Today, I was delighted to be reminded to visit the website of the Australian Spinal Research Foundation. I hadn’t been there for a while.
In October 2013 I wrote about the board of governors of the ASRF: The Australian Spinal Research Foundation – the infection of anti-vaccinationism. Here is a quick recap from my post:
The Australian Spinal Research Foundation is an associated organisation of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia. The ASRF’s raison d’être is research. The main area of research would seem to be to prove that the chiropractic subluxation is a thing, which is a real thing, as opposed to the thing which currently exists only in the minds of fundamentalist chiropractors and their brainwashed customers. To do this research the ASRF holds charitable status. With great power comes great responsibility. I hope they are spending their earnings in the right places:
Our Bona Fides
Australian Spinal Research Foundation is a company limited by guarantee under Australian Corporations Law. The Foundation is an approved Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) under the Australian Income Tax Assessment Act (Section 30-15, Research Institute) and an Income Tax Exempt Charity (Section 50-5). The Foundation is registered as Charity No. 1193 under the Queensland Collections Act and is exempt from Stamp Duty under the Stamp Act.
Only two days ago a blockbuster of a post was published by The Rogue Chiropractor: Australian Spinal Research Foundation: it’s time to drop the pretence. It has been revealed that the research output of the ASRF is abysmal; and their research funding is even worse [my bold]:
The ASRF started in 1976 and is considered a well-established not-for-profit organisation. Over the past 13 years the ASRF has grossed an impressive $12.9M largely through spizzed-up promotion of subluxation theories. Only 6.9% of all revenue ends up eventuating in the ASRF’s primary function which is research grant activity. Of interest, 33.7% of income is spent on wages and salaries…
It is now 2013 and we must ask ourselves the question – are we any closer to being able to prove the existence of the vertebral subluxation complex and the effects they have on health? Twelve years on and we are still no closer to being able to accurately define a valid and reliable method of identifying one. Should the spizzed-up CAA board throw millions of dollars of their membership’s money at subluxation research based upon the advice of this floundering research foundation?
As you can see by the title of my 2013 post, my focus was on the make-up of the board members’ slant on immunisation, if known. From the conclusion of my post:
So, that is all eleven of the board of governors of the Australian Spinal Research Foundation. Only three of them have no anti-vaccine affiliation or online presence of anti-vaccine misinformation. Eight of these eleven people can be regarded as anti-vaccinationists. And five of those eight anti-vaccinationists are or were members of Australia’s most prominently, consistently wrong conglomerate of nutbag conspiracy theorists one could hesitantly regard as akin to health information providers. Five out of eleven of the board members of this charity, are or were members of the AVN.
Holy crap, you guys.
73% of the ASRF board is anti-vaccine. That’s almost a distinction.
And I didn’t even include the former ASRF board members who featured in my anti-vaccine series: David Cahill and Taylor Vagg. Nor did I include others, like Angus Pyke, and Billy Chow, who are not on the board; but, appear to be heavily involved in steering the organisation…
Well, it’s now 2014, and there’s a new board of governors in place. Gone from the old board are Ray Hayek, James Carter, Gary Smith, and Tony Rose. The board has shrunk from eleven members down to nine. To get back up to our new number, the new board members are – and you have just read these names above – Angus Pyke and Billy Chow.
The new board of the Australian Spinal Research Foundation is: Martin Harvey (antivax); Angus Pyke (antivax); Nimrod Weiner (antivax); Mark Uren (antivax); Carmen Atkinson (antivax); Billy Chow (anti-vax); Craig Foote (antivax); Ali Postles (antivax); and Professor Elizabeth Deane (not known; why, oh why are you on this board?).
Of the anti-vaccine chiropractors listed on the new board, four of them are/were members of the fundamentalist anti-vaccination pressure group, the Australian Vaccination (skeptics) Network. Four out of nine: that’s only 44%, right? That’s not too bad for a health charity, right?
Of the new board of the ASRF – a charity – eight of the nine board members are anti-vaccine: that’s right, 89% of the board of governors of the leading Australian chiropractic research organisation, which is a charity, is anti-vaccine. Now, say that three times and a subluxation appears.
Also of interest, two of those anti-vaccine board members – Uren and Chow – are also board members of the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia. That’s the national board; not one of those out-of-control state boards.
Again, wrap your heads around this:
There is a health charity in Australia, the ASRF, whose existence is predicated on the research of, and indeed the finding of, something which does not exist – the chiropractic vertebral subluxation. The board of governors of this charity is 89% anti-vaccine – up from a paltry 73% in 2013. They’ve gone from a mere distinction in anti-vaccinationism to a HD! Two of those anti-vaccine board members are also board members of Australia’s leading chiropractic representative organisation, the CAA.
And a great, big bulk of the Australian chiropractic profession is okay with this.
Here is what the other Australian chiropractic representative organisation (the evidence-based one), the Chiropractic and Osteopathic College of Australasia, says about the subluxation:
It is not supported by any clinical research evidence that would allow claims to be made that it is the cause of disease [as per General Chiropractic Council]
And yet here we are, with an Australian charity, whose finances and research output have been questioned, which is run by anti-vaccinationists, researching the existence of winged dragons. And still none fly. Chiropractic: almost 120 years in existence, and there still be no flying dragons.
And here’s the kicker: these people advocate and practice the adjustment of babies, even just minutes and hours after birth, based on the existence of these winged dragons.
Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.
There’s nothing at all strange or new about shonks wanting to separate the gullible from their cash.
Excellent post, Hank, but COCA need to be careful about the UK General Chiropractic Council’s policy statement on the Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC). The Council’s original statement said:
“The chiropractic vertebral subluxation complex is an historical concept but it remains a theoretical model. It is not supported by any clinical research evidence that would allow claims to be made that it is the cause of disease or health concerns.”
However, after the UK’s largest chiropractic organisation, the subluxation-based Alliance of UK Chiropractors (AUKC), met with the Council and presented a ridiculous dossier on the Vertebral Subluxation Complex, the Council was persuaded to delete the phrase “…or health concerns” from its policy statement.
In a nutshell, it means that UK chiropractors can continue detect and correct mythical subluxations by linking them to the “health concerns” of their choice.
For references, see here:
Thanks BW. I have a feeling COCA would follow the lead given here by Murdoch. It’s a shame the GCC watered theirs down:
“At Murdoch we do not teach or use the word subluxation in that sense [misplaced bone] except as a possible theoretical entity that may warrant research. The broad use of the term subluxation has historically contributed to a breakdown in communication between chiropractors and other medical and allied health professions.”
Good page that one ^^. Especially the part about treating kids. The ASRF and their affiliated winged-dragon hunters would hate it.
Thanks Hank, keep up the pressure. I wonder if subscribing to to the VSC quackery and treating on the basis of VSC theory is grounds for professional reprimand- sounds like another letter to the chiro board
That’s the thing which always gets me. It is a CoC breach to overtreat, or treat for conditions which don’t require it. How is it not a breach to be treating babies through to the elderly based on the existence of a subluxation? How long do they need to show it is a thing, apart from a figment in their collective imagination? The CBA needs to get serious. The more people look, the worse it is going to get.
Keep up the good work Hank! The Australian Staff Remuneration Foundation was probably hoping that the storm would pass then business as usual! SPIZZ!
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