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1.  Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment of Back Pain and Related Symptoms during Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
To study osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) of back pain and related symptoms during the third trimester of pregnancy.
Study design:
A randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to compare usual obstetrical care (UOBC) and OMT (UOBC+OMT), UOBC and sham ultrasound treatment (UOBC+SUT), and UOBC only. Outcomes included average pain levels and the Roland Morris-Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) to assess back-specific functioning.
Intention-to-treat analyses included 144 subjects. The RMDQ scores worsened during pregnancy; however, back-specific functioning deteriorated significantly less in the UOBC+OMT group (effect size, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.31-1.14; P=.001 vs. UOBC only; and effect size, 0.35; 95% CI, −0.06-0.76; P=.09 vs. UOBC+SUT). During pregnancy, back pain decreased in the UOBC+OMT group, remained unchanged in the UOBC+SUT group, and increased in the UOBC only group, although no between-group difference achieved statistical significance.
Osteopathic manipulative treatment slows or halts the deterioration of back-specific functioning during the third trimester of pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC2811218  PMID: 19766977
osteopathic manipulative treatment; pregnancy; back pain; physical functioning; randomized controlled trial
2.  Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care looks forward to 2009 
Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care, which enters its third year of operation in 2009 under the umbrella of BioMed Central, continues to promote and advance open access publishing through universal online access without charge, indexing in PubMed and archiving in PubMed Central, retention of authors' copyright, and expeditious peer review. Notable accomplishments during 2008 included a median lag time of four months from initial manuscript submission to publication, designation of eight articles as "highly accessed," and achievement of a balanced proportion of publications in our core topic areas of osteopathic medicine and primary care. In October 2008, Springer Science+Business Media, a major publisher of journals in science, technology, and medicine, acquired the BioMed Central Group. Our 2009 Editorial Board is presented herein, as well as a new mechanism for posting book reviews on the Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care website. We continue to encourage manuscript submissions and reader comments on our articles. Waivers or discounts of article processing charges are available via several mechanisms for eligible authors who submit qualified manuscripts.
PMCID: PMC2646741  PMID: 19193237
3.  Sociodemographic and geographic characteristics associated with patient visits to osteopathic physicians for primary care 
Health care reform promises to dramatically increase the number of Americans covered by health insurance. Osteopathic physicians (DOs) are recognized for primary care, including a "hands-on" style with an emphasis on patient-centered care. Thus, DOs may be well positioned to deliver primary care in this emerging health care environment.
We used data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (2002-2006) to study sociodemographic and geographic characteristics associated with patient visits to DOs for primary care. Descriptive analyses were initially performed to derive national population estimates (NPEs) for overall patient visits, primary care patient visits, and patient visits according to specialty status. Osteopathic and allopathic physician (MD) patient visits were compared using cross-tabulations and multiple logistic regression to compute odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for DO patient visits. The latter analyses were also conducted separately for each geographic characteristic to assess the potential for effect modification based on these factors.
Overall, 134,369 ambulatory medical care visits were surveyed, representing 4.6 billion (NPE) ± 220 million (SE) patient visits when patient visit weights were applied. Osteopathic physicians provided 336 million ± 30 million (7%) of these patient visits. Osteopathic physicians provided 217 million ± 21 million (10%) patient visits for primary care services; including 180 million ± 17 million (12%) primary care visits for adults (21 years of age or older) and 37 million ± 5 million (5%) primary care visits for minors. Osteopathic physicians were more likely than MDs to provide primary care visits in family and general medicine (OR, 6.03; 95% CI, 4.67-7.78), but were less likely to provide visits in internal medicine (OR, 0.37; 95% CI, 0.24-0.58) or pediatrics (OR, 0.21; 95% CI, 0.11-0.40). Overall, patients in the pediatric and geriatric ages, Blacks, Hispanics, and persons in the South and West were less likely to utilize DOs, although there was some evidence of effect modification according to United States Census region.
