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Petit canard, grand canard

The flu pandemic of 1918 was horrific. Millions of people died (by some estimates 4% of the world’s population), and the medical establishment worked feverishly to find a cause and a treatment. There were many dead-ends in the search for the cause of the flu. One of the most enduring errors was the attribution of the pandemic to a bacterium called Haemophilus influenzae (H flu). It turned out that the flu was actually caused by a virus rather than a bacterium, but H. flu is still an important discovery. The fight against influenza was in many ways successful (although too late for the 1918 pandemic)—it led to the discovery of influenza and many other viruses, and the development of effective influenza vaccines. It is analogous to the discovery of HIV and the advances in science and medicine pioneered by HIV researchers. Influenza birthed the field of virology.

But what if we had stopped at one of our dead ends? What if we had held to the belief that H flu caused influenza, or that HTLV-1 caused AIDS? In science, dead-ends usually reveal themselves—eventually. As new discoveries fail to appear, scientists re-examine their underlying assumptions. H flu was found in many flu victims, but not all. Other researchers found that fluids that were run through filters that stopped bacteria were still infectious (in human volunteers!), leading them to conclude that there must be an infectious particle smaller than a bacterium. A quarter of a century after the Great Influenza pandemic, effective vaccines against influenza were in production.

While the world was torn by the first “modern” war, and influenza destroyed military and civilian populations, doctors were trying everything that might help.  In the U.S., sera and vaccines against various agents such as pneumococcus were produced and used with some efficacy, but many other immunologic treatments were dead-ends.  One of these dead-ends was named Oscillococcinum.

A French doctor, Joseph Roy, was one of the witnesses to the 1918 pandemic who worked to find a cause.  Unfortunately, his thinking was rooted in a mix of modern ideas and ancient—the knowledge that there were bacteria that caused disease, and the ancient vitalist ideas of the previous centuries.  He believed that he observed in flu victims, and the victims of many other diseases, an unusual bacterium which was round (“coccus”) and appeared to vibrate (“oscillate”).  Anyone who has spent significant time on a light microscope knows that there’s plenty of oscillation—it’s called “Brownian motion” and is not a characteristic of any particular object under the lens but of the medium itself.  Roy, using the modern terms and equipment but not modern knowledge, felt that this “new bacterium”, which he observed in microscopic samples from nearly every infectious and non-infectious disease, was the cause of everything.  While modern scientists were searching for the agent of influenza and other diseases and trying to fulfill Koch’s postulates (not a requirement, but handy) Roy was bringing to life one of the most enduring errors in modern medicine. Unlike the discovery of H. flu, the “discovery” of Oscillococcinum (which I’m hesitant to dignify with italics) led not to the control of important diseases but to the world’s most popular quack remedy for influenza.

Roy and others ran with this “discovery”.  It’s not clear exactly who decided to use Oscillococcinum to fabricate a homeopathic potion, but according to at least one source, Roy approached the French Homeopathic Laboratories in
1925 with a plan to produce his panacea from duck livers (and, of course, lots of water).

Three quarters of a century later, Oscillococcinum is still one of the world’s most popular flu remedies.   This, despite the fact that it is based on an erroneous discovery of a non-existent bacterium which is “derived” from duck livers and diluted down infinitesimally.  This is the ne plus ultra of quackery.

References

Jeffery K Taubenberger, Johan V Hultin, and David M Morenshttp. Discovery and characterization of the 1918 pandemic influenza virus in historical context. Antivir Ther. 2007; 12(4 Pt B): 581-591. PMCID: PMC2391305.

Nienhuys, Jan Willem,The True Story of Oscillococcinum. Homeowatch.org

Rouzé, Michel, Oscillococcinum : Le petit canard a grandi. Science, et pseudo-science, n° 221, mai-juin 1996.

Rouzé, Michel, OSCILLOCOCCINUM – Le joli grand canard, SPS n° 202, mars-avril 1993.

Jean-Marie Abgrall (2000). Algora Publishing. ed. Healing Or Stealing?: Medical Charlatans in the New Age. . ISBN 1892941511.

Barry, John M. The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague In History, Viking Adult, 2004.

Posted in: Science and Medicine

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46 thoughts on “Petit canard, grand canard

  1. yeahsurewhatever says:

    “Influenza birthed the field of virology.”

