There they go again with more hyperbole to sell their snake oil project–RCS. Now Jackson has recruited other Evil Vendors to bait unsuspecting clients by offering free services/products worth $7,000. When was the last time you heard of any legitimate research project offering free gifts in order to participate? Methinks this RCS scam has hit the bottom of the barrel of ethics.
Enjoy my response to this sham effort!
Top leaders unite behind RCS
In an impressive display of unity [by unknown evil vendors wanting to exploit naïve DCs], more than a dozen of the top “coaches” and leaders [Okay, stop laughing: no reputable chiro leader in the mainstream will have anything to do with this scam research] in the chiropractic profession have united behind a single research effort: Research & Clinical Science (RCS). These leaders [vendors], showing magnificent support for the global research program [patient solicitation program veiled as research], are offering products or services ‑‑ such as seminars, books, audio programs, consultations, DVD presentations, etc. [all carrots to bait the donkey]
The donated products and/or services will be compiled into the RCS “Top Coaches and Leaders Practice Success Kit” and given, free, to doctors who join the RCS Program. So far, with 12 items worth at least $500 apiece, each Kit is valued at nearly $7,000. There is a limited number of kits available and they will be given on a first‑come first‑served basis. [Indeed, why would they need to bait unsuspecting DCs into this RCS scam unless there was something fishy about it? Does this pass the smell test to you?]
“What’s so amazing about this is that these true leaders [“true leaders” as compared to fake leaders in the ACA, WFC, FCER, CCGPP, CCE or COCSA who refuse to be a part of this scam?] aren’t just giving lip service to an endeavor,” said David A. Jackson, DC, CEO of RCS. “They were asked to put up valuable items and they responded with enthusiasm and generosity. By doing this, they demonstrated united support for the evidence‑based [Okay, stop gasping!], subluxation‑centered [chiro-cures-all] research being done by RCS.” [More hyperbole: I’m surprised he failed to mention “Innate-center” research blessed by the late BJ Palmer himself in a séance session with TR and Matt McCoy.]
“When we start producing and publishing the results of this study [Just when will that be?], every one of these chiropractic leaders will be able to take part of the credit,” [and part of the hopeful profit] stated Jackson. “They’ll know they were the ones who stepped forward to do what the profession has needed to do for more than a century.” [As if legitimate chiro researchers have done nothing? What gall by Jackson to insult the best and the brightest in our profession.]
Chiropractic leaders wishing to have their products or services considered for inclusion in the “Top Coaches and Leaders Practice Success Kit” should contact Jackson at 800‑909‑1354 or 480‑303‑1694. [Okay, everyone, let’s get the phones ringing for the good of chiropracTIC research, ya folla?]
I wonder what the real deal is for these vendors to participate. TR has taxed advertisers in the TCJ a percentage of their increased profits, so I suspect Jackson and he will do the same now. Again, this RCS scam is just beyond ethical research: they charge clients $14,000 to participate, they hoodwink patients, and now they seduce vendors with access to potential consumers. Indeed, TR and Jackson don’t miss a beat, do they?
I daresay if anyone wants to support credible research, they might donate to FCER or attend its upcoming seminar this weekend in Chicago. Logon to www.FCER.org to learn more.
Never one to adhere to conventional ethics in journalism or research, a past article in the WCA News shows how this new patient acquisition scheme thinly veiled as research.
“Although the research will greatly benefit the entire profession by silencing the critics who claim it is ‘unscientific,’ [or those who claim it’s unethical] there are definite advantages for individual doctors who participate in the program. Many volunteers who receive their free chiropractic evaluation, consultation and report of findings will be introduced to chiropractic and may be interested in continuing as paying patients.”
Does this sound like a typical, ethical, professional research project that demands field participants to pay and whose real goal is to recruit new patients? Of course not.
Furthermore, Dr. Mike Menke offers more academic reasons why the RCS is an illegitimate effort:
By focusing on scientific merit, we are actually talking about whether such research could eventually be published in a high-impact peer-review scientific journal. Without addressing these issues, this work would not be of sufficient merit to meet high quality scientific publishing standards from what I can observe of it at this time. To date, RCS appears to fall short of what would be expected in a rigorously designed scientific research project.
