In 1975, Ronald Pero, Ph.D., chief of cancer prevention research at New York’s Preventive Medical Institute and Professor of Medicine in Environmental Health at New York University, began developing scientifically valid ways to estimate individual susceptibility to various chronic diseases. Pero and his colleagues found strong evidence that susceptibility to cancer could be gauged by the activities of various enzymes involved in metabolic and genetic changes from exposure to carcinogenic or “mutagenic” chemicals. An individual’s immune system responsiveness, or “immune competence”, also was directly linked to certain DNA-repairing enzymes that provided an objective way to assess disease susceptibility. Lack of those enzymes, Pero said, “definitely limits not only your lifespan, but also your ability to resist serious disease consequences.”
Pero was fascinated by various hormones’ synergistic relationship with other cancer-inducing agents to promote the disease. For example, thyroid hormones affect the early phases of radiation and chemically-induced cancers. If the thyroid produces too much of either thyroxine or thyroid stimulating hormone, cancer risk greatly increases. And because the nervous system regulates hormonal balances, it too can influence susceptibility to cancer. Along these lines, various kinds of spinal cord injuries are accompanied by a high risk of developing cancer, particularly lymphoma and lymphatic leukemia. This connection led Pero to consider chiropractic a potential alternative for reducing the risk of immune breakdown and disease.
In 1986, Pero collaborated with Joseph Flesia, D.C., Chairman of the Board of Directors for Chiropractic Basic Science Research Foundation (CBSRF). With a grant from CBSRF, they began a research project at the University of Lund in Lund, Sweden. Using Pero’s tests to gauge resistance to hazardous environmental chemicals, they hypothesized that people with cancer would have a suppressed immune response to such a toxic burden, while healthy people and those receiving chiropractic care would have a relatively enhanced response.
Measuring 107 individuals who had received long term chiropractic care, Pero’s team had surprising findings. All chiropractic patients were “genetically normal”, that is, they had no obvious genetic reasons for increased resistance or susceptibility to disease. Any difference, therefore, had to be accounted for by environmental or therapeutic factors. The chiropractic patients also had 200% greater immune competence than those who had not received chiropractic care, and 400% greater immune competence than those with cancer or other serious diseases. Despite a wide range of ages in this study, immune competence did not show any decline with age; it was uniform for the entire group.
Pero concluded that “chiropractic may optimize whatever genetic abilities you have” so that you can fully resist serious disease. “I’m very excited to see that without chemical intervention… this particular group of patients under chiropractic care did show a very improved response.” He told CBSRF. “These changes occur from chiropractic care.”