Homeopathy is nonsense

In a broad Austraaaalian accent:

“Homeopathy doesn’t cure anything at all see…it’s a placebo in the Mind of the Goddess….the Goddess is a placebo too, didn’t yer know, and here’s the proof, by Stephen Hawking, who’s an expert…So homeopaths are REALLY shamans, yer know, witch doctors who happen to give out pills…ha! ha! And shamanism is of course the opposite of science, whose purpose is to deny the Human Divine…Energy is Eternal Delight! (William Blake)…and so is homeopathy…both a delight AND eternal…Oh bugger, I seem to hev got right up my own backside here…”

Of course it’s placebo effect, fella; Dr Ben Goldacre says so, AND he’s investigated homoepathy in depth, lookee here, proof’s in this article, its gotta be all NONSENSE fella…!”

40 Responses to Homeopathy is nonsense

  1. David says:

    It is true that no good randomized controlled trials show homeopathy to be any better than placebo.

    Placebo in and of itself is something real and useful, however. In all it’s varied forms (homeopathy, energy therapies, prayer, positive thinking, optimism, shamanism) placebo has measurable and beneficial effects on the physical state of a patient’s body, and is useful in treating a wide variety of ailments.

  2. Good reponse, David! It is clear that you did not click on the link, however…I trained for 4 years in homeopathic medicine in the 1980s, so I’d be the last person to dismiss it as nonsense. I was gently satirising contemporary science’s incomprehension of anything beyond the physical, material, solid Newtonian world we supposedly all inhabit…macro and micro are very different worlds, and we’ve barely begun to explore the latter…’though yogis and meditators have done so for thousands of years…

    • David says:

      I read the article, yes, and found it rather quaint.

      It’s rather unsurprising that the least detailed aspect of the article was what actual maladies they were treating, how precisely they were being treated, what their relative success rates were, and to what extent they were being “assisted” with modern medical techniques. Sure it works, we cure some hydrocephalus here, some leprosy there, maybe a cobra bite every so often…

      I’m not sure about you, but if my daughter contracted leprosy, I would prefer her to be put on 12-month rifampicin, dapsone, and clofazimine antibiotic regimen (known to cure over 99.9% of leprosy cases if instituted within two weeks of initial infection), rather than put her on a homeopathy regime for an indefinite period of time, and wait to see what transpires.

      Also, if my daughter entered the emergency room with acute respiratory failure due to a cobra bite, I would not be averse to her being treated intravenously with cobra antivenom, nor would I insist on her treatment being solely homeopathic.

      Likewise, if I had a daughter born with hydrocephalus, I imagine that I would expose her to the risk of dying from complications due to a surgical shunt being inserted to drain the excess fluid in her brain (around 5-10%) rather than insist upon her hydrocephalus treatment being homeopathic (most likely exposing her to the traditional 60-70% death rate associated with untreated hydrocephalus). I see that the homeopathic doctor in the article generously allows for a 6-month “trial period” of treating the patient’s hydrocephalus homeopathically, after which surgical methods would be considered. Perhaps the patient in question will only be exposed then to the increased likelihood of mental retardation due to untreated hydrocephalus (around 65%, as opposed to 30% with treatment) rather than death outright.

      I have no problem with homeopathy joining a wide array of placebo-based treatments (for example, meditation), which can have measurable and positive effects on a patient’s overall wellbeing. I am highly troubled, however, when I go onto the website of Shree Mumbadevi Homoeopathic Hospital and read a sentence such as the following: “It is a mis-belief that homoeopathy can not handle acute cases and does not require an in-patient department.”

      I also find it repugnant, to say the least, that NHS spends close to £4 million yearly on homeopathy at the expense of evidence-based medicine.

      • David says:

        Also, if the doctors in question in the article you posted were actually engaged in the process of treating a leper with homeopathy instead of multidrug antibiotic therapy (as opposed to, say, doing both at once then crediting homeopathy with the cure), they should be imprisoned.

      • Re imprisonment for doctors: God Bless your soul, that’s a little extreme David. Hitler was rather keen on that sort of thing with the Jews… Whatever happened to choice in medicine? Bob Marley chose the Gerson treatment for his cancer, and he died. But he had the choice…Medicine shouldn’t be a closed shop. Lots of things work, including conventional medicine.

      • David says:

        There is a fine line between medical choice and medical malpractice. There is also a fine line between medical choice and child abuse.

        The latter case is rather straight forward, and has actually been tested legally in the United States with respect to practitioners of Christian Science, whose religious beliefs dictate that all non-prayer based medical treatment is invalid and inefficacious, not to mention immoral. Children of the more pious members of the Church of Christ, Scientist die regularly of diabetes, ruptured appendixes, measles, meningitis, diphtheria, and a host of other ailments which are not only treatable, but trivially treatable allopathically (i.e., sufferers have a greater than 99% remission rate when treated allopathically). In the case of diabetes in particular, the parents’ choice to reject the demon of allopathic medicine (in the form of insulin shots) typically results in prolonged suffering on the part of the child for weeks and sometimes months, with the last few days of the child’s life typically featuring them vomiting, utterly emaciated, urinating constantly, and unable to speak or move about. A few of the more “colorful” cases from the States (mostly of Christian Scientists, but including one Jehovah’s Witness family and one smaller Christian sect) are detailed here: http://www.childrenshealthcare.org/victims.htm

        Does your impassioned defense of medical choice extend to cases such as these? Homeopathic parents are thankfully more sane as a whole than Christian Science parents, but would you defend the right of a fellow user of homeopathy to treat their child’s diabetes with solely homeopathic treatment?

        With respect to the prior situation of cognizant adults, I am frankly speaking a radical libertarian regarding medical choice in informed scenarios. Any adult should be free to make choices about their own body. Anyone with cancer, HIV, or any serious condition should be free to seek treatment in any combination of allopathic, homeopathic, naturopathic, prayer, or other variants, or to seek no treatment at all.

        My comment had nothing to do with the patient, but rather with the doctors, and specifically the case of leprosy. Leprosy is one of the small list of conditions (malaria being another, cholera being another) where allopathic treatments available are over 99% efficacious. In other words, the number of leprosy-sufferers still possessing any trace of the disease after the currently standardized allopathic treatment regime is less than 1%. If a newly infected leprosy sufferer who had never previously been administered a multi-drug antibiotic regime came into a homeopathic hospital, and the doctor opts to treat the patient solely homeopathically rather than allopathically (or with both in conjunction), this constitutes malpractice by definition (professional negligence by act omission in which the practitioner deviates from accepted standards of practice leading to injury or death of the patient), and the doctor should be exposed to whatever the legal ramifications of malpractice are in the jurisdiction in which the action is taking place. If this entails jail time, so be it.

        Or let’s say the following: you are a homeopathic practitioner in South Africa with a pregnant woman infected with HIV. You know (or as a medical practitioner should know) that if the woman is put on a course of antiretrovirals for the duration of her pregnancy and given a caesarian section the risk of her baby being born with HIV will drop from 25% to about 1%. Yet you not only do not offer her antiretroviral therapy, but actively discourage her from taking it, suggesting that it will do more harm than good, and tell her that it will not affect the chances of her passing HIV onto her infant. Instead you offer homeopathic anti-HIV therapy. Neither do you counsel her to perform a caesarian section, as it would be unnatural. The woman gives birth to an HIV-positive baby 9 months later. It’s not clear that such an action is so grievous so as to fall under the legal rubric of medical malpractice (after all, 1 in a 100 women engaged in the medically accepted treatment norm for HIV pregnancies give birth to an HIV-positive infant anyway), but is this really what you mean by having an “open shop” in medicine?

  3. Thanks for your thoughts, David. You’re right, you can’t trust these Indians: what do they know of medicine? I apologise in advance for the very long reply… You are not for an integrated National Health Service, then, where a system of triage decides on a place for each therapy?

    This could only even be imagined if the “placebo based” therapies were recognised as having therapeutic effectiveness in certain areas, and consquently effective research strategies were designed to demonstrate in which sort of cases they have clinical effectiveness. I think we all agree more research is needed: http://www.bmj.com/content/321/7259/471.full.

    You rule out any kind of clinical effectiveness at all on the part of homeopathy, apart from what amounts to the psychology of suggestion, ruling out any reason for further research as well. This kind of a priori dismissal is common among those with a medical background, which may be your case too. I wonder, too, whether you regard acupuncture in the same light as homeopathy? My GP has done a training in acupuncture, but is sceptical about homeopathy. There’s no accounting for folks…

    I agree that in emergency medicine, such as cobra bite (you clearly don’t live in the UK anymore: we don’t have cobras here!) I would go with the best medicine on offer.
    I have worked in hospital casualty departments and on the anecdotal evidence of my own eyes only, conventional medicine is king in emergency medicine, and I would trust it first.

    In some acute cases of disease (acute diarrhoea, for example) homeopathy may act more quickly, and be cheaper to dispense than conventional medicine (Dr Jennifer Jacobs’ study of acute childhood diarrhoea in Nicaragua): many acute cases are routinely treated with homeopathy in Indian homeopathic hospitals. If huge numbers of acute patients were dying as a result, wouldn’t these hospitals be closed down? In others it might be conventional medicine. It is a shame that they do not keep and publish statistics. The R & D side of Indian homeopathic medicine seems to be very undeveloped.

    The Cuban experience with leptospirosis with the homeopathic nosode of the disease (which was administered to over 2 million people) suggests a role, too, for homeopathy in the prophylaxis of acute disease. The annual autumnal epidemic of leptospirosis (which arrives like clockwork, and kills and maims) was effectively aborted by the administration of 2 doses of the homeopathic nosode of the disease, one week apart, to 2,500,000 people in Eastern Cuba.

    It is, of course, another example of the power of suggestion in drastically reducing morbidity. It would be good to see this study repeated year on year, especially as it appears to save lives.

