In the previous column, we looked at the typical structure of a research article, viewed from a high level. Knowing what this skeleton looks like enables us to grasp quickly what the authors of a research study are presenting—even when the topic is unfamiliar. More importantly, this structure ties the authors’ presentation together with the scientific method. Here, we’ll delve into the details of how this is done, working toward a user-friendly understanding of the statistical basics of research studies.
Last month in this space, we discussed how we planned to mentor the development of skills in research literacy. Just like with any other skill, we’ll start with the fundamental building blocks to create a solid foundation, and we’ll build up on that foundation step by step. So, right now, if reading something like the following text about aromatherapy massage for anxiety and depression in cancer patients makes you “want to turn and run away” (a quote from a massage therapist I know), that’s totally understandable.
Contemporary treatment for low-back pain runs the gamut, from the conventional to the alternative, with sufferers seeking relief any way they can. What if it were simply a matter of mindfulness and attention to the breath? In a small pilot study from the Osher Center of Integrative Medicine in San Francisco, California, a research team led by Wolf Mehling, MD, used just such a concept for comparison of breath therapy and physical therapy for treatment of low-back pain.
Massage therapy helps to decrease blood pressure, right? Not necessarily. It may depend on the type of massage applied, according to researchers at the National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, Illinois. In a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2006), Jerrilyn Cambron, DC, and her team report the effects on blood pressure change for six types of massage administered to a group of one hundred fifty normotensive and prehypertensive adults.
Chances are you either have a family member diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or you know someone who does. The devastating impact of Alzheimer’s and related dementias on our American society is steadily growing. The Alzheimer’s Association puts the number of people currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (the most prevalent dementia) at 4.5 million, double that in 1980. As life expectancy increases, so does the rate of those afflicted — 1 of 10 by age 65, 1 of 2 by age 85.
Bioenergy, the assumed basis of what is now commonly called “healing,” is a complicated subject for many of us — and an even more complicated subject for research. In this evolving field of science, experts offer a variety of definitions, explanations and mechanisms for the process.
Childbirth, although a perfectly natural physiological process, can be very painful and physically traumatic for the mother. New and improved alternative approaches to labor pain have afforded many women some relief during that part of the process, but there remains a major problematic area – lacerations in the perineum area (between the vagina and rectum), with resultant postpartum pain and possible permanent damage.
Two years ago, researchers Patricia Sohn and Cynthia Loveland Cook surveyed nurse practitioners (NPs) in Missouri and Oregon to assess their knowledge and use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The results of their study, published in a 2002 Journal of Advanced Nursing, revealed that while respondents appeared to embrace CAM on a large scale, a much smaller number actually based that acceptance on formal education.
As we discussed in the first part of this article, the mechanical stimuli applied to the place of injuries are able to increase collagen production by the stimulation of fibroblasts’ functions and by attracting new cells from the neighboring areas. However, increased collagen production alone is not enough to heal the injured site. The correct orientation of collagen fibers is an equally important element.