Researchers put seaweed extract to the test

Published 15 May 2008

A seaweed extract is the latest in a series of natural products being tested by Southern Cross University researchers for their effect on reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee.

Researchers are seeking people in the Northern Rivers region, aged between 18 and 80, who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee to take part in a 12-week trial to test the natural product.

Dr Joan O'Connor, NatMed-Research clinical trials coordinator in the Department of Natural and Complementary Medicine, said the seaweed extract was being tested for its effect on reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

"Seaweed has a long history of use both a food and medicine. It is known to be nutrient dense with high protein yields. This trial is part of an ongoing study of a range of natural products in the treatment of osteoarthritis," Dr O'Connor said.

Arthritis is a leading cause of disability and chronic pain, affecting about 3.1 million Australians or more than 16% of the population. The condition is characterised by joint pain, reduced joint mobility and gradual wearing of the supportive joint cartilage.

Dr O'Connor said she was interested in hearing from people who experienced moderate levels of pain due to arthritis.

Participants will be required to take the medication for 12 weeks and will have a blood sample taken on three occasions during that period. They will be asked not to change their current diet or exercise routine in any way during the trial, but will have to stop taking all other non-prescription medications four weeks before the trial starts and during the trial.

Anyone who wishes to participate should contact Dr Joan O'Connor on 66203649 or email joan.oconnor@scu.edu.au

Photo Dr Joan O'Connor is looking for study participants.

Media contact: Brigid Veale, Southern Cross University communications manager, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.