Health care reform provides unprecedented opportunities for DOs to reach historically underserved populations and to overcome the "pediatric primary-care paradox."
PMCID: PMC3238348  PMID: 22053988
4.  Use of the Internet as a Resource for Consumer Health Information: Results of the Second Osteopathic Survey of Health Care in America (OSTEOSURV-II) 
The Internet offers consumers unparalleled opportunities to acquire health information. The emergence of the Internet, rather than more-traditional sources, for obtaining health information is worthy of ongoing surveillance, including identification of the factors associated with using the Internet for this purpose.
To measure the prevalence of Internet use as a mechanism for obtaining health information in the United States; to compare such Internet use with newspapers or magazines, radio, and television; and to identify sociodemographic factors associated with using the Internet for acquiring health information.
Data were acquired from the Second Osteopathic Survey of Health Care in America (OSTEOSURV-II), a national telephone survey using random-digit dialing within the United States during 2000. The target population consisted of adult, noninstitutionalized, household members. As part of the survey, data were collected on: facility with the Internet, sources of health information, and sociodemographic characteristics. Multivariate analysis was used to identify factors associated with acquiring health information on the Internet.
A total of 499 (64% response rate) respondents participated in the survey. With the exception of an overrepresentation of women (66%), respondents were generally similar to national referents. Fifty percent of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed that they felt comfortable using the Internet as a health information resource. The prevalence rates of using the health information sources were: newspapers or magazines, 69%; radio, 30%; television, 56%; and the Internet, 32%. After adjusting for potential confounders, older respondents were more likely than younger respondents to use newspapers or magazines and television to acquire health information, but less likely to use the Internet. Higher education was associated with greater use of newspapers or magazines and the Internet as health information sources. Internet use was lower in rural than urban or suburban areas.
The Internet has already surpassed radio as a source of health information but still lags substantially behind print media and television. Significant barriers to acquiring health information on the Internet remain among persons 60 years of age or older, those with 12 or fewer years of education, and those residing in rural areas. Stronger efforts are needed to ensure access to and facility with the Internet among all segments of the population. This includes user-friendly access for older persons with visual or other functional impairments, providing low-literacy Web sites, and expanding Internet infrastructure to reach all areas of the United States.
PMCID: PMC1761915  PMID: 11772546
Internet, health care surveys, socioeconomic factors, age factors, family practice
5.  Factors Associated with Intended Use of a Web Site Among Family Practice Patients 
The World Wide Web has become a widely utilized source of health information. Although the frequency of health related queries is impressive, the demographics associated with patients making queries has not been clearly delineated.
This study's objective was to determine health related Internet usage patterns of family medicine patients.
Internet use among 824 eligible patients 18 years or older attending seven university based family practice clinics during a two week period in November of 1999 was studied. The survey instrument included 10 items and was designed to collect data in less than five minutes using a paper and pencil format. Statistical significance associated with intended Web site use was computed using a multiple logistic regression model.
A response rate of 72.2% was observed with 63.1% being females and 36.9% being males. The mean and median age were 44.0 and 45.7 years, respectively. A steady decline in intended Web site use was observed with advancing age with significant differences observed above 65 years (OR = 0.30; 95% CI = 0.14 - 0.64; p< .002). Other significant findings associated with intended use of a Web site by clinic based patients included having a home computer (OR = 1.99; 95%, CI = 1.05 - 3.76; p<0.03) and having Internet access at home (OR=5.6, 95%, CI = 2.83-11.18; p<.001). A lack of association between intended Web site use and health insurance status was observed.
Results from this study suggest that Web sites are not likely to be alternative sources of health information for the uninsured or elderly in the near future.
