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Homeopathy

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by filfla4, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Michael, obviously I too much appreciate your activism, and I hope your talk at CFSAC goes well / went well (I'm missing it all this year, I'm afraid, but hopefully I'll catch the replay).

    I have to take issue with your responses to Esther12's comments though. I can appreciate that you have a strong personal attachment to homeopathy, and personally I'm very open-minded towards it, but what Esther12 has said, quite politely actually, is pretty much mainstream scientific opinion in the UK at least; it's a very widespread opinion, right or wrong. And Esther12 has asked for scientific evidence of homeopathy's effectiveness, which hasn't been forthcoming yet.

    My own openness towards it comes from this personal experience: my own mother suffered from depression and a variety of related issues, for many, many years, and was prescribed all manner of pills through her GP, none of which had any positive effect that I could discern. Quite late in life, sceptically, and on the recommendation of a friend, she tried homeopathy. That was many years ago, and the transformation was obvious, sudden, dramatic and undeniably positive. So that, for me, is my own first piece of evidence, and I'm not overly concerned that it isn't scientific evidence, but human evidence, gathered from a real-world observation, since I also live in the world, and not in a laboratory (as far as I know).

    The next piece of evidence I take into account is that over many years while I have been ill, the most consistent treatment that friends have suggested to me, based on their own experience with friends and family, is homeopathy. People of a rationalist and scientific bent, who I did not at all expect to recommend alternative therapies, have spoken highly of its efficacy, and that too comes from the non-scientific evidence of popular real-world observations of what works for many people in a real-world setting. This too counts for something in my eyes.

    The next thing I look at is the general behaviour, demeanour and assumptions of those who are currently aggressively trying to stamp out the availability of homeopathy on the NHS. I see young students carrying out publicity stunts, mockingly imbibing large quantities of homeopathic remedies as a supposed proof that they can't have any effect because they don't get poisioned by consuming them in a different way from the recommended usage. I saw hardline pro-science lobbyists aggressively pursuing practitioners and anyone who believes in homeopathy, using spurious arguments that don't engage whatsoever with the actual theories of homeopathy. I see rude, condescending, arrogant behaviour from those sceptics as they constantly repeat well-worn arguments that don't touch on the actual issues, but just repeat a dogmatic position that everybody actually understands quite well enough already. And I see anything that smacks of being 'green', 'alternative' or 'spiritual' mercilessly and sneeringly mocked using tired cliches about "yoghurt-weavers" by people who have no experience or understanding whatsoever of this realm, and seem perfectly happy to abandon reasoned argument when they attack such matters, and to resort to mere abuse and appeal to arguments that amount to saying "everybody knows these hippies are just a bunch of sandal-wearing loons".

    And it strikes me quite strongly that the rabid and unthinking people who have abandoned reasoned argument and lost sight of humanity and decency, are those who claim to speak for 'the scientific method'.

    I see that the main argument of those people is that "it can't possibly work when you think about what is going on with dilution", and that doesn't strike me as very intelligent reasoning, and yes, I do understand the relevant physics and chemistry and it really has nothing to do with anything frankly, though I realise sadly that the sceptical mind is too closed to admit the possibilities of what is currently unknown. And I see that the secondary argument is "we can't prove it in controlled trials", which is equally irrelevant, again for reasons which, somehow, can never be conveyed successfully to such people.

    Then I see the same people dismissing all forms of alternative, eastern, and traditional healing. I see them casually dismiss traditions that have thrived as healing methodologies for thousands of years, on the basis that they have not been subjected to random double-blinded controlled trials and therefore are inadmissible no matter what millions of people might believe strongly. I see such people dismiss acupuncture and traditional chinese medicine with a wave of the hand, based in all certainty on no personal experience: these things, to them, are so transparently weird that they are obviously not worth trying and anybody who thinks otherwise is obviously a nutter.

    And then when genuine scientists pop up and start isolating highly beneficial compounds from traditional remedies, the sceptics wait until those compounds have been distilled, refined, concentrated, manufactured, packaged, and sold by big corporations, before finally accepting that this stuff does actually work, in its pharmaceutical forms...but without questioning the fact that their previous assertions that it was all garbage have been proved wrong...and of course without going back to the source and querying whether it's worth investigating further.

