Nobel scientist discovers scientific basis of homeopathy

filfla4

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Thanks Willow, good luck to you too. Hope you continue to improve. I'm worried that with this newly found energy, I'm going to do too much too quickly. I need to have it tatooed to my brain that I need to pace, pace, pace!! I have two kids (14 and 11) and it's difficult to rest up as much as I need to.
 

Cort

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Someone asked me to post their success story. I would note that homeopathics played a big role in Mike Dessins recovery.

After reading the latest news about the scientific discoveries into homeopathics I feel practically obligated to share my experience for the benefit of those here. I've gone back and forth a few times on whether or not I actually want to, and finally compromised on doing so anonymously, at least for now. :) If you think you may know who I am please PM me instead of discussing it with others, out of respect for my privacy. Thank you.

Disclaimer: This post is not to be considered medical advice in any way, shape, or form. Please discuss all medications, supplements, and alternative treatments with your doctor before taking them. If you believe you are having a severe allergic reaction, take an epi-pen without hesitation and call 911. Delaying emergency treatment can be and often is fatal. Neither the author nor the venue displaying this story is responsible for any actions committed by those who read it. Proceed at your own risk.

According to my experience, it appears that a homeopathic medication both stopped and reversed a serious anaphylactic allergic reaction. In all honesty I didn't really expect it to, but with nothing to lose I took it, and relief began within seconds. Let me back up and tell the whole story along with a little history and I'll allow you, reader, to be the judge of what you think happened.

I've had serious allergies all my life, so I grew up no stranger to the medications, avoidance, and calmly taking care of things when a reaction is happening. A common reaction for me is my esophagus swelling shut, which even as a kid I was pretty nonchalant about, more annoyed than anything else. The closest I ever came to severe allergic reactions was hives and a croup-type reaction that endangered my breathing.

I also have several years of experience with my throat spasming or swelling closed due to severe chemical sensitivities, which sometimes either restricts or cuts off my breathing for a short time. Ask anyone who's seen me through one of these and they'll testify that I'm calm throughout - I learned early on that panic is useless in those situations. Whether or not these happenings are allergic reactions or reactions to toxicity or whatever, I do not consider them to be anaphylaxis.

I use homeopathics to control my MCS reactions. I sometimes wonder if they’re actually doing something or if it's a placebo effect, but whichever the case I have not been able to manage the reactions otherwise.

On the day in question I had a sudden onset of my airway spasming closed in a more severe way than had happened in recent times. It caused me to wheeze upon each inhalation to get enough air, even though my lungs were fine and it was all in my throat (I've been clinically proven to not have asthma). Thinking it was an allergy to a pet I had received a week earlier, I made the decision to take Benadryl so I could safely hold it one last time to say goodbye.

Here more medical history is needed. When my CFS was the worst and I had allergies to so many foods that at times I couldn't eat at all, my doctor recommended I take Benadryl with every meal as a method of resolving the issue. I did so for a while, until it seemed to be making me worse. I switched to dye-free, and it was still a problem. Unfortunately I do not recall specifics about the reaction. Certain it was my chemical sensitivities to the preservatives and other such inactive ingredients, pure diphenhydramine was ordered from a compounding pharmacy, which is the sole active ingredient in Benadryl. I was excited to have my answer at last.

But soon after I received the medication, I tried some and to my dismay my throat burned terribly and my entire mouth went numb along with my lips as well. I asked around to see if this was normal but didn't get anything conclusive. I assumed it was a side effect and soldiered on. I don't recall how I came around to the idea of testing it on myself, but at some point I decided to try a homemade allergy "scratch test" using Benadryl to see what would happen. I had done so previously with various substances and had inconclusive results. Upon applying the Benadryl and a scratch, the immediate result was itching, which I ignored while I distracted myself with something else. When I looked back ten minutes later, the swelling was approximately an inch in diameter. I was shocked. "Is it even possible to be allergic to Benadryl?" I asked. I showed the swollen scratch to someone else and they concurred that the reaction was definitely positive.

Disturbed by the discovery but doubting the results, I decided to cease use of the Benadryl but still keep it on hand as a potential option to deal with a severe allergic reaction as a "one step below epi-pen" treatment, since it's important for me to avoid the ER whenever possible. That was a stupid move on my part; I should have either trusted my own findings or been officially tested to confirm them. Hindsight is 20/20.

