Science for Sale?

“Let the researchers do the research,” explained a friend whom I consider to be both educated and intelligent. This was in response to all the “soccer moms” doing their own research about vaccines. I vehemently disagree because I’ve learned a thing or two about how research gets reported and applied. Still, it got me to thinking about how critically important research, and our ability to trust research is.

After all, parents research everything from prenatal vitamins to strollers to find the option that best suits their needs. Why not vaccines? If you truly believe that the case for vaccines has been settled, then how do you explain the sheer volume of people not accepting the vaccine story? Most of these people tend to be intelligent, well-educated, and wealthy, and their ranks include doctors, pediatricians, PhD’s, and immunologists, not to mention folks with enough study under their belts to qualify for a degree. I mean, even asking the question is enough to get you publicly hammered. Right, Katie Couric?

Among the many, many reasons to carefully research before you choose to force a cocktail of potent poisons into your child’s flesh is the fact that you cannot unvaccinate a child. Also, you the parents, and no one else, will be responsible for whatever the outcome is. Those two things alone are motivation enough to research. All that is required of researchers is the ability to read and critically think. And maybe Google. That’s it.

It’s important to research, because you find very interesting things. For example, Hooker, et al., released a review article in Biomed Research International titled, “Methodological Issues and Evidence of Malfeasance in Research Purporting to Show Thimerosal in Vaccines Is Safe.”

Basically, this paper refutes the SIX studies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses to calm people’s fears about thimerosal as bad science and using 165 studies to demonstrate a link between Mercury and Autism. The CDC can’t find a link, but Hooker finds 165 of them.Mercury

If the CDC, your State Health Department, and your doctor all tell you that vaccines are safe and that they have not been shown to cause autism (which is not exactly the same as “do not cause autism”) but 165 studies show the opposite, what’s a parent/researcher to think? Who can you trust? The charge of “malfeasance” should be more than troubling. And it certainly isn’t going to make people like me less inclined to question.

At the heart of this matter is not whether to vaccinate or not to vaccinate. And frankly, getting distracted in a senseless debate is destructive, no matter what side you find yourself on. The heart of the matter is informed consent. People without accurate information cannot render informed consent. Informed consent is necessary, whether convenient or not, and speaks to the core of individual liberty.

The science of vaccine safety isn’t settled. Neither is the science of vaccine effectiveness. Not when vaccine researchers, the ones paid to do the primary research, lie and fake data.  Not when vaccines like the DTaP fail to protect.  Not when the concept of “herd immunity” or “cocooning” is bastardized and falsely attributed to a vaccinated state.

Misinforming people and then performing procedures isn’t just fraud; it doesn’t just damage the public trust; it is assault. To assault masses of people is to declare war on them. The Nuremberg Trials punished war criminals and the Nuremberg Code was established to protect free peoples from War Crimes.

Am I reaching here? Overblowing it just a bit? This is bigger than vaccines. Parents are having their children confiscated, based on conflicting medical opinions.  An otherwise healthy baby was taken from its mother because she questioned a vaccine.

Not all of this is happening based on science and research, but there is a clear trend of assault and bullying of the individual by hospital staff, Child Protection authorities, the news media and federal agencies, like the CDC and the FDA. Scientific studies are used as the common link of evidence-based practice, as they should be. But if we can’t trust the science, what then?

Ben Goldacre has a popular video on TedTalks that highlights some additional failings, faults, and fixes of our current research and publish model.


The more emphasis we put on science, especially in healthcare, the more we need real assurance that the science is impeccable. Currently, profitable science is promoted, and even “doctored” to make it more profitable. Science should never be for sale.arm-wrestling



Choice and Chance in the Land of Healthcare

For thousands of years, coughs, fevers, throwing up, and other disgusting symptomatic expressions have served as a stark warning of the presence of sickness. Unless you have specific training, signs like these evoke a visceral, stomach-turning response that is impossible to miss. For these thousands of years, infectious disease has been the number one threat against the individual. Infectious disease takes advantage of every other kind of hardship to break us down and destroy us.

To avoid that destruction, we have learned through these long generations to avoid any possible sign of sickness and to assume that the lack of symptoms means “no news is good news.” We have come to view sickness and disease as the result of an outside agent that steps in and robs us of our health. The proposition and subsequent discovery of micro-organisms solidified this idea firmly in the mind of those disposed toward rational, scientific thought.

In the early 20th century, this led us to seek to eradicate microbes by any means necessary. Antibiotics, a major medical advancement, showed tremendous promise as a capital weapon in our war on germs. This promise was relatively short lived though. We soon became aware that the very weapon we wielded with impunity against our foe was creating a new generation of germ that thwarted our every attempt to contain it. Instead of eradicating the foe, we were causing it to become only more dangerous and deadly.