    EBM is a bit of a curate’s egg, I’m afraid. Only 13% of conventional medical interventions are evidence based, as Dr Brian Kaplan has pointed out. And the goal usually symptom relief, not cure of the disease. The rest of it – the 87% of non evidence based conventional medicine – is based on fashion, what is perceived to work at the time (this may change), customary usage, and so on.

    These shift from decade to decade, because there are no underlying principles governing the treatment of disease, no logical foundation, and no philosophy of health and disease. In these areas homeopathy has rather a lot to offer conventional medicine, as Harris Coulter has pointed out. No form of medicine – conventional or alternative – and I include homeopathy, has the status of a science. Every doctor, including all the orthodox doctors, is part magician. It goes with the territory! Therefore faith in your doctor is, I assume, of material assistance in recovering health.

    No, of course, homeopathy, doesn’t work. People are so credulous aren’t they? Pigs, dairy cattle, dogs and cats apparently believe in homeopathy too. The power of suggestion is amazing, isn’t it? I’ve hear it suggested that the reason homeopathy appears to work well for dogs is the faith of the dog’s owner in the homeopathic vet!

    The credulity extends all over the world, to over 120 countries…and people who believe in it have mere stories for evidence, like these from a very senior and respected colleague, good stories, though (I’ve taken his name out in case the material is copyright, which seems unlikely as it is freely available online:

    “Questions and issues. How far can we go with homeopathy? Our textbooks have cases from the 19th Century which show our medical ancestors as saving lives. They helped people who were likely to die without their homeopathy. People were saved from epidemics of the scourges of humankind like scarlet fever, cholera, tuberculosis, typhoid and yellow fever. In the early 20th century there was a Red Cross homeopathic hospital in Paris during the First World War, where there were no limbs amputated from gangrene or infection . In the late 20th century a medical homeopath from Seattle, Jennifer Jacobs has shown the effectiveness of homeopathy in endemic potentially fatal diarrhoea in Nicaragua .

    Can we put our patients through the same processes? Is our alternative health service sufficiently developed for us to do likewise? Can we help with SARS? Anthrax? Ebola or West Nile Fever? Avian Flu? MRSA? Some people obviously think so.

    Do we need, like Peter Chappell, one of the illustrious founders of this Society, to break the mould and prescribe in a manner not known to Samuel Hahnemann?

    There was a scandal in Spain when I was still a student; thousands of people were seriously poisoned with adulterated and toxic rapeseed oil used in cooking. I was sure that homeopathy could help. I suggested that the Society offer our services and I was turned down. My own letter to the Spanish Embassy was ignored. A while later the positive results of homeopathic treatment by a local homeopath, Richard Ancarola, were published in the British Homeopathic Journal.

    Then there was Bhopal, and the Union Carbide poisoning. The late Dr Prakash Vakil was sure that the chemical poisoning victims could be helped by Chlorum which he diagnosed as the toxin from the symptoms.

    Can we afford to make mistakes? When life is at stake do we more than ever need a publicly accountable charter or state regulated register? Is it more important to refine the high standards of our single remedy homeopathy, or muddy the homeopathic waters in order for public recognition. Will we be better at curing folk if we are regulated?

    What do our patients feel when they are in danger and turn to homeopathy? Is it ethical to subject them to our treatment when their lives are in danger? Is it ethical NOT to offer our treatment when they are in danger? Where are the clinical studies which would justify confidence in our protocols? Have you ever watched Casualty on a Saturday night and speculated on how you would treat the patients? Or seen fictitious cases there which baffled you?

    I shall now refer to a number of smaller cases, and then three longer ones. Each appeared to be extreme in a different way.

    Small serious cases. When I was a homeopathy student I was told only treat first aid cases. I lived opposite a park with a playground and believe me, I saw some first aid until one day a drunken man was locked inside the park and impaled himself on the railings trying to climb out. All I could do was try and offer pain relief and stop the bleeding until the ambulance arrived.

    When a patient’s wife calls me to say her husband has eaten something (it transpired this was an aspirin) and his throat was closing up and he cannot speak and perhaps cannot breathe well, and is becoming worse rapidly, what should be done. I asked her to dial 999 and call an ambulance, and then, only then, to give him Apis 30c from their home remedy kit. She phoned a half hour later to thank me and say that they had cancelled the ambulance.

    I was phoned recently by a patient who had been stung by a wasp while on vacation in Greece. I had given him Apis 30c a year and a half previously, to always carry with him in case this happened as in the past he had been prone to anaphylactic shock. He swelled up, felt himself to be in danger, the air ambulance was scrambled (he was on an island) and took his Apis. The ambulance was cancelled as he recovered rapidly. He was very grateful and asked for another Apis to carry for the next time.

    In Calcutta I have seen Ficus religiosa, a locally proved remedy, used in severe bleeding after road traffic accidents. An Indian homeopath observed a dog eating the leaves and it coughed up blood immediately. I used it once when someone came into my home through the glass front door having omitted to open it first, and the bleeding stopped like turning off a tap.

    I have seen a patient with an acute episode of thrombocytopaenia and helped the blood loss immediately with Crotalus horridus. I came upon a builder working in my cellar having a heart attack and brought him back to consciousness with Latrodectus mactans. I saw a woman who had been bleeding for three weeks, which stopped in less than one hour with Ustilago maydis. You would have done the same.

    A toddler was brought to see me with her hand taped inside a polythene bag filled with a bactericidal ointment at the hospital following a severe burn. She had put her hand into an electric fire. I prescribed Arnica for her and her mother, and then Causticum for the pain. I wanted her to have poultices of Urtica and later Calendula but the mother feared to take off the bag. She had been told that this was the treatment for napalm burns in Vietnam. I saw her daily for a few days and then gave her Pyrogenium to hold for the weekend. Predictably the wound went septic and during a high fever the mother called me. Pyrogen did the trick, she took off the bag, and external and internal Calendula saved her from the need for skin grafts.

    I prescribed Hydrogen for a man who had gone bonkers. He was referred to me by a rabbi. He was a Jewish man and had become a sort of born again Jew. He grew his beard much longer than mine, side locks, black hat, all the uniform; he was praying too hard, he was fasting too hard and he was trying to get himself at one with his maker. He was overdoing it and he had been sectioned.

    Basically he was psychotic and I gave him Hydrogen 1M. I did not know if it would have made him worse or better, through lack of experience but it seemed the right remedy at the time. I do not often see people in a very psychotic state. It worked very well but the psychiatrist also went absolutely bonkers when he learned that the patient went off his normal medicine. Although the patient had actually calmed down, the psychiatrist did not look reality in the eye and they sectioned him again.

    A patient came to see me with barber’s itch. This is an infected ingrown hair follicle on the face. He also suffered with terrible spinal pain, especially on the coccyx following a road traffic accident, he was on painkillers (recently withdrawn as dangerous), and he had no hope of recovery. He had not thought to tell me of this. Hypericum cured both problems to his amazement.

    A male patient was referred to me with a perianal fistula which was worse following surgery, it had been sewn up at both ends and was now full of pus. The same patient had become impotent, explaining the symptoms in some detail which I can only describe as ‘bashful semen’. Silica released him from his symptoms and the next operation was cancelled.

    Within the NHS an immigrant male patient had had surgery 3 times for an abscess at the base of his spine, with another operation pending. He had active TB which he had brought with him from Africa. After Silica and Tuberculinum he was restored to health and the surgeon was baffled as another operation was cancelled.

    Sometimes I give the wrong potency. Can we afford to admit such a thing in public? I had a patient who came on a GP referral, for coughing blood . On taking the case, he was male and gay and HIV positive and he had chronic liver disease on which they had given up. He was indeed coughing and it was not a question of ‘organ support’, it was a question of selecting the correct remedy and I went through the case and decided on Carduus marianus, because it has pain on the left lobe of the liver which is near the centre of the abdomen, which is where his pain was, and because it has liver and lung symptoms. Chelidonium is the other lobe of the liver but has pain in the shoulder. So it was a careful choice. I gave him a 6c potency to take three times a day and nothing happened. I wanted a phone call from him very quickly for results. So, then I gave him mother tincture and it worked. I went to Clarke’s Materia Medica and thought hard about what was needed in this case and I gave him mother tincture. It was a chronic illness but the prescription had to work quickly.

    A small boy was referred to me by a GP friend. I was told that the child would be taken into care due to parental neglect if the parents did not follow my instructions. And that the child would need hospital if recovery was not rapid. Some little time earlier they had brought the child to the GP with whooping cough and announced that they would prefer homeopathic treatment with which he had agreed. But he did not realise they were working from a book only, and the child deteriorated. They thought he looked a little sleepy. I decided he was in a coma. He clutched at his parents yet rejected their affection. I prescribed Antimonium tartaricum which produced a fast recovery. Perhaps we are all at risk of accusations of neglect if our patients do not recover.

    A longer serious case. One day this patient felt unwell ‘in his tummy’. It went on for a week, apparently well indicated remedies failed to help and his lower abdomen carried on becoming more painful. He attended a committee meeting at which there happened to be present a medical doctor who was also a homeopath. “It is as if my left ovary is VERY inflamed,” he said, “I feel I am going to collapse, please look after me,” he said.

    The doctor cleared the room, laid out the patient on the committee table and examined him. He diagnosed a burst lower bowel, septicaemia, peritonitis, probably of diverticular origin. He did not wait for an ambulance, he asked someone to call the hospital to warn them, put the patient in his car and took him to the hospital. The diagnosis was confirmed, the medication prescribed was intravenous Metronidazole – which is an anaerobic bactericide (Flagyl) – and surgery.

    The patient refused surgery and medication. The hospital doctors’ reaction was to invoke the mental health legislation, to claim that the patient would be a danger to himself and others, and must be detained in the hospital against his will, and be forcibly subjected to the conventional treatment, not withstanding the known side effects of the drug and the aversion to surgery.

