Our research investigates connections within the body, across disciplines, and beyond institutional walls.
We ground the Osher Center's clinical work in rigorous laboratory and clinical research that aims to understand the effects of conventional and alternative treatments on various disorders and basic functions of the body. Not only do we perform our own high-quality research studies, we are also committed to engaging in the dialogue around the latest findings in scientific literature. Through this approach, we are steering a course toward integrative medicine based on sound scientific inquiry.
Our commitment to research and evidence-informed care sets us apart from similar medical centers and helps us reimagine and refine the integrative medicine field.
Areas of Focus
Balance and Bone Health
Fracture-related falls in the elderly is a costly and growing public health issue. At the Osher Center, we are exploring the potential for Tai Chi to reduce fracture in populations at risk via multiple pathways, including through direct impact on bone density and other biomarkers of bone health, as well as indirectly through improvements in balance and postural control.
Mind-Body Exercises for Heart and Lung Health
Cardiorespiratory conditions greatly impact exercise capacity, function, and overall quality of life. A central focus of the Osher Center has been the evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of mind-body exercises including Tai Chi and Meditative Breathing, for improving exercise capacity, function, psychological well-being, and quality of life in individuals with heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This work also probes some of the mechanisms associated with mind-body practices, including how the autonomic nervous system is impacted.
The Physiology of Healthy Aging
Paralleling a growing concern for prevention and wellness is a search for phsyiological markers that provide a holistic metric of (whole-person) health. In collaboration with researchers from the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics in Medicine, Osher Center researchers are exploring the use of complexity-based systems biology tools to characterize the loss of healthy physiological complexity with aging, and to evaluate if multi-component mind-body exercises, like Tai Chi, can attenuate age-related loss of complexity, or restore complexity in those with age-related chornic illness.
Connective tissue forms a network throughout the body: it is the web that connects all the components of the body and holds us together, yet allows us to move and stretch. Connective tissue research at the Osher Center include cellular responses to tissue stretch, connective tissue pathology associated with chronic pain and connective tissue responses to acupuncture, manual and movement-based therapies.
Low Back Pain
Chronic low back pain is a highly prevalent, multifaceted and poorly understood condition. At the Osher Center, we are investigating low back pain employing a broad range of translational approaches. Using both animal models and human studies, our research aims to develop an integrated pathophysiological model linking behavior and movement with connective tissue and nervous system plasticity. Clinical studies underway are also evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the integrated approaches to chornic low back pain, such as those employed at the Osher Clinical Center, as compared to conventional back pain care.
This page was last modified on 9/18/2015