MD, PhD, FMedSci, FSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Homeopathy seems to attract some kind of miracle worker. Elsewhere I have, for instance, reported the curious case of Prof Claudia Witt who published more than anyone on homeopathy in recent years without hardly ever arriving at a negative conclusion. Recently, I came across a researcher with an even better track record: Prof Michael Frass.

Wikipedia describes his achievements as follows: “Michael Frass studied medicine from 1972 to 1978 at the Medical University of Vienna followed by visits abroad at the Pasteur Institute, Paris and at the Porter Memorial Hospital (USA). Since March 2004 he directs the Outpatients Unit of Homeopathy for Malign Diseases at the Department Clinic for Internal of Medicine I at the Medical University of Vienna. Since 2005 Frass also works as a coordinator of the lecture series Homeopathy at the Medical University of Vienna. Beginning with the winter semester 2001/02 he is the coordinator of a lecture series Basics and practise of complementary medical methods at the Medical University of Vienna. From 2002 to 2005 he led the Ludwig Boltzmanm Institute of Homeopathy. Since 2005 Frass is president of the Institute for Homeopathic Research. Actually he works at the Division of Oncology at the Department of Medicine I in Vienna. He is First Chairman of the Scientific Society for Homeopathy (WissHom), founded in 2010, president of the Umbrella organization of Austrian Doctors for Holistic Medicine.”

He directs the WHAT? The Outpatients Unit of Homeopathy for Malign Diseases at the Department Clinic for Internal of Medicine I at the Medical University of Vienna? This is my former medical school, and I had no idea that such a unit even existed – but, of course, I left in 1993 for Exeter (a few months ago, I followed an invitation to give a lecture on homeopathy at the Medical University of Vienna ; sadly neither Prof Frass nor anyone of his team attended).

And what about the Scientific Society for Homeopathy? I am sure that the name of this organisation will make some people wonder. From the society’s website, we learn that “the intention of WissHom is to contribute to the progress of medicine and to the collective good. To this end, WissHom intents to further develop homeopathy both practically and theoretically. It will be WissHom’s task to breathe life into this committed objective.”

Breathing life into homeopathy seems exactly what Prof Frass does. He seems to have found his way to homeopathy relatively late in his career (the 1st Medline-listed article was published only in 2003) but he has nevertheless published many studies on this subject (I use the term ‘study’ here to describe both clinical, pre-clinical and basic research papers); in total, I found 12 such articles on Medline. They cover extremely diverse areas and a wide range of methodologies. Yet they all have one remarkable feature in common: they arrive at positive conclusions.

You find this hard to believe? Join the club!

But it is undeniably true, here are the conclusions (or the bit that comes close to a conclusion) from the Medline-listed abstracts (only the headings in capital letters are mine, and they simply depict the nature of the paper)

AN RCT WITH CANCER PATIENTS (2015)

Results suggest that the global health status and subjective wellbeing of cancer patients improve significantly when adjunct classical homeopathic treatment is administered in addition to conventional therapy.

TWO CASE REPORTS OF HOMEOPATHICALLY TREATED INTOXICATIONS (2014)

Based on the 2 cases, including 1 extreme situation, we suggest that adjunctive homeopathic treatment has a role in the treatment of acute Amanita phalloides-induced toxicity following mushroom poisoning. Additional studies may clarify a more precise dosing regimen, standardization, and better acceptance of homeopathic medicine in the intensive care setting.

RETORSPECTIVE ANALYSIS OF CANER SURVIVAL UNDER HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT (2014)

Extended survival time in this sample of cancer patients with fatal prognosis but additive homeopathic treatment is interesting. However, findings are based on a small sample, and with only limited data available about patient and treatment characteristics. The relationship between homeopathic treatment and survival time requires prospective investigation in larger samples possibly using matched-pair control analysis or randomized trials.

OBSERVATIONAL STUDY OF HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR ALLERGIES (2012)

The symptoms of patients undergoing homeopathic treatment were shown to improve substantially and conventional medication dosage could be substantially reduced. While the real-life effect assessed indicates that there is a potential for enhancing therapeutic measures and reducing healthcare cost, it does not allow to draw conclusions as to the efficacy of homeopathic treatment per se.

IN-VITRO STUDY OF THE EFFECTS OF HOMEOPATHICS ON HELIOBACTER PYLORI (2010)

The data suggest that both drugs prepared in ethanolic solution are potent inhibitors of H. pylori induced gene expression.

SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF HOMEOPATHY FOR RESPIRATORY ALLERGIES (2010)

Most of these clinical studies have been deemed to be high quality trials, according to the three most commonly referenced meta-analyses of homeopathic research. Basic in vitro experimental studies also provide evidence that the effects of homeopathy differ from placebo.

CASE SERIES OF PATIENTS TREATED WITH HOMEOPATHIC PETROLEUM (2008)

This study is based on 25 well documented reports of cases which responded well to treatment with Petroleum.

ANIMAL EXPERIMENT WITH HOMEOPATHY ( 2008)

Animals treated with the standard test solution thyroxine 10(-30) metamorphosed more slowly than the control animals, ie the effect of the homeopathically prepared thyroxine was opposed to the usual physiological effect of molecular thyroxine.

OVERVIEW OF HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT IN INTENSIVE CARE (2005)

Our report suggests that homeopathy may be applicable even for critically ill patients.

RCT OF HOMEOPATHY FOR SEVERE SEPSIS (2005)

Our data suggest that homeopathic treatment may be a useful additional therapeutic measure with a long-term benefit for severely septic patients admitted to the intensive care unit. A constraint to wider application of this method is the limited number of trained homeopaths.

RCT OF HOMEOPATHY FOR COPD (2005)

These data suggest that potentized (diluted and vigorously shaken) potassium dichromate may help to decrease the amount of stringy tracheal secretions in COPD patients.

ANIMAL STUDY OF A HOMEOPATHIC REMEDY (2003)

These animals reacted to the homeopathically prepared thyroxine with a slowing down of metamorphosis, even when they had not been prestimulated with a molecular dose of the hormone. This effect was observed in all 3 laboratories and is consistent with the results of previous studies.

Surprised?

So am I!

How can homeopathy produce nothing but positive results in the hands of this researcher? How can it work in so many entirely different conditions? How is it possible that homeopathic remedies are better than placebo regardless of the methodology used? Why does homeopathy, in the hands of Prof Frass, not even once produce a result that disappoints the aspirations of homeopaths and its advocates? Why are these sensational results almost invariably published in very minor journals? Crucially, why has not one of the findings (as far as I can see) ever been independently reproduced?

I do not know the answers to these questions.

If anyone does, I would like to hear them.

88 Responses to Prof Frass’ remarkable studies of homeopathy

  • There is no prior plausibility for homeopathy. The overwhelming body of research has not been able to convincingly show any effect beyond that of placebo. This would suggest some systematic problem with this research. Alternatively magic is real and we all need to go back to school for a course on magical potions. Unfortunately we might actually find such courses available. In a way I am sorry for Prof. Frass – it seems such a waste of a life.

    • Plausibiility? You got it.

      Starting with this article in LANGMUIR (published by the American Chemistry Society!):
      Chikramane PS, Kalita D, Suresh AK, Kane SG, Bellare JR. Why Extreme Dilutions Reach Non-zero Asymptotes: A Nanoparticulate Hypothesis Based on Froth Flotation.
      Langmuir. 2012 Nov 1.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23083226

      This article confirms that many of our own hormones and cell signaling agents operate at nanodose levels, unless you think these physiological responses are placebos!
      Eskinazi, D., Homeopathy Re-revisited: Is Homeopathy Compatible with Biomedical Observations? Archives in Internal Medicine, 159, Sept 27, 1999:1981-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10510983

      Drawing from the conventional pharmacological literature, Iris Bell, MD, PhD and her team confirm how and why homeopathic nanomedicines work.

      It may be time for some (or all) of you who have a good healthy scientific (objective) mindset to explore nanomedicine and homeopathy (the original nanomedicine)…
      Bell IR, Koithan M. A model for homeopathic remedy effects: low dose nanoparticles, allostatic cross-adaptation, and time-dependent sensitization in a complex adaptive system. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Oct 22;12(1):191.
      http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-6882-12-191.pdf (this is an exceptional review of the basic sciences literature that explains how homeopathic medicines may work)

      Bell IR, Sarter B, Koithan M, et al. Integrative Nanomedicine: Treating Cancer with Nanoscale Natural Products. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, January 2014. 36-53.
      http://tinyurl.com/mqe5p88

      Iris R. Bell, John A. Ives, and Wayne B. JonasNonlinear Effects of Nanoparticles: Biological Variability From Hormetic Doses, Small Particle Sizes, and Dynamic Adaptive Interactions. Dose Response. May 2014; 12(2): 202–232. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4036395/

      Bell IR, Schwartz GE, Boyer NN, Koithan M, Brooks AJ. Advances in Integrative Nanomedicine for Improving Infectious Disease Treatment in Public Health. European journal of integrative medicine 2013;5(2):126-140. doi:10.1016/j.eujim.2012.11.002.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3685499/

      • Chikramane et al is a speculative piece on a mechanism for an effect that has not been shown to exist. Much like homeopathy.

