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Gold rings can prevent arthritis

Wearing gold rings can prevent arthritis, researchers have found. After noticing that a 62-year-old woman who had had rheumatoid arthritis for 47 years was significantly less affected in the finger on which she wore her wedding ring, researchers decided to x-ray the ring fingers of 30 ring wearers and 25 non-ring wearers who had had the disease for at least two years.

The results, published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, showed that the knuckle joint of the ring fingers of those who wore rings all or most of the time were up to three times less badly eroded than the corresponding joint in the other hand. No such difference was found in the non-ring wearers.

The authors, from the City Hospital, Birmingham, suggest that gold from the rings could pass through the skin "downstream" to the nearby knuckle joint in sufficient quantities to delay erosion. Gold, they note, has been used to treat rheumatic disease since the turn of the century.