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Palmer College

Large-scale study on chiropractic and high blood pressure underway

foreground: blood pressure cuff, background: adjustment

An important, collaborative research project studying the effect of upper cervical chiropractic care on 165 people with high blood pressure in the Quad Cities is underway at Palmer. Researchers at the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research (PCCR) clinic facility and collaborating institutions are conducting the clinical study, which has the potential to significantly impact the treatment of hypertension.

The study, called Chiropractic for Hypertension in Patients (CHiP), involves the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research, Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami, Fla., and Terrace Park Family Practice Clinic at the Trinity Bettendorf Campus, Bettendorf, Iowa.

CHiP is being directed by project co-leaders Palmer’s Vice Chancellor for Research and Health Policy, Christine Goertz, D.C., Ph.D., and Gervasio Lamas, M.D., a cardiovascular scientist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami. In addition, Joseph Bergstrom, D.O., Trinity’s director of medical education in its family practice residency program, is 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.

According to Dr. Goertz, high blood pressure has been diagnosed in approximately 73 million Americans. Of those who receive medical treatment for the disease, only about 30 percent of them achieve desired blood pressure goals.

“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.”

According to Dr. Lamas, “The concept that manipulation of the upper cervical spine could reduce blood pressure is both novel and appealing at the same time. 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 … seeing the results.”

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