    So: that's my personal take. I don't take any of the "alternative" (once called "complimentary") therapies at face value, but I'm not arrogant enough to dismiss them out of hand either, especially when they can quite clearly deliver real-world solutions to human problems that science cannot yet answer.

    But I don't think Esther12's comments above were at all unreasonable or impolite either. I don't bracket those comments with any of the attitudes I've described above. And I don't think her request to see some scientific evidence is unreasonable either: I'd like to see that too, even though a scientific paper describing a carefully controlled double-blinded study is not an essential requirement for me to believe in something. For example: I believe it's a good idea to try to live in harmony with the ecosystem that gave rise to us and supports us, rather than attacking and destroying that foundation, but I don't expect to see any definitive proof of that principle either, unless hardline scientific rationalists succeed in destroying something fundamental and proving the point by wiping a great proportion of us out. Which doesn't sound like a very smart experiment to me, but then again, I'm no Prof....
  2. Fejal

    Fejal *****

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    Mark,

    The point is that Homeopathy has been proven to not work. So it isn't that skeptics are refusing to see real possibilities but that supporters are refusing to evaluate the evidence in an unbiased way and give up on their biased personal observations.
  3. Cloud

    Cloud Guest

    If these support forums were to preclude anecdotal information and personal experiences, and only allow scientifically validated facts, it would be really quiet around here. I see nothing wrong with sharing anecdotal information as long as it's qualified as such.

    Yes, it's common that one will experience a worsening of their usual symptoms with homeopathy. My limited understanding of homeopathy tells me that's precisely the idea.....to create a larger fire so that your own natural defenses have a better view of what needs to be done. Natural medicine is based on the premise of supporting our system to better heal itself. I have done lots of homeopathy, accupuncture, natural medicine work. We were mostly focused on detox....and it was very helpful, but like most interventions for this disease, it just wasn't enough. But I would certainly recommend natural medicine as a complimentary Tx.
  4. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    That's a reasonable point Fejal, in so far as the sceptical argument is that trials have failed to demonstrate an effect 'greater than placebo' rather than that the trials haven't been done as I may have suggested. However I haven't explored those scientific papers myself, but I would suspect that whether this really is 'proven' is a moot point. I would expect to find - were I interested enough to explore all those papers - that like everything else, there are studies on one side that find an effect, which are critiqued as bad studies, and studies on the other side that don't find an effect, which are critiqued as having been designed in such a way as to remove the important aspects of the effect.

    I've seen this in other contexts, for example in studies claiming to debunk MCS and EM sensitivity: they fail to engage with the significant details of patients' experiences and people who understand how the effect works would predict failure of those studies based on their experimental design. There are often systematic factors which experimenters insist upon which inevitably corrupt the treatment process.

    I'm not making a claim that all this is the case for the homeopathy studies because I just don't know. It's still far more significant to me that so many reasonable people find those treatments helpful when nothing else can help them. But that's why I was curious to see pro-homeopathy scientific evidence, as Esther12 asked, and it's a shame nobody has posted that although maybe a good thing we don't all get bogged down in this particular endless debate.

    Finally I can't help noting that it's curious that it's been proven not to work when so many people have found that it does work for them: I think the definition of 'proof' is a bit loose there really. All the studies in the world can only prove that it doesn't work under the specified experimental conditions, the context always has to be taken into account.
  5. Fejal

    Fejal *****

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    This is what I'm talking about; you're not motivated enough or are insufficiently equipped to get to the bottom of the issue so you assume your opinion is correct. This isn't a credible approach.
  6. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    As with ANY form of medicine, there are studies that are supportive and those that aren't. As Leela mentioned earlier, if homeopathy was purely a placebo effect, then it wouldn't have shown positive results in studies with animals and small children.

