The principal investigator is Jeffrey Balon, DC, MD, a research fellow at CMCC. Medical collaborators include Drs. Malcolm Sears and Gerard Cox from the Firestone Chest and Allergy Clinic at St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. Co-investigators include CMCC researchers Peter Aker, DC, FCCS, and Edward Crowther, DC, FCCS, and LACC Research Administrator Clark Danielson, MPA. David Sackett, MD, a well known expert in clinical epidemiology at Oxford University, England will serve as a consultant.
The grant was made possible by a restricted donation of funds to the Consortium from the National Chiropractic Antitrust Committee spearheaded by Chester Wilk, DC. It will pay for a randomized double blind study of 100 patients, comparing chiropractic care to a placebo treatment, to ascertain whether children with chronic asthma can be helped by chiropractors. The outcome measures include indices of pulmonary function and quality of life.
In the United States, expenditures for asthma exceed $4 billion each year. A recent survey indicated that 11 percent of patients with pulmonary problems seek care from nonmedical practitioners, including chiropractic. In Australia, 30 percent of asthmatic families use chiropractic for treatment and report a satisfaction rate of 86.5 percent, virtually the same as for medical care.
Current medical care for asthma relies primarily on drugs that may cause unwelcomed side effects in some patients. Chiropractors, of course, espouse a system of management for asthma that is nonpharmacological in nature. However, well-controlled experimental trials of chiropractic care for asthma have not yet been done and chiropractic treatment for asthma remains controversial.
The Consortium for Chiropractic Research, has as its mission to promote collaborative research among its 33 member organizations, including 15 chiropractic colleges. In its short eight-year history, the Consortium has funded many important studies, including those by the RAND Corporation which found spinal manipulation to be appropriate care for common types of low back pain. Dr. William Meeker, president of the Consortium for Chiropractic Research, said the asthma study is expected to help delineate the role of chiropractic care in the management of pediatric asthmatics who are under concurrent medical care.
Editor's note: The Consortium for Chiropractic Research has its executive offices at Palmer College of Chiropractic West in San Jose, California. That address is: 90 East Tasman Drive, San Jose, California 95134.