Projects

The OCOM research team strives to enhance evidence-informed health care by sharing acupuncture and Chinese medicine research information with colleagues and the community at large. A comprehensive list of projects in which our research team is involved, along with the details of each study, is provided in chronological order.

Ongoing Projects

AcuTrials® — A unique resource for practitioners and researchers interested in specific acupuncture research, the searchable, web-based bibliography of randomized clinical trials and systematic reviews of acupuncture was developed by the OCOM Research Department. The prototype bibliographic database references RCTs and systematic reviews of acupuncture published in the English language, and is compiled primarily from PubMed, the Cochrance Library and the collections of the OCOM Library, which subscribes to 16 AOM journals that are not indexed in MEDLINE. The AcuTrials® database currently contains approximately 900 indexed citations and is continuously updated. 

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Program (PCOR) — Since 2007, OCOM has maintained a PCOR program in its intern clinic for all patients who receive intern-provided acupuncture. The college's ongoing PCOR program has been approved by OCOM’s Institutional Review Board.

Patient outcomes data are obtained from the Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile (MYMOP) and, since 2009, the NIH Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) questionnaires for Pain Severity and Pain Interference, Physical Functioning, and Global Physical and Mental Health. The MYMOP questionnaire allows patients to indicate their primary reason for seeking treatment, resulting in greater patient-centered outcomes data. All new patients identify up to two symptoms for which they are seeking help, write these symptoms in their own words in spaces provided, and score the severity on a seven-point scale.

At their fifth visit, patients complete the same PROMIS forms and a follow-up MYMOP that asks them to rate the severity of the chief complaint from their first visit. Chief and secondary complaints self-reported on the MYMOP are then categorized by the intern on the 20-item checklist. Intern oversight of form completion by patients is key to maintaining the quality and accuracy of the PCOR data collected.

qiPARTNER — The OCOM Research Department has begun to develop qiPARTNER, a practice-based research network and web-based repository for case reports. The goal of qiPARTNER is to provide a novel resource of pragmatic clinical data, with a focus on unusual cases and adverse events. The initial construct of data acquisition, indexing, and search processes began in 2009, with in-house testing of this system by licensed (LAc) faculty members in 2010. Practitioners log on at qipartner.ocom.edu, provide information about their training and their practice, and then complete the data entry form that captures detailed clinical information about their patient and the reason for the report. 

Past Projects

Acupuncture Practitioner Research Education Enhancement (APREE)

Beginning in 2005, OCOM received a NIH/NCCAM grant as part of an initiative to infuse an evidence-based healthcare (EBH) perspective into existing academic and clinical training. The Acupuncture Practitioner Research Education Enhancement (APREE) grant was a core collaboration with the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing. The overall goals of the grant were to strengthen research literacy, foster a culture of research appreciation and recognize the role of clinical experience and other forms of evidence in AOM education and clinical practice.

The APREE research education initiatives have since been sustained and in some cases expanded. The initial grant ran through 2009 and was then extended from 2011 to 2013.

TCM for TMD

Traditional Chinese Medicine for Temporomandibular Disorder: A Whole Systems Trial
Collaborating Institution: University of Arizona
Funding Agency: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Project Description: This is a multi-site (Tucson and Portland) phase II trial that will evaluate the benefits of TCM for potential short-term pain and disability relief and compare long-term benefits of TCM to self-care management. Our specific hypotheses are: (1) among patients who fail to adequately improve on self-care management, those randomized to TCM will have less pain and disability over the short term (6 weeks) than those randomized to enhanced or extended self-care (SC); (2) patients placed on TCM due to inadequate improvement on SC will show long-term (12-18 months) outcomes similar to those continuing to benefit from SC. The patient population will include men and women, as well as individuals who have received previous usual care (not TCM) and continue to experience TMD pain.

The TCM arm will incorporate whole systems research, which attempts to understand all components of the system of care in relation to the patient experience. Specific domains that will be considered in this study include patient-practitioner interaction, patient-centered outcomes, and the process of diagnosis and treatment as it proceeds through time and varies by practitioner.