    As a point of fact, Tobacco Mosaic Virus birthed the field of virology. Wendell Meredith Stanley did his work on it in 1935 and won a Nobel Prize for it in 1946, even though it was actually first isolated by Dimitri Ivanovski in 1892. Influenza was not isolated until 1931. Prior to Stanley’s work, it was not understood that viruses were not cellular agents. They were considered to be very very tiny bacteria.

    The diseases that most greatly affect human populations are not always diseases that directly infect humans. Ergot, for example. That’s a fungus, but the point remains. TMV has absolutely no effect in humans, even if eaten, but the economic impact of failing tobacco crops provided the main impetus for initial virology research, not human health concerns. It’s easy to miss that.

    Solid article overall, of course.

  2. Peter Lipson says:

    I certainly agree about TMV, but I think that the investigations surrounding the pandemic, including the focus on “filterable agents” made further discoveries possible.

  3. Joe says:

    Did you have to bring up homeopathy, again? Are you aware of what happened to your thread on “CAM and Fibromyalgia?” The loon may infect this thread, too.

  4. jmorrison says:

    Why the disdain for homeopathy? How may physicians practice or accede to homeopathy in the form of a 200 IU/d vitamin D RDA?

    If an epidemiologist yells ‘fire’ in a forest, does a physician ever hear?

  5. qetzal says:

    jmorrison,

    You are so right. From now on, nobody should criticize homeopathy unless they simultaneously criticize unproven vitamin supplements. Or else, homeopathy is true because physicians recomment vitamins. Or something.

  6. Chris says:

    jmorrison, you don’t seem to know much about homeopathy. For one thing anything that still has active ingredients like 200 IU of vitamin D would not be homeopathic.

    You see, in the homeopathic universe in order to make that vitamin stronger, you need to grind it up and put 1 part of it in to 100 parts of water. That is 1C. Then you take one part of that 1C solution and put it into 100 parts of water. That is 2C.

    You then repeat the process to 28 more times to get a 30C solution. Where there would be one part of the vitamin to 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 parts of water (that is a “1″ with 60 zeros). Then you take a drop of that and put it on a sugar pill.

    Now Oscillococcinum is often sold in 200C homeopathic “strength”. It is one part of duck stuff to 10 raised to the 400th power (a “1″ followed by 400 zeros). Which is bigger than the number of atoms in the known universe.

    For more information read this: http://www.skepdic.com/homeo.html

  7. jmorrison says:

    Chris,

    Thanks for the enlightening review. Homeopathy, like astrology, is worthwhile for providing a belly laugh, but can be appreciated without knowing the inner workings. BTW, aren’t proper homeopathic medicines made with “aqua” and not regular water? But I digress…

    qetzal – isn’t that about right? Has 200 IU/d Vit D been proven to raise blood 25,OH Vit D to normal/optimal levels?

    At what point do basic science, epidemiology, relative safety (e.g. No Adverse Effects Limit), clinical studies weigh against risk? Do clinical researchers care, or are they just content to crank out papers that conclude with “more studies needed” for the next 20 years?

  8. Chris says:

    aqua is water

  9. jedischooldropout says:

    There has been some local brouhaha in Vancouver over a local homeopath advocating Oscillococcinum et al in favour of vaccination.

    http://www.straight.com/article-258247/homeopathy-offers-alternative-flu

    As if her anti-scientific public endangerment and fear mongering were not enough… she is the daughter of the paper’s publisher. It’s obscene.

  10. Joe says:

    Concerning the origins of virology, apparently the discovery of, and research on, bacteriophages was huge from ca. 1917 on. That was when a doctor studying WW1 troops with dysentery discovered that when they recovered they were co-infected with a virus (phage) that killed the bacteria. That engendered a lot of research attempting to use the phage as a treatment for the disease. That work never panned-out. However, the ability to grow some viruses in bacterial culture greatly simplified research.

  11. Mojo says:

    BTW, aren’t proper homeopathic medicines made with “aqua” and not regular water?

    No, that’s just the noise the homoeopaths make. ;)

    Homoeopaths do like their remedies to have names that sound like Latin, though.

    Actually, they’re mostly made using a mixture of water and ethanol as the solvent. And then they’re administered as sugar pills which have had the magic water dropped onto them and then evaporated.

