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    Canadian Pediatric Society protests York University affiliation with the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College


    November 17, 1998

    Following a request from Dr. Michael DeRobertis, a professor of physics and astronomy at York University, the CPS sent this letter to be presented at a meeting at Norman Bethune College on November 20th. Dr. DeRobertis asked for support from the CPS in the science faculty's battle with the Senate at York University that had earlier in the year sanctioned an amalgamation with the CMCC.

    Dear Professor DeRobertis:

    Dr. Emmett Francoeur has asked me to reply on behalf of the Canadian Paediatric Society to your letter concerning a possible affiliation of York University with the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC). The CPS is deeply concerned with the possible impact that this affiliation may have on children's healthcare. In 1994, the Chairman of the Departments of Paediatrics of pediatric hospitals in Canada issued a statement on children and chiropractors, published in the Canadian Journal of Paediatrics. The CPS continues to endorse this statement. (I have taken the liberty of expanding on the abridged version given by Dr. Spigelblatt and have expanded the statement below as it first appeared.)

    Why the CPS does not approve of chiropractic care for children. References are available on request.

    • Chiropractic spinal adjustment is NOT required as a preventive therapy to maintain a child's health. Chiropractors advocate regular manipulation of the spine from birth to promote the healthy develpment of children. There is no scientific proof that these manipulations have any benefit.
    • Chiropractic care is not an alternative for pediatric immunizations. Pamphlets distributed to parents state that "Chiropractors have traditionally opposed immunization." Books sold at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto are anti-immunization in nature.
    • Chiropractic does NOT alter the course nor does it prevent in any way childhood illness such as ear infections, asthma attacks, bed-wetting or infantile colic. There are very few studies published in medical journals on the effect of chiropractic in either children or adults. However, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and conducted in part by the CMCC did not find any improvement using chiropractic in stable asthma children.
    • Chiropractic use of X-rays in children to diagnose so-called vertebral subluxations is unscientific and of no value whatsoever. Without any benefit to the child, these x-rays can contribute to the risk of cancers and genetic damage. Parents should never allow their children's spines to be x-rayed by a chiropractor.
    • There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that chiropractic spinal adjustments result in any correction of the child's spine. These adjustments are ineffective and useless.
    • School boards should not authorize, and parents should not allow their children to attend elementary school screening programs organized by chiropractors to detect scoliosis or any other postural deformities in children. Posture deformities such as scoliosis, kyphosis or unequal leg lengths are effectively treated by manipulation. In the great majority of instances, what a chiropractor may diagnose as scoliosis in a chiild, is in fact a minor variation of a perfectly normal spine.
    • Parents should regard with extreme scepticism claims made by other parents that their infants or children have been cured by chiropractic adjustments for such conditions such as: infantile colic, recurrent ear infections, learning disorders, asthma, chronic abdominal cramps or bedwetting. However well meaning, such personal testimony is unreliable and is not a substitute for scientific facts. Parents should read the June 1994 issue of Consumer Reports magazine in which the clear recommendation is made not to allow any chiropractor to solicit children for chiropractic treatment..
    • We understand the concern of parents in regard to ear infections, that they may feel their child has taken too many antibiotics or may require a surgical procedure. These concerns should not lead the parents to believe that chiropractic adjustments, which have the emotional appeal of being medication-free or "natural", are an altenative to what may very well be in the best overall interests of the child.
    • The CPS endorses the guidelines of the Orthopractic Manipulation Society International. These guidelines contain warnings about unscientific claims of treating pediatric conditions.

    Though uncommon, there have been serious neurological complications resulting from chiropractic manipulations in children. In addition, potentially life-threatening conditions may be misdiagnosed and effective treatment delayed whilst parents seek chiropractic care.

    Before any final decision on affiliation is reached, the CPS would encourage York University to fully explore and question the philosophy and teaching practices of the CMCC with regards to paediatric chiropractic. I hope that this letter has answered your query on the CPS position onthe validity of paediatric chiropractic care.


    Linda Spigelblatt, MDCM, FRCP(C)

    Director for Quebec

    Canadian Paediatric Society

    Dr. Murray Katz letter and comments about York University

    25 November 1998

    The Ontario Chiropractic Association officially states that babies should be examined by a chiropractor "as soon as possible after birth". Over 75% of all Ontario chiropractic association members were trained at the CMCC. This fact alone, plus their textbooks and notes would mean that chiropractors were taught these ideas about infants and children at CMCC.

    I would ask York officials if they agree with what the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College has been teaching?

    • Will York teach that babies right from birth have subluxations?
    • Will York teach that chiropractors can adjust these bones out of place?
    • Does York believe that these bones cause nerves to be pinched?
    • Are the Chiefs of Pediatrics of all the hospitals and the entire Canadian Pediatric Society wrong and the chiropractors right?

    What is York going to do about this? If they bring along the CMCC staff, you will get more of the same. Have they lined up qualified pediatricians to teach chiropractic theories of pediatric? How exactly are they going to change what Ontario chiropractors believe and make over $25 million dollars a year practicing on infants and children?

    It is not York that will change chiropractic. It is chiropractic that will change York.

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