The state of South Dakota has a peculiar law regarding chiropractic in that chiropractors are prohibited from being employed by corporations. In other words, a chiropractor can only work for himself or another chiropractor. They cannot work as an employee of a hospital, multidisciplinary clinic, or in an on-site clinic. After difficulty posting to the SDCA list-serve (since resolved), I wanted to publish this here as an alternate means of sharing my opinion.Read More
I'm applying to the chiropractic clerkship in the Tacoma, Washington Veteran's Affairs hospital. While writing my letter of intent, I was trying to think of how I, as the son of a Quaker-pacifist and grandson of a conscientious objector, have any connection to veterans of the military.Read More
Dr. Christopher Kent, chiropractor and subluxation activist, recently wrote an interesting post about Science vs. Scientism. His basic thesis was that Scientism is the habit of accepting scientific evidence as the only way to understand the world, excluding philosophy, aesthetics, etc. I don't disagree with this premise, but his conclusion - that anyone who fails to accept subluxation or innate intelligence as a valid construct must be adhering to Scientism, not science - seems to be a misconstrual of the scientific process.
[W]e cannot measure innate intelligence. Does this mean that it is not “real” and that we should abandon the concept merely because we have no technology to detect or quantitate it? I think not.
Straw man. Or red herring, I can't remember which.
Scientists do not suggest that we should abandon concepts merely because we don't yet have the technology for it, but rather that we should not blindly accept these hypotheses until we have evidence to support them. Kent mentions previously unproven concepts such as DNA and viruses, suggesting that we never would have benefited from understanding these ideas if it weren't for an open mind accepting ideas outside of what science can quantify. That isn't how science works, as I understand it. We would not have DNA technology if it weren't for the scientific process which has since substantiated it, not because of an acceptance of unproven hypotheses. DNA was accepted as the container of the code of life since Miescher first identified it in the 1860s long before it's structure was discovered circa 1953. But, read Watson's account of him and Crick stumbling upon The Double Helix and you clearly see that the process was one full of struggle, push-back, and incredulity among colleagues. Slowly the scientific community came to agree upon the structure we now accept – but only once the evidence was sufficient.
The concepts of subluxation and innate intelligence have been around for well over 100 years. There has yet to be convincing evidence of its validity as a construct other than anecdotal evidence which may or may not be explained by other well understood mechanisms.
Kent's argument that "doctors must not lose sight of the fact that science may not be the only valid method of inquiry" is accurate but not complete, because science is still the best method of inquiry.
As Carl Sagan shared in Demon Haunted World:
The difference between physics and metaphysics […] is not that the practitioners of one are smarter than the practitioners of the other. The difference is that the metaphysicist has no laboratory.
And so it is with chiropractic. The study of subluxation cannot be conducted in a laboratory, so cannot be considered a science and therefore is not a valid comparison by which to call others out for scientism.
My mom used to live in India. She went as a young girl with her parents who worked for the American Friends Service Committee. Her stories – and watching A Passage to India in high school – have made me want to go there some day.Read More
Here are a few of the books I recommend for students - and anyone - to read as primers on evaluating claims and understanding the natural world.Read More
I have been interested in dance medicine ever since my dance experience at BYU.
Do you take advantage of a chiropractor or any other health practitioner to improve your dancing? Do you work on your physical fitness outside of dancing? What do you feel you need to become a stronger, more balanced dancer?Read More
Here's an attempt to document my experience at chiropractic school over the next 3-4 years.
Quarter 1, Week 1
Umm... no. This week was so filled with orientations and first days of classes that by the end of Thursday I was wiped out. I was killing it in the study area though. Reviews every night, diagramming on the 4'x8' white board in my living room, and sniffing fragrant oils (more on my experimental study habits soon). I'm also pretty sure I aced the 10 question quiz that covered 160 definitions and terms. But, like my high school cross country meets, I soon discovered I went out a little too hard. Fortunately, unlike cross country, starting school with too much effort is better than not enough. I just need to back off a bit and make sure I get some rest in each day.
Quarter 1, Week 2
Most colleges and universities run on a semester schedule. Most chiropractic schools run on a trimester schedule. The courses at [University of Western States] are divided up into quarters. That, of course, means that we have a completely new set of courses every 10 weeks, with a 2 week break after finals. Except that it isn't always that easy. Since some of the basic science courses are meant to be just an introduction, they don't take the whole quarter. Case in point: Spinal Anatomy and Cell Biology. These courses started during the first week, but will be gradually phased out in the next two weeks by Radiographic Anatomy and Biochemistry. What this also means is that the courses go by fast. There is so much information that it's a struggle just to keep up with which class is next and whether I've eaten, let alone reviewing and studying the information that needs to be memorized – which is almost everything.
By far my favorite course is Gross Anatomy. We take 3 sections of it during the first 3 quarters, all of which include a lab. The fabulous thing about Western States is that each chiropractic student has the opportunity to complete a complete dissection of a "fresh" cadaver in a small group of 4-5 classmates. This is a pretty unique program; other chiropractic schools I visited had 2-3 prossected (already cut-up) cadavers for the entire school, that lasted them for years on end. Imagine, 7-15 new bodies coming into our morgue twice a year. That's pretty awesome. I have to admit it's a bit fun to dress in scrubs, grab a sharp scalpel, and play surgeon for a few hours a week. Of course, hacking away at a dead body requires nowhere near the skill of a medical surgeon (who I have heaps of respect for). Due to regulations, I can't share any photos of the lab or cadavers, but here's a website that shows the step-by-step process of dissection WARNING: These are graphic images of a real cadaver. Have a trash can nearby. I was a bit selfish and gave myself the honor of making the first incision. It's a bit tough at first (emotionally and literally) to slice open skin with a load of fat underneath it, but I got used to it quickly and have no trouble with it.
Surprisingly, I've been enjoying the class I was most afraid of - Cell Biology. I hated my biology classes at BYU, (except for freshman Bio with Marta Adair, which I took as a senior), and was dreading having to learn the Kreb's Cycle, etc. again. (Well, evidently we'll actually get to that in Biochem.) But I've really enjoyed learning more detailed structure of the phospholipid bi-layer and membrane proteins.
The best part about the class - the lab where we get to individually use $4,000 light microscopes. Light microscopy isn't anywhere near as exciting as electron microscopy, but at least it's something you can get your hands on. For some reason, I was never excited by opportunities to use a microscope in high school or my undergrad, but It's awesome now!
Of course, with anatomy comes a whole new language, mostly based on Latin. Ligamentum, latissimus, levatores, scapularis… all of these words come pretty easy to me. It's probably all the high school Spanish and 3 years of Portuguese, but could also have to do with my obsession with spelling and pronunciation. (FYI, it is lev-uh-tohr-eez and thawr-uh-koh-dawr-suh-l. They wouldn't have put the "e" in there if it was just luh-vey-tohr and thoh-rak-oh-dawr-suh-l just sounds weird.) But it's rekindled my desire to learn another language, so I downloaded Duolingo for the iPhone and have been learning Italian finally. "Io bevo l'acqua. Io sono l'uomo." Ha. It's kinda fun.
As you may guess, I am unfortunately due for another review of the origins, insertions, actions, and innervations of back & neck muscles, plus I need to do my preview reading for tomorrow.
Check back soon. Hopefully I'll have time after my anatomy midterm to share a little bit about my study tactics which are working great so far.