In a commentary published in the October 20, 2011 issue of The Journal of Pediatrics, Dr. Eric Hassall cautions that medicine has turned normal function in infants into a disease complete with drug therapy and the resulting list of adverse events.
The problem lies in the fact that many doctors are viewing frequent spitting up, irritability and unexplained crying in infants under the age of one as a medical condition because the symptoms are distressing to parents. This has resulted in an increase in written prescriptions for acid-suppression medication over the last decade.
As Dr. Hassall observes, “it is recognized that more advertising leads to more requests by patients for advertised medicine, and more prescriptions; the term ‘acid reflux’ as used in the marketing of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to adults, has simply trickled down to infants.” He points out that most “reflux” in infants is not “acid”, because stomach contents have been buffered by frequent feedings.
“We are medicalizing normality,” he said, “In most infants, these symptoms are ‘life,’ not a disease, and do not warrant treatment with drugs, which can have significant adverse effects.” He explains in his commentary that gastric acid is an early line of defense against infection, and important for nutrition. By prescribing acid suppressing medications to infants without reflux, pediatricians are putting their patients at a higher risk for infections like pneumonia and gastroenteritis. The use of PPIs in infants can also lead to abnormalities in the levels of essential minerals and vitamins, such as magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B12.
If treatment is warranted, the solution should be focused on restoring a healthy nervous system and NOT suppressing medications. For example, there are numerous case studies that have been published on the benefits of chiropractic care and colic babies – the most compelling research is a study that included 316 babies with colic. In this study, 73 chiropractors treated 316 babies with moderate to severe colic. An incredible 94% of the babies demonstrated satisfactory results within 14 days of chiropractic care. 25% showed great improvement with just one treatment.
A healthy functioning spine and nervous system will play an integral role in the overall health of a child. Healthy babies, free of nerve irritation, are happier babies.
Krauss LL Chiropractic Pediatrics Vol. 2 No. 1, October, 1995 Klougart N, Nilsson N and Jacobsen J (1989) J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1989 (Aug);12 (4): 281-288 Nilsson N Eur J Chiro 1985;33 (4) :264-65. Cuhel JM, Powell M, Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics Vol. 2, No. 2 1997. P. 150-154.