What alternative health

practitioners might not tell you



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"This January 2009 report from the Arthritis Research Campaign (UK) must be interpreted carefully. In Part 1, it lists and evaluates 40 products that have been studied in randomized, controlled trials (RCT). The ratings they assign range from 1-5. I take exception to the rating system because a rating of "1" really means there is *zero* evidence of effectiveness, and a rating of "3" (which may *look* okay) really means there is little evidence of effectiveness. Of the 40 products, 36 are rated "3" or below. Only four have good evidence for effectiveness in RCTs. It is not enough to cite an RCT, such a study must be large-enough to be believable — minimally, 100 subjects, preferably 200 (a "Phase 3" clinical trial would have 2,000 subjects). Moreover the study should not have too many subjects who drop out. The ARC relies on studies that fail one, or both, of those criteria and are, thus, dubious (some are marked as such). In Part 2, the ARC study lists another 36 products that are offered to treat arthritis that have not been subjected to any reliable study. Properly considered, the ARC study, in aggregate, cautions one that there are 72 products offered for relief of arthritis with little, or no, evidence of effectiveness. Seen that way, it is a useful warning. Of the total number (76) of products examined in Parts 1 and 2, 70% are herbal." Review summary by Joe Magrath, Ph.D. (27th February 2009) [pdf]