Archive for the ‘2011’ Category

2011 – December Newsletter

Posted on: December 1st, 2011


133 Reef Road, Fairfield, CT  203.259.4939

Dr. Brian C. Baker



Healthy Living Newsletter    


Since our last newsletter some major changes have taken place.  Anne Ballou has retired and moved up to the Cape.  We wish her well in this new chapter in her life.  At the same time I’m pleased to welcome Shane Mraz to the office.  Shane and her family have been patients here so she has some idea what she is getting into!  I plan on getting back to a regular newsletter soon, but I wanted to get out my annual pitch for the Kiwanis Poinsettia fundraiser.  Thanks for indulging me.  Stop by, or call and say hello to Shane.                

                                                            – Dr. B.




2011 Fairfield Kiwanis Club Poinsettias


As many of you know, I am a proud member of the Fairfield Kiwanis Club.  Have been in fact for 24 years.  This organization has been around Fairfield since 1961 and is comprised of dedicated men and women who serve the community, especially the youth, by raising funds to grant scholarships, support local charity organizations and our future leaders involved in high school Key Clubs.


Throughout the year the Fairfield Kiwanis holds various fund-raising events like an annual golf tournament, a weekend craft fair, cooking and selling hot dogs and hamburgers at town-wide events, and selling seasonal citrus and POINSETTIAS!


If you’ve bought these plants in the past than you know that these are not those anemic, sickly, local home center plants, but HUGE, florist quality, nursery fresh, 18 -20″ triple plant per pot, with 12-15 blooms, in vibrant red, white, or pink in a foil wrapped pot.  Stop by the office and check out the one on the counter.


They are priced at $25 in your choice of Red, White or Pink.  They will be available for pick-up on 12/10. If you order 5 or more plants than we’ll deliver them.  To order your plants please click and click the order form on the page.


If you would prefer, e-mail me and I’ll send the form out to you with the details.


I appreciate your help and thanks for reading.


BTW, if you’re interested in learning more about Kiwanis please let me know.  We meet 12:15 Wednesdays at the Gaelic Club for a lunch meeting.  I’ll buy.

October 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








Which are more powerful?  Pills or Capsules?   

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



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.



2011 – March Newsletter

Posted on: March 1st, 2011


133 Reef Road, Fairfield, CT  203.259.4939

Dr. Brian C. Baker



March Healthy Living Newsletter    

All right, the snow has melted!  The winter is actually coming to an end.  Here’s this month’s newsletter.  When you done reading please forward this newsletter to your friends.  Then call Anne and get in for an adjustment before the crocus blooms get the better of you! 

Do Maintenance Adjustments Help?

A recent study in the journal Spine says they do. Here’s the details.


Over a 1 month period, 60 patients with chronic, nonspecific low back pain lasting at least 6 months were randomized to receive either 12 treatments of sham spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), or 12 treatments consisting of SMT, but no treatments for the next nine months, or 12 treatments followed with “maintenance spinal manipulation” every two weeks for the following nine months. To determine any difference among therapies, the investigators measured pain and disability scores, generic health status, and back- specific patient satisfaction at baseline and at 1-month, 4-month, 7- month and 10-month intervals.

Patients in both second and third groups experienced significantly lower pain and disability scores than first group at the end of 1- month period. However, only the third group that was given spinal manipulations during the follow-up period showed more improvement in pain and disability scores at the 10- month evaluation. In the no maintained SMT group, however, the pain and disability scores returned back near to their pretreatment level.

Conclusion. SMT is effective for the treatment of chronic non specific LBP. To obtain long-term benefit, this study suggests maintenance spinal manipulations after the initial intensive manipulative therapy.    



Emergency Room Visits for Back Problems Tops Reaches Three Million

Roughly 3.4 million emergency department visits, or an average of 9,400 visits a day, that occurred at U.S. hospitals in 2008 were related to back problems, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


In addition, more than 663,000 inpatient stays — a daily average of nearly 1,820 stays that year — were mainly for back surgery or other back disorder treatments.


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) also found the following back pain statistics for 2008:

  • Adults ages 18 to 44 years were most likely to require just emergency department care for back pain with 1,569 visits per 100,000 people. Senior citizens aged 65 to 84 years were least likely to have such visits.
  • Individuals ages 18 to 44 years were far less likely to be hospitalized, while seniors had the highest hospitalization rates;
  • Men were less likely than women to need emergency department care or be hospitalized for back pain. with 1,005 visits and 209 admissions per 100,000 men vs. 1,244 emergency visits and 225 admissions per 100,000 women; and
  • The overall costs for inpatient stays principally for back problems was more than $9.5 billion, making it the ninth most expensive condition treated in U.S. hospitals.

