Allied Health Evidence

medical dental logoWelcome to Allied Health Evidence. This is a search tool that allows you to locate research across five databases at once: SpeechBITE, PEDro, OTseeker, ICA and EBSCOhost. Additional links are provided to other medical and dental sites that have relevant summary data in their specialty areas.

These databases provide the citation details, and where possible, the abstract and link to the full text of research about treatments relevant to Physiotherapy (PEDro), Occupational Therapy (OTSeeker), Speech Pathology (speechBITE), Urology (ICA), and Dentistry (EBSCOhost). In addition, each database provides critical appraisal details for many of the studies that are indexed. The other referenced sites deal with medical and dental specialties such as dentistry and urology.

Click the logo for the appropriate database you desire to the right.

If you have not refined the specific area you wish to search, below we provide a summary of the various disciplines for you to review.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is the branch of medicine which helps the injured, ill or disabled regain their function and movement. Physiotherapists, i.e. those who practice physiotherapy, help people do this through movement, exercise, manual therapy, advice and education. They also help patients manage their pain, keep diseases at bay and maintain overall health.

Physiotherapy is a very effective method and helps in treating a wide range of medical conditions. A science-based profession, it takes into account an individual’s approach to well-being and health – something that includes the overall general lifestyle of the patient. The patient’s own involvement in their care, through awareness, education, participation and empowerment treatment has a large role to play in this.

Physiotherapy is beneficial for people of all stages and ages, and helps with a variety of conditions, from sudden injury or back pain, to managing medical conditions like asthma, to preparing sporting events or for childbirth.

A degree-based profession, physiotherapists use the skills and knowledge they have earned as a part of their studies to improve upon the various conditions that are associated with different systems of the body. This includes:

  1. Neurological problems (like multiple sclerosis, stroke and Parkinson’s)
  2. Neuromusculoskeletal problems (like whiplash associated disorder, back pain, arthritis and sports injuries)
  3. Cardiovascular problems (like chronic heart disease, or rehabilitation); and
  4. Respiratory problems (like asthma, COPD, and cystic fibrosis)

While many physiotherapists work with general problems, several work in specialisms in social and health care. Yet others work in service management, research and education.

Occupational Therapy

Simply speaking, occupational therapy assistants and occupational therapists aid people in participating in activities they need and want by using everyday activities or occupations in a therapeutic manner. Common examples of occupational therapy interventions are helping disabled children participate properly in social situations and in school, helping the injured recover and regain their skills, giving supports to elders who are going through cognitive and physical changes.

Services in occupational therapy generally include the following:

  1. Individual evaluation, where the client or family along determine their goals with the occupational therapist
  2. Customized intervention, in order to help the person reach their goals and perform their daily activities; and
  3. Outcomes evaluation, in order to make sure that all the goals are indeed being achieved and/or alter the intervention plan.

Services in occupational therapy might include evaluating the client’s home as well as his/her other environments (such as school, workplace, etc.), and recommending adaptive training, equipment, education and guidance for their caregivers and/or family members. Practitioners of occupational therapy have a holistic nature, and focus on adapting the surroundings to suit the person, who remains the most important part of therapy.

Speech-Language Pathology

Speech-language pathology (SLP) is a branch of medicine which helps to diagnose, assess, treat and prevent disorders of language, speech, cognitive-communication, social communication and swallowing in both children and adults.

Speech disorders are those when an individual has trouble in producing correct and/or fluent speech sounds (like stuttering), or is facing trouble with their resonance or voice.

Language disorders take place when an individual has difficulties in understanding others (i.e. receptive language), sharing ideas, feelings and thoughts, (i.e. expressive language). They might be written or spoken, and involve several aspects of languages including but not limited to the form (morphology, phonology, and syntax), the content (i.e. semantics), and/or the use (i.e. pragmatics) in ways that are functional as well as socially appropriate.

Social communication problems take place when an individual has difficulty using of verbal and/or nonverbal communication socially.

Disorders of cognitive communication include problems in concentration, though organization, planning and remembering, and/or solving problems. Though the root cause of them might be congenital, they generally take place as an outcome of traumatic brain injury, dementia, or stroke.

Swallowing disorders (aka dysphagia) are difficulties of swallowing and feeding, and are generally known to follow injury, illness, stroke or surgery.

