DESIGN: A survey of patient education and promotional material produced by national, state, and provincial societies and research agencies in Canada and the United States.
METHOD: Patient brochures were solicited from the 3 largest provincial, 3 largest state, and the 3 largest national professional associations in the United States and Canada. Similar requests were made of 2 research agencies supported by the national associations. Brochures were reviewed for the presence or absence of unsubstantiated claims.
RESULTS: Of the 11 organizations sampled, 9 distribute patient brochures. Of these 9 organizations, all distribute patient brochures that make claims for chiropractic services that have not been scientifically validated.
CONCLUSION: The largest professional associations in the United States and Canada distribute patient brochures that make claims for the clinical art of chiropractic that are not currently justified by available scientific evidence or that are intrinsically untestable. These assertions are self-defeating because they reinforce an image of the chiropractic profession as functioning outside the boundaries of scientific behavior.
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