Stanley Jeffers goes for the neck

The following was printed in the "Letters to the Editor" section of the Toronto Star Nov 3, 1999.

Dear Sir,

While I must congratulate the chiropractic community on their well orchestrated letter writing campaign (Letters, Star, October 27), I cannot congratulate them on the accuracy of their assertions.

In the 104 years of the existence of chiropractic not a single major university in the entire world has embraced it and I am hopeful that my university will not be the first.

J. Moss writes of "10 chiropractic programs worldwide that are based within the university system". This statement is quite misleading.

There are in fact only two universities in the entire English speaking Western world which has thousands of institutions of higher education that offer Doctorates in Chiropractic. These are the University of Glamorgan in the UK (misidentified as Bournemouth by D.Leprich, letter in the same issue) and the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.

Glamorgan has only existed as a university for 8 years being a conversion from a polytechnic. It was rated 96 out of 98 universities in the UK by the Times Higher Educational Supplement and has the dubious distinction of being the only university whose astronomy programme offers modules in UFO's and aliens.

The University of Bridgeport (enrollment 2300) entered into an agreement in the early 90's with an organization called Professors for World Peace whereby this organization appoints up to half of Bridgeport's Board of Governors in exchange for US$53 million. This organization is funded by the Rev. Moon and the Unification Church.

This is hardly evidence for J.Moss's claim that universities are embracing chiropractic. The last university in English speaking North America to embrace chiropractic was the troubled University of Bridgeport in 1990. Since then not a single university has followed their example.

Leprich's letter contains some very troublesome assertions. e.g "patients sue medical doctors about five times as often as chiropractors".

But doctors treat every aspect of the human body while chiropractors snap backs and necks. A more relevant comparison would be with medical doctors who administer spinal manipulations but we are not given that data.

Leprich implies that chiropractic will mature and become as accepted as has modern astronomy. No-one doubts that modern astronomy is solidly rooted in empirical data.

Why 104 years after its founding is York University holding a one day conference to address the question "Is chiropractic efficacious?"

Why is the US Government through its Office of Alternate Medicine currently funding programmes to study this very question?

Despite the assertions of Moss and Leprich chiropractic remains a very controversial field with many questionable practices and practitioners. It behooves the chiropractic profession to rid itself of these before any credible university should think of affiliating with them.

S.Jeffers, Associate Professor,
Department of Physics and Astronomy,
York University

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