Contributed by Dr Graham Taylor | Chiropractor, Certified AK, Certified RNR
Communication with Retained Neonatal Reflexes (RNR) practitioners over several years reveals favorable outcomes observed with that technique. In June 2018 I presented a paper on RNR and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms in Edinburgh, Scotland at the intenational ICAK meeting. I have since then been curious to find out more about the results witnessed by my RNR colleagues. In the Edinburgh paper, I reported on changes observed, written and tabled in a self-desinged intra-clinic survey. A key feature of that paper was the new type of findings; (i.e. negation of physical self-harm). This added to plenty of evidence known to RNR developers Drs Keith Keen and Susan Walker (DIBAKs) and others; that learning and behaviour problems were being helped; the PTSD type presentation was new material.
In that paper, I also made the recommendation that a collaborative effort was needed to collect outcomes data across RNR clinics. My judgment is that we need to establish data that accurately reflects results, strengths and weaknesses as well as revealing other conditions RNR treatment may help. The question has been, “How is that best achieved”?
As with any AK paradigm, in RNR we endeavour to accurately identify any dysfunction, apply the right correction and make it long lasting. As effective as the RNR can potentially be, there is recognition that refinements of the technique have been made over time and may continue to be made as deemed appropriate.
The recent practitioner survey I report on here is an initial attempt to get a start point that shows us what results practitioners are seeing out there. Such information gives us the power to inform ourselves and our patients. It also may help us prioritise what’s needed to improve further. The idea is partially modelled on the concept of a Practitioner Based Research Network (PBRN) I first heard mentioned by Dr Michael Hooker, DIBAK. I understand the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners uses a PBRN model:
- To collaborate between clinicians and academics;
- To incorporate new knowledge into practice;
- As a portal for clincians to ask questions relating to best care strategies.
Because of the communication established at RNR training sessions and from doing this survey, we now have an unofficial but functional PBRN just from the relationships formed via information sharing. We can now move forward with a vehicle that will provide a forum for ongoing training, feedback, research and development.
Depending on our role, we typically have differently prioritised questions. Example:
- Parent: “Is this safe and does it work?
- Medical Doctor: “What is this?” (If we are lucky!)
- AK practitioner: What are the neurological circuits involved here? Etc.
Why measure and collect data?
If we set up an easy-to-measure system, the data can then contribute to a wider database. If done appropriately higher numbers then give added weighting to a study.
Numbers add up
Limitations of the survey
Results table 1: Changes observed after RNR procedures. Thirty-three respondents gave the following information.
Interpretation: Numbers are out of 33 respondents.
Less tantrums: 25. Calmer person: 31. Better concentration: 28. Better focus: 29. Better reading ability: 24. Improved speech: 21. Reduced/resolved enuresis: 16. Greater physical co-ordination (sport): 25. Grater physical co-ordination (less bumping into objects: 22. Better relationships: 20. Increased musical ability: 12. Enhanced visual processing: 16. Reduction of self harm: 7. Greater confidence: 21. Improved self esteem: 23. Enhanced GIT digestion: 18. Enhanced willingness to try other foods: 15. Improvement of colic symptoms: 15. Other: 5.
Results table 2: Numerical representation of observed changes
Other findings as reported above, included:
Better decision making, better reading, writing, piano playing, better sleeping, (child) stopped biting mother. Cessation of panic attacks. Better communication, better handwriting, reduced panic attacks, reduced vasovagal symptoms, better social interaction, better behaviour at school and home. Improved handwriting, improved coloring improved drawing, resolved paradoxical breathing. Decrease in PTSD.
Question on adverse reactions
Of 33 respondents, 1 practitioner witnessed 1 adverse event. A 5-year-old boy had the Fear Paralysis Reflex procedure carried out. Directly after, his mother was on the chiropractic couch receiving treatment while he sat. The boy vomited. There had been no fever or other sign of illness. He had eaten an apple 15 minutes prior. Neither the boy nor the mother was distressed and there were no further reactions nor repercussions. The practitioner spoke with the family the following day and the boy was normal and there have been no related issues.
Summary of most frequently observed results
Findings supported previous understanding of RNR outcomes.
The slide below demonstrates that data collection may reveal benefits not previously known
Regarding the above findings, based on clinical experience and theory concerning a developing nervous system……
Community interpretation of the RNR technique
When we liaise with pediatricians and general practitioners there are opportunities to interpret the work we do. Some may listen, others not. I have experienced this “mixed bag” effect in my community. So, some medical people are open and interested, others not. I have been able to develop and maintain respectful relationships with some doctors and that has been helpful.
RNR practitioner, Dr Jason Dargan in Victoria was contacted by a local GP after several parents reported demonstrable changes after RNR treatment. The GP is positive and wants to know more about RNR. Below are two drawing samples submitted to Dr. Jason.
Retained Neonatal Reflexes proposed in a medical centre.
The image below is related to a project in Taree, NSW. The centre being developed is a paediatric front line facility for children and families ‘falling through the cracks’. After presenting outcomes results at a Rotary dinner and several subsequent meetings, there has been a request for Retained Neonatal Reflexes to be included on the list of childhood early developmental interventions at the new clinic, currently under construction. This is an interesting development. It suggests that (although they have their place) double blinded randomized controlled trials may not always be necessary to gain credibility at the community level. Thus, to make the RNR work available to more needing people, the invitation to the above project is informing us as to the decisions we make in the ICAKA about data collection and research focus. Some further research may be carried out within this facility, as there will be university involvement.
To where from here
In choosing next steps apart from myself writing a paper on the back of this survey – my own view is that any measurement and collection of RNR data – is focused on outcomes. Outcomes reality is the level most significant for learning and behaviour challenged children and their parents. It is also the level that can require least resources, yet obviously involves more practitioners (than a lab study). In summary, outcomes measurement:
- Enhances the strength of communication within the RNR practitioners and AK more broadly;
- Provides potentially great ownership as everyone can contribute equally to data collection;
- Gives direct feedback to the practitioner within the course of treatment;
- Requires less resources than would a neurological study for example, on whether Treatment X resulted in change Y to a nervous system parameter;
- Would provide a discussion point for medical doctors and all allied health stake holders and decision makers.
This does not mean we should not if we choose still assess features that we may be already measuring as a matter of course such as adrenal factors, eye tracking and the like. Observation of these factors also contributes to important knowledge. A key next step then is to find an outcomes measurement tool that is:
- Meaningful to parents and practitioners
- Has validation
- Is very easy to use
- Can be easily pooled to potentially form a meta-analysis.
Thank you to Dr Astrid Priest who has contributed two suggestions:
- From “Disconnected Kids” by Dr Robert Melillo, a pre-treatment designed questionnaire.
- Further discussion with Astrid produced a second suggestion that is the “Goodenough Draw Test that assesses a child’s intelligence when asked to draw a human form. This one I believe is more straightforward and designed to assess “after” as well as “before”.
I welcome any further suggestions you may have regarding the future development of RNR. Thankyou to all the practitioners who have offered and given help with this project and to all those who took the time to contribute to this survey.
Yes, we can!!