    Once the phlebotomist had taken a blood sample, (which later was shown to confirm a raised ESR), and while the psychiatrist was on his way to sign the detention order, the patient got dressed. He escaped, staggered out of the hospital and went home in a taxi.
    His wife said he looked grey and green by turns. He called his homeopath who said take the Flagyl. He called a medical friend who provided a prescription for a Flagyl suppository in case the homeopathy did not work.

    So which remedy was going to help an inflamed abdomen, with sepsis and rebound tenderness and guarding, pain, fever and collapse? The answer was Pyrogenium. Pyrogen was an unusual remedy in its creation, it was not lying around waiting to be proved. Drysdale of Liverpool took a half pound of lean beef and put it in a jar and left it for a week. It was boiled, strained and filtered, diluted and potentised. The patient needed only a few doses of a high potency before he looked merely pale. The toxicity was draining away.

    Recovery was helped by careful eating. China 200 was prescribed and recovery was rapid. Flagyl was not required. A month later he returned to the hospital for a check up and they said the diagnosis must have been incorrect.

    Is this how we can realistically care for our patients or are we putting their lives at risk? Are they scared of our treatment? Can we ask them without frightening them?

    That patient was me and I was very scared. But the homeopathic remedy did the trick. Is it realistic to scare our patients? Is it the illness that was scary or the need to trust homeopathy? I knew I had the right remedy. I think my wife, who is not a homeopath, must have been very worried.

    Getting stoned was not fun. Kidney stones and other lumps.
    One day in March 2002, I was at home with my two sons, aged 3 and 8. Suddenly, I was in extreme agony with pain in my back … or my side … or my backside. I couldn’t quite work out where the pain was coming from or what it was, and I hurt too much to be able to think.

    Screaming my head off. I was literally writhing on the floor screaming my head off. I also happened to be clutching my cordless phone. A friend called but I was in too much pain to speak. She hung up after listening to my screams for a few seconds and called an ambulance. The printer from the Society of Homeopaths called. I couldn’t speak to him either. He hung up and called the Society of Homeopaths office, and they called for an ambulance. A colleague heard about my plight and called to tell me to take Calcarea carbonica 30C every 15 minutes. He hung up and called an ambulance because I couldn’t speak and was still screaming my head off. My older son pressed the emergency button by the front door which alerts the local fire, police, and ambulance services. Luckily, the ambulance service was coordinated so only one ambulance came. A neighbour came to take care of the boys, and I ended up at the hospital still screaming and taking Calcarea carbonica 30C every 15 minutes.
    About two or three hours after this all began, the pain left me as suddenly as it had come. No hospital staff had paid me any attention until I stopped screaming. Then a doctor came by and asked me to pass urine into a glass bottle and we examined the results. With a naked eye we could see the pieces of stone. I was exhausted and shaken, and I rested for a few days. During that time, I read up on kidney stones and their homeopathic treatment. In New, Old and Forgotten Remedies (published in 1900), E.P. Anshutz wrote about his own spectacular, long-term cure of horrible kidney stones. “It is true, the most suitable homeopathic remedies afforded me relief,” he wrote. “The incarceration of calculi in the ureter especially was relieved by Nux; but they were unable to put a stop to the formation of calculi; this result was only attained by the preparation of Calculus renalis.” Calculus renalis is a homeopathic preparation of one of Anshutz’ own kidney stones.
    I decided to take Calculus renalis 30C once daily for three months, beginning in March.

    A sudden blow-up

    At the end of June 2002, I went to the annual Irish Homeopathic Conference in Galway, looking as if someone had just thumped me in the eye. A cyst in my eyelid had become inflamed just 24 hours before I was due to travel. I’d had this cyst for 25 years; every year or so it would gradually fill up with pus, and after a remedy like Staphysagria, it would burst and drain, but there was always a small, hard lump remaining. This time, my eyelid had blown up suddenly. It was swollen, painful, and red. I took Apis 30C every 3 or 4 hours for a number of doses but it only palliated, relieving the swelling a little. Something was still there inside the underside of the lid. I took a few doses of Staphysagria 30C and it did nothing. So I visited an ophthalmic surgeon at the local hospital who slit the underside of the eyelid, and out popped some fragments of stone. I avoided her prescription of antibiotics, and it healed rapidly with dilute Euphrasia tincture and one dose of Staphysagria 200C.

    Stone-free

    I believe that as a result of taking Calculus renalis for three months, the calcified cyst in my eyelid cracked. There was no outlet for it though until the surgeon made a slit, and out it popped. Some months after this, I noticed that a couple of calcified lumps or arthritic nodules on my knuckles had become smaller. For years, I had not been able to wear my wedding ring because of them. Now I can wear the ring, and my knuckles are no longer painful. I also have not suffered another attack of kidney stones. This is not a huge length of time to believe I am free of kidney stones, but it is now a year and six months with not a hint of a problem in this area. I believe that there must be a similarity between calcifications wherever they may occur, and Calculus renalis has the potential to address them. Previous to my personal use of this remedy, I had prescribed it occasionally for patients with stones in the salivary glands. There was never a crisis or problem; the stones just got smaller and were reabsorbed.

    Reminder

    If you have stones, nodules, or calcifications, I suggest that you do not use this remedy at home. Instead, please consult a qualified homeopath to find the right constitutional remedy for you, one that will address the totality of your symptoms. I must not forget the effect of this on my older son, Eliezer, who turned 10 this past October. His response at the time was heroic but he was very upset afterwards to see his father in such pain. He needed his constitutional remedy, and still remembers the incident with a frisson of fear. His recent spectacular speedy recovery from mumps with a few doses of Jaborandi 30C has confirmed his confidence in homeopathy. My younger son Isaac, now just six and a half, seems not to have grasped the significance in the same way.
    Prescribing for family members; hospital borne infections.

    “My Son The Homeopath”!

    There are many pitfalls and ethical issues in prescribing for close members of one’s family and yet there are occasions when it is very necessary to do so. And it is a temptation to do so for one has a belief that one is doing one’s best for one’s child or parent, which of course can become a source of moral blackmail whether the prescription is successful or not. When is an emergency not an emergency? I have had occasion to prescribe for both of my elderly parents in recent years and I am now all too aware of the risks. One of these was for a hospital borne infection, something to which we must now all look forward?

    My mother in her late seventies had two major operations in quick succession, just one month apart. Six years previously, following a fall and a fractured femur she had a steel pin inserted and made a good recovery with the help of homeopathy. Six years later she required a hip replacement as her hip joints had worn differently from that time. She made such a good recovery from surgery with the assistance of Arnica montana that a month later she dislocated her new hip through over-activity! The second operation was too much for her and she declined rapidly with complications in the form of a urinary infection which did not respond to Septrin. On the contrary the Septrin seemed to weaken her and she could not eat.

    Her homeopath was on vacation and I was called in to advise. I found her at home looking thin and weak and I was at first unable to distinguish any unusual feature of her case or see the important core of what was to be cured. I was in despair and she was in despair. That was the issue and I quickly turned to Kent’s Repertory to the familiar rubric in the Mind chapter, Despair of recovery, and my eye alighted on a sub-rubric during convalescence. There was only one remedy listed, in the second grade of importance (of 3 grades), and that was Psorinum, a nosode of the scabies vesicle first proved by Hahnemann. This seemed at first to be unlikely,….. what other rubrics could I possibly find?….. and then I mused on her life. She had been young during the depression in Germany and had to take a wheelbarrow load of money to buy a loaf of bread. We had always to eat up all our food as children because of this, not to waste a scrap; and in her old age she was still as thrifty as ever though well enough provided for. She had a lifetime culture of poverty consciousness even now and this is part of the essence of Psorinum. It is listed as having a fear of poverty and a lack of reactivity. This was the remedy that I chose and administered in a 1M potency. “Oh I do feel better and I am so glad that you are a homeopath” she said.

    Her recovery was sustained.

    What a reaction! I was thrilled and on reflection chastened. Had she not recovered what could I have done? And since she did recover was it the remedy or was it the ‘my son the homeopath’ factor as I now call this variant of the placebo effect? Had the recovery not been sustained this may have been the case. We shall never know but she nevertheless goes from strength to strength.
    A couple of winters ago my father, in his early eighties, had an intractable troublesome cough which responded well to the ministrations of his homeopath and then relapsed. This happened a few times. He had done particularly well on Causticum I recall but it no longer held and yes, you guessed it. His homeopath was on holiday and this coincided with my visit. Prescribing was complicated by the need to discuss even intimate personal feelings in a loud voice as his hearing aid was only partially successful; he also has selective deafness, hearing what he wants and switching off what he does not want to hear. He is an active pipe smoker which of course colours everything. He seemed not only weak and weary but withdrawn and actually did not want company which made him definitely anxious and even exacerbated his cough. He was in his study most of the time and asleep a good deal. The cough chapter of Kent is full of the most common modalities which all coughs seem to have and I could not see what was troubling him.

    I joined him in his study after a siesta. I opened Phatak’s alphabetical Concise Repertory and looked at Company aggravates and Cough and there I found it: Cough aggravated from company, Ambra grisea. This unusual substance is made from the digestive fluid of the sperm whale (and not as is erroneously thought from its sperm, nor from amber which is Succinum). It is known as being good for the elderly and for those who are shy of public appearances; they cannot do anything in the presence of others. This is very true of my father at times. (It was thought that King George VI was given Ambra to help him with his anxiety at important public appearances). And the Ambra cough is hollow, spasmodic and barking and comes from deep in the chest. The remedy not only rapidly dealt with his cough but restored much energy and confidence. Here it was a different aspect of the ‘my son the homeopath’ problem. This was a wonderful prescription for my father which he richly merited for years and I had never before seen the need for it and I should have seen it. I was too close to him to perceive that which had to be cured.

    I am happy to have helped them celebrate their golden wedding in September 1990! I must mention that they have died in their 90s a few years ago.