The following points of concern are by no means exhaustive, but rather highlight some of the primary issues that the scientific community will challenge in various models of health care and health services research.
1) “Correlational research” of large data sets is called “fishing.” Unless the RCS research is theory-driven and effect sizes estimated, such studies lack sufficient scientific quality to be published in legitimate peer-reviewed scientific journals. Correlating every variable with every other variable inevitably produces significant correlations and other associations. With large data sets of 1000 or more, correlations and other measures of association are guaranteed to produce significant correlations, even from very small values. That is why theory must guide analysis here.
2) Lack of a manipulable independent variable would suggest a naturalistic experiment in which levels of chiropractic care could be compared to outcomes. This assumes that types and degrees of chiropractic treatment are tracked, and preferably some chiropractic treatment withheld or substituted with another kind of treatment to give a full range of responses. Otherwise, given the …
3) Lack of a comparison group and lacking random assignment, observed clinical changes could be due entirely to the healing power of time itself.
4) Lack of experimental equipoise. Setting out to prove chiropractic effectiveness for a variety of conditions lacks the neutrality required to test hypotheses and to be taken seriously as science. A correlational exploratory study could never validate anything; let alone chiropractic theory and application.
5) Measurement issues. What is chiropractic effectiveness in this study, anyway? Are the measures of subluxation and health outcomes based upon good psychometric analysis? What are the Cronbach’s Alpha’s of the instruments used? Were convergent and discriminant validity of the assessments established? By what method? Campbell and Fiske’s MTMM? LISREL or other structural equation modeling? In other words, by now there should be a “cottage industry” of research published showing reliability and validity of the RCS measurement models and instruments. That data collection has commenced without this important foundation is a bad sign.
6) Patient self-selection gives a biased sample. When patients self-select, you get wacky inferences such as “better DNA” and more “pregnancies” after chiropractic care – neither of which are scientifically tenable. Also, by researching only the “chiropractically willing,” variable distributions will start to “look weird” – deviate from the normal – a condition that influences correlations – in many cases driving them down. This is easily overwhelmed by especially large sample sizes, in which “everything is found to relate to everything.”
7) After the initial scan for associations in a subset of the sample, theory-derived analysis commences to testing multiple competing hypotheses (Chamberlain, 1996), strong inference (Platt,1964) and model cross validation with bootstrapping or other re-sampling techniques. It is too early to tell if these inferential precautions are to be undertaken. But with a “prove chiropractic” intention, and lack of theoretical development and associated publications from study’s participants, this foundation appears unlikely.
8) A comparison to drug companies to justify secrecy and private funding of the RCS research is comparing apples and oranges for several reasons.
9) A lack of a posted or shared research plan may be appropriate for developing new and proprietary technology. However, when asking people to invest in this study, do they also become shareholders of a technology? Again, in looking to what products will be produced from this project (“deliverables”), the science appears weak from whatever observable parts we have, and accumulating substantial evidence for “chiropractic” [Adjustments? Advice?] seems unlikely. In short, the specific aims and relevance of this research remain unknown.
10) This enterprise is a close cousin to the Vertebral Subluxation Research Institute (VRSI) of just a few years ago which failed to produce anything of scientific value. Many of the same players are in positions of authority in the RCS project. The VRSI never delivered, so we might reasonably expect no more in this most recent version. Without any meaningful and informative scientific publications advancing knowledge of chiropractic’s role in health policy or patient care, the project will fall far short of its claims. Press releases without good science would only confuse the public, and damage the credibility of the chiropractic profession even further, when the scientific and medical communities respond with criticisms.
Investors, chiropractors, patients, and participants are, whether they know it or not, chiefly interested in scientific merit and if their hard earned money will build a better and brighter future for the chiropractic profession. All interested chiropractors deserve to know if scientific integrity and treatment fidelity can be delivered by RCS. The issues I raise and others must be addressed first.
Michael Menke, MA, DC
Evaluation Group for Analysis of Data
Department of Psychology,
and Program in Integrative Medicine
University of Arizona
When will Jackson and TR respond to Dr. Menke’s claims? Or will they, as usual, ignore this criticism and devise another way to recruit suckers to their scheme? It’s about time the mainstream chiro researchers and academicians address this problem publicly; I suggest a Great Debate at RAC would be a great forum, ya folla?