AEA EMU OIL
Burn Study Results
The American Emu Association (A.E.A.) collaborated
with Dr. J. Griswold, Director of Timothy J. Harnar Burn Center (affiliated
with the Texas Tech University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, USA),
during the spring of 1995. We agreed to a intensive (four to six month)
study to analyze the potentially effective involvement of emu oil in the
process of healing burn wounds.
Burn wounds are painful and pose many obstacles for the
burned patients recovery. Impediments to daily activities and therapy can
lack of moisture
Currently available emollients vary in their ability to
penetrate skin and decrease associated pain and sensitivity. By providing
moisture in areas where sebaceous glands are depleted or currently
dysfunctional, adequate lubrication aids the healing process.
The normal response to healing of a burn wound is
inflammation, which causes scar tissue to form. Approximately two and a half
million people seek medical attention of burn injuries each year. During
their recovery, almost all require some type of lubricant application. There
is a large segment of the population with potential need for an effective
emu oil product.
In a letter received by the American Emu Association from
Dr. Griswold in January, 1997, he said:
"We now have 10 patients with appropriate wounds who
have completed at least initial evaluation of approximately nine months that
could be compared in a treatment/control fashion in the same patient. This
required wounds that were completely separate in opposite sides of the body,
yet in areas that would heal similarly in order to appropriately compare the
emu oil versus a placebo. Two important results from evaluation of this data
1. Comments from patients almost unanimously favored emu
oil as an end result and during application.
2. There was a unanimous difference noted in photographs
taken of the wounds as far as reduction in scarring and inflammation done by
three blinded observers as to which was emu, and which was a control wound
area. This difference was statistically significant.
We are in the process of providing you more in-depth
details as to the complete study, patient demographics and results."
During the American Burn Association meeting, March
18 - 21 in 1998, apresentation poster was made on the completed study. The
presentation was entitled: Evaluation of Emu Oil in Lubrication and
Treatment of Healed Burn Wounds. Accredited authors were J. Griswold, MD, RD; S. O’Banion, RPh; and
M. Pentur, PhD..
The complete and full abstract presented to the American
Burn Association reads,
"Emu Oil has been reported to have significant
anti-inflammatory effects, and has been used both in cosmetics and
therapeutic vehicles. This experiment was conducted to evaluate emu oil as a
lubricant and an aid in reducing scar formation in healed burned wounds. Ten
patients were evaluated in a randomized double blind study for a minimum of
6 months. Patients served as their own control by utilizing bilateral wound
areas for application of emu oil. (New Discoveries, Inc., Florence, MS), and
the placebo lubricant on independent sites respectively. Patients were
instructed to apply both lotions daily on an as-needed basis. During
scheduled out-patient clinic visits, patients’ wounds were evaluated by the
Vancouver Scar Assessment Scale. Photos were taken on each clinic visit.
Treatment ranged from 195 to 385 days before discontinuation. All of the
patients were men, ranging in age from 24 - 62 years. Per scar assessment,
significant differences were noted in pigmentation and pliability (p<0.02).
There were not differences noted in vascularity and height of the healed
wound, (p=0.08). Pictures were scored by a four person blinded panel on
pigmentation, scar maturation and general health of the skin. Emu treated
areas healed significantly better (p<0.02) than control in photo analysis.
Statistics were calculated by analysis of variance, means
were separated with the F-protected predicted difference test. The results
of this pilot study are promising, however additional research is needed to
further elucidate the therapeutic qualities of this oil."
Now that the study has been presented in a peer-reviewed
context, the abstract can be cited in research studies. Proper citation is: "Evaluation of Emu Oil in Lubrication and Treatment of Healed Burn Wounds," S. O’Banion, J. Griswold, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center,
Lubbock, Texas. American Burn Association, March 18, 1998, Chicago,
In closing, because at the time the study was thought to be ground-breaking, our expectations were high.
In comparison to current experiences of the benefits of emu oil in wound
healing, this study now pales.
By Margaret Pounder, AEA President 1998, reprinted from Summer 1998 EMU UPDATE