So jumping back to the main story (which happens some time later), I'm having this breathing restriction in my throat that's happened countless times over the years. I'm not too concerned about it; I'm just distraught that I'll have to give up my pet now. I prepare myself for a long goodbye and, for safety, take a sip of the compounded Benadryl.

Immediately my throat was on fire with the worst itching, burning, tingling, painful feeling I have ever experienced in my life. My first instinct was to dive for a nearby glass of water, but the small measure of relief lasted only for the split second the water was in my throat area before the awful pain sensation returned with a vengeance. A few swallows later with no change and it dawned on me that something was very wrong. I licked my lips - there was no feeling in them. It was later reported to me that they were blue around the edges.

I grabbed my epi-pen and took it out of its case, not quite sure I was bad off enough to need it but ready to use it in a second if required. It had been expired for a year now, another mistake. Next I called the one who serves as my caretaker, we'll call her N. N was away from the house at the time; I told her I'm having a severe reaction and need her here right away. I then sat there with my phone open and 911 partially dialed, epi-pen in hand and ready to use the moment I was convinced I needed it. At this point the burning sensation in my throat had mostly transformed into a severe dull ache of swelling, and my voice was hoarse.

Sitting there waiting for N to arrive, I recognized panic creeping in on me, which as I have stated previously is not typical. I knew remaining calm was imperative. Since my computer is located on my bed where I was sitting I got on IM and to the first person I saw online typed, "I need you to talk to me right now and help me to remain calm." (As it turned out later, I was confused at the time and thought it was a totally different person.)

Right then N arrived, and by this time I was shaking all over. Coughing or attempting to speak resulted in fits of dry heaving (not typical), so I mainly used the computer to type out what I needed to say. Seeing that I could still breathe, she grabbed an allergy homeopathic and recommended I try it. With some hesitancy I did, thinking it probably wouldn't help but knowing it couldn't hurt. To my amazement seconds later I was beginning to breathe easier and reported so verbally.

When N saw the reaction was diminishing she called my doctor, who specializes in MCS and allergy treatment. She explained what had happened and that it appeared to be under control with the homeopathic. After he made sure we had an epi-pen on hand, he recommended charcoal and sublingual heparin for helping to reduce the swelling in my throat and to get the Benadryl out of my system. He did not urge an ER trip, I suspect because having been my doctor for years he knew how bad it could be for me - I cannot even go to his office anymore due to severe MCS. I took both of what he recommended as we had them on hand, so willing that I simply poured out some carbon powder directly into my mouth and washed it down with a swallow of water before getting another mouthful of charcoal dust.

I do not recall in what order my symptoms abated, I only remember that soon after taking the homeopathic I became overwhelmingly drowsy and when it seemed safe to do so I laid down to rest. The next several hours were non-stop delusion-like dreaming as I slept off the Benadryl side effect.

The entire reaction and onset of symptoms happened very rapidly, so I'm not sure how much time went by from beginning to end. It was only after I had the chance to do a little research that I realized it had been anaphylaxis – it must have been. And soon after concluding that I thought, "great, now who's going to believe a woman saying she had an anaphylactic reaction, to Benadryl of all things, cured it with a homeopathic and didn't even go to the ER." Who, indeed. But that's my story, nevertheless.

I hope to soon get official allergy tests for Benadryl and other antihistamines to confirm the allergy to any skeptics as well as find out if there's a different antihistamine I can take. I kept the pet for another week without experiencing an allergic reaction to it, despite repeated exposures.

The exact homeopathic I took is from the Heel brand and is called "Allergy". Unfortunately they discontinued it in the oral vials, which is what I use(d) and are ideal because they do not contain lactose, but the company still makes it in sublingual tablet form.

Right after the incident I got my hands on a fresh epi-pen. I keep it with me at all times.
 

Dr. Yes

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I understand the excitement Montagnier's stunning claim has created among homeopathy circles. However, I think that many people are misinterpreting Montagnier's studies, and that the studies themselves are flawed.

The article at the start of this thread (on a homeopathy website) is skewed in its reporting of Montagnier's research.

