Medical Research at PCOM - An Evidence-Based Approach to Holistic Care
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Medical Research at PCOM 
An Evidence-Based Approach to Holistic Care

September 9, 2022

Research experiences at PCOM provide students with the opportunity to enrich their education and prepare for their own future research. PCOM medical students are currently taking part in a study to investigate the effect of an osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) technique called "rib raising" on salivary alpha amylase, a major oral enzyme.

Osteopathic medicine professors demonstrate OMM techniques in a PCOM classroomResearch suggests production of this enzyme may increase in response to stress. A decrease in the enzyme could indicate a positive impact from the OMM rib raising technique. The rib raising technique involves mechanically lifting the ribs to activate a bundle of nerves that controls the body's stress response. The goal of the research project, led by Dr. Donald Allison and Dr. Denah Appelt, is to determine whether the technique could aid in post-surgical recovery or outpatient management of lower back pain.

In a pilot study, subjects who received this technique had a decrease in salivary alpha amylase compared to the placebo group, demonstrating that the technique affected the autonomic nervous system as anticipated, Appelt explained.

Projects like this, she added, not only contribute to medicine, but also give students the opportunity to participate in clinical research

This research is part of PCOM’s ongoing efforts to develop and test new approaches for diagnosing, treating and preventing dysfunction and disease. It is also part of PCOM’s overall mission to educate health professionals to care for the whole person and advance the health of diverse communities.

Dr. Allison emphasized the importance of this type of research and the impact it can have on patient outcomes.

“The reason we care about research in osteopathic manipulative medicine is that it provides an evidence-based approach to holistic patient care,” he explained.

Learn more about current research at PCOM and the Division of Research mission to innovate, educate and mentor.