Friday, July 31, 2009


And now for something a little different.

(Note: this is the infamous article on chiropractic that got Simon Singh sued. It is being reposted all over the web today by multiple blogs and online magazines.)

Some practitioners claim it is a cure-all, but the research suggests chiropractic therapy has mixed results - and can even be lethal, says Simon Singh.

You might be surprised to know that the founder of chiropractic therapy, Daniel David Palmer, wrote that "99% of all diseases are caused by displaced vertebrae". In the 1860s, Palmer began to develop his theory that the spine was involved in almost every illness because the spinal cord connects the brain to the rest of the body. Therefore any misalignment could cause a problem in distant parts of the body.

In fact, Palmer's first chiropractic intervention supposedly cured a man who had been profoundly deaf for 17 years. His second treatment was equally strange, because he claimed that he treated a patient with heart trouble by correcting a displaced vertebra.

You might think that modern chiropractors restrict themselves to treating back problems, but in fact some still possess quite wacky ideas. The fundamentalists argue that they can cure anything, including helping treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying - even though there is not a jot of evidence.

I can confidently label these assertions as utter nonsense because I have co-authored a book about alternative medicine with the world's first professor of complementary medicine, Edzard Ernst. He learned chiropractic techniques himself and used them as a doctor. This is when he began to see the need for some critical evaluation. Among other projects, he examined the evidence from 70 trials exploring the benefits of chiropractic therapy in conditions unrelated to the back. He found no evidence to suggest that chiropractors could treat any such conditions.

But what about chiropractic in the context of treating back problems? Manipulating the spine can cure some problems, but results are mixed. To be fair, conventional approaches, such as physiotherapy, also struggle to treat back problems with any consistency. Nevertheless, conventional therapy is still preferable because of the serious dangers associated with chiropractic.

In 2001, a systematic review of five studies revealed that roughly half of all chiropractic patients experience temporary adverse effects, such as pain, numbness, stiffness, dizziness and headaches. These are relatively minor effects, but the frequency is very high, and this has to be weighed against the limited benefit offered by chiropractors.

More worryingly, the hallmark technique of the chiropractor, known as high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust, carries much more significant risks. This involves pushing joints beyond their natural range of motion by applying a short, sharp force. Although this is a safe procedure for most patients, others can suffer dislocations and fractures.

Worse still, manipulation of the neck can damage the vertebral arteries, which supply blood to the brain. So-called vertebral dissection can ultimately cut off the blood supply, which in turn can lead to a stroke and even death. Because there is usually a delay between the vertebral dissection and the blockage of blood to the brain, the link between chiropractic and strokes went unnoticed for many years. Recently, however, it has been possible to identify cases where spinal manipulation has certainly been the cause of vertebral dissection.

Laurie Mathiason was a 20-year-old Canadian waitress who visited a chiropractor 21 times between 1997 and 1998 to relieve her low-back pain. On her penultimate visit she complained of stiffness in her neck. That evening she began dropping plates at the restaurant, so she returned to the chiropractor. As the chiropractor manipulated her neck, Mathiason began to cry, her eyes started to roll, she foamed at the mouth and her body began to convulse. She was rushed to hospital, slipped into a coma and died three days later. At the inquest, the coroner declared: "Laurie died of a ruptured vertebral artery, which occurred in association with a chiropractic manipulation of the neck."

This case is not unique. In Canada alone there have been several other women who have died after receiving chiropractic therapy, and Edzard Ernst has identified about 700 cases of serious complications among the medical literature. This should be a major concern for health officials, particularly as under-reporting will mean that the actual number of cases is much higher.

If spinal manipulation were a drug with such serious adverse effects and so little demonstrable benefit, then it would almost certainly have been taken off the market.

Simon Singh is a science writer in London and the co-author, with Edzard Ernst, of Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial. This is an edited version of an article published in The Guardian for which Singh is being personally sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Sunday July 19 the kids and I went to Christmas in July at the sit down restaurant on post called Alaska Mining Company. I forswore this place several months ago as being to pricey and poor quality food, but D wanted to go badly and it gave her something to focus on and look forward to with Mr. K being on vacation in Turkey. He has my camera so the photo here is by the post photographer and the only one I have.

The food was your standard Thanksgiving/Christmas fair: ham, turkey, green bean casserole, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, etc. Why the cook had to put coconut in the peach cobbler is a mystery.

Santa wore shorts and gave each girl a small bag with a little stuffed gorilla dressed as an elf. He was weird even for a Santa so no way was I letting D sit on his lap and Izzy refused to go near him. When D said she wanted a puppy for Christmas he asked if she meant, bosintang and went on to clarify that it is "dog stew". I sincerely hope she understood it to be, "stew for dogs" and not "stew made of dog". I ask you what kind of Santa talks of eating puppies in front of an eight year old girl?

I made this dress from the Anna Wrap Dress pattern. And yes I had to bribe her to wear it. Izzy wore a matching one, but didn't want to take hers off even to sleep!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Sewing is by far my most expensive hobby, but I've been very spoiled living here in Korea because the fabric prices are so cheap if you know where to look! Monday July 6 Mr. K. dropped two fellow sewing ladies and me off at the local train station and we boarded the semi-fast train to Seoul. Unfortunately, we had to get off at the mid-way point because there was an accident on the line. We had to transfer to the metro which meant standing for the next hour and not getting to Seoul until 11am. We had a blast anyway!

This is just one of the buildings that house all sorts of fabric and notions.

Trying to decide which thread to buy was not easy!

I wanted to hijack this truck.

These zippers looked so pretty to me.

Some of the cute crafty things.

Have to make a purse or two like this.

Mr. K. thought I bought too little. So I'm already planning another trip.


Isn't this twill tape adorable?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Homeland Holiday

Happy Birthday America. I had a great view of the fireworks from my balcony last night but couldn't help thinking, "I hope none of the locals thinks we are being attacked by North Korea." Of course North Korea sending of missiles yesterday was in all the news but no one seemed terribly concerned. The kids and Mr. K. enjoyed some of the things on post like bowling and bouncy castles. I stayed home out of the heat and crowds. Deniz's dress is from Ottobre of course! And yes I know the button placement is not even. I had a lot of trouble with the button holes and had to rip two of them out. Do you know how hard it is to seam rip button holes? Then keep your mouth shut and appreciate that I got it done at all!





Saturday, July 4, 2009

Here Kitty Kitty

I'm a great aunt. Mr. K's oldest niece in Turkey has a new little girl. He is going to visit this week so I made this for the baby.


I made all the nieces purses.


I made myself an new ironing board cover.


Not much adventure lately. I've been sick in bed most of the week and still not 100%. Going to Seoul for fabric shopping tomorrow though so watch for that post soon.