Speech-Language Pathologists serve the following functions:

  1. Giving aural rehabilitation to individuals who are partially or fully deaf
  2. Providing Augmentative & Alternative Communication systems (AAC systems) to individuals who have language comprehension and or expressive disorders, including progressive neurological disorders or autism spectrum disorders
  3. Working with people who wish to learn to communicate effectively (but have no disorder)
  4. Evaluating and diagnosing speech, language, swallowing and communication disorders
  5. Treating speech, language, swallowing and communicative disorders
  6. Providing education and training to family, caregivers and professionals
  7. Working in collaboration with professionals from other disciplines
  8. Teaching in colleges and universities
  9. Private practice
  10. Working for local, state, or national, associations and/or agencies
  11. Directing and/or supervising public school and/or clinical programs
  12. Research
  13. Counseling and consulting
  14. Training and supervising support personnel

Dentistry

Calling dentistry the study of teeth and treatment of decay of the tooth is, despite being true, a limited view of the profession. Also called dental medicine, dentistry is a branch of medicine whose prime focus is diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders and conditions of the oral cavity and its nearby structures, including the face, head, tongue, jaw, neck, and salivary glands.

Given the fact that the body’s oral cavity is not an isolated area, dentistry indeed has vital role to play in the health and well-being of an individual. For instance, some body illnesses might at manifest themselves as problems of the mouth as well as its adjacent areas. Other than that, the examination of any sort of deformity in these areas is included in a comprehensive dental exam. The patient might also be referred to another medical specialist in case the condition affects any other area of the body.

Dentists, who carry out dental checkups and treatments, have the required medical training and carry licenses that make them eligible to practice the profession. Generally, they are assisted by a team of dental professionals which comprises dental hygienists, assistants, technicians and therapists. Those who want to become a dentist generally have to complete a bachelor’s degree before getting into dental school, where they will complete their residency education. They may have to spend extra years in school if they wish to specialize.

Dentistry has nine areas of specialization:

  1. Dental Public Health: Preventing and controlling diseases via community efforts
  2. Endodontics: Diagnosis, Treatment and prevention of disorders of the dental pulp and adjacent areas
  3. Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology: Research, identification and diagnosis of illnesses of the teeth, mouth and nearby regions
  4. Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology: Using imaging technology to diagnose and manage oral diseases
  5. Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery: Surgically treating injuries and/or diseases of the mouth
  6. Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics: Diagnosis and correcting of facial and dental irregularities
  7. Pediatric Dentistry: Oral health of children, including adolescents
  8. Periodontics: Treating diseases of the gums and bones; and
  9. Prosthodontics: Restoring natural teeth and replacing old ones

Urology

Urology is a branch of medicine which focuses on diseases of the male reproductive tract and the urinary tract.
While some urologists treat general urinary tract diseases, others specialize in specific areas like:

  1. Neurology: Urinary problems caused by nervous system conditions
  2. Pediatric Urology: Urinary problems in children
  3. Female urology: Urinary problems in a woman’s urinary and reproductive tracts
  4. Male infertility: Problems which prevent men from conceiving a baby with their partner; and
  5. Urologic oncology: Cancers of the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, testicles and prostrate

Besides treating urinary tract diseases in both men and women, urologists diagnose and treat issues of the male reproductive tract. They may even perform surgery in some cases, such as when a cancer needs removal or a blockage needs to be opened up in the urinary tract.

Urologists work in a wide range of settings, including urology centers, private clinics, and hospital.

The urinary tract refers to the system which creates, stores, and expels urine from the body. Urologists treat various part of this system, including:

  1. Kidneys: The organs which filter waste out of the blood to produce urine
  2. Bladder: The hollow sac which stores urine
  3. Ureters: The tubes through which urine goes from the kidneys to the bladder
  4. Urethra: The tube through which urine is expelled from the body
  5. Adrenal glands: Glands which are responsible for releasing hormones and are located on top of each kidney

As mentioned earlier, urologists treat the male reproductive system parts as well. This includes:

  1. Penis: The organ responsible for releasing urine and carrying sperm out of the body
  2. Prostate: The gland beneath the bladder which helps produce semen by adding fluid to sperm
  3. Testicles: Two oval organs that are present inside the scrotum. These produce sperm and make testosterone hormone.

Upon visiting a urologist, you will find that they will conduct at least one of the following tests to find out the condition that you may have:

  1. Imaging tests to help see the inside of your urinary tract: This includes CT scan, MRI scan, and ultrasound.
  2. Cystogram: Taking X-ray images of your bladder. – Cystoscopy: Seeing the inside of your urethra and bladder with a thin scope (called a cystoscope)
  3. Post-void residual urine test: This helps find out how much urine remains in your bladder once you urinate, and also measures the speed at which urine leaves your body when you urinate.
  4. Taking a urine sample: This is used to check for infection-causing bacteria.
  5. Urodynamic testing: This helps to measure the volume and pressure in your bladder.