The Arthritis Cure - book review by drdoc 

 

Overall, the book by Dr Jason Theodosakis, is an excellent one.

Its theory and background information are comprehensive and well written.

There is a well written and comprehensive description of the joint anatomy and physiology.
There are some excellent schematic diagrams, with pictures of the structure of cartilage and its constituents - the proteoglycans, and the collagen and chondrocytes. The alteration of the matrix is well described, and a good description of osteoarthritis is outlined. The change in the cartilage matrix hydration is stressed, and the reasons why this fails is well covered by the author.

The author maintains that OA is NOT inevitable, and that the pain and disability IS relievable.
The word "cure" is defined as "partial or complete removal of symptoms."

The Glucosamine and Chondroitin is taken out of context, as the only aspect of the book - by the lay public.
This I do not feel, was intended by the author. They have been used for some years in Europe, and Asia, but, the author feels have been avoided in the USA, by a skeptical medical profession, and a pharmaceutical industry reluctant to pursue research in the area, due to the lack of economic incentive. Further, these medications are freely available in health shops, and although not cheap, are of low side effect profile.
 
Doses of Glucosamine and Chondroitin sulphate
Weight
Glucosamine sulphate
Chondroitin sulphate
<120 pounds
1000mg
800mg
120-200 pounds
1500mg
1200mg
>200pounds
2000mg
1600mg
 
 
The approximate cost of Glucosamine and Chondroitin
Product
Price per capsule
Requirements per day
Glucosamine
20 cents
4-6
Chondroitin
60 cents
3

There are several limitations to the theory:

1. Many anecdotal stories of individual experiences are mentioned. Whilst these are of general interest, they have no real scientific value.

2. The studies on glucosamine and chondroitin, are NOT in my opinion, very substantiated, by the studies quoted.
There are only small controlled studies quoted, and the larger studies, are not placebo controlled, and therefore not really clinically valid. But- there is theoretical basis for their use in OA.

The book stresses that they are ONLY really indicated in OA.
It makes NO claims for arthritis other than OA.
There is no clear indication for Glucosamine or chondroitin in the inflammatory arthropathies, and the author does not make any attempt to advocate the use of these substances for these diseases.
Indeed, the book stresses that a diagnosis is essential.
 
The Arthritis cure plan by Dr Theodosakis
Number
Action
Comment
1 Consultation with a physician The author encourages a proper diagnosis to be made
2 Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate Doses outlined - adjusted versus symptoms and divided 2-4 times/day
3 Vitamin C 500-4000mg and Manganese 50mg Antioxidants
4 Improve biomechanics Physiotherapists / Sports medicine / Neuromuscular therapists
5 Exercise Encouraged strongly
6 Healthy diet Maintain ideal body weight
7 Fight depression Very important
8 Use traditional medications Surgery is a final option only
9 Maintain a positive attitude Dont obsess about the condition

Ultimately, the book largely conforms with the conventional approach - especially in the above 9 point plan at the end. The Author concludes the book with aan outline of the conventional Antiinflammatories and analgesics that are available, as well as a review of several of the more common arthrits diseases.

The public response has been enormous, and I feel, that on the whole, it is an excellent book. I feel it is important that the public sees the complete story that the author tries to tell, and not just see the glucosamine and chondroitin as the only message.

It is important to stress - that the book is NOT extrapolatable to all of the arthritis diseases.

It is about Osteoarthritis, and is not an endorsement for patients with inflammatory arthritis, such as Rheumatoid, or Ankyosing spondylitis, or Psoriatic arthritis to stop their usual therapies.

However - one message is clear:

"When it comes to your health - you are the boss", and by publishing this book, Dr Theodosakis, has increased arthritis awareness, opened the debate about therapy, and encouraged patients to ask questions of their doctors.

That is excellent in itself, and is to be fully supported. 


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Dr David Gotlieb
Rheumatologist
Cape Town
South Africa
June 1997
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Revised 2001