Static magnetic field therapy: methodological challenges to conducting clinical trials
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- Colbert, A.P., Souder, J. & Markov, M. Environmentalist (2009) 29: 177. doi:10.1007/s10669-008-9203-3
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Static magnetic field (SMF) therapy delivered by permanent magnets is being used as a self-care intervention by millions of people worldwide, despite a paucity of clinical research confirming or refuting therapeutic effectiveness. Evaluating the reported results of SMF clinical trials is difficult because researchers use heterogeneous dosing regimens, unreliable sham controls, and questionable blinding strategies. Three important methodological challenges need to be contended with when conducting and interpreting SMF studies: optimization of SMF dosimetry, use of a believable physiologically inert sham, and assurance of participant blinding in unsupervised settings. Our objectives in writing this review are to describe ten essential SMF dosing parameters that need to be reported in SMF clinical trials and to discuss sham controls and blinding procedures for SMF studies.