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Another Damning Homeopathy Report

What will it take? That is the lingering question, one that has significant implications for the legitimacy and effectiveness of our professional and regulatory institutions.

Homeopathy is 100% pure nonsense. It is one of the so-called “alternative” medical systems that has absolutely no basis in reality. It is magic-based medicine. It is based on two-centuries-old pre-scientific ideas, bad guesses that turned out to be wrong.

The notion behind homeopathy is that illness is caused by a problem with the essence or life energy. Based on the idea of “like cures like” the homeopath must find a substance that is the match for the totality of symptoms, including personality traits and superficial details like eye color, and then give a magic potion which is created by diluting the matched substance out of existence – but the essence remains.

Homeopathy has no basis in medicine, physiology, chemistry, or even physics. It is one of the few claims about which I am willing to say, it cannot possibly work.

Unsurprisingly, when homeopathic products are tested in rigorous clinical trials, they don’t work. A review of systematic reviews of homeopathy concluded:

The findings of currently available Cochrane reviews of studies of homeopathy do not show that homeopathic medicines have effects beyond placebo.

The simple fact is that even after two centuries, and a renewed interest in research in the last few decades, homeopathy has not been demonstrated to work for any indication.

The only possible rational response to this state of affairs is to conclude that homeopathy is worthless and should be completely abandoned, relegated to the history of pseudoscience. Culture, belief and institutions, however, have inertia, and much like Sauron, even after scientific defeat, homeopathy was allowed to endure.

The worthlessness of homeopathy is not just my opinion or that of SBM. There have been exhaustive reviews of homeopathy that came to the same or similar conclusion. The best was the UK’s House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report: Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy. After an extensive investigation, and allowing homeopaths to make their best case, the committee concluded that homeopathy could not work, does not work, and should be completely abandoned.

There was also a later Swiss report that came to a different conclusion, that there is some evidence homeopathy works. The Swiss report, however, was a reaction to a previous Swiss decision against homeopathy. The committee was packed with homeopaths, and not surprisingly they put a positive spin on the review.

If you analyze the review you find that actually they came to the same conclusion about the data – that high quality studies show that homeopathy does not work. Then, however, they pulled a trick. As I previously reported:

The Swiss study looked at the same data, but apparently wanted to come to a favorable conclusion. So they argued for a change in the normal rules of evidence, a common strategy among CAM proponents. They decided to rely more on “real-world effectiveness,” which is just CAM newspeak for “poorly controlled studies.” In the real world we cannot control for variables and blind subjects – those are artificial conditions of rigorous trials.

The Swiss report was rigged and biased, and yet they still could not conclude that the data shows homeopathy works. They had to pull the “placebo medicine” gambit and claim that it sort of “works” even though there is no real effect from homeopathic products. Only homeopaths were apparently fooled by this ploy.

Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council

Now we have a new report, this one from Australia: Effectiveness of Homeopathy for Clinical Conditions: Evaluation of the Evidence. They concluded:

There is a paucity of good-quality studies of sufficient size that examine the effectiveness of homeopathy as a treatment for any clinical condition in humans. The available evidence is not compelling and fails to demonstrate that homeopathy is an effective treatment for any of the reported clinical conditions in humans.

In other words – homeopathy does not work. They also concluded that much of the homeopathy literature of very poor quality. The good quality studies, however, showed no effect. This is a 301-page exhaustive review, which came to the same conclusion as all other scientific reviews (adjusting for editorial spin).

They looked at 57 systematic reviews involving 68 conditions. For seven of those conditions there were simply no quality studies. For the other 61 there was evidence of lack of efficacy.

Conclusion

Homeopathy is based on magical thinking. It does not have even the barest toe-hold in science or reality. In spite of this it has been extensively researched for its clinical effects. While most of this research is of poor quality, there is some reasonably high-quality research, which consistently shows that homeopathy does not work.

The extremely low prior probability combined with the negative clinical evidence is devastating to homeopathy. There is simply no rational justification for further investment in this pre-scientific and disproved notion. We do not need further research. No government should fund homeopathy, pay for homeopathic treatments, fund research, or even approve homeopathy in any official capacity. This means that homeopaths should not be licensed, and homeopathic products should not be approved.

And yet homeopathy still enjoys the support of most governments. This is largely based on a misunderstanding among the general public as to what homeopathy is, combined with lobbying by homeopaths and supporters of unscientific medicine.

Science clearly needs a stronger lobby.

Posted in: Homeopathy

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415 thoughts on “Another Damning Homeopathy Report

  1. Windriven says:

    “The extremely low prior probability combined with the negative clinical evidence is devastating to homeopathy.”

    But not to the business of selling homeopathic products. Boiron shares have climbed from a 52 week low of 36.30 Euro to a close yesterday of 58.56 Euro and sales are approaching 600 million Euro annually. 2012 sales were up 8.2% over 2011.

    I wonder why the FTC hasn’t insisted on prominent package disclaimers that homeopathic remedies don’t work? I wonder how much the homeopathic industry spends on lobbying each year?

    1. Iqbal says:

      Dr. Willmar Schwabe turnover for 2012: Euro 660 million. This is one of the big companies for homeopathy medicines.

      1. Renate says:

        And those companies are complaining about Big Pharma?

        What’s with Big Homeo?

        1. Eldric IV says:

          To be fair, 660 million is an accounting error compared to Big Pharma revenues. They are measured in tens of billions, not hundreds of millions.

          1. Windriven says:

            660 million Euro for water, shaken not stirred, is a lot of friggin’ money.

            1. Andrey Pavlov says:

              I wouldn’t mind having that accounting error… in my favor.

    2. Calli Arcale says:

      Because US law explicitly permits homeopathic remedies to be labeled as effective without having to actually prove it. And yes, it was homeopathic lobbies that saw to that.

      Obviously, Big Pharma has no monopoly on dishonest tactics.

  2. Bruce says:

    I think the first step for those of us in the UK is to try figure out how to get the NHS funding stopped. Even where NHS Lothian did do this, they are being sued for stopping funding for homeopathy:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/health/legal-bid-to-save-homeopathy-on-the-nhs-1-3159793

    I remember this from a few months ago, not sure if it has progressed but if it does it might have wide ranging effects and set a very bad precedent if it goes the wrong way.

    Interestingly in the comments on that link it seems trading standards had a ferw complaints against claims made by Homeopathy… in which all were upheld:

    http://asa.org.uk/Rulings/Adjudications/2013/7/Society-of-Homeopaths/SHP_ADJ_157043.aspx

  3. yogalady says:

    Memory of water research example:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24439454

    There is a scientific basis for the ability of water to store information.

    “Homeopathy is bunk” is all over the internet now, thanks to the organized materialists. However, many of the studies in the reviews you linked had positive results. The review authors were obviously biased.

    Homeopathy has obviously not received the massive funding provided to mainstream drugs.

    1. Chris says:

      Actually, like many other apologetic papers like that, they are finding significance past the abilities of the equipment. They are finding noise and thinking it is data.

      Come back when they can take sugar tablets from Boiron, mix them up and then determine which was Nat Mur versus Nux Vomica.

    2. The water memory research is all terrible quality, just hunting for noise.
      My review: http://www.csicop.org/si/show/the_memory_of_water

      The reviews all clearly show the expected scatter of positive results in the poor quality studies, of which there are many. The high quality studies are negative. This pattern is consistent with the null hypothesis – homeopathy does not work.

      The bias is entirely with believers. The science is dead negative. Plausibility is zero. The notion of water memory is nonsense and that research is all crap also.

      1. Harriet Hall says:

        Homeopathy advocates don’t seem to realize that even if they could prove that water could “remember,” that would not be evidence that the “memory” could have any effect on human health.

        1. Sastra says:

          Given how selective and targeted the water’s “memory” would have to be in order for homeopathy to work, it would seem that the laws of nature must care very much about people and what’s specifically bothering them. When you perform a succussion the healing intention must be directed so that the water knows what to remember, iirc.

          Now you’ve got the connection to human health. It comes along with the human-centric focus and cosmic concern.

          We try science … and they respond with magic.

      2. yogalady says:

        You really feel qualified to criticize Montagnier’s water memory research?

        Your estimate of prior probability is nothing but materialist prejudice. Prejudice based on ideology has no place in science.

        1. Windriven says:

          Let me save Dr. Hall the effort of stooping to your level to answer.

          “[Do]* you really feel qualified to criticize Montagnier’s water memory research?

          Yes.

          *I wouldn’t be such a grammar nazi but you are truly an annoying, semi-literate, uneducated, sorry sack of skin. The chaos that poses as your mind saddens – and to tell the truth – frightens me a bit as you presumably have the right to vote. That seems to me a stunning indictment of democracy.

        2. Andrey Pavlov says:

          As Windriven said, yes. And so is the rest of the scientific community. Which is why it is considered a laughingstock by not just us, but literally every single scientist out there. Only homeopathic true believers are fooled by it, because they want to be fooled by it.

        3. Sawyer says:

          That’s right yoga lady, we have a materialist bias. And guess what – so do you!

          What the hell is the point of citing FTIR and AFM experiments if you don’t believe in materialism and methodological naturalism? If you don’t think that homeopathy has to fit into our current model of physics and chemistry, wouldn’t that make those experiments completely useless? Heck, I’d argue that those experiments are probably even more in the realm of the materialist worldview than what typical doctors rely on for evidence.

          You don’t get to have it both ways. You claim that stubborn scientists are beholden to the shackles of materialism, but you still desperately employ material experiments when they support your conclusions.

          1. TwistBarbie says:

            Even IF water could selectively “remember” things there would still be issues with homeopathy’s plausibilty:
            1) The remedies are usually taken as sugar pellets which the water has been sprayed on. Once the water evaporates how does the sugar “remember” what was sprayed on it?
            2) The indications for homeopathic remedies have been decided by “provings”. This is so incredibly insane I don’t know how anyone can know this and not laugh derisively. Reading some of these “provings” makes my eyes roll so hard they almost fall out of my head.
            3) Originally it was “like cures like” but it seems now that has fallen by the wayside somewhat and people use homeopathic doses of regular herbal or mineral supplements (homeopathic iron for deficiency etc). Why? Because homeopathy is insane and makes no sense.
            There’s probably at least a dozen more reasons but I’m sure you get the idea.

            1. Windriven says:

              So how does the water remember the duck heart puree but forget its trip through Caesar’s urethra and several thousand encounters with milt?

          2. yogalady says:

            I don’t know how you got the idea that materialism equals science. There is no connection between them, except a relatively recent tradtition.

            And materialism is a completely illogical concept anyway — you claim that everything is “matter,” even though no one knows what matter is.

            Oh, and to the complete moron who criticized my grammar and thinks I am illiterate — I am a professor of lingustics. I don’t always use a formal academic style when posting on blogs. So sorry.

            1. Andrey Pavlov says:

              I don’t know how you got the idea that materialism equals science.

              Well, probably because it is one of the fundamental premises in the philosophy of science. The very nature of science demands methodological naturalism. Period.

              And materialism is a completely illogical concept anyway — you claim that everything is “matter,” even though no one knows what matter is.

              There’s this guy named Einstein. You may have heard of him. He figured out that mass and energy are the same thing in different states. And that you can convert one to the other. This is, after all, how stars work.

              You don’t know what matter is, but we as a species do.

              I am a professor of lingustics.

              Wow. Well, I hope for the sake of your students that you both studied linguistics a lot more rigorously than the science and that you never talk about anything outside the course curriculum.

              But genuinely, your level of ineptitude when it comes to the sciences really strikes me dumbfounded that you are a professor of anything. I only hope that you are lying, at some hack diploma mill, or I am truly saddened.

            2. weing says:

              “I am a professor of lingustics”
              How cunning of you.

              “And materialism is a completely illogical concept anyway — you claim that everything is “matter,” even though no one knows what matter is.”
              Except that we are able to use fly planes, transmit signals through satellites, communicate through the internet using this materialist science.

            3. Calli Arcale says:

              Well, no one ever said professors of linguistics had to be clear in their writing, although obviously it helps. Of more concern to me than a minor grammatical nit is the fact that you use the word “materialism” in an obviously vague manner without a trace of irony. You are a professor of linguistics; does this not imply you should have some understanding that words have defined meanings? Yes, words evolve, but evolution of a word into a form primarily suited towards weaseling out of logical boxes would not seem to be particularly useful to me.

              I’ll spell it out for you:

              You accused the opponents of homeopathy for having a “materialist bias”.

              You did this whilst using patently materialistic data to support your claim that homeopathy is legitimate.

              The fact that you hide behind linguistic niggles (essentially “materialism and science aren’t synonyms!”) reveals that you either know this and hope to distract us, or that you are completely oblivious to what these measuring devices actually do. I think the latter is far more likely, since it would also explain why you don’t understand that the findings are almost certainly spurious.

              Hint: every device has limits to its precision. Beyond that limit, you cannot distinguish between a real measurement and the device just being imprecise. That the best evidence for water memory relies on measurements in this range reveals the proponents’ misunderstanding of how to properly use the equipment.

            4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Materialism doesn’t equal science, but empiricism does, and empirical results do not support the existence of any form of vital energy that is required for life, nor does it support the existence of a unique form of energy that enables homeopathy (nor does it support the efficacy of homeopathy). While science does not provide convincing evidence against the existence of spirits, souls or other such entities – it finds absolutely no evidence for it. Further, there is no evidence of a “soul gap” where we need a soul to explain a hitherto-unexplainable part of the universe.

              The fact that science can’t explain literally every single aspect of all existence doesn’t mean that there is evidence for whatever pet concept you want to exist. The fact that matter’s absolute set of properties are not understood at sub-sub-sub-atomic levels does not mean that magic exists.

              You’re in linguistics. Imagine somebody telling you that “English has verbs, but it doesn’t mean all languages has verbs”. Would you laugh at them? Because to a doctor or physicist, that’s about the level thought you’re bringing to the table. Or even better, “how do we learn language? Well, I don’t understand it at a genetic level, so it must be MAGIC!”

              1. yogalady says:

                Empiricism and materialism are NOT the same, not even related.

                The word “naturalism” has no meaning. Of course everything is part of nature.

                There are fields, substances, forces, etc., that are not yet known to science. That fact should be OBVIOUS. How can you possibly assume that everything has already been discovered and understood?

                Vitalism was rejected in the mid 20th century — and what exactly was the reason? Some famous materialists didn’t like it. The decision had nothing to do with logic or evidence.

              2. Harriet Hall says:

                @yogalady,

                “How can you possibly assume that everything has already been discovered and understood?”

                I don’t. How can you possibly assume that you know how to use something that has not yet been discovered and understood?

              3. Calli Arcale says:

                Yogalady, you are doing a fine job of dancing around the point with semantics. I suppose it helps you pretend you didn’t hear the actual criticism:

                You accuse us of materialistic bias while relying on material measurements to argue that homeopathy works. That’s the hypocrisy you’re being called out on. Feigning indignation over words just makes it obvious you’d rather not have that noted.

              4. Mal Adapted says:

                yogalady:

                Empiricism and materialism are NOT the same, not even related.

                Ah, but

                ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

                ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

                As a self-proclaimed linguist, yogalady presumably understands that words can be made to mean many different things. It appears she’s just determined to be master — that’s all.

              5. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Yeah, you’re the one who said “materialism = science”, I said “empiricism = science”. Materialism is both an assumption, and a result of science – consistently it is demonstrated that we don’t need to invoke vitalism or spirit to explain biological functioning.

                There are fields, substances, forces, etc., that are not yet known to science. That fact should be OBVIOUS. How can you possibly assume that everything has already been discovered and understood?

                That’s an assumption on your part, and not a necessary one. That “OBVIOUS” fact to you is rather unobvious to me, and probably most here. That there are things we do not understand is not the same thing as there being evidence for totally new areas of physics, totally new forces, or reasons to believe that such forces exist. And further – that these forces would explain the efficacy of homeopathy (which again, clinical trials repeatedly show to be placebo). And finally – the existence, wide-ranging nature of and tremendous explanatory power of our existing understanding of quantum physics leading up to chemistry leading up to biology leading up to medicine, extending into geology, planetology and ultimately astrophysics leads to a coherent understanding of the interlockings of the various levels into a comprehensive, mutually-reinforcing set of theories that has little gap, and certainly no need for the magic you are proposing to exist.

                Vitalism was rejected in the 1700s I believe, and the reason it was hypothesized in the first place was to distinguish between living and dead things, between biological molecules and inorganic molecules. With the synthesis of urea, an ostensibly organic molecule, from inorganic substrates, it was recognized that such a “vital energy” was not necessary to explain life. That is why vitalism was abandoned.

                Read a book.

            5. I am a professor of lingustics

              lingustics

              Then I must be a professor of spilling. Seriously, how many linguists misspell linguistics? I think somebody is not being truthful here…

              1. weing says:

                Maybe they are being cunning lingustics.

              2. Windriven says:

                We really need a groan icon ;-)

        4. ScienceBear says:

          Anyone with a marginal science background can assess a scientific paper. The bottom line is that even without materialism, the concept of “water memory” belies the basic laws and for that matter subtle realities of physics. Water isn’t magical. It is two hydrogen atoms which share electrons with an oxygen atom. This is then attracted to other water molecules. Tell me please, wherein could it possible acquire and retain “memory”? Shifts in the sub-molecular structures would results in shifts in atomic mass and atomic properties. I feel fairly certain that even the most competent physicist couldn’t find that.

        5. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Your estimate of prior probability is nothing but materialist prejudice. Prejudice based on ideology has no place in science.

          No, prior prejudice s recognition of the successes that empirical research have brought about in discovering basic principles about the world that can be used to alter it to human advantage. Prior probability is recognition that we know a lot about the world, that there exists an immense body of knowledge about nearly every facet of the universe, and that positing the existence of novel phenomena better both explain our observations with that body of knowledge, and offer further explanations that can be tested.

          Your statements are based on prejudice towards the existence of an immaterial world that has been sought out for centuries and never found, that is somehow both undetectable to any equipment (despite being about to listen to the sound of a 15-billion-year-old expansion of space) and somehow powerful enough to overcome forces that would overwhelm that same equipment. Oh, and exists solely to selectively advantage the health of humans, with a precision that guided missiles would enjoy. Oh, and also something that mysteriously disappears whenever subjected to controlled testing.

          The whole thing is explained much more easily and parsimoniously as:
          1) People will generally recover from mild, self-limiting illnesses with time
          2) People feel better given a chance to talk about their health
          3) Placebo effects are enhanced through ritual, trappings and a bit of Latin

    3. Andrey Pavlov says:

      Sorry yogalady, but an article in the journal of Homeopathy contra to all the physics, chemistry, and other data against it does not an argument make.

      I’d explain why, but you’ve already proven it will go straight over your head as you complain that fancy words are confusing.

      There is absolutely no scientific basis for the ability of water to store information. Just recently a computing circuit was made using slime mold. Because it can store information. You think that somehow we can do that and yet be so completely oblivious to water as an information storage device? That’s downright laughable!

      1. Bruce says:

        Watch out for slime mold homeopathic remedies… on the market soon!

    4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Yogalady:

      1) How long do those “structures” last? It is known that water forms temporary structures in certain circumstances, but they generally break down in extremely short timeframes.

      2) How do these apparent structures, assuming they last longer than a couple femtoseconds, survive transport within the body to reach tissues?

      3) How do these apparent structures, assuming they reach tissues, actually impact those tissues in a biochemical manner?

      4) What does this have to do with homeopathy? Homeopathy normally involves the consumption of lactose pills or alcohol, not water.

      This is rather like jumping up and down a couple times, then claiming you’ve reached the moon. It’s like seeing a jar of crushed tomatoes, and claiming that means you’ve eaten pizza in Rome, within spitting distance of the Pantheon (which I have done, mediocre food but a great view, it was cold that night). It’s like feeding a dolly and claiming that makes you a parent. It’s play-acting at science, it’s not real science.

      Your use of “materialist” carries the implication that homeopathy uses sort of “energy”. What kind of energy? Electromagnetic? Gravity? Some sort of vague “spiritual” energy? If it’s “spiritual” energy, shouldn’t they determine that it actually exists, shouldn’t that be the appropriate step rather than fiddling about with water? Because numerous efforts have been made to find this “energy”, and none have succeeded in a reliable, empirical fashion.

      How do you reconcile this apparent evidence for homeopathy with the multitude of clinical trials that find homeopathic preparations no better than placebos? Big Pharma has lots of drugs that perform no better than placebos, do you think they should be able to sell them?

      People claim “bias”, but never engage with the evidence. How did the “bias” affect their decision-making? What evidence was not included? Why was it excluded? What evidence is there for homeopathy’s effectiveness did they not consider?

      Simply claiming “bias” doesn’t make evidence appear. It is lazy, and shows your bias, in the form of your unwillingness to acknowledge why and how the review reached the conclusion it did. It shows your scientific illiteracy.

      1. Harriet Hall says:

        Yes, where is there a study showing that the memory of water transfers to a sugar pill when the water evaporates?

      2. Frederick says:

        I always like those ‘spiritual” energy advocate, they forget that if it existed and that even if in itself, we can not detect it, we surely detect it’s influence in the real world, like heat, light, movement. We can detect energy from a single electron, have neutrino detectors, if there was a unknown energy interacting (even slightly) with us in the “real world” we will have find it a long time ago. Of course some might bring up the mysterious “dark energy” that we have not detect yet, the one that accelerate the universe expansion. Also forgetting that this one, if it exist, have influence only in super cosmic scale, like millions and billions of Light years. just like quantum things influence only in the subatomic world.

        1. mccormickjohn16@gmail.com says:

          And even dark matter and energy are postulated because of their effects on the things tghat we can measure. Their effects on the cosmos is why we think that they exist.

          1. Frederick says:

            Yeah thank, I forgot to mention it. Dark energy and Dark matter really make my point. It is a energy we have not detect yet, same with dark matter. Yet, we know that there is something, maybe not exactly what we think, but we see the influence they have on the universe.

      3. Iqbal says:

        To support your claim, you should read Dr. David Eddy. He continues to demonstrate that what is scientific evidence today (your science) is complete trash the next day.

        As investigative tools improve, it is becoming clear that human body is not a simple electro-chemical-mechanical machine it is projected to be. If it was, HRT procedure would have been the simplest example. It is the biggest disaster.

        And it is money that is deciding what correct science is:

        http://www.bmhegde.com/needlessint.html

        The doctor is a cardiologist and uses references from the scientific medical world.

        1. davdoodles says:

          “…what is scientific evidence today (your science) is complete trash the next day.”

          You say that like it’s a bad thing. Science advances. We know it’s not done yet, and that it can and should improve, discard wrong ideas in favour of better ones.

          Science is about learning, testing, really querying. Doing the best that humanity can to try to discern what works and what doesn’t.

          Utterly unlike your supertitious nonsense, which remais fixed and has no intention of ever improving, or discarding what doesn’t work (hint: none of it works). It just sits there ignorant, appallingly arrogant and completely useless.

          You have no basis whatsoever for your smugness.
          .

          1. Iqbal says:

            “…Science advances. We know it’s not done yet, and that it can and should improve, discard wrong ideas in favour of better ones. ”

            If what you write here is correct, how can you say that homeopathy does not work? It does not seem to work when bad science is used as reference for check.

            1. Windriven says:

              @lowball

              “If what you write here is correct, how can you say that homeopathy does not work?”

              Your ignorance is again dancing naked in the park. And I for one am about done with you. But for the sake of lurkers I’ll point out that there is a significant difference between what science knows and what it does not yet know.

              Science knows that water is composed of 2 atoms of hydrogen and 1 of oxygen. You can dance and sing and wave your arms but 1000 years from now water will still be composed of 2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen atom.

              Science has an excellent hypothesis regarding the early moments following the birth of the universe. There are many details that remain to be elucidated and as science learns more about these details the shape of our hypothesis may change. But however that might change water will still be composed of 2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen atom.

              I don’t expect you to have the mental horsepower to understand the difference but many of those who come here to learn certainly do. Homeopathy belongs to the first set; things we know with certainty. Homeopathy does not work. There is absolutely no physics that would allow it to work. There will be no physics discovered by which it might work. And that doesn’t even begin to consider all the biological reasons that it cannot work.

              1. Iqbal says:

                Windriven

                What has water to do with homeopathy?

                Homeopathy does not use water.

              2. Windriven says:

                @lowball

                “Homeopathy does not use water.”

                1. The molecular composition of water was used as an example of a known and immutable fact known by science. Compare and contrast with the next paragraph which describes a theory of the early moments of the universe which is unlikely to change in a major way (though it is possible) but quite likely to change in small ways as our understanding improves. A simple lesson in relative scientific certainty. I’m not at all surprised this was lost on you.

                2. Elsewhere – and really, you aren’t worth the trouble of going back and finding just where – you blabbered on about water memory. Or perhaps it was one of your codelusionals. That water is the same water mentioned above as H2O. It, water that is, and alcohol are, to the best of my knowledge, the two most common diluents in homeopathic preparations.

                So your comment leaves me wondering whether you’re drunk or insane.

              3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                What has water to do with homeopathy?

                Homeopathy does not use water.

                Some homeopathic remedies involve serial dilution in alcohol. Some even involve serial dilution in solids (the solid is ground in a 1:10 or 1:100 “dilution” of talcum powder). Most serial dilution occurs through 1:10 or 1:100 dilution in water, which is then sprayed on lactose beads.

                So yeah, ultimately homeopathy has very, very little to do with water. Which is part of what makes it so frustrating when they go on and on about the alleged “memory” of water, or complex nanomolecules in water. Even assuming their crazed nonsense about memory of water were accurate, it would be irrelevant since that water ultimately evaporates.

                Now that you’ve been educated, could you please go tell the homeopaths they are idiots who don’t understand reality? KKTHX.

            2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              If what you write here is correct, how can you say that homeopathy does not work? It does not seem to work when bad science is used as reference for check.

              Nobody, when asked for a precise statement, says that homeopathy doesn’t work. What you might hear is:

              1) Homeopathy does “work”, if by “work” you mean “makes people feel better”, but it “works” through nonspecific effects (ritual, emotion-focussed coping, an illusion of control)

              2) There is no mechanism known that could explain how homeopathy could work, and the proposed mechanisms make no sense given what we understand of the body, physics, chemistry, medicine, etc. unless you include psychology (in which case, see 1)

              3) There is no evidence that homeopathy works; many clinical trials have been conducted, and of those with the characteristics of good science (randomization, blinding, control groups, adequate number of subjects, publication, measureable end points) the results are consistently negative. The “evidence” offered by homeopathys are profoundly flawed – they lack control groups, so you can never tell if the patients got better because of homeopathy, or because of time; end points are subjective and researchers are not blinded, so it’s easy to say “yes, this person I know got homeopathy and I judge them to be better”; small groups means one or two people can skew results. In large part because homeopaths conduct such shoddy trials, they are seen as pseudoscientists because they only want the appearance of science to build social capital, while studiously avoiding all the parts of science that make it a meaningful epistemological tool.

              If you are really interested, which you aren’t because you’re blindly flailing at real medicine as if discrediting it would somehow make CAM work (false dilemma), then you should read Jay Shelton’s Homeopathy: How it Really Works.

              Also, I’m not sure how your “the body is complicated” argument helps homeopathy. It takes immense amounts of work to get most drugs to have an effect, why would the childlike simplicity of homeopathy be somehow privileged to bypass this complexity?

          2. weing says:

            @Iqbal,

            “…what is scientific evidence today (your science) is complete trash the next day.”

            Remember when VHS tapes were the rage? Now they are trash and DVDs are going that way too.

            That is what you mean by “bad science”? Whereas “good” science is forever true? Makes it easy for you, doesn’t it? You don’t have to study and do research. Just keep repeating your uninformed and misinformed opinions as facts. Why don’t those idiots just listen to you and learn?

    5. Angora Rabbit says:

      If this were really true, the implications for sewage treatment would be massive. We would all be dead from the huge influx of all the “water memories” we ingest every time we drink water, whether from the tap or your favorite water bottle company. It’s bogus.

    6. Curio says:

      If water has sufficient memory to retain the micro-diluted active ingredient in Homeopathic medicine, can it also remember the cow manure it very likely came into contact with at some point in it’s history? Do you realize how many toxins every single glass of filtered water would have to “remember” if this theory were true?

  4. I think the persistent acceptance of a generally construed homeopathy has to do with the name… it has “home” in it, and so sounds friendly and comforting.

    I am surrounded by folks who use CAM, and even they think homeopathy sounds insane once the dilution principle is explained to them. But it doesn’t get explained… it’s used all too often as a synonym for alternative medicine or natural remedy.

    1. Sastra says:

      I agree. “Homeopathy” sounds like “home remedy.” I think a lot of people visualize something like mint tea to make a tummy feel better.

      Wonder what would have happened if it had been called “Hahnemannism.”

  5. Thurber says:

    My local newspaper has a website with various blogs from citizens. There is a gun rights blog, a dog lover blog, a fashion blog, etc. You get the picture. One of the blogs is called “Tea Party Voice” and it’s a tea party activist airing his opinions. I read it with interest, just to try to get an idea of what’s on his mind. In one of his essays, he said how he didn’t trust big government to control his healthcare; he preferred the freedom to explore his own options, to take his health into his own hands. The first example he listed was seeking homeopathic remedies.

    I had suspected it before, from reading his other essays, but when he mentioned homeopathy as an alternative to the horrible, socialistic obamacare, I knew at that moment he had s**t for brains.

    1. George says:

      I am a long time lurker very conversant in the sciences posting for the first time. I come here to learn a bit more about medicine and acquire better arguments to make the often difficult case against the woo in our society. I am viewed in my circles as scientifically knowledgeable so I carry a responsibility to be able to transmit understandable information when called upon to do so.
      Thurber, I don’t know if your focus on the politics of the ignorant homeopath in your example makes your case against homeopathy any stronger. Homeopaths in my personal life skew liberal, but that personal anecdote has no more weight than yours. My small government libertarian friends are atheistic and rooted in scientific thinking. Some are sympathetic with the Tea Party though generally not.
      Ultimately we are here to support the advancement of scientific thinking in medicine and to educate and enlighten others, not to bash political beliefs. Am I under a misapprehension?
      Obamacare (The PPACA) will allow insurance companies pay for acupuncture the same as my insurance does now. What say you to that greater problem than your ignorant blogger? I don’t trust government with healthcare, though for different reasons. I believe the outcomes for patients will not improve and we will have created another immense bureaucracy in exchange for nothing. I do hope I am wrong!
      Ignorance of science in medicine truly transcends the politics of left and right. Obamacare can be a wasted opportunity against the fight against CAM. Let’s not lose focus and use an anti-homeopathy post as an excuse to bash a person for their politics. You have an opportunity to educate that person on their own blog. Don’t waste it by speaking to him as you do here, it will just drive him deeper into his bubble.

  6. Thurber says:

    I was listening to my local college radio station this morning. They have some good programs. They had just finished playing a bunch of early, rare Sam Cooke records, so they had my interest. But then a woman announced: “Here is the Gary Null show.”

    Oh my God… Gary Null? He’s still at it? I remember hearing him on WBAI back in the late ’70s, and he was so smarmy, so horrible, so evil. And now, here it is 2014, and he’s still on the radio, apparently in syndication, talking about curing cancer with supplements. I called the radio station to politely express my displeasure, and they replied that he was popular with listeners.

  7. oldmanjenkins says:

    Dara O’Briain “I’m sorry if you’re into homeopathy. It’s water. How often does it need to be said? It’s just water. You’re healing yourself. Why don’t you give yourself the credit?
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/science-versus-pseudoscience/

  8. MikeB says:

    The “organic” farming agency in our state, MOFGA, promotes homeopathy for animals in lieu of such awful things as antibiotics:

    http://umaine.edu/cumberland/blog/2014/04/02/mofga-will-offer-workshop-on-organic-livestock-health-care/

    http://www.mofga.net/MyProfile/tabid/88/asuid/1964/showtab/services/Default.aspx

    Guess what I think of MOFGA and “organics” in general?

    1. Frederick says:

      I wonder If PETA will be on there case for bad treatment, because that what it is. Not healing a animal from illness. But i guess not, as much as I am into animal rights, Peta is to much on the naturalistic fallacies side, like Greenpeace with there Gmo lying.

    2. irenegoodnight says:

      I used to buy organic milk, thinking I was helping to support small family farms. Then I found our that most all of these quaint little families use homeopathy on their cows (sick cows, mind you). There is apparently no one to tell them not to do this. Needless to say, I stopped buying the stuff. I did find a family-run dairy, not real small, but not exactly BigAg either, that utilizes humane practices and pastures the cows in all but the very worst of (Wisconsin) winter, AND uses standard veterinary care.

