|(c) Michael J. Summerville|
A new pilot (meaning a first time exploration, not a definitive conclusion) study conducted at the University of Chicago has shown a very specialized type of chiropractic called NUCCA to have potential for helping certain kinds of patients with high blood pressure to reduce their meds. The study randomized 50 patients with hypertension into 2 groups, one which received a NUCCA adjustment and the other that received a pretend (called sham) version. To keep it fair, no one involved in the study – patients, nurses, doctors, investigators - knew which patients would receive the real adjustment and which the sham. This is called blinding. The results of the study showed that those who received the real adjustment experienced a double digit change in their blood pressure (for the better). “The double digit change has the equivalent effect of taking 2 hypertensive medications together”, says the study’s principal investigator, Dr. George Bakris.
The theory behind the study is that by adjusting the very 1st vertebra, upon which the head sits (called the atlas), circulation in the arteries in the brainstem improves. In the medical literature the lack of circulation in these arteries has been linked to hypertension. NUCCA chiropractic, which has been around since the 1940s, specializes in adjusting only this very 1st vertebra.
The study’s principal investigator, Dr. George Bakris, Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of the Hypertensive Diseases Unit at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, calls the study and its results “novel”. He is in talks now with General Electric and the National Institute of Health to conduct a multi-center trial early 2008. Dr. Bakris told About.com, “if the results of the multi-center study are positive, there could be far reaching implications for a less invasive way to address high blood pressure in some patients”.