Research and Projects

Our faculty and student researchers are engaged in the ethical conduct of research in the fields of the study of both Traditional Chinese Medicine and integrative medicine and in the development of institutional research partnerships. Students in the master’s program may assist in the conduct of institutional research projects. Students in the doctoral program conduct an original research study or a quality improvement project focused on clinical, educational or ethnographic in the fields of the study of both Traditional Chinese Medicine and integrative medicine.

AOMA-CARE: AOMA CAse REports

Study Area:

traditional Chinese medicine, case reports, academic health clinic

Project Description:

AOMA students and faculty conduct Case Reports or Case Series for patients seen at AOMA and affiliated clinical settings. Case Reports are typically used to share new unique information experienced by one (or more) patient(s) during his/her clinical care that may be useful for other physicians and members of a health care team.  A case report may be published for others to read, and/or presented at a conference. 

The AOMA CAse REports Prject, known as AOMA-CARE, provides a structured approach to the collection and dissemination of Case Report information for AOMA students and faculty. AOMA follows the CARE Guidelines for all case reports.

Status:

Active

Principal Investigator:

John S. Finnell ND, MPH, LAc

Research team:

Jing Fan PhD, MD (China), LAc

Institutional Partners:

N/A

Funding and Support:

AOMA

AOMA-PROMIS: AOMA Patient Reported Outcome Measures Study

Study Area:

patient-centered outcomes

Project Description:

AOMA-PROMIS is a prospective study of the changes in quality-of-life (QOL) associated with treatment at AOMA’s academic health clinics. The NIH-developed Patient reported Outcomes Measure Information System (PROMIS) tolls will be used to collect prospective data focused on patient-centered outcomes and quality-of-life in patients treated by students and faculty in AOMA’s academic health clinics. 

Status:

Active

Principal Investigator:

John S. Finnell ND, MPH, LAc

Research Team:

Jing Fan PhD, MD (China), LAc; Mark Sodders, DAOM, LAc

Institutional Partners:

N/A

Funding and Support:

AOMA

Retrospective analysis of nutrient levels and disease biomarkers during an extended water fast

Study Area:

fasting, caloric restriction, biomarkers

Project Description:

The retrospective analysis of non-identifiable data, that includes over 100 variables  previously obtained from patients at a fasting clinic, will be used to evaluate how nutrient status changes over the length of a fast as well as to determine if fasting improves biomarkers for various diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Status:

Active

Principal Investigator:

John S. Finnell ND, MPH, LAc

Research Team:

Alan Goldhamer DC; Toshia Meyers PhD, Bradley Saul

Institutional Partners:

TrueNorth Health Foundation

Funding and Support:

TrueNorth Health Foundation

Unraveling the Relationship between Biomarkers of Aging and Vitamin D Metabolism

Study Area:

nutrition, vitamin D, aging, Klotho

Project Description:

We are investigating the possibility that correction of vitamin D insufficiency in healthy adults may result in increased expression of Klotho, an anti-aging protein tightly involved in vitamin D homeostasis. Deficiency of Klotho confers an age-like phenotype in multiple mammalian species. Decreased Klotho protein expression has been implicated in rapid aging and increased oxidative stress, and potentially contributes to increased disease risk and all-cause mortality associated with vitamin D insufficiency. We hypothesize that treating vitamin D insufficiency may result in changes in circulating Klotho levels. We expect that this research may lead to a better understanding of the health benefits of sufficient vitamin D status.

Status:

Complete

Principal Investigator:

John S. Finnell ND, MPH, LAc

Research Team:

Ryan Bradley ND, Nataliya Bulayeva PhD, Kevin Rosenblatt MD, PhD

Institutional Partners:

Bastyr University, Kenmore, WA; Rosenblatt Laboratory at the Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine at UTHSC Houston (BIMM UTHSC Houston)

Funding and Support:

AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine; Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation; Bastyr University; BIMM UTHSC Houston; NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM: 5T32AT000815)

Publications:

Traub, M. L., Finnell, J. S., Bhandiwad, A., Oberg, E., Suhaila, L., & Bradley, R. (2014). Impact of vitamin D3 dietary supplement matrix on clinical response. J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 99(8), 2720-2728. doi:10.1210/jc.2013-3162 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4121030/

Fasting and Alternative to Standard Therapeutics (FAST) Safety Study

Study Area:

fasting, safety, adverse events, vegan diet, caloric restriction

Project Description:

This retrospective safety study investigates the safety and tolerability of a residential medically-supervised fasting intervention, compared by age and medical diagnosis to diet-only intervention. This is a population-based cohort study of patients who underwent either a low-salt, low-fat, vegan dietary intervention or a medically-supervised fast (water, juice, or broth) at the TrueNorth Health Center (TNHC) in Santa Rosa, California.  Structured adverse event data, as defined under Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE), were collected from the medical records of consecutive patients from 2006 to 2011.

