Intended for healthcare professionals


Science in court

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 03 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2254

Re: Response to the BCA

Mr. Bartley is correct that chiropractic medicine, my profession,
ought to have "thick skins and stand their ground through intelligent
argument and debate." And in fact we have.

The profession has been more than willing to participate in scholarly
debate via scientific publication. Not only have chiropractors published
primary research but they are also engaged in the secondary analysis
though systematic review/meta-analysis as part of the Bone and Joint
Decade and Cochrane Study Groups, for example. Thus, we have placed our
skin at risk and are prepared to do intellectual combat.

Unfortunately, many critics of chiropractic want to debate by popular
media, which allows argument well beneath accepted standards for
scientific rigor. One need not blithely accept vitriol disguised as
scientific debate in the popular media. Thus, legal recourse seems to be
an appropriate and mature response. Or would Mr. Bartley suggest that
the profession publish a competing polemic in the popular media as a sign
of professional maturity?

Competing interests:
I make my living practicing, teaching, and studying chiropractic medicine and thus have a financial interest in the success of the profession.

Competing interests: No competing interests

25 July 2009
Stephen M. Perle
Professor of Clinical Sciences
University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT, USA 06604