Examining the effects of chiropractic care on kids’ brain function and health status

The Centre for Chiropractic Research (CCR) are thrilled to announce that we are about to commence an awesome new study on chiropractic care with kids!

Dr Dorte Bladt and her team have generously raised most of the funds needed to run this project from ‘The Kids Summit’ (TKS) conference registrations and donations.

Drs’ Heidi Haavik and Dorte Bladt

These TKS contributions, alongside donations from the CCR Supporters, will be used to fund this exciting new study.


The CCR has been at the forefront of building evidence that shows that chiropractic care positively impacts nervous system function. Previous research has shown that a single chiropractic adjustment session alters pre-frontal cortex (PFC) activity in adults (1). However, there is a lack of robust research investigating the long-term clinical benefits of these PFC changes. We do not yet know how chiropractic care affects children’s brain and nervous system function.

Our new kids’ research study will collaborate with Riphah International University, Pakistan. It will examine the effects of both a single adjustment session and 12 weeks of chiropractic care on kids’ brain function and health status. In this study, we will be able to assess how any neurophysiological changes that occur over 12 weeks of chiropractic care correlate with cognitive, sleep, immune and behavioural function, and health-related quality of life outcomes.

Our previous research in adults shows that adjusting subluxations impacts pre-frontal cortex function. To give you a refresher, the pre-frontal cortex is a vital part of your brain that makes you who you are. It is the part of your brain responsible for your executive functions, and it plays a key role in how you experience pain, is vital for emotional control and mental health, and is critically involved in regulating your endocrine function, immune system and autonomic nervous system, enabling you to relax, sleep and heal.

Figure 1: Known vital functions of the pre-frontal cortex

Our kids’ study will investigate whether 12 weeks of chiropractic care impacts a child’s pre-frontal cortex function and, if so, what clinical impact this has. It is important to know whether the brain changes that occur following chiropractic care that we’ve previously seen in basic science studies are clinically important for the kids we look after in our practices.

The study will be a parallel-group randomised controlled trial with 120-participants aged 10-18 years with subclinical spinal pain. They will be randomly allocated to receive 12 weeks of chiropractic care or a control intervention. Data collected in this project will include a combination of extrinsic (sociodemographic, clinical questionnaires etc.) and intrinsic physiological data (physiological measures like functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), electroencephalography (EEG), heart rate variability (HRV); saliva cortisol, etc.).

We are so excited about this study that we decided to fundraise to undertake a similar study with adults. This is essential to understand better how chiropractic care impacts human performance and function. But we cannot do this adult study without your help! To check out more information about this study and how you can help us get it done, visit http://research.chiropractic.ac.nz/chiropractic-care-on-pfc-function/

Back to this ground-breaking new chiropractic kids study – we literally can’t wait to get started! And it could not be possible without the love, dedication and support of TKS founder Dr Dorte Bladt. Dorte has been instrumental in hosting the phenomenal Kids Summit conferences in Australia and North America. All the profits from these events have directly supported the Centre for Chiropractic Research kids research projects, cumulating in this new randomised controlled trial we are about to do.

In addition to Dorte and her core team, we wish to express our deep gratitude to all the speakers that have presented at the Kids Summit events, as they paid their way (flights, accommodation and all costs) to be involved with the Kids Summit efforts to raise funds for much needed research about chiropractic care for kids. Their love, wisdom, and generosity is breathtaking. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all the volunteer speakers at The Kids Summit events:

Helen Alevaki
Monique Andrews
Claudia Anrig
Dorte Bladt
Mary Bourke
Monika Buerger
Alice Cade
Bridgette Chelf
Sandy Clark
Felicity Cook
Bobby Doescher
Matt Doyle
Jennifer Floreani
Simon Floreani
Christian Fludder
Olivia Gleeson
Heidi Haavik
Mike Hall
Laura Hanson
Kelly Holt
Andrea Huddleston
Genevieve Keating
Rosemary Keating
Braden Keil
Janine Kinnahan
Jebb McAviney
Katelyn McGregor
Catriona McNamara
Glenn Maginnes
Rob Melillo
Troy Miles
Joyce Miller
James Murphy
Jacey Pryjma
Marting Rosen
Jenna Salmons
Jo Sexton
Aisha Strand
Angela Todd
Julie Uren
Susan Walker
Steve Williams
Alison Young


  • Lelic, D., et al., Manipulation of dysfunctional spinal joints affects sensorimotor integration in the pre-frontal cortex: a brain source localisation study. Neural plasticity, 2016. 2016
March 2022

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