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Magnetic bracelets 'useless' in arthritis

19th October 2009

UK researchers have said that trials they carried out to determine whether copper bracelets can help pain caused by arthritis have proved the devices do not work.

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A study by the University of York looked at both copper bracelets and magnetic wrist straps in trials which involved 45 patients.

The participants in the study were all aged over fifty and suffered from osteoarthritis. Over a four month period, each person tried one of the four devices for a month at a time, before being given another one to try.

Each person in the study tried out a copper bracelet, two types of magnetic straps and a "demagnetised" strap.

None of the devices were found to provide any help with the symptoms of arthritis.

The only previous randomised controlled trial of the bracelets had been carried out in the 1970s, according to the study's leader Stewart Richmond.

The straps and bracelets can be costly, with the straps retailing for around £20 to £65, and are sold as part of a billion dollar industry.

"It appears that any perceived benefit obtained from wearing a magnetic or copper bracelet can be attributed to psychological placebo effects," said Mr Richmond.

"People tend to buy them when they are in a lot of pain, then when the pain eases off over time they attribute this to the device. However, our findings suggest that such devices have no real advantage over placebo wrist straps that are not magnetic and do not contain copper." 

 

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