Checkup Medical Column for April 13

An Australian study has found chiropractors attracted more complaints than physiotherapists and osteopaths between 2011 to 2016.

A weekly round-up of news affecting your health


Chiropractors attract up to six times more complaints than physiotherapists, according to new research.

However it was a small number of practitioners who accounted for the bulk of the complaints.

A University of Melbourne study, published in Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, analysed all formal complaints about registered chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists in Australia between 2011 to 2016.

The overall complaint rate for the three professions was eight per 1000 practice years.

The chiropractors' rate (29) was three times higher than osteopaths (10) and six times higher than physiotherapists (5).

But most chiropractors had no complaints, just 1.3 per cent faced more than one complaint and accounted for almost 36 per cent of the profession's total complaints.

"Clearly the small group of practitioners who are the subject of more than one complaint (70 out of 5450) are having a significant impact on the complaints rate for chiropractors," said lead author Dr Anna Ryan.

"Understanding more about this group so that they can be helped to meet their regulatory obligations appears to be a key first step in responding to these data," said Dr Ryan.


A major study has found controlling asthma through appropriate monitoring and medication is among several variables that can affect whether someone develops chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in later life.

The University of Melbourne-led study, published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, was the world's first to characterise lung function trajectories that could lead to COPD in a large general population from early childhood into the sixth decade.

The researchers identified six trajectories. Of the six, three led to COPD, which is a range of conditions that impair breathing, such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma.

The study found that later COPD risk could be minimised if immunisation was encouraged, if mothers did not smoke and if their children did not smoke when they got older, especially if they had smoking parents or low childhood lung function.

"Personal smoking might amplify the effect of maternal smoking and adult asthma might amplify the effect of childhood asthma to determine membership of the worst lung function trajectory," said lead author Professor Shyamali Dharmage.

Professor Dharmage said the findings suggest that if study participants did not smoke and controlled their asthma as an adult, they could possibly reduce the impact of what had happened as a child.

"Clinicians and patients with asthma should be made aware of the potential long-term implications of non-optimal asthma control for lung function trajectory throughout life, and this should be investigated in future intervention trials," he said.


Keeping fit, even if you're born with a high genetic risk for heart disease, still works to keep your heart healthy, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Researchers examined data collected from nearly a half-million people in the UK Biobank database.

They found that people with higher levels of grip strength, physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness had reduced risks of heart attacks and stroke, even if they had a genetic predisposition for heart disease.

"People should not just give up on exercise because they have a high genetic risk for heart disease," said Erik Ingelsson, a professor of cardiovascular medicine.

"And vice versa: Even if you have a low genetic risk, you should still get exercise. It all ties back to what we have known all along: It's a mix of genes and environment that influence health," he said.

Source AAP

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