        • Speculative? Yeah…but with data dawn from THREE types of spectroscopy and photos! Ironically, some pseudo-skeptics actually claim that this data suggests that homeopathic medicines are “contaminated” with the original medicinal substance! Yeah, THAT daft!

          And I bet you will now suggest that LANGMUIR is published by a faux homeopathic organization, the American Chemistry Society!?

          • Let us see the data replicated in reputable laboratories using freshly made and properly described materials. Then you can speculate on mechanism. The questionable honesty of homeopaths make some photographs and spectrographs inadequate for the purpose.

      • I would say that nobody is in doubt, that you will find nanoparticles of any substance in a liquid homeopathic drug. Bell, Chikramane and others, as far as I know, failed to clarify the following:

        Where do the nanoparticles come from?

        From the mother tincture or from the unavoidable impurities of the solvent used in potentization?

        Are the nanoparticles that are of the same kind as the mother tincture the only nanoparticles present?

        If no, then how is it decided, which of the nanoparticles is to take action on a special occasion?

        • Wow, what a real “coincidence”! The study in LANGMUIR found nanoparticles of gold in the gold solution…and nanoparticles of silver in the silver solution…and on and on. What a real coincidence!? How did that gold get in there? Well, the experiments put IT in there (DUH!).

          For any objective readers out there, are you GETTING the degree of mental obstructionism that these pseudo-scientists are showing? Yeah, that daft. Strange but true.

          • “The study in LANGMUIR found nanoparticles of gold in the gold solution”

            This paper is no study but a description of some musings on how to construct a theory to explain homeopathy that might look accepatble to the easygoers that do not delve into that matter too deeply.

            I dare say, they would have found nanoparticles of iron, silver, jod, quartz, lime, plastics, rubber, aluminum, granite, limestone, in short the whole universe of insolubles – if they only had looked for them. Because there is a thing that is called ubiquitarity. See here:

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20970092

            And, pray tell me, if the concentration is driving to an asymtotic, as Chikramane explains, how could this produce the ever increasing effectiveness even for ultra-high potencies?

      • Dana, how many times do we have to point out that the these studies do not demonstrate plausibility?

        For example, even ignoring the fact that the methods in the Chikramane paper have nothing to do with the normal method of homeopathic preparation (and indeed would, if correct, probably actually refute homeopathy), you still have a massive gulf between that and anything close to plausibility.

        1. There is no evidence that like cures like anyway;
        2. There is no evidence that any speculative property of matter tied to this speculative effect is preserved in the experiments as reported;
        3. There is no evidence that the purported effect is generalisable (e.g. to crushed insoluble solids, let alone so-called “imponderables”);
        4. There is no evidence that it would persist through the process of deposition onto a sugar pill followed by evaporation;
        5. There is no evidence it could survive the enzymes of the mouth;
        6. There is no evidence it could cross the barriers into the bloodstream from the mouth or gut;
        7. There is no evidence it would be transported to any affected organ;
        8. There is no evidence of any objectively testable bioavailability;
        9. There is no evidence of any objectively testable physiological effect.

        These are the same problems as last time you made the same claim.

        So, we’ve told you why these speculative and generally unreproduced findings in respect of barely-relevant properties of randomly selected materials, are not a substitute for a plausible theoretical framework. They are the metaphorical equivalent of asserting that because aircraft are made of aluminium, adding aluminium threads ot a carpet will make it fly.

        We’ve told you what sort of evidence will change our minds. You refuse to say what would change yours. You also ignore or refuse to accept any point made in rebuttal, instead simply repeating the assertions as if the rebuttals have never happened, whereas we patiently wade through the “evidence” you provide, and see if it is, in fact, anywhere close to being relevant.

        And then you accuse us of being closed-minded.

        Funnily enough, you mimic the exact style in which creationists and climate deniers respond to the reality-based community as well.

        • Well said Guy! Dana Ullman has a dangerous imagination. She would be a good writer for Star Wars.