Predictions as recently as 1955 painted a very rosy picture of the upcoming new millennium and beyond. Women would appear forever young. Man would live well into his 2nd century. Infectious diseases were to be eradicated. Cancer would be contained. The common cold a distant memory. And so on. Meanwhile, diseases that had previously been conquered are showing up as superbugs, including tuberculosis, staph and the latest, gonorrhea.

According to the CDC’s Top Ten Leading Causes of Death, the only infectious disease that still makes the top ten is the flu. Flu makes the list only when exaggerated and combined with pneumonia. Almost none of the diseases and conditions on the Top Ten list are likely to have early symptoms or to be infectious. Why do we use a healthcare strategy, based on the chance that we can use the presence of symptoms to protect us from the things that aren’t our primary threats? It is a systemic and cultural failure to adapt. In nature, failure to adapt is lethal.

What has become clear is that the primary threats facing American health are related more to choice than to chance. We choose to value a lifestyle and pace of living that require our bodies to be in top condition to keep up, while we choose to neglect or abuse our body at every turn.

Take another look at the diseases and conditions in the Leading Causes of Death and see if you don’t see a rampant pattern of abuse and neglect.   Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other problems related to chronic organ dysfunction of the lungs and kidneys. (Not to ignore suicide, which could be the poster child for abuse of the self.) We can’t legitimately claim that consequences of long-standing physical and emotional abuse happen by chance.

Why do we sit around and do stuff we know is harmful to our health? There are three main reasons:

  1. The consequences aren’t immediate and there’s no “one thing” we’re doing (or not doing) that is the cause of the problem. It’s just not that simple. The cause is cumulative, just like many other modern problems.
  2. The incentives to be healthy contradict cultural norms and values. Our culture values convenience, sensuality, and time efficiency. Natural, healthy foods, as an example, can be convenient, but that limits variety. Variety is one way we satisfy the sensuality value. They are also commonly less time efficient because you are left with ingredients requiring preparation instead of pre-packaged ready to eat items.
  3. A false sense of security when it comes to healthcare.guardrailWe tend to think of the healthcare system as a safety net, because in a way it is. It is a great system for helping someone avoid death in a crisis. But when the crisis arises from a long series of choices we make as individuals, it is limited in how it can help those who choose not to help themselves. It can no more protect you from the cliff than a good guardrail. It may give you a second chance, but it will eventually fail.

We have to realize that the steering wheel is in our hands and that with planning and action on our part, we can make a big difference in our own health outcomes. Right now, we’re #50 in the world. I know we can do better.

This is why the message of Chiropractic is so important. Health and healing come from within. You were made to be healthy. When you disturb normal function, you necessarily disturb the natural ability of the body to express health. Nowhere is this more true than in the nervous system. It is the master control system of the body. It is the part that gets disturbed through vertebral subluxation. That is why Chiropractic exists. That is why Chiropractic saves people money on their healthcare expenses. That is why you should make the choice to get checked and improve your chances.







Why I Study the Vaccination Issue


The immune system is complex. 
Almost every organ in your body, from your skin and hair to your bones, is involved either directly or indirectly with immune function. Therefore, any part that is distressed becomes a weak link.

There have never been any medical studies that have been performed that clearly demonstrate that vaccines increase the immune system competence of the human body.
While antibody levels (titers) are an accepted measure of vaccine effectiveness, there are some inherent issues with this assertion. It does not explain the lack of resistance in individuals with high titers or the resistance of those without detectable levels. Titers measure only activity of a limited portion of immune system activity.

Vaccines effects are measured on a relatively small portion of the immune system.
The adaptive portion of the immune system is divided into humoral-mediated (antibodies) and cell-mediated (white blood cells, including T-cells). Vaccines effects are measured only through the humoral portion.

Many vaccines are targeted at viruses (e.g., measles, flu, chicken pox, polio, HPV).
The portion of the immune system that arguably does the lion’s share of the work is not the vaccine-targeted humoral-mediated division, but the general, non-specific immune system. Toxic interventions, including vaccines and antibiotics, risk weakening this barrier and lowering general viral defenses.

Vaccines are credited with the near eradication of many diseases, but incidence rates for infectious diseases were already in decline prior to the introduction of the vaccine. Are vaccine effects overstated?
Advances in infrastructure, like sanitation, our understanding of how the body works, the availability of adequate nutrition, and non-vaccine medical advances have all played a role in eliminating the environment necessary for infectious disease to gain a foothold. Giving credit to vaccines makes pharma companies and government policy-makers look good.

