Reading through the journals on Biomed Central, I always find new and interesting articles, and wish to share abstracts of several of them with you.
1. Bronfort G, Haas M, Evans R, Leiniger B, Triano J. Effectiveness of manual therapies: the UK evidence report Chiropr Osteop 2010;18:3 doi:10.1186/1746-1340-18-3
Background: The purpose of this report is to provide a succinct but comprehensive summary of the scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of manual treatment for the management of a variety of musculoskeletal and non-musculoskeletal conditions.
Methods: The conclusions are based on the results of systematic reviews of randomized clinical trials (RCTs), widely accepted and primarily UK and United States evidence-based clinical guidelines, plus the results of all RCTs not yet included in the first three categories. The strength/quality of the evidence regarding effectiveness was based on an adapted version of the grading system developed by the US Preventive Services Task Force and a study risk of bias assessment tool for the recent RCTs.
Results: By September 2009, 26 categories of conditions were located containing RCT evidence for the use of manual therapy: 13 musculoskeletal conditions, four types of chronic headache and nine non-musculoskeletal conditions. We identified 49 recent relevant systematic reviews and 16 evidence-based clinical guidelines plus an additional 46 RCTs not yet included in systematic reviews and guidelines. Additionally, brief references are made to other effective non-pharmacological, non-invasive physical treatments.
Conclusions: Spinal manipulation/mobilization is effective in adults for: acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain; migraine and cervicogenic headache; cervicogenic dizziness; manipulation/mobilization is effective for several extremity joint conditions; and thoracic manipulation/mobilization is effective for acute/subacute neck pain. The evidence is inconclusive for cervical manipulation/mobilization alone for neck pain of any duration, and for manipulation/mobilization for mid back pain, sciatica, tension-type headache, coccydynia, temporomandibular joint disorders, fibromyalgia, premenstrual syndrome, and pneumonia in older adults. Spinal manipulation is not effective for asthma and dysmenorrhea when compared to sham manipulation, or for Stage 1 hypertension when added to an antihypertensive diet. In children, the evidence is inconclusive regarding the effectiveness for otitis media and enuresis, and it is not effective for infantile colic and asthma when compared to sham manipulation. Massage is effective in adults for chronic low back pain and chronic neck pain. The evidence is inconclusive for knee osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, migraine headache, and premenstrual syndrome. In children, the evidence is inconclusive for asthma and infantile colic.
2. Myburgh C, Roessler KK, Larsen AH, Hartvigsen J. Neck pain and anxiety do not always go together. Chiropr Osteop 2010;18:6 doi:10.1186/1746-1340-18-6
Chronic pain and psychosocial distress are generally thought to be associated in chronic musculoskeletal disorders such as non-specific neck and back pain. However, it is unclear whether a raised level of anxiety is necessarily a feature of longstanding, intense pain amongst patient and general population sub-groups. In a cohort of 70 self-selected female, non-specific neck pain sufferers, we observed relatively high levels of self-reported pain of 4.46 (measured on the 11 point numerical pain rating scale (NRS-101)) and a longstanding duration of symptoms (156 days/year). However, the mean anxiety scores observed (5.49), fell well below the clinically relevant threshold of 21 required by the Beck Anxiety Inventory. The cohort was stratified to further distinguish individuals with higher pain intensity (NRS>6) and longer symptom duration (>90 days). A highly statistically significant difference (p=0.000) was observed with respect to pain intensity. However, no significant differences were noted in the sub-groups with respect to anxiety levels. Our results indicate that chronic, intense pain and anxiety do not always appear to be related. Explanations for these findings may include that anxiety is not triggered in socially functional individuals, that individual coping strategies have come into play or in some instances that a psychological disorder like alexithymia could be a confounder. More studies are needed to clarify the specific role of anxiety in chronic non-specific musculoskeletal pain before general evidence-driven clinical extrapolations can be made.
3. Watmough S, O’Sullivan H, Taylor D. Graduates from a traditional medical curriculum evaluate the effectiveness of their medical curriculum through interviews. BMC Med Educ 2009;9:64 doi:10.1186/1472-6920-9-64
Background: In 1996 The University of Liverpool reformed its medical course from a traditional lecture-based course to an integrated PBL curriculum. A project has been underway since 2000 to evaluate this change. Part of this project has involved gathering retrospective views on the relevance of both types of undergraduate education according to graduates. This paper focuses on the views of traditional Liverpool graduates approximately 6 years after graduation.
Methods: From February 2006 to June 2006 interviews took place with 46 graduates from the last 2 cohorts to graduate from the traditional Liverpool curriculum.
Results: The graduates were generally happy with their undergraduate education although they did feel there were some flaws in their curriculum. They felt they had picked up good history and examination skills and were content with their exposure to different specialties on clinical attachments. They were also pleased with their basic science teaching as preparation for postgraduate exams, however many complained about the overload and irrelevance of many lectures in the early years of their course, particular in biochemistry. There were many different views about how they integrated this science teaching into understanding disease processes and many didn't feel it was made relevant to them at the time they learned it. Retrospectively, they felt that they hadn't been clinically well prepared for the role of working as junior doctor, particularly the practical aspects of the job nor had enough exposure to research skills. Although there was little communication skills training in their course they didn't feel they would have benefited from this training as they managed to pick up had the required skills on clinical attachments.
Conclusion: These interviews offer a historical snapshot of the views of graduates from a traditional course before many courses were reformed. There was some conflict in the interviews about the doctors enjoying their undergraduate education but then saying that they didn't feel they received good preparation for working as a junior doctor. Although the graduates were happy with their undergraduate education these interviews do highlight some of the reasons why the traditional curriculum was reformed at Liverpool