Students’ Research Projects as a way to Evidence-Based Osteopathy

The concept of evidence-based medicine symbolizes the end of the era of empirical medicine. It does not mean that the art of healing has been discarded, but it’s the time of integrating it with science. Physiology may be compared to the “logic of life”, pathology – to “the logic of disease” and evidence-based medicine – to “the logic of doctoring”. This logic is insufficiently revealed and proved in osteopathic literature.
To our mind, there are three main objective reasons keeping European osteopathy behind the mainstream medicine concerning research. Firstly, it’s a lack of research resources because it’s practiced privately, secondly – absence of specialization (which actually osteopathy does not need) and a wide variety of problems it deals with, and thirdly, there is an unresolved problem of sham therapy.
Under these conditions large-scale randomized controlled studies (category I) are impossible. But cohort studies (category II) and non-controlled clinical studies (category III) both with B level of evidences according to the modern classification are quite feasible. Actually many students’ research projects satisfy their requirements. It’s time to start promoting them in a more active way by presenting their results at international conferences and publishing the best of them in peer-reviewed journals (the latter should become more open to this option). Experienced osteopaths, not alien to science, should think about systematic reviews of this wealth of knowledge kept “within the walls” of each osteopathic college or school.

The professional life of Ms Galina Abeleva, Ph.D., has been always connected with organizing medical research, retrieving the relevant literature, writing reviews on special topics (many of them have been published in Russian medical journals), helping to set the goals of studies, editing articles and books preparing them for publication, studying different problems of science of science.
During the last two decades her main sphere of interest is osteopathy. She has done a lot for establishing osteopathic education for physicians in Russia. With her assistance the European School of Osteopathy (UK) started its regular four-year part-time postgraduate course in St Petersburg in 1996, and this project is successfully developing up till now.
Having a good command of English, since the very start of this process she has been translating at the ESO seminars and helping students with their research projects. Acknowledging her important role in this process the ESO awarded Galina Abeleva with honorary diploma in osteopathy.