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Student Contribution  |   January 2005
Prevalence of Somatic Dysfunction Among an Elderly Kenyan Population
Author Affiliations
  • Gillian H. Ice, PhD, MPH
    Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM), Department of Social Medicine, Athens, OH 45701
Article Information
Geriatric Medicine / Neuromusculoskeletal Disorders
Student Contribution   |   January 2005
Prevalence of Somatic Dysfunction Among an Elderly Kenyan Population
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, January 2005, Vol. 105, 27-28. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2005.105.1.27
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, January 2005, Vol. 105, 27-28. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2005.105.1.27
Although the phrase somatic dysfunction (SD) is one that is well known throughout the osteopathic community, the concept is not often addressed in research. Due to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa, many Luo elders are given the responsibility of caring for one of the 890,000 orphans now living in Kenya, in addition to performing daily activities. The Luo population is thus ideal for research involving SD. This study assessed the prevalence of SD and its association with caregiving status, sex, type of farming, and socioeconomic status (SES) in a population of 103 Kenyan elders. An osteopathic screen performed by a trained osteopathic medical student determined SD. An interview and a complete physical examination were utilized. 
We hypothesized that SD would be more prevalent among caregivers than noncaregivers and more present in women than men. It was also predicted that prevalence of SD would be unique to the type of farming performed in a community and that SES would be inversely proportional to SD. It was expected for SD to be positively associated with the body systems in a clinical history. SD was prevalent among all participants and was associated with caregiving intensity, perceived burden, waist-to-hip ratio and occupation. Women and farmers had more SD at the costal cage than men and nonfarmers, respectively. Significant associations were found among millet and rice farmers and SD in a particular region. The relationship between SES and SD was insignificant. SD was not found to be of clinical significance in this population, but more research is needed to verify the results determined by the clinical history. This study has expanded knowledge of the prevalence of SD in the Kenyan population. 
 The study was funded by the OU-COM Research Award and Scholarly Advancement Fellowship.