I have discovered over the past three years here on the internet that I have a very high tolerance to bullshit. I can watch videos featuring creationists, 911 truthers or flat Earthers and I won't rase an eyebrow. However, when it comes to videos promoting dangerous medical advice, I lose my cool and nothing gets under my skin more than people promoting chiropractic adjustment to children. The false-hope peddler Larry Cook has several such videos, however one named 'For Best Relief, Relax During A Chiropractic Adjust' particularly enrages me.
The video stars a man calling himself Dr. Donald Trepany, DC who talks about the benefit of performing chiropractic adjustments on babies. Not young children, but babies!!! Donald claims that research done in the 1960s showed that a subluxation in babies is the cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and that the reason he believes his son (who also stars in the video) is alive today because of a chiropractic adjustment he performed on him when he was only 30 seconds old "I think the only reason you are alive today is because of that adjustment". The video description also promotes these adjustments to be repeated regularly because apparently "spines go out of alignment on a daily basis, getting regular Chiropractic adjustments is recommended" Like all Larry's videos it has the ratings dialled and the comments set to 'review only' because when you know you are promoting a potentially dangerous quack procedure it's best to censor those who call you out on it. This is also not the first time the cause of SIDS has been disguised on one of Larry’s videos as a year earlier Larry uploaded the video 'Vaccines and Toxins Cause Autism, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS & Crib Death' in which - you have probably guessed - it blames SIDS on vaccinations.
Donald claims that there is research from the 1960s in which autopsies performed on over 1,000 children who died from SIDS revealed that over 900 of them had their Atlantal “out”. This apparently puts pressure on the brain stem which is exacerbated when the child moves in it’s sleep resulting in death. I wanted to see this research for myself and thanks to a little help from people on Facebook I was able to track down the doctor who Donald is quoting. His name was Gottfried Gutmann a German doctor who first learnt of chiropractors in WWII as a prisoner of war in England.
I ran a whole host of of searches trying to find any information regarding Gutmann’s SIDS research but all I found was links to pseudoscience websites where they simply stated that this research existed but never referencing it. I though to myself how is it possible to have a piece of research involving autopsies on over 1000 children who had died from SIDS disappeared off the face of the planet. I was all ready to call it a day when I found a book published by the Homeopathic Educational Services named ‘Healing Childhood Ear Infections’. The book is exactly what one would expect coming from a company called Homeopathic Educational Services, and shows it’s lack of backbone on the first page – where it says “The author and published disclaim all responsibility arising from any adverse effects or results that might occur as a result of the application of any of the information contained in this book”. The book includes a few paragraphs on Gutmann and calls him one of “Europe’s most prominent researchers in the field of physical medicine.” It then goes on to say that he cured an 18-month-old boy suffering from tonsillitis by clicking his neck, and that he has performed similar procedures on over 1,000 children. It then references the (…and I hesitate to use the word…) paper ‘Blocked Atlantal Nerve Syndrome In Infants and Small Children’.
The paper consists of three case studies in which Gutmann using the power of chiropractic adjustment cured three young babies of such life threatening illnesses as colds, bruising, earaches and the “sniffles”. Gutmann claims that “these few case studies are presented from more then 1,000 small patients treated successfully, almost without excepting” At this part I would normally go into detail about the errors of the paper but this is literally the bulk. There is no beef to anything said here nor is there any reference sample or any credible mode of action. It merely states that these chidden were cured from their trivial problems by the chiropractic adjustment performed by Gutmann. There is no mention of SIDS or autopsies or anything that resembles what Donald was saying in Larry’s video.
The claim that SIDS is cause by a sublimation, and that it can be prevented by a visit to your local chiropractor is an extraordinary one; and one that any normal person would demand to see evidence of. It would take nothing to ask Donald where he got his information from and uncover that he is talking bollocks. The fact that Larry does not do this, and promotes potentially dangerous, heavily discredited alternative treatment to babies (in which bones are not properly formed yet) shows that he is not to be trusted on medical matters.