    On the phone

    Among the most extreme prescribing which I undertake is working on the Homeopathic Helpline. I am talking with distant patients (or their parents or family members) whom I may never see. By no means all of them have called because their homeopath is not available. Many callers have never tried homeopathy before, and many are in serious trouble. It may be an accident, it may be childbirth gone wrong, it may be pneumonia, it may be suicidal depression or a psychotic state. They may have stopped taking allopathic medicines with no support. They may think they have flu but be in an advanced stage of whooping cough. On duty days I am on call from 9 am through midnight. There are slack periods but I must remain alert. I must know when to send them to their GP or accident and emergency department.

    Among recent calls was one which I recognised as a child with torsion of the testicles. I told the father to go to hospital now, to not wait for an ambulance, and to use Arnica afterwards if possible. He called a few days later to say thank you because I had been correct.

    We homeopaths offer a complementary service even if we have an alternative philosophy of health.

    I sent a woman to her GP to have her chest examined. When she called back and could tell me which lobe of her lungs were affected I could prescribe a remedy from her kit. Every home must have a kit. And she had an allopathic prescription in case the homeopathy did not work.

    Conclusion

    You will of course have helped your own patients in acute illness. What I am suggesting is that we must be prepared to work with more than just acute states, but the serious and life threatening extreme states of the 21st century at home and abroad. We need to be on the infectious diseases wards and in A & E departments. We must banish fear and hesitancy and get on with it.”

    I read Gimpy and Ben Goldacre and co. I like homeopathy sceptic sites: they tickle my sense of humour…But they are right to demand high evidentiary standards (one can’t take the six year Bristol Homeopathic Hospital study of several thousand patient outcomes seriously, for example). Goldacre I like because of his progressive political views, and his general manner in debate.

    I gather Goldacre has had hate mail from homeopaths, which I can’t understand, as he seems to be a very reasonable man. He is mistaken on the question of high quality evidence, however. It is there, not in huge quantities, it is true, but if you know where to look, and it is not widely available in the anglophone world, you can find it. The best research is coming from Europe, where homeopathy is well established, and practiced by medical doctors as a medical speciality of choice, their choice, and also of course the choice of their patients. It is not necessarily available in English. I read French, which is a help, as it gives me access to Belgian and French medical research published online (I also read Spanish, but I haven’t looked for the same in Spanish), but German would actually be a much more useful language in this area.

    This has been translated from the Italian, as an example of what does exist:
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=3hUBSaaTpIcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=signorini+bellavite&source=bl&ots=Rk4QI27xIR&sig=OR8CEYe49nLOan0oMQR9K66ADcc&hl=en&ei=U-uMTLeyBoOClAeQhZRg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBkQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

    The Emerging Science of Homeopathy: Complexity, Pharmacodynamics and Nanopharmacology, by Paolo Bellavite and Andrea Signorini.

    – good if you have a medical background. I managed to download the entire book for nothing from somewhere, but I don’t know where.

    I know I won’t make a dent in your scepticism, because “there’s nothing in the remedies, is there?” It’s like…religious faith, is it, but the other side of the coin?
    Do you think a belief system should get in the way of helping and healing, or deny choice to patients?

    I confess to not owning any religious faith myself…so we’ll leave the discussion there.
    I like to see evidence, too, and there’s not enough of it in my view.

  4. So let’s create some more, using protocols that rule out observer bias and false positives.

    Here’s some more, if you really want to follow up scientific evidence for something that, religiously, you don’t believe in anyway.

    http://hpathy.com/homeopathy-book-reviews/homeopathy-the-scientific-proofs-of-efficacy-2/ Italian research.

    And

    Dr David Reilly, The Evidence for Homoepathy:

    http://www.adhom.com/adh_download/evid82.PDF

    Is Homeopathic research reproducible?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7983994

    The arrogant sceptics are on the march in other domains, too. And scientism is their God. As an agnostic I liked this, too…the physicist Russell Stannard on Stephen Hawking’s latest pronouncements:

    “That philosophy of Hawkings is precisely the one I am trying to counter. His views, as reported, are a perfect example of what is called scientism: that science is the only route to knowledge and, ultimately, we’ll have a complete understanding of everything.
    That is nonsense, and I think it’s dangerous nonsense, because it makes scientists sound exceedingly arrogant. It’s all very well saying the universe came about as a result of spontaneous creation due to M theory, but that raises the question: where did M theory come from? Why ARE there intelligible physical laws?”

    Agnosticism, rather than militant scepticism, re homeopathy would be a far more democratic attitude on your part. Goldacre has never studied homeopathy and has never sat in on a clinic, week after week. And yet he pronounces, carefully avoiding the body of evidence that suggests homeopathy is a very effective therapeutic modality…Clever stuff, Ben!

    You don’t know one way or the other, so don’t assume. I remain agnostic about God, rather than atheist, and I don’t want to persecute believers. Dawkins is an arrogant man, I’m afraid. He’s welcome to his views, but he should stick to what he’s good at. Evolution works.

    I am a passionate secularist, however. Any invasion of religion into the public sphere, such as education, should be resisted.

  5. http://homeopathyresource.wordpress.com/

    Looks like a good resource too, David.

    Tons of stuff on there on the power of “placebo” and “psychological suggestion…”, from double blind placebo controlled trials, too…

    I could engage with you about the science but it would take too long. Suffice it to say for the moment that homeopathic provings (=drug tests) are repeatable under double blind conditions, i.e. they produce the same results, alterations in sensation and function, in different groups of provers. Information from provings of a given medicinal agent (or “remedy” in the jargon) is backed up by clinical results. Clinical use of the medicinal agent over time adds to the knowledge of its sphere of action in human disease gained from provings.

    What could be more scientific than that? It’s a virtuous circle. We already know the sphere of action of a medicinal agent before we use it in disease. Compare this level of predictability with the unpredictability in the Controlled Clinical Trial, the Gold Standard of conventional medicine: free download of the book here: http://www.consumercide.com/metamedicine.html under the section on Harris Coulter.

    Real science is repeatable. Conventional medicine is full of unknowables, because conventional medicine has no reliable, safe, repeatable way of ascertaining the action of medicinal agents on human subjects. So doctors live in fear of “idiosyncrasy”, i.e. idiosyncratic reactions to medicinal agents, ranging from anaphylactic shock and death to asthma, anxiety reactions…well, you name it really…Thalidomide, Vioxx, innumerable others…

  6. jen hb says:

    I have used Homeopathy since my daughter was a baby for some pretty serious illnesses with great success. I have also used it successfully on my horses………please explain how animals and babies are able to respond to a placebo…….. they have no knowledge of what they are being given………..unless the energy of intention from oneself to heal is then the healer………which is powerful in itself!

    I think all this debate about it being a placebo is just another way main stream medicine/thinking/ tries to breakdown peoples confidence in successful complimentory treatments that seem to have great success, thank goodness there are free thinking people out there who go by what works for them!

    its a remarkable healing modality that confounds scientists and laymen alike, yet it shouldn’t as its as simple to understand as breathing!

  7. logiclad says:

    Jen HB

    To pick up on some thing you said that is a personal bug bear of mine. Why are the people who demand actual evidence close minded while those who refuse to revaluate there own postions despite the evidence open minded? Anecdotal evidence is only useful as a guide to what is worth investigating, particularly when it comes to treatment efficacy. Large scale double blind tests have shown that homoeopathy works no better than a placebo, if a new main stream drug performed the same it would not be approved.

    The main danger of such treatments is that people are so convinced it will work that they fail to get proper treatment for serious conditions. Homoeopathy is probably as good as any other cold remedy, non of them really do that much however I would suggest if you have AIDS, retrovirals are likely to do you more good than a small bottle of water.

  8. But, logiclad, the evidence IS there. OK, so homeopathy performs inconsistently in double blind placebo controlled trials for designated, allopathically named diseases. Making homeopathy perform consistently in these trials on off-the-peg diseases, not designed for homeopathy, which is individualised medicine, is like trying to stuff Aladdin back in his lamp!

    If you use one remedy, you’re either prescribing isopathically (http://www.amacf.org/2006/07/the_homeopathic.html) or on disease names, vide Rhus Tox in arthritis trials. Either way you are not doing homeopathy justice, and if you use a range of individually prescribed medicines for a named condition, your double blinding, controls and methodology must be good. It can be done.

    Homeopathy also happens, in the hands of good practitioners, to perform more safely as well as better at its job of healing the sick than comparable conventional medical procedures in the domain where it is king: chronic disease. And detoxification: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1375236/

    Conventional medicine is brilliant, in its way, and I for one wouldn’t be without it.

    But neither would I be without homeopathy in my life.

    If the Belladonna placebo effect consistently, and much faster than aspirin or Calpol, brings down high fevers in animals, children and babies presenting Belladonna symptoms, I’m ok with that.

    All hail the placebo effect, even more powerful than conventional medicine!

    What mother of young children would be without Belladonna 30 and 200 in the bathroom cabinet if she knew about it?

    All you SCEPTICS out there, please CONDUCT A LITTLE HOMEOPATHIC DRUG RESEARCH ON YOURSELVES, by taking Belladonna 30 t.d.s. for a month.

    Then get back to me.

    The little white sugar pills “don’t do anything”, right? They contain “no active ingredient”, right?” THEN NO HARM CAN COME TO YOU. So, Mr Ben Goldacre and logiclad, gimpy and all the others you can take Belladonna 30 t.d.s. for a month, and no harm with come to you, just a tiny chink of dawning enlightenment…it won’t cost you much, either!

    Better still, organise a group of 30 to 50 homeopathy sceptics (shouldn’t be hard finding them!), and give half (unbeknown to them) Belladonna 30 t.d.s. for a month, and the other half (unbeknown to them) placebo lactose pills. You will need a supervisor, who will not know which group has been given what, and director, who will know. Get each participant to keep a daily dairy of physical, mental and emotional states thoughout the experience. Then compare the diaries of the two groups. Homeopathy is a fraud! Yeah, pull the other leg, Frederick!

