Research completed as of end of 2015
We hear others say there is no research in holistic medicine. Another problem has been how can improvements in health be specifically measured. If you have a specific short-term disease, it is easy: the disease went away. If you have something that is easy to count, it is also easy: there were large quantities of bacteria, and now there are none. But studies about chronic disease are usually harder to figure out.
For one thing, it often involves symptoms that are not cut and dried. For example, lameness goes from slightly lame that is hard to see, to being so sore they can't touch their foot to the ground and everythwere in between. Lameness is often measured in a subjective way, which means it is often graded on a scale from 0 to 4. The extremes are easy, but what one person calls a 2 might be a grade 3 to somebody else. Force plates (flat discs that animals step on to measure how much weight they are putting on each foot) is one way to measure this. But most veterinarians do not have these. They are a rather expensive investment, especially if they are not very useful in your practice.
The equine postural study which the study funded uses a software program, a camera, and a way of marking parts of the horse, such as specific parts of the hip and backbone, that measures the way they stand. It has the potential to become a useful way of measuring an instant response to various types of physical therapy. It creates numbers that can be analyzed by a computer. So it is objective, without humans having to argue about whether a horse looks more relaxed or not.
This study has accomplished two things: First, it has created an objective way to evaluate improvement in gait and posture in horses who are in pain. This method is valid whether or not the horses show lameness. Often, back and muscle pain in horses leads to behavior to avoid that pain, which is misinterpreted as being resistant to a rider. This study has created a method to evaluate the stance of a horse which can be easily performed by a layman and interpreted by a computer program, as opposed to having an experienced veterinarian physically examine a horse and arbitrarily grading apparent pain on a sliding scale.
The second accomplishment was to validate the effectiveness of proper shoeing and trimming, as well as a physical therapy technique incorporating chiropractic and other rehab methods, in changing the posture of such horses from one that showed pain (before the treatment) to one showing a relaxed horse with a normal stance (after treatment). This can help validate other methods of therapy, including items such as osteopathy, acupuncture, massage therapy, etc., in a way that will satisfy those who want hard and fast numbers.
There is argument about whether or not factory farming is cruel to the animals. To know the answer you have to be able to compare normal behavior to the behavior of the same type of animal when confined in crates, cages, or small pens. The Foundation funded research on pastured pigs, which has shown what normal pigs out in a pasture do. Now there is something to compare to when talking about pigs in pens vs pigs in pastures.
One of the biggest problems in vaccination procedures is that the way research has been conducted, it proves that vaccines work the way that the vaccine companies recommend. But until now, nobody has tried other methods that sound like they should make sense. This is especially true for teeny dogs that weight less than a cat. Wouldn't a smaller dose work? Preliminary research says yes, it can. You will still hear objections because this was only a pilot study. That means a small number of dogs were in the study, so that it is not as convincing as it would be if a larger number of dogs were tested. But a pilot study that is successful, like this one, shows that it certainly looks valid and is an invitation for other investigators to continue the process.
Herb studies often only check on one action of the herb or herb formula, which means that we are not really sure that was the only thing that herb or formula can do. the Foundation funded a study on Yunnan Baiyao in horses. Yunnan Baiyao is an important formula because it appears to stop bleeding better than any drug we know of. The study measured many different parts of the clotting process to see how Yunnan Baiyao affect them. This also was a good test of a test used to check *platelets in humans, to see if it would work for horses. Horses have several bleeding problems that are almost unique to them, and this research will be able to help them.
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