From that article:
In the week that doctors have described homeopathy as ‘nonsense on stilts’, a Nobel prize-winning scientist has made a discovery about the nature of water that suggests the therapy does have a scientific basis. Professor Luc Montagnier, a French virologist who won the Nobel prize for discovering a link between HIV and AIDS, has shocked fellow Nobel prize-winners by telling them that water has a memory that continues even after many dilutions.
That is an interpretation of what Montagnier meant, but he never actually said "water has a memory", and if he did he would not be stating it as broadly as homeopaths do. He also made no mention of homeopathy. Even if he is correct it does not prove anything about the efficacy or proposed mechanisms of homeopathy.

Montagnier has discovered that solutions containing the DNA of viruses and bacteria “could emit low frequency radio waves”.
It is premature to say he 'discovered' anything. Nobody has confirmed his claim. It is worth pointing out that the device he used to detect these signals is partly of his own design and one of its patent reviewers attacked the proposed concept of the device (which is basically a coil of wire attached to an amp attached to a PC's soundcard). It has not been demonstrated to have the purported value by other scientists. Also, Montagnier only makes an association between the frequencies he claims to detect and the DNA in question. He does not demonstrate that it actually does, or how it might.

If Montagnier is to be believed, then segments of the DNA of certain pathogens (HIV and a Mycoplasma species, to name two) generate electromagnetic waves that resonate in the surrounding fluid - such as human plasma - and somehow induce the creation of 'nanostructures' that are much smaller than the pathogens themselves. These nanostructures are a speculative concept to explain his frequency findings and he admits he has no real idea what they really are, apart from a couple of vague sketches of ideas, including one about information-carrying arrangements of dipoles. Anyway, he posits that those pathogens can be 'regenerated' even when they are not present via the re-assembly of their DNA (right down to the smallest genetic detail, and given nucleic acid raw material) based on this nanostructure 'template'. There are gaping holes and speculative leaps in this proposition. But the first thing I would investigate is the experimental apparatus he used. I would check whether his filtration process was flawed (he passed the fluid surrounding infected cells through filters with pores too small for pathogens to pass through, but if ever there was a time to make sure that your filters weren't leaky...). The next thing would be to assess the utility of his detection device, and closer scrutiny to what it is actually detecting. The amount of (in fact, dependence on) background EM radiation in his experiments is disquieting, and he did not even control for that factor. Even if both those tests are passed, there is a long way to go before his various claims and speculations can be verified.
 

Victoria

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Please refer to my editing (& update of post #21) which gives more detail on my thoughts on Homeopathy & Alternative Therapies (in general). I hope they will be helpful to anyone who may have misunderstood what I was trying to express.
 

wciarci

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Victoria, I think that your posts, comments and replies were very appropriate, enlightening and even kind given the kind of verbal baiting that one poster engaged in. You are as always the articulate, educated lady. I will not even mention the abusive poster who should be ignored for such rudeness. I blame it on the perceived 'veil' of the internet and the obvious frustration that we have all experienced with this dreaded disease. Perhaps the poster was just having a bad CFS day, Please don't take it personally, I and many others appreciate you and your insightful comments.

Wendy
 
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There is intersting criticism here.

1. There is no indication that backgrounds were measured, characterized, or controlled for in any systematic way. This critical and central piece of the experiment is addressed only with the brief statement that

"In each experiment, the internal noise generated by the different pieces of the reading system was first
recorded (coil alone, coil with a tube filled with water)".

– For starters, the reference to internal noise appears to indicate a complete unconcern with external background.

– The background readings are not presented at all. All by itself, this is a fatal flaw that renders the paper completely meaningless, as there is no way for the reader to judge the extent to which the purported results comport with the noise characteristics of the apparatus.

– There is no indication that the background characteristics were monitored over time – a very important requirement given that many sources of external EM radiation are transient.

– I would very much want to see monitoring of external background during the experiment itself – set up two sets of apparatus next to each other, place the sample in one, and compare results with the other.

– The assertion is made that figures 2c,d show the Fourier analysis of the background (which would still be grossly inadequate, but at least a start) but figures 2c,d are later stated to show samples. The caption agrees with the latter. So I can only conclude that the background results really weren’t shown at all.

