DCM, or Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy, is a newly proposed term to describe compression of the cervical spinal cord due to degeneration in the surrounding spinal structures. It essentially brings together what we have called CSM (Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy) with other processes such as OPLL (Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament).
What is CODE-DCM?
COmmon Data Elements in Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy is a project to agree the key measurements that should be recorded in all treatment research for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy [DCM]. These 'measurements' range from details about the patients involved (such as age and gender) to symptom measurements (such as pain levels and the amount of hand disability). By bringing together all the different groups of people involved in the condition from the researchers, to the healthcare professionals, to the patients and their carers a guideline of exactly what matters and what must be measured can be produced.
Why is this process important?
In all aspects of healthcare research, it is recognised that studies don't all record the same type of data. For example in DCM research one study may assess Pain and another may not. This becomes a problem when you want to compare the results of different studies, or bring results from lots studies together to answer a question, because if the measurements were not recorded in the same way this is not possible. It is also important that studies are measuring data which matters to patients.
1) To define a minimum reporting set To agree amongst all the people involved in this condition what exactly we need to be measuring when we undertake research studies
2) To agree a name for this condition One of the problems for this field is that this one condition has so many different names within it and some of them are a mouthful! (E.g. Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy). With so many different names, when searches are undertaken it is hard to be sure all the relevant information has been considered. DCM is a recently proposed alternative, which may be the answer. But we aim to consider this, and any other options, by consulting all people involved
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