  12. Peter Lipson says:

    My strongest homeopathic critique of homeopathy is as follows: _______________________

    That’s some homeo-strong criticism, no?

  13. DanaUllman says:

    I usually try to be diplomatic in my contributions, but I cannot do so here because Peter Lipson is being intellectually dishonest. How can he write about Oscillococcinum and NOT even mention the four large studies testing it in the treatment of influenza?

    Heck, even the Cochrane Collaboration has written several reviews of it, and they referred to the results as “promising.” Although they did not recommend it as a “first line” treatment, they acknowledged the body of research showing its efficacy.

    A competitor to the French company who makes Oscillococcinum sought to test its effects on the prevention of the flu, but these studies did not show efficacy…but that does not diminish its value in the TREATMENT of the flu.

    The fact that Oscillo is made from the heart and liver of a duck shows how intellectually sophisticated Roy was. The fact that ducks are known to carry many different influenza viruses in their digestive tract provides some additional logic to the use of homeopathic doses of it.

    But heck, continue to be “arm-chair philosophers” rather than scientists. Continue to ignore controlled studies. Continue to attack homeopathy on your theoretical grounds.

    The rest of the world will leave you behind and will laugh…

    And I assume that you all have seen the new research by Nobel Prize-winning virologist Luc Montagnier that provides significant support to homeopathy.

    The irony here is that you folks actually have the chutzpah to think that you are defending “science based medicine.”

    Boo…

    Vickers AJ, Smith C, Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes (Cochrane Review) The Cochrane Library, Issue 4, 2005.

  14. Calli Arcale says:

    The fact that Oscillo is made from the heart and liver of a duck shows how intellectually sophisticated Roy was. The fact that ducks are known to carry many different influenza viruses in their digestive tract provides some additional logic to the use of homeopathic doses of it.

    It does? Do tell. That should be very interesting. I wasn’t aware that all ducks are universally infected with every single strain of influenza which could possibly exist in the human population, including the ones which haven’t evolved yet. That sounds pretty interesting. Could you elaborate?

  15. Joe says:

    DanaUllman (MPH!!) on 06 Oct 2009 at 8:35 am “The fact that Oscillo is made from the heart and liver of a duck shows how intellectually sophisticated Roy was.”

    He must have also been a crystal ball gazer since he was working before the virus was isolated from fowl (it was first found in pigs in the late 1920s). More than that, it was discovered as a human pathogen in 1933. This is why DUllman gets laughed out of the room just for showing up.

  16. DanaUllman says:

    Yeah…you folks are even skeptical of intuition. Cool.

    I bet that you love rotary telephones and typewriters too.

    My own personal survey is that most skeptics today were the hyper-rational nerds who were laughed at in high school and who now use their venom to attack others (and who usually prefer anonymity in doing so)…and they are surprised at how much venom they have but are skeptical of psychotherapy and don’t even consider that they have a problem. Sound familiar?

    …and continue to ignore the evidence. After all, the Cochrane Collaboration are woo-woo too!?

  17. DevoutCatalyst says:

    Hell hath no fury like a charlatan scorned.

  18. the bug guy says:

    A competitor to the French company who makes Oscillococcinum sought to test its effects on the prevention of the flu, but these studies did not show efficacy…but that does not diminish its value in the TREATMENT of the flu.

    It doesn’t work but you still think it’s a good treatment?

    Doctor, my head.

  19. Joe says:

    DanaUllman on 06 Oct 2009 at 10:01 am “…and continue to ignore the evidence. After all, the Cochrane Collaboration are woo-woo too!?”

    If you were competent to review literature you might realize that Cochrane has become unreliable on some topics of late.

  20. DanaUllman says:

    Hey Bug Guy…the trick here is to read what is written (not what you personally believe)…there is a difference between efficacy in the TREATMENT of the flu and in the PREVENTION of the flu…but heck, we all make similar mistakes. You’re forgiven.

    Doctor, my eyes…

  21. Peter Lipson says:

    Oh snap….

    WITHDRAWN: Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes.

    AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS: Though promising, the data were not strong enough to make a general recommendation to use Oscillococcinum for first-line treatment of influenza and influenza-like syndromes. Further research is warranted but the required sample sizes are large. Current evidence does not support a preventative effect of Oscillococcinum-like homeopathic medicines in influenza and influenza-like syndromes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Jul 8;(3):CD001957.Click here to read

  22. Mojo says:

    @DanaUllman:

    I bet that you love rotary telephones and typewriters too.

    And I bet you still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

  23. Mojo says:

    Oh snap…

    Even disregarding the withdrawal, it’s an inconclusive review. On the other hand, in homoeopathic circles that is considered a great success: after all, it’s as good as their results get.

  24. Mojo says:

    @Joe:

    He must have also been a crystal ball gazer since he was working before the virus was isolated from fowl (it was first found in pigs in the late 1920s). More than that, it was discovered as a human pathogen in 1933. This is why DUllman gets laughed out of the room just for showing up.

    It gets better: Roy wasn’t even looking for the virus – he was looking for his mythical oscillating bacterium. He eventually “found” it in Long Island ducklings, therefore the remedy is made from a Muscovy duck (huh?). But remember, the active ingredient never even existed, so we’re dealing with a 200C preparation of nothing. Even for homoeopathy that’s overkill.

  25. the bug guy says:

    Oh yeah, because water is so much more effective as a treatment than as a prophylactic.

    Dana, the trick is to recognize sarcasm when you read it. The “Doctor, my head” line should’ve been a clue.

    But we all make those kinds of mistakes. I’ll forgive you.

  26. SBM has already asked and answered the question of why the Cochrane Collaboration can’t seem to dismiss homeo in spite of the overwhelming case against it. As the Dull-Man knows, the Cochrane Review that he cites above was one of the examples in that discussion.

  27. trrll says:

    My own personal survey is that most skeptics today were the hyper-rational nerds who were laughed at in high school

    Very revealing. Yes, Dana, I expect that many skeptics whom you find so irritating today are the same guys you laughed at in high school (and who probably laughed at you)–those annoying nerds who actually studied, and thought that it was worth the effort to understand subjects like mathematics, and biology, and chemistry. While you, quite clearly, have managed to get through high school without learning any of those things.

  28. Calli Arcale says:

    Yeah…you folks are even skeptical of intuition. Cool.

    It’s prudent, and scientific, to be skeptical of intuition. This is because it isn’t always right. Intuition is a great thing; it enables us to make decisions with limited information. But if there is time to gather more information, you shouldn’t rely on intuition alone. It’s an intellectual shortcut, and cutting corners is not a good long-term strategy in anything.

    I once got a great offer to buy an expensive item I was selling on Craigslist. My intuition was that this was the answer to my quandry, because I had a serious deadline to meet in getting this item off the property. My mother expressed doubts, so I went ahead and responded to the man. Fortunately for me, his second e-mail revealed that my intuition was false — the offer was a money-forwarding scam, where the mark is asked to front some money for shipping by wiring it to an alleged “third party” who is usually actually the scammer. The scammer may even provide a check to cover the cost of the item. But a few days after the check is deposited, it will bounce back. Nobody will ever come to pick up the item, and basically the mark is out the money they fronted for shipping.

    I learned a lesson that day, fortunately in time to avoid any financial loss. I should not have trusted my intuition so readily.

    Many people trust their intuition, and don’t even think to question it. The whole discipline of marketing is based on exploiting that fact. Before you dismiss the idea of being skeptical of intuition, consider that carefully. Trust your intuition implicitly, and sooner or later you’re going to get ripped off.

  29. Kausik Datta says:

    Intuition can form great hypotheses. Testing those is in the realm of science. Intuition without evidentiary support is just wishful thinking.

  30. Calli Arcale says:

    Oh, here’s an even better illustration of the dangers of trusting intuition implicitly, rather than verifying one’s intuition. It’s a famous optical illusion. It’s amazing how hard it is to go against your intuition that squares A and B are in fact the same color. But human perception is not infallible; because it tries to automatically correct for certain things, what you perceive is actually a heavily-altered view. This is good — our perception is what allows us to recognize a face in a split second, while literal-minded computers still struggle to do so. But it can definitely lead us astray, so it’s important to test our intuitions whenever practical.

    APOD for 2009 October 4: The Same Color Illusion

  31. Classic Dana Ullman

    Cover your tracks with some irrelevant personal attacks. Pretend like your nonsense is the future and we are dinosaurs. It’s all bluster, not even amusing anymore.

