Blog | Thursday, May 31, 2012

Birds of a feather


I know, I know, I've been remiss in blogging about quackery. My infrequent ramblings have been more inward-focused lately. Sometimes, though, something comes across my desk that just blows me away and I must share it with you.

I recently came across this guy, a local "chiropractic neurologist" (it sounded bizarre but familiar, so I had to hunt down the skinny on this).

In my opinion, this guy's website is just screaming, "Watch out!" For one thing, the front page seems deceptive. It promotes "Dr. Roy Picard" without explicitly listing what kind of "doctor" he is. It's only one click away, but still, the implication is that he is a "regular" doctor (DO, MD). Given the range of conditions he says he treats, the confusion is understandable.

While the "official" scope of practice of chiropractors is a bit vague, it's hard to believe it includes "Hashimoto's Disease" and "Blood Sugar Imbalances." It's no secret that I don't believe chiropractors are qualified to treat anything, but they're best known for back pain. It's hard to see how a chiropractor could do anything useful for thyroid disease or glucose disorders. In my state, they aren't allowed to order lab tests except, "to measure the outcome of nutritional counseling or to determine the need to continue treatment or refer to another health care provider if a patient has not responded to treatment." How can you treat real thyroid disease like Hashimoto's without access to levo-thyroxine? How can you treat "blood sugar disorders" without access to the medications we use in conjunction with diet and exercise?

This guy's real focus, though, seems to be peripheral neuropathy, an often-painful condition seen in diabetes and other disorders. The website is vague about how he treats neuropathy, but given the limited tools available to chiropractors, it's hard to see what he could possibly do.

Much of the treatment of neuropathy is the treatment of the underlying disorder, such as diabetes. There is no amount of spine manipulation that can fix it. But for only $27, he will do an assessment to see if you would benefit from his therapy. I wonder how he decides who would benefit?

I get worried when I run across things like this.

Peter A. Lipson, ACP Member, is a practicing internist and teaching physician in Southeast Michigan. After graduating from Rush Medical College in Chicago, he completed his internal medicine residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. This post first appeared at his blog, White Coat Underground. The blog, which has been around in various forms since 2007, offers "musings on the intersection of science, medicine, and culture." His writing focuses on the difference between science-based medicine and "everything else," but also speaks to the day-to-day practice of medicine, fatherhood, and whatever else migrates from his head to his keyboard.