Donate to Science & Enterprise

S&E on Mastodon

S&E on LinkedIn

S&E on Flipboard

Please share Science & Enterprise

Trial to Test Osteopathic Techniques to Treat COPD

Illustration of lungs (Mikael Häggström/Wikimedia Commons)

(Mikael Häggström/Wikimedia Commons)

Researchers at Michigan State University in East Lansing are testing hands-on osteopathic treatments for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, a common lung disease. The two-year, $100,000 study is funded by the American Osteopathic Association and Osteopathic Heritage Foundation.

Osteopathic medicine treats the patient as a whole rather than individual systems or parts. Treatment methods often involve osteopathic manipulative therapy or manipulation, a hands-on approach to assure the body is moving freely. According to osteopaths, this free motion ensures that all of the body’s natural healing systems are able to work unhindered.

COPD often takes the form of bronchitis or emphysema, which can lead to the destruction of the lungs over time. Smoking is the leading cause of COPD, although it can also be caused by certain industrial gases or fumes, heavy exposure to second-hand smoke, or frequent use of cooking fires without proper ventilation.

The research team led by Michigan State osteopath Sherman Gorbis will enroll some 60 patients from a local hopsital’s pulmonary rehabilitation program. One group will receive osteopathic treatments, a second group will undergo hands-on treatments but but not osteopathic manipulation, and a third group will receive the normal rehabilitation program with no hands-on treatment.

Patients taking part in the 12-week trial will have blood drawn every two weeks. The researchers will analyze the samples, focusing on biomarkers in the blood indicating biochemical changes. Patients are also expected to undergo exercise tolerance tests and complete questionnaires during the trial.

“By learning if certain biomarkers in the blood and plasma are enhanced in the group receiving the manipulation treatment,” says Gorbis, “we hope to identify the physiological changes occurring among the patients.” Gorbis adds that there is not yet a cure for COPD. “But if we can improve the breathing process, and show how we are doing it, we can improve the quality of life of these patients.”

If this pilot project is successful, the researchers plan to seek funding from National Institutes of Health to recruit larger numbers of patients in a multi-center trial.

Read more:

*     *     *

1 comment to Trial to Test Osteopathic Techniques to Treat COPD