    Meanwhile the very evidence you offer to support your highly implausible claim is weak or negative.

    Here’s the bottom line:

    The clinical evidence, while there is the usual noise we expect from such evidence, is not sufficient to conclude that homeopathic Oscillococcinum is effective for the prevention or treatment of the flu, or anything else.

    There is no basic science to support the notion that Oscillococcinum even exists.

    There is no basic science to support any of the principles of homeopathy.

    Homeopathic Oscillococcinum is implausible squared. And the evidence that it works is extremely weak. The clearly stated principles of SBM state that we combine these two facts – highly implausible with weak evidence = unscientific.

    Do you care to dispute any aspect of this line of reasoning, or do you want to continue chanting, “nah, nah, nanah, nah!.”

  32. Joe says:

    DanaUllman on 06 Oct 2009 at 8:35 am “And I assume that you all have seen the new research by Nobel Prize-winning virologist Luc Montagnier that provides significant support to homeopathy.”

    The Montaigner group’s paper has nothing to do with homeopathy. If confirmed, it pertains to a very sensitive test for low concentrations of large molecules. The signal is lost before 10^-18 M, which is a roughly 10,000-fold above the Avogadro limit.*

    Moreover, these in vitro experiments do support homeopathic claims- which can only be established in clinical trials.

    * The Avogadro number is 6.02 x 10^-23. When you round off, and note that the signal is lost before 10^-18 M, that’s the 10,000.

  33. Joe says:

    Joe on 06 Oct 2009 at 2:00 pm “Moreover, these in vitro experiments do support homeopathic claims- which can only be established in clinical trials.”

    Obviously, that should be “Moreover, these in vitro experiments do not support homeopathic claims- which can only be established in clinical trials.”

    Dang!

  34. Kausik Datta says:

    Joe:

    The Montaigner group’s paper has nothing to do with homeopathy.

    Absolutely. But do you think that inconvenient fact stopped various pro-homeopathy groups and websites from claiming that it all but proved homeopathy’s mechanism of action? Naah-uh!

    Just Google “luc montagnier homeopathy”, and you’d find these websites (as, it seems, is Dana Ullman!) prominently featured in the ensuing list. Not only are they misrepresenting the papers claims, but some of these websites also have a very poor understanding of the methods and results of the study by Montagnier et al.

  35. Kausik Datta says:

    sentence construction: Fail, Retry!

    …and you’d find these websites prominently featured (as, it seems, is Dana Ullman!) in the ensuing list.

    Typing from the iPhone is hard!! :(

  36. jre says:

    A few years ago, I wrote an email to Brigitte Mars, host of the wonderfully wackadoodle radio show Naturally, on the subject of Oscillococcinum. Her reply, in its entirety, was “Many Blessings, Jim!”

    Not quite sure what to make of that.

  37. DanaUllman says:

    Steven makes a feeble attempt to summarize the research on Oscillococcinum by avoiding any quoting from the document (how convenient).

    Let me quote:

    “Oscillococcinum treatment reduced the length of influenza illness by 0.28 days (95% CI 0.50 to 0.06). Oscillococcinum also increased the chances that a patient considered treatment to be effective (RR 1.08; 95% CI 1.17 to 1.00).”

    Further…they say: “Though promising, the data were not strong enough to make a general recommendation to use Oscillococcinum for first-line treatment of influenza and influenza-like syndromes.”

    The researchers show that there IS a difference between treatment and placebo groups…and because these were large studies that were replicated by independent researchers, this evidence is still “promising” (which is NOT “nothing”).

  38. Peter Lipson says:

    Dana, how long is “0.28 days”?

  39. Peter Lipson says:

    Oh, and are you still quoting the paper that the author’s voluntarily withdrew? Is it some sort of conspiracy?

  40. Mojo says:

    @Kausik Datta:

    Typing from the iPhone is hard!! :(

    Typewriters are so much easier to type on, aren’t they? :)

  41. Scott says:

    Oscillococcinum treatment reduced the length of influenza illness by 0.28 days (95% CI 0.50 to 0.06). Oscillococcinum also increased the chances that a patient considered treatment to be effective (RR 1.08; 95% CI 1.17 to 1.00).