– The authors claim that shielding the apparatus from background in a Faraday cage abolished the signal. This is a priori a strong indication that they were in fact measuring background. The blithe assumption that the measured signal is instead stimulated by external excitation requires vigorous defense and careful correction for the external background. This was not done at all.

– It was apparently required to use the laptop’s battery instead of a power cord in order to obtain positive results; this is another strong indicator that they were measuring background noise.

2. The sensitivity of the apparatus was apparently not characterized. The results are therefore uninterpretable. Exposure to known intensities of known frequency signals would simply be the necessary first step to determining that the apparatus works at all. Even that was not done.

3. No analysis of the signal-to-noise ratio AT ALL?!?!?!?!? Not even compared to the limited background testing they DID do? Even high school physics students are expected to make at least some genuflections in the direction of assessing uncertainties.

4. The apparatus is in principle plausible, but the details that would permit a reader to evaluate it are completely absent. Often new apparatus is presented in its own article in a methods journal – this is particularly true when the results obtained from it are so striking. I suppose it is possible that this was done in another article, in which case the lack of a clear citation is inexcusable. The closest thing I can see in the references is a patent, which doesn’t even come close to adequate (I looked it up; there’s no information anywhere near sufficient to evaluate its performance). There is also a citation to “Faseb Journal 10, A1479″. Such an article does not exist according to http://www.fasebj.org – indeed, their search indicates no publications by Benveniste, Jurgens, or Aissa in 1996.

Overall, if this were a lab report from a college junior/senior level physics major lab course (the closest analog), it would rate a D at best. And that would be generous. At the professional level, the complete unconcern with background can only be described as gross incompetence.
The article used to be available here. But not anymore.
Part of publishing in an obscure journal, of which Luc Montagnier is the chairman is that I don't have access through regular university subscriptions and I'm not really willing to fork out my own cash for access to this one. (and the article was published in only 3 days after submission!)

I have not tried homeopathy but am open to it
When I was younger and more gullible (and under the influence of my mother who used to believe in it also), I tried it - for several years. Of course it didn't work, or I wouldn't be posting on this forum.
 
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Have you actually looked at the papers cited in the report she was referring to? They are all mentioned in this main article she was referring to here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/memo/homeopathy/ucm1202.pdf

There were almost zero positive placebo controlled studies with statistically significant results (for a reasonable confidence interval), published in regular medical journals. (Note I just went through the references list and searched for the relevant articles on Google Scholar to determine this, accessed through my university proxy server if necessary)
Properly conducted double blind studies are important to avoid bias. This is not a double standard by the way, such high quality studies are demanded to prove the efficacy of 'conventional' medicine as well.

Which was the exception you ask? This interesting article published in the BMJ:
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/321/7259/471
Followed up by this:
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/322/7279/169

The other interesting study is here, although the statistics are a bit dodgy in they way they combined the results of different studies (although this is not uncommon in medical research) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12634583


And follow up to the above article here: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/96/5/961
In summary: 1) The study used an unreliable and unproved diagnostic and therapeutic scheme; 2) There was no control for product adulteration; 3) Treatment selection was arbitrary; 4) The data were placed into odd groupings without explanation, and contained errors and unexplained inconsistencies; 5) The results were not clinically significant and were probably not statistically significant; 6) There was no public health significance; 7) Selection of references was incomplete and biased to support the claims of the article, and references were quoted inaccurately; and 8) Editorializations were inappropriate.
 

valentinelynx

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WATER HAS MEMORY
by Fang Hong
Spanish version
April 2003
from PureInsight Website

In June 1988, the French scientist Jacques Benveniste, M.D. published an astonishing research paper in Nature, which indicated that water has memory. The paper immediately caused a great disturbance in the scientific community, where opposition to his findings was substantial.

Biochemical experiments have confirmed that the IgE antibody can stimulate basophils to degranulate. In Benveniste’s experiment, however, after the IgE solution was diluted to 10-120, active degranulation of basophils still occurred. Theoretically, [based upon Avogadro’s number of the possible number of molecules in a solution of a substance] such a dilution would have no molecules of the antibody. This demonstrates that water preserves the characteristics of substances with which it has had contact.