PMCID: PMC1761902  PMID: 11720959
Internet/utilization; Questionnaires; Surveys; Patients/statistics; numerical data; Attitude to Computers; Socioeconomic Factors; Age Factors; Health Education/methods; Health Behavior; Family Practice; Logistic Models; Odds Ratio; Digital Divide
6.  Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care: one journal, two audiences 
Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care (OMPC) enters its fourth year of operation in 2010 under the umbrella of BioMed Central. Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care strives to promote and advance research and scholarly work within the fields of osteopathic medicine and primary care. In so doing, OMPC welcomes submissions from clinicians within both the osteopathic and allopathic medical professions, and from other professionals having interests in primary care, including health care delivery, public health, and evidence-based medicine. Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care offers fair and expeditious peer review (mean time from submission to publication, 118 days), retention of copyright for authors, unlimited online distribution and access without charge to readers, indexing in PubMed, and archiving in PubMed Central. In 2010, there will be an increased availability of waivers or discounts of article processing charges via several mechanisms for eligible authors who submit qualified manuscripts, especially in the field of primary care.
PMCID: PMC2818634  PMID: 20145732
7.  Biomedical research competencies for osteopathic medical students 
Without systematic exposure to biomedical research concepts or applications, osteopathic medical students may be generally under-prepared to efficiently consume and effectively apply research and evidence-based medicine information in patient care. The academic literature suggests that although medical residents are increasingly expected to conduct research in their post graduate training specialties, they generally have limited understanding of research concepts.
With grant support from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and a grant from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) is incorporating research education in the osteopathic medical school curriculum. The first phase of this research education project involved a baseline assessment of students' understanding of targeted research concepts. This paper reports the results of that assessment and discusses implications for research education during medical school.
Using a novel set of research competencies supported by the literature as needed for understanding research information, we created a questionnaire to measure students' confidence and understanding of selected research concepts. Three matriculating medical school classes completed the on-line questionnaire. Data were analyzed for differences between groups using analysis of variance and t-tests. Correlation coefficients were computed for the confidence and applied understanding measures. We performed a principle component factor analysis of the confidence items, and used multiple regression analyses to explore how confidence might be related to the applied understanding.
Of 496 total incoming, first, and second year medical students, 354 (71.4%) completed the questionnaire. Incoming students expressed significantly more confidence than first or second year students (F = 7.198, df = 2, 351, P = 0.001) in their ability to understand the research concepts. Factor analyses of the confidence items yielded conceptually coherent groupings. Regression analysis confirmed a relationship between confidence and applied understanding referred to as knowledge. Confidence scores were important in explaining variability in knowledge scores of the respondents.
Medical students with limited understanding of research concepts may struggle to understand the medical literature. Assessing medical students' confidence to understand and objectively measured ability to interpret basic research concepts can be used to incorporate competency based research material into the existing curriculum.
PMCID: PMC2770523  PMID: 19825171
8.  Time for the osteopathic profession to take the lead in musculoskeletal research 
Musculoskeletal conditions, such as low back pain, are prevalent in the United States. These conditions exact an enormous toll on society, both in terms of their detrimental impact on quality of life and on the costs of treatment and lost productivity. Osteopathic physicians, as common providers of primary care services and spinal manipulation, are ideally positioned to lead future research efforts in this field. The emergence of data and standards relevant to osteopathic manipulative treatment outcomes, refinement of research methodologies to enhance evidence-based medicine, and investments in developing osteopathic research infrastructure are all critical elements in moving this field of research forward.
PMCID: PMC2724431  PMID: 19624819
9.  Educating osteopaths to be researchers – what role should research methods and statistics have in an undergraduate curriculum? 
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) involves using research data to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of clinical disorders. Somatic dysfunction and osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) are two unique aspects of osteopathy that will benefit from a greater emphasis on scientific evidence. Most evidence in osteopathy is based on expert opinions, case reports, case series, and observational studies. Only one systematic review of randomized controlled trials, involving OMT for low back pain, has been published. Although this study demonstrates the efficacy of OMT for low back pain, other clinical trials are needed to expand the evidence base in osteopathy. Undergraduate osteopathy curricula should ensure that students acquire the tools necessary to become knowledgeable consumers of the research and statistics presented in biomedical journals. Such curricula need to be supplemented with graduate training programs and research funding mechanisms to ensure that young osteopathic researchers are able to produce the research needed to practice and advance evidence-based osteopathy in the future.
