Professor Finds Documentation of B.J.'s "Eight Cases" Among Sherman College Museum Archive
March 12, 2002 - Sorting through old files. Organizing piles of x-rays. Reading through handwritten patient notes.
What some might consider a chore, Associate Professor John Hart, D.C., considers a great opportunity.
When Sherman College needed to categorize and prioritize a room full of archives last summer, John Hart was just the man for the job. His mission: to organize many of the college's historical documents housed in storage in the Bahan Library and properly display and file them in the recently constructed Brown House and Museum.
As Hart went about his archival "dig," he struck gold. "Some of the records I found seemed very familiar," he says. In large envelopes bearing the B.J. Palmer Clinic seal, Hart discovered clinic notes and x-rays labeled with case numbers. "I went into the library and pulled out one of B.J. Palmer's Green Books to see if the case numbers from the records matched those in the book."
Hart's hunch was correct - he had found seven of the commonly known "eight cases" from B.J.'s Chiropractic Clinical Controlled Research, Volume XXV, published in 1951. "I was very excited about finding these files with handwritten clinic notes from the B.J. Palmer Chiropractic Clinic," he says.
And understandably so. After all, Hart has made frequent example of those eight cases over the years in his instrumentation class, never knowing the college possessed seven of those records. The documents were found in boxes that contained files and other memorabilia of Lyle Sherman, D.C., for whom the college is named. The boxes were retrieved as the college began to properly display and organize archives in its new museum.
The eight cases are used in B.J.'s book "to demonstrate the effectiveness of Chiropractic with cases medically diagnosed as multiple sclerosis, encephalitis or sleeping sickness, hydrocephalus, epilepsy, sciatica, cirrhosis and cancer of the liver, and tumors" (page 358).
Hart says many Sherman College alumni will remember the well-known "Colonel Allen case" that has historically been illustrated in the instrumentation class. Because of the severity of Allen's illness (described in the records as cirrhosis of the liver and a malignancy in both liver ducts), the medical profession didn't give him much hope. But under care at the Palmer Clinic, he was adjusted and his health improved.
Allen wrote a letter to B.J. Palmer, thanking him for the care and explaining how chiropractic had changed his life. Allen later practiced chiropractic in Georgia.
Hart says most of the discussion of the eight cases centers around the analysis of spinal heat scans (using the neurocalograph or recording neurocalometer), and that Dr. Sherman played a key role in organizing the cases. The book notes that "neurocalograph records are an excellent study of nerve pressure patterns established before adjustment of existing subluxation and the corrective pattern cycles which follow during convalescent period" (page 358). The book also states that by "intelligent use" of the neurocalograph, the chiropractor can ascertain presence or absence of vertebral interference and, consequently, can determine when or when not to adjust.
"I consider this to be the very beginning of published pattern analysis (done in the early 1940s)," Hart says. "Modern pattern analysis works under the same principle. We're looking at the readings for similarity. If readings are similar, we say the patient is in pattern - and that's a sign that the nervous system may not be working properly. When x-rays and palpation show evidence of the misalignment component, and the heat patterns show evidence of the neurological component, then we have evidence of vertebral subluxation."
The Sherman College Chiropractic Health Center uses pattern analysis as a component in determining whether to adjust, and Director of Research Edward Owens, M.S., D.C., continues to explore pattern analysis through clinical research and published articles.
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