Winsor? Not.

Winsor? Not.

I found the following quote at Chiropractic care can treat more than just bad backs (FYI. Chiropractic can't):

Luse references a study published in The Medical Times authored by Dr. Henry Windsor (sic), M.D. that showcases the correlation of spinal health to overall wellness. Windsor dissected 75 human cadavers to investigate their causes of death. The study showed that 138 of the 139 diseases of the internal organs that were present were in connection to the misalignments of the vertebrae.

But I was intrigued. So I went to the video tape. Well, the PDF.

It is an interesting read by a physician who was looking for an association between curvature of the spine visceral pathology and by god he found them.  Whether they were there or not.

He had 75 cadavers, age unknown, that he dissected and looked at the spine for curvature and the looked for pathology in the same distribution of the sympathetic nervous system as the curvature.  Note: curvatures NOT misalignments in the vernacular of chiropractic.  The chiropractic sites seem to always use the term misalignment when referring to the study, never curvature, but it was not a study about misalignment.

It would be important to know the age and co-morbidities of the patients, since curvature of the spine is a natural result of aging and can be found in normal people and those with nutritional and other metabolic problems

More importantly, there is no description of the definition of what constituted a curvature of the spine. Like pornography, he knew it when he saw it. But we do not. In fact he finds curvatures where

such a curve would have been considered normal by many.

He found the curves then found internal pathology then lined up the diseases with the curvature and found associations. 50 cadavers, 105 curvatures of which 100 were 'minor' and of these 105 curvatures, 96

showed evidence of disorders in some of the structures supplied by that portion of the sympathetic system coming from the vertebral segments of the curvature.

Why only some. Why are not all the organs in the sympathetic distribution diseased? Um. No cause and effect?

Or reversing the process of thought, 221 structures other than the spine were found diseased. Of these, 212 were observed to belong to the same sympathetic segment as the vertebrae in curvature

And when there wasn't an association, it was due to the levels one vertebrae up or down; close enough, right?

Without knowing how abnormal curvature was defined and how the spines were examined there is no way to know of there were actually curvatures.

There were a hodgepodge of conditions: infections, tumors, warts, and cirrhosis all, as the author philosophically notes

the ordinary diseases of adult life.

It is also curious that diseases with radically different pathophysiology were thought to be due to curvatures and involvement of the sympathetic nervous system from the same distribution.  

And some of the processes do not seem to be diseases at all:  1 small bladder,  1 unduly large bladder, 8 large and small 7 red kidneys, 1 degenerated pancreas, whatever that is, one groin wound, 4 dilated stomachs, 7 large and 5 atrophic spleens.  So many subjective findings. It seemed as if there was no pathology he found some anyway.

This is as curious an example of presuming causation from association combined with the most ergregious confirmation bias as I have ever seen.

He concludes that children and dogs like to curl up to sleep

relaxing the sympathetic nervous system, induces contraction of the great vessels (and) emptying the cerebral vessels.

A unique explanation of sleep: depriving the brain of blood by curling up.

And how this fanciful study of curvatures applies to the equally fanciful adjustments of subluxations of the spine performed by chiropractors is uncertain as

All curvatures and deformities of the spine were ridged, apparently of long duration: irreducible by ordinary manual force: extension, counter-extension, rotation, even strong lateral movement failed to remove them or even cause them to change their relative positions.

Nothing there a chiropractor could alter, unless they used a hammer.  

It is fun to read old studies, in part due to the style of speech used and in part to see a complete lack of rigor in how information was measured and reported. By modern standards it is truly awful with no valid conclusions possible.  This report would be a nice example for students on how not to do a study for if a mistake could be made, it was.  And, of course, a chiropractors idea of good research.

Points of Interest 8/15/2014
Points of Interest 8/14/2014