Implanting gold beads to treat knee osteoarthritis

Despite negative results, researchers from Denmark think another, larger study is needed.

First, the details.

  • 43 adults with pain and stiffness from non-specific osteoarthritis of the knee for more than a year were studied.
  • In some patients, gold beads were implanted at 5 acupuncture points around the affected knee through a hypodermic needle.
  • In other patients only the needle was inserted (placebo).
  • Neither the doctors nor the patients knew the treatment they received (double-blinded).

And, the results.

  • Both groups of patients “generally improved.”
  • There was no statistically significant difference between the groups’ responses in self-assessment scores, stiffness, or function.
  • The surgeon’s scores also generally improved, but there was no difference in knee score or function.
  • The treatment was well-tolerated.

The bottom line?
An earlier study in animals with abnormal formation of the hip joint (dysplasia) reported a significant placebo effect with this procedure.

5/29/08 19:59 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.