Sunday, October 18, 2009

Copper bracelets.

Science has declared that copper bracelets have no effect on arthritis.

Well, science has declared a lot of things and has had to say 'Whoops' more than once.

I wouldn't be quite so quick to deny the copper bracelet effect. Copper is antibacterial, it's in pig diets to stop them getting the runs, it's been considered as a replacement for door handles in hospitals (ridiculous, it's too soft a metal to be any use. Brass ones would be better, but they've already sold off all the brass fittings for a quick buck).

Add to that the now-prevalent idea that some cases of arthritis, and many other diseases not previously thought contagious, might have a bacterial induction effect. In which case, wearing something that would leach an antibacterial into your body at a low dose rate sounds like a good idea.

'Some' is the key word here. Where you have a set of symptoms (arthritis) with many different causes, it is impossible to say a particular treatment does or does not work unless you can separate the causes. Copper bracelets might not show a significant effect overall in arthritis cases but if it were possible to separate the bacterially-induced cases from others (it isn't, yet) the result might be significant.

So if you have arthritis and you're thinking of a copper bracelet, try it. The only side effect is that it might turn your wrist green but that's nothing to worry about. It might not work. If it doesn't, at least you're not full of worthless drugs. It might work, and that's always good.

It might be a placebo effect that makes your pain recede. Would you care, if you were in pain, about the exact mechanism of relief? I wouldn't. If a Voodoo priest waved chicken feathers at me and my pain receded, I'd be happy with that. No, that's not science, but then science ain't what it used to be.

Modern science denies many things with pompous certainty.

Science should never do that. There is no certainty in real science. Everything is open to question. Nothing is ever settled.

That's how I do it. This new science isn't like the old days.


Astrology said...

Ha. Reminds me of the time I was working in a flower shop in New Orleans. Every afternoon, I got a raging headache. The old spinster who owned the place told me it was psychosomatic, and it may have been, but that didn't make it hurt any less!

Romulus Crowe said...

Psychosomatic can be serious, all the more so because there's no physical cause to treat so it can be very hard to get rid of.

It's the opposite of the placebo effect where people feel better because they've been told a pill will help them, even if it's just chalk and sugar. Then there are people whose illnesses, including cancers, have gone into remission for no detectable reason other than they convinced themselves it would get better.

On the other hand, there have been some who have convinced hemselves to death.

The mind/body interaction is way out there still for science. Plenty of research and some progress but lots to do.

It doesn't help that many scientists insist on reducing everything to chemical reactions and will consider nothing else, of course.

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