The life and contribution of Dr. Ronald Gitelman: a pioneer of modern chiropractic science

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The life and contribution to chiropractic science of Dr. Ronald Gitelman is reviewed. Sources for this article included review of the notes prepared by Dr. Joseph Keating in his "biography" of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC); review of the important articles published by Dr. Gitelman; review of the important projects undertaken by him along with various colleagues; notes from reminiscences obtained from many of these colleagues and discussions with his family. Dr. Gitelman's academic career spanned from 1963 to the late 1980's. During that time, he made foundational contributions to the development of chiropractic science including: developing the Archives (1974), the first collection of scientific articles supporting chiropractic science (which was subsequently published as the Chiropractic Archives Research Collection (CRAC)); delivering one of the few chiropractic papers at the seminal NINCDS conference (1975) and, developing the collaboration between CMCC and Dr. Kirkaldy-Willis at the University of Saskatoon (1976). He practiced in Toronto from 1961 to 2007. Dr. Gitelman was a pioneer in the development of chiropractic science. He died on October 7, 2012.

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... 10 As director of research at CMCC, he supported the publication of Segmental Neuropathy, 73 which could explain why his CVS theories were congruent with the text. 31 Gitelman's conclusion with Fitz-Ritson was that CVS led to various visceral disorders. 10 This conclusion was also reached by the chiropractic pioneers based on their observations of clinical findings. ...
Objective: The purpose of this paper is to review and discuss the history of chiropractic vertebral subluxation (CVS) between 1979 and 1995, with an emphasis on complexes, models, and consensus. Discussion: New models were developed and critiqued during this period. The first subluxation complex model was proposed by Faye. Other theorists such as Lantz and Dishman built upon his model. The complex models were integrated into consensus statements by the International Chiropractic Association and the American Chiropractic Association, and later by profession-wide processes. The plurality of the CVS encompassed known theories and included integration of stress models and biochemistry. The professional consensus around CVS was comprehensive as shown by the process models that included stakeholders in the profession. Calls for more empirical research and changes to terminology increased during this era. Influential articles from this period potentially contained errors and relied on older studies that may no longer be valid. Conclusion: The challenges to researching this complex entity during that time were daunting for many and pointed to challenges of using the word "subluxation" to encompass the multiplicity that defined CVS.
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Spinal manipulation, one of the oldest forms of therapy for back pain, has mostly been practiced outside of the medical profession. Over the past decade, there has been an escalation of clinical and basic science research on manipulative therapy, which has shown that there is a scientific basis for the treatment of back pain by manipulation. Most family practitioners have neither the time nor inclination to master the art of manipulation and will wish to refer their patients to a skilled practitioner of this therapy. Results of spinal manipulation in 283 patients with low back pain are presented. The physician who makes use of this resource will provide relief for many patients.
Patients identified through Workmen's Compensation records as having been treated for back or spinal problems by a chiropractor (122) or a physician (110) were interviewed to determine their functional status before and after the accident and their satisfaction with the care received. In terms of both the patients' perception of improvement in functional status and patient satisfaction, the chiropractors appear to have been as effective with the patients they treated as were the physicians. The two groups of patients were not significantly different with regard to age, sex, race, education, marital status, income, hypochondria, or attitudes about the medical profession in general.
Chiropractic education arrived in Canada, principally in Ontario, in 1909 with Robbins Chiropractic Institute, (RIC) in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. After the RIC's closure in 1913, the Canadian Chiropractic College (CCC) Hamilton, Ontario, held its first classes in 1914 under Dr. Ernest Du Val, 1911 Palmer School of Chiropractic graduate. It was during this period that the Hodgins Commission on Ontario Medical Education held public sessions with presentations from all health professions including chiropractic. It was the outcome of this Commissions Report that dealt a devastating blow to chiropractic. The CCC, which moved to Toronto in 1919, remained the only chiropractic college in Canada until 1920 with the opening of the Toronto Chiropractic College (TCC). The CCC closed in 1923; and the TCC, in 1926. Although all three colleges taught a "straight" program, the "mixers," largely from American schools, became the dominant political force in the province, particularly on the Board of Regents for the enforcement of the 1925 Drugless Practitioners Act, a mixed Board of chiropractors, osteopaths and drugless therapists.
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Observations made under test conditions with the Synchro-Therme
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The treatment of pain by spinal manipulation
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A chiropractic approach to biomechanical disorders of the lumbar spine and pelvis
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Principles and Practice of Chiropractic
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Gitelman R, Fligg B. Diversified Technique. IN: Haldeman S, ed. Principles and Practice of Chiropractic, 2 nd Ed. Norwalk, CT: Appleton & Lange, 1992, pp 483-502.
Spinal manipulation for the treatment of chronic low back and leg pain: an observational trial
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Cassidy JD, Kirkaldy-Willis WH, McGregor M. Spinal manipulation for the treatment of chronic low back and leg pain: an observational trial. IN: Buerger AA, Greenman PE, eds. Empirical approaches to the validation of spinal manipulation. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas, 1985.
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