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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Doubt Cast on Alternative Therapies

Say it ain't so.
The latest systematic review of randomized, controlled trials (RCTs) of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) provides little support for the use of some of the more popular CAM treatments to reduce inflammation or pain from this chronic condition. The analysis by Gary J. Macfarlane, MD, and colleagues on behalf of the Arthritis Research UK Working Group on Complementary and Alternative Therapies for the Management of the Rheumatic Diseases was published online June 1 in Rheumatology.

Coauthor Edzard Ernst, MD, PhD, told Medscape Medical News that the study's key finding was the lack of good evidence of efficacy for any therapy included in the analysis.

Dr. Ernst, who emphasized that he was speaking as a coauthor, not on behalf of the working group, holds the Laing Chair in Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter's Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, United Kingdom.

The researchers identified 11 eligible RCTs that covered 7 therapies: acupuncture (4 trials), meditation (2 studies), autogenic training (1 trial), healing therapy (1 trial), progressive muscle relaxation (1 study), static magnets (1 trial), and tai chi (1 study). These trials met the following eligibility criteria: English-language RCT of human patients with RA that involved a complementary therapy not taken orally or applied topically; comparison with sham therapy or any other established treatment, or with waiting-list control or usual care; and results reported as the difference between the treatment and the comparator group by using a statistical test of significance or a confidence interval. The main outcomes of interest were pain relief and patient global assessment.
What is it about acupuncture, magnets and the rest that might not work?

I wonder.

No I don't.

It is the brains of those who believe in this crap that do not work.

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