Status: As of April 2010, subject recruitment and data collection were complete and data analysis was underway.
Principal Investigator: Cheryl Ritenbaugh, PhD, MPH (University of Arizona)Co-Investigator: Richard Hammerschlag, PhD (Oregon College of Oriental Medicine)
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine Study Team: Scott Mist, LAc, MS (Project Director), Joseph Leben, DDS (Research Dentist), Mark Goldby, LAc (Research Acupuncturist), Lu Yan, LAc (Research Acupuncturist), Zheng Gong, LAc (Research Acupuncturist), Cita Oudijk, LAc (Research Acupuncturist), Ed Chiu, LAc (Research Acupuncturist)

Post-Operative Breast Cancer

Project Title: A Randomized, Intent to Treat, Controlled Study of the Efficacy of Verum Acupuncture Compared to Sham Acupuncture in Conjunction with Standard Care in the Management of Post Operative Symptoms in Breast Cancer Subjects that Have Undergone Axillary Surgery Collaborating institutions: Legacy Health Systems
Funding Agency: Legacy Foundation

Project Description: The study is a randomized controlled pilot study to determine if there is a difference between treatment groups in subjects that participate in four weeks of acupuncture and standard care, compared to standard care without acupuncture and standard care with sham acupuncture in post-axillary dissection breast cancer patients.

Status: As of October 2010, the study continued to enroll and treat eligible Legacy patients, who were referred by participating Legacy oncologists.
Principal Investigator: Nathalie Johnson, MD (Legacy)
Co-Investigators: Gene Hong, MD (Oregon Acupuncture Center); Ryan J Milley, MAcOM, LAc (Oregon College of Oriental Medicine), Joanne Nelson, MD (The Surgical Center, Inc.); Tammy De La Melena, MD (Surgical Associates, PC)
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine Study Team - Practitioners: Fang Zhang, LAc; Eric Stephens, DAOM, LAc; Jelena Stefanovic, DAOM, LAc; Zheng Gong, LAc; Project Coordinator: Ryan J Milley, MAcOM, LAc
Legacy Study Team - Kristin Hickey (Research Associate), Yolanda Prado (Research Coordinator), Aaron White (Research Associate)

Endometriosis-Related Pelvic Pain

Project Title: Comparison of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to Hormone Therapy for Endometriosis-Related Pelvic Pain
Collaborating institution: Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)
Funding Agency: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Project Description: This clinical trial compares real world treatment options for women with endometriosis-related pelvic pain. It tests the hypothesis that TCM (acupuncture and Chinese herbs) reduces endometriosis-related pelvic pain at least as effectively as hormone therapy (HT) and does so without causing the pseudo-menopausal side effects that accompany HT. The study will enroll 50 women who have moderate to severe pelvic pain. Women who qualify are randomly assigned to receive either 12 weekly treatments of TCM or 12 weeks of an FDA-approved hormone treatment.

Status: As of August 2008, patient recruitment had closed, and a final report was in preparation.
Principal Investigator: Richard Hammerschlag, PhD (Oregon College of Oriental Medicine)
Co-Investigator: Kenneth Burry, MD (OHSU)
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine Study Team - Hong Jin, LAc (Co-investigator), Beth Yohalem-Ilsley, LAc (Research Coordinator), Natalie Arndt, LAc (Research Acupuncturist), Eric Stephens, LAc (Research Acupuncturist), Lili Zheng, LAc (Research Acupuncturist)
OHSU Study team - Marcia Strickland (OHSU study coordinator)
Consultant: Mikel Aiken, PhD (University of Arizona, Biostatistician)

Multiple Sclerosis

Project Title: Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis-Specific Fatigue with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM): A Randomized, Placebo-controlled Pilot Study
Collaborating institution: Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)
Funding Agency: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Developmental project awarded through an NIH/NCCAM Center grant to OHSU).

