Topic Areas About Donate. In , Average life expectancy went from Greater longevity is one factor contributing to the quickly growing share of elderly Americans. In , persons age 65 and older made up 8. In , they accounted for
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DeLengocky T. J Am Osteopath Assoc ; 12 — Sign In. Forgot password? December Tayson DeLengocky, DO. Author Affiliations. Article Information. Get Citation Citation. Alerts User Alerts. You will receive an email whenever this article is corrected, updated, or cited in the literature. You can manage this and all other alerts in My Account. To the Editor:.
The osteopathic and allopathic medical professions share more similarities than differences, with osteopathic medical students and osteopathic physicians often training and working alongside their allopathic colleagues and with both professions becoming increasingly evidence-based. Some DOs fear that the osteopathic medical profession may be losing its distinctiveness 1 and may even eventually be called to merge with the allopathic medical profession.
I would like to present three reasons that the osteopathic medical profession remain parallel to and distinctive from the allopathic medical profession. The first reason is related to the growing public interest in complementary and alternative medicine CAM. Most allopathic medical schools in the United States have responded to this public interest by offering some forms of elective instructions in CAM. Also in response to the public interest in holistic and preventive healthcare approaches, the NCCAM awarded 15 grants to academic institutions for the development of integrative medicine centers and programs from to Furthermore, both the efficacy and safety of CAM are likely to be enhanced if physicians become more versed in integrative and alternative medicine.
This trend in healthcare presents osteopathic physicians with a unique opportunity to be seen as leaders—thanks to the long tradition in osteopathic medicine of a holistic and preventive philosophy to patient care. This tradition has a firm foundation in osteopathic principles and practice and the following tenets of osteopathic medicine 9 , 10 :. The body is a unit. Rational therapy is based on an understanding of body unity, self-regulatory mechanisms, and the interrelationship of structure and function.
The second reason that osteopathic medicine needs to remain parallel and distinctive is that musculoskeletal conditions and injuries are among the most common causes for visits to physicians in the United States.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 11 musculoskeletal conditions were the leading cause of activity limitation among adults aged 18 to 64 years in and The third reason that osteopathic medicine needs to remain parallel and distinctive is that the existence of two distinct branches of medicine is politically beneficial—helping to counteract the aggressive legislative activities of other, allied health professions for prescription and surgical privileges.
Ophthalmologists are continually facing aggressive political actions from the optometric community, which is seeking to gain surgical privileges at state legislatures.
The parallel and distinctive existence of osteopathic medicine helps the medical profession as a whole to be identified as a profession requiring full, formal medical training as essential for the sake of patients' health and safety. By comparison, the allied health professions seek to expand their scopes of practice through legislative processes or through revising their definitions of scopes of practice.
As medicine becomes increasingly evidence-based, it is important to keep in mind that the art and the philosophy of medical practice should not be discounted. By fully embracing new advances in technology and medicine while retaining its distinctive holistic philosophy, osteopathic medicine can maintain its solid foundation in the healthcare delivery system. The growing public interest in self-care and CAM is conducive to osteopathic medicine playing a leading role in providing the healthcare that the public wants.
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Mortality of Americans Age 65 and Older: 1980 to 2004