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Thread: Quackwatch and Schroth

  1. #1
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    Quackwatch and Schroth

    I checked on Quackwatch if Schroth was listed but couldn't find it. So I sent the Schroth website to Quackwatch and asked what they thought.

    I've summarized the response: (sharon's comments in green)

    - They did several pubmed and OVID searches on Schroth and Scoliosis

    - They only found a small number of abstracts (~30).

    - None are controlled studies.

    - Several are prospective studies on Scroth but NONE have large numbers of patients, NONE have long-term follow-up, and NONE have controls.

    - Only abstracts can be found... no articles. (This tells me (sharon) that they are from conference proceedings and are NOT published in the refereed literature. That is grey literature at best and is not really reviewed).

    - From what they can tell, most of the "journals" are not peer-reviewed (N.B. I, sharon, surmised this also but was told by someone here that pubmed only lists peer-reviewed journals. Well I doubted that then and I continue to doubt it given these Weiss pubs.)

    - Weiss is a director of a Schroth clinic and so may not be objective

    - Many of his articles attacking surgery contain false comments. He appears biased. (sharon says this may explain why he isn't publishing these articles in the refereed literature where peer-review would catch the falsehoods.)

    - Bottom line - the lack of any prospective controlled studies will never yield a basis to use Schroth.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 12-28-2008 at 12:49 PM.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

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    The Quackwatch response verbatim

    I have been given permission to post the response that was written by a consultant for Quackwatch... hopefully I have summarized it accurately. If not, go by this one for Quackwatch's opinion.

    "I have done several PubMed and OVID searches on Schroth and Scoliosis. All I can find is a handful of abstracts (around 30). None are of controlled studies. Several studies are prospective looks at the Schroth method, but none have large numbers of patients, none have long term follow up and none have controls. And only abstracts can be found- no actual articles. From the best I can tell, most of the "journals" in which these articles appear are not peer reviewed. A majority of the articles are written by HR Weiss, the medical director of a Schroth clinic. Many of his articles attack surgery for scoliosis with untrue "facts." He does not appear to be an unbiased researcher. Most important- there are no prospective, controlled studies which would indicate there is any basis for the use of the Schroth method."
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  3. #3
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    Pubmed and peer review

    sharon: "I have been told that pubmed only includes peer-reviewed journals. Is that correct?"

    Quackwatch: "I'm not sure. It's clear that enough of the journals are consistently bad that publication in a listed journal is not necessarily evidence of validity. (Lack of publication can still be said to be a bad sign.)"
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  4. #4
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    Journals published in

    If you are interested in learning about the journals papers are published in, you can look up the impact factor. This is a number that is essentially rates the journal based on how many times articles in that journal are cited by other authors. The higher the impact factor, the "better" the journal. A few Caveats- specialty journals can be considered tops in their field but have a low impact factor because their specialty doesn't have ALOT of literature and isn't cited broadly. Journals that publish a lot of review papers can have a high impact factor because review articles get cited alot.

    If a journal is not peer reviewed- I, personally, think the paper is suspect. The sample size is not high enough or the statistics are not done (because they won't show significance). When the paper goes to a journal that doesn't peer review, its often lacking in some area that would get it booted from high ranked journals.

    I guess I would think that if the non invasive methods that have been around for a very long time were effective, there would be myriads of long term data to support the findings in very high impact journals. I don't think this is the case, so I draw my conclusions from the lack of appropriately published data.

  5. #5
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    You make several good points.

    I agree.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  6. #6
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    NFS president and Weiss

    This may be interesting information. It appears that Joe O'Brien and HR Weiss are both members of the board for SOSORT.
    International SOCIETY ON SPINAL ORTHOPAEDIC AND REHABILITATION TREATMENT

    This makes me wonder what kind of untrue "facts" Dr Weiss would be publishing in his papers, after all he is an Orthopaedic Surgeon him self.
    A practitioner seeking answers to enhance the treatment of Idiopathic Scoliosis

    Blog: www.fixscoliosis.com/

  7. #7
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    I'm not sure what your point is here.

