This week, I blogged about the GAIT trial, or Glucosamine/Chondroitin Arthritis Intervention Trial, which was a large randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted at several sites across the USA comparing glucosamine & chondroitin with placebo and paracetomol for arthritis.
We've got the trial out of the way and we know that the results, although interesting, really confirm what we already knew about glucosamine, in that it's not a magic pill. It's just a pill. A pill that us highly suggestive arthrites rely on, perhaps, for pain relief as placebo, but with no actual effect.
Now comes the odd part.
If you type "gait trial" in Google in UK, the first hit is www.GAITtrial.co.uk. If you go to www.GAITtrial.co.uk you are presented with a very professional website, made to look like it has some affiliation with the GAIT trial mentioned above. However, there are only two pages and no details about who has written it or who they are representing, but it helpfully gives us a few links at the bottom to where we can purchase some glucosamine.
Firstly, the pages information is considerably more positive than the trial researchers indicated - in fact, it says the direct opposite; compare
GAIT TRIAL IS GOOD NEWS FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS SUFFERERS(GAITtrial.co.uk)
Dietary Supplements Glucosamine and/or Chondroitin Fare No Better than Placebo(NCCAM press release)
Secondly, the links at the bottom of the page are suspect - the first two, for Boots and Health Perception don't work, but the third for Joint Care does and it takes you to the Seven Seas Joint Care "Everyone needs healthy joints" website, advertising all manner of glucosamine pills.
Is it a coincidence that only the Seven Seas link works? Well, possibly, but another website, also designed by Two's Company Design Studio Ltd, which discussed the GUIDE study , a small European study that gave weakly positive results for glucosamine, the same thing happens. As an observation, whoever "sabotaged" the links did so in two different ways on the two sites, implying that only one link is supposed to work - the Seven Seas one.
Is this Seven Seas gently directing people to its site using false, hyped-up information, but without explicitly having to make the claims themselves?
I'm genuinely interested in what you think.