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SIDS and atlantoaxial anomalies

In reply to the Chiropractor who recently suggested that babies on apnea monitors improved after chiropractic manipulation, and who wondered if SIDS might be related to anomalous ligamentous attachments to the atlantoaxial joints:

A number of years ago, we had a very bad experience with a chiropractic group in Southern California who sent out advertisements to new mothers by mass mailing. The advertisement invited parents to bring their newborn babies in for a free chiropractic examination to see if the baby was at risk for SIDS. If so, a chiropractic manipulation would be performed to prevent this from happening. I was alerted to this by a number of SIDS parents in the area who had received these advertisements. I responded to the group, and questioned their evidence for making such a claim, but received no reply. I then contacted the National Chiropractic Association, hoping that they would be willing to police their own professionals and censure the individuals involved for making such untenable claims.

I was absolutely astonished to receive a reply from this organization in the form of a "paper" which supported this practice. The paper, however, was written at about the level I would expect from a high school student attempting a research paper on a topic he/she really did not know much about. The "paper" not only betrayed a complete lack of knowledge about SIDS, but there were no data at all to support the claims that such an examination and/or manipulation might have any impact on SIDS or apnea.

A reply to the organization pointing this out received no further responses.

As you are studying for your certification in Pediatric Chiropractic, I certainly hope you will thoroughly investigate any research areas along these lines before joining some of your colleagues to make these claims which I do not believe can be substantiated.

I hope this helps. Thank you.

Tom Keens
Children's Hospital Los Angeles

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