Copper/magnetic/ionized bracelets: do they really work, and how?

  • #51
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Yeah, that's how I was reading it, myself. The stories of "how it took away her pain in her shoulder when she started wearing it" seemed a lot like [as I said] the "snake oil saleman".

The merchandise LOOKS nice, for someone who is interested in dark grey/black shiney beads, but if such things really DID work, . . . nearly everyone would be wear them.

Thanks for the input.
 
  • #52
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Isn't it safest to say we don't know whether they work. As far as I can see the evidence we have to date is: 1) a study which reports a positive effect for copper bracelets - not sure whether this was on patients with RA or OA 2) a study which reports no effect for patients with OA. Lots of anecdotal evidence that the bracelets have an effect (and to declare an interest here I gave my husband one of these bracelets for his arthritic knee and he too reports a positive effect despite being sceptical).
I think someone should do a large scale study with a variety of people with different stages of OA and RA then we may have some real evidence.
I can see people are sceptical because they cannot see any mechanism for how the bracelets would work but this is bad science - the first thing to do is to see whether there is any evidence whether the bracelets work under any conditions.
One other question: my husband's pain from RA is worse in damp cold weather is there a scientific explanation for this? (And I believe this is not uncommon).
 
  • #53
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Isn't it safest to say we don't know whether they work. As far as I can see the evidence we have to date is: 1) a study which reports a positive effect for copper bracelets - not sure whether this was on patients with RA or OA 2) a study which reports no effect for patients with OA. Lots of anecdotal evidence that the bracelets have an effect (and to declare an interest here I gave my husband one of these bracelets for his arthritic knee and he too reports a positive effect despite being sceptical).
I think someone should do a large scale study with a variety of people with different stages of OA and RA then we may have some real evidence.
I can see people are sceptical because they cannot see any mechanism for how the bracelets would work but this is bad science - the first thing to do is to see whether there is any evidence whether the bracelets work under any conditions.
One other question: my husband's pain from RA is worse in damp cold weather is there a scientific explanation for this? (And I believe this is not uncommon).
The reason that this is not the safe assumption is because of the placebo effect. It is extremely well-documented that humans will respond positively to no treatment at all if they think they are receiving one. Therefore, in the case of things are purported to have medical effect, well-controlled studies are required. This is also why anecdotal evidence is ignored with extreme prejudice. Also, the human body does maintain itself, and quite a few diseases will simply go away on their own.

Just as a simple example: I have a headache. I drink a bottle of Coke and take a nap and suddenly I have no headache. I attribute the loss of headache to the Coke. Perhaps I was dehydrated, and the fluids were what I needed. Perhaps I was stressed, and the relaxation of the nap cured my headache. Perhaps I took an aspirin twenty minutes before drinking the Coke, but didn't think about it. However, I inferred that the Coke was cured my headache. I tell my friend to try it. It works for him, possibly for no reason whatsoever other than he thought it would. Or that he didn't have a headache at all - perhaps he just had a nasty pimple that was hurting that he managed to pop in his sleep. He goes to another friend, who finds out it works for him. Of course, that friend's headache would have gone away Coke or not, but there's no way to know now, is there? Still, I am assembling a massive body of anecdotal evidence that Coke cures headaches!

This is why medicine is SO demanding of claims. You have to prove:

- That the test subjects are afflicted by the problem you propose to cure.
- That the cure relieves the actual problem.
- That a comparable placebo relieves the actual problem at a significantly lower rate.
- That the cure is significantly more effective than no treatment at all.
- That your treatment is safe.

However, it is ALSO possible, with a slightly reduced set of scruples, or some blinkered idealism, to simply ignore these requirements, see some successes, and declare you have a cure that somehow the whole of medicine ignores, and the greedy drug companies don't want you to know about, because there is no way they would EVER want to sell a "medical grade" arthritis bracelet for comically high margins.

Quack medicine is a large and thriving field, and it, unfortunately, preys on people's good nature and takes advantage of some very real and legitimate frustrations with the pharmaceutical industry (who, let's admit, are hardly angels) to take their money on an indefensibly narrow basis.

So, the short answer: No, it's not safer to assume it works without a mechanism, because "it works" is much, much tougher claim than most people realize.
 
  • #54
ZapperZ
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Here's another example of a bracelet that has no scientific backing, and certainly can't be distinguished from the placebo effect:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_balance_bracelets [Broken]

Zz.
 
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  • #55
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Ah yes. . . . . the "balance bracelet". One of the most ridiculous infomercials I have ever seen in my life. Completely fake and obviously paid actors that they "found on the street". It is the "Criss Angel" effect [in that he uses his own people as the "wow-ed street people"]. Making the gullible think you are truthful.
 
  • #56
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Here's another example of a bracelet that has no scientific backing, and certainly can't be distinguished from the placebo effect:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_balance_bracelets [Broken]

Zz.
In that story there is an astonishing quote

"Our trainers swear by it," Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley wrote in a message posted on his Twitter page.
I would think NBA trainers are quite intelligent and knowledgeable. Amazing they can be so easily duped!!!
 
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  • #57
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Well, . . . . not to offend anyone, . . . but I don't really equate professional sports with intelligence. :redface:
 
  • #59
Evo
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Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but here are some PDF articles attached on the topic of magnetic and/or copper bracelets for anyone that is interested. These are from sources that are a bit more reliable than hired actors on informercials :)
Please post links to the scientific articles, not PDF's.
 
  • #60
Evo
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The Conclusion of the first Article 'Randomised controlled trial of magnetic bracelets for relieving pain in osteoarthritis of the hip and knee"

CONCLUSION: It is uncertain whether this response is due to specific or non-specific (placebo) effects.
The Conclusion of the second Article "Therapeutic effects of magnetic and copper bracelets in osteoarthritis: A randomised placebo-controlled crossover trial

CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that magnetic and copper bracelets are generally ineffective for managing pain, stiffness and physical function in osteoarthritis. Reported therapeutic benefits are most likely attributable to non-specific placebo effects. However such devices have no major adverse effects and may provide hope.
The third is just an editorial.
 
  • #61
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Please post links to the scientific articles, not PDF's.
Unfortunately the articles weren't available as public links (at least not that I could find), so I just posted the PDF's instead. Also, you are right about the third attachment (power of placebo) being just an editorial - I decided to post it since he's referencing the first article (Randomised controlled trial of magnetic bracelets for relieving pain in osteoarthritis of the hip and knee).
 
  • #62
Evo
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Unfortunately the articles weren't available as public links (at least not that I could find), so I just posted the PDF's instead. Also, you are right about the third attachment (power of placebo) being just an editorial - I decided to post it since he's referencing the first article (Randomised controlled trial of magnetic bracelets for relieving pain in osteoarthritis of the hip and knee).
All of the PDF's are available as links to the original study. All you have to do is google the title.

Mag Bracelet

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15604181

Mag copper bracelets

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19942103
 
  • #63
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All of the PDF's are available as links to the original study.
I stand corrected. I've edited my original post to include links instead of PDF's :)
 

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