    But I'm sure we'll all have to agree to disagree.
  7. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    What opinion is that Fejal? Provide a quote please to indicate what you understand to be my opinion of homeopathy.
  8. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Yes I'm darn sure we're not heading towards all suddenly agreeing on this issue! :)
  9. Fejal

    Fejal *****

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    Just re-read your last post. You fail to recognize investigator bias and act as a apologist for research haters by stating that every point is valid. I'm not going to waste of lot of time arguing this out.
  10. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    I do not at all: I think all investigators have bias and I was going to make the point that I think investigators on both sides have their bias; I think that's fairly obvious although an accusation seemingly always levelled only at the other side of any argument

    I'm not a research-hater at all, nor an apologist for them: I want to see more good quality research on ME/CFS. But research always has to be put in proper context and you always have to consider the bias, beliefs, interests and funding of the people doing the research. That's part of the overall point I was trying to make so I'm surprised you accuse me of the opposite. I was analysing my impressions of the sceptical side of homeopathy research in particular but I could certainly have said many of the same things in critique of the pro-homeopathy research.

    You say I stated that: where, please? I don't think I even suggested or implied that, but I certainly didn't state it.

    Well that's fine with me. As we've noted we're unlikely to get anywhere with this one.

    I'm not too bothered: I don't even have an opinion on the matter really, other than that I find the aggressive critics of homeopathy in my country to have a nasty and arrogant tone and I don't personally find their arguments convincing, and that I find it notable that so many reasonable people report to me that they and friends have found it effective. That is not to say that I believe homeopathic remedies 'work' physically: I have no firm opinion on that question.

    I'll repeat that it would be interesting to see some references to actual scientific papers, and it's a shame that nobody interested in this subject has provided any here yet. I'm not going to believe that the matter is proven purely because people tell me it has been: I want to see this evidence before I believe that. "Trust me I'm a scientist" holds no weight with me I'm afraid: show me the evidence or I will remain agnostic.

    If scientists didn't allow their actual research to be kept locked away from the general public, they would perhaps have a case to make when they complain that their work isn't fairly represented or understood. But they do allow access to their papers to remain the preserve of an elite, so they shouldn't be surprised when people don't engage with it. And they do allow industry interests to dominate their funding so they shouldn't be surprised when people don't trust them.

    I do care about science, and I believe in the scientific method. But the professional scientific world is utterly failing to demonstrate the transparency, independence, respect and lack of bias that is necessary to gain my trust. I'm sorry if that's frustrating, but the scientific world will have to change the way it operates if that is ever going to change. They need to publish openly, and regain their independence from big business interests, or else accept that a lot of people won't just accept what they say on the basis of blind faith in their authority. Scientists really ought to respect that attitude, I would have thought.

    Just show me all the evidence, in a forum where it can all be discussed openly and with decency by all interested parties. Why is that so much to ask?
  11. Michael Dessin

    Michael Dessin Senior Member

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    Wow, comments on both sides of the issues have been very well said, thank you!

    I just got back from D.C. and dont have much brain power at the moment to address this as eloquently as others.

    I just have to say the bottom line for me is that homeopathy has worked, even now when I get a cold I dont take antibiotics,

    rather an IV of homeopathic/Pleo formulas and knocks my cold out very quickly.

    The Nasayers dont have to try it!!

    Kindest

    Mike

    I still think Esther12 comments a few posts back were ridiculous, but oh well.
  12. bakercape

    bakercape Senior Member

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    Placebo

    There is no such thing as a placebo effect in babies and animals because they don't even understand the concept of what a medicination is.

    Can you site( provide links) to any published studies where homeopathy worked in babies? I would be interested in viewing them and reviewing the study design.
  13. Fejal

    Fejal *****

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  14. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    I can't access these papers, only the abstracts, so I can't really form any significant judgement based on this information. But I can assess the abstracts, at least.

    First study:
    "The control group received placebo and the case group received homeopathy drugs."
    I can only see the abstract and so that is all I know about how the treatment was selected and administered. In this study of 24 subjects with cerebral palsy, there were no "statistically significant" differences and no "significant effect" of the treatment applied. OK. But since I don't know the methodology, I can't really say anything about this one, except that their approach didn't show "statistically significant" effects - and with only 24 subjects, they would have needed a pretty big effect to be statistically significant...I rather wonder if there was a statistically insignificant effect... but I guess you have to pay for that information....