    3. Lytrigian says:

      To be fair, the way commercial farms routinely use antibiotics in their feed is almost certainly a very, very bad idea. Replacing that use of antibiotics with homeopathy, as opposed to using antibiotics only when indicated on infected animals, would actually be a good idea.

      1. Kathy says:

        The FDA are taking cautious steps in the direction of fewer antibiotics to promote animal growth (i.e. a.o.t. antibiotics used to treat sick animals). Participation is voluntary, and also it only covers “medically important” antibacterials, but it’s a start.

        http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm378100.htm

      2. MikeB says:

        “Replacing that use of antibiotics with homeopathy, as opposed to using antibiotics only when indicated on infected animals, would actually be a good idea.”

        This is extremism.

        No, homeopathy would not be a “good idea.”

        The use of low-dose antibiotics, while probably on its way out, has done incalculable good–like feeding billions of people cheaply. There are risks and benefits. Life is complicated.

        Homeopathy, on the other hand, does nothing.

        1. Andrey Pavlov says:

          The use of low-dose antibiotics, while probably on its way out, has done incalculable good–like feeding billions of people cheaply. There are risks and benefits. Life is complicated.

          Yes, but this is not one of them. The antibiotics used are not primarily to increase livestock production to feed billions. They are primarily used in already rich countries to be able to bring animals to slaughter earlier. Yes, some of it does indeed help feed many cheaply who otherwise would not have had food, but that is distinctly the minority.

          Secondarily, it is this use of antibiotics that is driving resistance. In fact, it is reasonably well established that VRE – a real scourge in ICU’s – originated in livestock. Prior to the late 90′s enterococcus was at best a minor curiosity in hospitals. Now people die from it and there are even data to show how it as a standalone risk factor significantly increases mortality.

          So yes, there are benefits and life is complicated, but in this case the balance has been distinctly on the negative when it comes to abx and livestock. I think lytrigian’s comment about replacing abx with homeopathy being a good think was reflecting this knowledge and in jest as an “ends justifying the means” sort of comment. I didn’t take it as seriously considering that as a viable option, but as a way of commenting and saying that less abx use in livestock is definitely a good thing. And I agree with that.

          1. Lytrigian says:

            You have indeed taken my point.

          2. Kultakutri says:

            And, for that matter, in the whole EU, preventive use of antibiotics is banned for years or even decades (I don’t know the details of veterinary laws in every single country before an EU directive came in effect so I’m not more specific) and we don’t seem to be dying of starvation, on the contrary.

          3. Dave says:

            An editorial in the journal Science dealt with this earlier this year. Almost three quarters of the antibiotics used in the US are for veterinary purposes, and most of those are for treating agricultural animals who are not ill. The editorial made the point that human use of antibiotics has been the whipping boy for antibiotic resistance but this veterinary use is also driving it. Antibiotic Stewardship is a buzzword in many hospitals. It should be for the livestock industry also.

          4. mouse says:

            Hear, Hear! So glad to hear this point made by the respected commenters at SBM.

        2. Calli Arcale says:

          It just makes cheap meat; it doesn’t necessarily make *food* cheaper. It’s still cheaper to feed the masses with grains than to feed those grains to cattle and then feed the cattle to people. It’s grains that have fed billions, not meat. We have a skewed perception here in America, a nation of a few hundred million, because to us, meat is cheap. But in most of the world this is not the case and of necessity, diets lean more heavily towards vegetables (and I’m not talking produce; I’m talking corn, rice, wheat, beans, and so forth) than they do here.

          And there is a cost other than what is paid at the butcher. There is quite a bit of evidence now that this is encouraging the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria, which honestly should not be the least bit surprising; it’s an entirely logical outcome. We know humans are much more likely to get resistant bacteria populations if they take low-dose antibiotics for a long time, so why would we expect differently with livestock? It’s not extremism to be concerned about that. I’m not a fan of organic farming, much less a proponent; I consider it inefficient with no perceptible benefits in the finished product. But antibiotic resistant could become excruciatingly expensive if we let it.

        3. Lytrigian says:

          The use of low-dose antibiotics, while probably on its way out, has done incalculable good–like feeding billions of people cheaply.

          This is an absolutely incredible claim. As Calli points out, those billions do not regularly eat meat. Meat is uncommonly plentiful in the West. It’s almost entirely unavailable to the billions who teeter on the edge of starvation.

          It was this antibiotic use’s contribution to the development of resistant bacterial strains I mostly had in mind; others have mentioned specific examples.

        4. Angora Rabbit says:

          As much as it pains me, feeding the broad antibiotics to livestock has shaved pennies off production costs, and so does lower producer costs. Whether this translates into market savings is a separate question (and a very good one given the consolidation of meat producers that restricts consumer choice). The things one picks up when working in an Ag school. As the producer is focused on production costs, other issues fall by the wayside. So, yes, in absolute production terms, feeding the antibiotics does create a cheaper product, and consumers are all about buying the cheaper product. WalMart, anyone?

          What troubles me, as a pro-critter person, is my understanding (and someone please tell me I’m wrong) that organic livestock production means that the poor animal, if it falls ill, cannot receive the appropriate medication, because it is no longer “organic” and thus is slaughtered and discarded, or is forced to suffer. I had perhaps naively thought that one plus of organic farming was greater compassion for one’s animal partners, but what I’ve been hearing about (the absence o) proper veterinary care in the organic industry is distressing. I hope that I’m wrong on this point.

          1. n brownlee says:

            “Organic” meat and dairy animals are certified as having been raised with regular access to pasturage and no antibiotic prophylaxis. A sick animal can certainly receive antibiotic meds, but can’t be slaughtered and sold as “organic” until a certain amount of time has elapsed after a course of meds.

            The industry is self regulating and self certifying; I’ll let you decide how effective that might be. Not at all, in my opinion- organic raw milk dairies, both cow and goat, have in the last several decades been responsible for many cases of human tuberculosis, mostly in infants and children.

            I had an organic market garden for many years- largely because of the marketing advantage. I sold delicate vegetables and white peaches, heirloom apricots to some high-end restaurants- and fed my family. I have undergraduate degrees in hort and agriculture and wrote professionally on those subjects, as well. I gardened for the joy of it and have NO organic bone to pick!

            1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Heh, the outbreak of deadly E. coli that killed a bunch of people in Europe a couple years back originated in an organic sprouts farm in Germany. Organic does not mean much except “I’m willing to pay more for food”.

              1. n brownlee says:

                WLU, you’re absolutely right. I started using organic methods in a smallish backyard garden more than 35 years ago. My first child was a toddler, and I didn’t want to have anything on the plants or the ground that might hurt him. “Intensive gardening”, as it turned out, was ideal for a home garden and I could grow everything a family needed in my 50 ft square vegetable patch. Okay not coffee or bananas, but enough vegetables. We moved to the country, I plowed up 3 acres, and experimented and grew stuff and went to a local cow college and learned about real food production.

              2. Chris says:

                I recently read an interesting book about a restauranteur who stumbled in becoming a farmer by buying some land on Vashon Island. It is an interesting read as figured out the bit about organic stuff and what a mess it is to try to sell raw milk (due to customers actually feeding his raw milk to babies after he got certified, he decided to pasteurize his milk before making cheese, which is now how he makes a salary).

                He has recollections of how to deal with actual bacterial infections, and making sure he did not make people sick. The glossary at the back of the boo includes both several animal diseases, and the antibiotics he had to deal with.

                When he went through the process of becoming a certified raw milk supplier he found out one of his three cows had a bacterial infection. It turned out that it would have been too expensive to put her on antibiotics, but it was a localized infection so her meat was good. She was slaughtered. It was just one of the lessons he learned.

                It was Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land by Kurt Timmermeister. (his house and spread was part of a pictorial in the New York Times last December)

              3. mouse says:

                “Organic does not mean much except “I’m willing to pay more for food”.

                That depends if you are the consumer or the gardener. Organic doesn’t mean much health wise, if you are a consumer. But in a gardener or farmer, application of pesticides has been linked to increase in auto-immune disease, particularly in women. If the organic methods you use focus on reduction of the need for pesticides (IPM) then you may decrease a risk in auto-immune disease. It’s not certain, but every gardener has to make their own decision on the use of the precautionary principle.

            2. n brownlee says:

              I did become convinced that most home gardening could be accomplished with good results using ‘organic’ methods- definition of what methods might qualify varies widely. It’s just as well to be aware that the self-identified good results came via a willingness and ability to just work my ass off all day almost every day, substituting my energy and muscles and time and brain for small bags of highly effective gardening products! That is, a couple of truck loads of horse manure and bedding, hauled and composted, “free” except for the blood on the spade handle and the back spasms and the three months of continual forking over to produce enough compost for the urban plot. All plants need the same NPK and trace elements- you’re going to pay for it, one way or another. Money or sweat. I had no money!

              Urban ‘gardeners’- that is, those who care for a lawn and flowerbeds- are much the largest users of agricultural/horticultural chemicals, in the US. As a group, they overuse by a long shot. As a group, they often pay little attention to the directions on the bags and throw the stuff around with an abandon that would scare professional growers absolutely shitless. My own choice, all those years ago, to fling horse hockey around, rhythmically accompanied by really loud Hendrix and Clapton- that was a pretty good one, for me- at the time. I loved it.

              1. mouse says:

                nancyleebrown “Urban ‘gardeners’- that is, those who care for a lawn and flowerbeds- are much the largest users of agricultural/horticultural chemicals, in the US. As a group, they overuse by a long shot. As a group, they often pay little attention to the directions on the bags and throw the stuff around with an abandon that would scare professional growers absolutely shitless.”

                My Dad was one of these gardeners. Although he specialized in vegetable and fruit trees (my mother was the flower grower). He thought of the uses and precautions on the pesticide bag as mere CYA. When we were children, he was prone to fogging the apple and cherry trees with insecticide/fungicide as we played nearby in the yard. If anyone protested, they received a derisive lecture in how over rated the dangers of pesticides were.

                Me – I don’t grow fruits or vegetables, beyond the couple of potted tomato plants, a beloved grape vine (which is a fence cover, bird feeder) and a strawberry pot (which is a chipmunk feeder, apparently). A large portion of our space is shade, the sun we do get is slightly weedy lawn or patio. I enjoy my flower beds, in spite of the fact they they are a constant aggravation, always something getting frosted, eaten, overgrown or not happy in the shade/semi-shade. One of my main beds is in deep shade. I can only work on it in the spring, before the mosquitoes come out, the rest of the summer I enjoy it from afar. I use an organic fertilizer because it appears to be easiest application and less harmful in terms of run-off, or composted manure (money not sweat for me). If a plant appears prone to fatal bugs or fungus, in spite of what I consider reasonable care (watering and some food) I get rid of it, unless it’s a generally healthy treasured old plant, like my dearly departed rhododendrons, which I tried to save and my grape vine, which I carefully picked scale from one year.

                My MIL is often recommending pesticide or herbicide (and giving “wonderful” plant that turn out to be terribly invasive, too, urrgh). But even if I wasn’t concerned with the health effects, it’s extra unpleasant work to maintain a bug/disease prone plant. Better to use non-invasive ground covers and mulch to prevent most weeds, the remaining weeding is quite satisfying and pleasant if you pick a good day.

                Poison ivy is the exception, can’t get rid of it without Round-up, as far as I know…in fact, it seems almost impossible to get rid of it even with Round-up, when you neighbors ignore theirs.

                Sorry, what a ramble.

              2. n brownlee says:

                @Mouse- The story of your dad made me laugh. Home gardeners are estimated to use 2-4 times as much (poundage) pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer per acre of use as are professional growers. A child of the ‘fifties, I have distinct (if slightly hallucinatory) memories of standing on the curb in front of our little tract house, watching the mosquito-fogger truck go by. And getting fumigated. The plus side was, nobody had bedbugs…

                Gardening is for me, like you, a collection of flowerbeds that are either too shady or too sunny, too wet or too dry. My back patio is like a pancake griddle- Texas, you know. Still, I like it. Growing stuff makes me happy.

              3. Chris says:

                mouse: “My MIL is often recommending pesticide or herbicide (and giving “wonderful” plant that turn out to be terribly invasive, too, urrgh).”

                That sounds familiar. My MIL lived as a child through teenage years in the living quarters attached to her father’s greenhouse/flower shop. So she has been growing and arranging flowers for almost seventy years.

                When I first started my garden in this house sixteen years ago she tried to get me to use chemicals to deal with black spot and powdery mildew on my roses, along with a systemic to deal with aphids. Since I grow edible herbs under those roses I explained I could not do that.

                Of course she just can’t get over that I grow edibles in the front yard.

                Though I did buy roses that do well in our climate, and dump the day’s coffee grounds on then most days. They are fairly vigorous climbers, I just trim off the bits with black spot and the new growth takes over.

                n brownlee: “A child of the ‘fifties, I have distinct (if slightly hallucinatory) memories of standing on the curb in front of our little tract house, watching the mosquito-fogger truck go by. And getting fumigated. The plus side was, nobody had bedbugs…”

                I remember the mosquito fogger driving down the street when my dad was stationed in Ft. Jackson, SC (really cool quarters that was once the post hospital). We kids used to run behind it to be in the fog. Probably will affect us sometime.

              4. mouse says:

                My sisters talk about how we all used to run behind the mosquito fogging truck. I don’t remember it…I guess I was too young.

  9. Mary Russell says:

    The British blog that Steve linked to has a hilarious comment thread in which Dana Ullman shows up and is eviscerated by British scientists.

    1. Chris says:

      I’m sorry, I am confused. Which British blog? The only blog links I saw was Dr. Novella’s other blog, Neurologica, on the New England Skeptical Society site, and another SBM article.

      1. Mary Russell says:

        Neurologica. Maybe it’s not a British blog, but it certainly has many commenters who identify as British.

        1. Chris says:

          Thank you.

          It is Dr. Novella’s other blog. I recognize some of the names, including myself with a previous poisonous username.

  10. KillCurve says:

    “Science clearly needs a stronger lobby.”

    YES!!

  11. Frederick says:

    It should seriously become illegal, And you don’t even need medical law board for that, just protection of consumers. it is a Fraud, they are literately stealing money.

    If a Car company was selling a car that do not work, Or a phone company sell a fail device. What happen? Well, they get sued, pay fines because it is illegal to sell things that do not work. And everybody want devices that work. But when it come to their health ,to most important topic of all, some people WANT to be sold the equivalent of a car with no engine in it, stuff that do not work.
    A lot of CAMs are fraud, but homeopathy is the worst of them all. There’s not even a freaking mechanism down to the quantum level that can make it work

    1. Kathy says:

      They can reply that they don’t actually promise anything. Their advertisements are full of implied benefits but when you look a little closer you can see that, yes indeed, there is no actual promise. I’m going to be teaching this afternoon on this very subject, and how to beware of words like “help”, “assist”, “prevent” and “balance”. They are so broad and so vague that they are impossible to disprove.

      1. Frederick says:

        Yeah i guess you have a point, But it is playing in the gray zones, it is still fraud in my book. :)

        1. Kathy says:

          Actually I agree with you Frederick. It is fraud in the political sense, the sense of getting something from people by misleading them. Just not in the judicial sense. Weasel words!

          1. Jann Bellamy says:

            Getting something from people by intentionally misleading them is legally fraud, as is willful ignorance of facts that contradict your message. You look at how the average person would understand the message and here the average person is clearly reading these words as offering a health benefit. Otherwise they wouldn’t be buying this stuff. There have been a number of class action lawsuits in the past few years alleging fraud in the sale of homeopathic products. The homeopathic remedy manufacturers and the plaintiffs have, to my knowledge, settled all of them.

            1. Frederick says:

              Yeah of course they settles, beign sure they are never really guilty. But does consumers protection regulations can offer a second path to help fight against woo? Because you know, the FDA is slow and Wuss ( and in my case health canada), Maybe in some cases using those might be faster?

  12. Marion says:

    Homeopathy and the mental inferiors who take it seriously simply add to my proud resolution that the more I interact with subhumans (other people) the less I respect them, and the absolute right I have to assert that I am the most important person in the world, and have the hardest job in the world.

    Believing water has memory and homeopathy cures or treats real diseases is no different than my belief that I have the hardest job in the world, as a mathematician proving theorems, and that there is NO scientific proof that soldiers, military people, police, medical people or anyone else I choose to include in this list has actually done anything of value for me or anyone else. There is no scientific proof that their actions cause anything positive to happen. I assert this because it is my right to, and as it is my right to belief that I don’t owe anybody else for that right.

    Or some people believe having sex with kids is a good thing.
    And that therefore we shouldn’t be alarmist about it and racing to imprison people for having sex with kids.

    Either everybody’s opinion about anything deserves respect and equal airtime
    (homeopaths and Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) deniers do NOT deserve some special privilege to endlessly hold up action on an issue under the guise of endlessly discussing it), or we go only with the side with absolute proof on its side.

    All beliefs about what is are statements about cause-and-effect.

    Yes – this is how I put my beliefs into action every day when I call my legislators.
    I do tell them I fully support blowing up every prison and courthouse in the world (USA included) to free all prisoners. Then I can play innocent & dumb if somebody angrily disagrees, arguing that BOTH sides should be considered (blowing them up, not blowing them up).

    Just like people everywhere (not just USA) have disagreements over whether to go to war or not go to war.

    1. George says:

      “Homeopathy and the mental inferiors who take it seriously simply add to my proud resolution that the more I interact with subhumans (other people) the less I respect them, and the absolute right I have to assert that I am the most important person in the world, and have the hardest job in the world.”

      Don’t judge homeopathic users as “subhuman” or allow yourself to think you are above others. Most users of homeopathic “remedies” are merely ignorant of science. The homeopaths are very clever in their marketing materials and packaging and even smart people can get conned. Hell, the “remedies” are found right in the drug store mixed in among the real evidence-based medicine. My insurance even covers acupuncture! These stamps of legitimacy fool many smart folks into thinking there is a real effect to eating water.
      The defenders of homeopathy that post here, however, are clearly the con artists themselves and deserve what they get. Rip them apart, though it seems to have little effect on the deluded and the charlatans.

  13. Angora Rabbit says:

    I had an appointment yesterday with my GP and one of the possible treatments she outlined was “homeopathy, such as herbs or soy…” and I jumped in, wide-eyed, ” Are you telling me that something diluted out to nothing has an effect?” She had the grace to blush and backpedal.

    My GP is really wonderful, I really like her, and her husband is an academic colleague. But this made me sad.

    1. yogalady says:

      Maybe your gp has seen many patients helped by homeopathy. She didn’t know you were close-minded before seeing your reaction.

      1. Windriven says:

        The phrase is closed minded; something that Angora Rabbit is definitely not.

        And how shall we characterize what passes for your mind? Empty seems appropriate.

        1. yogalady says:

          When you have no logical argument, use insults instead.

          1. Windriven says:

            You are impervious to logic, your satement a non sequitur. We have all laid out careful, logical arguments. They bounce off you like tennis balls off a slab of lead.

            It is clear that you have no understanding of science, the scientific method, basic scientific relationships, or even the fundamentals of logic. You retreat to belief, to sensational articles in the mass press, and to cherry-picked nuggets that fall far from the scientific consensus.

            Dr. Novella laid out a careful and accurate case aginst homeopathy. Your brilliant response can be characterized as:

            “Nuh-uh.”

            And you’re going to accuse me of having no logical argument? As to the insults, I use them in an effort to get your attention, AFTER your have made clear that you are incapable of reasonable discourse. If you want to be treated with respect, have respect for the society you’ve entered here. If you have a disagreement with Novella’s analysis, mount an argument based on facts and supported with scientific evidence. But if you come here and just spray stupid around like some mutant cat marking a sofa, you’re going to get dumped on.

          2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            When you’ve cited facts and logic, and your interlocuter appears to not understand them, sometimes “stupid” isn’t an insult – it’s nicely accurate.

            Did you grasp why vitalism was rejected centuries past, and how invoking “we don’t know everything” isn’t evidence for anything?

      2. AdamG says:

        Maybe your gp has seen many patients helped by homeopathy.

        If my GP thought that this was sufficient evidence to recommend it as a legitimate treatment, I would get a new GP.

      3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Or maybe like a lot of doctors, she doesn’t realize what homeopathy actually is, and assumes FDA-approval means efficacy. Or perhaps this is her polite way of suggesting watchful-waiting. If it was for menopause (sorry AR, I’m guessing based on “soy” and my apologies if I’m wrong), then watchful waiting is indeed a possible approach, and placebos can be useful in that they give the patient something to do while symptoms subside.

      4. Lytrigian says:

        You failed to note that the GP didn’t seem to properly understand what homeopathy is. She was actually recommending naturopathy, which at least has plausibility in some cases.

      5. Emily68 says:

        Or maybe the GP has lots of patients who want CAM stuff and she’s just trying to keep the customers satisfied. This is bad, but I don’t know if it’s as bad as thinking CAM stuff really works.

    2. Windriven says:

      You are a far better person than I, Dr. Rabbit. I would not have been able to handle it as adroitly as you – a character defect that I really am trying to work on. But all that said, doesn’t it make you question her clinical judgment?

  14. Ken Maxwell says:

    Thurber,

    Yes, Null is still at it, and making millions through his supplement/book business. Even if he was totally removed from all of public radio, he has a redoubt in the Progressive Radio Network, which is internet radio. He founded the PRN after getting fired from WBAI many years ago, though he has returned(in syndication). I think he was taken off from Pacifica in DC and in California, though this could change.

    Too many public radio listeners fall for his hero/saint/scientist/humanitarian/investigative journalist/social justice warrior shtick. I should know, since I was one of them, but I was a stupid kid at the time. I became increasingly skeptical and woke up when I was in my 20s. So yes, some people can change! By my mid 20s I started getting involved in the skeptical movement.

    GN would occasionally talk about homeopathy on his show, always claiming “numerous” studies proved its efficacy. Always small, sloppy, biased studied. He said the same thing about pretty much all of alternative medicine. He embraces it all, he pushes it all, and he also believes every conspiracy theory you can think of. I suspect he’s a 9/11 Truther(he has said things that imply it), though he hasn’t talked that much about it and from what I remember didn’t come right out and say “the government did it!”.

    It’s very difficult to get people like him off the air. He has a cult-like following that even held demonstrations outside of WBAI before and after the time they fired him. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to him(if I do, it’s for humor purposes), but many callers still address him as “Dr. Null” or simply “Doctor”, last time I checked. That really sickens me!

    Thank you Science-Based Medicine and Dr Novella for what you do!

  15. Windriven says:

    That made my head hurt.

    I poked around and found a story that featured an exchange with one of the film’s producers. He swears that the film isn’t about geocentrism. If not it certainly rhymes. Sh!t like: no one has ever proved that the earth moves. Where do people come up with this stuff? How do they get enough money to make films?

  16. Ken Hamer says:

    “Science clearly needs a stronger lobby.”

    Start your “lobbying” right here, but rephrasing the inevitable results of all these studies.

    Stop using phrases like “…studies of homeopathy do not show that homeopathic medicines have effects beyond placebo.” Instead say “studies of homeopathy FAILED to show that homeopathic medicines have effects beyond placebo.”

    Yes, it’s PR. Or “spin”, if you like. But there’s a reason why PR companies get paid massive amounts of money to put spin on issues — it’s very effective.

    1. Windriven says:

      Amen, brother. So long as the spun statement remains scrupulously accurate.

    2. KillCurve says:

      Yes, I perceive a real societal problem–there is a major disconnect between scientists and the voting lay public. The problem is the science is under-appreciated and under-represented in politics.

      Objective scientists don’t seem to me to be very good at public outreach, and they shouldn’t be, because marketing, as a skill, is a contaminant to the focus that their profession demands.

      We desperately need more outreach, and blogs with open discussions like these are a great start.

  17. Windriven says:

    “Objective scientists don’t seem to me to be very good at public outreach, and they shouldn’t be, because marketing, as a skill, is a contaminant to the focus that their profession demands.”

    Two words: Carl Sagan

    We avoid outreach at our peril. Reality is awe-inspiring and the power of science to decode reality is immensely empowering – ever so much more empowering than the flaccid wishes and illusions of the homeopaths and the chiropractors and the acupuncturists.

  18. It is magic-based medicine.

    Well at least you recognised it as medicine :)

    I am afraid the conventional medical establishment will never understand homeopathy, as they continue to use the metrics of drug-based medical research for evaluating success or failure of homeopathic treatments. What they dont look at are scores like patient satisfaction, patient retention, cost of care, and iatrogenic events.

    The public gets it. I am holding the annual shareholder report from Boiron group, net cashflow from operations is up 43% year over year, net income after tax up 60%. The sales of respiratory illness products have beaten all records. I am pleased to see growth of interest in homeopathy in emerging markets, South Asia in particular, and even Africa.

    Disclaimer: a shareholder and distributor of products mentioned above, so yes, I am biased :)

    1. Lawrence says:

      Once again FBA lives up to his name….sure is easy to make a profit when your “products” don’t require actual testing for safety or efficacy & consists almost entirely of water.

    2. Bruce says:

      Ah, so you are one of those people who are behind trying to sell sugar pills to treat malaria, TB and AIDS in developing countries.

      Tell me, when you collate you patient satisfaction scores, do the ones who died because they delayed real medical treatment for these conditions count as “satisfied” or “partially satisfied”? Or do they simply not count because they did not come back?

      (apaolgies for the multiple posts, I appended it incorrectly last time.)

    3. SteveJ says:

      I noticed, “treating the disease” isn’t one of the metrics for evaluating homeopathy. I wonder why that is.

    4. Calli Arcale says:

      Yes, and the British government was such wonderfully satisfied customers of those bomb detection devices that turned out to be total scams! Because, of course, customer satisfaction is the real measure of a product’s effectiveness, not how many of the actual users ended up in pieces on the side of a road in Iraq.

      Many, many, many worthless things have been sold through the years, with “people get it” being the only real argument for its usefulness.

      Expensive wine? People think it tastes better if it has a big price tag on it; it doesn’t matter what’s actually in it. Does that mean Chateau Margaux really does make fermented grape juice that is stupendously good, just because it has a price tag so high that the few places that stock it keep it under lock and key?

      Are high-grade diamonds really intrinsically amazing considering that people are willing to pay huge amounts of money for them? Is the Hope Diamond more valuable than a comparably sized block of graphite? You can do more with the graphite.

      Seriously, FastBuckArtist, you have definitely demonstrated a keen awareness of what it takes to make a fast buck. What you haven’t demonstrated is whether or not homeopathy really works.

    5. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Conventional medicine understands homeopathy – it is placebo that gives the patient an opportunity to vent about their symptoms, gives them an illusion of control, and gives them something to do while they get better as a result of something else (real medicine or time). Homeopathy looks at things like “patient retention”, “satisfaction”, “cost of care” and “iatrogenic events” because when it looks at the only thing that matters – efficacy – it fails utterly.

      Also, if you took the money invested in homeopathy and used it to hire more doctors or fund a true federal health care system, a lot of those problems would improve. Homeopathy is as useful as digging a hole then filling it in again.

    6. mccormickjohn16@gmail.com says:

      Yes I too prefer medicine that actually works, not just something that makes me happy, but which does nothing to make me healthy.

  19. Ali says:

    When I first bought homeopathic “medicine” about 5 years ago, I assumed that everything sold at a pharmacy worked to a certain degree. I wanted something more “natural” than traditional drugs, and that’s what homeopathy promised. I used homeopathy for things like allergies, sleep aid, stress and teething. It didn’t work once! I kept trying, because it’s was supposed to be this great effective thing with no side effects, but in the end I was very disappointed and had wasted my money. I’m not sure what upsets me the most: the fact that I wasted money on this “medicine”, or that I wasted time waiting for this “medicine” to work, when I could be using something that really worked.

    1. Iqbal says:

      Ali

      Homeopathic medicines are not bought. The homeopathic medicine is prescribed by a doctor.

      1. Chris says:

        Are you denying the existence of both Boiron and Hyland homeopathic products?

      2. Windriven says:

        “Homeopathic medicines are not bought. The homeopathic medicine is prescribed by a doctor.”

        A doctor of what, witch? A doctor, in the medical sense, is someone who has earned an MD or DO and is licensed in one or more jurisdictions. Witch doctors and shamans and peddlers of snake oil are common delusionals.

        1. Harriet Hall says:

          “Homeopathic medicines are not bought.”

          I guess Iqbal has never walked into a drugstore.

          1. Iqbal says:

            Harriet Hall

            ….I guess Iqbal has never walked into a drugstore……

            Walking into a drug store will not allow me to decide which medicine is required by me. That is done by a doctor. I will buy based upon a prescription.

            Homeopathy is generally not over the counter medicines.

            It could be in the coming years.

            1. Andrey Pavlov says:

              Homeopathy is generally not over the counter medicines.

              I only skim your drivel on occasion as it is so… drivelly. But this takes the cake. I truly can’t fathom people who argue based on what is obviously completely and utterly fabricated information that shows they can’t have possibly even the slightest idea of what they are talking about.

              There are precisely zero homeopathic remedies that are not available OTC. The only exceptions would be a homeopathic pharmacy that asks for a script in order to pretend and fake the idea that it is necessary. And I don’t know if such places exist, but if they did, it has no reflection on the actual laws or reality. Go into any CVS or Walgreens or Rite-Aid or whatever is nearby you and buy any homeopathic garbage you want. Go ahead and prove yourself wrong in just minutes!

              And while you are at it, buy a bottle, take all of it, and let us know how the overdose goes. Or you can just ask James Randi.

              1. weing says:

                @Andrey,

                I think he’s trying to say that homeopathic remedies are magic. They require a homeopath to prescribe them in order to be considered remedies. They are not remedies if they are self-prescribed.

              2. Iqbal says:

                Andrey Pavlov

                I am sure it is possible to buy homeopathic medicine from a store. But who decides as to which one do you require?

                So, if you buy one at random and use it, is the medicine responsible for the outcome or the store or you?

                Normally, homeopathic medicines do not hurt (unless taken as tincture) but some remedies lead to severe reactions depending upon the patient’s existing condition.

              3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Iqbal, homeopaths of a certain training will claim you have to individualize the preparation (based on a stacked chain of absurdities – that provings are meaningful, that patient symptoms are the most meaningful part of an illness, that nonsymptoms like mood and food preferences are meningful, and of course, based on the idea that homeopathy works, that water has a memory, that like cures like, and that all of this nonsense transfers to lactose pills). Other homeopaths, and in particular companies that make the mass-market remedies, are fine with a single preparation treating a single illness. Homeopathy has schismed like a religion, because there’s no basis for deciding who is right.

                Of course, it’s all nonsense. Individualized homeopathy and mass-market homeopathy have both been tested, and they’re worthless. Of course they’re worthless, the beliefs are nonsense, there’s no mechanism through which they could work, and no reason to think that they should work beyond the placebo effect from talking to a nice, medically-looking person who you paid generously to listen to your symptoms, and getting a vague sense of doing something about a self-limiting condition.

                Mass-market remedies do come with indications. For instance, you apply head-on directly to the forehead. For headaches.

              4. Andrey Pavlov says:

                LOL. Iqbal you are so out of your depth here.

                I am sure it is possible to buy homeopathic medicine from a store. But who decides as to which one do you require?

                That was NOT your argument. From you:

                Homeopathy is generally not over the counter medicines.

                Yes, it is always OTC. Now you’ve decided to just completely change your argument so you can keep rambling on with your blithering inanity.

                As for who decides… who cares? They don’t have any effect!! How about this, take any 10 homeopathic “remedies” and mix them all up. Is there any possible way to tell the difference and sort them out? The answer is no. So it does not matter who decides which one you take.

                Contrast that with actual medicine. If I give you 10 bottles of actual medicine and mix it up, we can identify each one with 100% accuracy (even if it is all crushed up into identical powders). Hell, you can give us a pile of powder and we can tell you how many different drugs are in it and what they are. You cannot do this for homeopathic “medicines” because they are nothing but sugar pills that do not do anything.

            2. Chris says:

              So you are clueless about the existence of Boiron (and its consumer lawsuits) and of Hyland (and their homeopathic teething tablets that were recalled by the FDA).

              So how is that search for how homeopathy performs for both syphilis and rabies?

            3. Harriet Hall says:

              “I will buy based upon a prescription.”

              Maybe you will, but you are not the typical user of homeopathy: just look at the sales figures for Oscillococcinum.

            4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Homeopathy is generally not over the counter medicines.

              As I said previously, not only is it not over-the-counter, it’s actually sold in many stores that are not pharmacies. There’s a rack in the “natural” section of the grocery store I shop at. Hell, I can buy them at my former chiropractor’s office if I wanted to, along with some unnecessarily expensive vitamins. Do you remember Head-On, Apply Directly to the Forehead, Head-On, Apply Directly to the Forehead, Head-On, Apply Directly to the Forehead? That was a homeopathic preparation. And holy shitballs, look at that, you can buy it in grocery stores.

