Literature searching in Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM) is currently challenging, as researchers have used a variety of different names and there are no existing index terms (e.g. MeSH for MEDLINE, Or Emtree for EMBASE).
Furthermore, the terminology associated with DCM is non-specific:
1. Myelopathy means “spinal cord disease”, with no specificity to aetiology or level of the spine.
2. The degenerative changes that lead to DCM are more commonly incidental and can occur at other levels of the spine.
3. Although often treated by surgery, the operations are not specific to DCM and are used for other cervical spine diseases. Moreover, surgery is not required for all cases.
4. Anatomically, “cervical” can refer to other aspects of the body, such as the cervix, a well-researched area of women’s health.
To address this we have created “search filters”, sequences of search syntax, developed and validated to focus a search strategy, for EMBASE and MEDLINE [1,2].
These filters were designed to retrieve all articles that consider DCM, on the basis that investigators could adapt them or use them in conjunction with our search concepts. They are therefore very sensitive, with a trade off that on their own, hand searching can take time.
Based on these filters, Myelopathy.org has a database of all primary clinical studies focused exclusively on DCM, published since 1995 that it periodically updates. This can form the basis of a systematic search . If you would like access to this database, please contact us.