Cervical Artery Dissection and Bad Science

Written by: James Demetrious, DC, DABCO

Diplomate, American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedists

What is the Standard of Medical Journalism?

An article was recently published in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology that requires due consideration and response.

Fink et al. have wrongfully characterized self-induced trauma that reportedly caused the death of a woman, as a chiropractic procedure:

A 43-year-old woman reportedly laid down with her neck on the top step of a staircase and attempted to perform a self-chiropractic manipulation to “crack her neck.”  [1]

The authors offered case reports, hypotheses, and suggestions of causal relationships that are not confirmed by highly powered research.

Medical tenets recognize that case reports offer weaknesses that include the inability to generalize results or to assess causality. [2]

To codify self-induced trauma as a chiropractic procedure is without merit. Why would anyone mischaracterize a profession in such a reprehensible manner?

A Calculated Means to Harm, Contain, and Eliminate the Chiropractic Profession?

Such journalistic improbity serves to harm the chiropractic profession in an unethical and anti-competitive manner that could be likened to the Wilk v. American Medical Association case. [3]


The authors and publishers of the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology must retract the article and publish an apology for journalistic malfeasance.


  1. Fink et al.Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2024 Feb 1. doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000912.
  2. Lowenfels et al. Grad Med Educ (2022) 14 (5): 529–532.
  3. Wilk v. American Medical Association. Nos. 87-2672, 87-2777. Argued December 1, 1988.

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