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Arthritis Theorist Dies After Long Illness

April 18, 1989

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Thomas McPherson Brown, author of a controversial theory on the treatment and cause of rheumatoid arthritis, has died following a long illness, officials at an Arlington, Va., hospital said Tuesday.

Brown, 82, was on the faculty of the George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington for 22 years before he founded the Arthritis Institute at the National Hospital in Arlington in 1970.

Officials at the hospital said Brown died on Monday.

Brown was best known for his promotion of antibiotic treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that he believed is caused by a type of bacteria. He said in a recently published book, ″The Road Back,″ that antibiotics have been used to successfully treat thousands of arthritis sufferers.

However, spokeswoman Connie Raab at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease, one of the National Institutes of Health, said, ″Most experts by far agree that it hasn’t been proven that antibiotics are an effective treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It would be great if it worked, but it just hasn’t been proven.″

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