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Study targets rheumatoid arthritis

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Brigid Veale
Published
21 September 2005
Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers are being sought to take part in a study to investigate the effects of essential oils as complementary treatments of the disease.

The study is being done by Dr Michelle Standen, a medical practitioner and PhD student with the Australian Centre for Complementary Medicine Education and Research, a joint venture between the University of Queensland and Southern Cross University dedicated to exploring the science of complementary medicine.

Dr Standen said this trial was part of a larger project looking at the impact of essential oils on the immune system.

"I am looking for people with an established diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, aged between 18 and 70 with active disease. They will be required to attend two clinic sessions, six weeks apart at the SCU campus in Lismore," Dr Standen said.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which can affect organs throughout the body, but is particularly notable for the impact it has on the joints.

Dr Standen said it could be a debilitating disease causing joint pain and swelling, loss of joint function and deformities.

"Rheumatoid arthritis affects around two per cent of the population, with a greater incidence in women. It tends to most frequently have an onset in people aged in their 30s and 40s."

Participants in the study will be asked to apply lotions containing essential oils for a period of six weeks. The effects of the oils will be assessed through blood tests and via clinical assessment and self-reporting of symptoms and signs.

The trial is expected to start at the end of October. Anyone interested in taking part should contact Dr Standen on 6626 9336 or email [email protected]