Doing my small bit for science!

A letter sent to the San Antonio Zoo:

Good evening.

I recently visited your zoo while in San Antonio. It’s a fine institution, one of the better zoos I have seen. It’s clear that, more than most zoos, you take your educational mission seriously and try to have each exhibit teach the viewer something. As a former science teacher, I can only applaud you.

However … I attended one of your keeper-led talks at the elephant exhibit. The keep mentioned that the elephant on display was receiving “the elephant equivalent of glucosamine.” I hope not–because glucosamine does not work to prevent or treat joint pain. Here is Dr. Steven Novella of Yale Medical School on the subject: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/no-benefit-from-glucosamine-and-chondroitin/

Here’s a recent meta-analysis of research in the field, showing that good studies with large patient groups show no benefit from glucosamine, via PubMed: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20847017

I’m sure you would not want your educational activities to promote the use of valueless treatments for arthritis, so please ask your keeper(s) to avoid endorsing glucosamine.

Thank you,
Carl Fink

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