What alternative health

practitioners might not tell you



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A recent study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine shows no benefit from copper or magnetic bracelets for symptomatic treatment of arthritis. While this is a relatively small study, it highlights the lack of evidence to support this billion dollar plus industry…This is only the second published controlled trial looking at copper bracelets for arthritis. The first is from 1976 and showed some benefit. Then there are no published studies (just reviews and comments) for the next 33 years, until this current study…Consumers using such products are prey to all of these placebo effects, in addition to others, such as regression to the mean. Arthritis, like many illnesses, waxes and wanes. People are likely to seek treatments when their symptoms are bad, and statistically likely to improve to a more average severity. This regression to mean severity is easily interpreted as a response to whatever treatment they initiated when their symptoms were at their worst. So what we have is a series of implausible claims, negative or insufficient evidence, and a clinical setting where self-deception is likely. This adds up to over a billion dollars of wasted health care dollars. We have to confront the fact that this is what has and will happen in the absence of adequate regulation – the public will waste money on useless therapies, their attention and resourcesy may be diverted from more effective interventions, and some unscientific interventions may be directly harmful.” Steven Novella, MD, Science Based Medicine (21st October 2009)