A 5-year-old boy was delivered to the University of Iowa hospital last fall with a condition seldom seen since the advent of antibiotics: mastoiditis, an infection of the middle ear so advanced that it had invaded his skull.

A few days later, when doctors had got the infection under control, the boy's 4-year-old sister was admitted with a similar crisis. Her mastoiditis was so severe that her face was partly paralyzed and pus was pressing against her brain.

Hospital officials, alarmed by the reappearance of a once-common childhood scourge, interviewed the parents and discovered that they had been using a chiropractor as the family's primary-care doctor.

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