Tuesday, 1 April 2008

UK arthritis charity hits back at ‘placebo’ claim as new study links diet and rheumatoid arthritis

Claims that all complementary therapies are nothing more than placebos, despite evidence to the contrary, are hindering the progress of our understanding of chronic health conditions, says The Arthritic Association. Claims that all complementary and alternative therapies (CAMs) are nothing more than placebos, despite evidence to the contrary, are misguided, according to The Arthritic Association, and may be hindering the cause of progress in the understanding of chronic health conditions. The statement comes in response to a new report from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm suggesting links between rheumatoid arthritis, diet and the risk of stroke or heart failure. The Arthritic Association claims this is indicative of the growing body of knowledge linking diet to the causes and treatment of arthritis which has been largely ignored by the medical establishment because of its ‘alternative’ label.
Negative press coverage of CAMs, and the publication of books such as Snake Oil Science, The Truth About Complementary and Alternative Medicine (R. Barker Bausell, Oxford 2007), has left many people wondering if they have been the victims of charlatanism, something which dismays Bruce Hester, principal home treatment adviser at The Arthritic Association.
“To label all non-orthodox medical interventions as quackery, their success due to nothing more than the placebo effect, is a sweeping condemnation,” he said, “Plus, many CAMs do not lend themselves to being ‘proven’ in the way that orthodox western science dictates, through the methodology of double-blind clinical trials.” Founder of The Arthritic Association, Charles de Coti-Marsh, carried out research into the causes of arthritis, its treatment and prevention, during the 1940s and 1950s. Despite de Coti-Marsh’s success with patients, no clinical studies were ever conducted which meant his work went unrecognised. Hester and his colleagues claim that developments in such areas of science as nutritional biochemistry, immunology and pharmacology indicate that de Coti-Marsh was not wrong, but rather ahead of his time.

“This rings true with what Charles de Coti-Marsh was saying 70 years ago,” says Elizabeth Hartland, Nutritional Therapist for The Arthritic Association, commenting on the Karolinska Institute study. “All scientific ‘proof’ starts with a hypothesis. The critics may dismiss the available evidence as being anecdotal and subjective, but that doesn’t mean a treatment is without substance.”

Founded in 1942, The Arthritic Association (www.arthriticassociation.org.uk) is a registered charity dedicated to helping relieve people from the pain of arthritis through natural methods.

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