Maybe we need to start putting more Doctors of Chiropractic into the hospitals. 

March 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



Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) Increases Risk of Erectile Dysfunction

I’m not making this stuff up!  The target population consisted of men 50, 60 or 70 years old residing in the study area in Finland in 1994. Questionnaires were mailed to 3,143 men in 1994 and to 2,864 men 5 years later. The followup sample consisted of 1,683 men who responded to baseline and followup questionnaires. The researchers estimated the effect of NSAIDs on the incidence of ED in men free from moderate or complete ED at baseline (in 1,126). ED was assessed by 2 questions on subject ability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for intercourse.



The incidence of ED was 93 cases per 1,000 person-years in men who used and 35 in those who did not use NSAIDs. Among men with arthritis, the most common indication for NSAID use, ED incidence was 97 cases per 1,000 in those using and 52 in men who did not use NSAIDs. Compared with men who did not use NSAIDs and were free from arthritis, the relative risk of ED after controlling for the effects of age, smoking, and other medical conditions and medications was higher in men who used NSAIDs but were free of arthritis and in those who used NSAIDs and had arthritis. The relative risk was only somewhat higher in men who had arthritis but did not use NSAIDs.



The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs increases the risk of ED and the effect is independent of indication.


Oh, by the way typical NSAIDS used here in the US are Alleve, Advil, Motrin, Aspirin.  I’ll say no more.

90% of Antibiotics Pass through the Patient Without Being Metabolized

Amy Pruden is an associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech University. In a paper she authored this year in Environmental Science and Technology, she details how little of antibiotics consumed by humans and animals is ultimately metabolized. The bottom line is that over 90% are not metabolized meaning that these drugs leave the body almost intact.

Guess what? The same is true when antibiotics are used in agribusiness in cattle, poultry, fish hatcheries, etc. The same 90% passes straight on through.

As a result, wastewater and watershed end up contaminated with the antibiotics and, for the most part, water treatment and sewerage treatment facilities are not capable of clearing these products from the water they receive and ultimately release.

“The presence of antibiotics, even at sub-inhibitory concentrations, can stimulate bacterial metabolism and thus contribute to the selection and maintenance of antibiotic resistance genes,” Pruden explains. “Once they are present in rivers, antibiotic resistance genes are capable of being transferred among bacteria, including pathogens, through horizontal gene transfer”.

Pruden says “new drug discovery can no longer keep pace with emerging antibiotic-resistant infections.”



20 Worst Food Dishes

From Men’s Health Magazine. The MH folks have scoured restaurants across the country and come up with 20 cringe worthy dishes. Within the top twenty were some “of course” selections and some “no way” selections.

#18-a “no way” selection…Blimpie’s Special Vegetarian Sandwich, almost 1,200 calories and over 3,500 mg of sodium

#13 Cheesecake Factory’s Grilled Shrimp and Bacon Club, over 1,700 calories and 2,300 mg of sodium

#12-a second “no-way” selection…TGI Friday’s Sante Fe Chopped Salad with 1,800 calories

#11 Worst Chinese food dish…from PF Chang’s, Double Pan-fried Noodle Combo, 1,800 plus calories and, get this 7,600 plus mg sodium

#6 Worst Mexican food dish…Baja Fresh Charbroiled Steak Nachos with over 2,100 calories and almost 3,000 mg of sodium

#2 Worst dessert…Uno’s Chicago Grill Mega-size Deep Dish Sundae, 2800 calories with 136 grams of fat and 272 grams of sugar

For the full list direct from MH, visit: 20 worst foods

Humor and Fun


From my brother in-law the retired police chief enjoying histhe new neighbors in Arizona:





2011 – February Newsletter

Posted on: February 1st, 2011



February Healthy Living Newsletter    

Put down your snow shovel, grab a warm drink and relax for a bit. Here’s this month’s newsletter.  When you done reading please forward this newsletter to your friends.  Then call Anne and get in for an adjustment before the snow gets the better of you! 

One in Five Adults Has Arthritis

Almost 50 million Americans (22.2% of adults 18 and older) have physician-diagnosed arthritis, a total that’s expected to rise in the coming decades, according to the CDC. Of those, one in ten report having activity limitations related to their arthritis.  Analysts found that women were more likely to report having a diagnosis of arthritis than men and that the obese are more likely to have the condition than those of normal weight. 


