OMM Research Division

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The development of new research collaborations and projects to investigate the field of manual medicine and osteopathy has positioned the Department of OMM to substantially contribute to the national effort to enhance medical education and research within the osteopathic profession.

The OMM research division consists of collaborative and translational research programs involved in interdepartmental, interscholastic and interdisciplinary projects. From local funding of student and resident projects through NIH/NCCAM funded clinicians, our diverse program in osteopathic manipulation as it relates to biomechanics, aging, orthopedics, clinical and bench research is a leader in the national effort to enhance osteopathic medical education and research.

Included in this effort is the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Physical Medicine Core research Facility (OHFPMCRG). This facility is a collaboration between several departments and schools at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth that are interested in human performance. Our team of engineers, physical therapists, physicians and basic scientists work together to understand biomechanics and kinematics in the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. Through video motion capture, virtual reality environments, custom instrumentation and computational modeling we analyze abnormal motions due to disease processes and evaluate rehabilitation treatments.

Facilities and Other Resources

OHFPMCRF Laboratory View Lab Promotional Video

This core lab occupies 2,300 square feet of space located in the Center for Biohealth. Offices are immediately adjacent to the laboratory with an office suite for support staff. Research fellows and Technical staff have their own desks in the laboratory area. The laboratory is equipped with a motion analysis system for kinematic testing of normal and pathological motion, force plates for measurement of center of pressure, and computational facilities for creating patient-specific models and simulations. A Delsys electromeyographic system capable of surface and fine wire data collection is also available. The V-Gait CAREN system including dual-belt instrumented treadmill with capabilities to deliver 2 degrees of freedom perturbation, along with visual display and CAREN software, has recently been acquired and provide us with the necessary tools to create and test human movement and posture in virtual environments. The laboratory is equipped with several software programs, among them Matlab (several tool boxes) and LabVIEW. Both these software programs are routinely used in the lab and supported by the Lab Engineer.


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In 2010, the institution made a substantial investment on behalf of the Physical Therapy Program ($425,000) and acquired a V-Gait CAREN system to be housed in the lab. In addition, local departmental physical therapy funds have been allocated for the purchase of 4 more motion analysis cameras to expand to a 12-camera system.

V-gait Caren system is a state-of-the-art Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment Network that integrates traditional instrumentation of investigating posture and gait with a virtual reality environment.

Specific components of the V-gait CAREN System include:

  • Dual belt instrumented treadmill that can function in self-pace or predetermined speed mode. Two force plates are embedded under each belt. The treadmill can deliver perturbations in 2 degrees of freedom, pitch (± 10 degrees variable incline in walking direction), and fast sway (± 10 cm sideways perturbations).
  • 180 cylindrical screen for visualization with 3 front projectors and custom driver to blend images
  • Caren software to control and synchronize all inputs and data collected
  • VR environment scene and application is currently being developed by Motek Medical and Grundel Games Inc. specifically for our application with delivery of final version set for August 2011.
  • Motion Analysis Capabilities: 12-camera Eagle real-time digital motion capture system (Motion Analysis Corp, Santa Rosa, CA) with realtime kinetics and extremity calculation software. The motion system is capable of full integration with a Delsys electromeyographic system capable of surface or fine wire data collection.

The laboratory is equipped with several software programs, among them Matlab (several tool boxes) and LabVIEW. Both these software programs are extensively used in the lab supported by the Lab Engineer, Robert Longnecker with BS and MS degrees in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering.

The Promote Study

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Pregnancy Research  in  Osteopathic  Manipulation  Optimizing  Treatment Effects

Kendi Hensel, DO, PhD recently presented the OMT protocol used in the PROMOTE study at a combined convention of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Philadelphia. The presentation was a landmark event, bringing the MD and DO specialty organizations together to learn research-based OMT procedures shown by modern day research methods to help improve function in women with third trimester back pain and dysfunction. This collaboration was the result of years of hard work between Dr. Hensel and Steve Buchanan, DO, FACOOG, Executive Vice President of ACOOG, along with several of their board members and education committee.

crop acoog acoog 260 kendi hensel do phd with jennifer m schlies do acoog 191 steve p buchanan do and kendi hensel do phd
Photos by Michael Fitzgerald, courtesy of the American Osteopathic Association

The PROMOTE study is the research component of Dr. Hensel’s NIH-funded K23 Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award.  This project, which was funded in 2006, was designed to investigate the effects of OMT on low back pain, functional status and select outcomes of labor and delivery. The study, now called the PROMOTE study, enrolled 400 women during the period of 2007-2011. 

The PROMOTE study was designed similarly to a pilot study on OMT in pregnancy that was also completed at UNTHSC.  The pilot study, originally written by Scott Stoll, DO, PhD and Michael Carnes, DO, FAAO, was completed by John Licciardone, DO, MS, MBA, and published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in January 2010.  The pilot study results indicated that women (n=144) who received OMT during their third trimester had a slowing or halting of the deterioration of back-specific functioning.

The PROMOTE study completed all subject visits in July 2011, and data analysis and manuscript preparation are underway. 

Complete at 400 subjects, PROMOTE is the third-largest randomized, controlled trial ever done on OMT. The K23 grant funding the study is the first NIH K23 ever granted to a DO.  The study has also been supported by an AOA grant, and an ARRA supplement from the NIH, as well as private funding from the American Academy of Osteopathy, the Medical Education Foundation of the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists (MEFACOOG), and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations.  The total funding package is over $900,000.

The OMT protocol used in the PROMOTE study was very similar to the OMT protocol used in the pilot study.   This protocol has been widely presented at national meetings of the AOA, AAO, and ACOOG.  This video, produced at UNTHSC, is an instructional module to teach the techniques used in the PROMOTE study.

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This page last updated 03rd Oct 2013