    Second study:
    "Tablets containing a combined preparation of the five most common single homeopathic remedies used to treat diarrhea or placebo were administered by a parent"
    The diagnosis and the decision as to the appropriate homeopathy treatment appears to have been conducted by the study authors.
    The treatment was a combined preparation of 5 different remedies into one tablet.
    This doesn't sound to me like my understanding of homeopathy. My very limited understanding of homeopathy is that the diagnosis process is very individual, based on an assessment of all the patients' symptoms and history, in a holistic fashion, by a trained homeopathic practitioner, and that the remedy administered is necessarily dilute. Combining 5 popular remedies into one doesn't sound consistent with the dilution principles, even if all 5 were dilute. Do many, most, or all homeopaths administer such combination treatments?
    This study's treatment methodology doesn't sound anything like the homeopathy I have heard about: it differs in all 5 of the principles just listed. So it doesn't sound like a test of homeopathy to me.

    Third study:
    "Conclusions: In this study there was no effect over placebo for self treatment with one of three self selected, ultramolecular homeopathic medicines in preventing childhood URTI. This can be due to the lack of effect of the highly diluted homeopathic medicines or the process of selection and type of medicines."
    It is always exciting to read an abstract where the conclusions are accurate and appropriate to the study. And the methodology sounds like the best of the three. I commend this study for its scientific approach in these respects, and note the fair-minded observation that the lack of effect could be due to the process of selection and the type of medicines.

    So there's no evidence there to help me out I'm afraid. Since I'm trying to base my opinion on evidence, and I still haven't seen any that proves that homeopathy doesn't work, I'm afraid I will have to remain agnostic for the time being.
  15. Fejal

    Fejal *****

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    I have no idea what you're talking about Mark.
  16. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    Just a few studies...

    Here are just some of the studies that have proven homeopathic can have an effect if prescribed properly. And some of these studies involve ANIMALS, so there is no possibility of a placebo effect.


    Dynamized Preparations in Cell Culture
    Ellanzhiyil Surendran Sunila, Ramadasan Kuttan, Korengath Chandran Preethi and Girija Kuttan

    Although reports on the efficacy of homeopathic medicines in animal models are limited, there are even fewer reports on the in vitro action of these dynamized preparations. We have evaluated the cytotoxic activity of 30C and 200C potencies of ten dynamized medicines against Dalton's Lymphoma Ascites, Ehrlich's Ascites Carcinoma, lung fibroblast (L929) and Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell lines and compared activity with their mother tinctures during short-term and long-term cell culture. The effect of dynamized medicines to induce apoptosis was also evaluated and we studied how dynamized medicines affected genes expressed during apoptosis.

    Mother tinctures as well as some dynamized medicines showed significant cytotoxicity to cells during short and long-term incubation. Potentiated alcohol control did not produce any cytotoxicity at concentrations studied. The dynamized medicines were found to inhibit CHO cell colony formation and thymidine uptake in L929 cells and those of Thuja, Hydrastis and Carcinosinum were found to induce apoptosis in DLA cells. Moreover, dynamized Carcinosinum was found to induce the expression of p53 while dynamized Thuja produced characteristic laddering pattern in agarose gel electrophoresis of DNA. These results indicate that dynamized medicines possess cytotoxic as well as apoptosis-inducing properties.

    http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/cont ... 2/257?etoc


    Integr Cancer Ther. 2006 Dec;5(4):343-9. Links
    Can homeopathic treatment slow prostate cancer growth?

    Jonas WB, Gaddipati JP, Rajeshkumar NV, Sharma A, Thangapazham RL, Warren J, Singh AK, Ives JA, Olsen C, Mog SR, Maheshwari RK.
    Samueli Institute, 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 400, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA.

    BACKGROUND: Homeopathy is a complementary medicine widely used around the world. Despite extensive use of homeopathy for cancer and other serious conditions with reported success, clinical and laboratory research has been equivocal, and no rigorous research has been done on cancer. In 1999, the US National Cancer Institute evaluated the effects of homeopathic treatment of cancer from a clinic in India and has released a request for protocols to conduct further research into this treatment. Therefore, the authors conducted a series of carefully controlled laboratory studies evaluating the effects of commonly used homeopathic remedies in cell and animal models of prostate cancer.