          • SCox, MD said:

            Well said Guy! Dana Ullman has a dangerous imagination. She would be a good writer for Star Wars.

            The problem with wishes is that they sometimes come true: meet Star Trek Captain Dana T.Kirk: Homeopathy and the Future of Medicine: A Report from the Future

            Captain’s Log, Star Date April 29th, 2096. Captain Dana T.Kirk reporting. Star Fleet has asked me to speak at this centennial celebration of the re-establishment of Hahnemann Homeopathic Hospital in San Francisco. It is also the 300th anniversary of Samuel Hahnemann’s first writings about the science and art of homeopathic medicine. It is indeed an honor to have these ceremonies transmitted to our Federation’s 38 space stations and to our colleagues in neighboring galaxies. This celebration is meant to honor this hospital and this city, both of which helped spawn a major revolution in medicine and science.

            The delusions are strong in this one…

          • @Alan Henness

            This is incredible Alan. Good catch.
            If we did not know the author so well, we might think this HuffPost piece was written as a humoristic satire on homeopathy.

            E.g.

            And today, as we look throughout this auditorium at our fellow colleagues from the Andromeda Galaxy and the Pleiades, we can feel a sense of real accomplishment that we Earthlings have made some contributions to homeopathy, even though they have utilized the homeopathic principle for centuries longer than we have. 

            It is, of course, ironic that my great-grandfather Dana Ullman’s son would become an allopath, but I’m certain that he would feel that justice and virtue has prevailed as the result of the fact that his son’s daughter, my mother, is presently the President of the Homeopathic Society of Earth. 

            In closing, I must give personal thanks to homeopathy for saving my own life. While on a space mission just five years ago, I contracted a Neptunian virus. Without the carefully selected and timed doses of Sulphur and, of course, Phosphorous, I would not be here to honor this hospital and to honor you. 

            And following this narcissistically grandiose daydream is a plug for his own book. As we have recently discussed, the basic motivating force for all woomongers is always the MONEY! 😀

            The problem is that such drivel may lure people who are in need, away from genuine medical help. Homeopathy and other ineffective make-believe medicine is a public-health threat.

      • More like science fiction–nanodose levels are as close to water as possible. Scientific words do not equal scientific fact or even probability!!

  • (Part 1)

    Right at the moment I happen to prepare a presentation that is to be held in Vienna on December 15, 2015, which deals with much of the work of Prof. Frass and members of his group. In fact it was planned, that I enter into a discussion with him and the Studentinnen-Initiative Homöopathie of Vienna Medical University, but Frass postponed this meeting to spring 2016. So this will be a slightly adapted public presentation at the Vienna Volkshochschule.

    Here are some of my conclusions about the studies I reviewed:

    AN RCT WITH CANCER PATIENTS

    This is a ‘pragmatic’ study of the (A + B vs. A )-type. No blinding and no administration of a placebo. Subjects filled out questionnaires about their quality of life and general well-being in retrospect, that is, they did not keep any diary on instances like nausea, pain or other parameters, but answered from their memory. The homeopathy patients filled their questionnaire during their homeopathic sessions with a very nice and friendly homeopath (Frass), the others somewhere else in the clinic during one of their treatments. I would say with this arrangement it is near to impossible to produce results not in favor of homeopathy.

    TWO CASE REPORTS OF HOMEOPATHICALLY TREATED INTOXICATIONS

    Both patients from different locations received very intensive care, the second one in the Vienna ICU. While for the first the conventional treatment is not given in very deep detail, treatment of the second case is described very comprehensively. The conditions of both patients improved after they received adjunct homeopathic treatment and both survived, which was near to a miracle for the second one. The second patient was member of a party of four who all ingested the mushrooms, the other three members were not treated with homeopathy, one survived two died. The authors concluded, that homeopathy had a roll in the management of the conditions.

    I sent a letter to the editor (http://www.ochsnerjournal.org/doi/full/10.1043/1524-5012-14.4.517) raising the questions how the authors could be sure, that it was homeopathy that did the job and not the tough work of the ICU-staff. I queried if they had any backing up data from the clinic’s files as to how many patients died in the past in spite of having received homeopathy or how many survived without.

    The authors conceded in their response, that they should have been more cautious with their conclusions – but otherwise gave no illuminating response.