Status:

Complete

Principal Investigator:

John S. Finnell ND, MPH, LAc

Research Team:

Alan Goldhamer DC; Toshia Meyers PhD, Bradley Saul

Institutional Partners:

TrueNorth Health Foundation

Funding and Support:

AOMA; National Health Association; TrueNorth Health Foundation

Publications:

(in review)

Relationship between Biomarkers of Aging and TCM Practice: A Theoretical Framework

Study Area:

ZangFu, Qigong, aging, Klotho-FGF Axis

Project Description:

This is a study of the correspondence between the Klotho/Fibroblastic Growth Factor (Klotho-FGF Axis) and the ZangFu Organ Systems (ZangFu) in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  We are developing a theoretical framework to describe the correspondence between the physiological function of the ZangFu and the Klotho-FGF Axis.  For example, deficiency of Klotho and deficiency of Kidney Essence share a common age-like phenotype. Although a relatively recent area of research inquiry, dysfunction in the Klotho-FGF Axis is implicated in the etiology of multiple diseases of aging. We hypothesize that changes in the Klotho-FGF Axis may provide a mechanistic model for the TCM ZangFu.

Status:

Active

Student Researcher(s):

Sandra Schwartz, DAOM, LAc, James Phillips, DAOM (Candidate 2016), LAc, and Thang Bui, DAOM (Candidate 2016), LAc

Faculty Supervisor:

John S. Finnell, ND, MPH, LAc

Funding and Support:

Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM)

From The Outside In: An Investigation of Hot and Cold Diagnostics in Traditional Oriental Medicine and Correspondences in Thermal Findings Using Thermography

Study Area:

ZangFu, Qigong, aging, Klotho-FGF Axis

Project Description:

This study will investigate the relationship between thermal imbalances in the human body as they are represented by thermographic imaging cameras, and the traditional Chinese medicine diagnostic patterns of “heat” and “cold”.  Thermography imaging cameras are commonly used to diagnose thermal imbalances associated with inflammation and circulatory disturbances. Additionally, studies have been done usinh thermography to gauge the effect of acupuncture on tissue, which demonstrate and change in the

Traditional Chinese medicine has within its traditions various concepts of how heat and cold phenomena affect the body, and the way they interact in normal and abnormal physiology. However, drawing associations between traditional diagnostic methods of tongue, pulse and symptom complex and thermal image studies have yet not been done. This study could facilitate the beginnings of a standardized clinical approach that may be used to integrate western medical diagnosis and Oriental medicine. Symptoms associated to patterns of pathogenic heat and cold according to TCM are vast. Pain is often associated with invasion of cold, but cold moves into heat in the body in many disorders including pain in Chinese medical thought. Western bio-medical considerations of heat and cold to pain are focused mainly on the thermoreceptors of heat and cold. It is now becoming a consideration whether environmental sensitization is a significant factor in pain and disease.

The significance of this study lies in enhancing understanding of the much under researched areas of environment, weather and temperature on pain and disease. This study hopes to visually elucidate traditional concepts that hopefully will shed a new light on these issues. In doing so future research can elucidate more relationships not only of traditional medicine to biomedical phenomena but also support advancement of human biometeorology as a legitimate study in the pathophysiology of pain and disease

Status:

Active

Student Researcher(s):

Allen Cline, DAOM (Candidate 2017), LAc

Faculty Supervisor:

John S. Finnell, ND, MPH, LAc

Funding and Support:

Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM)

Evaluating the effects of acupuncture in the treatment of Taxane Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (TIPN)

Study Area:

chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy, acupuncture, electr-acupuncture

Project Description:

Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN) is a major dose limiting side effect of many chemotherapy agents and it often reduces the success of the patient treatment. The mechanisms of Taxane induced peripheral tissue damage are becoming clearer, allowing for the potential to develop specific interventions to resolve pain associated with this class of drug. This study is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture in the resolution of Taxane IPN (TIPN) (when compared to standard of care) and begin to evaluate the physiological changes triggered by acupuncture which contribute to symptom resolution.  

Status:

Active

Student Researcher(s):

William Hendry, DAOM (Candidate 2017), LAc

Faculty Supervisor:

John S. Finnell, ND, MPH, LAc

AOMA Cold and Flu Survey

Study Area:

influenza, upper respiratory infection, public health

Project Description:

This survey is being conducted to estimate the prevalence of influenza and upper respiratory infections at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine (AOMA) between December 2013 and February 2014.  The survey is being conducted for research and educational purposes.  The results of this survey will be published and used as an educational aid for students at AOMA.  We hope that the results of this research study help us educate the AOMA community on ways that we can better be prepared for the next cold and flu season.

Status:

Active

Student Researcher:

Michelle Bienz, DAOM (Candidate 2016), LAc

Faculty Supervisor:

Mark Sodders, DAOM, LAc

Qi Quotient Survey – A Validation Study Quality of Life Survey

Study Area:

quality-of-life, patient-reported outcomes, behavioral science

Project Description:

In a society where chronic disease predominates, quality of life assessment is seemingly relevant in bringing awareness of how healthy lifestyle impacts illness and disease. An important issue in the general population is lack of awareness around healthy lifestyle choices.  Additional information is necessary to generate public awareness of lifestyle behaviors and how they affect general health and the development and progression of disease.  One premise of this study is that a quality of life survey may be the gateway behavior into increased consciousness of healthy lifestyle. This validation and measurement study is being conducted to provide complementary and conventional practitioners an integrated unique tool to increase health awareness/consciousness in the general population.  The study survey questions serve to specifically direct the survey takers to domains that would, if adjusted predict changes in general health and quite possibly serve to be the awareness of healthy lifestyle generator that the general population so desperately needs.  