    As for the evidence on REAL CURES OF FATAL CHRONIC DISEASES BY HOMEOPATHY ALONE: you just have to know where to look for it. Dr Ramakrishnan (http://www.drramakrishnan.com/cancer.php), physician to the President of India has treated thousands of cases of cancer with homeopathy alone, with high 5 year survival rates: http://excalibur.110mb.com/cancerstats.htm

    I don’t know, but if that’s the result of the placebo effect, gimme some!

    Cancer surgery is great! I’d go with surgery. My sister had surgery for a frontal lobe malignant tumour. She couldn’t speak much for the two and a half years following surgery, maybe 50 words or so, but the words came out scrambled, and newspapers became illegible for her, mere word salads. Then she died. I wouldn’t deny her those two and half extra years. I THINK it was still my sister there, even if her behaviour had changed a lot.

    But the other stuff in oncology: PASS, personally. I’d rather DIE. Anyone else is welcome to it, ALL of it.

    (Dr Quack is a rightwing US Libertarian and Pro-Life Palin and Ron Paul supporter, but his homeopathy site is full of fascinating stuff: http://www.moleculardyne.com. He has the LONGEST LIST OF SCIENTIFIC REFERENCES VALIDATING HOMEOPATHY AND NANOPHARMACOLOGY ANYWHERE ON THE WEB).

    Conventional doctors and the science community can fulminate all they want, but how would YOU cure a glioma with internal medicine alone?

    Prayer?

    Well, you might be onto something there anyway…

  9. logiclad says:

    For a treatment to be efficacious it must be reliable, but you admit that homoeopathy is not.

    As to the personal touch, i agree that there is a lot to be said for the extended kind of consultations that are typical of complementary medicine, i mean who dosn’t feel better after having a good moan to a sympathetic ear, i know i do. and there is a lot to be said for a calm authoritative voice telling you that they understand your problem and can make it better. but that is what is helpful about a homoeopathic consultation, not the hyper dilute solutions or sugar pills.

    At the base of it, the problem i have with homoeopathy is one one of plausibility, the whole ‘like cures like’ and ‘the more dilute the stronger’ concepts. They go against several hundred years of recorded results. At the time that homoeopathy was invented then a friendly voice and reassurance was as good if not better than the contemporary medicine, however evidence based medicine has moved on, homoeopathy is still stuck in the mid 18th century.

    A cheaper version of your test is one proposed by Le Canard Noir at quackwatch.com simply get one homoeopath to make up a range of tinctures and then get another one to identify them, with the usual blinding of particiapants. If the second homoeopath can get significantly above chance on the identifications then i will happily except there is more to it than i give it credit, Le Canard Noir is even offering a prize for a demonstration under his test conditions. you could make some cash.

    Evidenced based medicine is by no means perfect, there is plenty that it currently can’t do, however it is still better than every other system that has been tried.

    And no I dont believe in prayer, it makes little sense to me as the sympathetic magic that is at the core of homoeopathy.

    Oh and i had a look at the links. While interesting i always take websites with no actual reference’s on them with a pinch of salt, i guess that’s why i call myself a sceptic

  10. Logiclad scepticism is an utterly rational position! I am agnostic on the efficacity of prayer as well. It was all they had in the Middle Ages against Bubonic plague, wasn’t it? Scepticism is where ANYONE would come from on homeopathy…simple common sense would tell you it’s a load of BOLLOCKS! Homeopathy is highly implausible…I went into studying it from a position of complete and utter scepticism myself. It not only smelled like nonsense, it looked like nonsense too! Even months into study I thought “why am I bothering with this self-evident RUBBISH?”

    And this is the case of many conventional medical doctors (shamans wielding pharmaceuticals – the sympathetic magic side of the doctor’s role is powerful, too). And then we use homeopathy, unbelieving at first, and gradually we change our minds. Where did I say it was unreliable? Nothing works all the time, not even antibiotics in pneumonia. Both systems have their place. And neither does homeopathy. It’s not miracle voodoo and it’s not a cure-all, but it has a place in the practice of medicine, perhaps a small one, but a place, as has been shown in homeopathy’s 200 year history, often down but never out, and not easily reproducible generation to generation.

    And homeopathy represents a nice unity of theory and practice, absent elsewhere in the field of medicine. On the other hand homeopaths are a notoriously disputatious lot when it comes to best practice and what works well.

    We deal with disease with the best tools we have. The conventional doctor is much better armed than he was 100 years ago, too. We have science to thank for this.

    I expect you wanted the reports by Dr A U Ramakrishnan on his work with cancer to be fully peer reviewed by the Indian Medical Association, understandable but no can do. Dr. Reilly’s work in Scotland is hard to confute or refute.

    I may answer your other points tomorrow. It’s late now.

  11. Not “open shop”, David. I suggested triage. Not sure how that would work in practice in a hospital. As a first step the evidentiary basis (historical, statistical studies of results from homeopathic treatment in major fatal epidemics, scientific evidence for the bioactivity of ultramolecular doses, clinical results in chronic diseases, clinical results in acute diseases) for homeopathic medicine has to be accepted, and it isn’t. Clearly it isn’t good enough, yet…Or am I being naive?

    I’m not sure there is any route past the “dialogue des sourds” here.

    Triage in hospitals would see medically trained homeopaths and conventional docs taking on cases as triaged for suitability for treatment by one or the other system of medicine by a multi-disciplinary team. But this is la la land…In reality conventional medical thinking treats homeopathy as a freak, an outsider, and scarcely gives it a backward glance. The AMA was founded in the USA to fight the homeopaths, who even by the 1840s were taking too much business from the regulars.

    “Would you defend the right of a fellow user of homeopathy to treat their child’s diabetes with solely homeopathic treatment?”

    No, that wouldn’t be logical. I have no data on homeopathy and its success, or otherwise, in the treatment of diabetes. So no. Safety of the patient paramount: under any treatment routine diabetes needs close monitoring. I’ve never claimed to treat diabetes, either.

    But neither would I tell others what to do about their diabetes. If I suffered from cancer, let’s say prostate cancer (I’m writing as a fifty something male, so prostate cancer is a good bet), personally, I would choose surgery quite happily, and follow up homeopathic treatment – under GP supervision if that were possible – rather than chemo. I wouldn’t rule out radiotherapy either. But that is only my choice, and my body. I would never impose my choice on another.

    I’ll look at your other points in 24 hours. Interesting that you describe yourself as a medical libertarian, but talk about locking doctors up if they adopt certain treatment
    protocols. Maybe you are a libertarian with an authoritarian side. Or an authoritarian
    with libertarian tendencies…

    • David says:

      The AMA was founded in the USA to fight the homeopaths, who even by the 1840s were taking too much business from the regulars.

      I’m not familiar with the history of the AMA, but I have no love for them for rather more mundane, political reasons. They are a viperous and reactionary organization representing less than a fifth of practicing doctors in the United States, and they only (sort of) supported health reform very reluctantly at the last minute after participating in it’s functional gutting at the behest of insurance corporations. If it had been a truly nationalized health care proposal, they would have fought it tooth and nail. Though I probably agree with their position on Homeopathy, as far as I am concerned, the AMA is about fattening the pocketbooks of it’s member doctors, not about the welfare of patients.

      Interesting that you describe yourself as a medical libertarian, but talk about locking doctors up if they adopt certain treatment protocols.

      I described a particular course of treatment that I feel would constitute malpractice as it is legally defined. As far as whether or not incarceration is appropriate, I accept that I was too hasty in passing absolute judgement as to what an adequate legally sanctioned punishment should be in the scenario (perhaps influenced somewhat by the ridiculous excesses in sentencing of my native legal system), and instead I hereby change my mind and state that I would defer to the decision of a (more or less) enlightened legal system on the matter.

      You really think, though, that a Christian Science practitioner (or homeopathic practitioner, or allopathic practitioner, or really anyone who markets themself as a healer of men) who sits “bedside for the last five hours” of the life of an 11 year old child “as he lay[s] in a diabetic coma,” observing “his vomiting, labored breathing, excessive urination, facial spasms, and clenched teeth,” electing in the meantime to “give him drops of water through a straw and to tie a sandwich bag and washcloth around his scrotum … not call[ing] for [allopathic] medical help or ask[ing] his mother to obtain it” deserves no legal repercussions?

      On a side note, I would more accurately categorize myself as a “body libertarian” rather than a medical libertarian, although medical libertarianism would be a logical conclusion of body libertarianism. I think that (in principle at least) people have sovereignty over their physical body, and should have the right to put whatever they want into it (including any chemical or drug or poison), and they ultimately have the right to suicide as well (I would probably institute legal requirements for suicide by healthy individuals however, to demonstrate a sound state of mind).

      I actually didn’t really mean to respond to you so soon, as I haven’t yet read or fully ruminated upon all the material you posted previously, but emotion took a hold of me when I read your Hitler-Marley response. So then, until next time.

  12. Peebs says:

    “Better still, organise a group of 30 to 50 homeopathy sceptics (shouldn’t be hard finding them!), and give half (unbeknown to them) Belladonna 30 t.d.s. for a month,”

    I’ll assume that Belladonna 30 is one tablet and a month is 28 days (28/7 0r 4/52 in medical speak)
    So 1 t.d.s x 4/52= 84 tablets.

    I’ll meet you where you wish, I’ll buy said tablets and, in the presence of as many witnesses as you wish to muster I’ll take or (you seem to like medical terms), ingest the lot. At once. All at the same time.

    I’m happy for you and your followers, and any other sceptics (you’ve stated they shouldn’t be hard to find) who wish to join me to observe any side effects I may, or may not suffer.

