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 (43 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

    Local artists converge for special Holiday Art Market in Oracle

    November 20th, 2017
    by

      The Holiday Art Market is opening once again in Oracle for a limited time — Nov. 15 to Dec. […]


    Honoring Native American Veterans

    November 20th, 2017
    by

      November is Native American Heritage Month. It is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, histories […]


    Poetry reading held at Oracle State Park

    November 13th, 2017
    by

      Heidi Elizabeth Blankenship hiked the Arizona Trail from Mexico to Utah.   Inspired by the natural beauty of the […]


    Gary Every Explores The Apache Naichee Ceremony

    November 13th, 2017
    by

    The most important of Apache rituals is the Naichee ceremony, the female puberty initiation.  The four days of pageantry include […]


  • Additional Stories

    Suzie Daigneault’s Art for the Bees

    November 13th, 2017
    by

    According to the Sierra Club, there are more than 4,000 wild bee species native to North America and Hawaii. Many […]


    SASO to Present Beethoven’s Pastoral, Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto

    November 13th, 2017
    by

    TUCSON, AZ – Paraguay’s globe-trotting Diego Sánchez Haase will guest conduct the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra in a program showcasing […]


    Oracle Piano Society: Schubert: The Last Four Sonatas Concerts in Tucson and Oracle

    November 6th, 2017
    by

      The Endicott Players of Boston and Tucson, in association with The Oracle Piano Society, will present the last four […]


    Holiday Art Market to open Nov. 15

    November 6th, 2017
    by

       The Holiday Art Market in Oracle will be opening up again just in time for the Christmas holiday. There […]


  • Copperarea

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