              For that matter, walk into any Wal-Greens, or Boots, or whatever pharmacy/grocery store you frequent, and ask for the homeopathic preparations. I’m pretty sure, I’m really quite certain, wow, I am positive, that they won’t be behind the counter.

              Do you have the intellectual honesty to admit that you are wrong?

      3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Homeopathic medicines are not bought. The homeopathic medicine is prescribed by a doctor.

        Really? Because I can buy it at the grocery store, at pharmacies, at convenience stores, at hardware stores, at home stores, I’m pretty sure I could buy it at FutureShop if I looked hard enough.

        For that matter, I can make homeopathic remedies. You need two bottles, water, alcohol and no scientific integrty.

  20. Bruce says:

    Ah, so you are one of those people who are behind trying to sell sugar pills to treat malaria, TB and AIDS in developing countries.

    Tell me, when you collate you patient satisfaction scores, do the ones who died because they delayed real medical treatment for these conditions count as “satisfied” or “partially satisfied”? Or do they simply not count because they did not come back?

    1. Bruce says:

      My reply was to FBA.

      It appears I still fail at the internet.

      1. Kathy says:

        Keep trying Bruce! Developing countries need someone to speak up for them, and firewall them against the dangerous untested/disproved trash that certain individuals in developed countries sell them as medicinal treatment.

        This is where things like homeopathy move past the its-just-a-placebo-for-the-worried-well stage and become deadly. Deception is oh-so easy with people who are trusting of and easily impressed by “Western medicine”, as supported by science, the FDA, big American hospitals and academia.

        The construction worker in Nigeria don’t know the difference between, say, homeopathy, and antibiotics. His wife doesn’t know that magic water won’t cure her from the effects of an adder bite. But the death of a few dozen Congolese suffering from malaria or some patients in Mozambique with HIV, doesn’t get the airtime or newspaper space that a score of dead Americans or Brits would get.

        I get mad when so many just shrug and say “What’s the harm?”

  21. Cornelius says:

    Another shot in the dark, against homeopathy. This time the Australian can not prove that homeopathy does not work and gives us 1 month (ONE MONTH) to prove that it does work. A ridulous effort to prove……..what ? There are dozens of scientific research evidences which prove that homeopathy does work. The conventional health services are being threatened by there own failures: from only 15 to 20 percent of all conventional health treatment is scientifically proven that it really works. That is much worse than the positive evidence for homeopathy. So who is proving what here ?

    1. Cornelius – you can’t prove a negative. That’s not how clinical studies work. The burden is on the proponent to present sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis. After decades of modern research – homeopaths have failed to do this.

      One month to do a literature review and present a case (are they starting from scratch here?) is reasonable.

      And it is a myth that only 20% of modern medicine is evidence-based. http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/how-much-modern-medicine-is-evidence-based/ It depends on how you look at it, but the figure is closer to 80%, and the other 20% is at least plausible and somewhat evidence-based.

      Meanwhile homeopathy has zero plausibility and is 0% evidence-based. The existence of small preliminary studies that show a possible effect does not count as evidence-based. For any indication no homeopathic remedy or approach has demonstrated a replicable effect with rigorous trials. Not one. Zip, zero, nada, zilch.

      1. Cornelius says:

        There is more than sufficient evidence that homeopathy works. Problem is that the ruling “modern” medicine industry does not want to accept that.
        This “research” is the thousandth and first attempt to make us believe so.
        Just google “homeopathy positive scientific research” and you will find all the evidence you are looking for. Do not believe what the ruling pharmaceutical multinationals try to impress regarding homeopathy. It is all bullshit.

        1. Windriven says:

          “There is more than sufficient evidence that homeopathy works.”

          Really. How about giving use your top 3 citations of this evidence. Or if that’s too much trouble, just you single best piece of evidence. One.

        2. Frederick says:

          that is the Best way to build up you confirmation bias, by biasing you google search. You will end up on believers sites, not objective site. It will be like searching “flight MH370 is a conspiracy” to find if there’s proof for conspiracy. you make a bias search, of course you will find what your confirmation bias want.

        3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Do not believe what the ruling pharmaceutical multinationals try to impress regarding homeopathy. It is all bullshit.

          Why all this suspicion and bad faith for Big Pharma, who are assholes, but at least must run the gauntlet of FDA approval before selling drugs, meanwhile homeopathy manufacturers (a multi-billion dollar industry) require zero proof? Why is zero proof better than flawed proof?

      2. Iqbal says:

        Steve

        This may be your view. But the truth is close to the lower end figure.

        http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2006-05-28/medical-guesswork

        All processes reviewed by Dr. David Eddy are at the same level and the basic itself is questioned: “Why do physicians vary so much in the way they practice medicine?

        At first view, there should be no problem. There are diseases–neatly named and categorized by textbooks, journal articles, and medical specialty societies. There are various procedures physicians can use to diagnose and treat these diseases. It should be possible to determine the value of any particular procedure by applying it to patients who have a disease and observing the outcome. And the rest should be easy–if the outcome is good, the procedure should be used for patients with that disease; if the outcome is bad, it should not. Some variation in practice patterns can be expected due to differences in the incidence of various diseases, patients’ preferences, and the available resources, but these variations should be small and explainable.

        The problem of course is that nothing is this simple. Uncertainty, biases, errors, and differences of opinions, motives, and values weaken every link in the chain that connects a patient’s actual condition to the selection of a diagnostic test or treatment.

        Uncertainty creeps into medical practice through every pore. Whether a physician is defining a disease, making a diagnosis, selecting a procedure, observing outcomes, assessing probabilities, assigning preferences, or putting it all together, he is walking on very slippery terrain. It is difficult for non physicians, and for many physicians, to appreciate how complex these tasks are, how poorly we understand them, and how easy it is for honest people to come to different conclusions. (Professional Judgment: A Reader in Clinical Decision Making By Jack Dowie}

        If the measurement procedure itself is faulty, how can the results ever be correct?

        1. Windriven says:

          @lowball

          First off, what does this have to do with homeopathy? Apparently nothing.

          Second, Eddy is an intersting guy with interesting ideas. But the Bloomberg you linked (and really, that’s the best you can do for a citation?) doesn’t mention the study that Eddy used. What was the n?

          Dr. Eddy has a private company, Archimedes, Inc. That doesn’t mean that what he says isn’t so. But someone who has something to sell, someone who is making a fairly extraordinary claim, needs to back that up with substantial evidence. Let’s see it so that we can evaluate it and debate it.

          The same applies to you, lowball. You’ve elsewhere made the claim that homeopathy is something other than a small ball of rodent feces. Belly up and give us some meaningful evidence of the power of homeopathy. Otherwise, people are just going to roll their eyes. As they should. There is a difference between gibbering nonsense and evidence.

        2. Iqbal – that is a terribly biased article that is full of unjustified hyperbole.

          We agree on the basic premises – medicine is hard and complex, people vary, there is still a great deal we don’t know, etc. But the question at hand is quantitative – how much of what we do is based on solid evidence?

          This depends on how you address the question – what percentage of the different interventions that exist, or what percentage of decisions doctors make on a day-to-day basis, and then we can break it down by specialty.

          I linked you to my article – this is not just my opinion – that is based on the research that exists. The 15-20% figure is based on a single 50 year old study in Scotland. More recent and thorough research, from multiple different angles, shows figures in the 80% range.

          But – I would argue that most of what doctors do is routine, and most of the routine stuff is highly evidence-based.

          Of course we can do better – which is the mission of this very blog. We advocate for yet higher standards of science in medicine and point out the current shortcomings. It’s easy, however, to point at the flaws and make is seem like it’s a crisis. That makes for better headlines.

          1. Iqbal says:

            Steven Novella
            “ ..terribly biased article that is full of unjustified hyperbole.”

            Why is the article full of unjustified hyperbole? Dr. David Eddy will not make such dramatic comments unless he has data and evidence to support it. He is regarded as an expert on Evidence based medical decision-making.

            “…We agree on the basic premises – medicine is hard and complex, people vary, there is still a great deal we don’t know, etc.”

            This I am in agreement.

            ..” But the question at hand is quantitative – how much of what we do is based on solid evidence? This depends on how you address the question – what percentage of the different interventions that exist, or what percentage of decisions doctors make on a day-to-day basis, and then we can break it down by specialty.””

            I will quote another doctor: “Medical literature today is like a thick jungle, what with 7.5 % new information pouring into biology through, well over forty thousand bio-medical journals all over the world, every month, and the novice would find it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. In fact, that is the job of an ideal teacher to guide the novice in this thick jungle of mostly dead wood to the real useful rose wood or the teak for his/her benefit.”

            http://bmhegde.com/bmh/useartdetail1.php?aid=37
            With so much information, what does it take a doctor to be evidence based?

            ..I linked you to my article – this is not just my opinion – that is based on the research that exists. The 15-20% figure is based on a single 50 year old study in Scotland. More recent and thorough research, from multiple different angles, shows figures in the 80% range…

            Where did this 80% figure come from? By some estimates, the portion of medicine that has been proven truly effective is still in the range of 25%. (2009). “ Think of Archimedes as an intelligent physician with an infinite memory and an almost infinite ability to process data. It’s like Hippocrates meets Einstein. We’re trying to build a representation of what a terribly, terribly smart doctor would know if he or she could remember everything he or she was taught about basic physiology, epidemiology, clinical trials, and so forth..”
            http://www.managedcaremag.com/archives/0809/0809.qna_eddy.html
            For 80% achievement, what need not be followed of above?

            ……But – I would argue that most of what doctors do is routine, and most of the routine stuff is highly evidence-based….

            Dr. Eddy demonstrated that it was routine stuff that the doctors did that had no evidence basis – whether it was Mevacor for diabetes, screening for cancer, cesarean birth etc. “In the heated debate over health-care reform, one inconvenient fact is often ignored. There’s little evidence to support the use of many of today’s routine treatments and procedures.”

            ….Of course we can do better – which is the mission of this very blog. We advocate for yet higher standards of science in medicine and point out the current shortcomings. It’s easy, however, to point at the flaws and make is seemed like it’s a crisis. That makes for better headlines…….

            “But Eddy’s longstanding disdain for the healthcare system remains his key motivator. Despite spending an average of $5,000 for healthcare for every person in the U.S., he says, the system continues to keep many from receiving quality care, such as the 40 million uninsured Americans—while at the same time pushing others toward needlessly expensive, sometimes harmful treatments.( 80% Evidence based?) “We’ve got a $1.5 trillion tank rolling down the road with its windshield fogged over,” Eddy says.”

            1. Chris says:

              Oh, so much angst over stuff that is not homeopathy. Wow.

              So, exactly how well does homeopathy work for syphilis and rabies?

              Why do you think it is better to treat measles rather than preventing it?

              What other proven methods do you know can prevent measles other than the MMR vaccine? Is it homeopathy? If so, you better have some good data to back that up.

            2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Why is the article full of unjustified hyperbole? Dr. David Eddy will not make such dramatic comments unless he has data and evidence to support it. He is regarded as an expert on Evidence based medical decision-making

              It’s funny you make this claim based on an article in Business Week, not say, JAMA, or NEJM.

              You seem fond of quoting Eddy. Who disagrees with him? Because looking at only one side of a question for all your answers is a great way to get a biased answer. Looking for that interview in the press is another.

        3. weing says:

          The truth is that you are taking as truth a quote in a Business Week article from a person, that gives no references to back up the claim, but has a vested interest in selling a program that supplies the needed evidence.

        4. Chris says:

          “All processes reviewed by Dr. David Eddy are at the same level and the basic itself is questioned: “Why do physicians vary so much in the way they practice medicine?”

          My question is why do some people like to post off topic stuff on blogs, and then refuse to answer direct on topic questions with the requested evidence? Can you tell us why, Iqbal? What are you going on about?

          1. Windriven says:

            “What are you going on about?”

            I’ve got a crisp clean twenty that says the answer is: nothing.

            1. Iqbal says:

              Chris

              Harriet Hall found an internet site on red line symptoms:

              http://www.homeoint.org/books2/hutch700/mmpz.htm#STRAMONIUM

              Look at symptom 8.

              Does it seem similar to the disease caused by dog bite?

              You understand? You are not a doctor -or are you?

              1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Do you know what’s missing? Any indication that those “red line symptoms” mean a damned thing.

                Or, for that matter, any indication that all homeopaths believe this. See, doctors have a common way to understand medicine, because they have a common understanding of the body, how it works chemically and physically, and a common way to resolve disagreements – reference to the peer-reviewed literature and by proxy empirical results.

                Homeopaths can’t do this, because they don’t refer to the peer reviewed literature, and don’t use empirical findings to demonstrate anything. Homeopaths don’t have disagreements over treatment, they have schisms, the same way religious cults have schisms.

                Dr. Hall’s grasp of the sprawling, uninterpretable homeopathic literature is about as meaningful to human health as is her grasp of the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Greek myths, the Torah, the Bible, the Book of Arda Viraf, how to palcate faries found in the bottoms of wells, and how to defeat dragons. There is no reason to believe homeopathy works, no evidence to support it working, and a great deal of evidence to support it not working. All your handwaving about medical errors and fatality rates in the 19th century is a distraction from these facts, and are the result of your inablity to make a positive case for homeopathy.

              2. Chris says:

                “Does it seem similar to the disease caused by dog bite?”

                What part of the question I asked you two days ago is missing from you answer:

                Now, answer this direct question: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

                On what planet is that bizarre website “actual scientific documentation”? It is a reprint of a an 1885 book

                “You understand? You are not a doctor -or are you?”

                Well, we have pretty much established you are not. It is obvious you did not even graduate from high school with basic English reading skills, or an understanding of chemistry, biology, etc.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Cornelius, homeopathy has been in existence for over 200 years. It has been tested thousands of times in that 200 years. In high-quality tests, with control groups, randomization, blinding and reasonable numbers, it has never shown evidence of efficacy beyond placebo.

      Honestly, how much more time is needed?

      Would you take a drug made by Pfizer whose endorsement was “well, it hasn’t been proven NOT to work”? If not, why the double-standard? Even if homeopathy had fewer iatrogenic events than real medicine, is that enough? If someone says “yeah, it’s completely useless but the side effects are really mild”, is that enough to convince you to take a drug?

      Funny, maybe it’s just me, but I like to know there is good evidence of efficacy before I get any treatment.

      1. Iqbal says:

        WilliamLawrenceUtridge

        “It has been tested thousands of times in that 200 years. In high-quality tests, with control groups, randomization, blinding and reasonable numbers, it has never shown evidence of efficacy beyond placebo.”

        It depends how the test is done. What about real life?

        http://www.the-cma.org.uk/cma_images/Jayney%27s%20Presentation.pdf

        1. Chris says:

          Wow, that is just pathetic.

        2. Windriven says:

          Real life??? What do you think these studies are? Do you think scientists sit around a ouija board?

          When a drug is tested, people – real people just like you and your neighbors- are enrolled. The group is divided into groups. One of the groups gets the drug being tested. Another group may get a pill that looks the same but has nothing in it. Scientists then study whether the people on the investigational drug do better than those taking nothing.

          Apparently you are willing to put more stock in aunt Mabel’s claim that she took something and she got better. Don’t you understand that her getting better may have had nothing to do with what she thinks made her better?

          1. Iqbal says:

            Windriven

            You think you know?

            Can you explain Vioxx in the context of RCT?

            It is supposed to have killed >140,000 Americans alone. Any idea about deaths world wide?

            I was quite impressed with science till I read :

            ” A suddenly suppressed rheumatism of any joint followed by violent cardiac symptoms” under Abroatnum in Lectures on Materiam Medica written by Dr. JT Kent in 1904.

            1. Chris says:

              Hey, Thingy Two, what does Vioxx have to do with homeopathy? Or is it another pathetic attempt to go off topic.

              So, do tell us how well homeopathy works for syphilis and rabies.

            2. weing says:

              “I was quite impressed with science till I read :

              “A suddenly suppressed rheumatism of any joint followed by violent cardiac symptoms” under Abroatnum in Lectures on Materiam Medica written by Dr. JT Kent in 1904.”

              From the Abrotanum just before your quote.

              “Rheumatic conditions with heart irritation; epistaxis; bloody urine; anxiety and trembling,”

              I have no idea how that proves anything. You are no longer impressed with science, yet you are using the products of science to spew your nonsense.

              1. Iqbal says:

                weing

                …..“A suddenly suppressed rheumatism of any joint followed by violent cardiac symptoms” ………

                This is Vioxx did when it was used as a cure for rheumatism. Similar suppression of rheumatism would have been tried earlier (as is done for blood pressure) and observed by Dr. Kent. For such a patient, Abroatnum would be recommended by a homeopath doctor.

                ………I have no idea how that proves anything. You are no longer impressed with science, yet you are using the products of science to spew your nonsense…..

                You read it but did not understand. Do you, now?

              2. weing says:

                @Iqbal
                No. I don’t follow. Are you saying Kent predicted Vioxx?

                The cardiac symptoms described by him were.
                “Rheumatic conditions with heart irritation; epistaxis; bloody urine; anxiety and trembling,”

                The MIs due to Vioxx were not immediate. They were noted in greater frequency in those with prolonged use of the drug. Nothing close to what you are suggesting.

                Regarding the 100 million debilitated in the US. I read the article. Nowhere do I find that claim. You’ll have to be more specific. Also the errors are judged by not following established practice guidelines, checking allergies, etc. That means from not using modern medicine appropriately.

              3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Vioxx was a painkiller, a symptom-supressor, not a “cure for rheumatism”.

                Also, have Dr. Kent’s observations been validated and replicated in anything approaching modern times, or are you routinely in the habit of judging medicines according to the standards of a previous century?

                Never mind, you go back even further than that, and insist on judging homeopathy by the effectiveness of medicine in the mid-1800s.

                Say, do you smoke too? Because in 1945 nine out of ten doctors recommended Marlboro’s cigarettes because they don’t take your wind. Pick up a pack today!

              4. Iqbal says:

                weing

                …No. I don’t follow. Are you saying Kent predicted Vioxx?..

                Dr. Kent did not predict Vioxx, Merck did. Dr. Kent observed the outcome of such procedure and recommended a medicine. Abroatnum.

                …The cardiac symptoms described by him were.
                “Rheumatic conditions with heart irritation; epistaxis; bloody urine; anxiety and trembling,”…
                Add these symptom and the medicine is confirmed. Otherwise there are other possibilities: Ledum, etc.

                ….The MIs due to Vioxx were not immediate. They were noted in greater frequency in those with prolonged use of the drug. Nothing close to what you are suggesting…..

                But RCT’s for drug development run for many years, follow protocols, first on animals then on humans, FDA reviews results and then the drug is released for patients. Remember we are not in the 18th century. Where did you go wrong?

              5. MadisonMD says:

                It’s cute how Iqbal likes to distract with discussions of RCT, Vioxx, 19th century anecdotes etc., but completely ignores the basic fact there is nothing but sugar in homeopathic sugar pills.

                Duh.

              6. weing says:

                “But RCT’s for drug development run for many years, follow protocols, first on animals then on humans, FDA reviews results and then the drug is released for patients.”

                RCTs are the minimum necessary, they are not sufficient. Surveillance needs to be continued to detect rare or delayed side effects.

            3. Windriven says:

              The problems with Vioxx resulted from high dose, long term use. The drug company that made Vioxx covered up mounting evidence of cardiac injury associated with long term use.

              The 140,000 ‘deaths’ that you claim is wrong. That number is the upper limit of estimates of serious cardiac events. The number of deaths is much lower.

              Vioxx is not the pharmaceutical industry’s finest hour. The studies used may have been biased and the duration may have been too short. But that is a failure of regulation, not a failure of science.

              Worse, you somehow imagine that because science can be misused, nonsense and hogwash must be true. Again, your grasp of reality reveals itself to be tenuous at best.

              1. Iqbal says:

                Windriven

                The following drugs were introduced with or with out RCT?

                Tamilflu?
                Alatrofloxacin?
                Benoxaprofen?
                Sibutramine?

              2. Chris says:

                So exactly how well does homeopathy work for both syphilis and rabies?

              3. weing says:

                “The following drugs were introduced with or with out RCT?”

                RCTs are, at the minimum, necessary. Who thinks they are sufficient?

              4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Tamiflu is not a perfect drug with 100% effectiveness, but it does have evidence of effectiveness (grossly oversold by the manufacturer) and in the case of a 1919-type influenza epidemic, it might be our only tool. That or ventilators.

                But what’s your point? That medicine is hard? That Big Pharma lies? Yeah, we know, thanks for that Captain Obvious. But:

                1) That doesn’t mean homeopathy works, and
                2) What is your solution? Mine is to have phase III randomized clinical trials funded independently through universities, who are paid in trust by Big Pharma. The only other option for something like Vioxx, which was a chronic use, low-frequency event problem, would be to extend phase III trials to several tens of thousands of people and a dozen years. That’s great – you’ve just destroyed any chance of approving a new drug, ever.

              5. Iqbal says:

                weing

                ……..RCTs are, at the minimum, necessary. Who thinks they are sufficient?……….

                What is sufficient?

              6. Chris says:

                Iqbal, go away and stop trolling.

              7. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                What is sufficient?

                Science is never done, there is always more to be discovered, but in terms of clinical decision-making, what is needed is a convergent set of findings that generally point in a similar direction of benefits well in excess of detrimental effects. And given the iterative, accumulative and reactive nature of science, nothing is ever really sufficient, there will always be tweaks, changes, confirmations, challenges and reversals.

                Homeopathy, in contrast, needs only Hahnemann’s word, or the facile justifications of provings, or a single research study. Cherry-picking is an absolute necessity, since if you look at the totality of the data, if you bring in all relevant knowledge accumulated through empirical observation, you must conclude it’s worthless placebo effects. “Sufficient” in terms of homeopathy can include anything that justifies homeopathy in even the slightest way – including totally irrelevant issues such as (as you are so fond of drawing attention to) the adverse effects of real drugs.

                Homeopathy either works, or doesn’t, and drugs having side effects have no bearing on this fact. And of course, homeopathy simply doesn’t work.

              8. Iqbal says:

                weing/chris/ WilliamLawrenceUtridge/ Harriet Hall/ Windriven/

                Would any of you clearly state:

                ……..RCTs are, at the minimum, necessary. Who thinks they are sufficient?……….

                What parameters are sufficient for ensuring drug development?

              9. Iqbal says:

                …Science is never done, there is always more to be discovered, but in terms of clinical decision-making, what is needed is a convergent set of findings that generally point in a similar direction of benefits well in excess of detrimental effects….

                So what is done? This is science – you have to be specific. Confirm for as of now.

                …….. And given the iterative, accumulative and reactive nature of science, nothing is ever really sufficient, there will always be tweaks, changes, confirmations, challenges and reversals……..

                What you state here is ” I DO NOT KNOW”.

                …….Homeopathy either works, or doesn’t, and drugs having side effects have no bearing on this fact. …

                If you do not know what you stand for, I am positive you are completely illiterate about homeopathy.

                …And of course, homeopathy simply doesn’t work……
                Now it is your word against Hahnemann’s : I should believe him as he was a trained doctor. And you are?

              10. weing says:

                “What parameters are sufficient for ensuring drug development?”

                Why do you need to know that? Do you think you are even capable of understanding the parameters? Do you think it’ll help you sell propitiatory rubber components? What parameters are sufficient for ensuring development of a new propitiatory rubber component? That might give you a clue. If you really are interested, for an intro, pick up Medical Pharmacology and Therapeutics by Waller and Sampson and knock yourself out.

        3. Harriet Hall says:

          @Iqbal,

          “What about real life?”

          What about real life in the present? How pathetic that the presentation you linked to covers only 19th century reports, and that is the only ammunition homeopaths could come up with! Homeopaths got better results back then because the medicines of real doctors did more harm than good and the homeopathic remedies did nothing: no good, but no harm. Haven’t homeopaths noticed that medicine in the 21st century is an entirely different ballgame? Scientific medicine has progressed by leaps and bounds and has even wiped smallpox off the face of the earth, while homeopathy still slavishly follows Hahnemann’s idiocies. Thanks for the history lesson. If I went back in a time machine to the 19th century, I wouldn’t use harmful conventional treatments, but I wouldn’t use homeopathy either.

          1. Iqbal says:

            Harriet Hall

            …….Homeopaths got better results back then because the medicines of real doctors did more harm than good and the homeopathic remedies did nothing: no good, but no harm……

            You mean that if cholera was not treated – no medicine was given – more people would have been alive?

            Cholera is a self correcting problem?

            1. Chris says:

              You have no clue how cholera is treated, do you, Thingy Two? (hint: it involves lots of water with added salts/sugar).

              Now, answer this direct question: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

              And when you are done, go and answer direct questions.

            2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              You mean that if cholera was not treated – no medicine was given – more people would have been alive?

              No, stupid. The unproven medical interventions that were used back then, before the Flexner report and the advent of scientific medicine, were actively harmful. Homeopathy was the equivalent to doing nothing; when doctors were in the habit of bleeding, inducing vomiting or diarrhea in patients, their “cures” were worse than doing nothing, so more patients died.

              With the advent of scientific medicine, bleeding and purging patients ceased. Causes of disease were identified. Antibiotics and public health were developed. Drinking water was cleansed before being distributed. Sewers were built. Medicine changed based on what it learned. Cholera rates dropped and it is now no longer a disease found in the first world.

              Meanwhile, homeopathy is the same as it was. Are there any other facets of life where “it’s just like it was in the 19th century” is said with pride?

              Read a book

            3. Harriet Hall says:

              “You mean that if cholera was not treated – no medicine was given – more people would have been alive?”

              Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. Without treatment, approximately half of cholera victims survive. The medicines of the time did nothing to increase survival; and many of them had the potential to decrease survival.

              1. Iqbal says:

                Harriet Hall

                ………Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. Without treatment, approximately half of cholera victims survive…..

                The data for London Homeopathic hospital was 16.1% deaths (less by 33.9% even by your estimates of 50%).

                What was the rationale for this survival? The LHH showed survival of 83.9% (51 against 61 admitted for cholera) against 46.8% in the conventional system. (3.2% died of cholera and 50% from drugs for cholera.)

                Then also the reason for deriding Homeopathy was scientific: ”

                “That by introducing the returns of homœopathic practitioners they (the Treatment Committee) would not only compromise the value and utility of their averages of Cure, as deduced from the operation of known remedies, but they would give an unjustifiable sanction to an empirical practice, alike opposed to the maintenance of truth and to the progress of science.”

                The science the doctors of 1854 believed in, you don’t.

              2. Chris says:

                “The science the doctors of 1854 believed in, you don’t.”

                So how does it work with syphilis compared to modern antibiotics?

                And how does it work with rabies compared to modern protocols?

              3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Iqbal, why do you continue to insist on bringing up the record of homoepathic practices versus mainstream medicine in the 19th century? Why does it matter now? You’ll note that we no longer test chemotherapeutic agents against placebo because have treatments for most cancers now, and ditto for vaccines?

                As for the rates of homeopathy versus bloodletting and violent purgatives, who gives a flying shit? Any doctor using bloodletting or violent purgatives instead of real medicine would be put in jail, and rightly so. I mean seriously, what’s next – comparison of traffic fatalities before the invention of seatbelts? Effectiveness of carbines versus atlatls? Perhaps efficiency and effectiveness of pole-steered raft versus the Enterprise (pick any, the space shuttle, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the fictional trans-warp capable star ship or even the 1775 sloop)?

                Yeah, we get it, you for some reason want homeopathy to do well versus modern medicine, and are willing to exagerrate, ignore contradictory data and abandon common sense to do so. Nobody cares what the death rates were from 150 years ago, we’re more concerned about the current evidence against homeopathy – which is resoundingly negative.

                I mean Jebus, it’s hard not to call you stupid.

          2. Iqbal says:

            Harriet Hall

            You missed to say why were the records of the homeopathic treatment tampered with?

            …….while homeopathy still slavishly follows Hahnemann’s idiocies.

            What do you know about homeopathy other than linking it to the science you know?

            …Thanks for the history lesson. If I went back in a time machine to the 19th century, I wouldn’t use harmful conventional treatments, but I wouldn’t use homeopathy either…

            What would you say about the conventional medical system, if you were in year 2050 and travelled in time to 2014? Has it stopped being harmful now?

            “Nearly 225,000 people have died in one year in the US alone due to iatrogenic diseases. Of these 140,000 has been exclusively due to adverse drug reactions. In addition, an equal number died during out patient management of Adverse Drug Reactions that cost the buyer a total of $ 79 billion in prescription bills in one year. There have been three million injuries due to medical interventions in a year with 44,000 to 98,000 deaths annually. Nosocomial infections alone caused 80,000 deaths in one year in hospitals. One hundred million people suffer from chronic debilitating illnesses partly due to medical interventions. These figures look horrible if one takes into consideration the relatively small population of US. The sad story does not include the escalating costs of modern medicine.”

            http://bmhegde.com/bmh/useartdetail1.php?aid=205

            1. Chris says:

              So what is the record of homeopathy treating syphilis and rabies. Please only provide data generated in latter third of the twentieth century and later.

            2. weing says:

              “You missed to say why were the records of the homeopathic treatment tampered with?”

              How do you know they were tampered with? How many times? When? Who did the tampering? Why is it relevant now?

            3. weing says:

              “There have been three million injuries due to medical interventions in a year with 44,000 to 98,000 deaths annually. Nosocomial infections alone caused 80,000 deaths in one year in hospitals. ”

              These were mainly due to not following best-practice guidelines. This has been identified and steps are being implemented to change it.

              “One hundred million people suffer from chronic debilitating illnesses partly due to medical interventions.”

              In the US? I think your friend exaggerates. Reference please.

              1. Windriven says:

                “One hundred million people suffer from chronic debilitating illnesses partly due to medical interventions.”

                I suspect that in lowball’s world, if someone has a chronic condition and at some point they have consulted a physician about it, the conditions necessary to fit her claim have been met. Still probably overstated by half or more but such is the state of cognition between the ears of lowball.

              2. Iqbal says:

                weing

                ………..In the US? I think your friend exaggerates. Reference please……….
                Lucien Leape of the Harvard Medical School in his excellent article, Errors in Medicine, published in 1994 in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol 272; page 1851-1857) gives a very graphic description of all the errors that we have been committing. This has been updated recently by Barbara Starfield in her excellent article in the same journal in the year 2000 (JAMA 2000;284:483-485) which reiterates the same, adding many more glaring dangers to the list already given by Leape. To date, I have been able to trace more than seven thousand articles showing the mistakes of modern medicine in the best western journals.

                Nearly 225,000 people have died in one year in the US alone due to iatrogenic diseases. Of these 140,000 has been exclusively due to adverse drug reactions. In addition, an equal number died during out patient management of Adverse Drug Reactions that cost the buyer a total of $ 79 billion in prescription bills in one year. There have been three million injuries due to medical interventions in a year with 44,000 to 98,000 deaths annually. Nosocomial infections alone caused 80,000 deaths in one year in hospitals. One hundred million people suffer from chronic debilitating illnesses partly due to medical interventions. These figures look horrible if one takes into consideration the relatively small population of US. The sad story does not include the escalating costs of modern medicine.

                These are yearly figures and for USA.

              3. Chris says:

                So what is the modern record of homeopathy in regards to treating syphilis and rabies?

              4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Iqbal, how many of those patients would have died without treatment? How many would have survivied with appropriate care? What sorts of changes have been enacted as a result of awareness of these medical errors, in order to reduce them?

                And, of course, as always, what does this have to do with homeopathy?

                Yeah, medicine isn’t perfect. It’ll probably never be perfect, but it will always strive to improve. But we can’t cease delivering medical care because of imperfection. I mean FFS, do you also advocate people not drive because of traffic fatalities? Did you know you can die of a sudden cardiac emergency when exercising, and do you therefore advocate just sitting quietly on the couch in a dark room with no stimulation to alter your heart rate? Oops, pooping can be deadly, better hold it in! Hey, you could choke on solid food, do you puree everything you eat? For that matter, you could aspirate that puree, so I guess you use IV nutrition! But what about infection at the injection site? You should try breatharianism. Specifically, you should try breatharianism. Try really, really hard.

                Anyway, do you have anything better to do than to keep posting, as if we weren’t already aware, the efforts of modern medicine to self-criticize and improve its care?

              5. Iqbal says:

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge

                …..Iqbal, how many of those patients would have died without treatment? How many would have survivied with appropriate care?

                Please direct your question to :Lucien Leape of the Harvard Medical School or to Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol 272; page 1851-1857) or Barbara Starfield or JAMA 2000;284:483-485.

                …. What sorts of changes have been enacted as a result of awareness of these medical errors, in order to reduce them?….