Status:

Active

Student Researcher(s):

Christina Captain, DAOM (Candidate 2017), MSAcOM, MSHN, MA, LAc

Faculty Supervisor:

John S. Finnell, ND, MPH, LAc

Translational Research Examining Acupuncture Treatment in Traumatic Brain Injury (TREAT-TBI)

Study Area:

traumatic brain injury, acupuncture, cerebral blood flow

Project Description:

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can cause significant changes in physical, cognitive, and psychological health that range from acute to chronic. With an estimated 1.6 – 2.3 million TBIs occurring annually in the United States, it is imperative that effective, evidence-based therapies for recovery are identified and utilized in immediate care and out-patient settings. A decrease in cerebral blood flow (CBF) occurs immediately following TBI, at a critical time when there is an increased need for glucose in the brain. This metabolic imbalance creates a window of vulnerability often lasting for 7 – 10 days. Acupuncture has been used in the treatment of a wide range of neurological and vascular diseases, and has consistently been shown to improve CBF in both animal and human studies. This study will utilize transcranial Doppler imaging, blood biomarkers, neuropsychological testing and quality of life assessments, to determine if acupuncture during the acute phase following TBI regulates cerebral blood flow and improves outcome measures.  

Status:

Active

Student Researcher(s):

Amy Moll, DAOM (Candidate 2017), LAc

Faculty Supervisor:

John S. Finnell, ND, MPH, LAc

HEYA (The Human Experience and Ayahuasca): A Quality of Life Assessment

Study Area:

quality-of-life, ayahuasca, ethnopharmacology

Project Description:

Ayahuasca is a plant based decoction that is legal in several countries, but classified as a Schedule I hallucinogenic in the United States. Despite its scheduled drug classification, individuals, communities, and organizations continue to defy legal mandates in order to use this decoction, and current legislation appears to serve only as a minor deterrent.  In recent years, thousands of patients, medical professionals, spiritualists, and the adventurous, have participated in indigenous healing rituals using Ayahuasca, and have reportedly experienced remarkable results. Many have reported improved physical condition, spiritual insight, mystical experiences, a sense of purpose and connection, cured from addictions, improved emotional and mental health. The objective of this study is to investigate quality of life of novice Ayahuasca users and gain insight as to why participants choose to use this plant decoction, and what benefits and/or risk received.

Status:

Active

Student Researcher(s):

Simel Beys, DAOM (Candidate 2017), LAc

Faculty Supervisor:

Violet Song, PhD, MS, MAcOM, LAc

Asking NADA: A Needs Assessment Process to Inform a Training Manual Revision

Study Area:

education, NADA training, behavioral science

Project Description:

A deliberative inquiry process to assess the needs and garner consensus for a continuing medical/professional education curriculum renewal for the NADA Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist Training Resources.

Status:

Active

Student Researcher(s):

Claudia Voyles, DAOM (Candidate 2017), LAc

Faculty Supervisor:

William Morris, PhD, DAOM, MSEd, LAc

Systematic Review of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Research in Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder

Study Area:

TCM, GERD, systematic review

Project Description:

The objective of this systematic review is to identify studies that support the safety and effectiveness of Acupuncture and TCM for the treatment of GERD. A systematic review of literature from 2000-2015 was conducted on the Acupuncture and TCM treatment of GERD in databases such as Cochrane, Medline, PubMed Health (NIH), Escience Central, China Journal Full-Text Database, SearchMedica, peer-reviewed journals such as the American Journal of Gastroenterology, Gut, Gastroenterology, and non-peer reviewed articles from American Cancer Society, Wiley Online Library, International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, Elsevier Journal Online Today, Acupuncture Today, and California Journal of Oriental Medicine.

Status:

Complete

Student Researcher(s):

Patti Carey, DAOM, LAc

Faculty Supervisor:

Grace Tan, PhD, MD(China), LAc

Funding and Support:

N/A

Case Report: Electro-Acupuncture and Taxane Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

Study Area:

electro-acupuncture, Taxol, case report, chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy

Project Description:

Taxane induced peripheral neuropathy (TIPN) is a significant cause of disability in patients who receive this class of chemotherapy drugs for cancer. The treatment of TIPN is less than optimal and frequently involves narcotics and other long-term medications. Individuals with pre-existing peripheral neuropathy can be vulnerable to worsening and disabling symptoms. This is a case study of a 59-year-old female who received a series of weekly acupuncture treatments for the treatment of TIPN.  The patient had already received one course of chemotherapy prior to starting acupuncture treatments and presented with significant neuropathic pain in her hands and feet.

Status:

Complete

Student Researcher(s):

Donna Guthery, DAOM, LAc

Faculty Supervisor:

Lin Jia, PhD, MD (China), MS, LAc

Funding and support:

N/A