PMCID: PMC2574521  PMID: 19122835
osteopathy; osteopathic medicine; osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT); somatic dysfunction; low back pain; evidence-based medicine; evidence-based osteopathy; research methods; biostatistics
10.  The epidemiology and medical management of low back pain during ambulatory medical care visits in the United States 
Low back pain (LBP) is a common symptom.
Patient visits attributed to LBP in the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) during 2003–2004 served as the basis for epidemiological analyses (n = 1539). The subset of patient visits in which LBP was the primary reason for seeking care (primary LBP patient visits) served as the basis for medical management analyses (n = 1042). National population estimates were derived using statistical weighting techniques.
There were 61.7 million (SE, 4.0 million) LBP patient visits and 42.4 million (SE, 3.1 million) primary LBP patient visits. Only 55% of LBP patient visits were provided by primary care physicians. Age, geographic region, chronicity of symptoms, injury, type of physician provider, and physician specialty were associated with LBP patient visits. Age, injury, primary care physician status, type of physician provider, and shared physician care were associated with chronicity of LBP care. Osteopathic physicians were more likely than allopathic physicians to provide medical care during LBP patient visits (odds ratio [OR], 2.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.75–3.92) and chronic LBP patient visits (OR, 4.39; 95% CI, 2.47–7.80). Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and narcotic analgesics were ordered during 14.2 million (SE, 1.2 million) and 10.5 million (SE, 1.1 million) primary LBP patient visits, respectively. Drugs (OR, 0.29; 95% CI, 0.13–0.62) and, specifically, NSAIDs (OR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.25–0.64) were ordered less often during chronic LBP patient visits compared with acute LBP patient visits. Overall, osteopathic physicians were less likely than allopathic physicians to order NSAIDs for LBP (OR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.24–0.76). Almost two million surgical procedures were ordered, scheduled, or performed during primary LBP patient visits.
The percentage of LBP visits provided by primary care physicians in the United States remains suboptimal. Medical management of LBP, particularly chronic LBP, appears to over-utilize surgery relative to more conservative measures such as patient counseling, non-narcotic analgesics, and other drug therapies. Osteopathic physicians are more likely to provide LBP care, and less likely to use NSAIDs during such visits, than their allopathic counterparts. In general, LBP medical management does not appear to be in accord with evidence-based guidelines.
PMCID: PMC2631527  PMID: 19025636
11.  Rediscovering the classic osteopathic literature to advance contemporary patient-oriented research: A new look at diabetes mellitus 
Patient care experiences represent opportunities for establishing theories, testable hypotheses, and data to assess the potential use of osteopathic manipulative treatment in various disease conditions. The re-analysis of Bandeen's 1949 raw data described herein summarizes the effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment involving pancreatic stimulatory and inhibitory techniques in diabetic and non-diabetic patients seen over a 25-year period of clinical practice. Bandeen's data demonstrate a reduction in blood glucose levels at 30 and 60 minutes following pancreatic stimulation in 150 diabetic patients, and an elevation in blood glucose levels at 30 and 60 minutes following pancreatic inhibition in 40 non-diabetic patients. Such patient-oriented research conducted during the classic era of osteopathy in the United States provides a foundation and data for generating hypotheses about the potential mechanisms of action of osteopathic manipulative treatment. Osteopathic investigators would be well-served to rediscover the classic osteopathic literature to help advance contemporary evidence-based medicine.
PMCID: PMC2503986  PMID: 18644129
12.  OSTEOPAThic Health outcomes In Chronic low back pain: The OSTEOPATHIC Trial 
Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) and ultrasound physical therapy (UPT) are commonly used for chronic low back pain. Although there is evidence from a systematic review and meta-analysis that OMT generally reduces low back pain, there are no large clinical trials that specifically assess OMT efficacy in chronic low back pain. Similarly, there is a lack of evidence involving UPT for chronic low back pain.
