2011 – April Newsletter

Posted on: April 1st, 2011


133 Reef Road, Fairfield, CT  203.259.4939

Dr. Brian C. Baker





Healthy Living Newsletter    


Spring is here!  Get outside.  Go for a hike.  Get the yard cleaned up.  Shake off those winter cobwebs.  Here’s this month’s newsletter.  Be sure to read all the way to the end.  When you’re done reading, please forward this newsletter to your friends, then get in for an adjustment.


Wine and Heart Health, Stroke Prevention

Many studies have shown a reduction in the risk of heart disease and stroke with moderate alcohol intake.  I recently became aware of a study from Denmark that looked at a non-Mediterranean population whose wine intake had increased over a 30 year period.  Their conclusion: Low to moderate intake of wine is associated with lower mortality from cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and other causes. 


Similar intake of spirits implied an increased risk, while beer drinking did not affect mortality. There was a 49% decrease in total mortality among the moderate drinkers and a 30% decrease among those with low consumption, compared with people who never drank wine.


So what is a low to moderate intake of wine, you ask?  The study said 1-2 glasses a day is a low intake and 3-5 a day is a moderate one.  Now 3-5 glasses a day seems like a lot to me and that’s higher than US researchers have suggested in the past as well.  My analysis of this study is that they used a  serving size of about 4 to 5 ounces.  Keep that in mind when you’re pouring a glass of wine.  I’m assuming a typical serving size at home or your favorite restaurant is more likely 6 or more ounces.


Although this research made no distinction between red and white wine, most studies have suggested that red wine confers the most benefit.

Copenhagen Heart Study



Study Compares Chiropractic to Microdiskectomy
for Low Back Pain with Sciatica

In an excellent example of the kind of comparative effectiveness research needed to distinguish the relative quality of competing treatment approaches, researchers in Alberta, Canada studied the relative costs and benefits of lumbar microdisckectomy (the surgical removal of herniated disc material that presses on a nerve root or the spinal cord) and chiropractic spinal manipulation for patients with low back pain and sciatica associated with lumbar disk herniation for whom usual medical care had failed. The results were dramatic: 60 percent of patients with sciatica who had failed medical management benefited from spinal manipulation to the same degree as if they had undergone surgical intervention, at a far lower cost.


The economic implications of these findings are far-reaching. In the U.S., at least 200,000 microdiskectomies are performed annually at a direct cost of $5 billion, or $25,000 per procedure. Avoiding 60 percent of these surgeries would mean a reduction savings of $3 billion annually. In the Canadian study, patients receiving chiropractic care averaged 21 visits during their course of care. If a cost of $100 per patient visit is assumed for the care provided by the chiropractor, then the total cost per patient would be $2,100, yielding per patient savings of $22,900, or $2.75 billion dollars annually.


April 2011


 “Too many people resign themselves to living with chronic pain or relying on a steady diet of medication to get through the day.  I believe there is a better way. 


We offer a knowledgeable diagnosis and evaluation with actual hands-on care, along with lifestyle counseling, focused on your well being.”


Dr. Brian Baker






 133 Reef Road  Fairfield, CT






Kids on Farms Breath Easier. It may be the bugs!

Children growing up on farms have a much lower risk of asthma than others, but it’s not all that fresh air and exercise that turns the trick.  Instead, it’s exposure to a larger range of bacteria and fungi in the barnyard.

That’s the conclusion of investigators who reported in the Feb. 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine on two large European cross-sectional studies that looked at asthma, and predisposition toward developing certain allergic hypersensitivity, in more than 16,500 elementary school children. 


The investigators reported that they identified several types of microbes that might be responsible for the reduction in asthma risk, including members of the fungal and a variety of bacterial species.


The mechanisms involved remain unclear, the researchers noted.  One possibility is that some combination of microbes stimulates the innate immune system and prevents it from entering a pro-asthma state.


It is also possible that exposure to many different microbes makes it harder for those that can induce asthma to become dominant in the lower respiratory tract, they noted.


The results of the study support the so-called “hygiene hypothesis” which is that exposure to germs help in the maturation of a child’s immune system and offer protection against asthma and related allergic disease.


What about dairy farms?  I’d find it ironic that breathing is improved even when the smell takes your breath away!

We might have a drug problem

Here is an excerpt from an article in Pain Physician Journal I came across.  Read these numbers and be prepared to be blown away! 


“In the United States, the therapeutic use of opioids has exploded as witnessed by the increased sales of hydrocodone by 280% from 1997 to 2007, while at the same time methadone usage increased 1,293% and oxycodone increased 866%.  In addition, the estimated number of prescriptions filled for controlled substances increased from 222 million in 1994 to 354 million in 2003. Consequently, the milligram per person use of therapeutic opioids in the United States increased from 73.59 milligrams in 1997 to 329.23 milligrams in 2006, an increase of 347%. And, while hydrocodone is the most commonly used opioid in the United States, based on milligrams per person, oxycodone is the most commonly used drug with methadone use rapidly increasing the most.


In pain management settings, it has been reported that as many as 90% of patients receive opioids for chronic pain management in spite of the numerous issues involved. Similarly, it has been shown that a majority of these patients were on opioids prior to presenting to an interventional pain management setting. However, the claims of under-treatment of pain and the campaign for increased availability of opioids and so-called assessment for proper treatment of pain continue.


Consequently, Americans, constituting only 4.6% of the world’s population, have been consuming 80% of the global opioid supply, and 99% of the global hydrocodone supply, as well as two-thirds of the world’s illegal drugs.


In addition, the liberalization of the laws governing opioid prescribing for the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain by state medical boards in the late 1990s, the introduction of new pain management standards for inpatient and outpatient medical care implemented by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) in 2000, and the advocacy efforts of many physicians and organizations for increased usage of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain has resulted in escalating use, abuse, and overuse of therapeutic opioids. Opioids in general, and the most potent forms of opioids, including Schedule II drugs in particular, have dramatically increased.”


I am stunned by the amount of opioids this country consumes.  At first glance it appears that we have created a society of drug addicts.  Chronic back pain is frequently cited as a reason for pain management and I believe more people should utilize chiropractic as a drug free pain management tool.


Pain Physician Journal

Which are more powerful?  Pills or Capsules?   

Here’s an interesting video that explores the strange powers of the placebo effect.



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