This conclusion seemed to violate common sense. Many people disputed Benveniste’s findings. Consequently, he lost his laboratory, funding, job and even his credibility as a scientist. Fortunately, a progressive private research company hired him to continue his work.

There had not been any evident resolution for the “Benveniste incident” until 1999, when four laboratories in different European countries conducted independent experiments. Their findings demonstrated that extremely diluted solutions still preserved the effect of the original solutions that degranulated basophils. People started to think that Benveniste had been right.

Benveniste’s experiment required that at each dilution, the solution had to be shaken vigorously. His experiment demonstrated that a substance that is dissolved in water passes on its own characteristics to the water. Even if there is no more of the original substance, its characteristics still remain.

Wikipedia has an informative discussion of the Benveniste studies and assertions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Benveniste). Here is one bit:

Critical investigation
A week after publication of the article, Nature sent a team of three investigators to Benveniste's lab to attempt to replicate his results under controlled conditions. The team consisted of Nature editor and physicist Sir John Maddox, American scientific fraud investigator and chemist Walter Stewart, and skeptic and former magician James Randi.

The team pored over the laboratory's records and oversaw seven attempts to replicate Benveniste's study. Three of the first four attempts turned out somewhat favorable to Benveniste; however the Nature team was not satisfied with the rigor of the methodology. Benveniste invited them to design a double blind procedure, which they did, and conducted three more attempts. Before fully revealing the results, the team asked if there were any complaints about the procedure, but none were brought up.[citation needed] These stricter attempts turned out negative for Benveniste. In response to Benveniste's refusal to withdraw his claims, the team published in the July 1988 edition of Nature[3] the following critiques of Benveniste's original study:

Benveniste's experiments were "statistically ill-controlled", and the lab displayed unfamiliarity with the concept of sampling error. The method of taking control values was not reliable, and "no substantial effort has been made to exclude systematic error, including observer bias"
"interpretation has been clouded by the exclusion of measurements in conflict with the claim". In particular, blood that failed to degranulate was "recorded but not included in analyses prepared for publication". In addition, the experiment sometimes completely failed to work for "periods of several months".
There was insufficient "avoidance of contamination", and, to a large extent, "the source of blood for the experiments is not controlled".
The study had not disclosed that "the salaries of two of Dr Benveniste's coauthors of the published article are paid for under a contract between INSERM 200 and the French company Boiron et Cie."
"The phenomenon described is not reproducible". "We believe that experimental data have been uncritically assessed and their imperfections inadequately reported."

Several subsequent studies have failed to reproduce the effect. Benveniste & co's claims got stranger with time: the "water memory" info could be passed on "digitally", or "over the phone." Shades of "morphogenetic fields".

If it helps you, you are blessed. The power of the human mind is extraordinary. I wish I were more susceptible to placebo-type healing (not sarcasm!); I would have been cured long ago! Placebos work in real disease. Given the right suggestion, an emetic drug (one that promotes vomiting) has been shown to prevent vomiting through the "placebo effect." Which is why, "it worked for me!" is not proof that something works in any way other than as a placebo.

I want to believe, too. Darn hypercritical mind won't let me: "The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness." (LaPlace)
 
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MADELEINE Ennis, a pharmacologist at Queen's University, Belfast, was the scourge of homeopathy. She railed against its claims that a chemical remedy could be diluted to the point where a sample was unlikely to contain a single molecule of anything but water, and yet still have a healing effect. Until, that is, she set out to prove once and for all that homeopathy was bunkum.
In her most recent paper, Ennis describes how her team looked at the effects of ultra-dilute solutions of histamine on human white blood cells involved in inflammation. These "basophils" release histamine when the cells are under attack. Once released, the histamine stops them releasing any more. The study, replicated in four different labs, found that homeopathic solutions - so dilute that they probably didn't contain a single histamine molecule - worked just like histamine. Ennis might not be happy with the homeopaths' claims, but she admits that an effect cannot be ruled out.



