Meet the woman with the golden touch. Believe it or not, the short squiggly bright-white lines on this X-ray show […]
Meet the woman with the golden touch. Believe it or not, the short squiggly bright-white lines on this X-ray show flecks of gold that have become embedded in her hands.
The X-ray was taken in 2014 when the 58-year-old went to a rheumatology clinic for the long-standing pain in her hands and feet.
Her pain had begun when she was 18, and when she was 48, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, according to Live Science.
The woman had been taking pain killers to ease her symptoms but had also opted for gold-thread acupuncture.
Sterile pieces of gold are inserted into the body when the acupuncture needle pierces the skin.
The practice has been used in many East Asia areas to treat pain, but there is no scientific evidence to suggest it works.
“In East Asia and globally, acupuncture – including gold thread acupuncture – has long been used to treat joint pain. Oral and injectable gold preparations are also sometimes used,” Dr Young-Bin Joo and Dr Kyung-Su Park, the doctors who treated the woman, explained in their case report.
Her doctors recommended that she change her medicine and start taking prescribed drugs for her arthritis.
They also performed surgery to reduce her joint pain, but left the gold threads in place.
There are many reasons people may opt to use alternative or natural therapies.
But there is little evidence to suggest they work.
All medical treatments have to go through vigorous testing to prove they work before they are made available to patients.
Doctors have come across cases like this before, especially in East Asia where the practice is more common than elsewhere. In 2013, the NEJM reported another case study of a 65-year-old woman in South Korea who had tiny gold splinters within her knee after years of gold thread acupuncture treatment for her osteoarthritis.