    Is that really the best you can do? The slightest bit of critical reading of that quote demonstrates that it does not, in any way, support the claims you’re making about it.

    Note that the 95% CI on the perception of effectiveness includes 1. So the statement “Oscillococcinum also increased the chances that a patient considered treatment to be effective” is just flat-out wrong, as the results are consistent with no effect. And the 95% CI on the duration of illness is sufficiently close to 0 that (a) it’s of no clinical relevance and (b) even minor uncorrected confounders could readily account for it.

    The *correct* interpretation of these results is “no evidence for an effect beyond placebo.”

  42. yeahsurewhatever says:

    Hi dullman!

    “And I assume that you all have seen the new research by Nobel Prize-winning virologist Luc Montagnier that provides significant support to homeopathy.”

    Montagnier won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of HIV. What exactly does that have to do with homeopathy? You imply that a homeopath has won a Nobel Prize, which is false, or else you imply that a man has won a Nobel Prize for homeopathy research, which is false. And you’re the one talking about intellectual dishonesty.

    I seem to recall describing you in a previous comment back in April 2009 as “second-rate, and not smart enough to do better [than whine and lie about your understanding of science on other peoples' blogs]“. Glad to see I’m still right about that.

    “Oscillococcinum treatment reduced the length of influenza illness by 0.28 days (95% CI 0.50 to 0.06). Oscillococcinum also increased the chances that a patient considered treatment to be effective (RR 1.08; 95% CI 1.17 to 1.00).”

    6 hours and 43 minutes alleged reduction for a disease with a median duration of 5-6 days. That’s about 5% difference. How often would a random sample of influenza cases be expected to be 5% shorter in duration, on average, than the median? Pretty often, actually. That’s much less than one standard deviation. So, this result does not rule out a null hypothesis, and “95% confidence interval” does not mean the results are 95% certain not to be due to chance. A confidence interval is not a measure of statistical significance.

    For an influenza treatment to be taken seriously, the percentage reduction in duration would have to be closer to 20-30% or higher (e.g. neuraminidase inhibitors). And that’s still only a day or two: not much to write home about. As for what the “patient considered”, that’s subjective validation at best. Telling jokes to cancer patients might make them feel better, too, but that does not validate it as treatment.

    “The researchers show that there IS a difference between treatment and placebo groups”

    Not a difference that would not be expected by chance alone. Also, since oscillococcinum is a homeopathic treatment, it is conceptually impossible for it to be different from placebo, because by definition it has no pharmacologically active ingredient in it.

  43. Prometheus says:

    DUllman quotes:

    Oscillococcinum treatment reduced the length of influenza illness by 0.28 days (95% CI 0.50 to 0.06). Oscillococcinum also increased the chances that a patient considered treatment to be effective (RR 1.08; 95% CI 1.17 to 1.00).

    statistically significant difference, but I doubt that a difference of 6 hours and 43 minutes is a significant clinical difference.

    And a relative risk that the patient might consider the treatment effective of 1.08? That’s close enough to 1.0 (i.e. no better than chance) to make no difference. Again, even if this was a statistically significant difference, it isn’t a clinically significant difference.

    Unfortunately for DUllman, this is pretty much the standard for homeopathic results – indistinguishable from placebo. Anyone who has taken even a basic statistics course knows (or should know) that a the 95% confidence level still means that there is a 5% chance (1 in 20) that a “statistically significant” difference will be found when, in fact, no difference exists.

    In short, if you do enough studies on homeopathy, eventually some will turn out (false) positive, just by random chance. And these are the studies that DUllman is hawking.

    It’s time for DUllman to get a clue, folks. Since he’s clearly not capable of getting one on his own, I suggest we take up a collection and get one for him! Any suggestions?

    Prometheus

  44. Dr Benway says:

    [_] <——– Glass of water. Same as homeopathy.

  45. yeahsurewhatever says:

    No, once again, 5% difference is not statistically significant here, because it is expected by chance alone. The sample size was tiny, and the results do not require rejection of the null hypothesis to explain.

    There cannot be a statistically significant result here, because the treatment being tested could not have done anything, as a question of biological reality. This test measured noise, not signal.

    If you get a “statistically significant” result from NOTHING, then quite clearly you’re doing it wrong.

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