Project Description: This pilot study tests the hypothesis that Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture and herbs) will lessen MS-specific fatigue. Subjects are assigned at random to receive either acupuncture and Chinese herbs or mock acupuncture and placebo herbs. Participation involves two neurological exams at OHSU, twelve true or mock acupuncture treatments at OCOM and filling out study questionnaire forms. This is a 12-week study recruiting 28 people who have been diagnosed with MS.

Status: As of August 2008, patient recruitment had closed; a final report was in preparation.
Principal Investigator: Richard Hammerschlag, PhD
Co-Investigator: Dennis Bourdette, MD (OHSU)
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine Study Team - Robert Kaneko, LAc (Clinic Director); Meggan Baumgartner (Clinical Coordinator); Elizabeth March, LAc (Research Acupuncturist); Forrest Cooper, LAc (Research Acupuncturist) 
OHSU Study Team - Michele Mass, MD (OHSU MS Center of Oregon); Kristen Riegert (OHSU Study Coordinator)

Parkinson’s Disease

Project Title: Expectation and response to L-DOPA and acupuncture in Parkinson’s Disease
Collaborating institution: Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)
Funding Agency: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Project Description: This project will test whether a new type of acupuncture alters the function of motor nerves and muscle in the arm and hand of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Patients may or may not be told whether they will be treated with acupuncture or mock acupuncture.

Status: As of August 2008, patient recruitment had closed; a final report was in preparation.
Principal Investigator: Barry Oken, MD (OHSU)
Co-Investigators: Richard Hammerschlag, PhD (Oregon College of Oriental Medicine); Jau-Shin Lou, MD (OHSU) 
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine Study Team - Roger Lore, LAc (Research Acupuncturist); Ryan Milley (Clinical Trial Coordinator)

Assessing Quality of Reporting

Project Title: Development of the Oregon CONSORT STRICTA Instrument (OCSI) for assessing quality of reporting of randomized controlled trials of acupuncture
Project Description: As developed by the OCOM Research Department, OCSI is a quantitative tool that converts the current biomedical guidelines of CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Clinical Trials) and current acupuncture guidelines of STRICTA (Standards for Reporting Interventions in Controlled Trials of Acupuncture) into a series of questions to assess the accuracy of reporting of randomized controlled trials (RCT) of acupuncture.

As part of its development, OCSI has been pilot tested on acupuncture RCTs published between 1997 and 2007. More recently, OCSI has been presented at national and international CAM research conferences. In addition, the OCOM Research Department has begun utilizing OCSI to rate individual articles listed in AcuTrials®, the OCOM-developed database.

Principal Investigator: Richard Hammerschlag, PhD
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine Study Team - Agatha P Colbert, MD; Ryan Milley, MAcOM, LAc; Jeffrey Weih, PA, LAc; Beth Yohalem -Ilsley, LAc
Consultant: Mikel Aiken, PhD (University of Arizona)

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) Research

Project 1: Complementary Medicine Approaches to TMD Pain Management
Project 2: Alternative Medicine Approaches for Women with TMD

Collaborating Institution: Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research (KPCHR)
Funding Agency: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Project 1: This project compares the effectiveness of standardized acupuncture, individualized acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage therapy and conventional care for treating TMD-related pain. Outcome measures include patient assessed TMD pain, symptoms and stress levels. Fifty patients in each of the five groups receive 10 treatments.
Project 2: This project compares the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture and Chinese herbs), naturopathic medicine and conventional medicine for treatment of for treatment of women with TMD and other concurrent conditions, such as fibromyalgia, headaches, and depression. Outcome measures include patient assessed TMD pain, symptoms and stress levels. Fifty patients in each of the three groups receive 20 treatments.

Status: As of February 2008, Project 1 and Project 2 had finished collecting data; analysis was underway.

Reliability of the Prognos A

Project Title: Reliability of acupuncture point measuring device Prognos A (Phase II)
Funding Agency: Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, supported by NIH/NCCAM.