                Not many I believe. The situation has actually deteriorated:

                “This has been updated recently by Barbara Starfield in her excellent article in the same journal in the year 2000 (JAMA 2000;284:483-485) which reiterates the same, adding many more glaring dangers to the list already given by Leape. To date, I have been able to trace more than seven thousand articles showing the mistakes of modern medicine in the best western journals.”(BMHegde)
                ……Yeah, medicine isn’t perfect. It’ll probably never be perfect, but it will always strive to improve…
                But everyone commenting here declares that drug development as in old times is over. Science has progressed and we are in 20th century and we really know the right methods of treatment and drug development.

                Senior doctors do not accept this know all attitude.

                “Dr. Eddy’s longstanding disdain for the healthcare system remains his key motivator.”

                You were quite sure till a while back? You did not have access to this data?

                ……. as if we weren’t already aware, the efforts of modern medicine to self-criticize and improve its care?……..

                You know nothing about the system of medicine that you consider good, and you are trying to criticize a system you have no knowledge about!

              6. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Please direct your question to :Lucien Leape of the Harvard Medical School or to Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol 272; page 1851-1857) or Barbara Starfield or JAMA 2000;284:483-485.

                Lucian reported out 20 years ago, and drove the self-critical exercises of medicine to reduce iatrogenic errors. What is the current rate, and why are you so enamoured of old information? Leape doesn’t ask the question “how many would have died without care”, but that question doesn’t even matter. What matters is what is being done to reduce those errors. Leape isn’t arguing we should do without medicine, which appears to be your point. Leape is pointing out that we need to do medicine better. That doesn’t involve homeopathy. If we relied on homoepathy, then you would still be having 10 kids to watch one survive, because the other 9 would die of currently-preventible diseases.

                Starfield, similarly, is arguing for medicine to be improved, not discontinued. These authors do not support your point. And again, this is 14 years old. That’s not “recent” in science, that’s old. And all those studies you find talking about medical errors? They are part of medicine’s self-critical process to reduce errors and drive up survival. No doctor or researcher asks “are we better off without medicine” because history is rich evidence that we are not. 95% die-off due to smallpox in North America. And do you know the likelihood of dying in childhood in pre-medical times? Between 20-40%. Do you have kids? Do you know how you love them and cherish them, and if they died it would be world-shattering, probably ruin your marriage and be such an unexpected turn in your life that you would never be the same? Yeah, life without medicine means you would get to experience that again, and again, and again, if you (or your partner) didn’t die in childbirth. Or go sterile. Or die of food poisoning. Or a hangnail. The primary causes of death and medical cited by Leape and Starfield? Cardiac events. You know who gets those? Old people. Who would have stood essentially zero chance without medicine.

                But everyone commenting here declares that drug development as in old times is over. Science has progressed and we are in 20th century and we really know the right methods of treatment and drug development.

                Really? Who has said that? Many view the “golden age” of medicine as being over, the low-hanging fruit have been plucked. That doesn’t mean drug development is over or that we have the best methods. Advances in genomics, computing and molecular biology allow us to understand medicine and biology in new ways, and might lead to new drug developments. Meanwhile, you keep defending homeopathy results from the 19th century (and citing “updated” studies from 14 years ago).

                But that’s because you aren’t an honest broker interested in the nuances of medicine. You just want to beat your drum that medicine is broken and awful. You don’t care about what it does well, just what you can use to pretend it does no good at all.

                That’s great, please abandon medicine and never use it. Stick to homeopathy.

                You know nothing about the system of medicine that you consider good, and you are trying to criticize a system you have no knowledge about!

                That’s hilarious coming from the person who waves 20-year-old papers about as if Choosing Wisely didn’t exist.

                Oh, no, you’re pure cutting-edge when it comes to grasping the medical literature on iatrogenic deaths.

                Do you not see how stupid it is to claim that doctor’s don’t care about iatrogenic disease by citing the medical literature?

              7. Iqbal says:

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge:

                …….If we relied on homoepathy, then you would still be having 10 kids to watch one survive, because the other 9 would die of currently-preventible diseases….

                Let me disappoint you and inform you of the paucity of your knowledge. My grandfather had 9 children. (1918-1930). All depended upon homeopathy. All survived. My father’s generation had 19 children. (1942-1972) All survived. Our generation has 23 children- all survived. (1974-2000). All of us depend on homeopathic medicines ONLY even today. The family went through all preventable diseases without the prevention.

                …… Starfield, similarly, is arguing for medicine to be improved, not discontinued. These authors do not support your point. And again, this is 14 years old. That’s not “recent” in science, that’s old.…..

                Starfield is only stating facts. We interpret the results in different ways. You see the data as message for improvement; I see it as one important reason why science based medicine is not based on the science required for medicine.
                Either the medicine should change or the science under lying behind it has to change. And till this is resolved, you have no cannot say this is the only way forward.

                …… And again, this is 14 years old. That’s not “recent” in science, that’s old. And all those studies you find talking about medical errors?…….

                So earlier to 14 years (2000) science based medicine was not science based? You should be very clear. There was no role of science based medicine in eradicating small pox?

                Or you would like to give credit for achievements to Science and for disasters take refuge in time? What is achieved in the last 14 years that science based medicine would like to take credit for and rundown all other methods of treatment as non scientific? As per you the past 300 years are no good record for science based medicine but are 14 years enough time for you to establish that this is the only way forward?
                You are not serious? Are you?

                ……Do you have kids? Do you know how you love them and cherish them, and if they died it would be world-shattering, probably ruin your marriage and be such an unexpected turn in your life that you would never be the same? ……..Or go sterile. Or die of food poisoning. Or a hangnail….

                I have 2 sons. They have always been treated with homeopathy medicine and both are fine. (Please see above). Incidentally, reading about science based medicines shows that you should be more concerned about the drug the doctor prescribes for your children because of the potential side effects, and the long term adverse effects. Remember, you still give your children drugs, not medicines.

                ……… Many view the “golden age” of medicine as being over, the low-hanging fruit have been plucked. That doesn’t mean drug development is over or that we have the best methods……

                This is not true. What you defined a little while back as dark ages (>14 years) cannot be golden age for scientific medicines by the wildest imagination based upon available reviews. The fact is that with engineering expertise improving, positive results are not easily available. The improvement in tools for evaluation and information technology, are reducing dramatically the life time for new drugs: errors take less time to be noted and reconfirmation happens faster, forcing early withdrawal. This is the main reason for “the low hanging fruits to vanish.”

                …….Advances in genomics, computing and molecular biology allow us to understand medicine and biology in new ways, and might lead to new drug developments…..

                Sure, I agree. This may also hopefully help in finding reason as to how such low dilutions, as found in homeopathy, work.

                …… That’s great, please abandon medicine and never use it. Stick to homeopathy….

                We abandoned your scientific medicine about 100 years ago. We have found no reasons to use it. My father is 92. my mother 86. No requirement of daily dose of medicines!!

              8. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Iqbal: Assuming you aren’t simply lying, assuming your family didn’t simply ignore or hide the deaths of children, assuming they didn’t benefit from the advances in public health, that still proves very little as there are many other families that did, and still, have many children who died before their first year – as indicated in the mortality analysis I included in my post. Your anecdote is not comparable to actual research.

                . You see the data as message for improvement; I see it as one important reason why science based medicine is not based on the science required for medicine.
                Either the medicine should change or the science under lying behind it has to change. And till this is resolved, you have no cannot say this is the only way forward.

                The message is very much “medicine needs to improve”, and the science that underlies it drives those improvements. I mean seriously, you point to a peer-reviewed medical journal article in which medical error is discussed as a serious cause of unnecessary morbidity and mortality, with suggestions and research directions for improvement, and you somehow don’t see that as evidence of science and medicine’s efforts to improve itself? And meanwhile you hold up homeopathy, which hasn’t changed in centuries as an example of good practice? Do you know who Matthew Henry is? And talk about the myth of perfection – we can only have medicine when it never, ever causes any iatrogenic harms? I guess that means we can never remove an inflamed appendix, because surgery would cause a wound. Meanwhile, your solution is…homeopathy? Do you know who Ryan Lovett is? How about Gloria Sam, who died for lack of skin cream?

                <blockquote.They have always been treated with homeopathy medicine and both are fine.Do you know what herd immunity is? You’re welcome, by the way. And if I had kids, I would have them vaccinated, and not give them any drugs unless prescribed by a doctor. And when my doctor told me that drugs were not necessary, I would listen to him and not ask for any.

                This is not true. What you defined a little while back as dark ages (>14 years) cannot be golden age for scientific medicines by the wildest imagination based upon available reviews.

                The golden age of medicine was the 1950s-1970s, not 14 years ago. I never said science-based medicine started in 2000, I merely pointed out that most actual scientists would consider a 14-year-old paper to be quite old, and borderline irrelevant, and look for more recent information – and in doing so would find many, many scientific papers that continue to call for reduced medical error and iatrogenic illness.

                The fact is that with engineering expertise improving, positive results are not easily available.

                Humans are not machines. Engineering a car, or even a space shuttle, is child’s play compared to the self-regulating complexity of biology. If you think the two disciplines are comparble, that’s merely a reflection of your ignorance.

                The improvement in tools for evaluation and information technology, are reducing dramatically the life time for new drugs: errors take less time to be noted and reconfirmation happens faster, forcing early withdrawal. This is the main reason for “the low hanging fruits to vanish.”

                I agree with everything except your final sentence, the low-hanging fruit are gone because we hit the limit of simple solutions to early causes of death. The rest of your statement is merely more evidence of medicine’s ongoing self-improvement mechanisms producing superior outcomes. Where are homeopathy’s comparable mechanisms?

                This may also hopefully help in finding reason as to how such low dilutions, as found in homeopathy, work.

                Your statement contains the assumption that homeopathy actually works. Actual trials in actual humans consistently find that they don’t, and have done so for over a century. And homeopathy isn’t “low dilutions”, it’s generally “no substance”. There’s no reason to look for a mechanism, which we have no reason to expect to exist, to explain a phenomena that has no proof.

                We abandoned your scientific medicine about 100 years ago. We have found no reasons to use it. My father is 92. my mother 86. No requirement of daily dose of medicines!!

                Public health officials say “you’re welcome”. You may have stopped taking medications, collectively, but that doesn’t mean the collective actions taken in public health didn’t protect your parasitic family.

                Incidentally, my father is 74, takes no medications, routinely visits his doctor for check-ups, is fully-vaccinated, eats primarily home-cooked meals, exercises regularly (at my advice) and is in excellent health. Examples prove nothing, studies show that diseases vanish with vaccination and lifestyle conditions increase with affluence. Homeopathy brought none of this information to light, it merely takes credit for the baseline good health of the modern world.

            4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              What do you know about homeopathy other than linking it to the science you know?

              What else is there to know? Science links to the real world, why would you not want a medical system based on the real world?

              What would you say about the conventional medical system, if you were in year 2050 and travelled in time to 2014? Has it stopped being harmful now?

              Who the fuck cares? We do the best now that we can, but now our “best” is based on a scientific understanding of reality. Is your criticism really “why aren’t you doing it like they will do it 35 years from now”? What, are you stupid or something? But meanwhile you’re willing to support homeopathy that hasn’t changed since the 1700s? Are you an idiot or a hypocrite?

              Nearly 225,000 people have died in one year in the US alone due to iatrogenic diseases. blah blah fucking blah

              Two points:

              1) How many of those would have died without treatment?
              2) What does this have to do with homeopathy working or not? If you are saying homeopathy is an improvement because it avoids iatrogenic harms, not because it works, then why bother bringing up homeopathy? Just say “nobody should be treated with drugs” and leave the archaic child-like magical thinking out of it.

              Or, y’know, recognize that it’s a problem that the medical system is attempting to correct – pharmacists checking prescriptions and polypharmacy, electronic record keeping, quality assurance reviews, morbidity and mortality reviews, and so on.

              Homeopathy isn’t the solution.

              1. Iqbal says:

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge

                …How many of those would have died without treatment?…

                I do believe after reading your messages that the scientific medical system is worse off than I thought. The doctors passing out of Harvard Medical school do not have proper education or understanding to address such basic question that you ask.
                It seems he trashed the medical system out of his ignorance. But the system still continues to support his ideas:

                “This led ultimately to the founding of the National Patient Safety Foundation and the Institute of Medicine’s landmark publications, To Err is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm.

                His subsequent work has focused on … improving disclosure and apology following medical harm, and, most recently, changing medical culture to be more respectful and patient-centered.

                He has been honored with the American Pediatric Surgical Association’s Distinguished Service Award, the John Eisenberg Award of the Joint Commission and National Quality Forum, and the Donabedian Award of the American Public Health Association.

                In 2006, Modern Healthcare named him as one of the 30 people who have had the most impact on healthcare in the past 30 years. In 2007, the National Patient Safety Foundation established the Lucian Leape Institute to further strategic thinking in patient safety.

                There is something wrong with the system or you?

              2. Dave says:

                I think WLU’s point about “how many would have died without treatment” is meant to show the context of how some iatrogenic harms occur. As an example, take a patient with septic shock, respiratory failure and severe pneumonia. Such a patient will require ventilatory support, a central line, and antibiotics. Being on a ventilator exposes the patient to the risk of a ventilator acquired pneumonia and barotrauma, a central line exposes the patient to the risk of line infection, and antibiotics expose the patient to the risk of allergic reactions, superinfections and idiosyncratic reactions. You could avoid these harms by foregoing the ventilator or central line, but unfortunately without these interventions the patient would probably die. This is in addition to pure mistakes – wrong patient getting the wrong med or the wrong dose, etc. You should be aware that protocols have been developed to reduce the chance of patients getting line sepsis or ventilator associated pneumonia, hospitals have antibiotic stewardship programs overlooking antibiotic use, there are bar-code systems to prevent medication administration errors, and computer warning systems to alert doctors as to potentially serious drug interactions. We need better systems to prevent human error. These occur even in the best of systems and by even the best people, since no one is infallible. A few years ago there was a report of several women at a major well-renowned cancer institute who received the wrong dose of adriamycin for breast cancer and got cardiac toxicity as a result. Steps can be put into place to try to prevent this – pharmacists double-checking the dose and the administering chemo nurses raising questions about doses which seem strange, for example.

                There’s much effort going into these kind of checks. It is certainly better to assume that since humans are involved mistakes WILL occur and we need to do everything to make sure these get caught before thay cause harm. Sadly, I don’t see much effort going into other sources of error – understaffing of nurses, hospitalists being continually interrupted in the middle of other tasks (you can’t safely drive while distracted, why do we think it’s ok to distract someone doing a history and physical or writing orders?) etc.

              3. Chris says:

                Iqbal, answer this direct question: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

                Especially since these two diseases are almost 100% fatal without real treatment.

              4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Dave has precisely, and in great detail, made my point for me. Yes, medical error is regretful and must be acknowledged and corrected. But medical error does not mean abandoning medicine for nonsense, it means improving it. If medicine works on 100 people, kills 10 and does nothing for 30, it is still ahead – but you have to work on at least 40 people’s problems to make the numbers better.

              5. Iqbal says:

                Dave

                You are now addition to the compounding problem of understanding.

                Do you, for one minute, believe that Lucien Leape of the Harvard Medical School did not check for the possibilities defined by you? He would have been more than cautious.

                An error on reported data from him would have meant that multi billion dollar pharmaceutical industry would have destroyed his career, him and the Harvard Medical school.

                This in effect means the data presented by him is actually conservative and the actual figures much larger.

              6. Chris says:

                Iqbal, answer this direct question: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

            5. Harriet Hall says:

              I don’t know anything about the records of homeopathic treatment being tampered with. I do know quite a lot about homeopathy. I have read extensively and have read a lot of the studies claiming to show it works.
              No one claims that today’s doctors are right about everything, and we fully expect medicine to progress in the future; meanwhile we can assume that science-based medicine is right about enough things that we are better off using it than doing nothing. Despite iatrogenic disease, medicine saves far more patients than it kills. See http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/death-by-medicine/

              1. Iqbal says:

                Harriet Hall

                …….I do know quite a lot about homeopathy. I have read extensively and have read a lot of the studies claiming to show it works………

                What do you understand by red line symptom in homeopathy?

              2. Harriet Hall says:

                @Iqbal,

                “What do you understand by red line symptom in homeopathy?”

                Red line symptoms are the most important,peculiar & defining characteristics of various homeopathic remedies, whose identification reduces the confusion of the hundreds of entries in the homeopathic manuals. Entries that were based on unscientific “provings.” Red line symptoms are a distillation of nonsense that is even more ridiculous than the original nonsense. GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) applies.

                Here’s an example of red line symptoms for the remedy “Aesculus” (horse chestnut):

                1. – Dry, uncomfortable feeling in the rectum, as if it were filled with small sticks.

                2. – Hemorrhoids like ground nuts, purple, generally blind, with burning; also with aching; lameness and shootings in the back.

                3. – Thick, dark, corroding leucorrhoea, with aching and lameness in the back across the sacro-iliac articulations

                4. – Constant backache affecting the sacrum and hips, very much aggravated by walking and stooping forward.

                Nuff said.

              3. Chris says:

                What do you know about the efficacy of homeopathic treatment for syphilis and rabies?

              4. Iqbal says:

                Harriet Hall

                I can see your google search knowledge. Not your knowledge or understanding of homeopathy.

                http://www.homeoint.org/books2/hutch700/mmab.htm#AESCULUS

                This is homeopathy for people like you. You read off the net and become experts.

                For one remedy, there is ONE red line symptom.

              5. Harriet Hall says:

                So please educate us. What is the ONE red line symptom for dilute horse chestnut? And why do you say there is one red line symptom when other homeopaths say there are four? Apparently the homeopaths who write the Materia Medica are not experts either. Perhaps you are the only expert. Please explain to us how red line symptoms are determined (controlled studies or some individual’s personal assertion?) and why homeopaths disagree about them. I would really like to know more about this.

              6. weing says:

                @Iqbal,
                “I can see your google search knowledge. Not your knowledge or understanding of homeopathy.”

                Homeopathy is pre-scientific practice, just like allopathy with the theory of humors and bleeding and purging, or using various types of animal feces as remedies, as in ancient Egypt. It is only of cultural and historical interest. Anyone who would try to practice any of these doesn’t belong in this century and is living in the past and can expect the same results or lack thereof.

              7. MadisonMD says:

                @Iqbal:
                How can anyone with half a brain believe a pill with nothing in it would work for anything? Homeopathy is sugar pills. Duh.

                Get real.

          3. Iqbal says:

            Harriet Hall

            …Haven’t homeopaths noticed that medicine in the 21st century is an entirely different ballgame? Scientific medicine has progressed by leaps and bounds….

            I am not so sure. Is this the 2ist century data you are talking about?

            “Lucien Leape of the Harvard Medical School in his excellent article, Errors in Medicine, published in 1994 in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol 272; page 1851-1857) gives a very graphic description of all the errors that we have been committing. This has been updated recently by Barbara Starfield in her excellent article in the same journal in the year 2000 (JAMA 2000;284:483-485) which reiterates the same, adding many more glaring dangers to the list already given by Leape. To date, I have been able to trace more than seven thousand articles showing the mistakes of modern medicine in the best western journals.”

            and:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_withdrawn_drugs

            …has even wiped smallpox off the face of the earth…

            That was modern science? ” I strongly feel the whole science of vaccination needs a re-look in view of the fact that only one viral disease, small-pox, has been successfully eradicated so far by human effort. Every other vaccine could be explained as only a partial success in so far as the virus has only to mutate to bounce back with greater vigor. The vaccine will, of course, be useless in that scenario. Edward Jenner used cow pox virus on James Phipps. Cow pox virus is genetically different from small pox virus. It was T. Z. Holwell, FRCP (London), FRS, who studied the protective power of the Indian Ayurvedic vaccination system prospectively for twenty years in The Bengali in the eighteenth century to suggest universal vaccination that has eradicated small pox for ever. (1) Hopefully, all laboratories will have destroyed their stock of that deadly small pox virus.

            Holwell in his paper to the President and Fellows of the London Royal College in 1767 AD did write that the Indian vaccination was not only effective but done with great care and sophistication. Holwell even noted that the vaccination system existed for times out of mind in India, and has been effective for hundreds of years, which he strongly recommended for universal use! I think that his original papers are preserved in the library archives in Regents Park. Recently Douglas C Wallace, a noted US geneticist, who has discovered some extra nuclear mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNA) that are more useful for drug testing and disease prevention in contrast to our conventional Mendalian genetics where only nuclear DNAs are taken into consideration. (2)
            Using his MITCHIP he has been able to find that Asian herbal medicines are not only effective against many diseases including some infections like malaria that he had tested, but has also shown that the western pharmacology of chemical compounds for a target might even damage the cell in the bargain. Could this be the bane of all our problems with the deadly adverse drug reactions? We might have to take a leaf out of Wallace’s work to think of a new science of vaccination.

            http://bmhegde.com/bmh/useartdetail1.php?aid=289

            1. Harriet Hall says:

              @Iqbal,

              I asked you some specific questions. Please answer them. I will repeat “What is the ONE red line symptom for dilute horse chestnut? And why do you say there is one red line symptom when other homeopaths say there are four? Apparently the homeopaths who write the Materia Medica are not experts either. Perhaps you are the only expert. Please explain to us how red line symptoms are determined (controlled studies or some individual’s personal assertion?) and why homeopaths disagree about them.”

              1. Iqbal says:

                Harriet Hall

                ………I asked you some specific questions. Please answer them. I will repeat “What is the ONE red line symptom for dilute horse chestnut? ….

                For Aesculus – none. Red line symptom is not necessary to be present for each remedy.

                …..And why do you say there is one red line symptom when other homeopaths say there are four?….

                Dr. Hall – all doctors think alike? It is time for you to consult a doctor.

                …….Apparently the homeopaths who write the Materia Medica are not experts either…….

                This doctor(?) is not writing Materia Medica- he is writing from Materia Medica.

                …Perhaps you are the only expert…

                This is not correct. I have experienced homeopathy from close for over 60 years.

                ….Please explain to us how red line symptoms are determined (controlled studies or some individual’s personal assertion?) and why homeopaths disagree about them.”…..

                Symptom appearing only for one remedy in Materia Medica is red line. If the patient displays this symptom, no other remedy is to be checked for prescription. The symptoms/remedies are put together by doctors (not chemists) after long observations.

                Some as below.

                PULSATILLA: Stomach disordered from rich foods, cakes. pastry, etc., particularly fat of pork.

                ARSENICUM ALBUM: Unquenchable, burning thirst, drinks often, but little at a time; water disagrees.

                BAPTISIA: In fever, body feels scattered about, tosses around to get the pieces together, and cannot sleep because he cannot get the pieces together.

                CROTON TIGLIUM: Constant urging to stool, followed by a sudden, pasty, offensive evacuation of a dirty green colour, which is forcibly shot out of the rectum.

                CHAMOMILLA: Whining restlessness child wants different things, refuses or repels them when given.

                LYCOPODIUM: Aggravation of the symptoms from 4 to 8 p.m.

              2. Chris says:

                Iqbal, did you even try to read my question?

                Now, answer this direct question: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

            2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Leape was published in the 20th century.

              And what does a list of withdrawn drugs prove, except that postmarketing surveillance is a necessary component of modern medicine that does work to remove dangerous products? Want to avoid any drug from ever being withdrawn? Demand larger, longer clinical trials. Which would mean essentially no drugs, because the cost would be prohibitive.

              And, just like medical error – withdrawn drugs do not mean homeopathy works.

              Yeah…you cite Hegde a whole lot. Have you ever considered that he might be wrong? For instance, his description of vaccination is just flat-out wrong. He mixes vaccination with antibiotics. Viruses and bacteria do not “evolve resistance” to vaccines. The reason why vaccine-preventable diseases still exist is not because of “vaccine resistance”, it’s because there are sufficient unvaccinated people in the world that the virus continues circulating in the population. And while Jenner’s vaccine was indeed cowpox, the vaccine still worked because the viruses shared a common ancestor and the relevant portions of the viral proteins (for the human immune system’s recognition abilities) were conserved. Smallpox vaccination has existed for many years before even Jenner, it appears to have been developed independently in several places (China, India, the Middle East and Africa have all been suggested). But none of these previous efforts of vaccination succeeded in driving smallpox extinct.

              So, yeah, smallpox was eliminated due to modern science – it was modern science that identified the “ring-fence” strategy to prevent disease spread, it was modern science that allowed the development of a safe, effective smallpox vaccine, it was modern science that allowed sequencing of the viral genome to determine that there were no animal reservoirs, etc. etc. etc.

              You appear to know very little about the science and medicine you are criticizing. You should read a book. Actually, you should read many.

            3. George says:

              This “Iqbal” is a source of great amusement.
              I’ve read this far but damn he is pulling all of your chains.
              He is a classic troll.
              No one is this stupid.

              1. Sawyer says:

                “No one is this stupid.”

                Don’t be so sure. A few of the regulars here have demonstrated an uncanny knack for not only believing things that are downright impossible, but somehow have made a career out of it. It’s pretty clear most of these people are quite sincere in their beliefs.

                Buy I do agree that regardless of his sincerity, lq is in the “do not engage” category.

              2. Chris says:

                With a wee bit of Googling I found that there are a few homeopaths in India named “Iqbal.”

                It is something I suspected with the limited English reading comprehension. But if he or she is an Indian homeopath, I would expect the same scientific rigor that we have seen from “Nancy Malik”… absolutely none.

                “Iqbal” is probably someone who was bamboozled into getting a degree from one of the many bogus homeopathic “medical” schools in India. These schools even make the claim to their students that they can practices in the USA (no, they can’t).

                To add to the confusion, there are many in India who have attended science based medical colleges. So do not think that every doctor from India is as clueless as this “Iqbal.”

        4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          So in 1813 the mortality rate from typhus was 30% among allopathic medicine, and <1% among homeopaths. Now that it's two centuries later, what's the typhus mortality rate in both groups? Isn't it pretty much "zero, because of vaccination"?

          See, the mortality rates were high two centuries ago because the then-fashionable practices were not helpful, they were actively harmful. Which is why medicine abandoned them, in favour of the demonstrated benefits of vaccination. What do homeopaths think of vaccination by the way?

          See, if you have to go back two centuries to show the benefits of homeopathy compared to medicine (in a slideshow no less!) you’re doing it wrong.

          Your modern comparisons aren’t much better. Polio, for instance, is asymptomatic in 99% of the population. It’s just the remaining 1% that get paralyzed and die. So when you show a group of 82 people “didn’t get polio”, at a time when they weren’t even aware that polio was caused by a virus, isn’t saying much.

          The single slide with a reference, slide 25, lists BJM 1987, 294-6. That’s not a reference. There is no journal number. Page 294 of issue 294 is a research article on vitamin A supplements and measles. So on top of being incompetent at medicine, homeopaths are apparently incompetent at research. Which isn’t surprising.

          Also, do you know what cherry-picking is? It’s picking only the “good” trials, the ones that have the outcome you like, and ignoring the rest. That’s why we do meta-analyses. And those are resoundingly, repeatedly negative for homeopathy, even given isolated studies that show statistical significance.

        5. Chris says:

          “It depends how the test is done. What about real life?”

          In real life people get real pathogens. These include things like syphilis and rabies. In the real world the former is treated with antibiotics, the latter with a vaccine.

          I mention these two diseases for a two particular reasons:

          One of the “miasms” that Hahnemann discusses was “syphilis.” Yet we don’t use homeopathy to treat it. Can you explain why?

          Also several years ago Dr. Novella had a debate with some homeopaths (you can find it on his other blog). One of the participants, Andre Saine, claimed that homeopathy actually worked better for rabies than conventional treatment. Except his only references are from the 19th century, which is not exactly cutting edge.

          So, Iqbal, if you really want to be taken seriously you will provide actua data the homeopathy works for some non-self-limiting disease. The two I mentioned above would be a good start.

          And you can also answer my questions in the other thread.

          If you fail to address these questions with actual factual scientific documentation you will get this designation: Thingy Type Troll.

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Considering rabies is pretty much 100% fatal in the absence of a vaccine, and we didn’t have an effective vaccine until 1885 (and realistically, that’s the first time it was ever used, in a single subject – it wasn’t a mass-market product), it’s unsurprising that homeopathy and medical treatment for rabies in the 19th century were comparable. Everybody died.

            1. Chris says:

              Which is why Dr. Novella was flabbergasted at Andre Saine’s claim about rabies at debate several years ago. You can read for yourself the dreck that Saine considers “evidence”, several 19th century anecdotes:

              Many cases of clinical rabies in both animals and humans and experimental rabies have been reported to have fully recovered under homeopathic treatment. By clinical rabies, it is typically meant that an animal with an abnormal behavior, usually a stray dog, comes into a village located in an area in which rabies is known to be endemic, and, unprovoked, bites a number of animals and persons. Within a couple of weeks some of the bitten animals develop abnormal behaviors, are put in isolation, eventually develop the full unmistakable manifestations of furious rabies, and are killed. Some weeks later, one of the bitten persons develops general malaise with heightened redness, swelling and unusual sensation at the site of the bite, which are followed within a few days by spasms, especially when swallowing, hydrophobia, and convulsions. A physician, usually an allopath, is called in, who in turn calls in other colleagues as consultants. The spasms, hydrophobia and the convulsions become progressively more severe. From the history and the symptomatology, they all concur without any doubt in their minds that the patient has hydrophobia and is thus incurable. As a last resort they try various nostrums but in vain, and the patient is now in a state of almost constant convulsions and is on the verge of dying. Typically a priest, a distant family member or a friend suggests calling in extremis a homeopath, who is called in with great reluctance. This one comes, examines the patient, concurs with the diagnosis, and administers a homeopathic remedy. Within a short period of time, the spasms and convulsions begin to diminish in intensity, duration and frequency. The remedy is repeated as needed. The patient becomes more restful, falls into a deep and prolonged sleep, and eventually becomes capable of drinking without experiencing any spasms or convulsions. A convalescent period, typically of two to three weeks, follows with a progressive recuperation of strength, after which the patient seems completely recovered subjectively and objectively.

              The paragraphs that follow are as breathtakingly pathetic as the slide presentation linked to by Iqbal.

              1. Iqbal says:

                Chris

                Did Hahnemann figure out a procedure to prevent smallpox?

                During Hahnemann’s time the focus of homeopathy was on treatment. Prevention came later through nosodes: for small pox – Variolinum acts as prevention.

                This was also used for treating small pox by homeopaths.

                Did Hahnemann figure out that mosquitoes were vectors for malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and West Nile virus?

                The homeopathic system is clear: the problem is in the human body – if the immune system has the capability, vector can do nothing. These simple problems were resolved 150 years ago. Now doctors follow the prescribed procedure.
                (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/h/homeop?rgn=subject;type=simple;q1=Yellow+fever+–+Homeopathic+treatment)

                Did Hahnemann create a treatment to let those with type 1 diabetes to live to old age?

                I am not aware if diabetes existed during Hahnemann’s time. Medicines are available to cure the disease unless the patient has started taking insulin and the pancreas have become non-functional. Then it has to be managed.

                Is Hahnemann responsible for reducing the incidence of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, rubella and mumps?
                All these diseases are routinely cured with homeopathy and with no adverse side effect.

                Did Hahnemann figure out the value of providing clean water and having functioning sewer systems?

                This I will check and confirm.

                Did Hahnemann device a way to keep rabies from being fatal?

                Rabies is not fatal in homeopathy.

                Did Hahemann come up with the treatments that allow 85% children who get leukemia to survive at least five years (see The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee).

                I am not sure. But I am sure about one thing: You cannot predict the next five years for a healthy individual and you are talking about sick? You need to get your head examined.

                Did Hahnemann ever cure a bacterial infection?

                It is very simple and under homeopathic treatment no super bugs are formed.

                If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then you must provide the PubMed indexed papers that prove it was all Hahnemann’s doing… and that his methods work better than the real medical treatments used today.

                You have to just google your requirement. PUBMED has to upgrade to a higher level to understand homeopathic papers.

              2. Chris says:

                Myself:

                If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then you must provide the PubMed indexed papers that prove it was all Hahnemann’s doing… and that his methods work better than the real medical treatments used today.

                After Iqbal replied with absolutely no evidence, but references to century plus old articles he added:

                You have to just google your requirement. PUBMED has to upgrade to a higher level to understand homeopathic papers.

                That is pathetic, and shows definite troll like behavior. He did not even bother reading the two links I provided. Like the article about type 1 diabetes.

                Go away troll. Try reading a real book, like the ones I mentioned in those list of questions. And if you come back to troll future articles with your nonsense, I’ll warn others by linking to the abject stupidity you posted in the last few days.

              3. Chris says:

                Some names of those who increased the health and well for billions of people:

                Sir Ronald Ross
                Edward Jenner
                Frederick Banting
                Louis Pasteur
                John Snow
                Maurice Hilleman
                Walter Reed
                … plus many many more…

                That list definitely does not include Hahnemann.