    “As for the evidence on REAL CURES OF FATAL CHRONIC DISEASES BY HOMEOPATHY ALONE: you just have to know where to look for it. Dr Ramakrishnan (http://www.drramakrishnan.com/cancer.php), physician to the President of India has treated thousands of cases of cancer with homeopathy alone, with high 5 year survival rates:”

    So you’re saying homeopathy can cure cancer?
    Just a simple yes or no will suffice. But I suspect I won’t get that simple answer.

    To summerise.
    1. I’ll meet you and eat any of your ‘snake oil’. You give me the date and time.
    2. I want a yes or no answer as to whether homeopathy cures cancer (but a pound to a pinch of poo says I won’t get it).

    Peebs

    • Are you in the UK? Then we can meet. On homeopathy and science, you could try reading Homeopathy: Good Science, by Peter Adams.

      Homeopathy and cancer. No you will not get a simple answer!

      “Yes homeopathy cures cancer. All cancer. At all stages, 1, 2, 3, and 4.”

      How ridiculous! What utter nonsense!

      And neither would any medical doctor in his right mind give a simple answer either.

      Does conventional medicine cure cancer? What we can say about conventional medicine with reasonable certitude is that, in the presence of no other treatment but conventional medicine, the 5 year survival rate for certain cancers, when caught early enough, is quite good. So we can assume that conventional medicine has some beneficial effect in cancer. But what is cure anyway? This isn’t cure, it’s 5 year survival rates. Survival and cure are not the same thing. Cancer is protean. It returns.

      Does homeopathy cure cancer? As with the answer for conventional medicine and cancer, I think we can give a definitive”no”. Neither conventional medicne nor homeopathy cure cancer. To proclaim otherwise is simple foolishness.

      All we can say of homeopathy and cancer is that, where cancer cases have received homeopathic treatment and no other form of treatment, certain types of cancer do well under homeopathic treatment and the five year survival rates for those cancers is quite high, and that tumours recede (get smaller and disappear) under homeopathic treatment alone. Ditto for radiotherapy and chemotherapy, more toxic treatments that also “work” in some cases! Am I claiming homeopathy cures cancer? Definitely not, any more than conventional medicine does.

      Have some cancer patients had homeopathic treatment alone of their cancer and emerged with health improved? Definitely. Can this be defined as cure? No. Have some cancer patients survived conventional medical treatment of their cancer and emerged with their overall health improved? I expect so. Is this cure? Unlikely.

      A U Ramakrishnan’s work with cancer has not been peer reviewed by conventional doctors (Ramakrishnan is a conventionally trained doctor himself). The reason? We can only theorise. If conventional medics (such as yourself?) have an a priori dismissal of homeopathy as “snake oil” then they are not going to investigate Ramakrishnan’s work with cancer. So no peer review, evidently.

      What is the conventional medical world’s attention span with claims like those of Dr. Ramakrishnan, elaborated in his 250 page book?

      Ten seconds? Less? You could be missing something important….

  13. “The little white sugar pills “don’t do anything”, right? They contain “no active ingredient”, right?” THEN NO HARM CAN COME TO YOU. So, Mr Ben Goldacre and logiclad, gimpy and all the others you can take Belladonna 30 t.d.s. for a month, and no harm with come to you, just a tiny chink of dawning enlightenment…it won’t cost you much, either!”
    This is part of my comment, Peebs. Now let’s look at your response:

    “I’ll assume that Belladonna 30 is one tablet and a month is 28 days (28/7 0r 4/52 in medical speak) So 1 t.d.s x 4/52= 84 tablets. I’ll meet you where you wish, I’ll buy said tablets and, in the presence of as many witnesses as you wish to muster I’ll take or (you seem to like medical terms), ingest the lot. At once. All at the same time.”

    Evidently you are not proposing to do the same thing. A little lapse of attention, perhaps? Do you suppose that swallowing 84 tablets of Belladonna 30c all at once is the same thing as taking Belladonna 30c t.d.s. for a month? What presuppositions would lead you to presume they are one and the same action?

    I am fascinated by science. See my post on global warming, above. Is the proposal that GHGs cause atmospheric global warming fully testable and verifiable? No. However there is a considerable body of evidence now that there is a causal link between the additional GHGs (Greenhouse Gases) of human origin, and the current round of global warming. Call anthropogenic global warming a working hypothesis, if you like, with evidence from the subject areas of atmospheric physics, geology,paleoclimatology, and carbon dating increasingly backing it up.

    The Law of Similars is also a working hypothesis in medicine which is receiving confirmation in various scientific disciplines. The question of dosage, by the way, is secondary. Homeopathic medicine can be practised using material doses. Some homeopaths never ventured beyond the realm of the material: the British homeopaths Cooper and Hughes, for example. But they were using the working medical hypothesis of the Law of Similars. Because it works and is verifiable. Again and again and again.

  14. logiclad says:

    Jacob

    It is a matter of simple logic that if 1 pill of something will have an effect then 2 will have more of an effect, hence necking a bottle of pills with have a larger effect. so if the homoeopathy has any effect it would be magnified by taking a large number of pills.

    The law of similars is sympathetic magic, nothing more, nothing less. do you not think that medicine for the 21st century should be based on reason, not magic.

    • “It is a matter of simple logic that if 1 pill of something will have an effect then 2 will have more of an effect, hence necking a bottle of pills will have a larger effect. so if the homoeopathy has any effect it would be magnified by taking a large number of pills.”

      I’m unconvinced about this. If homeopathic pilules contain, as is theorised by Bellavite and Signorini, a energetic signal distinctive of the material (mineral, animal, or vegetable) from which the preparation came, then repeating the energy signal several times a day over a long period is likely to have a greater effect than downing a whole bottle of the preparation all at once… I know sceptics hate it and start shouting “Voodoo!” when they hear the term “energy medicine” being applied to homeopathy, but if it it IS anything at all, homeopathy is highly unlikely to be anything else than a form of energy medicine, in the same category as acupuncture (about which I know nothing).

  15. Peebs says:

    My challenge remains extant. I’ll meet and, in front of you and your credulous friends will take said 84 tablets. Or should I overdose and take 42?

    “I am fascinated by science. See my post on global warming, above. Is the proposal that GHGs cause atmospheric global warming fully testable and verifiable? No. However there is a considerable body of evidence now that there is a causal link between the additional GHGs (Greenhouse Gases) of human origin, and the current round of global warming. Call anthropogenic global warming a working hypothesis, if you like, with evidence from the subject areas of atmospheric physics, geology,paleoclimatology, and carbon dating increasingly backing it up.”

    That has to be the most awesome strawman I have ever encountered. I don’t even think it’s fair to call it a ‘strawman’.

    Edward Woodward was burned to death in an 40 ft effigy made from straw in a movie called ‘The Whicker Man’

    You have have just presented us a whicker man.

    “The Law of Similars is also a working hypothesis in medicine which is receiving confirmation in various scientific disciplines. The question of dosage, by the way, is secondary. Homeopathic medicine can be practised using material doses. Some homeopaths never ventured beyond the realm of the material: the British homeopaths Cooper and Hughes, for example. But they were using the working medical hypothesis of the Law of Similars. Because it works and is verifiable. Again and again and again.”

    That is just pseudocientific bollocks
    If Cooper and Hughes used the medical hypothesis of the law of similars (which, as far as I’m aware doesn’t exist) and it works and it is verifiable then verify it!
    If it’s a medical hypothesis (as you’ve stated) then it must be verified by medical standards. You know what those standards are don’t you.

    Double blind, verifiable and peer reviewed.

    Peebs

  16. Peebs says:

    1″All we can say of homeopathy and cancer is that, where cancer cases have received homeopathic treatment and no other form of treatment, certain types of cancer do well under homeopathic treatment and the five year survival rates for those cancers is quite high, and that tumours recede (get smaller and disappear) under homeopathic treatment alone.
    2″ Ditto for radiotherapy and chemotherapy, more toxic treatments that also “work” in some cases! Am I claiming homeopathy cures cancer? Definitely not, any more than conventional medicine does”

    1. Prove it. You know the routine, Double blind, peer reviewed and the rest of the boring sciency stuff.

    2. Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy have been proven to work using the scientific method (Double blind etcetera).
    It is not successful in all cases due to a combination of; type of Ca, how advanced or whether metastases have developed.
    These treatments are still used because they work. Not in all cases but the proof is in survival rates and advanced diagnostics.
    Now give me your evidence that homeopathy is as effective.
    Oh. You can’t because you state
    “A U Ramakrishnan’s work with cancer has not been peer reviewed by conventional doctors (Ramakrishnan is a conventionally trained doctor himself). The reason? We can only theorise. If conventional medics (such as yourself?) have an a priori dismissal of homeopathy as “snake oil” then they are not going to investigate Ramakrishnan’s work with cancer. So no peer review, evidently.”

    “(Ramakrishnan is a conventionally trained doctor himself).”
    So what? he’s making lots of money from pills and potions with no proven (see above) active ingredients.

    I’m staying with family in Essex at the moment but usually live in Portsmouth but anywhere you’d like to meet I’ll be there.
    One caveat though. I’ll buy the ‘remedies’ in a shop. After all, you’d hate the tablets to have a positive effect and me tell you that it’s because you’ve added something to them.

  17. Jacob Bauthumley says:

    Peebs, you’re either extremely stubborn or you have the mind of a nematode.

    The latter seems unlikely.

    You cannot answer a simple question: vis “Do you suppose that swallowing 84 tablets of Belladonna 30c all at once is the same thing as taking Belladonna 30c t.d.s. for a month? What presuppositions would lead you to presume they are one and the same action?”

    I can meet you in Colchester on Monday 11th October (assuming you are still in Essex) at midday, but if you want to take my challenge you have to take the Belladonna 30c as specified, t.d.s. for a month. I shall be driving back from London on Monday.

    You may stop if you experience any discomfort, but you will not come to any harm.
    You use any preparation of Belladona, Nelson, Ainsworth’s, Helios etc

    Proving a drug used in medicine on healthy volunteers involves repetition of the dose.
    We are dealing with quality here, not quantity.

