To research the trend of studies related to rheumatoid arthritis and to indicate the hereafter direction for its study in oriental medicine and its treatment.
I reviewed 75 domestic oriental medical journals, and 50 medical journals about rheumatoid arthritis published after 2004, and comparative analysis was made. And these theses were classified by college, year, field of study, subject.
The following are the results of this study.
1. Classified by oriental medical college, Dae-jeon college published the most theses, followed by Dong-guk, Kyung-hee, Se-myung and Dong-shin college. Han-yang college published the most theses among college of medicine.
2. Classified by type of thesis, experimental theses(70 pieces, 94%) showed higher rate than that of clinical theses(4 pieces, 5%) in oriental medical studies. However, in medical studies, clinical theses(34 pieces, 68%) showed higher rate than that of experimental theses(15 pieces, 30%).
3. Analyzed by subject, the most dealt subject in oriental medicine was herb medication, followed by herbal acupuncture, single herb, electroacupuncture, sasang & gene, acupuncture & moxibustion, complex accordingly. The most dealt subject in medical clinical journals was standards of diagnosis & prognosis, followed by medication, gene analysis, pathogenesis, clinical pattern, operative treatment and complication accordingly.
4. In theses related to herb medication, most of the subject was to evaluate anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory effects of herb medication with geopungseup, jibitong, hwalhyeolgeoer function. The tendency of experimental methods was focusing on understanding anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory mechanisms through molecular biologic methods by analyzing cytokine and gene.
5. Most of theses related to herbal acupuncture were experimental studies verifying ant-inflammatory and immnoregulatory effects through methods observing change of cytokine and immunoregulatory factors. Regarding remedies for herbal acupuncture, Ulmus davidiana Planch was most preferred, followed by bee venom.
6. In theses related to single herb, Boik-yak was most prefered, followed by Geopungseup-yak and Hwalhyeolgeoer-yak. Regarding methods of research, there were tendency of shifting from methods verifying travail, anti-inflammatory and anti-pyretic effects through a test of behavior, morphometry, serology and temperature measurement of the rectum and the skin into verifying anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory effects through observing inflammatory cytokine in the joint and cells of spleen.
7. In theses related to electroacupuncture, ST36 and adjuvant were most preferred as acupoints and induced factor. The tendency of experimental methods was turning from verifying mechanism of travail effect to analyzing inflammation and pain inducing factors.
8. Diverse medical clinical studies were published. Subjects such as diagnosis and prognosis, medication, gene analysis, clinical pattern, operational treatment, complication and pathogenesis were published. Especially, studies about standards of early diagnosis, and research on possible parallel medications with methotrexate were actively inquired.
9. Most of theses related to medical experimental studies was about mediators and receptors related to inflammatory induction and osteoclasia mechanism. Also, it was presented blockage of them can be effective on rheumatoid arthritis.
The oriental medicine studies have merit in its diversity of treatment, but it clinical studies is lacking compared to experimental studies. Also, more diversity of subjects is necessary. Therefore, complementary measures are needed. Hereafter, oriental medicine research about rheumatoid arthritis needs more clinical research verifying the effectiveness and safety in clinical field. Also, we require oriental medical standard of diagnosis and researches on pathological generation which would make early checkup and prognosis possible.