The Greater Good vs. Individual Rights
Recently, States, like California, have begun limiting the parental option to opt out of vaccines due to religious or philosophical convictions. At the same time, arguments have been made in medical-ethical circles that the liability and blame for infection of the vaccinated should be shifted to the unvaccinated. Both of these trends erode the protection of the individual from the government and set disturbing precedents with regards to the establishment of informed consent.

A lot of money is attached to public vaccination.
This, by itself, is not especially problematic. But profit incentives are not balanced by responsibility for the methods of achieving profit. Neither manufacturers nor providers have any specific liability incentives for securing best practices.

All liability lands on the shoulders of the parents.
Much of the time, parents vaccinate without legitimate informed consent. Risks are minimized, benefits are exaggerated, and strong-arm tactics are employed to achieve compliance. As a healthcare consumer, I believe that my questions need to be answered and my concerns addressed to MY satisfaction, before I can consent in a truly informed manner.

There is mounting evidence that the current US vaccine schedule is associated with rising incidence of lifelong debilitating conditions, ranging from neurodevelopmental disorders to autoimmune and allergic conditions.

In Prog Health Sci 2012, Vol 2, No 1, “Neurologic adverse events vaccination”, the Department of Pediatric Rehabilitation of the Medical University of Bialystok, Poland makes the following statements:

 “Reports in many Polish and foreign medical journals lead us to conclude that postvaccinal complications among children can be observed in sporadic cases and that they are disproportionate to the benefits of vaccination in the elimination of dangerous diseases in childhood.”

 “Notably, other than not providing an effective stimulus for proper immune system development, recent research has shown that vaccines are actually capable of disrupting it.”

The vaccine issue is not as simple as “vax vs. nonvax.” Nor is it as simple as vaccinating or “doing nothing.” In fact, there are many more issues than the ones I bring up today. I would encourage each parent to investigate the matter for yourself. Emotions have a tendency to run high on both ends, because each believes that lives of children are at stake.

Parent Pro-tip: Don’t wait until your well-baby visit to talk to your pediatrician. Appointment time limits may not allow for an adequate conversation. Let them know ahead of time that you have questions, and they can help guide you. Also, do research on your own. The more specific your questions, the more specific the answers are likely to be. A good starting point is the National Vaccine Information Center. No matter your decision, the risks and consequences lie with you and your child, alone.

My family utilizes a sensible, logical, scientific strategy to boost immune function. And yes, specific subluxation-centered chiropractic care is a big part of that strategy. I invite you to learn more about how a strategy that includes chiropractic care can benefit your family, no matter what your ultimate decision regarding vaccination is. We have a number of different opportunities for you to see for yourself.
Email us at,and we’ll help you find the right fit.

Candy Crush Saga

Yesterday, a new friend showed me how to cheat at Candy Crush. All you have to do is set your computer or device time forward a bit. Voilà! New lives.Candy Crush Saga

The problem is you have to set the time back when you’re done playing. Do it enough, and now you have to set the time forward by weeks or months (years means you’re an addict and you need some real life).

This method satisfies the short term desire to play, but as my new friend found out, it becomes such a hassle, that it’s not worth it in the long run. She had reset her entire game because of it. Like a lot of cheating, you only cheat yourself in the end.

Short term solutions to relieve symptoms often have the same effect. They may work amazingly well at first, but bring trouble the longer they are used. Getting to the cause of the symptoms and dealing with that is far more effective in supporting and maintaining health.

Remember, health is not some place you will arrive, it is the direction you go. Make a choice to act like you’re in this game for life, because you are.

Health is a direction

Dr. Robert Johns is a chiropractor with an office in Mt. Laurel, AL. His practice serves the greater Birmingham Metro, Jefferson, and Shelby County areas.

Reviving the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Doctors – all clinic doctors, anyway – have basically the same job:

  1. Find out what’s going on, and
  2. make a plan to deal with it.

The details are more complex, but that’s the gist of it. Well, almost. They also have to make a living, so they have to charge for all that somehow. John Goodman has some revealing insight into the current fee systems for doctors and a nice lawyer analogy to illustrate some of the issues. Check it out.

Insurance and other third-party-payers put a huge wrinkle in the system. Effectively, they get in the middle of a doctor-patient relationship. It becomes a doctor-payer-patient relationship. This has a number of consequences, many detrimental.

In Chiropractic, we have one unique service that we offer, correcting subluxation. When we recommend a course of specific chiropractic care, it is based on a number and density of visits to methodically check for and correct subluxation.

What happens when your insurance coverage stops short of your care goals? This applies not only to chiropractic, but to any health field. What happens when your provider tries to reconcile your coverage and your care?

Most folks, in my experience, choose to operate within the scope of their coverage. They utilize their coverage, but they also make themselves submissive to it. Not surprisingly, most providers recommend care that operates largely within the scope of your coverage. But what about the care you actually need? Shouldn’t that be the number one consideration? Too often, that is not the case.