    While homeopathy can be practised with measurable material doses, 3x’s, 6x’s, 1c, 2c, and mother tinctures,

    Why has conventional medicine not recognised the law of similars? After 200 years…what is wrong with it? Why is it so dense?

    Should we not use all the arms at our diosposal?

  18. My mobile no. is 07984726811. I f Colchester’s not convenient then name another Essex town, and let’s meet.

  19. Peebs says:

    Jacob,
    It’s easier to cut and paste your last in full and reply and reply paragraph by paragraph.

    Peebs, you’re either extremely stubborn or you have the mind of a nematode.
    The latter seems unlikely.

    Why am I ‘extremely stubborn’? I may be persistent in asking for evidence but to me, belief without that evidence is ‘Faith’.
    I like to think I have a mind slightly further evolved than a worm and appreciate your observation.

    You cannot answer a simple question: vis “Do you suppose that swallowing 84 tablets of Belladonna 30c all at once is the same thing as taking Belladonna 30c t.d.s. for a month? What presuppositions would lead you to presume they are one and the same action?”

    A fair point. I didn’t answer that. If I may answer a question with a question.
    If I take an ”allopathic” medicine which has been prescribed ‘tds’, ‘bd’ or ‘pc’, ‘ac’,’ nocte’ or ‘ mane’, choose to ignore the recommended regime and take all the drugs at once it’s a fair bet I’ll suffer an adverse reaction. Even antibiotics will give a good dose of the shits at best.
    If I take any of yours I wouldn’t expect any reaction.
    In fairness you didn’t give an answer to whether I’d be overdosing if, rather than taking 84 tablets, I took 42.

    I can meet you in Colchester on Monday 11th October (assuming you are still in Essex) at midday, but if you want to take my challenge you have to take the Belladonna 30c as specified, t.d.s. for a month. I shall be driving back from London on Monday.

    I’m happy to meet you in Colchester and not only take one tds for a month but I’ll also take a booster dose of those 84 tabs in front of you.
    You may stop if you experience any discomfort, but you will not come to any harm.
    You use any preparation of Belladonna, Nelson, Ainsworth’s, Helios etc.

    I’m quite aware that I will not come to any harm with any of your preparations

    Proving a drug used in medicine on healthy volunteers involves repetition of the dose.
    We are dealing with quality here, not quantity.

    You come so close to the scientific method here. Except you forgot the double blind peer reviewed stuff.

    While homeopathy can be practised with measurable material doses, 3x’s, 6x’s, 1c, 2c, and mother tinctures,

    How often is that done?

    Why has conventional medicine not recognised the law of similars? After 200 years…what is wrong with it? Why is it so dense?

    Because, after 200 years, it hasn’t been proven. Remember it’s up to you to prove it and in 200 years you’ve failed

    Should we not use all the arms at our diosposal?

    Only proven ones. Would you be happy visiting me with an ailment and I,
    a; slaughtered a goat and read its entrails or,
    b; threw some chicken bones to aid in a diagnosis?
    As soon as medicine is proven it ceases to be ‘Alternative’.
    You practice alternative medicine.

    Peebs

  20. Reality Check says:

    Someone should bring a camera.

  21. Peebs says:

    My apologies to all, especially Jacob. I awoke on Saturday morning with a dental abcess the size of the Isle of Wight!

    If we could rearrange, the 28th would be good. I’m taking good old tried and tested allopathic stuff at the moment.

    Peebs

  22. Hi Peebs,

    My sympathies! I hope the a/bs resolve it, as they surely will after a week. We didn’t make a firm arrangement as to a meeting point in Colchester, and so I didn’t go.

    I wrote you a long reply to your points last Friday night, suggesting we meet at the entrance to Colchester Castle, but the battery died on the laptop and I lost the lot!

    I don’t feel particularly inclined to reprise it now.

    Sorry to hear about the dental abscess. I’ve had one. I was in agony for days. I took a/bs – probably not for long enough – and they did help a bit, but what really knocked the molar abscess on the head incredibly fast, and relieved the pain in a minute or two, after which the abscess resolved in hours and never returned to bother me, was Bryonia Alba (wild hops) 200c, one dose. I am still a bit in awe of that particular placebo effect! Other dental abscess homeopathic medicines had been tried (Mercurius Solubilis, Phosphorous, Hepar Sulphur), too, and had had absolutely no effect.

    I don’t know what I’m doing on the 28th, yet. Staying put in Norwich, I think. My girlfriend’s coming up.

    I only suggested that you are stubborn – an admirable quality in a person of the male gender, by the way – because I felt there was a bit of apriorism going on on your part: unless you actually try Belladonna 30c tds for a month – around 90 doses – you cannnot say a priori and with absolute certainty that the effect – nul, nihil – will be the same – nul, nihil – as taking a whole bottle of the same all at once, in a single dose. Are 90 infinitesimal doses spread over a month identical to 90 doese taken all at once? It remains an assumption, an assumption based on the perception on your part that there is nothing bioactive in the preparation in the first place.

    It’s raw empiricism, and not remotely scientific (no controls, for example, and you know the name of the medicine in advance, and so who knows what the power of suggestion can create in terms of symptoms?), but worth a shot as it may stimulate a bit of scientific curiosity if you actually go ahead with the – tedious, to be sure – ritual of Belladonna 30c t.d.s. for a month. If you do experience subjective changes you may want to to do some more research, on mice, perhaps. And if you don’t experience anything at all, the bets are off: “provings” of medicines on healthy human subjects are indeed perhaps a fantasy….as the medical profession has maintained for a very long time.

    I’ve decided to try and meet the homeopathy sceptics halfway, on their own ground.

    I bought Dr Ben Godacre’s book Bad Science in London at the weekend and shall read it carefully. I’ve got a deal of respect for Goldacre, having seen him in debate on video, and I like his progressive political attitudes. I am more inclined to listen to Goldacre than to some of the whitterings plus New Age, or other belief systems that issue from some – but not all – homeopaths.

    I don’t suppose Goldacre is at all keen on the changes the Con Dem Coalition are proposing for the NHS. Turning GPs into business managers of medical practices, for example.

    How about running an A & E department with volunteers from the Big Society? Street people, perhaps?

    They could be trained in a few weeks (meanwhile undergoing a mandatory drugs and alcohol detox) – given a fake paramedic qualification – and put to work in the casualty department of large general hospitals as unpaid auxiliary staff. The death rate would go up, of course, resulting in further financial savings for the NHS, though hospital mortuaries would have to cope with the extra workload…seems like a win/win situation, really, don’t you think?

    Never mind about patient care, it’s all about the profits!

    Dean Swift (of his scathing satire “A Modest Proposal For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public”) would have had a field day with the Big Society.

    Not that there isn’t something sound – the ideal of service to the community – at the heart of it.

    Never mind about patient care, it’s all about the profits!

  23. Peebs says:

    You’ve had a name change I notice. If you don’t mind I’ll continue callimg you Jacob. I don’t use a pseudonym, I really am known to all as ‘PB’ or Peebs.

    If you don’t mind I’ll address the points you’ve made in your last post later.

    By the way, are you a ‘practising’ homeopath or just an enthusiastic user?

    Peebs

  24. Jacob’s fine. Real name Paul. Abiezer and Jacob are both names of English Ranters from the English Revolution of the 1640s. Ranting is a fine English tradition!

    I have practised homeopathy in the past, and I do use it. I also use conventional medicine. Practising homeopathy is darned difficult, and it is darned difficult to make a living. I don’t think homeopaths are in it for the money, as there’s no money in homeopathy!

    Unless you work in Harley St, like Dr Brian Kaplan. It’s hardly surprising that only a few thousand medical doctors in the UK attempt to train in it. It’s so alien, too, to our normal way of thinking. I’m sceptical myself at times, certainly not a “true believer”. I like to debate with sceptics; that’s why I read gimpy.

    I don’t use any other voodoo (reflexology, etc), though I’ve tried psychotherapy and I’m not impressed. I may be wrong, but I am of the opinion, and I’m no doubt a philistine, that nine times out of ten a really good friend is as useful as a psychotherapist.

    I also consult a homeopath – someone I also trained with back in the 1980s – from time to time. She usually sorts me out if I’m unwell, as she did with the dental abscess. I was in her consulting room at the time when she gave me the Bryonia 200c. I was in such pain at the time that I had no desire to speak, and I’d come for a consultation on other health issues. Once the Bryonia placebo had worked, with amazing rapidity (I was taking a/bs anyway, plus strong painkillers dissolved directly on the tooth, and the latter were just numbing it a bit), we were able to get on with the consultation.

    I have a lot of time for my GP, too. He’s very good. I’ve been with him 25 years and we and we are the same age, so his kids are a similar age to mine. I went to him once complaining of slight deafness in the upper ranges (probably because I enjoyed loud bands like Hawkwind when I was younger), he tested my hearing, and he said it was normal for my age, and that he had the same thing.

    My son J– is training in medicine at St Georges, Tooting. I am envious, frankly. I should have read medicine, with homeopathy as an add-on later, but I read modern languages. I maintain an active interest in the scientific issues homeopathy raises, just because of its apparent “impossibility”.

    I wasn’t setting up global warming as a straw man. I was thinking analogically, but the analogy was very far fetched! Global warming sceptics annoy me far more than homeopathy sceptics. Have a look at the Global Warming post, above.

  25. Are you a doctor of medicine, by the way, or a medical student?

  26. Pingback: Disorderly Ranting on this and that | Jacobbauthumley's Blog

  27. Pingback: “Drunk and Disorderly: The Joys of Ranterism, and Other Topics,” by Jacob Bauthumley « Robert Lindsay

  28. Peebs says:

    Apologies for my silence. My tooth has finally eased.
    Amazingly I took nothing homeopathic. Or to put it another way I could have taken something homeopathic and taken nothing.