The OSTEOPAThic Health outcomes In Chronic low back pain (OSTEOPATHIC) Trial is a Phase III randomized controlled trial that seeks to study 488 subjects between August 2006 and June 2010. It uses a 2 × 2 factorial design to independently assess the efficacy of OMT and UPT for chronic low back pain. The primary outcome is a visual analogue scale score for pain. Secondary outcomes include back-specific functioning, generic health, work disability, and satisfaction with back care.
This randomized controlled trial will potentially be the largest involving OMT. It will provide long awaited data on the efficacy of OMT and UPT for chronic low back pain.
Trial registration
, NCT00315120
PMCID: PMC2386783  PMID: 18439282
13.  Responding to the challenge of clinically relevant osteopathic research: efficacy and beyond 
The osteopathic profession has been challenged over the past decade to provide clinically relevant research. The conduct of evidence-based osteopathic research is imperative not only for scientific, economic, and professional reasons, but also to drive health care policy and clinical practice guidelines. This paper summarizes recent studies in response to the osteopathic research challenge, including clinical trials registered with and a systematic review and meta-analysis of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) for low back pain. The concept of the OMT responder is introduced and supported with preliminary data. Within the context of a pain processing model, consideration is given to genomic (e.g., the catechol-O-methyltransferase gene) and psychological (e.g., depression and somatization) factors that are associated with pain sensitivity and pain progression, and to the role that such factors may play in screening for OMT responders. While substantial progress has been made in osteopathic research, much more needs to be done.
PMCID: PMC2084062  PMID: 18311324
osteopathy; osteopathic medicine; osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT); low back pain; genomics; catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT); pain processing
14.  Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care completes first year of publication 
Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care affords authors the opportunity for rapid and universal dissemination of their work. We are keen to receive author manuscripts and reader comments on articles during 2008. A journal fund has been established to offset the cost of article processing charges for eligible authors who submit qualified manuscripts.
PMCID: PMC2265731  PMID: 18218102
15.  Osteopathic manipulative treatment for pandemic influenza: many questions, few answers 
Commentary on
Avian influenza: an osteopathic component to treatment
Raymond J Hruby and Keasha N Hoffman
PMCID: PMC1948889  PMID: 17620144
16.  A case-control study of osteopathic palpatory findings in type 2 diabetes mellitus 
Although type 2 diabetes mellitus is often managed by osteopathic physicians, osteopathic palpatory findings in this disease have not been adequately studied.
A case-control study was used to measure the association between type 2 diabetes mellitus and a series of 30 osteopathic palpatory findings. The latter included skin changes, trophic changes, tissue changes, tenderness, and immobility at spinal segmental levels T5–T7, T8–T10, and T11-L2 bilaterally. Logistic regression models that adjusted for age, sex, and comorbid conditions were used to compute odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the associations between type 2 diabetes mellitus and each of these findings.
Results and discussion
A total of 92 subjects were included in the study. After controlling for age, sex, hypertension, and clinical depression, the only significant finding was an association between type 2 diabetes mellitus and tissue changes at T11-L2 on the right side (OR, 5.54; 95% CI, 1.76–17.47; P = .003). Subgroup analyses of subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension demonstrated significant associations with tissue changes at T11-L2 bilaterally (OR, 27.38; 95% CI, 1.75–428; P = .02 for the left side and OR, 24.00; 95% CI, 1.51–382; P = .02 for the right side). Among subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension, there was also a strong diabetes mellitus duration effect for tissue changes at T11-L2 bilaterally (OR, 12.00; 95% CI, 1.02–141; P = .05 for short duration vs. OR, 32.00; 95% CI, 2.29–448; P = .01 for long duration on the left side; and OR, 17.33; 95% CI, 1.39–217; P = .03 for short duration vs. OR, 32.00; 95% CI, 2.29–448; P = .01 for long duration on the right side).
