally intended for limited use on very ill patients with poor bone healing. Instead, it has been widely used over the last decade, in one-quarter of all fusion cases. Eighty-five percent of the time, its use was “off-label”, meaning it was used for conditions it was not approved for.

BMPs use increases the cost of fusion surgeries by $15,000 or more. This on top of the fact that spinal fusion is “one of the more lucrative procedures in medicine”, according to Shannon Brownlee, author of “Over-treated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer”).

The initial application to the FDA for approval of BMP listed the side-effects patients are now experiencing, such as back and leg pain, inflammation, cancer, sterility and retrograde ejaculation.

Thirteen later studies of close to 800 people suspiciously showed no complications whatsoever. “That there were no adverse effects should have raised some eyebrows”, Eugene Carragee, MD a spine researcher, said.

It turns out the company producing BMP, Medtronics, had influenced the research. Each research paper written cost Medtronics 12 to 15 million dollars and each study had at least one researcher on Medtronic’s payroll.

Medtronic is to be commended, now, for releasing all research data. Hopefully YODA will help restore honesty to our “science” so it can again be trusted.

However, the entire thrust of this column is to shine light on how un-scientific most of our health care approaches are.

Science is first and foremost observation, and recognizes the fact that an organism has adapted to a certain lifestyle over millennia (e.g., sun exposure, contact with the earth, regular physical activity throughout the day with limited sitting, and of course no TV or processed food!). To make the radical changes to natural life patterns modern man has done, is to court disaster.

So, in the meantime, the same sage advice used in business works also in the “business of healthcare”: Buyer Beware.

Or, as the real Yoda might say, “Wary must the buyer be.”

Dr. Huntington practices Chiropractic, Biomedical Acupuncture and Physiotherapy in Oracle, Az. 520-896-9844 huntingtonchiro@hotmail.com.

John Huntington (41 Posts)

John Huntington is a local business owner in Oracle. He is a chiropractor with many years in the community. He writes a health related article in Pinal Nugget.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwitterby feather

Comments are closed.

  • Additional Stories

    Oracle Inn has new owner

    July 20th, 2017
    by

      The Oracle Inn Steakhouse is now under new ownership. The restaurant and bar has been an important part of […]


    Bighorn Sheep in Arizona

    July 20th, 2017
    by

    Jerry and I roll our four wheel drive vehicles across the rough and rocky road known as Telegraph Pass in […]


    Writer’s workshop offered at Rancho Linda Vista in Oracle

    July 13th, 2017
    by

      A writer’s workshop is being offered at Rancho Linda Vista in Oracle. The week-long workshop is being led by […]


    Traveling on Hawaiian Time: Hiking Diamond Head

    July 6th, 2017
    by

    When you think about Hawaii, one of the most recognized visual images you picture is Hawaii’s best-known land mark, Diamond […]


  • Additional Stories

    New Manager at Oracle State Park

    June 15th, 2017
    by

      Vince Micallef has been named the new manager of Oracle State Park. Vince has over 30 years experience in […]


    The Encaustic Art of Judith Walsh

    May 11th, 2017
    by

    Encaustic is a beeswax based paint containing oil paint or pigment. It has been traced back to the ancient Egyptians […]


    Genaro Moreno to perform at Oracle Center for the Arts

    May 4th, 2017
    by

      Oracle Piano Society is hosting a “Mexican Fiesta”  on May 7, 2017 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the […]


    Autistic artist featured as Artist of the Month at JJ’s A Gift Shop

    April 20th, 2017
    by

      April is National Autism Awareness Month. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal […]


  • Copperarea

  • [Advertisement.]
  • [Advertisement.]
  • [Advertisement.]
  • Southeast Valley Ledger