                What they and others did during the course of the last two centuries is fascinating. But Iqbal doesn’t care, nor does he want to know. Because he refuses to pick up books that challenges his beliefs.

              4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                During Hahnemann’s time the focus of homeopathy was on treatment. Prevention came later through nosodes: for small pox – Variolinum acts as prevention.

                No it doesn’t. It does nothing. You cannot vaccinate by diluting something to the point that it no longer exists in a preparation. Nosodes are nothing more than a tax on the stupid, paying for the privilege of herd immunity.

                The homeopathic system is clear: the problem is in the human body – if the immune system has the capability, vector can do nothing. These simple problems were resolved 150 years ago. Now doctors follow the prescribed procedure.This does indeed display a 150-year-old understanding of disease and immunity. In modern, real-world immunology, many of the symptoms are seen as both the results of the immune system, and a vehicle that the viruses and bacteria themselves use to spread themselves. And in some cases, the immune system itself is the problem – over-reaction of the immune system is what lead to so many healthy young males dying during the Spanish Influenza pandemic, and the treatment in adolescents for West Nile virus is a corticosteroids to suppress the immune system (specifically swelling of the brain in response infection – suppression is curative without further treatment).

                Nature isn’t so simple as to have a single, uniform response to all things – in situations where this ever was the case, bacteria and viruses have evolved means of exploiting these responses to their own ends. Science continually refines our understanding of a complex world, and consistently shows us the cute stories we tell ourselves are in fact in error. Adhering to a 150-year-old cute story about how disease was spread doesn’t make it true – it just makes you ignorant of how the world actually works.

                I am not aware if diabetes existed during Hahnemann’s time. Medicines are available to cure the disease unless the patient has started taking insulin and the pancreas have become non-functional. Then it has to be managed.

                Really. Which type of diabetes does this work for?

                All these diseases are routinely cured with homeopathy and with no adverse side effect.

                Really? Proof? Or are you applying individual results to a population-level issue? How do you distinguish the effectiveness of homeopathy from the effectiveness of herd immunity?

                This I will check and confirm.

                Don’t bother.

                Rabies is not fatal in homeopathy.

                Please, please, please test this fact. But of course, chances are you can’t even find a case of rabies where you live, since it has been driven extinct in so many parts of the world. But if you see a mouth-foaming bat, please let it bite you.

                I am not sure. But I am sure about one thing: You cannot predict the next five years for a healthy individual and you are talking about sick? You need to get your head examined.

                You certainly cannot for an individual – but you certainly can for a group. Medicine deals in probabilities, not certainties. Certainties are only for those for whom their understanding is based on dogma rather than rhetoric.

                It is very simple and under homeopathic treatment no super bugs are formed.

                Of course not, because superbugs requires selective killing and homeopathy doesn’t kill anything. Homeopathy has no effect, so no selective pressure is exerted.

                You have to just google your requirement. PUBMED has to upgrade to a higher level to understand homeopathic papers.

                Do you know how pubmed decides to index a journal? I do. It requires the basic standards of scientific inquiry, which homeopathic research does not follow, in favour of uncontrolled observational studies and case studies.

              5. Iqbal says:

                Chris

                Sir Ronald Ross
                Edward Jenner
                Frederick Banting
                Louis Pasteur
                John Snow
                Maurice Hilleman
                Walter Reed

                Pick up any one: and we discuss his contribution to medicine. And later compare it to Hahnemann’s.

              6. Chris says:

                No, troll. It is up to you to figure who they are and what they did. Having a conversation with my kitchen table is more enlightening than any discussion with you.

              7. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Sir Ronald Ross
                Edward Jenner
                Frederick Banting
                Louis Pasteur
                John Snow
                Maurice Hilleman
                Walter Reed

                Pick up any one: and we discuss his contribution to medicine. And later compare it to Hahnemann’s.

                Well that’s easy enough to do – the list is of scientists who undertook careful research to idenify some facet of how disease is spread, or causes harm, or developed a preventive or treatment agent for it.

                Hanhemann developed a spurious medical system that was based on a profound ignorance of how the body works, had no appreciation for the existence of microbial life, and has not changed despite a profound revision in our understanding of not just biology but matter itself, and is perpetuated by pseudoscientific anecdotes and poorly-conducted research.

                So – those on the list contributed much, Hanhemann was nothing but an absolute drain on what their work accomplished.

          2. Iqbal says:

            Chris

            ………One of the “miasms” that Hahnemann discusses was “syphilis.” Yet we don’t use homeopathy to treat it. Can you explain why?

            Who told you that syphilis is not treated with homeopathic remedies? I am looking for a paper by a French doctor that defines some interesting facts about emergence of syphilis in France and treatment.

            Homeopathic doctors often get patients with suppressed version of syphilis: effect of antibiotics?

            ………Also several years ago Dr. Novella had a debate with some homeopaths ………

            Is Dr. Novella an expert on Homeopathy? and Dr. Andre Saine an expert on RCT? In such a setting, normally the 2 talk at each other, not to each other.

            1. Windriven says:

              Lowball

              ….. You write in fragments. It is difficult to follow your thoughts.

              …. Are you telling us that Hahnemann was a syphlitic? That would explain a lot.

              1. Iqbal says:

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge

                …, do you mean this book from 1868? Yeah…I doubt it’s right about anything. Venereal diseases, in fact all diseases from 1868 lacked any effective treatment. Why not cite the more recent randomized, controlled trials from, say, this century, showing that homeopathy works?…….

                Yes, this seems to be the book though I could not open the document. If you go through content only (the book would be rather tough for you) it will show the extent of medical sophistication exercised in the homeopathic system. Dr. Jahr has differentiated different VDs and clearly marked the symptoms. This he follows with medicine recommendations. Most of the recommendations are followed today also. (This was pre-historic dark ages for medical science).
                Homeopathy does not follow the shot gun approach to attack disease- one drug for all patients with a hope some will get well. You see the consequences. Drugs itself start killing people.

                In homeopathy, the medicine group is selected based upon the patient. (The LHH report names 4 medicines used for treating 61 patients of which 51 survived.) It becomes easier to prescribe medicine in an epidemic as the range of symptoms in many patients are similar. Epidemic is a live situation and saving people is many times better test than the random double blindfold controlled trials that end up killing people later.

              2. Chris says:

                You are a homeopath without any scientific education. There is no reason to take you seriously.

                You should really go to a library and check out some elementary textbooks on chemistry, biology, math and history. Until then, you are just becoming an SBM joke.

              3. Iqbal says:

                Chris

                …….You are a homeopath without any scientific education. There is no reason to take you seriously…….

                You should really go to a library and check out some elementary textbooks on chemistry, biology, math and history…..

                I am not a homeopath. I always use homeopathic medicines when sick and get well.

                By education I have a graduate degree in science with majors in Chemistry (Organic and Inorganic), Physics and Mathematics, and a Masters in Business.

                I work for a US$ 40 billion company in automotive component supply. I head the sales function of a propitiatory rubber component division and are worldwide technical leaders in our business area.
                Now what?

              4. weing says:

                “I work for a US$ 40 billion company in automotive component supply. I head the sales function of a propitiatory rubber component division and are worldwide technical leaders in our business area.
                Now what?”

                That obviously qualifies you as an expert in medicine. Can I come to your company and explain to you all how the rubber components you make are inferior to what we had in the 1800s? Worldwide technical leaders my butt.

              5. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Homeopathy does not follow the shot gun approach to attack disease- one drug for all patients with a hope some will get well. You see the consequences. Drugs itself start killing people.

                Homeopathy very much follows the shotgun approach, specifically buckshot (though really more like airsoft buckshot). See, real medicine notes that sets of symptoms are clustered around diseases, and diseases have causes – often infectious agents. By treating infectious agents (generally through reducing replication to allow elimination by the immune system), dieases and thus symptoms are eliminated from patients’ bodies (or prevented, through vaccination). So one drug, attuned to one infectious agent, makes sense.

                Homeopathy actually represents a failed medical system, the attempt to make symptoms the most important issue. Homeopathy doesn’t treat diseases, it treats symptoms, a nonsensical nosology once the relationship between symptom, disease and agent is understood. That’s how prescientific medicine used to categorize illness – but it was notably ineffective and was ultimately replaced by germ theory. Homeopathy goes even a step further, by attempting to address nonsense symptoms, like flavor preferences, dreams, and irrelevant happenstances. Hard as it is to believe, it’s actually worse than what existed before the germ theory of disease.

                Homeopathy certainly can’t kill people – unless you choke or drown on it. On the other hand, since it also can’t treat anything – it makes it quite likely that the disease will kill you quite handily. See, homeopathy existed since what, the late 1770s? Life expectancy didn’t budge until around the Flexner report and the advent of actual medical treatments. Homeopathy had over a century to prove it was effective. It failed, and it still fails. Because it is nonsense, root to leaf.

                I am not a homeopath. I always use homeopathic medicines when sick and get well.

                Yeah…the homeopathy doesn’t help you get well. It whiles the time while you get better anyway. You should try Netflix instead.

                By education I have a graduate degree in science with majors in Chemistry (Organic and Inorganic), Physics and Mathematics, and a Masters in Business.

                Looks like none of it took then, and looks like you didn’t pick up any critical thinking.

                I work for a US$ 40 billion company in automotive component supply. I head the sales function of a propitiatory rubber component division and are worldwide technical leaders in our business area.
                Now what?

                I’m going to say “so what?” Your apparently futile graduate education and your work in a sales function gives you no credibility, and your core arguments are still:

                - it worked for me
                - it worked two centuries ago
                - real medicine causes harms
                - I’m refusing to look at the contradictory data

                Points 1 and 2 are simple errors explained through post hoc ergo propter hoc, point 3 is a false dilemma and point 4 is your own ignorance.

              6. Windriven says:

                “By education I have a graduate degree in science with majors in Chemistry (Organic and Inorganic), Physics and Mathematics, and a Masters in Business.

                “Now what?”

                If what you say is true, and I really doubt that it is if only because of the curious way that you describe a “graduate degree in science with majors…”. But supposing that it is, I can only say that you are living proof of the gaping chasm between simply graduating from a program and actually being educated.

                I’ve met a few like that in my long career: people who, like trained rats, learned which button to push to get a pea – but have no idea why pushing the button makes the pea appear.

              7. Andrey Pavlov says:

                By education I have a graduate degree in science with majors in Chemistry (Organic and Inorganic), Physics and Mathematics, and a Masters in Business. I work for a US$ 40 billion company in automotive component supply. I head the sales function of a propitiatory rubber component division and are worldwide technical leaders in our business area.
                Now what?

                Most likely you are lying. Otherwise your education was from a diploma mill or you really are completely loony.

                That’s what.

              8. Chris says:

                “By education I have a graduate degree in science with majors in Chemistry (Organic and Inorganic), Physics and Mathematics, and a Masters in Business”

                Prove it. Explain Avogadro’s Number and how it applies to homeopathy dilutions.

                You have repeatedly failed to show that homeopathy works by providing evidence that it works for non-self-limiting diseases. I gave you two very important examples, and you showed absolutely no understanding of what they are, why they are important and how they are treated by real medicine.

                Your blind allegiance to a two century idea pulled out of Hahnemann’s posterior shows you cannot think for yourself, nor pry your brain open to actually learn.

                This is why your only “evidence” that homeopathy “works” is that real medicine has flaws. All the time ignoring the biggest flaw in homeopathy: it is literally nothing.

                People have died by substituting homeopathy for real medicine: http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

                Here are some examples from that page:

                1 melanoma patient
                Jerusalem, Israel
                Delayed treatment, worsening disease
                1991
                Homeopatthy Read more

                33 breast cancer patients
                Karachi, Pakistan
                Delayed treatment, worsening disease
                2003
                This study found that many breast cancer patients in Pakistan delayed medical treatment in favor of homeopathic remedies. Read more

                5 women
                Age: 26,34,39,40,57
                Sweden
                Malaria
                Nov 1994 – Jan 1995
                This report found 5 women who used a homeopathic preventative instead of conventional medicine prior to a trip to Africa. On return, all five had malaria. Read more

              9. Iqbal says:

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge

                …. See, real medicine notes that sets of symptoms are clustered around diseases, and diseases have causes – often infectious agents. By treating infectious agents (generally through reducing replication to allow elimination by the immune system), dieases and thus symptoms are eliminated from patients’ bodies (or prevented, through vaccination). So one drug, attuned to one infectious agent, makes sense….

                Have you seen some malaria patients? And the symptoms? Are you aware what is common? Fever?

                Does it appear daily or once in 2 days? Does it start at the same time every day or at different times? Does the patient feels nauseated or has gastritis or lies quietly as if dead?

                The medical science will check for malaria parasite, and prescribe quinine. And the result?

                Fever goes away as the malaria parasite is killed by the drug. What else is killed by the drug? The patient cannot sleep properly till the drug effect wears off, cannot eat properly and malaria can return after some time. (Immune system is compromised other wise malaria will not return).

                And if the person has repeated bouts of malaria, has number of courses of quinine, he will have serious problem of hearing 15/20 years down the line.

                And over period, new malaria strain develops, that cannot be resolved with quinine.

                Folk medicine for malaria: Brush teeth with twigs of Azadirachta indica and mosquito will not come near you. No mosquito based disease ever. This is working for past 1000 years with no change.

                In homeopathy, each patient will have a set of symptoms that will be unique to him/her and the medicine will be prescribed accordingly. After being cured, malaria will not return.

                ….Homeopathy actually represents a failed medical system, the attempt to make symptoms the most important issue. Homeopathy doesn’t treat diseases, it treats symptoms, a nonsensical nosology once the relationship between symptom, disease and agent is understood. …

                In the posts above you had derided the scientific medical system as being bad for 200 years and hoped it will improve. How has homeopathy failed? Because it does not pass the RCT of the bad medical system for 200 years while drugs of the bad medical system pass the test and then kill the patient. Recall the report of 2 US based doctors for 1994 and 2000 !!! Over 225,000 dead in the USA.

                …That’s how prescientific medicine used to categorize illness – but it was notably ineffective and was ultimately replaced by germ theory….

                Homeopathy defines germ theory as the most stupid concept of illness. You have a few million germs from your mouth to your other end: you don’t even know how many which all. How is it you are still alive?

                …Homeopathy certainly can’t kill people – unless you choke or drown on it…

                Don’t be so sure. If a good doctor can save a life he can also kill. The bad thing is that no forensic expert can show the reason for death.

                .. Life expectancy didn’t budge until around the Flexner report and the advent of actual medical treatments…

                This is a good point about the scientific medical system. But it has to do nothing with medicine. Clean up Dhaka in Bangladesh as good as Denver in USA and the life expectancy in Dhaka will be comparatively higher. Alternatively let an American, with his box of medicine live in a Dhaka slum for 1 year and we see what life expectancy are you talking about.

                ..Yeah…the homeopathy doesn’t help you get well. It whiles the time while you get better anyway…

                This is even better. Homeopathy allows contact with only self correcting diseases. Economic advantage !!!

                ,,,Looks like none of it took then, and looks like you didn’t pick up any critical thinking.,,

                If critical thinking means observation has no meaning – please continue with your critical thoughts. If the source of gravity is not known we cannot walk on earth. We do!!!

                …- it worked for me (It works for us always )
                - it worked two centuries ago (why should it stop now?)
                - real medicine causes harms (Before 2000?)
                - I’m refusing to look at the contradictory data (after 2000?)

                These are old arguments: come up with with proper data that shows real benefit for people.

              10. Chris says:

                “How has homeopathy failed?”

                Really, have you read the above article?

                It fails because it is literally nothing.

                People have suffered and even died by substituting homeopathy for methods that have proven to work. Like this woman: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119022/

                Again, you cannot prove homeopathy works by finding fault with real medicine. You can only prove it works by showing that it works. Something it has failed to do.

              11. Iqbal says:

                Chris

                …Prove it. Explain Avogadro’s Number and how it applies to homeopathy dilutions….

                Avogadro’s Number is simple chemistry. Go a little beyond:

                http://www.marlev.com/HowItWorks.htm

                ..You have repeatedly failed to show that homeopathy works by providing evidence that it works for non-self-limiting diseases…

                You know anything about Spanish flu? It killed between 50 -100 million people world wide. Would it be called self limiting disease?
                http://www.homeopathyforflu.com/dewey.pdf

                … I gave you two very important examples, and you showed absolutely no understanding of what they are, why they are important and how they are treated by real medicine….

                Your real medicine (drug) does not treat disease- it tries to kill bacteria. The patient is prescribed free of syphilis only because the existing diagnostic equipment cannot trace the left over. When the equipment sophistication improves, the patient described free will still be sick. And this is nothing new-continues to happen in the name of development.

                ..Your blind allegiance to a two century idea pulled out of Hahnemann’s posterior shows you cannot think for yourself, nor pry your brain open to actually learn…

                This is my opinion about you all. Only I cannot name a doctor as smart as Hahnemann. Stupid 7th grade chemistry students believing themselves to know more than doctors.

                …This is why your only “evidence” that homeopathy “works” is that real medicine has flaws. All the time ignoring the biggest flaw in homeopathy: it is literally nothing….

                I have no interest in scientific drug based healing system: I do not use it. Homeopathy has been our choice of medicine for the family for 96 years- proved over and over again. I write here only because I see stupid idiots writing nonsense about a subject they have no clue about. So what can be better than to show then documents from doctors about how UN-scientific the so called scientific system is.

                ..People have died by substituting homeopathy for real medicine: http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html..

                This is a lot of crap. Mistakes by doctors are not error of the system. The total deaths here is not even a miniscule % of deaths recorded in USA alone by Starfield- Nearly 225,000 people have died in one year in the US alone due to iatrogenic diseases. Of these 140,000 has been exclusively due to adverse drug reactions. In addition, an equal number died during out patient management of Adverse Drug Reactions.

                Let us multiply the figures by 50 (?) to get the real picture for the world? What was the total number with homeopathy?

              12. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Have you seen some malaria patients? And the symptoms? Are you aware what is common? Fever?

                Are all fevers diagnosed as malaria in your world?

                Fever goes away as the malaria parasite is killed by the drug. What else is killed by the drug? The patient cannot sleep properly till the drug effect wears off, cannot eat properly and malaria can return after some time. (Immune system is compromised other wise malaria will not return).

                So…in your world the patient is better dying of malaria than losing some sleep?

                And if the person has repeated bouts of malaria, has number of courses of quinine, he will have serious problem of hearing 15/20 years down the line.

                Again, is the patient better off dying from malaria?

                And over period, new malaria strain develops, that cannot be resolved with quinine.

                Yep, a perennial problem recognized by science for years. Your point?

                Folk medicine for malaria: Brush teeth with twigs of Azadirachta indica and mosquito will not come near you. No mosquito based disease ever. This is working for past 1000 years with no change.

                So…in all places, Azadirachta indica is capable of preventing all cases of malaria? Well, it’s a wonder we ever had to develop quinine if it’s as effetive as you say. Current research is looking into A. indica, and the funny thing is – A. indica is indigenous to India, where malaria is apparently still a problem.

                In homeopathy, each patient will have a set of symptoms that will be unique to him/her and the medicine will be prescribed accordingly. After being cured, malaria will not return.

                This is an assertion, it’s not evidence. See, you keep claiming these amazing things, things so amazing that if they were true, we could actually wipe out serious diseases…but you never provide any evidence beyond your opinions. And frankly, I don’t trust your opinions since there is essentially no overlap between your opinions and reality.

                In the posts above you had derided the scientific medical system as being bad for 200 years and hoped it will improve.

                Nope, I celebrated 100 years of medical improvement, I condemned homeopathy for 200 years of utter wasted effort and lack of proof.

                How has homeopathy failed? Because it does not pass the RCT of the bad medical system for 200 years

                Yup, that’s exactly it actually.

                while drugs of the bad medical system pass the test and then kill the patient. Recall the report of 2 US based doctors for 1994 and 2000 !!! Over 225,000 dead in the USA.

                These two issues are unconnected – yes, drugs have side effects because they have main effects and the human body is duplicates receptors because it is a sloppily-evolved machine with no incentive to have an exact, 1:1 match. Homeopathy has no side effects, because it has no main effects. It’s sugar water.

                You do not need to perfect medicine before you can point out that homeopathy can’t work, and doesn’t work. You keep attacking medicine, to cover up the fact that you can’t defend homeopathy beyond merely asserting it works (and now claiming, remarkably that you can’t test it in randomized controlled trials; why not? You take 2 groups, one group gets just lactose pills, the other gets lactose pills sprinkled with magic water, and you compare them; why wouldn’t this work? Why, when you test homeopathy in this way, do the results show no differences between groups?).

                Homeopathy defines germ theory as the most stupid concept of illness. You have a few million germs from your mouth to your other end: you don’t even know how many which all. How is it you are still alive?

                Because not all germs are infectious or dangerous to humans. This has been recognized for decades – there are millions of viruses and bacteria species that exist, only a couple dozen are dangerous to humans. That’s why we don’t vaccinate for everything, just the dangerous ones.

                This is a straw man. I mean really, you’re attacking ideas that doctors don’t believe in.

                This is a good point about the scientific medical system. But it has to do nothing with medicine. Clean up Dhaka in Bangladesh as good as Denver in USA and the life expectancy in Dhaka will be comparatively higher. Alternatively let an American, with his box of medicine live in a Dhaka slum for 1 year and we see what life expectancy are you talking about.

                Clean up Dhaka to match Denver and children will still die of pertussis, measles encephalitis, chicken pox, polio, and any other endemic, deadly human pathogens. Vaccinate 100% of the population for these diseases and they are no longer endemic. That’s why measles, polio and other illnesses must be imported to the US, they’re extinct on this continent.

                Homeopathy allows contact with only self correcting diseases. Economic advantage !!!

                About as much economic advantage as digging a hole then filling it in again. Great for homeopathic manufacturers and whoever sells them, for everybody else it’s pure opportunity cost.

                If critical thinking means observation has no meaning – please continue with your critical thoughts. If the source of gravity is not known we cannot walk on earth. We do!!!

                Critical thought does not mean observation, and never has. It means recognizing flaws in arguments – for instance, straw men, post hoc ergo propter hoc, confirmation bias, and blatant lies.

              13. weing says:

                “I write here only because I see stupid idiots writing nonsense about a subject they have no clue about.”

                True. I admit that I know as much about selling propitiatory rubber as you know about anything in medicine.

              14. Chris says:

                Iqbal: “Your real medicine (drug) does not treat disease- it tries to kill bacteria. ”

                So? You have totally failed to prove that homeopathy cures syphilis, or rabies, or any other non-self-limiting disease.

                And as far as Spanish Flu, when H1N1 came around in 2009 the people who caught it were often saved by very expensive respiratory support. And others were saved by being vaccinated.

                You still have no evidence that homeopathy works. You even deny the existence of pathogens like bacteria, viruses and protozoans. You can’t even properly figure out how the serial dilutions of the remedies are related to Avogadro’s Number.

              15. Chris says:

                Iqbal: “This is my opinion about you all. Only I cannot name a doctor as smart as Hahnemann. Stupid 7th grade chemistry students believing themselves to know more than doctors.”

                Oh, this is precious.

                Did Hahnemann figure out a procedure to prevent smallpox?

                Did Hahnemann figure out that mosquitoes were vectors for malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and West Nile virus?

                Did Hahnemann create a treatment to let those with type 1 diabetes to live to old age?

                Is Hahnemann responsible for reducing the incidence of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, rubella and mumps?

                Did Hahnemann figure out the value of providing clean water and having functioning sewer systems?

                Did Hahnemann device a way to keep rabies from being fatal?

                Did Hahemann come up with the treatments that allow 85% children who get leukemia to survive at least five years (see The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee).

                Did Hahnemann ever cure a bacterial infection?

                If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then you must provide the PubMed indexed papers that prove it was all Hahnemann’s doing… and that his methods work better than the real medical treatments used today.

              16. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Your real medicine (drug) does not treat disease- it tries to kill bacteria

                If your problem is bacterial infection – in what world is this a bad thing? I mean of all the stupid comments to make. It’s like complaining that providing food to starving people does just feeds them, it does not cure starvation. I mean really – what a boneheaded thing to say.

                Not to mention – antibacterials generally just knock the bacteria back to give the acquired immune branch time to rev up and eliminate the reduced number of pathogens.

              17. Iqbal says:

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge

                Are all fevers diagnosed as malaria in your world?

                Are you this obtuse? Malaria comes with differing symptoms and in homeopathy there is a set of medicines that will be used based upon symptoms of patient.

                ..So…in your world the patient is better dying of malaria than losing some sleep?..

                In the homeopathic world, patients with malaria do not die. My mother, maid servant, brother and I had malaria at the same time in 1975. All got well with homeopathic remedies, all different as we had differing symptoms.
                My son had malaria in 1998. Cured with homeopathic remedies.
                No sleep issues, no taste issues and no repeat of malaria. My wife had malaria before marriage treated with quinine. with 2 relapses and was surprised to compare the results of homeopathic medicines on our son with her own experience. She has started developing hearing problems – and I am looking for a remedy to ensure she never requires hearing aid.
                ….Again, is the patient better off dying from malaria?…

                Treatment with scientific drugs has an immediate cost and a long term cost – use of hearing aid?

                …Yep, a perennial problem recognized by science for years. Your point? ..

                Brush teeth with twigs of Azadirachta indica and mosquito will not come near you. No mosquito based disease ever. This is working for past 1000 years with no change.
                A correctly developed chemical has no reasons to be discarded –even over thousands of years as seen with Azadirachta indica. Why should scientific drugs require recall?

                …….So…in all places, Azadirachta indica is capable of preventing all cases of malaria? Well, it’s a wonder we ever had to develop quinine if it’s as effetive as you say. Current research is looking into A. indica, and the funny thing is – A. indica is indigenous to India, where malaria is apparently still a problem…..

                Because idiots like you swear by the chemicals, use chemical drugs (toothpaste) to clean their mouth and go to a scientific doctor to die of malaria.

                ….And frankly, I don’t trust your opinions since there is essentially no overlap between your opinions and reality….

                I am stating is firsthand experience on me, family and my son. There cannot be bigger risk?

                …Nope, I celebrated 100 years of medical improvement..

                Yes, dirt requires regular cleaning.

                ..I condemned homeopathy for 200 years of utter wasted effort and lack of proof…

                Good. Otherwise homeopathy would also be blamed for killing a few million people every year.

                ….These two issues are unconnected – yes, drugs have side effects because they have main effects and the human body is duplicates receptors because it is a sloppily-evolved machine with no incentive to have an exact, 1:1 match….

                I am sure; you have the right conclusion. This is shot gun approach. One drug is tested on rats, and crosschecked on a sample of humans. Now it is ready for all who have a similar disease. The highly educated scientists involved in drug development are not aware of the 1:1 match? Homeopathy treats EACH patient as a separate case (No shot gun approach)- based upon symptoms – always.
                I am not so sure about the “sloppily evolved machine”.. The scientific medical system has tried so hard to destroy this machine for so long-it is a wonder how it continues to function?

                .. Why, when you test homeopathy in this way, do the results show no differences between groups?..

                Homeopathy would be tested by providing the chemical in simple dilution on human – so that it does not kill. The symptoms that develop are recorded. This is done over time. The picture of such symptoms in a patient defines the medicine.

                ..Because not all germs are infectious or dangerous to humans. This has been recognized for decades – there are millions of viruses and bacteria species that exist, only a couple dozen are dangerous to humans. That’s why we don’t vaccinate for everything, just the dangerous ones…

                You don’t know all the dangerous ones completely, forget the good ones. But with the drug, there is no differentiation; it kills everything –the ugly, the bad and the good.

                …This is a straw man. I mean really, you’re attacking ideas that doctors don’t believe in…

                Forget belief, most doctors are guided by pharma company generated data and know little. Remember Dr. Eddy “At the time, Kaiser was prescribing to its patients what was then a relatively new cholesterol-lowering drug, Mevacor, from Merck (MRK). “We were treating everyone who walked in the door,” recalls Dr. James Dudl, diabetes expert at the Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute. “We thought the drug would do spectacular things.” This was an experts’ comment. What about your doctor? Robots are not taught to think.

                …..Clean up Dhaka to match Denver and children will still die of pertussis, measles encephalitis, chicken pox, polio, and any other endemic, deadly human pathogens.””

                This is the most illogical statement. These guys are alive and living in squalid conditions and you expect cleaning the environment will make them sick?????

                … Vaccinate 100% of the population for these diseases and they are no longer endemic. That’s why measles, polio and other illnesses must be imported to the US, they’re extinct on this continent…

                These people are walking vaccination factories with immune system as strong as that of an alligator. Virus have no effect. They carry virus to America that kills vaccinated natives !!!

                …..Critical thought does not mean observation, and never has. It means recognizing flaws in arguments – for instance, straw men, post hoc ergo propter hoc, confirmation bias, and blatant lies….

                Unless you observe how can critical thinking develop? Doctors were killing people in America with Aspirin during flu, with homeopaths telling them to stop in 1919 !!
                This result confirmation was printed in 2009. cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/49/9/1405.ful

              18. Chris says:

                Iqbal: “Malaria comes with differing symptoms and in homeopathy there is a set of medicines that will be used based upon symptoms of patient.”

                And again, there is no reason to take your anecdotes seriously.

                Malaria was found to be caused by a protozoa and spread by mosquitoes over a century ago. It has taken several years to figure the lifecycle, and there are some okay prophilactics.

                And those who substitute homeopathy have been known to suffer greatly from malaria.

                Iqbal, you are not only clueless, but you refuse to learn.

              19. Iqbal says:

                Chris

                Did Hahnemann figure out a procedure to prevent smallpox?

                During Hahnemann’s time the focus of homeopathy was on treatment. Prevention came later through nosodes: for small pox – Variolinum acts as prevention.

                This was also used for treating small pox by homeopaths.

                Did Hahnemann figure out that mosquitoes were vectors for malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and West Nile virus?

                The homeopathic system is clear: the problem is in the human body – if the immune system has the capability, vector can do nothing. These simple problems were resolved 150 years ago. Now doctors follow the prescribed procedure.
                (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/h/homeop?rgn=subject;type=simple;q1=Yellow+fever+–+Homeopathic+treatment)

                Did Hahnemann create a treatment to let those with type 1 diabetes to live to old age?

                I am not aware if diabetes existed during Hahnemann’s time. Medicines are available to cure the disease unless the patient has started taking insulin and the pancreas have become non-functional. Then it has to be managed.

                Is Hahnemann responsible for reducing the incidence of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, rubella and mumps?
                All these diseases are routinely cured with homeopathy and with no adverse side effect.

                Did Hahnemann figure out the value of providing clean water and having functioning sewer systems?

                This I will check and confirm.

                Did Hahnemann device a way to keep rabies from being fatal?

                Rabies is not fatal in homeopathy.

                Did Hahemann come up with the treatments that allow 85% children who get leukemia to survive at least five years (see The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee).

                I am not sure. But I am sure about one thing: You cannot predict the next five years for a healthy individual and you are talking about sick? You need to get your head examined.

                Did Hahnemann ever cure a bacterial infection?

                It is very simple and under homeopathic treatment no super bugs are formed.

                If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then you must provide the PubMed indexed papers that prove it was all Hahnemann’s doing… and that his methods work better than the real medical treatments used today.

                You have to just google your requirement. PUBMED has to upgrade to a higher level to understand homeopathic papers.

            2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Homeopathic doctors often get patients with suppressed version of syphilis: effect of antibiotics?

              How would they know? What is there evidence? What is your evidence that this is the case? What evidence is there that homeopathic treatments eliminate “supressed syphilis”? I can read French, so please feel free to drop in a link.

              Is Dr. Novella an expert on Homeopathy? and Dr. Andre Saine an expert on RCT? In such a setting, normally the 2 talk at each other, not to each other.

              God do we know what that’s like.

              1. Iqbal says:

                Windriven

                PLease check for a book “Veneral Diseases” by Dr. Jahr.

                Remember to note that cure for syphilis was available with homeopathic remedies then itself.

              2. Chris says:

                Still waiting for an answer… three days and counting. In case you forgot:

                Answer this direct question: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

                Make sure to provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that were published less than forty years ago.

              3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Hey Iqbal, do you mean this book from 1868? Yeah…I doubt it’s right about anything. Venereal diseases, in fact all diseases from 1868 lacked any effective treatment. Why not cite the more recent randomized, controlled trials from, say, this century, showing that homeopathy works?

                Aw, that’s right, because it doesn’t and you can’t.

              4. Windriven says:

                Hey lowball,
                Here’s an easy way for you to win a million bucks! You said:

                “PLease check for a book “Veneral Diseases” by Dr. Jahr.

