Sherman Shares - September 2012

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Student to Research Correlation between Chiropractic Care and Reduction in Seizure Activity;
Patients Being Accepted

Jasen Van DykeJasen Van Dyke has seen first-hand the positive effects of chiropractic care on epileptic patients; after beginning chiropractic care, his young daughter Lilli experienced a dramatic reduction of seizures, and her quality of life continues to improve under regular care. In fact, after sharing Lilli’s story with other parents, Van Dyke eventually decided to leave a successful career and enroll in Sherman College’s doctor of chiropractic program.

Now less than a year away from graduation, he intends to take his personal observations with his daughter’s case a step further by piloting a research project studying the correlation between chiropractic care and seizure activity, autonomic nerve function, and quality of life.

“Having a daughter with epilepsy,” Van Dyke says, “I know that I want to open a family practice with an emphasis on special needs. All bodies function best without nerve interference, including those with special needs. I want to give hope to parents with no hope,” he says, thinking back to the days when he and his wife, Jennifer, were searching for an answer that would help their own child.

Van Dyke Family

Before getting started in practice, though, he’s working on the research project, guided by his advisor, Sherman College’s Assistant Director of Research, Dr. John Hart.  

Van Dyke has found several case studies that indicate improvement in autonomic function of patients with cerebral palsy (like his daughter Lilli) who received chiropractic care to remove vertebral subluxations, which are misalignments of the bones of the spine. He’s also studied research that shows a correlation between the correction of subluxations and positive effects on the autonomic nervous system.  

But, he says, autonomic nervous system involvement in patients with epilepsy has rarely been studied and has shown conflicting results. “I’m proposing that the correlation between chiropractic care and the reported resultant decrease in seizure activity is due to the improvement or regulation of autonomic function upon removal of subluxations,” Van Dyke explains.

Patients Being Accepted

Up to 30 patients of any age with a history of epilepsy will be accepted for the study. The group will be randomized into an intervention group and a placebo group. The intervention group will receive chiropractic care to remove subluxations. Both groups will undergo standard Sherman College protocols to locate and analyze vertebral subluxation(s); x-rays will be used to help assess listings if deemed clinically necessary. The medically diagnosed causation for patients’ epilepsy will be documented, but causation alone will not play a role in determining eligibility for study participation.

The intervention group will receive free chiropractic care at the Sherman College Chiropractic Health Center for the duration of the study, and the placebo group will receive free chiropractic care at the Health Center for a time equivalent to the study duration.

After consulting with a pediatric neurologist of the Greenville Hospital System, Van Dyke has determined that heart rate variability (HRV) will be used to assess the function of the autonomic nervous system.  Autonomic assessment will also include thermal pattern analysis (TPA) findings. Patients will be asked to complete health/wellness surveys and keep a seizure log to assess frequency, duration, and severity of seizure activity throughout the plan of care and the study, which should last approximately two to three months.

For information about participating in the study, please contact Jasen Van Dyke at the Sherman College Health Center, 864-578-8777, or e-mail jtvandyke@shermancollege.net.

Sherman CollegeSherman College of Chiropractic
P.O. Box 1452, Spartanburg, SC 29304
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