"proof" for the efficacy of homeopathy


randy, will he pay up?

plenty of proof for and against even using scientific methodolgy. how many pharmaceutical medications have been passed as "safe" only to be found to be lethal. one problem being that it really requires a qualified homeopath to conduct a trial. a trial by someone having no knowledge on the subject, may be a non-starter. anyway, in the uk we have homeopathic clinics on the nhs (dunno how good they are), also it's one of the accepted "big 5" alternative therapies passed by the house of lords as having enough backround and reputation to be officially approved. even my doctor recommended i try it. the times they have changed and moved on thankfully. i believe even "boots" the high st. chemist are or will be selling it. still, there'll be a last stand by the old guard no doubt...

i wonder if anyone who is interested in homeopathy has looked into or tried "complex homeopathy". my experience is, that it is much more subtley powerful and suited to chronic longterm health conditions. it also seems to have the benefit of getting past individual practitioner skill at diagnosing and treament. it gives multiple remedies and dilutions and the patients body "chooses" those it requires to heal: Dr. Reckeweg and Complex Homeopathy
 

Esther12

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I quite like the idea of investigations into homeopathy leading to new understandings about physics... but lets not pretend this validates homeopathy!

The principle of curing like with like is just more superstition too. Maybe all the peculiar beliefs that surround and inform homeopathy will one day be confirmed by careful scientific enquiry - but it seems a bit unlikely. I've got a mischeveous side that would love it were it to happen though.

(I always feel a bit mean slating homeopathy considering how harmless the actual treatments are, and that I understand how believing in it and feeling you had a doctor who was trying to help you would be a wonderful boon for many CFS patients even if the pills did nothing - but it would be a rather amazing coincidence in a medicine born out of superstition just happened to have found an approach to treatment as astoundingly useful as some claim homeopathy is.)
 
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Maybe all the peculiar beliefs that surround and inform homeopathy will one day be confirmed by careful scientific enquiry - but it seems a bit unlikely.
the same kind of scientific enquiry that has approved many pharmaceutical meds as useful and safe only to be found to be killers...u.s.a.'s biggest killer 225,000 deaths per year!!! over 100,000 from correctly administered drugs...i can assure you there's a lot more money, charlatans and unscrupulous behaviour in big pharma, than homeopathy and at least it won't kill ya...

most scientific theory starts as bunkum and then becomes mainstream, not that, that will happen here, though it seems to be on that path and has been proven by many, even by folk who wished to dis-prove. science can't even make a single blade of grass yet proffesses to know so much. not that science doesn't have a place...

the electrical acupuncture device i have beautifully encompasses both the western scientific approach and the eastern healing techniques, enabling me to have the equivalent of a highly trained therapist in my own home...so together they are a force to be reckoned with in my opinion...also find it strange when m.e./cfs patients say any help is imagined or placebo...bit like saying m.e./cfs is imaginary to yeah??? it insults your rationality and presumes psychological stupidity, not that i mind. not healthy cynicsm in my opinion though.

contrary to the laws of thermodynamics, the sun's corona is hotter than the photosphere or chronosphere which are closer to the sun...physics and science cannot, by far, explain everything....
 
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also find it strange when m.e./cfs patients say any help is imagined or placebo...bit like saying m.e./cfs is imaginary to yeah???
Maybe you should learn more about the basis of the placebo concept before making your non sequitur argument.

It is possible for example for a person who has allergies that cause a regular skin rash to claim that their rashes are somehow less when taking a particular treatment - even if that treatment is a placebo. The point is that there might indeed be improvements - but the attribution to the treatment may be false. I am skeptical of CBT, GET type treatments for the same reason. There cannot be a proper double blind placebo controlled test of these and other therapy based treatments. The benefits may mostly be in the minds of those who filled out the questionnaires and the practitioners. How do I know this? Because the long term status as measured by activity levels, employment status, hours worked does not change for most patients.

Likewise, I am skeptical of all anecdotes, testimonials etc with regards to the treatment of any medical problem. Too many times have I heard that people were "improving" on a particular treatment or protocol, soon to be completely (or 80%+) healthy, only for that individual to be in the original health situation months down the track.

Several of my mothers friends have died due to cancer after spending their lives fortune on alternative treatments. In one case, conventional treatments might have been successful if they were attempted.

It is true that humanities knowledge of science is extremely lacking, compared to the complexity of the world. But that doesn't mean the solution is to abandon science.