    Did you know most published scientific results are false?
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  8. #8
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    Experience with Schroth at Scoliosis Rehab Inc.

    I just wanted to post a note about the Schroth method and the Wisconsin clinic, Scoliosis Rehab Inc. I am an adult (50) who was diagnosed at age 16 with a 25 deg curve. Drís then said I was skeletally mature and the curve would not progress. At 35 I was having increased discomfort and new x-rays showed the curve to be about 50 deg. Again no treatment was suggested as I was not in enough pain and they were not anxious to operate on me. Now at age 50 I have begun to have more discomfort, and breathing trouble. I found the Schroth program in Wisconsin, and went to an orthopaedist to get a new assessment of the situation. The curve is at 52 degís and could be operated on, but because I do not have severe pain, and I desire to first pursue conservative treatment, the Dr. said I could perform some exercises to see how that goes. He suggested Pilates, but was amenable to prescribing for the Schroth method. I have since had a week long program (paid for under Blue Cross Blue Shield) at the Scoliosis Rehab. Clinic. I can not say enough about the personal care and attention you receive from the folks at the clinic. It is a lifelong exercise program, and is not meant to cure scoliosis for adults, but to at least give you some control over the situation. You strengthen your muscles and try to hold your body into a more corrected posture using the muscle and breathing exercises. So far I am very happy with the results and have reduced the breathing problem. It is also becoming easier to get into a corrected posture and stand a little straighter than I normally do. My husband made a home version of the exercise equipment for me (wall bars) and I continue the exercises 3 days a week for about an hour each time

    I am a registered nurse and understand some of the complications and impacts of drug regimens and surgery. This is a particularly large operation and if it can be avoided I think it should be. I do not want an operation if I can at all avoid it. Surgery and drugs may be needed in severe enough circumstances but certainly other treatments like the Schroth exercise program should be tried first. I would put great trust in whatever program and length of trial of it that Beth Janseen and her team would recommend. Therapists at Scoliosis Rehab. are specifically trained in the European Schroth program.

    You can always schedule surgery if the Schroth process does not appear to be working. But, YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK FROM SURGERY, only hope the complications are low and do not become worse as one ages.

  9. #9
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    Sharon, would you be able to do me a favour and ask Quackwatch about this bunch please?

    http://www.scoliosissos.com/

    Thanks in anticipation,

    Laura
    UK based Mum of Imogen, 38 degree curve at 9 years old. SpineCor since 15/6/07, 31 degrees in brace.
    10th December 07 - 27 degrees, 23rd June 08 - 26 degrees, Feb 09 - 24 degrees, Aug 09 - 35 degrees, Jul 10 - 47 degrees, Dec 10 - 50+ degrees.
    Surgery due to take place early December 2011 at the RNOH, England.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RugbyLaura View Post
    Sharon, would you be able to do me a favour and ask Quackwatch about this bunch please?

    http://www.scoliosissos.com/

    Thanks in anticipation,

    Laura
    Yes I can do that. I still haven't sent that Clear institute page with the outrageous claims. Now I'll just send an email with both web pages.

    I'm guessing both sites will be added to the Quackwatch site eventually.

    It amazes me that Schroth isn't already listed on there. I think there is just so much quackery and so little time.

    Thanks,
    sharon
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  11. #11
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    Okay I sent both the Scoligold website and the Clear Institute website to Quackwatch. I'll post about any news of if one or both get listed on Quackwatch or Chirobase.

    The Clear Institute page at least looks like a shoo-in.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  12. #12
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    quack watch, funny

    How, humanelly, would one do a controlled study for schroth? Scoliosis is a multilayered , individualized condition. Would someone really volunteer to be the "control"? really?
    I'd happily try controlled exercises and a brace prior to major surgery. This is the path I'm on with my 14 yo daughter who is holding in a cheneau and with schroth after a very fast advance to about 45'.

    if surgery comes later, fine, but why rush? It presents many issues later in life, ask any 60 year old with the rods in their back.