    STUDY DESIGN: One hundred male Copenhagen rats were randomly assigned to either treatment or control groups after inoculation with prostate tumor cells.

    METHODS: Prostate tumor cells DU-145, LNCaP, and MAT-LyLu were exposed to 5 homeopathic remedies. Male Copenhagen rats were injected with MAT-LyLu cells and exposed to the same homeopathic remedies for 5 weeks. In vitro outcomes included tumor cell viability and apoptosis gene expression. In vivo outcomes included tumor incidence, volume, weight, total mortality, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression, apoptotic cell death (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated d-uridine triphosphate nick end labeling), and gene expression (rAPO-multiprobe).

    RESULTS: There were no effects on cell viability or gene expression in 3 prostate cell lines with any remedies at any exposure time. There was a 23% reduction in tumor incidence (P < .0001), and for animals with tumors, there was a 38% reduction in tumor volume in homeopathy-treated animals versus controls (P < .02). At time of killing, experimental animals with tumors had a 13% lower average tumor weight (P < .05). Tumors in these treated animals showed a 19% increase in apoptotic cell death (P < .05) and reduced PCNA-positive cells.

    CONCLUSIONS: The findings indicate that selected homeopathic remedies for the present study have no direct cellular anticancer effects but appear to significantly slow the progression of cancer and reduce cancer incidence and mortality in Copenhagen rats injected with MAT-LyLu prostate cancer cells.

    Ruta 6 selectively induces cell death in brain cancer cells but
    proliferation in normal peripheral blood lymphocytes:

    A novel treatment for human brain cancer

    INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ONCOLOGY 23: 975-982, 2003
    975
    SEN PATHAK1,2, ASHA S. MULTANI1, PRATIP BANERJI3 and PRASANTA BANERJI3
    Departments of 1Cancer Biology and 2Laboratory Medicine, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center,
    Houston, TX 77030, USA; 3PBH Research Foundation, 10/3/1 Elgin Road, Kolkata 700 020, West Bengal, India

    http://www.virtualtrials.com/pdf/ruta6.pdf


    Effects of homeopathic medications Eupatorium perfoliatum and Arsenicum album on parasitemia of Plasmodium berghei-infected mice.

    Lira-Salazar G, Marines-Montiel E, Torres-Monzn J, Hernndez-Hernndez F, Salas-Benito JS.
    Especializacin en Teraputica Homeoptica, Mexico.

    Malaria is one of the most important parasitic diseases in the world and a major public health problem because of emerging drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium. A number of synthetic and natural compounds are now being analysed to develop more effective antimalarial drugs.

    We investigated the effect of homeopathic preparations of Eupatorium perfoliatum and Arsenicum album on parasitemia using a rodent malaria model. We found significant inhibitory effect on parasite multiplication with both medications with a level of 60% for Eupatorium perfoliatum at a 30 CH potency. Arsenicum album 0/6 gave 70% inhibition but this was less stable than Eupatorium perfoliatum. The number of schizonts was higher in animals treated with homeopathic medications. Although the mechanism of action is unknown, these agents would be good candidates as alternative or complementary medications in the treatment of malaria.

    PMID: 17015193
  17. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Oh dear. I don't know why. I thought my post was pretty simple to follow. Much less complicated than many of your own posts.

    I analysed the abstracts of the 3 studies you cited in your post immediately previous to mine. I showed why they don't prove that homeopathy doesn't work. I noted that I don't have access to the full studies, and that I won't believe what you are claiming without seeing the evidence for it for myself.

    You previously asserted that homeopathy has been proven not to work. If so, why not post the proof here? Those 3 studies aren't it.
  18. Fejal

    Fejal *****

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    Oh stop what you did wasn't a serious analysis.
  19. Michael Dessin

    Michael Dessin Senior Member

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    Fejal---Oh brother...you can sit around and wait for studies, in the mean time I will continue to take homeopathics and continue to

    improve my health.

    We've had this discussion so many times in the past, and it amazes me how when people say they get better from a remedy or treatment

    others say its impossible because there is no scientific evidence.
  20. Fejal

    Fejal *****

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    It's called research analysis. Look up placebo effect, coincidence, investigator bias and anecdotal evidence.

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