October 24, 2012 — Jasen Van Dyke has seen first-hand the positive effects of chiropractic 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 of Chiropractic’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.

Before getting started in practice, though, he’s working on a research project studying chiropractic’s effects on seizure activity and the function of the autonomic nervous system. Studies like Van Dyke’s, in accordance with Sherman’s mission, help engage students and faculty members in research and scholarly activities that contribute to advancing chiropractic education and the chiropractic profession.

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 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.

More about the study

Up to 30 patients of any age with a history of epilepsy are being accepted for the study. The group is randomized into an intervention group and a placebo group. The intervention group receives chiropractic care to correct subluxations. Both groups undergo standard Sherman protocols to locate and analyze vertebral subluxation(s); X-rays are used to help assess listings if deemed clinically necessary.

The medically diagnosed causation for patients’ epilepsy is documented, but causation alone does not play a role in determining eligibility for study participation. The intervention group receives free chiropractic at the Sherman Health Center for the duration of the study, and the placebo group receives free chiropractic care at the Health Center for a time equivalent to the study duration.

After consulting with a pediatric neurologist of Greenville Hospital System, Van Dyke determined that heart rate variability (HRV) would be used to assess the function of the autonomic nervous system. Autonomic assessment also includes thermal pattern analysis (TPA) findings.

Patients are 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 lasts approximately two to three months.

Source: Sherman College of Chiropractic, sherman.edu