                Remember to note that cure for syphilis was available with homeopathic remedies then itself.”

                Take Randi’s challenge. Have yourself injected with syphilis. Wait a couple of weeks. Blood test to confirm. Then cure yourself with a homeopathic. Blood test again.

                You’ll be rich!!! Or you’ll die of syphilitic dementia. Come to think of it…

            3. Chris says:

              Try answering the question I asked, note the part I bolded:

              Now, answer this direct question: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

              1. Chris says:

                bad HTML… try again:

                Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

            4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Avogadro’s Number is simple chemistry. Go a little beyond:

              http://www.marlev.com/HowItWorks.htm

              I’ve got a website too:

              http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/

              Does that mean I win?

              Marlev’s website does the same thing you do – ignore recent studies, cite no randomized, controlled trials, cherry-picks, claim success based on the 1850s, and cites trials that ask the wrong questions (if you’re curious about whether homeopathy works, compare it to actual placebo, not a real drug), and claims a bunch of spurious possible mechanisms (hormesis doesn’t apply, it requires measurable doses which homeopathy does not have; “vibrations” are not magic, and do not store meaningful information about complex biological molecules).

              You know anything about Spanish flu? It killed between 50 -100 million people world wide. Would it be called self limiting disease?

              Again, old and cherry-picked. Does homeopathy stop working after 1950 or something?

              This is a lot of crap. Mistakes by doctors are not error of the system.

              What’s the Harm doesn’t talk about doctor’s errors, it talks about how homeopathy has harmed people – generally because they substitute it for real medicine.

              1. Iqbal says:

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge

                ………I’ve got a website too:
                http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/
                Does that mean I win?……..

                It means you have no logic. I have no idea what you plan to win.

                ………Marlev’s website does the same thing you do – ignore recent studies,tions” are not magic, and do not store meaningful information about complex biological molecules)…..

                Create another site: I DO NOT UNDERSTAND!!!!!

                Again, old and cherry-picked. Does homeopathy stop working after 1950 or something?

                The homeopathic doctors were saving REAL LIVES when scientific doctors were killing people with Aspirin and wringing their hands:

                During September of 1918, Dr. Victor Vaughan – former president of the American Medical Association and then-dean of the Medical School at the University of Michigan – was summoned to try and figure out why so many people were getting the flu – and dying from it. During the course of his investigation, he observed many sobering situations and reached several startling conclusions:

                “The saddest part of my life was when I witnessed the hundreds of deaths of the soldiers in the Army camps and did not know what to do. At that moment I decided never again to prate about the great achievements of medical science and to humbly admit our dense ignorance in this case.”

                And in the scientific medical world, after saving lives of millions during pandemics homeopathic medicines stop working and scientific drugs start working and killing people.

                This is the REAL science based medicine about which that Dr. Novella laments: We agree on the basic premises – medicine is hard and complex, people vary, there is still a great deal we don’t know, etc.

                What difference you found in the 2 statements between 1918 and 2014? NOTHING.

                And has the gall to add “But the question at hand is quantitative – how much of what we do is based on solid evidence? ” His expert Dr. Eddy informs there is NO SOLID Evidence on which doctors work.

                And Dr. Novella goes on to write a blog on homeopathy-that he has no clue about –

                ..What’s the Harm doesn’t talk about doctor’s errors, it talks about how homeopathy has harmed people – generally because they substitute it for real medicine…

                What was the total number of patients dead? Over what period? For the same period Extrapolate the data of Dr, Starfield.

              2. weing says:

                @Iqbal,
                I’ll say it again. You know as much about medicine as I know about selling propitiatory rubber components.

                “I write here only because I see stupid idiots writing nonsense about a subject they have no clue about.”

                This actually describes you perfectly. No one here is writing about rubber components.

              3. Dave says:

                I don’t think it advances things by responding to posters who continually quote statements from 100 years ago about how impotent medicine was back then to prove that homeopathy works now, unless you want to hear more 100 year old quotes. Similarly, responding to posters who claim efficacy for treatments because they’ve been done since prehistoric times or because they “know” they work seems to be futile Discussing why you need evidence beyond anecdotes does not seem to matter with these people.

                There are at least 14 major separate religious groups in the world with innumerable subgroups, and the practitioners of each of these “know” they are the one true group, with no solid evidence to support this belief. The similarities to certain posters here are pretty close.

              4. Sawyer says:

                @Dave

                I don’t think it advances things by responding to posters who continually quote statements from 100 years ago about how impotent medicine was back then to prove that homeopathy works now,

                I’m fairly confident it doesn’t advance anything.

                One of these days someone here needs to make up a well-vetted guide for when and when not to respond to the cranks. I occasionally find it useful to point out some of the more subtle mistakes and biases from our resident trolls because there are good lessons to be learned from their errors. But there’s a point where nothing is accomplished.

                When people fail to acknowledge middle-school science concepts, I think that’s a pretty strong indication that the discussion is over.

      2. Kathy says:

        “Honestly, how much more time is needed?”(WLU)

        They are hoping that, just by chance, one more experiment will give the positive result they crave for. Then they can ignore all the rest.

        I used to do seed quality testing and our main client insisted that, if his seed fell below the germination percentage legally required for sale, we re-do the tests. And again and again till – by chance – we got the result he wanted. Then the lab should give him a certificate based on the highest germination. Same principle.

        Just by-the-by, I refused to repeat a test more than once, even if this guy was so important to the bottom line of the firm I worked for. I lost that job.

  22. Mark B says:

    Not surprising since in this day and age of scientific advancement you still have people believing the Earth is only 6000 years old.

  23. Jules A. Lalonde says:

    Hello Everyone,

    I really appreciate this forum and the time fellow skeptics take to address pseudoscientific claims.

    Can I please ask for you help to address the specific “research” below cited as support for homeopathy’s effectiveness?

    Recently in a private members site for Hypnotherapists, I was given this reply to my assertion that Homeopathic claims are quackery.

    I am a scientist who is trying to clean up the unsupported claims made by many in the Hypnosis community.

    The otherwise rational colleague wrote:

    “Homeopathy IS evidence based and conventional medical practice in the US ignores the evidence in the same way that it basically ignores the evidence supporting mainstreaming hypnosis. All of the studies referenced below support the medical value of homoeopathy:
    Taylor, MA, Reilly, D, Llewellyn-Jones, RH, et al., Randomised controlled trial of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial Series, BMJ, August 19, 2000, 321:471-476.
    Ullman, D, Frass, M. A Review of Homeopathic Research in the Treatment of Respiratory Allergies. Alternative Medicine Review. 2010:15,1:48-58.http://www.thorne.com/altmedrev/.fulltext/15
    Vickers AJ. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes. Cochrane Reviews. 2009.
    Bell IR, Lewis II DA, Brooks AJ, et al. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo, Rheumatology. 2004:1111-5.
    Fisher P, Greenwood A, Huskisson EC, et al., “Effect of Homoeopathic Treatment on Fibrositis (Primary Fibromyalgia),” BMJ, 299(August 5, 1989):365-6.
    Jonas, WB, Linde, Klaus, and Ramirez, Gilbert, “Homeopathy and Rheumatic Disease,” Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America, February 2000,1:117-123.
    Jacobs J, Jonas WB, Jimenez-Perez M, Crothers D, Homeopathy for Childhood Diarrhea: Combined Results and Metaanalysis from Three Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trials, Pediatr Infect Dis J, 2003;22:229-34.
    Barnes, J, Resch, KL, Ernst, E, “Homeopathy for Post-Operative Ileus: A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 1997, 25: 628-633.
    M, Thurneysen A. Homeopathic treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled crossover trial. Eur J Pediatr. 2005 Dec;164(12):758-67. Epub 2005 Jul 27.
    Kassab S, Cummings M, Berkovitz S, van Haselen R, Fisher P. Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 2.
    Witt CM, Bluth M, Albrecht H, Weisshuhn TE, Baumgartner S, Willich SN. The in vitro evidence for an effect of high homeopathic potencies–a systematic review of the literature. Complement Ther Med. 2007 Jun;15(2):128-38. Epub 2007 Mar 28.
    Endler PC, Thieves K, Reich C, Matthiessen P, Bonamin L, Scherr C, Baumgartner S. Repetitions of fundamental research models for homeopathically prepared dilutions beyond 10-23: a bibliometric study. Homeopathy, 2010; 99: 25-36.
    Luc Montagnier, Jamal Aissa, Stephane Ferris, Jean-Luc Montagnier, Claude Lavallee, Electromagnetic Signals Are Produced by Aqueous Nanostructures Derived from Bacterial DNA Sequences. Interdiscip Sci Comput Life Sci (2009) 1: 81-90.
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/0557v311…”

    I want to if possible provide a complete rebuttal of his “evidence” and wish to thank Dr. Novella for this post as a great source of information.

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      I wrote about the Montagnier study at http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-montagnier-homeopathy-study/
      But don’t let yourself get roped into that kind of debate. You could easily find as many or more articles showing homeopathy doesn’t work, but it’s not a matter of how many citations each side can provide. It’s a matter of weighing all the published studies, considering the quality of the research design and the prior probability. Ioannidis has shown us that half of all studies are wrong, and that areas like homeopathy are far more likely to be wrong. Systematic reviews are mostly negative, and the most positive one said homeopathy “worked better than placebo” in general, but not for any condition. Which is as silly as saying broccoli is good for all people but isn’t good for men, women, or children. Homeopathy has had 2 centuries to prove itself to the satisfaction of the scientific mainstream, and it has failed to do so. With that history, it is silly of your colleague to think he can prove homeopathy works by citing a few studies in favor.

      1. Iqbal says:

        Harriet Hall

        I am not so sure. This is a doctor’s version on RCT:

        “To give a few day-today examples: we are not able to measure our thoughts, our emotions, and many of our actions based on those emotions and thoughts. Do they, then, fall outside the realm of science? Do thoughts exist? Do emotions have any role in human physiology? If the answer is yes, then we need a change of paradigm in science, at least in medical science, where the RCTs (randomized controlled studies) have been sold as the last word in medical research. The truth is that there is everything wrong with this approach. No two human beings could be compared based on a few of their phonotypical features. The results are there for all to see. Most, if not all, RCTs have given unreliable results in the long run.”

        http://www.bmhegde.com/science_sciencstm.htm

        There is a specific attempt made to deride Homeopathy. Check the message below- the records were tampered!!!!!!

        http://homeoint.org/morrell/londonhh/outbreak.htm

        1. Chris says:

          Wow, Thingy Two, those are even more pathetic than the slide show of old data.

          So exactly how well does homeopathy work for syphilis and rabies?

          And what is your proven method to prevent measles.

          1. Iqbal says:

            Chris

            For measles, the article is very close to a standard homeopathic doctor’s response.

            https://vaccinefree.wordpress.com/measles-alternative-prevention-mn/

            “Depending the health of the individual and their vitality, they may contract the disease but the eruptions fail to appear. In these cases you are going to see more damage from the disease. “

            1. Harriet Hall says:

              If the rash fails to appear there is more damage from the disease? References, please!
              We can document (with antibody titers) that people were infected but never had any symptoms, much less “more damage.”

              1. Iqbal says:

                Harriet Hall

                “…..if the rash fails to appear there is more damage from the disease? References, please!”…..

                The human immune system has a defined procedure to deal with each type of virus/bacteria attack. The symptoms that develop on account of the action of the defense mechanism are given a name. In case of body rash developing in a particular manner with associated symptoms is named measles in medical science.

                If the immune system is inactive, no symptom will be seen in the child that has contacted the measles virus. The virus will have a free run and the child has no hope of survival.

                Development of rash and accompanying symptoms demonstrates the body’s continuing ability to fight the disease (measles). The faster the symptoms develop the better it is for the child and if rash fails to appear, it means the immune system is compromised and there is ongoing internal damage that will show up as complications.

                What reference are you looking for?

              2. Harriet Hall says:

                @Iqbal, You are misinformed. It is not the symptoms or rashes that are given a name, but the infection and the organism that causes it.
                Subclinical infections are common, and measles infection and subsequent immunity can develop even when a rash does not appear.
                Most of the damage from infections is not due to the organism itself, but to the immune system’s reaction to infection. If the immune system fails to react, there is no “ongoing internal damage.”

              3. Chris says:

                Iqbal, nswer this direct question: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care

                The references I want are PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers published no earlier than 1970. So no websites, no reprints of 19th century books and definitely no news reports with random anecdotes.

                I can assume that Dr. Hall is expecting the same kind of verifiable scientific references.

              4. Windriven says:

                C’mon lowball, really:

                “What reference are you looking for?”

                WTF? Are you paying attention at all? A meaningful scientific reference showing an inverse relationship between erythema and “more damage.”

              5. Windriven says:

                I hope you have a good long book to read, Chris. ‘Cause you’re going to wait a long time for lowball to produce anything of substance.

              6. Chris says:

                It doesn’t matter if Iqbal responds, since his lack of a real answer is virtually screaming his ignorance. I think what we are dealing with a homeopath who has no clue about infectious diseases.

              7. Chris says:

                (maybe this response will end up in a more logical place in the thread)

                Windriven, I really don’t expect an answer from Iqbal. Though the more he ignores the request, the more it screams out his ignorance. I suspect he is a homeopath who really has no clue about infectious diseases.

              8. Windriven says:

                @Chris

                ” I suspect he is a homeopath who really has no clue about infectious diseases.”

                Wow, who would have ever figured … a homeopath with no clue … ;=)

              9. Iqbal says:

                Harriet Hall

                ……It is not the symptoms or rashes that are given a name, but the infection and the organism that causes it….

                I am not so sure. If I look at the virus in under an electron microscope, I can see measles written somewhere?

                ……..Most of the damage from infections is not due to the organism itself, but to the immune system’s reaction to infection. If the immune system fails to react, there is no “ongoing internal damage.”….

                I am quite surprised at your understanding. Let me give you a similar setting:

                The immune system becomes temporarily inactive when chemotherapy is used during cancer treatment. Are you aware how many patients get infected with pneumonia and die and the reason?

                The patient does not exhibit the symptoms of pneumonia and the doctors realize the situation too late. You have a better explanation regarding patient’s death?

              10. Chris says:

                Iqbal, answer this direct question: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

                Your failure to come up with any answer, much less one with actual scientific citations, shows that you have no idea about either disease, or for that matter: any infectious disease. It screams at your lack of scientific education.

              11. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                The human immune system has a defined procedure to deal with each type of virus/bacteria attack.

                The human immune system is unplanned, it has no such procedure, merely chemical reactions (that sometimes cause far more harm than the idsease).

                If the immune system is inactive, no symptom will be seen in the child that has contacted the measles virus. The virus will have a free run and the child has no hope of survival.

                We know what this looks like – it’s called AIDS.

                The faster the symptoms develop the better it is for the child and if rash fails to appear, it means the immune system is compromised and there is ongoing internal damage that will show up as complications.

                Really? How do you explain asymptomatic measles?

              12. Iqbal says:

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge

                …..We know what this looks like – it’s called AIDS….

                Dr. Jahr in his treatise (Venereal diseases) traced the evolution of syphilis to suppression of leprosy with crude chemicals (mercury, sulfur etc.) by the scientific medicine system. Check for similarities between the leprosy and syphilis – syphilis is more virulent. Now both co-exist.

                Can you compare AIDS with disease with similar symptoms? A simple disease where the immune system comes under attack as complications start?

                …..Really? How do you explain asymptomatic measles?……

                As you sow, so shall you reap. For homeopathy, this will not cause any major problem. Focus on developing symptoms and check matching medicine or build a new nosode.

              13. weing says:

                “Dr. Jahr in his treatise (Venereal diseases) traced the evolution of syphilis to suppression of leprosy ….blah, blah, blah” You are not selling me on your rubber baby-buggy-bumpers.

            2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              For measles, the article is very close to a standard homeopathic doctor’s response.

              Who cares what the standard homeopathic doctor’s response is? Homeopathy doesn’t make sense, doesn’t work, and homeopaths are deluded and wrong. I mean Jebus, it’s like asking a white supremacist what they think of the health risks of miscegenation* or Ken Ham’s beliefs about the common ancestors of humans and chimps. The beliefs going into the conversation are not amenable to any form of rational discussion.

              Homeopaths say a lot of things – that doesn’t mean any of it is true. If you take measles, dilute it to 200X and give it to a child, you’re giving them a drink of water or a bit of sugar, then leaving them unvaccinated. Pretending it does anything to prevent measles doesn’t mean it actually does anything for measles.

              Jesus, a homeopath’s blog? And you seriously expect us to think that has any merit?

              *He says, skirting dangerously close to Godwin…

              1. Iqbal says:

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge

                …… If you take measles, dilute it to 200X and give it to a child, you’re giving them a drink of water or a bit of sugar, then leaving them unvaccinated. Pretending it does anything to prevent measles doesn’t mean it actually does anything for measles……

                Make sure the dilution is Morbilinum 200C or 1M to see what happens to the child:

                Follow the protocol defined by the doctor. After the protocol ends, send the child into a room full of children with measles- nothing will happen to the child.

                If the child had already contacted Measles, Morbilinum will bring to surface all possible symptoms within 24 hours.

              2. Chris says:

                “If the child had already contacted Measles, Morbilinum will bring to surface all possible symptoms within 24 hours.”

                Citation needed. And why would you want to treat a disease when there is a safe vaccine to prevent it?

              3. Sawyer says:

                @lq

                “Make sure the dilution is Morbilinum 200C or 1M to see what happens to the child”

                Please tell us this is a joke. Have homeopaths have seriously delved into the 1/10^1000 range? And they are so ignorant of real chemistry that they don’t realized the “M” nomenclature is used for this think called “molarity”. Or have they adopted it in a cynical attempt to grift off the work of actual chemists?

                I used to mock homeopaths for failing high-school chemistry, but you’re now struggling to keep up with concepts I learned in seventh grade.

                LQ if this is a joke you got us good and we all appreciated the laugh, but it’s time to stop now. The experiment of purposely exposing children to measles is entering sociopath territory.

              4. Iqbal says:

                Sawyer

                …..Please tell us this is a joke. Have homeopaths have seriously delved into the 1/10^1000 range? And they are so ignorant of real chemistry that they don’t realized the “M” nomenclature is used for this think called “molarity”. Or have they adopted it in a cynical attempt to grift off the work of actual chemists?

                If knowledge of chemistry was all that was required, Dr, Steven Novella would not write ““…We agree on the basic premises – medicine is hard and complex, people vary, there is still a great deal we don’t know, etc.” How is that you know more than the doctor with your 7th class chemistry?

                ……I used to mock homeopaths for failing high-school chemistry, but you’re now struggling to keep up with concepts I learned in seventh grade…..

                You should mock Dr. Novella for studying so much more than than 7th class chemistry and still being ambivalent on medicine?

              5. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Follow the protocol defined by the doctor. After the protocol ends, send the child into a room full of children with measles- nothing will happen to the child.

                If the child had already contacted Measles, Morbilinum will bring to surface all possible symptoms within 24 hours.

                No it won’t. You asserting this fact doesn’t make it true. Your certainty in this is staggering, and a clear indication that you don’t know what you are talking about and you have no evidence for this. I can claim you are a chicken, this doesn’t make you a chicken. Medicine isn’t magic, but homeopathy is – in the sense that it attempts to impose human categories on an indifferent reality, and it doesn’t exist.

                Unless you do? Can you provide any peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials to demonstrate this?

              6. Iqbal says:

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge

                ..No it won’t. You asserting this fact doesn’t make it true. Your certainty in this is staggering, and a clear indication that you don’t know what you are talking about and you have no evidence for this….

                Vaccination was made mandatory in the 80s. We have experienced measles many times in the family earlier to this period. The first medicine distributed is Morbillinum. The purpose – for those who have contacted it, allow it come up in full force. For others, who do not show disease, go to school everyday and while the class children are dropping off one after another, nothing happens to these children. At home after the first day, they are allowed to come close to the infected recuperating child.

                …Can you provide any peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials to demonstrate this?….

                What for? Go to a good homeopathic doctor, this is routine affair.

              7. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Vaccination was made mandatory in the 80s. We have experienced measles many times in the family earlier to this period. The first medicine distributed is Morbillinum. The purpose – for those who have contacted it, allow it come up in full force. For others, who do not show disease, go to school everyday and while the class children are dropping off one after another, nothing happens to these children. At home after the first day, they are allowed to come close to the infected recuperating child.

                Yeah, you are saying words, but this doesn’t make them true. You have no evidence for this, there’s no reason to believe homeopathy can work, or does work, and we’re operating from such different starting points (me – evidence, experts and empiricism, you – rhetoric and nothing else).

                What for? Go to a good homeopathic doctor, this is routine affair.

                The reason peer reviewed evidence is superior to talking to a homeopathic doctor is that the chance for confirmation bias is reduced, and the careful arrangement of randomization, control groups and record keeping ensures that you can actually attribute causality. A homeopathic doctor is operating purely on the basis of assumptions (which have been repeatedly proven incorrect), rhetoric (such as “drugs case harms, therefore homeopathy works – which you have used several times), and personal experience (which has been repeatedly shown to involve erroneous, self-justifying recall and confirmation bias).

                Before 1900, medicine and homeopathy were both based on similar premises – tradition and little else. Doctors and homeopaths were equally convinced of their efficacy, when they had naught but bloodletting and placebos respectively. Things have changed in the past century, homeopathy has not – yet somehow you are treating this as if it were a virtue.

                That’s stupid, and you are apparently unable to grasp this fact.

            3. Windriven says:

              @lowball

              ” If I look at the virus in under an electron microscope, I can see measles written somewhere?”

              No, you can’t. But a virologist or virology lab technician can, though the electron microscope would not likely be her chosen tool.

              You are the moron who quoted this, yes?:

              “Depending the health of the individual and their vitality, they may contract the disease but the eruptions fail to appear. In these cases you are going to see more damage from the disease. “

              You remind me of Joe Btfsplk but it is a cloud of stupid rather than rain that follows you around.

            4. Chris says:

              “Dr. Jahr in his treatise (Venereal diseases) traced the evolution of syphilis to suppression of leprosy with crude chemicals (mercury, sulfur etc.) by the scientific medicine system.”

              And we should care about this idiotic “history” because…?

              Go away troll.

        2. Windriven says:

          @lowball

          Your argument boils down to:

          Who cares if the patient’s health is improving so long a the patient ‘feels’ they are improving.

          You might go to Pubmed and read the Wechsler on asthma.

          1. Iqbal says:

            Windriven

            ………Who cares if the patient’s health is improving so long a the patient ‘feels’ they are improving……

            That is not my argument. This is Dr. Hegde, VC of a Medical College and a Cardiologist.
            I think you did not understand his argument against RCT: the golden standard for developing and testing drugs.

            Please read the complete article referred.

            1. Windriven says:

              lowball-

              “That is not my argument.”

              Bullsh!t. That is exactly your argument. You quote this queer little mystic as if his babblings are truth in all its magnificence. Then when you’re called on it you disclaim it. You’re not only a nut you’re an ass. If you’re going to cite something have the guts to stand behind it.

              So for reasons that escape me I read Hedge’s bit of unpublished rubbish. It reads like the scribblings of an untutored child.

              He says, “NASA claims that there is no life anywhere outside the Earth…” Bullsh!t again. A flat lie. Not a misstatement. Not a misunderstanding. An outright, baldfaced lie. NASA has never made such a claim.

              The rest of it is just as bad and a few bits even worse. And you hold this Hedge paper out to mean … anything?

              Here’s another quote from the Hedge paper that made me howl with laughter:

              “Einstein giving away his Nobel Prize money to his first wife, whom he had divorced by then, gives credence to the view, held by some close confidents (sic), that the original Nobel paper of Einstein did have his wife’s name as the first author, which must have disappeared later. Many have doubted (sic) if he had plagiarized her work!”

              And you really have to read this in context to get the full guffaw.

              You’re a great source of amusement, lowball.

            2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              That is not my argument. This is Dr. Hegde, VC of a Medical College and a Cardiologist.

              Yeah, some people think Hegde is an idiot. And I can see why. And if he’s a cardiologist, what are his qualifications to dispense wisdom on vaccines? Wisdom which carries within it some very, very, very basic (like, really, really, high school basic) errors about vaccines?

              And is it just me, or is he flirting with creationism?

              His overall point seems to be “science doesn’t know everything”. Wow, that’s profound. If we only based our actions on knowledge with absolute certainty, we would never act. Further, how would we ever come to know everything, or anything, if we only undertook studies in areas where we already understand the system 100%? Sounds like Hegde is a quack uttering deceptive nonsense about medicine and epistemology. Sounds like he’s simply wrong.

              I really don’t care whose argument it is by the way, I only care that the argument itself is stupid.

        3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          That’s a stupid statement. Your precision is lower in difficult-to-measure and subjective conditions, that doesn’t mean you are unable to perform randomized controlled trials. “Wah, it’s hard” in science is a reason to explore different ways of measuring and verifying inter-rater reliability. It’s not a reason to abandon science.

          And why are you bringing up studies from 1854? I realize homeopathy hasn’t moved on since the 19th century (18th really), but that’s not a point of pride. You’ll notice in the 20th century that modern medicine has eliminated smallpox, turned polio, pertussis, measles and meningitis into inconveniences, dropped child and mother mortality in childbirth so much that we pretty much expect all of our children (and parents) to survive, and offered safe, reliable birth control such that we can choose the number of children we want rather than having 10 born and 3 live, or 10 born and all living in destitution.

          But no, back in 1854 homeopathy was great.

          1. Iqbal says:

            WilliamLawrenceUtridge

            …. Your precision is lower in difficult-to-measure and subjective conditions, that doesn’t mean you are unable to perform randomized controlled trials. “Wah, it’s hard” in science is a reason to explore different ways of measuring and verifying inter-rater reliability. It’s not a reason to abandon science……….

            That is not MY statement. I quoted Dr. Hegde and referred an article by him defining the errors in the basic design of RCT.

            Repeated here:

            ” The truth is that there is everything wrong with this approach. No two human beings could be compared based on a few of their phonotypical features. The results are there for all to see. Most, if not all, RCTs have given unreliable results in the long run.”

            He does not ask science to be abandoned : he says RCT as a method in medical research is foolish activity.

            He surely knows something you don’t: check his medical degrees and credentials.

            1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              So…you quoted something stupid, but you can’t be blamed for quoting something stupid, because you’re just quoting it.

              That’s stupid.

              And his point, that randomized controlled trials are foolish – how does this square with the current state of low-disease, long-lifespan found in the scientifically advanced worlds? Or with our ability to prevent patients from dying of AIDS? Or our ability to re-attach severed limbs, to grow a human heart valve in a pig and transplant it, to give a woman a new face? All based on randomized controlled trials, or their pre-clinincal equivalents.

              I don’t give a flying fuck about his medical degrees, since his arguments are clearly stupid. Does he understand why we undertake each step of an RCT? Does he understand why we randomize, why we have control groups, why we blind researchers and patients, why we use statistics? Does he have an alternative? What exactly is “wrong” with each of these steps, and how does he compensate for the flaws introduced when you remove each one? RCTs generally do not give unreliable results in the long run, but they do prove preclinical work to be inapplicable to humans.

              Any other stupid quotes you feel like putting up, to prove your lack of critical acumen?

              1. Iqbal says:

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge

                “Does he understand why we undertake each step of an RCT? Does he understand why we randomize, why we have control groups, why we blind researchers and patients, why we use statistics? Does he have an alternative? What exactly is “wrong” with each of these steps, and how does he compensate for the flaws introduced when you remove each one? RCTs generally do not give unreliable results in the long run, but they do prove preclinical work to be inapplicable to humans.”

                I am sure you have no clue about what you are writing. How can ever 2 persons be same to be put in control group?
                If mind plays such important part in the health of a person, how can a test be conducted with mind being no part of it?

                But your message raises another serious question: how useless is the scientific medical education system, that grants so many medical degrees to the doctor (http://bmhegde.com/bmh/index.php About me) who has no clue about the basic medical fundamentals that are known to all – including you.
                He has collected medical degrees from India, UK and USA, scholarships/fellowship from India, UK, Kuwait, Lectures on medicine/health across the globe.
                If such learned doctors (medical degrees is a reference ?) have gaps in medical knowledge, what about the millions of doctors who lack such education?

                Now it is clear why Dr. Eddy came up with data that most doctors are not evidence based. So how can you say scientific medical system is evidence based when its education system itself is faulty?

              2. Chris says:

                Come on, Iqbal! Prove that homeopathy is not just a bunch of hooey.

                Answer this direct question: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

              3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                I am sure you have no clue about what you are writing. How can ever 2 persons be same to be put in control group?

                I’m not sure you are literate, because I never said this.

                If mind plays such important part in the health of a person, how can a test be conducted with mind being no part of it?

                Again, I never said this. The mind interprets the sensations of the body, and can impact perceptions of health. But in terms of genuine health, for the most part it is irrelevant except for mental health. Patients might report feeling better, while their cholesterol or blood pressure remains firmly in the danger zone. Patients might report feeling great, right before dying of a massive heart attack. I’m not sure what your clown-college understanding of medicine is trying to make you say.

                But your message raises another serious question: how useless is the scientific medical education system, that grants so many medical degrees to the doctor (http://bmhegde.com/bmh/index.php About me) who has no clue about the basic medical fundamentals that are known to all – including you.

                So…a medical system that produces graduates, 99% of whom can see his nonsense is nonsense, is a failure because 1% are famewhores willing to throw good science under the bus to get their own newspaper column? There are many famous doctors who are quite willing to tell patients and the public utter nonsense in order to make their stars rise. Dr. Oz is one, Deepak Chopra is another, Andrew Weil is a third, and obviously Hegde is a fourth.

                I mean seriously – apparently you really don’t care what anyone says, as long as you can try to make medicine look bad with it. Nice.

                Now it is clear why Dr. Eddy came up with data that most doctors are not evidence based. So how can you say scientific medical system is evidence based when its education system itself is faulty?

                All human systems are faulty. The best ones rely on relentless self-criticism to improve. Medicine is one such relentless system, engineering is another. In fact, nearly any peer-reviewed expert community is such a system. There are exceptions, of course, notably the pseudoscientific ones that don’t actually rely on evidence. Like homeopathy.

                And Eddy is actually part of that system – he’s a feature, not a bug. When was the last time you found a homeopathy publishing a paper saying “high dilution provings should be abandoned, they are useless”? Never, I wager.

              4. Iqbal says:

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge

                ……The mind interprets the sensations of the body, and can impact perceptions of health. But in terms of genuine health, for the most part it is irrelevant except for mental health……

                This is exactly the level of knowledge I expected from you. It is time for some improvement:
                http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/amp/59/1/29/
                http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/9581321/reload=0;jsessionid=mIvsXUSaQ4KYpmaKkLTP.20
                http://www.jabfm.org/content/16/2/131.short

                ……So…a medical system that produces graduates, 99% of whom can see his nonsense is nonsense, is a failure because 1% are famewhores willing to throw good science under the bus to get their own newspaper column?…

                You, again are wrong. Systems that are running downhill produce 99% robots(idiots) – who ask no question & just do as told. The 1% left are the ones who push for improvement and find 99% maintaining status quo till the system collapses.

                …..The best ones rely on relentless self-criticism to improve. Medicine is one such relentless system,…

                Where is the self criticism here? You are forced to eat your words when faced with the likes of Dr. Eddy challenging established scientific norms etc. Other wise the present system is pushed as the only medical system available, though its imprint is similar to a face ravaged by smallpox.

              5. Chris says:

                Iqbal, the more you ignore answer this request, the sillier you look:

                Answer this direct question: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

                Failure to answer the above will prove that homeopathy just does not work, and that you are stuck in an unscientific past. Especially those two diseases are no longer 100% fatal with modern treatment.

              6. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                This is exactly the level of knowledge I expected from you. It is time for some improvement:
                http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/amp/59/1/29/
                http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/9581321/reload=0;jsessionid=mIvsXUSaQ4KYpmaKkLTP.20
                http://www.jabfm.org/content/16/2/131.short

                Yeah…did you see the dates? 1998, 2004, 2003. And did you read them? These are studies of adjuvant therapies, or are promising early results. They’re not proof. Looking up stuff on pubmed, you can find reviews for chronic pain (lots of them, for this symptom), and if you look for evidence of objective improvements, it turns out it’s lacking, often focussed on quality of life, not actually changing the disease.

                You, again are wrong. Systems that are running downhill produce 99% robots(idiots) – who ask no question & just do as told.

                What, you mean like patients who take homeopathy without questioning if it works, or how?

                Also, asserting something doesn’t make it true.

                Where is the self criticism here? You are forced to eat your words when faced with the likes of Dr. Eddy challenging established scientific norms etc. Other wise the present system is pushed as the only medical system available, though its imprint is similar to a face ravaged by smallpox.