The only consistent finding in this study was an association between type 2 diabetes mellitus and tissue changes at T11-L2 on the right side. Potential explanations for this finding include reflex viscerosomatic changes directly related to the progression of type 2 diabetes mellitus, a spurious association attributable to confounding visceral diseases, or a chance observation unrelated to type 2 diabetes mellitus. Larger prospective studies are needed to better study osteopathic palpatory findings in type 2 diabetes mellitus.
PMCID: PMC1808472  PMID: 17371582
17.  Osteopathic research: elephants, enigmas, and evidence 
The growth and acceptance of osteopathic physicians as conventional medical practitioners in the United States has also raised questions about the distinctive aspects of osteopathic medicine. Although the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) and a focus on primary care are most often cited as rationales for the uniqueness of osteopathic medicine, an osteopathic professional identity remains enigmatic.
The fledgling basic osteopathic research efforts of the early and mid-twentieth century have not been sustained and expanded over time. Thus, there is presently a scarcity of basic mechanistic and translational research that can be considered to be uniquely osteopathic. To be sure, there have been advances in osteopathic clinical trials, particularly those involving OMT for low back pain. Meta-analysis of these low back pain trials has provided evidence that: (1) OMT affords greater pain reduction than active or placebo control treatments; (2) the effects of OMT are comparable regardless of whether treatment is provided by fully-licensed osteopathic physicians in the United States or by osteopaths in the United Kingdom; and (3) the effects of OMT increase over time. However, much more clinical research remains to be done. The planning and implementation of a large longitudinal study of the natural history and epidemiology of somatic dysfunction, including an OMT component, represents a much-needed step forward. Osteopathic medicine's use of OMT and its focus on primary care are not mutually exclusive aspects of its uniqueness. The intersection of these fundamental aspects of osteopathic medicine suggests that the profession may successfully adopt a generic strategy of "focused differentiation" to attain a competitive advantage in the health care arena. While there are both requisite demands and risks for the osteopathic profession in adopting such a strategy, these are reasonable in relation to the potential rewards to be attained. To help promote an osteopathic identity, "omtology" and its derivative terms are recommended in referring to the study of OMT.
The osteopathic profession should adopt a coherent strategy for developing and promoting its identity. Failure to do so will likely ensure that osteopathic medicine remains "stuck in the middle."
PMCID: PMC1808471  PMID: 17371583
18.  A comparison of patient visits to osteopathic and allopathic general and family medicine physicians: results from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, 2003–2004 
Osteopathic philosophy is consistent with an emphasis on primary care and suggests that osteopathic physicians may have distinctive ways of interacting with their patients.
The National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) was used to derive national estimates of utilization of osteopathic general and family medicine physicians during 2003 and 2004 and to examine the patient characteristics and physician-patient interactions of these osteopathic physicians. All analyses were performed using complex samples software to appropriately weigh outcomes according to the multistage probability sample design used in NAMCS and multivariate modeling was used to control for potential confounders.
Results and discussion
When weighted according to the multistage probability sample design used, the 6939 patient visits studied represented an estimated 341.4 million patient visits to general and family medicine specialists in the United States, including 64.9 million (19%) visits to osteopathic physicians and 276.5 million (81%) visits to allopathic physicians. Osteopathic physicians were a major source of care in the Northeast (odds ratio [OR], 2.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.42–6.08), providing more than one-third of general and family medicine patient visits in this geographic region. Pediatric and young adult patients (OR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.45–0.91), Hispanics (OR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.40–1.00), and non-Black racial minority groups (OR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.18–0.82) were less likely to visit osteopathic physicians. There were no significant differences between osteopathic and allopathic physicians with regard to the time spent with patients, provision of five common preventive medicine counseling services, or a focus on preventive care during office visits.
