Treating Joubert Syndrome with Osteopathic Manipulative Techniques
Skip to main content

Treating Joubert Syndrome with Osteopathic Manipulative Techniques


September 22, 2022

Woodly Dominique (DO ‘23), Jasmine Rogers (DO ‘23) and Anthony Hubbard (DO ‘23) conducted research that demonstrates the first documented case of successful use of osteopathic manipulative techniques for Joubert syndrome.

Woodly Dominique (DO ‘23) Jasmine Rogers (DO ‘23) Anthony Hubbard (DO ‘23)
Woodly Dominique (DO ‘23) Jasmine Rogers (DO ‘23) Anthony Hubbard (DO ‘23)
What does your research study?

We examined and reported the benefits of osteopathic manipulative techniques (OMT) in treating rare disorders that involve the musculoskeletal system. In this case, we specifically studied chronic hypertonicity in patients born with Joubert syndrome. Joubert syndrome is a rare brain malformation characterized by the absence or underdevelopment of the cerebellar vermis — an area of the brain that controls balance and coordination — as well as a malformed brain stem (molar tooth sign on MRI).

What prompted you to pursue research?

On the first encounter with the patient and his mother, their complaints consisted of chronic muscle hypertonicity since the patient was a child. The patient’s mother was against using most medications due to its interaction with the patient's kidneys, which may have led to further damage. We told her about osteopathic medicine, and after further explanation of what OMT consists of, the mother and patient were highly interested.

What experience do you have conducting research?

Dominque has conducted research at PCOM South Georgia focusing on Exploring Barriers to Receiving Medical and Mental Health Services in Rural Communities.

Rogers has conducted research at PCOM South Georgia focusing on Exploring Barriers to Receiving Medical and Mental Health Services in Rural Communities. She has also conducted research at the University of South Florida studying intensive care management of obstetric patients.

Hubbard has conducted research at PCOM South Georgia focusing on Exploring Barriers to Receiving Medical and Mental Health Services in Rural Communities. He has also conducted research at the University of South Florida studying the use of cell transfection (gene silencing).

What are your responsibilities in this research project?

We all shared the responsibilities of treatment, writing, and proofreading the case study. As busy fourth-year medical students, we wanted to make sure no one had too much of a burden. We first met in person to assess the patient. We already had ideas of what techniques we wanted to use, and Kristie Petree, DO ‘13, PCOM South Georgia osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) chair, gave us feedback. We showed the techniques to the patient's mother to do bi-weekly. We then made weekly checkup calls and visited the patient in person to reassess and note the changes we saw.

What is the broader impact of your research? How does your research affect healthcare/health professions?

This is the first example of the successful use of OMT for Joubert syndrome. It may be considered an ancillary treatment option when treating hypertonicity in patients with JS TCTN2 variant. Furthermore, there should be more studies on the long-term effects of OMT in slowing musculoskeletal dysfunctions in TCTN 2 variant JS patients. This case study demonstrates the relationship between the biomechanical and behavioral model and the application of OMT. The connection between each body system is through viscero-somatic, somato-visceral, and somato-somatic reflexes. This further proves that osteopathy can be applied in all non-functional disorders.

Undergraduate and Graduate Studies

Dominique earned an associate of science in nursing and a bachelor of science in neuroscience and behavior from Florida Atlantic University.

Rogers earned a bachelor of science in biology from Jacksonville University and a master of science in medical sciences with a concentration in women's health from the University of South Florida.

Hubbard earned a bachelor of science in biology with a concentration in molecular biology and a minor in public health from the University of South Florida. He earned a master of science from the University of South Florida.

You May Also Like:

  • MAG-MSS Chapter Established at PCOM South Georgia
  • Students Complete Research on Bifid Xiphoid Process
  • PCOM South Georgia Hosts GEAR UP Dougherty
  • About PCOM South Georgia

    Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia. PCOM South Georgia offers both a full, four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree and a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students in August 2019, has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu/southgeorgia or call 229-668-3110.

    For more information, contact:
    Jordan Roberts
    Public Relations and Social Media Manager
    Email: jordanro1@pcom.edu
    Office: 229-668-3198 | Cell: 229-873-2003

    Connect with PCOM South Georgia

    X