This is part of the reason why a growing number of providers are opting out of third-party-pay contracts. Healing is an art. Healthcare is (now) a business. One seeks to take care of people, the other, profits. Your insurance may actually be making you sick.

With the recent news that 70% of Americans are on prescription drugs, can we really declare a victory for modern healthcare?

Do you stop when your insurance says stop? Does your doctor base your care on your coverage? Does a system like that work for America?

I don’t think so, and the numbers I’m looking at clearly reflect that. I think it’s time to breath new life into the old doctor-patient relationship. People caring for people.

Caring Doctors

Photo by El Payo, used under a CC license.

Breaker, Breaker

On Monday, at 11:00am the electricity in my office shut off. Being marginally handy and curious by nature, I set off to figure out the problem. When I found that the breaker at the power meter was tripped, I knew two things: I had found the problem, and it was well out of my marginally handy league.

When the Pros arrived, they found this:


Notice how the middle screw looks like it’s been burned? That’s because it has. Sometime over the last ten years, a tiny imperfection in connection has allowed a tiny arc of electricity to jump, from time to time, across that tiny space and heat the metal up. Over time, it built up enough heat to blacken and damage the metal. This allowed for more arcing and more heat, until finally, the breaker tripped.

Now that part has to be replaced. It looks expensive.

The Pro said that a tiny twist of a screw-driver, ten years ago, would have probably kept that from happening. Just a simple flick of the wrist. Now there is a major problem that is interfering with my professional life and my ability to help and serve others.

That resonates with me, because it parallels what I see as the Pro. A slight spinal misalignment, too subtle to see unless you were specifically looking for it, has been interfering with nerve function and the active organization necessary for the maintenance of health. A little subluxation, probably from long ago, left alone, has matured into a bigger problem, with major implications. One big difference is that in the human body, breakers can’t be replaced.

Of much more importance is that since man made the breaker, it doesn’t heal; God made you and you will heal. How well you heal will depend on how well we can restore that connection. Dorlands Every function and therefore all healing in the human body is controlled through your nervous system.

SignalingHow perfect and clear and precise that signal connection is will affect your body’s inborn ability to heal and regulate. It affects the very expression of your life. The better that signal is, it stands to reason, the better your ability to help and serve and love others. A little flick of the wrist, scientifically and specifically delivered, could have corrected that subluxation long ago. A regular, periodic check-up could have gone a long way to prevent the accumulation of dysfunction that resulted in major trouble.

Maybe you have a problem now. It’s not too late. Maybe you wonder if this is happening in you already, or maybe in your kids. It’s not too early. It does not hurt to get checked. If we check you and find you to be subluxated, then we can work to correct it. If you aren’t subluxated, then that’s good to know. No matter what else you are dealing with, you’ll do it better with a nervous system free from subluxation.

That is Chiropractic. That is what I do. I’ll be back next week.


Restoration – Relief – Healing

“Doc, I need you to fix me.”

I hear this all the time. It’s usually accompanied by a nervous chuckle. I think it’s because people instinctively recognize the same thing I do:

You aren’t broken.
(No matter how much pain or dysfunction you are experiencing.)

When you take a step back and look at health and sickness in the human body through a lens of objectivity, you come to realize two truths:

  1. No one can begin to articulate how truly wonderful the human body is.
  2. Every bit of healing that happens in a human body happens from the inside-out.

The maintenance of life (the healing process) is handled through a mind-boggling series of processes controlled by a signaling system that handles at least 80 billion signals every second.  Collectively, these processes are either producing a net result of growth and repair, or they are not keeping up with the demands of the environment. You are literally either growing or dying.


When the healing process is disturbed, it becomes more difficult for your body to keep up with the demands of life. This is the state where disease and dysfunction become more common, more severe, and more apparent. Whether you feel the symptoms or not, this is actually where “sick” lives.

It is from this disturbed state that all manner of disease processes – anything from chronic infection, to cancer, to heart disease – can take hold more easily and do damage at an accelerated rate. The amount by which the healing process is disturbed can be the reason that some individuals progress through a disease process rapidly, while others move much more slowly.

One approach would be to try and combat each form of specific dysfunction individually. This is what a diagnosis/treatment model attempts to do. Another approach is to address the cause of general dysfunction and correct what has disturbed the healing process.

This is the essence of the idea of restoration. Restoring the body’s inherent healing ability is like the tide that lifts all boats, regardless of their specific nature. Through restoration it is possible to achieve not only relief and healing results, but at the same time you are creating an atmosphere where those results and relief are more likely to last.

This is real hope. And it is real Life.

Dr. Robert Johns is a chiropractor serving the greater Birmingham area from his office in Mt. Laurel, AL.