                Self-criticism is found in the medical literature publishing Eddy’s criticisms and reacting to it by abandoning practices that don’t work, or starting things like the Choosing Wisely initiative. I don’t eat my words, I use them to support what Eddy does and the changes he promotes.

                There are not multiple medical systems, there is one – evidence-based medicine that draws upon science to determine if and how something works. Everything else isn’t medicine, it’s speculation, and one that would have left us with smallpox still ravaging the world, rather than being extinct.

                Want to make me eat my words? Show me that homeopathy works in controlled trials, good ones. Show me that after scholarly consesnsus is that a procedure doesn’t work, that it is still promoted.

                But you can’t, unless you dip back a decade, which completely misses the point. Again.

              7. Iqbal says:

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge

                …did you see the dates? 1998, 2004, 2003. These are studies of adjuvant therapies, or are promising early results. Looking up stuff on pubmed, you can find reviews for chronic pain (lots of them, for this symptom), and if you look for evidence of objective improvements, it turns out it’s lacking, often focussed on quality of life, not actually changing the disease…

                If I go back some years, I will find similar studies rejected outright. Poor sampling, statistical errors…… and reason why not to accept.

                But if the past data of drug development with 100% statistical evidence, supported studies published in PUBMED, reviewed by FDA and then followed by drug recalls and deaths is your golden benchmark, homeopathy is good medicine without it. Homeopathic medicines affect a cure. Managing quality of life is a process followed in the scientific system- managing blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar etc. NEVER curing it.

                …What, you mean like patients who take homeopathy without questioning if it works, or how?..

                The how is required for doctors, not patients. Patients focus on getting well.

                …..Self-criticism is found in the medical literature publishing Eddy’s criticisms and reacting to it by abandoning practices that don’t work, or starting things like the Choosing Wisely initiative. I don’t eat my words, I use them to support what Eddy does ….

                Eddy’s work is not just positive criticism. “..Eddy’s long standing disdain for the healthcare system remains his key motivator”. “The practices abandoned” were based upon detailed research using science with all required studies spread over years published in PUBMED and thrown out with no questions asked? Evidence based action: my foot – look at evidence and tell me it is still followed or not: AND EAT YOUR WORDS:

                “A large study of 18,151 patients who underwent bypass surgery immediately after a heart attack or following an attack of crescendo angina (unstable angina) showed that they were nearly four times more likely to have a subsequent stroke than those who did not have bypass surgery. (1)
                Death in these stroke patients following bypass surgery was much higher! This study showed, in addition, that bypass surgery was the most important predictor of stroke followed by past history of stroke, diabetes, and older age group. Most glaring finding of this study is that the existence of an onsite catheterization laboratory facility was also a risk factor for subsequent stroke in those hapless patients with a heart attack admitted to such hospitals.
                This study did not show statistically increased stroke following angioplasty. Those wanting to sell angioplasty could use this as their marketing strategy. They cannot, however, escape the findings of another study that showed that “angioplasty may lead to greater reduction in anginal pain compared to medical treatment but at a cost of more coronary artery bypass grafting, although all the randomized controlled trials done all over the world and published between 1979 and 1998 do not give enough data about death and subsequent revascularization, the trends so far DO NOT FAVOUR ANGIOPLASTY.” 2

                Curiously, another study has shown that “initial angioplasty may complicate the bypass operation and may increase postoperative mortality and morbidity.3

                An audit on an earlier study of bypass surgeries did show that in those without symptoms a large majority of 84% recipients of bypass surgery did not get any life expectancy benefit from their interventions. Only 16% did get some small benefit. This study had audited a large number of such procedures running to nearly 60,000.4

                Other studies in the past have also thrown light on the side effects of bypass surgery on the brain.5

                These studies showed the incidence of stroke following bypass surgery to be anywhere between 1.5 to 5.2%, postoperative delirium to be 10-30%, and cognitive decline to be ranging from 53% on discharge to 42% on a long term basis.6

                1. Joesefson D. Early bypass surgery increases the risk of stroke. BMJ 2001; 323: 185
                2. Bucher HC, Hengstler P, Schindler C, and Guyatt GH. PTCA verses Medical treatment for non-acute coronary heart disease. BMJ 2000; 321: 73-77
                3. Kalaycioglu S, Sinci V, and Oktar L. CABG after successful PTCA. Is PTCA a risk for CABG? Int. Surg 1998; 83: 190-193
                4. Yusuf S, Zucker D, Peduzzi P. et.al. Effect of CABG on survival.. Lancet 1994; 344: 565-568
                5. Hornick P, Smith PL, Taylor KM. Cerebral complication following coronary bypass grafting. Curr. Opin. Cardiol 1994; 9: 670-679
                6. Selens OA and McKhann GM. Coronary Artery Bypass and the Brain. N. Engl.J.Med 2001; 344: 451-453”

                There are not multiple medical systems, there is one – evidence-based medicine that draws upon science to determine if and how something works.

                Want to make me eat my words? S Show me that after scholarly consensus is that a procedure doesn’t work, that it is still promoted.

                Just see above: Let me know the status of angioplasty.
                Doctors prescribing paracetamol for reducing fever !!!

              8. Chris says:

                Iqbal: “If I go back some years, I will find similar studies rejected outright. Poor sampling, statistical errors…… and reason why not to accept”

                And, really, why should we care about your opinions? You cling to prescience quackery that has never been proven to work.

                You cannot prove homeopathy works by pointing out flaws in modern medicine. Especially when you are totally unqualified to evaluate studies.

                I know this because I have asked for verifiable scientific evidence that homeopathy works better for syphilis and rabies than modern 21st medicine. And all you came up were lists of sugar pills that have been given fancy Latin names and unverified anecdotes.

                If you want us to believe that homeopathy is useful, then provide real studies by qualified researchers (not case reports by random homeopaths) showing that it works better than placebo for non-self-limiting conditions.

              9. Sawyer says:

                “And, really, why should we care about your opinions?”

                We shouldn’t. I don’t know why people are even bothering to respond to Iqbal. Occasionally it’s useful to have a discussion with people that disagree with modern science. This is not one of those situations. Failing to see the connection between chemistry and homeopathy guarantees that there’s absolutely no common ground to work up from.

              10. Dave says:

                I don’t want to get into an involved discussion about CABG surgery but it is used MUCH less frequently than in years past and mainly for individuals with a left main lesion, severe three vessel disease or diabetes. Percutaneous intervention has also decreased since the COURAGE trial. A discussion of how to handle the various coronary syndromes would take a book. However, this all has nothing to do with homeopathy, as had been repeatedly stated.

                Iqbal, you cannot demonstate the effect of homeopathy by talking about subjects other than homeopathy. Even a kindergarden child understands that concept. Case reports and anecdotes are worthless. I have a medical textbook from 1898 loaded with case reports attesting to the efficacy of things like creosote inhalation curing pneumonia, iodine swabs in the hhroat for diphtheria, etc. Please refer to a randomized double blinded controlled study showing homeopathy works for ANY condition, and then back that up with a confirmatory study. Short of that you’re just blowing smoke.

              11. Chris says:

                “We shouldn’t. I don’t know why people are even bothering to respond to Iqbal.”

                It is only to remind him that he failed science discussion 101.

                His tactic seems to show that real medicine has failed, so it changed. Therefore homeopathy works, especially since it never had to change.

                Except, homeopathy has not been shown to ever work, nor has it bothered to change with the times.

                And real medicine does correct its errors and improves treatments. That is an asset, not a problem.

          2. Iqbal says:

            WilliamLawrenceUtridge

            ……….And why are you bringing up studies from 1854? I realize homeopathy hasn’t moved on since the 19th century (18th really), but that’s not a point of pride. You’ll notice in the 20th century that modern medicine has eliminated smallpox, turned polio, pertussis, measles and meningitis into inconveniences, ……….

            Are you sure you have this correct. What is achieved with “SCIENTIFIC MEDICAL SCIENCE”?

            Small pox is the only disease that is not seen and the roots for the treatment lay in an very old system.

            Every thing related to health requiring medicine is still trial and error.

            1. Chris says:

              So prove that homeopathy works better than modern medicine. You’ve had several days since I first asked:

              Answer this direct question: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

              Failure to answer the above will prove that homeopathy just does not work, and that you are stuck in an unscientific past. Especially those two diseases are no longer 100% fatal with modern treatment.

            2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Every thing related to health requiring medicine is still trial and error.

              Duh. If you didn’t subject things to trial and error, you would rely on dogma – like homeopathy. The reason why medicine progressed so much in the past century is because it embraced trial and error. And once we have a replicable finding that improves human health, we build on it. And now, you don’t have to worry about your baby dying of infectious diseases (as long as you avoid hippies who refuse to vaccinate).

              Incidentally, smallpox is extinct, but when was the last time you worried about polio? It’s not extinct, but it is definitely controlled – like the others in my list, as long as morons don’t embrace antivaccination. You should learn more about what you are attempting to criticize.

        4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Wow, I’m actually reading Hegde’s “Science vs. Scientism” piece, and it’s an absurdly laughable collection of straw men and arguments from ignorance.

          - Einstein may have plagiarized his work from his wife, because he gave her his Nobel prize
          - To paraphrase, science is bad because scientists (apparently) plagiarize from each other all the time without attribution…then he talks about the uncertainties of the speed of light and problems with quantum mechanics…without attributing them.
          - His discussion of evolution focuses purely on random mutation, and pays no attention to the idea of natural selection. Yes, variations are caused by random mutation. Natural selection is what kills off all the gene lines that are sub-optimal. Oh, and he invokes the idea that “entropy” prevents the development of life. Which is true. In a closed system. Which the Earth is not.
          - He claims the Big Bang theory is invalid because of the creationist trope of “tired light“. Tired light was aged pseudoscience three decades ago. The only people who take it seriously are the ones who are looking for ways to buttress their beliefs in a 7,000 year old Earth.
          - He claism science deals only with the five senses. Sure. Except for x-rays, neutrino detectors, radios, microscopes, telescopes, chemical analyzers that detect molecules we can’t smell or touch, genetic fingerprinting, dark energy, dark matter, infrared binoculars, ultraviolet binoculars, gravimetry, Geiger counters, have I left anything out? And he justifies this through a misrepresntation of quantum mechanics, which even I can see is false (quantum mechanics doesn’t say “observation is magical”, it says “observation, past a certain point, of necessity must change the thing you are observing”)

          Then he completely ignores how science actually rewards iconoclastic observations that can be independently verified such as epigenetics, the role of H. pylori in ulcers, continental drift, Einstein’s theory of relativity, etc. I mean really, if Hegde were correct that science never changes due to dogma, we wouldn’t fucking know that H. pylori caused ulcers, would we? Idiot. He favourably cites John O’M Bockris, whose opinion seems to be that it’s an outrage he be asked to provide evidence to support his assertions that telepathy is real.

          Seriously, you respect this man?

          1. Frederick says:

            I heard of that book, Thank for having the patience to read it for us, that’s the kind of thing my brain do, at some point it become so stupid i want to shoot myself.

            So thank for summarizing it for us! total Bull crap of course :-)

      2. Jules A. Lalonde says:

        Thank You Dr. Hall,

        I was in fact about to get roped in.

        Part of my drive (zealotry) to provide a thorough reply may be because I have noticed that some very influential communicators within the self help or hypnosis communities may provide evidence based hypnotherapeutic training alongside what I believe to be irrational and unproven concepts such as homeopathy and various energy-medicine protocols. In my view, association with those pseudoscientific concepts diminishes the credibility of the entire Hypnosis field.

        Since we humans naturally tend to quickly (and often outside of conscious awareness) sort other human into In-group and Out-group categories, I believe that most practioners in the medical sciences could quickly categorize the whole field of suggestion and hypnosis into the “quackery” out group because of association with other items already clearly in that category.

        On this forum full of skeptics, what do you think?

        Are my fears valid that other evidence based claims using directed suggestion/hypnosis protocols are more easily dismissed by the scientific and medical community as pseudoscience if the people promoting the claims also promote pseudoscientific claims?

        1. Harriet Hall says:

          In medical school, I was taught that hypnosis = SASI (selective attention, selective inattention). It is frequently misunderstood and the claims for it often go beyond the evidence. I think there may be a place for it: to enhance the non-specific effects of the provider/patient interaction. Everything doctors do involves an element of suggestion (that the patient will be helped), and hypnosis is a great way to implement suggestion. My fellow students and I were “hypnotized” in a class in med school and given the post-hypnotic suggestion to avoid “highway hypnosis” and stay alert at the wheel of a car; it impressed me, and I still think of it often when driving. Also, hypnosis and self-hypnosis are a great way to relax.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      To second, focus on systematic reviews, not individual studies. Proponents also like to pretend a single study is enough. No real drugs are approved with single studies, and ‘homeopathy’ isn’t a ‘drug’, it is an approach. All positive trials of drugs showing effects, even adverse effects, validate the approach-molecules interact with molecules in a dose-dependent manner. Every failure of a homeopathy trial shows that not just the individual preparations are bunk, but that the whole approach is bunk.

      1. Jules A. Lalonde says:

        Thank You William,

        In my reply, I will focus on the systematic reviews.

    3. MadisonMD says:

      The Vickers/Cochrane citation caught my eye. So I looked it up and found that it is WITHDRAWN. Before withdrawing, it was a wonderful piece of methodolotry, not actually considering prior plausibility. Nevertheless, it did not conclude effectiveness:

      Current evidence does not support a preventative effect of Oscillococcinum-like homeopathic medicines in influenza and influenza-like syndromes.

      Of course there is the usual crap about more studies are needed, etc.

      Far, far, far more interesting is THIS UNBELIEVABLE Cochrane review!. Yes, you read it. A Cochrane review edited by 3 homeopathists including the Queen’s own Peter Fisher!*

      Cochrane reviews by homeopathists? Has Cochrane lost its very soul? EBM is dead. Time for SBM.

      ———
      *Even the homeopathists concluded that there is no evidence of efficacy, so it seems that they are trying to beat Lalonde with a long list of citations that don’t support their assertions in order to preclude his refuting them in detail.

      1. Jules A. Lalonde says:

        Thank you for that Gem MadisonMD.

  24. Pmoran says:

    “And yet homeopathy still enjoys the support of most governments.”

    “– homeopathy should be made illegal.”

    Government inertia is one of several reasons why homeopathy has not died out despite 200 years of intense mainstream opposition. It may well not die down any time soon, either, other than via the natural waxing and waning of folk-type medicine, and of fashions within it.

    The politics probably derives from the attitude of the average man in the street (MITS) towards such matters. I think that goes something like this: “well, good luck to those who think harmless medical activities such as homeopathy are of help to them. Why should I/we interfere?”

    The MITS, along with most politicians I suggest, can’t understand why doctors get so excited about such basically harmless, possibly helpful (see below) medical activity.

    They might also observe that such activity is often undertaken because the “scientific” options being advanced by the mainstream are insufficiently effective, are prone to ill effects, or require engagement with sometimes costly, scary and cumbersome medical systems ones that are not without their own risks.

    The MITS is also instinctively inclined to give dubious treatment claims the benefit of the doubt. This is rational, for they are something that can be immediately tried out for any usefulness, very often with little to lose if they don’t work. That makes sense within their world, especially when there are no obviously better answers.

    This is in stark contrast to medical science proper. It has special responsibilities that require it to hold poorly evidenced methods at a considerable distance until they are fairly well proved.

    This contrast in perspective is critical to the different camps understanding each other. It also suggests that we are dealing with what is essentially normal, healthy, adaptive, human behaviour, not a pathological process that can be somehow cleanly excised leaving nothing but good behind. This last comes across as a basic tenet of medical scepticism even if not fully intended or thought through to that extent.

    “‘Possibly helpful’, you say”? The public knows intuitively or from common observation that the mind can play a role in easing (or aggravating) medical suffering, even if (and how many can be entirely sure about this, despite our best argument?) the actual “treatment” does not.

    Much of our own science agrees with this potential “of the mind” . Even Mark’s somewhat dismissive “beer goggles of medicine” are compatible with worthwhile gains from the user’s perspective.

    I can agree that public funds should not be used to support or investigate homeopathy. But that is not because it is established to be of no medical value in any way. It is because there are more important uses for them.

    Believe me, I understand why those locked into a slightly different scientific perspective than mine might “get so excited” about homeopathy. It IS an affront to the science of objective reality. It IS exploited by fraudsters, and conscious fraud perpetrated upon very sick people (actually not common within homeopathy in Western countries) very rightly arouses our ire.

    Very rarely in Western countries homeopathy will also contribute to serious harm, although probably only when this form of CAM happened to be nearest to hand at a critical time. There are reasons other than availability why people make bad medical choices.

    They include, and most dangerously of all, a loss of trust in mainstream medicine. This is why zealotry that seems out of proportion to any reasonable or attainable purpose, or that is based upon a perspective that is difficult for many to completely understand, can be counterproductive, eroding trust and giving credence to those rumours of less noble agenda. Everyone here knows the reality of those perceptions. We encounter them all the time.

    1. Harriet Hall says:

      So we should not be zealots. But what exactly should we do to regain trust?
      We have repeatedly asked you to write a guest article explaining clearly what you think we should do. Where is it?

    2. MadisonMD says:

      I agree, Peter, that magical thinking and superstition will always be with us– it is an innate property of the human mind. The best we can do is contain it through education, reason, rationality. We accomplish this by educating ourselves and others with factual evidence. This blog plays a role in accomplishing this purpose. Perhaps you could prepare a blog that plays a different role. Your blog could reason with sensitive individuals who are turned off by the ‘beer goggles’ description and other amusing comments that poke fun at CAM.

    3. Frederick says:

      Without making them illegal, you submit all CAM the the same rigorous standard of efficiency and safety, and science as conventional Med. It should already be like that logically. Large majority of them will, of course, not make the cut. End the double standards.

  25. Please do not put Acupuncture, dry needling, Trigger Point Injection, Prolo-therapy, biopuncture, massage and chiropractic all in the same with Homeopathy.

    They all have their flaws and less than perfect outcomes, but myofascial release therapies with hands-on and needles follow all the laws of nature and are as true as casting a broken leg.

    I see everyone is still locked into a narrow thought process and none have done any homework.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      I’ll merely point out that in nature, a broken bone and debilitating back injury usually results in death, in a rather short period of time. Working with nature often results in bacterial septicemia. Medicine works against nature much of the time, and a damned good thing because nature largely attempts to kill us.

      1. I am confused, I was always taught that we are nature and nature is all around us, we are in harmony with nature, and we should be in harmony with our community. So if you fall and break a leg, appraise and some rest and help from your community to would be as good as new. As the marvelous thing about the human body, no matter what we do, no matter what we think, it will not forsake us. And obviously would not supposed to do something absolutely stupid but even then it doing that stupid event doesn’t kill us the human body will try its best to completely heal and restore.

        I’m sure it during the building of the pyramids that were a lot of broken bones, contusions, lacerations, sore muscles and strains. To the pyramid builders it would seem an awful waste to dispose of an injured worker. The obvious thing to do is to assist this wounded worker, nurse him back to health and put them back to work. I mean they knew that a laceration required cleanliness and some honey and maybe a stitch or 2. There are some accounts from the forensic skeletal evidence that many workers have broken bones.

        The ruse this when you have a patient with a broken bone, that will naturally heal with a cast you interject humanity into the equation with a plate and some screws and wallah $30,000. So in this society this way to make big bucks is to take advantage of mother nature. Just interject yourself into her equation and you can make a lot of money.

        Mother nature is profound, if you follow her laws she will reward you. If you break her laws she will wreak havoc on your soul. So a lot of the alternatives basically use mother nature, time and attention and we trick ourselves into thinking that our time and attention actually was the cause of the person getting better. I know you guys like to talk about bloodletting, but if you compare bloodletting with thumping somebody upside the head the results would be equal. You know what I think is that some of you guys think that mother nature is stupid and that without human intervention we would all perish. Since I have discovered a doorway that allows me to see why surgeries fail I need to try to enlighten people of this information. Remember the information is forever, I’m just the messenger. Oh and it seems like on the solo messenger here on this site because I find it entertaining to see how gullible and complex the brain is. For that matter even my brain too.

        1. Harriet Hall says:

          Do you think orthopedic surgeons are putting plates in people for fractures that would heal well with a cast? I don’t. Doing that would put them at risk for malpractice suits. All the ones I have ever worked with preferred casting to operative fixation unless there was a darn good reason. Can you provide any citations to support your assertion?

          1. Now that you have the idea in your mind, you are free to investigate.

            What I have witness are hundreds of failed orthopedic cases that so are embedded in the design of our system it actually is a buffer that protects them from litigation. A specialized knee surgeon is not going to second guess another, so the assembly line continues.

            If you do not give patients ALL viable options before you remove a living body part, that is theft of property. (the nice way of expressing the act of removal under false logic.)

            Some, not all plates are a way to take advantage of mother nature.

            1. Harriet Hall says:

              Failed orthopedic cases does NOT mean the problem would have resolved without surgery. I have not found any evidence that orthopedists are doing surgery for fractures that would have healed with casting. Have you? You are the one who brought it up, so it is up to you to provide evidence. Hint: ” I saw a bad result from orthopedic surgery” is not evidence that the fracture would have healed better with simple casting.

              1. Exactly, I will investigate these numbers later. But failed means no improvement and no restoration after surgery, some of these patients have be 6-12 mos or a few yr post op.
                (does that count?)

                IMO, You as well as the others here have a broken science metric, All yall do is poke holes in the present and past studies and ignore the travesties that are occurring now in everyday practice. This makes me wonder especially with the intention of you alls rage, that this site is an ruse and is intentionally distorting the truth of the plight in science.

                If there was just one failure, we should want to know the why!! Otherwise we tacitly allow such butchery to continue. Where is the outrage! Where are the statisticians who collects this data to complete the research. YOU know why it is not collected is because of cost, the ruse and no one dies. Pain just slowly takes your life away without much visual evidence.

                So our system just allows people to suffering from the disassembly and dismantling of human bodies for cash. Pat yourselves on the back, you all are doing a great job!!

              2. Harriet Hall says:

                You are very adept at deflecting the subject and bringing it back to the same unsupported assertions about your experience and attacks on our approach to science-based medicine. I’m going to try to pin you down here. You said orthopedic surgeons operate and insert plates when only a simple cast is needed for the fracture to heal. I know of no evidence that that ever happens. I asked if you did, and now all you can say is “I will investigate these numbers later.” Please do “investigate” and tell us the results of that investigation. If you can find a single malpractice lawsuit where a surgeon made that mistake, it would at least prove that it is not true that such mistakes “never” occur; but it would still not prove that such mistakes were common. I predict that you will not find evidence to support the accusation you made, and that you will move the goalposts. In fact, you have already moved the goalposts by talking about failed surgeries rather than surgeries that were not indicated in the first place. Internal fixation is indicated in fractures that are not likely to heal with simple casting; surgery reduces the risk of mal-unions and non-unions. You have recounted your vast experience with needling; what is your experience with treating fractures?

              3. Windriven says:

                ” ignore the travesties that are occurring now in everyday practice.”

                Oh my goodness, what would ever make you think that? Many of the people on this site work tirelessly to improve the practice of medicine. No one here claims that current practice is perfect or even nearly perfect. But the path to betterment is through science not through hope and wishes.

              4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                And where will you investigate those numbers? In the peer reviewed literature, I bet. The same literature that you disbelieve when it comes to acupuncture.

                In other words – you believe in science and research only when it confirms your prejudices. When it refutes it, you reject it.

                You’re a hypocrite.

                And when you can’t refute those who disagree with you, rather than believing you might be wrong, or ignorant, your solution is to claim that we are employees of Big Pharma.

                Steve, when you can’t refute an argument, maybe the problem is your premises. Even if we were employees of Big Pharma, which we are not, that doesn’t mean our arguments are any better or worse, and it doesn’t magically make you incapable of forming a coherent argument.

                The problem is you don’t care about science, you only care about confirming what you already believe. You only care about maintaining your income, and your self-image as some sort of mystical healer. Well, you’re not. You might have something with your treatments of low back pain, but we’ll never know because you won’t research it – just keep charging for it.

                People aren’t in pain because of us. People are in pain because of life, and medicine keeps trying to figure out better ways to help them. The solution is more research and more science, not abandoning science when it tells you uncomfortable truths. Real doctors see the shoddy results for many types of pain and wish for better solutions. They don’t cackle maniacally and gloat. Doctors aren’t cartoon villains.

            2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              What I have witness are hundreds of failed orthopedic cases that so are embedded in the design of our system it actually is a buffer that protects them from litigation.

              How many patients are there whose orthopedic surgeries resovled their issue completely?

              How do you know if an option is “viable” or not? I mean, besides the fact that you can charge for it?

              1. @will

                Please you are wasting time attempting to prove me wrong and in the process you are really proving you mental state needs some assistant. OR you are being paid and in that case “Good JOB with the distractions and distortions!!! You must have trained at Fox or Sky.

                I’ve practice medicine for 30 yrs and I kinda know what is a viable option.

              2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                I’m definitely wasting my time trying to convince you, evidence, logic and reason are not tools you employ. I’m mostly pointing out the errors in reasoning and fact that you toss out so carelessly, in case there are lurkers or first-time readers unfamiliar with your history who might be convinced by your superficial gloss of deceptive nonsense and logical fallacy.

                For instance, your implication that because you can’t respond to my points, therefore I am in the employ of Big Pharma. No Steve, you can’t respond to my points because your own points are without merit or evidence. The fact that you are terrible at science is due to your own inability to understand why and how you are wrong – not because of anything about me.

        2. Dave says:

          Steve, I love nature, spend as much time outdoors as possible and read a lot about natural history, but nature is not benign. Where I live, at this time of year, without the technology of adequate clothing or heat sources you would last about a day. If you actually study natural history at all you will dispense with the idea of harmony. From our standpoint, parasitic wasps might keep the caterpillar and spider populations in check, but I wouldn’t call it “harmonious” and to the spider paralyzed and being slowly consumed by a wasp grub it must seem downright evil. Nature is a struggle to reproduce genes. It does not care about your well-being.

          1. Exactly and it has done a great job protecting us from such events. That is why we are in trouble now for tricking and forcing mother nature with the flood of antibiotics. We are forcing the evolution of super bugs that will not be susceptible to any of our present day antibiotics.

            OH … the bugs are much more profound at survival that our puny minds can comprehend. We will lose this battle. God help us!!

            1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Exactly and it has done a great job protecting us from such events.

              This comment is completely uninterpretable. What part of Dave’s initial comment are you replying to?

              That is why we are in trouble now for tricking and forcing mother nature with the flood of antibiotics.

              You do realize that antibiotics are generally derived from fungi and bacteria, right? Oh, actually, you probably don’t.

              OH … the bugs are much more profound at survival that our puny minds can comprehend. We will lose this battle. God help us!!

              Yeah, we know why bugs are better at survival (as a species) than we are. Their reproductive cycle is much shorter, and they have many, many more babies, allowing rapid evolution in the face of environmental challenges. Our “puny minds” are quite capable of grasping these points.

              God won’t help you, he doesn’t exist. But a doctor probably will.

              1. Windriven says:

                Drum flourish and rimshot.

              2. Now that we know you’re kinda versed in science knowledge!

                I am certain that you have no human left to care about people, or again good job with direction.

                http://www.cdc.gov/Std/Gonorrhea/arg/default.htm

              3. weing says:

                @SSR
                “I am certain that you have no human left to care about people, or again good job with direction.

                http://www.cdc.gov/Std/Gonorrhea/arg/default.htm

                Are you trying to say you have antibiotic resistant GC?

              4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                I am certain that you have no human left to care about people, or again good job with direction.

                Seriously, is he a Turing engine? This makes no sense. I might as well be reading “colourless green trees sleep furiously”. Am I being complimented for my grasp of science? Am I being insulted because…I don’t know why, because gonorrhea exists? Am I being insulted because gonorrhea develops resistance to antibiotics?

        3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          I am confused, I was always taught that we are nature and nature is all around us, we are in harmony with nature, and we should be in harmony with our community.

          You are confused. Humans do not work in harmony with nature. Humans manipulate what is found in nature, and when we have the technology, what can be created de novo. How is the computer you are using working with nature? How is causing smallpox to go extinct through vaccination “natural”? For that matter – how is homeopathy, worthless as it is, natural? There are certain aspects of nature that we can’t (right now) work around because we lack understanding. But give humans time. Unsurprisingly, you don’t grasp this point. Nature is indifferent to humans, it didn’t spend 15 billion years waiting until it could create us, and it’s rank arrogance to assume humans are somehow special beyond what we can do or create with our own minds.

          As the marvelous thing about the human body, no matter what we do, no matter what we think, it will not forsake us.

          What is cancer, except the body forsaking itself? What are allergies? What are spontaneous abortions? What is antigenic mismatch between mother’s blood type and their fetus’? What are all autoimmune diseases? What is Huntington’s disease?

          Humans evolved to survive as a species, not as individuals.

          How many pyramid workers died because of a broken bone that couldn’t be healed given the technology available to the pharaohs?

          Mother Nature doesn’t exist, and nature overall doesn’t care if we live or we die, or if any of the other living beings live or die. 99% of all life has been wiped out repeatedly on earth, then re-evolved into the emptied niches, because there is nothing looking out for life. Specific worms exist that must blind a child to complete their lifecycle. Malaria and polio cripple and kill millions every year. Vitamin A deficiency kills 200,000 of children every year – if Mother Nature cares so much about us, why evolve a flawed genome that has a small number of easily-synthesized compounds that we can’t make independently? You really don’t know much, and you really don’t think critically.

        4. Indigo_Fire says:

          Just when I thought that I’d heard every whackadoodle idea out of Rodrigues’ mouth, he pulls out this truly spectacular display of the naturalistic fallacy run amok. The naivete and sheer idiocy is stunning.

          “…the human body will not forsake us”

          Seriously?! Do you not know what an autoimmune disease like Lupus or RA is? Have you never heard of the fact that cancer is your own cells gone berserk? Do you not understand that allergies, even the type that can kill you, are caused by your own immune system freaking out?

          Your body works well most of the time, but it is perfectly capable of betraying you regardless of your own actions or wants.

          “Mother nature is profound, if you follow her laws she will reward you”

          Or she’ll just let a lion eat you. Or let you drown. Or allow you to burn to death in a wildfire. Or let you die from severe diarrhea caused by any number of infections. Or make you die during childbirth. Or allow you to die any number of other “natural” ways. Because guess what? Nature doesn’t care about you.

          Do you think that a baby deer that gets eaten by a pack of wolves in the wild wasn’t following the laws of nature? It certainly was: it just so happens that those “laws of nature” that you’re so fond of kill lots and lots of critters (including people) in frequently horrifying ways. So no, mother nature is not nice and she’s not going to help you just because you think you’re being “good.”

          That’s why we developed civilization and technology for cripes sake: to beat nature so that we could actually flourish instead of merely scraping by with most of us dying horribly and early. If you really think that nature is so wonderful, I invite you to move to the middle of the woods with no clothes, or tools, or stored food, and see how wonderfully mother nature treats you.

          1. Dave says:

            Good reply. I used the parasitic wasp example but there are many others. I read somewhere that parasitic wasps were one of the things that shook Darwin’s faith in a beneficent deity.

            Mountain climbers have a saying: “Just because you love the mountain doesn’t mean the mountain loves you.” Note that mountain climbers are occasionally killed by the mountain they are climbing. At least they are aware of the reality of the situation.

  26. David Grant says:

    Very good article, Stephen. I was taking about this with my friends and they were surprised that I called it pseudo science rubbish(I actually first used it to debunk the ridiculous pseudo psychological phrase “man cave” coined by John Gray who wrote Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus). I originally mentioned to them a very good piece of journalism by the CBC’s(this is Canada’s public broadcaster similar to the BBC in Great Britain, but not as good)and I should send him this article along with the talk you gave at one of the TED Symposiums with Harriet Hall, David Gorski, a.k.a. Orac from Respectful Insolence, and Rachel Dunlop. It is sad that this has found acceptance with a huge number of people in our society. As someone who is a liberal, it amazes me that there are plenty of liberals and left-leaning people who are willing to believe in complementary medicine and alternative medicine when they would scoff at the ridiculous religious beliefs my grandmother held up until her passing. This is not much better that the rubbish she believes and in order to be consistent you have to be skeptical of both.

    1. Sorry, I’m not following your train of thought, my brain processes differently. I’m interested, can you clarify.

      1. Windriven says:

        Steve,
        David Grant is simply saying that gullibility comes in many forms and is embraced by many people in at least some of those forms. I might even argue that Mr. Grant shows his own gullibility by claiming consonance with a particular political philosophy that is little more evidence based than its opposite.

