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Beginners question....

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by neurophillic, Jan 11, 2002.

  1. neurophillic

    neurophillic Junior Member

    Jun 4, 2000
    This may sound like a bad question--but I want to find the answer that websites have not provided me with. Ok, I'm might apply to medical school for 2003--I want to apply osteo--but can someone explain the differences amoung allopathic, osteopathic, homeopathic? Can all of them specialize and prescribe medication and work all over the US? And honestly--is there a heirarchy that says which (if any) are "better" or "less criticized"?
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  3. ussdfiant

    ussdfiant Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jul 31, 2001
    I'm curious, why do you want to apply to an osteopathic school if you're not sure what it is? I suggest that you use the Home page of SDN (which has several osteopathic links) and you might want to search these forums for information as well.

    Hope that helps.
  4. neurophillic

    neurophillic Junior Member

    Jun 4, 2000
    I know about osteopathy--enough to want to apply--but I come from a family that bashes osteopathy and holds the MD as a better degree--I want to know what the major differences are before I make up my mind--no website has explained the questions I asked-they all talk about the curriculum and the basic principles, and I know MD and DO can specialize. I only have those three questions to ask, I'm not asking anything really indepth just stupid question that noone has been able to answer
  5. mpp

    mpp SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Portland, OR
    Your best answers would probably come from someone that has studied and practiced under both osteopathic and allopathic medicine. I don't think homeopathic (naturopathic is the more comon term for this doctoral degree) fits in with either of these as it is not considered a medical degree. Naturopathic Doctors cannot practice "medicine" as far as performing traditional modern medical treatment or prescribing medication.

    I have studied under neither of these two forms of medicine but I will offer my opinion of what I think the differences are.

    One of the underlying themes of osteopathic medicine is that the body has a natural tendency to strive toward a healthy state. Through traditional modern medicine and through osteoapthic manipulative techniques (also known as OMM), the osteopathic physician can set the body to heal itself. Some osteopathic physicians use these techniques as a major part of their treatment, others less so.

    The allopathic phsyician is the traditional modern doctor. Many allopathic physicians also treat patients using similar ideas (the "whole-person" approach to treatment) to those used by osteoapthic physicians. However, allopathic physicians are not trained in OMM during their medical education.

    With either degree the physician can prescribe medicine and work as a physician in all 50 states. Both can specialize although most ostepathic physicians complete their residency in a primary care field such as family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, etc. Some states require osteopathic degree holders to perform a one-year rotating internship prior to residency.

    One degree is not better than the other. The choice you make depends on what suits you -- both the education and the practice. The only drawback that I see is that some people are not educated regarding osteopathic physicians and may be confused by a doctor that does not have the M.D. after their name. This is getting better and in certain areas of the country is not an issue at all. Part of the discrimination against osteopathic physicians stems from the fact that the average MCAT score and GPA for entering osteoapthic students is lower than for allopathic schools, as if this has anything to do with the quality of the education. To complete either degree, allopathic students take the USMLE exam and ostepathic students take either the USMLE or the COMLEX exam. The scores on these exams are used during application to residency.

    Hope that helps you out. Osteopathic medicine is definitely growing in popularity both with aspiring physcians and the general public, but as with anything "new" (if you call 100+ years old new) their are always those resistant to change.
  6. Amra

    Amra A Quiet Voice of Reason 10+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2001
    South Beach, Florida
    Kinda ironic that a few allopathic medical schools started off as homeopathic schools (MCP/Hannehman comes to mind)... I wonder if any of the look-down-their-nose-at-osteopathic-physicians MD's remember that?

    No, I'm not starting this debate again. My synopsis of the whole thing: we all use the same billing codes (ad naseum).

    My advice: go to the school that you want to go to. The hell with what everyone else thinks.

    Ho Hum-

    Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to med school I go..
    Quote from Doc the Dwarf(one of the seven)
  7. mmpp

    mmpp Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2001
    I think this article published in 1999 in Archives of Family Medicine presents a nice overview of osteopathic medicine (similarities and differences). It covers some history, current status, manipulative therapy, and definitions. <a href="" target="_blank"></a>
  8. Stillfocused

    Stillfocused Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    May 25, 2001
    Hey mmpp that is an excellent article you posted. Thanks.

    nurophillic - Kudos for asking a simple but essential question!

    For answers to your questionsI would definitely recommend reading the article that mmpp posted. But, you might also want to search out some sources beyond the web. You could start by checking some of the references in the article that mmpp posted.

    Read pretty much everything by A. T. Still to learn the basics of osteopathic philosophy.

    For the history of osteopathy, Norman Gevitz's "The D.O.'s: Osteopathic Medicine in America" is required reading.

    Andrew Weil's "Health and Healing" is a good place to start learning about the similarities and differences of the various major medical systems, such as, allopathy (M.D.'s), osteopathy (D.O.'s), homeopathy (D.Hom.'s), chiropractic (D.C.'s), naturopathy (N.D.'s) and practioners of traditional Chinese medicine (O.M.D.'s and Lic. Acc.'s).

    However, the short answer to your question only M.D.'s and D.O.'s have licensure to prescribe medicine and perform surgery in all 50 states. Obviously, the M.D. degree is most recognized and most prestigious. Although D.O.'s can legally qualify for any residency-training program and enter any medical specialty, most are primary care physicians.

    Homeopathy has a weird status. Homeopathy is based on the "Law of similars." The theory substances that would normally produce symptoms can cure these same symptoms when given in highly diluted preparations. These preparations are often diluted 10^-200 times, well past Avagardro's limit or what could be detected with scientific laboratory equipment. Yet, the FDA does recognize and regulate the manufacture of homeopathic medicines. There is no conventional scientific explanation for the efficacy of homeopathic medicine. However, there are multiple double blind, controlled studies that demonstrate the efficacy of homeopathy over placebos. Weird stuff.

    States differ as to who can practice homeopathic medicine. In the U.S., there are few actual schools homeopathic medicine left and no remaining homeopathic hospitals. However, some prestigious allopathic medical colleges, including Hahnemann and University of Michigan, were once homeopathic schools . Today, many practioners study homeopathy through correspondence schools. Some states allow practioners whose only medical education is through these schools. Many others states require another medical license such as, M.D., D.O., R.N., D.C., etc. to practice homeopathy.

    Good luck.

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