Believe it or not, I started my medical career in homeopathy, to be more exact, in the ‘Krankenhaus fuer Naturheilweisen’ in Munich. That was directly after studying medicine almost 40 years ago. I am not ashamed to admit that I was impressed (show me a doctor who is not balled over with his/her first clinical post and I show you a person without compassion who should have chosen another profession). I stayed about half a year in this hospital and then moved on to lots of other things.
So, how has homeopathy cured me?
In medical school, I am afraid to say, we did not learn critical thinking, not even one iota of it! When I started working, and saw several patients who did get better after taking my homeopathic remedies, I was fascinated. Back in medical school, our pharmacology professor used to go apoplectic when anyone mentioned homeopathy, and I thus knew very well that there was no way it could possibly work. But it did!!! My patients did improve! I had seen it with my own eyes!
This discrepancy needed an explanation. Years later, it became my job to apply science to alternative medicine, and I picked up the subject roughly where I had left it more than a decade before. Now, we did systematic research and published dozens of papers on homeopathy. Even though I started this work slightly on the ‘pro- homeopathic foot’, in the end, the discrepancy between the scientific evidence and the anecdotal observations of millions of patients and homeopaths and myself dissolved into thin air: homeopathic remedies are pure placebos, and there is no discrepancy at all between evidence and anecdote.
Patients can improve for all sorts of reasons:
1) the natural history of the condition
2) placebo effects
3) other treatments they fail to tell their doctor about
4) because the clinician is nice and compassionate
These are, of course, pretty obvious insights. Yet, remarkably, doctors and other clinicians of all specialities very rarely have them, in my experience. When a patient gets better after our treatments (homeopathic or otherwise), we almost automatically assume that our interventions did the trick. Few of us have the courage to admit that this is only one of many explanations.
To accurately differentiate between effects of the treatment per se and the host of context effects which can mimic them, we need critical thinking. The lack of critical thinking in health care is, I think, like an illness which hinders progress. AND IT WAS HOMEOPATHY THAT CURED ME FROM IT.
Absolutely right. Homeopaths lovce to claim that science does not “understand” homeopathy and we don’t “yet” know how it works, but actually we do, it’s precisely as you state. There is nothing left to explain, other than the rleentless pursuit of belief in the face of overwheliming evidence (and I think messrs. Dunning and Kruger made a good start on that).
Ah but have the homeopaths the cure for our overcrowded A+E departments?
Not sure the future’s bright but alas it’s getting damper.
This statement is void:
“homeopathic remedies are pure placebos, and there is no discrepancy at all between evidence and anecdote”
In other word, the works or papers of Ernst is a general low quality, biased, and prejuiced. In example, Ernst said in Biologist a false misleadings, i quoted:
“The principle of “less is more” holds that serial dilution of a substance renders it not less, but more potent, contrasting with the laws of physics, chemistry and pharmacology. Homeopathy is thus biologically implausible “
Homeopathy holds a less a more potent? is a biologically implausible, why? This example reveals a poor education of Ernst in homeopathy.
Other false statement:
“Dilutions beyond Avogadro’s number (6.02 x 10 23 ) have been shown to differ from pure water (the “memory of water” theory”
The results of rigurous experiment shhown the contrary, in 2004 the multicenter triple blinded experiment in Inflammation Research demonstrates the plausibility and biologically activity of homeopathic dilutions. Other experiments includes NMR, Raman Spectroscopy, Biological essays, animal studies… Obviously Ernst knows this study,working as a reviewer in the journal Homeopathy (Elsevier) and other journals (perfusion), books (with physicist A. F. Popp) and British Homeopathic Journal. It is hypocritical and a double standard on the Ernst statements, in Biologists publish falsehoods like knowing that there are studies that say otherwise, is unethical.
Other anormal conduct reveals possible fraud and copy/pasted papers, it´s impressionant the number of papers for month and year, low quality, comments, and other works of CAM, only the PubMed reveals a possible misconduct (thios only works of Ernst in english):
Other works of low methodology, in example:
This works shown an important caveats and low methodology, bad and spurious arguments, and other misconduct in the methodology. How could accept such papers? something is failing in the peer review process.
The next “systematic review” revelas a conflict of interests, and sense about science lobby, its a joke?:
It´s time the reanalysis of Ernst works in homeopathy.
What study was that?
And rather than simply hand wave and throw insults and accusations around, if you have specific issues with any particular paper, perhaps you could state what they are?
homeopathic remedies are pure placebos