Christie Kwon, MS, DC
Executive Director, Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation
The Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation (FVS) recently published a case report titled “Increased Telomere Length and Improvements in Dysautonomia, Quality of Life, and Neck and Back Pain Following Correction of Sagittal Cervical Alignment Using Chiropractic BioPhysics Technique” in the Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine.
Drs. Curtis Fedorchuk, Douglas Lightstone, and Matthew McCoy of FVS, and Dr. Deed Harrison of Chiropractic BioPhysics Non-Profit authored this study, which chronicles the chiropractic care of a 35-year old female with a five-year history of chronic musculoskeletal pain and nocturnal polyuria, who was found to have significant postural abnormalities indicating the presence of vertebral subluxations. Blood tests measuring telomere length, SF-36 quality of life scores, and heart rate variability were used as outcome assessments, and considerable improvements were noted on all measures, without any other notable changes in lifestyle or diet. Cervical x-rays also demonstrated improved cervical lordosis and anterior head posture over the course of 36 visits in 5 months.
Telomeres are the caps on our linear DNA, very similar to the plastic caps on the ends of shoelaces. They are meant to protect the vital information contained within chromosomes, but over the years of cell division, telomeres shorten much like the ends of shoelaces fray with the miles put on our sneakers.
While its decline was once thought to be associated with the ‘normal’ aging process, telomerase (the enzyme regulating telomere length) activity is now thought to be a window into the salutogenic potential of the human body. A 2010 study by Harvard researchers and reported in Nature suggests that premature aging is associated with a premature decline in telomerase and shortened telomeres, and that an increase in telomerase activity may have anti-aging benefits. Their study also revealed that the body may very quickly respond to a boost in telomerase activation to repair degenerated tissues.
This is the first research of its kind within the chiropractic profession, and while much more research is needed to produce conclusive evidence, it is a promising start. This case study suggests that correction of vertebral subluxation and improvement of spinal alignment and posture may be associated with increased telomere length and further supports that chiropractic care may provide salutogenic health benefits.
A second phase study, in multiple practices, to further investigate this research area is underway. Chiropractors interested in participating in this study are encouraged to contact the Foundation to find out how to become involved.
FVS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The mission of the Foundation is to advocate for and advance the founding principles and tenets of the chiropractic profession in the area of vertebral subluxation through research, education, policy and service.
Join us on this mission at www.vertebralsubluxation.org.