The Human Performance & Biomechanics Laboratory (HPBL) at PCOM was established in 2003 as a consortium base for expanding OMM/Manual Medicine Research. Director Dr. Michael Kuchera has approached a number of local, national, and international laboratories to work with the CCDA in this regard. The HPBL is now coordinating multi-center projects with multiple osteopathic colleges to document outcomes associated with strategies (including integration of osteopathic manipulative treatment) for enhancing the healing process in acute injuries to prevent long-term disabilities or functional compromise. Such projects involve creation of new methods for objectifying osteopathic palpation and recording both forces involved in OMT as well as impact on the tissues treated. To this end, Dr. Kuchera openly and widely discussed the process within the osteopathic profession and international manual medicine research communities and garnered both input and commitment to maximize and standardize protocols.
Dr. Kuchera and colleagues recently completed a five-state collaborative project funded by the Department of Defense in conjunction with the Veterans Administration that included five VA Medical Centers and two osteopathic colleges. The multi-center study documented the role of progressive maximum effort exercise in modifying strength, gait, cognition, and quality-of-life in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis. Unique compared to other exercise protocols, the special equipment and protocol used in this study permitted gains in strength and function to last up to nine months after discontinuing the research. Preliminary studies were published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
Additionally, the HPBL will be investigating the effect of OMT compared to a specialized form of physical therapy in individuals with Parkinson Disease. The study will look at improvement in quality-of-life both for the patient and for his/her caregiver. The research will measure effects on gait, balance, pain, concentration, and other functions while also looking to determine how the therapies work.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Research Members of the OMM Department, including Drs. William Foley (now in Massachusetts) and Michael Kuchera, demonstrated that the effect of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) was to reduce pain and improve hand function in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. A number of trigger points were commonly seen in this disorder and they too responded favorably to treatment with OMT.
At PCOM, members of several PCOM departments including anatomy (Patrick Coughlin, PhD), OMM (Alexander Nicholas, DO), and Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology (Fred Goldstein, PhD, Peggy Stewart, PhD, and Richard Kriebel, PhD) joined to research the role of OMT in treating patients with various types of headache. This research has been funded in part through the American Osteopathic Association and has resulted in several articles in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
Other exciting clinical research is planned, underway, or being completed ranging from local problems such as decreasing temperomandibular joint dysfunction or speeding healing in individuals with ankle sprains to systemic problems such as fibromyalgia syndrome. These clinical problems have required unique basic science interactions in measurement of tissue texture change and biochemical markers. The CCDA collaborative structure lends itself to innovative new devices and protocols for measuring hysteresis, nitric oxide metabolites of eNOS, or tactile pressure receptors to quantify the amount of pressure used in osteopathic palpation or OMT.
Drs. Michael Venditto, Michael Kuchera, Alexander Nicholas and colleagues are investigating the role of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) to improve pulmonary function tests in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/asthma. They will also measure nitric oxide metabolites to see if the OMT helps to immediately reduce inflammation In the lungs.
In another study, Dr. Kuchera and colleagues will investigate the relative clinical effectiveness of two different types of osteopathic “lymphatic pumps” (which have historically been used to enhance the immune function in fighting infection). There investigation will focus on both pulmonary inflammatory measures as well as immune products stimulated with these treatments compared to standard treatment for subjects experiencing the common cold.
More information regarding the studies or status related to healthy aging and to any of the diseases/disorders mentioned above can be obtained by contacting the CCDA by email, phone, or fax.