Project Description: The purpose of this study is to determine how accurately the Prognos A performs when measuring electrical skin resistance at acupoints and whether repetitive measurements performed by different testers using the Prognos A are consistently reproducible. There will be a total of 30 subjects enrolled into the study and participation is for approximately two hours.

Status: The results of this investigation led to the conclusion that ‘Prognos’ is a reliable device for measuring ESR at the Jing-well acupoints.
Principal Investigator: Richard Hammerschlag, PhD (Oregon College of Oriental Medicine)
Co-Investigator: Agatha P. Colbert, MD, Post-doctoral research fellow, Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research

Bioelectrical Measurements of Acupoints

Project Title: Bioelectrical measurements of acupuncture points and meridians

Collaborating institutions: Portland State University (PSU); Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research (KPCHR)
Funding Agency: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Developmental project awarded through an NIH/NCCAM Center grant to KPCHR.)

Project Description: The project is part of a larger program aimed at determining whether electrical measurements at acupuncture points are reliable as clinical biomarkers. Prognos, a commercially available device, as well as a custom-made device are being used to measure electrical properties of the skin surface at acupuncture points and at surrounding areas.

Status: As of February 2005, the project had completed enrollment.
Principal Investigator: Richard Hammerschlag, PhD (Oregon College of Oriental Medicine)
Co-Investigators: Agatha P Colbert, MD (Oregon College of Oriental Medicine); James McNames, PhD (PSU)
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine Study Team: Meggan Baumgartner (Research Coordinator); Research practitioners: Gary Bonderant, LAc, Deb Espesete, LAc, Roger Lore, LAc, Cita Oudijk, LAc, Beth Yohalem-Ilsley, LAc
PSU Study Team: Sean Pearson (Research Assistant), Daniel Tsunami (Research assistant)

Ting Points

Project Title: Physiologic variability of electrical skin resistance measurements at the Ting acupuncture points
Funding Agency: Supported in part by Public Health Service grant 5 MO1 RR000334 and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine/National Institutes of Health grant AT00076 through the Oregon Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Project Description: A total of three goals were identified for this study - 1) To determine intra-subject physiological variability of measurements at 24 specific acupuncture points over a 24-hour period 2) to determine inter-subject variability of measurements at 24 specific acupuncture points 3) to describe any inherent rhythm/s in these measurements over a 24-hour period.

Status: Project is completed and results were published in Medical Acupuncture.
Colbert, AP, Hayes M, Aickin M, Hammerschlag R. Physiologic variability of electrical skin resistance measurements at the Ting acupuncture points. Medical Acupuncture. 2006;17:2, 12-19.
Principal Investigator: Agatha P. Colbert, MD (Oregon College of Oriental Medicine)
Co-Investigators: Richard Hammerschlag, PhD (Oregon College of Oriental Medicine), Megan Hayes. MD (OHSU), Mikel Aickin, PhD (NCNM)

Acupuncture Torque Sensor

Project Title: Acupuncture Needling Torque Sensor
Funding Agency: NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Project Description: The purpose of this study is to test the ease of use of a newly-developed micro-sensor device that fits onto the handle of the acupuncture needle and measures the torque (twisting or turning force) associated with acupuncture needle manipulation. The perception of needle torque (how much force is necessary to rotate the needle) constitutes an important form of tactile feedback used by acupuncturists to determine whether de qi has been achieved. Responding to this feedback by appropriate adjustments in needle technique is thought to be an important component of an acupuncturist’s skill. We expect that the information gained from this study will help us to further improve the device, which is being developed to help teach needling techniques to acupuncture students.

Status: Data analysis continues.
Principal Investigator: Richard Hammerschlag, PhD (Oregon College of Oriental Medicine)
Co-Investigators: Robert Davis, LAc, Helen e Langevin, MD, LAc, David Churchill, PhD, Bonnie Povolny, LAc