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The Quackery of Homeopathy


LJP07
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As a Scientist myself, I hate when people claim unscientific ideas and proclaim them to have some medical benefit when infact there is unsupporting evidence for them, thus Pseudoscience best describes these practices. The example touched upon here is Homeopathy, which has to be the most unsupported piece of medical crap ever unleashed onto the public.

 

They believe that diluting a particular drug/disease molecule with alcohol, water or sugar and administrating this to the patient has some medical benefit. Although this might sound plausible for you, the factor of dilution is the implausible part. The remedy Oscillococcinum has a factor of dilution of 1 molecule in 10 to the power of 400, so in essence there would be no benefit and all there would be is pure Water, Alcohol or Sugar??

 

How can this possibly be accepted in todays age? It's 19th Century claptrap.

 

I recently debated a student of Homeopathy, and she said it wasn't so much the drug that helps the patient but rather the ENERGY got from the drug. I exclaimed "Is this a different form of energy, outside of science knowledge at the moment?"...She said "No"...so I said if the energy is the same why can't you create a standard model where you use say the same drug at different concentrations to get the "same" energy out of it...She said "You're right!"...I said "Even if you did create this as homeopaths, it's still a ludicrous thing to study and believe in"...

 

What do you make of this quackery claptrap?

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I have to agree with you, it's pseudoscience in it's worst form. If someone wants to believe in something that is either not true or has no supporting evidence it's really their business until it affects their health or the health of others. When people promote this type of thing someone could get hurt or even loose their life because if this stuff. I see it all the time being hawked on TV as a cure for this or that. I even had a friend who treated her kids when they were sick with this stuff. Her kinds didn't die but when they really got sick it almost always resulted in a trip to the hospital. They were often treated by homeopathy as a preventative but no thought was given to the fact that it didn't work anywhere but in her mind.

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Homeopathy takes advantage of the innate human talent for finding patterns in our world. Sometimes we even find patterns that aren't there. We get sick, and usually, within a week, we get better (unless we're seriously ill).

 

So, we get sick and four days later, we take Magic Cure. Three days later, we get better. Aha! See the pattern?! We got better three days after taking Magic Cure, so obviously, it was the Magic Cure that made us well! Hallelujah!

 

This anecdotal experience eventually becomes set in the mind as a fact, especially if it is repeated just one or two more times. The devotion of this fraction of the original group is such that they persuade others to try the experiment. Eventually, you wind up with an equilibrium fraction of people who swear by Magic Cure--new believers just balancing out those who finally realize that the stuff is worthless.

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I suppose like Moonman said it's their own business if they want to believe in this quackery, but it becomes everyones business when they try and divert people who are genuinely sick into this alternative medicine, who should be seeking evidence based medicine that exists today. That's probably the biggest reason I'm against it.

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I hate to rain on the parade here, but since you folks seem to appreciate double-blind placebo controlled randomized studies, I'm curious why no one has made reference to the four large clinical trials showing efficacy of Oscillococcinum in the treatment of people with the flu. Even the Cochrane Reports note that this research is "promising," even though the use of this medicine in the "prevention" of the flu is not confirmed.

 

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

 

Also, did you know that Oscillococcinum is made from the heart and liver of ducks? Homeopaths have been hip to avian sources of influenza since the 1920s when this medicine was first used in homeopathy.

 

If you are going to choose to spew venom on homeopathy, I hope that such venom will be research-based.

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It's interesting that no actual substance (molecule) actually remains in the dillution, but it retains "energy". This article seems to explain it rather well...

 

Hahnemann believed that physical disruption of the solution or powder during the dilution process could release the spirit-like dynamic healing force contained within the substance. He believed that even after it has been completely removed from the solution by enormous dilution, the healing force remained. The dynamization could be induced by succussion of the solution between dilution steps or, in the case of a powder, by trituration in a mortar.

