Tag Archives: BCA

British Chiropractic Association: poor quality research on posture

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) claims to represent a certain expertise regarding backs and bodies. BCA states that:

Chiropractic is a primary health-care profession that specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and overall management of conditions that are due to problems with the joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves of the body, particularly those of the spine.

I was therefore interested to see that they had released some research on posture in 2009, for the Straighten Up campaign which is linked to Chiropractic Awareness Week*. The BCA carried out some research into posture in the UK. Given the expertise claim for Chiropractic, I was expecting a detailed assessment of people’s posture in different circumstances (sitting, standing, walking etc.) However, the BCA’s website reports that:

New consumer research by the British Chiropractic Association shows that, in just two years, the incidence of poor posture appears to have risen at an alarming rate. Over half (56%) of the UK population currently believe they have a bad posture, compared to 38% in 2007, an increase of 16%.

There are big problems with self-assessment of posture: it can be hard to know whether you are holding yourself ‘right’. This type of self-reporting is therefore very problematic.

To make matters worse, I can’t seem to find basic details about this research on the BCA’s site : what questions were asked, the sampling of research subjects, the size of the sample, etc. This research – and the BCA’s publication of it – is therefore very weak. It is hard to see how one can draw meaningful conclusions from what is described on the BCA website. For an organisation which works to come across as a credible representative of healthcare professionals, publicising ‘consumer research’ in this way is really rather unfortunate.

* Which, pleasingly, this year coincided with the end of the BCA’s ill-fated libel case against science writer Simon Singh.

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GCC: evidence for chiropractic for infant colic is “inconclusive”

We were interested to see (among a number of documents sent in response to our FOIA request to the General Chiropractic Council) that the GCC acknowledges that

The available evidence of the efficacy of the chiropractic contribution to the management of some types of asthma, migraine headache and infant colic is inconclusive

While one might argue that the evidence re chiropractic treatment of some of these conditions is actually negative, this GCC acknowledgement is still significant (we were pleased to see that this letter is already discussed on the Bad Reason blog).

The BCA libel case against Simon Singh has generated significant criticism. BCA responded by arguing that

It has never been the BCA’s case that the evidence is overwhelmingly conclusive. It is the BCA’s case that there is good evidence.

Does the UK chiropractic’s statutory regulator disagree with the BCA on this? And will we now see the GCC standing up for Singh and critiquing the BCA’s position?

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British Chiropractic Association (BCA) demonstrate what evidence-based medicine isn’t

The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) are currently suing Simon Singh for stating, among other things, that the

British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence

The BCA have now – somewhat belated – summarised [PDF] the evidence which they feel relates to the article and the use of chiropractic treatment for various childhood illnesses. Other bloggers are assessing various aspects of this evidence – we’ll consider what might constitute good evidence in this context.

It was interesting to see the BCA quote Sackett et al on “Evidence based medicine [EBM]: what it is and what it isn’t”. They summarise (p. 7) the paper’s conclusion as

Evidence based medicine is about integrating individual clinical expertise and the best external evidence

However, while they might orientate themselves towards EBM, this PDF from the BCA provides a nice example of what EBM isn’t Continue reading

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