Newswise — A clinical trial of 406 subjects 50 years of age and older who were hospitalized with pneumonia showed a one-day reduction in the length of hospital stay in those patients who received osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in addition to conventional medical care when compared to patients who received only conventional medical care. A per protocol analysis also showed a significant reduction in the duration of intravenous antibiotics and in respiratory failure or death in the group that received OMT when compare to the conventional care only group.

The Multicenter Osteopathic Pneumonia Study in the Elderly (MOPSE) was a registered, double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trial that sought to assess the impact of adjunctive osteopathic manipulative treatment in patients 50 years of age and over who were hospitalized with pneumonia. The study was conducted between March 2004 and February 2007 at seven hospitals in five states: Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas. Data from MOPSE were published March 30 in the open-access journal, Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care, which is published by BioMed Central. To access the article, visit the journal website at

“While this study was conducted in elderly people with pneumonia, these manual medicine techniques are applied more broadly,” said Donald Noll, D.O., the physician who led this study. “These techniques could potentially benefit adults who are suffering from pneumonia secondary to influenza or the H1N1 virus. Beneficial aspects of using OMT as an adjunctive treatment are that the techniques are generally well tolerated and adverse reactions rarely occur.”

Osteopathic manipulative treatment has been used throughout the United States by osteopathic physicians (D.O.s) since the late 1800s when osteopathic medicine was founded in Kirksville, Mo. Osteopathic physicians are licensed to practice all forms of conventional medicine. In addition, they are trained to offer their patients osteopathic manipulative treatment, a system of hands-on techniques that can be used to alleviate pain, restore range of motion and enhance the immune system. There is evidence supporting the benefits of OMT and additional research studies are currently underway at a number of colleges of osteopathic medicine to scientifically document its efficacy in medical care. MOPSE is an example of such a study.

MOPSE was funded by a group of osteopathic medicine supportive foundations lead by the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation and the Foundation for Osteopathic Health Services. The $1.5 million grant was awarded to the A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Mo. Oversight for the study was provided by The Osteopathic Research Center at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

Register for reporter access to contact details

Osteopathic Medicine and Primary Care 2010, 4:2