Our approach to treating the effects of osteoarthritis include joint movement, physical therapy and nutritional support.  One of my favorites is a combination of glucosamine, fish oil and herbs like boswella and turmeric.



Why Back Surgery Fails So Often

I’ve often told patients with disc herniations that if we can manage them through the acute phase of inflammation they will get better without surgery.  Here’s why:  Researchers from Duke University show that back pain is usually caused by a person’s immunity attacking the disc in the same way that it attacks invading germs, not by a broken disc pressing on a nerve. They found that people with back pain associated with damaged discs have high levels of Interleukin-17, produced by your immune lymphocytes and known to cause asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

The natural history of back pain from “disc disease” usually starts after you hurt your back. You often appear to recover after several weeks or months of pain. However, the back pain can recur any time later, even many years after your original back problem.

The bones of your spine are separated by pads called discs . When you hurt your back, you can crack the outer layers of a disc, so the softer inner layers protrude through the cracks into the spinal canal. The softer inner layers of a disc normally are not exposed to the immune system. So the human immune system does not recognize it as self and attacks it in the same way that it attacks invading bacteria and viruses. The protruding inner portions of the disc then swell to press against nearby nerves to cause pain. This research implies that the immune reaction that attacks the protruding broken inner portion of the disc causes the disc to swell and press on nerves.


If this is true, future treatment for disc disease may be to inhibit the inflammation of this immune response. This would allow the treatment to reduce pain without blocking the body’s ability to prevent infections and tumors. Either way, surgery for “disc disease of the back” has among the highest failure rates of any surgery today.


February 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



Starting with Chiropractic Saves 40% on Low Back Pain Care

A new study finds that low back pain care initiated with a doctor of chiropractic (DC) saves 40 percent on health care costs when compared with care initiated through a medical doctor (MD). The study, featuring data from 85,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield beneficiaries, concludes that insurance companies that restrict access to chiropractic care for low back pain treatment may inadvertently pay more for care than they would if they removed such restrictions.

The study looked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee’s intermediate and large group fully insured population over a two-year span. The insured study population had open access to MDs and DCs through self-referral, and there were no limits applied to the number of MD/DC visits allowed and no differences in co-pays.

Results show that paid costs for episodes of care initiated by a DC were almost 40 percent less than care initiated through an MD. After risk-adjusting each patient’s costs, researchers still found significant savings in the chiropractic group. They estimated that allowing DC-initiated episodes of care would have led to an annual cost savings of $2.3 million for BCBS of Tennessee.


Osteoporosis Drugs Linked to Atypical Femur Fractures

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will consider revising the labels of the osteoporosis drugs bisphosphonates (Fosomax, Boniva, etc) in light of a new report stating that long-term bisphosphonate use may increase the risk for unusual femur fracture. 


The report was issued by a task force assembled by the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. The task force reviewed 310 cases involving atypical femur fractures and found that 94% of the patients had taken bisphosphonates, most for more than 5 years. The majority experienced telltale pain in their groin and thigh weeks or months before a fracture occurred.


The task force recommended that even though atypical femur fractures are rare, the labels of bisphosphonates should be revised to warn about this possible risk.  Along those lines, new diagnostic and procedural codes are needed for atypical femur fractures to improve case reporting and analysis, according to the task force.


To prevent atypical femur fractures, the task force issued the following guidance:

  •  Patients at low risk for osteoporosis-related fractures “should not be started on [bisphosphonates].”
  • When patients have osteoporosis in the spine and normal or only moderately reduced femoral neck or  total hip bone mineral density, clinicians could consider alternative treatments, depending on the severity of the patient’s condition.
  • Clinicians should annually reevaluate the continued use of bisphosphonate therapy after 5 years.

I have been using an an on-line tool called FRAX that can help assess the fracture risk of my patients.  Let me know if you’re interested in learning your risk score.



9 in 10 Students Text in Class

This tidbit about students in 2010 was reported by the Associated Press who got it from a study completed at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The details:

9 of 10 texted during class.

1 of 10 has texted during an exam.

3 in 100 have cheated during an exam using texting.

62 of 100 students see texting during class as “their right”.

Institutions and faculty are responding to this reality in different ways. Some faculty will simply walk out when someone in the class pulls out a phone. Some will flunk a student who simply handles a cell phone during an exam, while others simply drone on and could care less



Humor and Fun