        Many of us here try to live our lives grounded in reality. Religious beliefs and ghosts and alien invaders and crackpot ‘alternative’ medical therapies appear to some of us as inane as belief in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

        I think we all understand that this is not the world you live in. Yours is a parallel universe to ours. I’ve come to understand that there is no way to bring you for your universe to ours. So I will simply do what I can to prevent you from sucking anyone here into your Alice in Wonderland universe.

        1. David Grant says:

          Thanks Windriven for the clarification. I should have been cleared in my post. Yes, there is plenty of woo to go around and none of us are clean. It is particularly true of the extremes. In any philosophy, there are variations that exist. I do find that I have more comfort on the left when it comes to science, but I will admit that there are these problems.

          1. If you never read or practice outside of your spectrum, then you will develope a blind spot that will deter your ultimate goal which is to find the truth.

            I am amazed at how most of you tell me what I know and don’t know!!!!
            That could be called clairvoyance and could be consider witch craft!!

            No need to put words in someone else’s mouth.

            1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              I am amazed at how most of you tell me what I know and don’t know!!!!

              I know that you know nothing about the scientific method, and less than nothing about self-confirming biases such as motivated reasoning. I know you know nothing about skepticism or skeptical thinking. I know you know a lot about confirming your own biases, but not on a conscious level.

              1. Who paid you to say such personal things. You shoo me away!

                Confirms your bias against people with a different experience, knowledge that you. How does one expect to grow without group thinking!!!

                You need the references again? or
                You just going to be complacent?

              2. Windriven says:

                Steve,
                No one pays William or anyone else for their comments here. William’s comments to you are not unusual and they are based on the evidence of your own comments. Are you claiming that one of his statements are untrue?

                Do you understand the scientific method? Do you understand evidence, weight, and power?

                Do you understand the cognitive biases that are evident in nearly every one of your comments? Do you understand why studies are blinded or, better still, double blinded? Do you understand why objectives and endpoints are defined before a trial is started?

                Because if you understand these and still believe what you claim to believe it suggests a profound cognitive defect; something far beyond wishful thinking.

              3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                Who paid you to say such personal things. You shoo me away!

                Nobody pays me anything, and the only reason you bring it up is to distract from your inability to address my points. Seriously, “I’m too incompetent to prove you are wrong, therefore you must be paid by Big Pharma” is a stupid point, and you are stupid for making it.

                Confirms your bias against people with a different experience, knowledge that you. How does one expect to grow without group thinking!!!

                Science is actually responsible for our understanding of group think, did you know that? It’s also our path out of group think, through constant referral to empirical evidence. The empirical evidence that proves your “different experience” is the result of placebo effects, not specific effects.

                I am perfectly happy to change my mind, if you can show me good-quality evidence that I should. You have consistently failed to do so, and your excuse and rationalization for why you can’t provide evidence for your beliefs is that I must be paid by Big Pharma. Which is dumb. You can’t provide the evidence for your beliefs because your beliefs are not based on evidence, merely your own deceptive experiences.

                You need the references again? or You just going to be complacent?

                What references? I’ve looked at all the references you have ever provided, and only one, just a single one, was an actual study that could lead somewhere. If I recall correctly, it was 20 years old, and hadn’t been duplicated (and showed a clinical difference of two points on a ten-point pain scale, which is about as effective as Advil).

                Please, provide some references. I am looking for double-blind, placebo-controlled studies with subgroups that are at least 30 people, with low and comparable drop-out rates, and a well-described randomization protocol.

          2. Windriven says:

            ” I do find that I have more comfort on the left when it comes to science, but I will admit that there are these problems.”

            I do too. I made the point only to highlight how easy it is for any of us to merge our opinions with our more carefully crafted understandings.

      2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Steve, David Grant is not talking to you. He is talking to Dr. Novella.

        Do you hear a lot of empty whistling on windy days?

        Mr. Grant – you should read Science Left Behind. You would find much to agree with.

  27. John H. Buckner, MD says:

    I have recently seen some prescriptions for a “cream” made of Ketorolac Mometasone, Bupivacaine and Meloxicam for back pain. It is my impression that this is another “snake oil” and at best its use is experimental with no basis in either physiology or pharmacology. Do you have any evidence to the contrary.

    1. An important issues that most of you still refuse to study is the fact that MF pain and dysfunction can devolve and spread into surrounding muscles and even into distantant area. Like an invisible cancer engulfs the patient and takes their life away.

      Any option that delays the proper therapy is a disgrace.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        How do you define what a “proper therapy” is?

        What if someone else claims that your “proper therapy” is wrong, and that theirs is better? Whom should the patient believe?

        How do you know your patients, whom you treat for myofascial pain, wouldn’t have gotten better on their own (as most patients with acute low back pain do)?

  28. Robert Feinberg says:

    These guys must believe in homeopathy:

    http://www.outsideonline.com/news-from-the-field/Urine-Trouble-Portland-to-Flush-Peed-In-Reservoir.html

    Otherwise they wouldn’t be taking the trouble.

    1/4 cup (maybe) of urine diluted with 38 million gallons?

    1. Chris says:

      Have you ever seen the program “Portlandia”?

      Anyway, that is one reason that Seattle is replacing their reservoirs with with underground versions. The bonus is that they recover land for park space:
      http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/maple_leaf_reservoir/

  29. 14012783 says:

    Student number 14012783

    As a first year medical student, our current medical curriculum challenges us not to only focus on scientific westernized versions of medicine, but to try and take into account other forms of medicine as well. We are then asked to compare current behavioural traits in western medicine to that of other forms of medical practice. Through this I have come to the understanding that to completely disregard an alternative practice of the field of medicine, for example as mentioned in the article “homeopathy is 100% nonsense” would be a felony.
    Firstly medicine has been governed by the biomedical model for the past 300 years. This model states that all illness and disease can be explained on the basis of bodily processes such as biochemical imbalances. This model assures that psychological and social factors are excluded in the explanation of illness and disease. However this model has many downfalls. First of all, it is reducing all illness to biological processes and not taking into account the importance of social and psychological processes in the development and treatment of disease and illness. This model also assures that the mind and body are two separate entities. It also can’t address puzzling health issues such as chronic illnesses with multiple causes effectively (Taylor 2012:6-7).
    Therefore taking all these factors into account, one practicing or working in the westernized medical field, has a specific mind-set and therefore alternative practices would seem “irrational” to such a person.
    I agree with Fast Buck Analyst that homeopathy is tested using western methods; ones that are established in conventional medical practices. Testing homeopathic remedies should be done in a more suitable environment that relates more closely to homeopathy itself.
    Western practitioners should also consider why their patients make use of “unscientific medicine”. The modern patient has become more individualistic and wants to be part of their diagnosis and treatment process. Also there is a dissatisfaction with western medicine due to its biological approach to the patient, rather than consulting the whole person on why disease or illness occurs. The focus of alternative practices is to assist the body in healing itself and establishing a better mind, body and spirit relationship. Also alternative medicine is less invasive and the relationship between the practitioner and the patient is more equal compared to that of western medicine (Barry et al. 2012:59-62).
    Maybe we should consider all the positive and negative aspects of our field of medicine before trying to ignore alternative practices. As said, homeopathy has endured throughout the years, even though western methods have proved it not work. We should ask ourselves if our current methods of practice and research needs an overlook before we point fingers and say that some other form of medicine is pseudo- medical science.

    Barry.A, Y., 2012. Challenging Medical Dominance. In: Understanding the Sociology of Health. Singapore: Sage Productions, pp. 59-62.
    Taylor.E.S, 2012. Introduction to Health Psychology. In: Health Psychology. Singapore: McGraw Hill, pp. 6-7.

    1. Dave says:

      Where are you going to medical school? I would really like to know.

      I went over thirty years ago and even then was told that a significant proportion of patients we would see in an outpatient setting had a psychological reason for coming to the doctor, exacerbating or possibly causing their physical complaints. The term used back then for most of these individuals was “the worried well”, although this sounds disparaging to people with difficult problems. As far as psychosocial factors you would be amazed at the time spent in a hospital dealing with these issues, and I’m talking about trying to find resources for people who are drug abusers, alcoholics, homeless, indigent, physically or mentally impaired,with no family support, etc.

      The thing I’ve found is that patients with psychosocial problems underpinning their physical complaints are much harder to help than most people think because the solutions to their problems are often not fixable, at least by us. A woman who has constant headaches because her husband has been disabled from a stroke and she is his only caregiver is not going to be helped much by aromatherapy or homeopathy or in fact by medications. A home health aide or a lift to help her get him out of bed to a bedside commode and a wheelchair-accessable house would do much more. (As an aside, caregivers like this are true heroes and receive none of the recognition they deserve. You don’t know what “24/7″ means until you’ve cared for a chronically ill relative.)

      You can’t fix a social problem with medicines.

      Finally, any doctor who has spent more than a week seeing patients soon realizes that medical conditions cause multiple psychologic conditions. What patient with cancer, chronic pain syndromes, chronic debilitating conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinsonism, rheumatoid arthritis, etc has NOT suffered from depression or anxiety? I’ve been astounded by the courage and resilience of many patients with these conditions.
      Who gave you the idea that doctors have never been aware of this?

      I will say that one advantage of the old style of practice where one doctor got to know his/her patients well was to better pick up on these issues. The current style of practice with 10 minute visits to a different provider with each visit is not good for this issue.

    2. Harriet Hall says:

      @14012783,

      “medicine has been governed by the biomedical model for the past 300 years”

      Demonstrably not true. Medicine follows a biopsychosocial model, the one I was taught in medical school in the 1960s. The standard medical history includes the section “social history.” In the standard textbook Harrison’s “Principles of Internal Medicine,” the edition published in 1974, the very first page strongly makes the point that there is far more to medicine than the biological model. An excerpt: “the physician can never be content with the sole aim of endeavoring to clarify the laws of nature; he cannot proceed in his labors with the cool detachment of the scientist…” and it goes on to talk about psychological and social factors.

      “This model also assures that the mind and body are two separate entities.”

      Also demonstrably untrue. Mind/body dualism is an obsolete concept. Today we understand the mind as an emergent phenomenon of brain physiology.

      If your comments really reflect what is being taught in your medical school, you should ask for your money back and find another school.

      1. Iqbal says:

        Harriet Hall

        ……….Medicine follows a biopsychosocial model, the one I was taught in medical school in the 1960s………

        Is this correct? Most doctors don’t think so. http://www.jabfm.org/content/16/2/131.short Special paper only on this subject: in 2003.

        Tell this to WilliamLawrenceUtridge.

        ……..If your comments really reflect what is being taught in your medical school, you should ask for your money back and find another school….

        I think you concurred with the student. It seems to be a good school.

        1. Chris says:

          Answer this direct question, Iqbal: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

          Failure to answer the above will prove that homeopathy just does not work, and that you are stuck in an unscientific past. Especially those two diseases are no longer 100% fatal with modern treatment.

            1. Chris says:

              No. I want verifiable scientific documentation, and not random websites. That means proof it has been tried and tested with real scientific researchers. None of those contain a methods section, number of subjects, or even any data.

              Also, and this is important, show that homeopathy is better than the standard of care in the 21st century. What part of that request did you not understand?

              The efficacy of homeopathy on rabies can be simply tested on animals. You take some mice, infect them with rabies and then split them into three groups. The first is the control where you just let the disease takes its course. The second is one that you treat using methods first pioneered by Pasteur. And the third you treat with homeopathy.

              Part of science based medicine is already knowing the prior possibility. And giving sugar pills to treat a deadly pathogen has very little possibility of working. So it is a test that is not worth the cost of very expensive lab mice.

              Again, Iqbal, you have proven loud and clear that homeopathy is not medicine that works. Plus you have shown that homeopaths. like yourself, do not understand even basic science.

              Go find a library, and pick up some elementary books on chemistry, biology and basic math. You might also try one on English grammar, because using a row of dots is not how you designate a quote. Perhaps even try to figure out what a bit of HTML (see box below the comment box).

              Until then, you will be proof that homeopathy was best left to fade into obscurity over a century ago, and I will continue to remind you to get a basic science education.

            2. MadisonMD says:

              Iqbal is a joke. How many gullible people can you fool by selling them a sugar pill with nothing in it and telling them it works? Sure, you get placebo effect, but it’s rather nasty when you claim to cure syphillis or treat rabies. Real gullible people could die. Not nice.

              If he made the argument that doctors should spend more time with patients (apparently homeopaths do?), or that placebo makes people feel better, we could accept the nugget of truth. But he seems to be stuck on the fairy tales. Perhaps he knows it is a joke and is just a trollin’

              1. Chris says:

                He actually reminds me of the Indian and Pakistani homeopaths that used to infect the JREF forums years ago. Their go-to information site was hpathy.

                One of the more infamous was a user called “Dr. MAS.” That user was banned when it was realized it was several students of homeopathy. But sometimes another true believer shows up again.

                So, yeah, there are people on this planet who actually think homeopathy is science, mostly because they don’t understand reality.

              2. Iqbal says:

                MadisonMD

                …… but it’s rather nasty when you claim to cure syphillis or treat rabies. Real gullible people could die. Not nice…

                Are you a doctor or you have MD against your name to impress yourself?

                The references I sent are not written by me. These are cases put up by doctors. Dr. Jahr wrote a treatise on VD in 1868 (?) along with remedies to be used in treatment. This was converted into a reference book for homeopathic doctors. Syphilis is one the diseases defined.

                Homeopathic doctors even today follow the protocol suggested by him with required modifications to achieve complete cures. Do you know when will syphilis become resistant to antibiotics?

                …….If he made the argument that doctors should spend more time with patients (apparently homeopaths do?), or that placebo makes people feel better, we could accept the nugget of truth….

                This is a canard spread by scientific doctors. Many experienced senior homeopathic doctors spend an average of 5-8 minutes only with a patient.

                For understanding truth, empirically, I will suggest you read Zen & the art of motorcycle maintenance.

              3. MadisonMD says:

                Keep pretending pills without anything in them are useful. Did you know gullible isn’t in the Cambridge dictionary?

    3. Windriven says:

      “As a first year medical student…I have come to the understanding that to completely disregard an alternative practice of the field of medicine, for example as mentioned in the article “homeopathy is 100% nonsense” would be a felony.”

      You should see if you could get your money back. Really.

    4. Chris says:

      “I agree with Fast Buck Analyst that homeopathy is tested using western methods; ones that are established in conventional medical practices. Testing homeopathic remedies should be done in a more suitable environment that relates more closely to homeopathy itself.”

      Well, for one thing you need to define “western” methods. So did the researchers in Japan have some special “eastern” method to develop both the varicella and DTaP vaccines? Also, did you arbitrarily decide that German, where Hahnemann thunk up homeopathy, has suddenly been transported out of Europe?

      The term “western” when applied to real science and medicine has no place in a global community, and is actually quite racist.

      Now what about “testing homeopathy”? Well, it could be tested perfectly well to prove Andre Saine’s contention that it works better for rabies. Has that been done?

      Also, see the question I have asked Iqbal multiple times:

      Now, answer this direct question: please show that homeopathy works for these two non-self-limiting diseases: syphilis and rabies. Provide actual scientific documentation that it worked better than the 21st century standard of care.

      It ties in perfectly with your claim that “This model also assures that the mind and body are two separate entities. ” Um, yeah. Prove to us that neither syphilis nor rabies affect the mind.

      Be sure to provide PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers to support that both of those diseases are better treated with homeopathy, and that neither causes neurological injury with distinct personality changes.

    5. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Hey student, you bring up “Western” medicine. Can you tell me the line of longitude at which cipro stops working, and the line of longitude at which vaccines become effective? I’ll stay within those bounds. Because I was under the impression that antibiotics work irrespective your geographic location, but clearly you know better.

      Also, can you show me any evidence that a good mood helps you survive cancer? That being sad worsens dysentery? That having friends makes your influenza more or less serious (rather than, say, exposing you to more potentially infectious people)? The thing is – patients should be comfortable with their doctors, doctors should be kind to their patients, but if that is all you offer, you should leave medicine because you are going to kill somebody.

      The only reason why homeopath proponents claim that conventional clinical trials can’t test homeopathy is that when they are used to test homeopathy, it turns out it is worthless. It’s special pleading because they don’t want to acknowledge that homeopathy is worthless sugar pills and nonspecific effects. It has nothing to do with the discipline being somehow different from all other areas of science.

      Similarly, all areas of CAM focus on making the patient feel better about their situation, on customer satisfaction because they bring nothing else to the table. They’re a series of improbable, impossible, parasitic approaches that deliver nothing but what a good doctor can deliver. They are a sham, and if you can’t see that, then you are not going to be a good doctor because you will apparently believe in fairy dust and rainbows – and disease is caused by neither.

      I mean seriously – can you think of any reason why blinding would invalidate homeopathy, or why the more parsimonious answer might be anything but “homeopathy doesn’t work”?

      Ditch the CAM, it does you and your future patients discredit.

    6. Iqbal says:

      Student number 14012783

      ….Firstly medicine has been governed by the biomedical model for the past 300 years. This model states that all illness and disease can be explained on the basis of bodily processes such as biochemical imbalances. This model assures that psychological and social factors are excluded in the explanation of illness and disease………

      I am in total agreement. You could read some other doctors who have critically analyzed the existing medical system and are pushing for dramatic improvements.

      Please read something similar : http://www.bmhegde.com/whereisreality.html

      You should also read Dr. David Eddy comments on evidence basis: the mainstay of Science based medicine.

      1. Dave says:

        Also read the following, written in 2004:

        Ann Fam Med. Nov 2004; 2(6): 576–582.
        The Biopsychosocial Model 25 Years Later: Principles, Practice, and Scientific Inquiry

        Francesc Borrell-Carrió, MD,1 Anthony L. Suchman, MD,2,3 and Ronald M. Epstein, MD4

  30. PMoran says:

    “Mind/body dualism is an obsolete concept. Today we understand the mind as an emergent phenomenon of brain physiology.”

    That’s obvious enough, but I have never been quite sure how it clarifies anything.

    Does not a biopsychosocial approach to medical practice imply that psychological influences (i.e. “the mind”) play an important role in medical interactions, representing something that may require additional attention?

  31. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Are you this obtuse? Malaria comes with differing symptoms and in homeopathy there is a set of medicines that will be used based upon symptoms of patient.

    Yes, but the defining characteristic of malaria infection is the presence of the malaria parasite – not a set of symptoms. And homeopathy doesn’t cure anything, let alone malaria. And even assuming homeopathy works, how would addressing symptoms cure malaria? You take down a fever, you don’t make the malaria parasite go away. The problem isn’t the fever, it’s the malaria.

    In the homeopathic world, patients with malaria do not die. My mother, maid servant, brother and I had malaria at the same time in 1975. All got well with homeopathic remedies, all different as we had differing symptoms.
    My son had malaria in 1998. Cured with homeopathic remedies.

    You do realize that even in the worst case scenario, malaria is only 20% lethal, right? Actually, no you don’t. The homeopathy gave you a sense of control while you got better anyway. Assuming you aren’t simply lying. I had malaria and I took homeopathy, and I died! Individual experiences do not prove or disprove anything, even when the results are stupidly predictable.

    I am stating is firsthand experience on me, family and my son. There cannot be bigger risk?

    With no real understanding of malaria, with no understanding of how first-hand experience can be deceptive, with no understanding of…anything really.

    One drug is tested on rats, and crosschecked on a sample of humans. Now it is ready for all who have a similar disease.

    That’s not how drugs are tested at all. Bench tests lead to animal test, followed by phase I, II and III clinical trials, then postmarketing surveillance. Read a book.

    The highly educated scientists involved in drug development are not aware of the 1:1 match?

    Yes, they are, that’s why they keep seeking ways of improving drug delivery, dosing and design. They grasp how fundamentally complicated human biology is, they don’t have a child’s understanding of it.

    Homeopathy treats EACH patient as a separate case (No shot gun approach)- based upon symptoms – always.

    Which, again, is stupid – because homeopathy doesn’t work, symptomatic treatment doesn’t cure diseases and symptoms can have multiple causes (not to mention – the specific symptoms addressed are often irrelevant ones like “what did you dream about last night”). You keep bragging about this as if it were a feature rather than a bug.

    I am not so sure about the “sloppily evolved machine”.. The scientific medical system has tried so hard to destroy this machine for so long-it is a wonder how it continues to function?

    Seriously, read a book. The body is horribly adapted to long-term survival, nature doesn’t care once your body passes childrearing age. People died much more often, and much younger, before the advent of medicine. Scientific medicine has seen a steady increase in human lifespan and a steady decrease in child mortality. Homeopathy has not helped, lifespans didn’t budge when homeopathy was “created” (i.e. feverishly imagined); one notes the century-long lag between the invention of homeopathy and the sudden spikes in lifespans and cliffs in child mortality. But please, come up with something spurious to explain this away.

    Homeopathy would be tested by providing the chemical in simple dilution on human – so that it does not kill. The symptoms that develop are recorded. This is done over time. The picture of such symptoms in a patient defines the medicine.

    Sure, but the next step is to dilute all such medicines out of existence, leaving no method by which homeopathy could possibly work – making homeopathic provings completely irrelevant.

    But with the drug, there is no differentiation; it kills everything –the ugly, the bad and the good.

    Um, no. Antibiotics are specific to classes of bacteria and vaccination is specific to species. Read a book, you ceaselessly proclaim your ignorance with pride with ever post.

    Forget belief, most doctors are guided by pharma company generated data and know little.

    While the malfeasance of drug companies are irrelevant to the effectiveness of homeopathy, I will point out that for some reason you believe a theology that hasn’t changed in over two centuries is somehow superior. Drug companies, for all their lies, at least are bound by data – homeopathy is pure dogma. It’s bizarre that you would accuse doctors of not thinking, meanwhile your own assumptions remain completely unchallenged and uninformed of how medicine, biology and science actually work. It’s like watching a nude man in a snowstorm proclaiming how warm the sun is.

    This is the most illogical statement. These guys are alive and living in squalid conditions and you expect cleaning the environment will make them sick?????

    No, moron, clean up the environment and I expect that deadly diseases will still kill them.

    Unless you observe how can critical thinking develop? Doctors were killing people in America with Aspirin during flu, with homeopaths telling them to stop in 1919 !! This result confirmation was printed in 2009. cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/49/9/1405.ful

    Actually, that journal article mentions homeopathy exactly once, and notes that homeopaths claim to have fewer deaths. Further, this would at best prove that mixing salicylates and lethal pandemic influenza is a bad thing – not that homeopathy works.

    Read a book. On critical thinking.

    1. Iqbal says:

      WilliamLawrenceUtridge

      ………There are not multiple medical systems, there is one – evidence-based medicine that draws upon science to determine if and how something works. Everything else isn’t medicine, want to make me eat my words?

      Show me that after scholarly consensus is that a procedure doesn’t work, that it is still promoted………

      After reading, angioplasty and by pass continues, when there is sufficient evidence that the procedure is harmful ARE YOU EATING YOUR WORDS?
      And what was the scientific basis of starting this procedure in the first place?

      1. Chris says:

        Again, troll, the only way to show homeopathy works is by showing it works better on non-self-limiting conditions. In this you have failed.

        Go away troll.

  32. SuzanneMarsay says:

    Homeopathy aims to provide an “alternate medicine” to the traditional western medicine we know. It even aims to provide things that western medicine usually does not (like considering a person as a whole instead of merely looking at symptoms). However, the core requirement of any “credible” medicinal practice is to be based on scientific, empirical evidence itself. Despite pockets of reported success, through repeated testing it has been found that homeopathic remedies cannot be proven consistently effective.

    Many homeopathic remedies are developed and tested from somewhat “questionable processes”. These remedies are developed based on a “like cures like” principle. This means that typically these remedies use ingredients that “cause” the disease in the first place, to help cure the disease. Despite claims that homeopathy can work perfectly well together with conventional western medicine, this principle often goes against what we know in conventional medicine and thus cannot be proven effective. For example, some homeopathic sleeplessness remedies contain a diluted form of caffeine as the “active ingredient” – which completely goes against what science tells us.

    In addition, these remedies are developed by diluting the “active ingredients” to such an extent that their constituting molecules are no longer present in the solution (so the caffeine is so diluted that it is not caffeine on a molecular level anymore). While the amount of actual substance decreases with each dilution, homeopaths believe that the curing ability of the remedy increases. This means that the ingredient, while no longer present in a molecular state, has imprinted its “energy pattern” or “vibrational pattern” on the remedy. They believe that this energy, rather than the chemical content, stimulates healing power.

    Unfortunately it is not possible to test this belief in a tangible way. We can only test the effects of the remedies themselves, and up to date the consistent efficacy of such remedies is yet to be proven. As a result, homeopathy has long been demarcated as pseudoscience, and is not considered medically creditworthy.

    Furthermore, many question the ethical soundness of this field since the suffering of patients can be increased by discouraging the use of conventional medicine that works. However, despite the evidence that supports homeopathy’s lack of effectiveness, this field is becoming increasingly popular, carrying the mantra: “what’s the harm?”.

    If you are considering a homeopathic alternative, consider the effects of delaying proper treatment of your condition. You could be prolonging or worsening the cause and its symptoms in your body. Also be sure to do your homework on the homeopath you intend on seeing. A good homeopath will always refer you to a medical doctor or specialist if necessary. Perhaps best of both worlds would be to find a qualified medical doctor who provides a homeopathic perspective as well.

    1. Chris says:

      “Homeopathy aims to provide an “alternate medicine” to the traditional western medicine we know.”

      First, what form of geography does “western” describe in that sentence? Where does it place Germany, which is where Hahnemann dreamed up his “laws”?

      “Also be sure to do your homework on the homeopath you intend on seeing. A good homeopath will always refer you to a medical doctor or specialist if necessary. Perhaps best of both worlds would be to find a qualified medical doctor who provides a homeopathic perspective as well.”

      Better yet, read the above article and avoid throwing money towards any homeopathic nonsense.

  33. Kate Ellis says:

    Homeopathy has been proven effective in treating acute and chronic disease. I have used it myself for sinus infections with great success (see http://www.discoverhomeopathy.com/downloads/Allergies.pdf for evidence of effectiveness), and it was a better option than antibiotics not only for myself personally but for society as a whole because of the overuse of antibiotics and onslaught of antibiotic resistant bugs.

    In a presentation entitled “Homeopathy in Epidemics and Pandemics” by Jayney Goddard FCMA, Lic.LCCH, Dip.ACH the following successes were cited:

    1. Homeopathic medicine has proven greatly effective in treating epidemics and pandemics since its discovery in the early 1800’s (typhus, cholera, yellow fever, small pox, diphtheria, Spanish flu, and scarlet fever).

    2. In 1974, during a meningococcus outbreak in Brazil, 18,640 patients were given Meningococcinum prophylaxis while 6,430 received no treatment. The treatment group reported 4 cases. There were 32 cases in the no treatment group (23 times more effective than no treatment).(Ref. British Medical Journal, 1987:294‐6).

    3. In 1975, Lathyrus was given to 30,000 –40,000 (the number varies depending on the researcher reporting) individuals during a Buenos Aires polio epidemic, and not one of these patients reported contracting polio.(Reported by Eizayaga)
    Given the success in treating epidemics with homeopathic medicine it would be prudent for all of us to support homeopathic research and treatment so we are ready for the next outbreak.

    I feel it is not accurate to call homeopathy unproven, magical nonsense. We are not living in a perfect world. Allopathic medicine hasn’t been proven 100% effective either in many cases. Take cancer for example – the treatments are pretty draconian – remove affected parts, administer chemotherapy and radiation to kill cells (good and bad). If homeopathy had been provided with the infinite financing that allopathy has for cancer we would have a cure.

    If you really want to protect people, don’t protect them from homeopathy because it is harmless at best. Protect them from over prescriptions of medications like antibiotics, pain killers, high blood pressure medication etc. which will continue to negatively impact the health of many people. Protect them also from genetically modified food which we don’t know the effect of yet but it could be disastrous. Protect them from modified foods like wheat, which now have significantly more gluten which will lead to increased cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s in the future. Don’t pretend to be protecting people from homeopathy because it will be our best option against future epidemics.

    1. Chris says:

      “Allopathic medicine hasn’t been proven 100% effective either in many cases.”

      Again, you cannot prove homeopathy works by saying real medicine has deficits.

      What would really be effective showing it works for non-self-limiting conditions like syphilis and rabies. Syphilis because it was one of the “miasms” defined by Hahnemann, and rabies because Andre Saine claims that homeopathy works better than conventional modern treatments.

      Let’s go through your claims:

      Allergies are not non-self-limiting, and often change. Or they, especially hayfever, can be dealt with. But some like peanut allergies are life threatening, and someone could get killed by homeopathy. Your link makes claims, but does not list the papers.

      1. You provide no support for it working for diseases like typhus, cholera, yellow fever, small pox, diphtheria, Spanish flu, and scarlet fever. This is not the place for argument by blatant assertion.

      2. The title to the reference “British Medical Journal, 1987:294‐6″ brings up the following in PubMed:
      Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1987 Jan 31;294(6567):294-6.
      Vitamin A supplements and mortality related to measles: a randomised clinical trial

      3. You provide no evidence for this claim. Putting “Eizayaga” into PubMed produced 24 citations, none before 1993, only one on homeopathy, again for something that is often self-limiting, except in certain extreme cases:
      Homeopathy. 2012 Jan;101(1):21-7.
      Prospective observational study of 42 patients with atopic dermatitis treated with homeopathic medicines.

      I would suggest you do better in presenting evidence. For one thing make sure the paper you cite is actually the one you meant to cite. Though in trying to find the BMJ article I cam across this disecton of Goddard’s slide presentation. Her evidence is severely lacking, especially with botched citations.

    2. Sawyer says:

      This may be one of the most absurd SBM comments I have ever seen, and that’s a tough award to attain. The suggestion that pandemics be treated with homeopathy is basically an attempt to eradicate hundreds of years of medical, scientific, and social progress in one fell swoop. Actually, scratch that. All homeopathy is an attempt to erase progress. Using it for pandemics is an attempt to eradicate human lives.

      There is no middle ground here. You are wrong in every possible way that one could be wrong. Sorry we’re not going to be able to have a polite discussion about this, but you’ve wandered into territory than our regular coterie of crackpots won’t even venture.

      1. Kate Ellis says:

        Try to think outside of the box you are in. Most of us were taught in school that there are 4 states of matter, however there are many more than that that and the exact number and nature of those states will continue to grow as our understanding of the universe increases. I always chuckle when I hear scientists state how many organisms there are in the world because they continue to discover new ones every year. With quantum physics and nanotechnology we can expect more will be learnt about matter and energy.

        In his book The Basic Code of the Universe Massimo Citro explains how homeopathic medicine “keeps memory of the solute… [and] emits specific low-frequency electromagnetic signals that are both recordable and reproducible.” Nobel Prize winner Luc Montagnier confirmed it in his 2009 paper, “Electromagnetic Signals Are Produced by Aqueous Nanostructures Derived from Bacterial DNA Sequences.” In simpler terms as written by Citro, “the diluted substance imposes its own vibration –its information—on the molecules of water.” Massimo Citro, and other intelligent, open minded individuals like him are going to open our eyes to things we only dreamed of. Are you ready?

        1. Harriet Hall says:

          I was ready in 2009 when I reviewed Montagnier’s study on this blog. http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-montagnier-homeopathy-study It opened my eyes to the fallibility of a Nobel prize-winning scientist.

        2. Chris says:

          “Try to think outside of the box you are in”

          You are so outside the box that you have landed on Htrae.

          “Most of us were taught in school that there are 4 states of matter, however there are many more than that that and the exact number and nature of those states will continue to grow as our understanding of the universe increases. ”

          Htrae must have some interesting schools. Because that pretty much has nothing to do with reality on this planet, or universe.

          Sorry, but hand waving about what you think is science will not show homeopathy works. What shows homeopathy works is by actually showing it works. Just provide a PubMed indexed study dated less than fifty years from reputable qualified researchers that shows homeopathy worked for a non-self-limiting condition, like syphilis or rabies.

          Are you ready with real data? Or are you just going to continue to hand wave about Htrae physics? What next, water has memory? That’ll I’ll believe when I can replace my external hard drive with a pitcher of tap water.

        3. Andrey Pavlov says:

          Most of us were taught in school that there are 4 states of matter, however there are many more than that that and the exact number and nature of those states will continue to grow as our understanding of the universe increases

          You either must have not gone to a real school or simply never graduated from elementary school. I knew about plasma by middle school.

          1. Chris says:

            I think what she was trying to do was to say “quantum” without saying the word.

            It is an argument that puts the cart in front of the horse by claiming there is some mechanism (or out of phase reality) that makes homeopathy work, without providing any evidence that homeopathy actually does work for any non-self-limiting condition.

  34. Tom Stewart says:

    Does the pool remember the pee?

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