Osteopathic physicians are a major source of general and family medicine care in the United States, particularly in the Northeast. However, pediatric and young adult patients, Hispanics, and non-Black racial minorities underutilize osteopathic physicians. There is little evidence to support a distinctive approach to physician-patient interactions among osteopathic physicians in general and family medicine, particularly with regard to time spent with patients and preventive medicine services.
PMCID: PMC1805772  PMID: 17371578
19.  Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care: a new journal for changing times 
Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care is dedicated to the rapid and universal dissemination of peer-reviewed research and scholarly work within its scope. It aims to bridge diverse professional communities by providing a common forum for the publication of research relevant to the clinical practice of primary care.
PMCID: PMC1805770  PMID: 17371581
20.  A cross-sectional evidence-based review of pharmaceutical promotional marketing brochures and their underlying studies: Is what they tell us important and true? 
BMC Family Practice  2006;7:13.
A major marketing technique used by pharmaceutical companies is direct-to-physician marketing. This form of marketing frequently employs promotional marketing brochures, based on clinical research, which may influence how a physician prescribes medicines. This study's objective was to investigate whether or not the information in promotional brochures presented to physicians by pharmaceutical representatives is accurate, consistent, and valid with respect to the actual studies upon which the promotional brochures are based.
Physicians in five clinics were asked to consecutively collect pharmaceutical promotional brochures and to send them all to a centralized location. The brochures for any class of medication were collected on a continuous basis until 20 distinct promotional brochures were received by a central location. Once the brochure was received, the corresponding original study was obtained. Two blinded reviewers performed an evidence-based review of the article, comparing data that was printed on the brochure to what was found in the original study.
Among the 20 studies, 75% of the studies were found to be valid, 80% were funded by the pharmaceutical company, 60% of the studies and the corresponding brochures presented patient-oriented outcomes, and 40% were compared to another treatment regimen. Of the 19 brochures that presented the data as graphs, 4 brochures presented a relative risk reduction while only 1 brochure presented an absolute risk reduction. 15% of the promotional marketing brochures presented data that was different from what was in the original published study.
Given the present findings, physicians should be cautious about drawing conclusions regarding a medication based on the marketing brochures provided by pharmaceutical companies.
PMCID: PMC1450290  PMID: 16515686
21.  Osteopathic manipulative treatment for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials 
Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is a distinctive modality commonly used by osteopathic physicians to complement their conventional treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Previous reviews and meta-analyses of spinal manipulation for low back pain have not specifically addressed OMT and generally have focused on spinal manipulation as an alternative to conventional treatment. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of OMT as a complementary treatment for low back pain.
Computerized bibliographic searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, MANTIS, OSTMED, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were supplemented with additional database and manual searches of the literature.
Six trials, involving eight OMT vs control treatment comparisons, were included because they were randomized controlled trials of OMT that involved blinded assessment of low back pain in ambulatory settings. Data on trial methodology, OMT and control treatments, and low back pain outcomes were abstracted by two independent reviewers. Effect sizes were computed using Cohen's d statistic and meta-analysis results were weighted by the inverse variance of individual comparisons. In addition to the overall meta-analysis, stratified meta-analyses were performed according to control treatment, country where the trial was conducted, and duration of follow-up. Sensitivity analyses were performed for both the overall and stratified meta-analyses.
Overall, OMT significantly reduced low back pain (effect size, -0.30; 95% confidence interval, -0.47 – -0.13; P = .001). Stratified analyses demonstrated significant pain reductions in trials of OMT vs active treatment or placebo control and OMT vs no treatment control. There were significant pain reductions with OMT regardless of whether trials were performed in the United Kingdom or the United States. Significant pain reductions were also observed during short-, intermediate-, and long-term follow-up.
OMT significantly reduces low back pain. The level of pain reduction is greater than expected from placebo effects alone and persists for at least three months. Additional research is warranted to elucidate mechanistically how OMT exerts its effects, to determine if OMT benefits are long lasting, and to assess the cost-effectiveness of OMT as a complementary treatment for low back pain.
PMCID: PMC1208896  PMID: 16080794

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