Injecting gold into knees affected by osteoarthritis may ease pain and slow down the progress of the disease, but scientists say it does not help everyone with rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis is a group of conditions where there is damage caused to the joints of the body. It is the leading cause of disability over the age of 65. There are many forms of arthritis, each of which has a different cause.
Researchers will conduct the first big formal trial of gold next month in which the metal will be compared to a placebo or dummy treatment at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, reported the online edition of Daily Mail.
The researchers will inject 50 osteoarthritis patients with gold, it said.
According to the Arthritis Research Campaign, about 80 million people suffer from the condition. A further 350,000 people have rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune joint disease where the joints in the body become inflamed.
Treatments include painkillers, steroids and joint replacement.
Gold has already been used in the past for rheumatoid arthritis and for other rheumatic diseases such as psoriatic arthritis, which also causes swelling and pain in and around the joints.
As many as half those patients with rheumatoid arthritis, especially those in the early stages of the condition, can benefit from gold, claim researchers at the University of Washington.
In some, it relieves joint pain and stiffness, reduces swelling and bone damage, and lowers the chance of joint deformity and disability.
But gold does not help everyone with rheumatoid arthritis. Between 20 and 30 percent of people treated will not benefit from gold, they say.