  13. #13
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    I am sitting here giggling at your post! Very humorous! I just like how its worded.

    I understand what you are saying. Here's my understanding of the situation... someone dope-slap me if I'm wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by scoliomom View Post
    How, humanly, would one do a controlled study for schroth? Scoliosis is a multilayered , individualized condition. Would someone really volunteer to be the "control"? really?
    A control group would be assembled of folks who are watching and waiting and NOT doing Schroth physical therapy or Cheneau.

    Moreover, if Schroth wants to make separate efficacy claims for the PT and for the brace, they need to have two populations they are studying. If they in fact only have one group, virtually all of whom are both doing the PT and wearing the brace then that cannot separate out if any benefit is from the brace or the PT or both. Further, there might be synergistic, antagonistic, etc. effects that they will never be able to quantify if they just study a population that is both braced and does PT.

    Finally, without a control group, we can't know that the PT or Cheneau are not making curves LESS stable. Without a control group, Schroth is bare to this charge. It would therefore behoove Schroth to have a control group to prove that are not making matters worse.

    I'd happily try controlled exercises and a brace prior to major surgery. This is the path I'm on with my 14 yo daughter who is holding in a cheneau and with schroth after a very fast advance to about 45'.
    Ask yourself why you would be happy to try PT and bracing? Isn't it because you think there is good evidence out there to suspect it might work? Would you be so happy to try if there was in fact no robust evidence out there that either PT or bracing works? Did you know there is a large fraction of orthopedic surgeons who don't brace and simultaneously are not sued for malpractice?

    if surgery comes later, fine, but why rush? It presents many issues later in life, ask any 60 year old with the rods in their back.
    Nobody is trying to rush to surgery if that isn't indicated, say, by a very fast-moving curve.

    While some fusions may cause problems later in life, the state of the art is such that fusion in certain cases actually returns some patients to the general population on back issues for the rest of their life. That is, they are not predisposed to back problems over and above unfused people in the general population. In other words, they are cured by fusion surgery. It is not simply treating the signs and symptoms.

    These surgeons are GENIUSES!
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  14. #14
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    Iím a soon to be 60-year-old with rods in my back and the only issues Iíve experienced so far are I can stand at length in my kitchen and cook a meal from scratch; I can stand at my bathroom mirror in the mornings applying my makeup, fixing my hair and getting ready for work without ever once having to stop and sit down; I can go shopping after working a nine-hour day or go out to dinner with friends. Before my surgery I could not do any of those things as my spine was becoming so unstable it could barely support me. I would come home from work and collapse on my bed. That was my life. Iím just so thankful that something could be done for me and I feel truly blessed.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHRIS WBS View Post
    Iím a soon to be 60-year-old with rods in my back and the only issues Iíve experienced so far are I can stand at length in my kitchen and cook a meal from scratch; I can stand at my bathroom mirror in the mornings applying my makeup, fixing my hair and getting ready for work without ever once having to stop and sit down; I can go shopping after working a nine-hour day or go out to dinner with friends. Before my surgery I could not do any of those things as my spine was becoming so unstable it could barely support me. I would come home from work and collapse on my bed. That was my life. Iím just so thankful that something could be done for me and I feel truly blessed.
    Oh common, Chris! Those are all just cosmetic reasons! Give us some REAL benefits from the surgery and not just trifling, almost imaginary ones like you listed.

    You had a very good result. Most results are at least good I think.

    I think scoliomom was trying to make a statement about let's say teenagers who get fused and suggesting that by the time they are 60, they have run into all manner of problems from the fusion.

    Even in the case where fusions have to be revised or extended, I think the vast majority of folks would say on the whole, even with two (or more) surgeries, they're better off fused than not. This assumes modern hardware BTW. I think it was rational to avoid fusion prior to the advent of the new hardware.

    In the case of my one daughter, she would have achieved pretzel stage by now absent her fusion at the rate her curve was moving.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

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