    I note you took antibiotics and painkillers for your for your dental problem but only noticed an improvement after a homeopathetic ‘cure’.

    I assume you gave the the antibiotics to work.

    I’m neither a doctor or a medical student by the way. I spent 30 years in the medical branch of the Royal Navy and have a fairly extensive knowledge of diagnostics and prescribing.

    Peebs

  29. Thanks for the personal info Peebs. So you are probably at least ten years older than myself, then, at 54. I am glad your tooth is better. No, at the time my homeopath intevened with Bryonia Alba 200c, I had not taken the antibiotics for the full week. And afterwards, I did not need them, because the infection cleared, rapidly. I know that you believe that this is impossible, so if it wasn”t the homeopathy, it must be an example of sudden and inexplicable remission from the agonising pain, which you know yourself, of a molar abscess. Medicine is full of unexplained remissions without medical intervention, and, according to you, that is why homeopaths are able to continue in practice, because some of their patients get better, anyway…

    I’ve pasted the text below from another blog. It seems to me that it behoves me now to educate myself in the application of the scientific method to medical practice. So I shall stop writing altogether and apply myself to the estimable Dr Ben Goldacre.

    In 1918 in the US there was a Spanish ‘Flu epidemic. Its natural mortality rate was 15%: 15% of all who got it, and remained untreated, died, usually from a rapid and extremely destructive pneumonia: I believe they called it fulminating pneumonia in the day. People who were vulnerable died very quickly, in 24 to 48 hours, or sooner.

    A doctor called W A Pearson, MD, studied the comparative mortality statistics for conventional treatment of the Spanish ‘flu, and conventional medical treatment of the same. There were a lot of active, medically trained homeopaths in the United States at the time.

    Results:

    Conventional treatment (over 24,000 cases of the Spanish ‘flu) : aspirin.

    Mortality rate: 30%, double the natural mortality rate. 30% of 24,000 cases.

    Homeopathic Treatment, (chiefly Gelsemium Sempivirens in this epidemic, and Bryonia Alba, with occasional recourse to Baptisia Tinctoria)

    Mortality rate: 1.05% over , 26,000 cases.

    No evidence for homeopathy, right. What bollocks!

    Placebo effect, obviously. The medical homeopaths who filed their cases reports were lying, obviously, all of them: more here – I’m going to paste the whole article in because hardly anyone in the States today is aware of this information:

    The New England Journal of Homeopathy
    Spring/Summer 1998, Vol.7 No.1

    The following is an extract of the chapter on the influenza epidemic of 1918 from Julian Winston’s upcoming history of homeopathy book-which does not yet have a title. Watch these pages for a review when it does come out. ed

    Influenza-1918: Homeopathy to the Rescue

    by Julian Winston

    It was called “the Great White Plague.” It is hard to imagine the devastation caused by the Flu Epidemic of 1918-19. People who lived through it reported that some one who was up and well in the morning could be dead by evening.

    Dr. H. A. Roberts was a physician on a troop ship at the time. Another boat pulled alongside to get any spare coffins- it’s mortality rate was so high. On his return to port, the commander said to Roberts, “used all your coffins?” To which Roberts, who had been treating his ship with homeopathy, replied, “Yes, and lost not one man!”

    The following is an extract from an article entitled “Homeopathy In Influenza- A Chorus Of Fifty In Harmony” by W. A. Dewey, MD that appeared in the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1920.

    Dean W. A. Pearson of Philadelphia collected 26,795 cases of influenza treated by homeopathic physicians with a mortality of 1.05%, while the average old school mortality is 30%.

    Thirty physicians in Connecticut responded to my request for data. They reported 6,602 cases with 55 deaths, which is less than 1%. In the transport service I had 81 cases on the way over. All recovered and were landed. Every man received homeopathic treatment. One ship lost 31 on the way. H. A. Roberts, MD, Derby, Connecticut.

    In a plant of 8,000 workers we had only one death. The patients were not drugged to death. Gelsemium was practically the only remedy used. We used no aspirin and no vaccines. -Frank Wieland, MD, Chicago.

    I did not lose a single case of influenza; my death rate in the pneumonias was 2.1%. The salycilates, including aspirin and quinine, were almost the sole standbys of the old school and it was a common thing to hear them speaking of losing 60% of their pneumonias.-Dudley A. Williams, MD, Providence, Rhode Island.

    Fifteen hundred cases were reported at the Homeopathic Medical Society of the District of Columbia with but fifteen deaths. Recoveries in the National Homeopathic Hospital were 100%.-E. F. Sappington, M. D., Philadelphia.

    I have treated 1,000 cases of influenza. I have the records to show my work. I have no losses. Please give all credit to homeopathy and none to the Scotch-Irish-American! -T. A. McCann, MD, Dayton, Ohio.

    One physician in a Pittsburgh hospital asked a nurse if she knew anything better than what he was doing, because he was losing many cases. “Yes, Doctor, stop aspirin and go down to a homeopathic pharmacy, and get homeopathic remedies.” The Doctor replied: “But that is homeopathy.” “I know it, but the homeopathic doctors for whom I have nursed have not lost a
    single case.” -W. F. Edmundson, MD, Pittsburgh.

    There is one drug which directly or indirectly was the cause of the loss of more lives than was influenza itself. You all know that drug. It claims to be salicylic acid. Aspirin’s history has been printed. Today you don’t know what the sedative action of salicylic acid is. It did harm in two ways. It’s indirect action came through the fact that aspirin was taken until prostration resulted and the patient developed pneumonia. -Frank L. Newton, MD, Somerville, Massachusetts

    Aspirin and the other coal tar products are condemned as causing great numbers of unnecessary deaths. The omnipresent aspirin is the most pernicious drug of all. It beguiles by its quick action of relief of pain, a relief which is but meretricious. In several cases aspirin weakened the heart, depressed the vital forces, increased the mortality in mild cases and made convalescence slower. In all cases it masks the symptoms and renders immeasurably more difficult the selection of the curative remedy. Apparently aspirin bears no curative relation to any disease and it ought
    to be prohibited. -Guy Beckly Stearns, MD, New York

    Three hundred and fifty cases and lost one, a neglected pneumonia that came to me after she had taken one hundred grains of aspirin in twenty-four hours. -Cora Smith King, MD, Washington, DC

    I had a package handed to me containing 1,000 aspirin tablets, which was 994 too many. I think I gave about a half dozen. I could find no place for it. My remedies were few. I almost invariably gave Gelsemium and Bryonia. I hardly ever lost a case if I got there first, unless the patient had been sent to a drug store and bought aspirin, in which event I was likely to have a case of pneumonia on my hands. -J. P. Huff, MD, Olive Branch, Kentucky.

    In reading the accounts of the epidemic it seems that most of the deaths were caused by a virulent pneumonia that was especially devastating to those who depressed their system with analgesics-the most common being aspirin.

    The physician from whom I first learned homeopathy, Raymond Seidel, MD, HMD, said that he decided to be a homeopathic doctor during the flu epidemic when he was working as a delivery boy for a homeopath in New Jersey. Raymond Seidel told me that he decided to become a homeopathic doctor when he was a ten-year old delivery boy for a local homeopath. He said, “I saw that the people who were taking aspirin were dying, about half those who were drinking a lot were dying, and those that received homeopathic remedies were living.”

    Yes, I know, 90 year old information. The conventional docs didn’t believe them then, the information quickly got ignored, or buried, and they don’t believe Dr A U Ramakrishnan’s stats on cancer treatement, over many thousands of cancer cases, now. No-one fom the conventional medical fraternity has bothered to investigate him? Why ever not? What to do? A skeptic is a skeptic is a skeptic: it doesn’t matter how much evidence you throw at them. It’s as bad as arguing the evidence for evolution with a religious believer: you are never, ever going to get anywhere.

    Look at this long list of scientific references in support of homeopathy, for example, going back to the 1920s: http://www.moleculardyne.com/

    See articles

    Scientific Research References Validating Homeopathy, Part I

    Scientific Research References Validating Homeopathy, Part II (expanded and ongoing list at http://www.Hpathy.com+ other articles)

    Homeopathy Research Center

    Dr. Quack’s Laser Reflection Experiments in Proof of Homeopathy.

    He does an interesting, but rather gruesome LD50 type experiment with fish and chlorine bleach, which of course kills the fish, and then demonstrates how far fewer fish die when exposed to the Homeopathic medicine, which I suppose in this case is Chlorum, a homeopathic preparation of Chlorine Gas. It is a highly repeatable, cheap experiment demonstrating the life saving efficacity of homeopathy, and the sort that lab techs love, because @ they get to kill animals and b) it’s repeatable ad infinitum until even the homeopathy skeptics have to throw up thier hands in despair and say:

    “We can’t understand it, but far fewer fish exposed to the chlorine bleach are dying in the tanks to which the homeopathic potency of Chlorum has been added. We can’t understand it. We’ve run the fish bleach mortality experiment again and again, and the results still come out positive in favour of homeopathy doing something.” AND FISH DON’T BELIEVE IN HOMEOPATHY. NEITHER ARE THEY SUSCEPTIBLE TO THE PLACEBO EFFECT.

    The 2005 Shang et al study in the Lancet, published as The End of Homeopathy, should never have been passed for publication. It is too late for me now to dig out a critique of the appallingly slipshod methodology of that tendentious paper. There is an earlier meta-analysis of double blind placebo controlled trials, dated 2000, I think, where homeopathy comes out better than the Lancet’s Shang et al paper.

    I have just bought myself a copy of Dr Ben Goldacre’s book Bad Science, now the homeopathy skeptics bible, though there are others, such as Suckered (I am sure I shall agree with a lot of what Goldacre has to say) and when I have gone through his chapter on homeopathy with a fine toothcomb, I shall challenge his interpretations. I’ll probably have nothing but agreement with much of what he writes on the fake nutritionists, etc, New Age healers, etc. He’s a good man.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s