 

Hahnemann writes of this proposed phenomenon by analogy to magnetism:

 

"Only after (a) bar of steel is dynamized, rubbing it with a dull file in one direction, will it become a true active powerful magnet, one able to attract iron and steel to itself and impart to another bar of steel by mere contact and even some distance away, magnetic power and this in a higher degree the more it has been rubbed. In the same way will triturating a medicinal substance and shaking of its solution (dynamization, potentation) develop the medicinal powers hidden within and manifest them more and more or if one may say so, spiritualizes the material substance itself"

 

(Organon § 269, 6th ed.)

 

Dynamization

 

(the bolding is mine)

 

I fail to see the comparison between bar magnets, and chemical titrations/dilutions and the dynamization process. :shrug:

 

What is a "spirit-like dynamic force"?

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What is "spirit-like dynamic force"? It can be thought to be the interconnective forces that link the body's various immune and defense functions.

 

Are people on this list as dismissive of acupuncture and meridians? I hope not.

 

As for research, I'm sure that some of you remember the Lancet's comparison of 110 homeopathic studies and 110 conventional ones in 2005 by Shang, Eggers, and team...they found 21 "high quality" homeopathic studies but only 9 (!) "high quality" conventional ones, but they NEVER told us what they found from THESE studies. Instead, they only evaluated the larger studies, in part because these studies included a silly weight-loss study and a "prevention" trial of Oscillococcinum (even though it is not marketed for flu prevention). These larger studies primarily used one homeopathic medicine for everyone with the same disease, even though that is not the way homeopathy is practiced (except in certain exceptional situations). What junk science.

 

Anyway, a new evaluation of just the "high quality" studies is being published in a leading journal. Hang on to your hat...

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I personally find it interesting how so many skeptics of homeopathy are so uninformed and misinformed on the subject and how "unscientific" their attitude is towards the subject. Typically, they say that homeopathy "cannot" work, and yet, ironically, they ignore the research. Whooops.

 

I encourage people to read my article, Why Homeopathy Makes Sense and Works, at: Homeopathic Educational Services - Why Homeopathy Makes Sense and Works

 

For further basic science and clinical evidence, there are numerous reviews of research at: European Committee for Homeopathy

 

Let's have an intelligent discussion, not just theorizing.

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Really? You've referenced loosely maybe two studies that don't seem like they were very well controlled, and you're suggesting that we should all jump on board?

 

Yes, I'm sketpical. I'm also not stupid, and I don't look into the astrology section to determine my future and I don't wear magnets around my ankles to treat my diabetes and I don't ingest ground rhinoceros horn to get a hard on.

 

Give me a break.

 

I WELCOME evidence in your favor, but you simply don't have any.

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Dear InfiniteNow,

These studies "don't seem well controlled"? It seems that you define "double-blind" as when you close both of your eyes. Come on...you gotta do better than that!

 

Have you read those plant studies (after all, you all know how sensitive plants are to placebo), or the basophil or neutrophil studies, or the various in vitro studies (most of which have been replicated).

 

Please try to maintain a scientific attitude.

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I hate to rain on the parade here, but since you folks seem to appreciate double-blind placebo controlled randomized studies, I'm curious why no one has made reference to the four large clinical trials showing efficacy of Oscillococcinum in the treatment of people with the flu. Even the Cochrane Reports note that this research is "promising," even though the use of this medicine in the "prevention" of the flu is not confirmed.

 

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

 

Also, did you know that Oscillococcinum is made from the heart and liver of ducks? Homeopaths have been hip to avian sources of influenza since the 1920s when this medicine was first used in homeopathy.

 

If you are going to choose to spew venom on homeopathy, I hope that such venom will be research-based.

 

While Oscillococcinum may be found useful in Clinical Trials of NORMAL medicine, in terms of alternative medicine, diluting it to the point where theres no molecule in the medicine, then it becomes ludicrous, I'm sure if it was mixed with certain other excipients and formulated for the patient well in that it actually has a dose, then I believe that, as long as trials back it up. But as as far as diluting it to the point of no further dilution makes it not efficacious at all.

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I notice that most homeopathic remedies in my drugstore contain OTHER medicines than just the homeopathic stuff. For example, a cold remedy may contain 30X distilled water dilution of eye of newt, but it ALSO contains an antihistamine and aspirin.

 

Wow! That eye of newt works just as good as antihistamine and aspirin. Hmmm...

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