Study investigating whether manipulation of the upper cervical spine could reduce blood pressure

March 28, 2010
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 A Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research Begins Patient Recruiting for a Study on Chiropractic and High Blood Pressure

Published on December 1, 2009

December 1, 2009 (Davenport, IA) — Researchers at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR) clinic facility, 741 Brady St., Davenport, on the campus of Palmer College of Chiropractic, are looking for 165 people in the Quad Cities with hypertension, or high blood pressure, to participate in a clinical research study with the potential for significant impact on the treatment of hypertension. Patient recruitment began in late November. Participants must have high blood pressure and be between 21 and 75 years of age.

The PCCR is the largest institutional chiropractic research effort in the world, promoting excellence and leadership in scientific research. In addition to research faculty, staff and fellows working in a state-of-the-art facility on Palmer’s Davenport Campus, the Center also utilizes the resources of Palmer’s two branch campuses—in San Jose, Calif., and Port Orange, Fla.—and collaborators at other institutions in its renowned chiropractic research efforts. The PCCR has the largest budget for research in a chiropractic college, supplemented increasingly by grants from outside sources such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. These funds, totaling nearly $30 million in the past 10 years, have been instrumental in expanding PCCR programs in research education, clinical science, translational research, experimental biomechanics, neurosciences and health services and policy research.

The new collaborative study on hypertension, called Chiropractic for Hypertension in Patients (CHiP), involves the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami, Fla., and Trinity at Terrace Park Family Practice, Bettendorf, Iowa. It is one of three projects that are part of a four-year, $2.8 million grant to the PCCR from the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. This grant was awarded to Principal Investigator and Vice Chancellor for Research and Health Policy Christine Goertz, D.C., Ph.D., in 2008 to establish a multidisciplinary Developmental Center for Clinical and Translational Science in Chiropractic.

CHiP will be directed by project co-leaders Dr. Christine Goertz from Palmer and Gervasio Lamas, M.D., a cardiovascular scientist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami who is known for his expertise in the conduct of large, complex, multi-site clinical trials. In addition, Joseph Bergstrom, D.O., director of medical education, Trinity Terrace Park family practice residency program, will be performing the blood pressure screenings and physical examinations for eligibility. Quad-City cardiologist Michael Giudici, M.D., FACP, FACC, FHRS, serves on the study’s Data and Safety Monitoring Committee.

“More than 50 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure, making it the most commonly diagnosed disease in the United States,” said Dr. Goertz. “Although many medical treatments for diagnosed hypertension are available, only about 30% of patients achieve blood pressure goals. Many patients report that they are unable to tolerate medication side effects and find it difficult to sustain significant lifestyle changes. Thus, a non-pharmacological therapy that lowers blood pressure could become an attractive option to many patients and their physicians.”

“The concept that is both novel and appealing at the same time” said Dr. Lamas. “It is novel because of its originality of thought, and because it is backed up by preliminary data. It is appealing because any treatment for high blood pressure that does not expose patients to drugs and their side effects should be investigated. I really look forward to assisting with the study and seeing the results.”
“This should be an interesting trial,” added Dr. Giudici. “Work to date has shown that blood pressure responds to other non-pharmacologic interventions such as diet, weight loss, exercise, stress reduction and yoga. There is also some interesting early data on blood pressure response to slowing respiratory rate. Palmer has put together an impressive team of researchers and the infrastructure needed to perform this and other studies.”

Potential participants in the study will be examined at the PCCR clinic and Trinity Terrace Park Family Practice Clinic to determine whether they qualify for the study. If so, they will be randomly assigned to one of three different upper cervical treatment groups, all of which will receive chiropractic care at the Palmer Research Clinic for eight weeks. Patients will have their blood pressure monitored on a regular basis while participating in the study. All examinations and treatment are provided at no charge to the patient.

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