Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
MedicinePostgraduate study

Mrs Dawn Dobson BSc, MBA

Postgraduate research student

Mrs Dawn Dobson's photo

Mrs Dawn Dobson is Postgraduate research student within Medicine at the University of Southampton.

Dawn originally trained as an Engineer and has a 25+ year career as a successful management consultant, including an MBA from Henley Management School along the way.

She gained her chiropractic degree from the McTimoney College of Chiropractic, qualifying in 2008 and developed an interest in Paediatric chiropractic, which led to her current part time project investigating the effectiveness of chiropractic in the treatment of infantile colic.


BSc, Production Engineering and Management, Loughborough University of Technology (1986)

MBA, Henley Management College (2000)

BSc, Chiropractic, McTimoney College of Chiropractic (2008)


Research interests

Dawn’s current research focuses on infantile colic.

Infantile colic is a distressing problem, characterised by excessive crying of infants and it is the most common complaint seen by physicians in the first 16 weeks of a child's life.

It is usually considered a benign disorder because the symptoms generally disappear by the age of five or six months. However, the degree of distress caused to parents and family life is such that physicians often feel the need to intervene. Some studies suggest that there are longer-lasting effects on the child, and estimates in 2001 put the cost to the NHS at over £65 million.

It has been suggested that certain gentle, low velocity manipulative techniques such as those used in osteopathy and chiropractic, might safely reduce the symptoms associated with infantile colic, specifically excessive crying time. However the techniques have also been criticised by people who say there is no evidence that they have an effect on children and that they may be unsafe.


Meta Analysis

Dawn’s systematic review and meta-analysis, published 12 December 2012 in the Cochrane Library, assessed six randomised trials involving a total of 325 infants who received manipulative treatment or had been part of a control group.

Five of the six studies measured the number of hours colicky babies cried each day and their results suggest that crying was reduced by an average of one hour and 12 minutes per day by this treatment, which was statistically significant

However, in many of the studies parents knew whether their infant was receiving treatment or not, which means that some uncertainty remains about the strength of these conclusions.

The use of manipulative therapies did not result in a significantly greater number of parents reporting complete recovery from colic in the three studies for which this data was available.

PhD Research - Clinical Study

Dawn’s PhD now focuses on a clinical study, designed to avoid some of the pitfalls of previous studies, especially the lack of blinding of parents. She is targeting 160 patients, using 6 private chiropractic clinics in the UK.

Primary outcome is the hours of crying time per day. The study will also seek to establish whether blinding has any effect on reported crying time. And investigate (a) whether there are any particular groupings of patient characteristics (for example; 'other' presenting symptoms, position in the natural course of colic, age of onset, spinal dysfunction, perinatal factors) that are associated with good or poor outcomes, and (b) whether there are any particular characteristics of the treatment (e.g. specific adjustments) that are associated with good or poor outcomes.

Funding for the study has been received from McTimoney College of Chiropractic, McTimoney Chiropractic Association, Royal College of Chiropractors and University of Southampton.



Research group

Primary Care & Population Sciences

Affiliate research group

Primary care Research group

Research project(s)

ORCHID 2 - Standardised Chinese Herbal Medicine for Menstrual Irregularity in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Nominal Group Technique and Prospective Observational Study

The aim of this project is to improve quality of life for people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) by exploring new treatments for related oligo- and amenorrhoea (i.e. irregular or absent menstrual periods due to PCOS).

Mrs Dawn Dobson
Primary Care and Population Sciences Faculty of Medicine University of Southampton Aldermoor Health Centre Aldermoor Close Southampton SO16 5ST
Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.