    Details see here (in German):
    http://www.beweisaufnahme-homoeopathie.de/?page_id=2071

  • (Part II)
    RETROSPECTIVE ANALYSIS OF CANCER SURVIVAL UNDER HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT (2014)

    Inclusion criteria were that the patients of the homeopathy group had to complete at least three homeopathic sessions prior to study enrollment. While data consistency is pretty poor in this paper, I managed to review the data for the subgroup of patients with pancreatic cancer.

    On average it took the patients 13 months after first diagnosis only to join the study while the expected median survival time from literature was given as 6.6 months only. So even if homeopathy would have killed the patients on day 1 of the study, the result would be an average survival time after first diagnosis longer than predicted. This effect is known as ‘immortal-time bias’ or ‘late-entry bias’. Conclusion: most if not all of the advantages of the patients treated with homeopathy is flawed by this bias.

    The study is said to be of preliminary nature, but pilot studies seem to be considered the same as full fledged PCTs in homeopathy (10 out of 32 studies of the recent review by Mathie et al. were pilot studies only). This ‘evidence’ is likely to be used to promote homeopathy. Frass himself posted the final diagram of the outcome on his personal website. As this is bound to mislead practitioners and patients, the study should be redone or withdrawn altogether.

    I had some discussion on my blog with Prof. Frass himself, but he seems unwilling to follow my analysis. So I filed a review paper to the journal that published the original paper. I got informed, that the preferrable format would be a letter to the editor which I filed a few weeks ago. We will see what comes of it.

    Details see here (in German):
    http://www.beweisaufnahme-homoeopathie.de/?page_id=2240

    and the subsequent discussion with Prof. Frass (in German):
    http://www.beweisaufnahme-homoeopathie.de/?page_id=2445
    http://www.beweisaufnahme-homoeopathie.de/?page_id=2480
    http://www.beweisaufnahme-homoeopathie.de/?page_id=2560

  • (Part III)

    RCT OF HOMEOPATHY FOR SEVERE SEPSIS (2005)

    Patients suffering from severe sepsis were conventionally treated in the Vienna ICU. In addition they received either an individually prescribed homeopathic preparation or placebo. The endpoint of this study is the survival after 180 days after treatment. And, hurrah, after this time significantly more patients survived in homeopathy group than in control. Before that, 30 days after treatment, this was not significant and data for the time of dismissal from the ICU are not even given.

    To my understanding, with severe sepsis you are through with it after one week, maybe 10 days, either one way or the other. What was the rationale to use survival after six months to decide if homeopathy was helpful in treating the sepsis? Was this really decided beforehand, before starting this research? Or did the authors just wait for the time to come when enough of one group had died to have a significant result, which lucky enough happened in favor of homeopathy?

    The authors do not disclose why the death rate after six months is connected to the homeopathic treatment of sepsis. They do not even give any information what were the causes of the deaths. Patients have been severely ill with cancer or other serious conditions before their sepsis, some were quite old – and could have died by accidents. All would have been counted to decide if homeopathy was effective for sepsis or not.

    Details see here (in German):
    http://www.beweisaufnahme-homoeopathie.de/?page_id=1853

  • The paper about potassium dichromate (well, actually, water) for treating patients in intensive care was the subject of a letter that was published in Chest: http://www.dcscience.net/2007/02/15/homeopathy-in-intensive-care/
    Heaven knows how it ever got published.

    • Hey David…what would the results of this trial be if the treatment and control group were perfectly matched. Therefore, why don’t you simply deduct the number of patients that number from the most successful homeopathic patient group…and what would the results be? Probably still P<0.01 at the very least.

      However, if the groups were "perfectly" matched, Ernst would question how or why were they perfectly matched.

      I love it when you two play Good Cop/Bad Cop together. It's transparent.

      • How Science works for Dana Ullman:

        Answer the question ‘what would the results of this trial be if … ‘ and you have all the evidence you need.

      • Dana, I think the answer is that the results of a competently conducted trial would be negative, in line with the numerous systematic reviews which show no significant clinical effect, and the complete absence of any plausible theoretical framework.

        I’d suggest re-running the trial with more patients and a robust design, but that would violate the Declaration of Helsinki (as indeed do all studies of homeopathy on human subjects).

    • The story of potassium dichromate was also discussed in this blog

      http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/07/02/homeopathy-in-thecringeicu-1/

      in comment #4 it is stated that, the selection of the two groups was not randomized.

      “In other words, the placebo group included 4 patients with moderate or severe COPD. The homeopathy group included only one.”

  • Posted by Admin on behalf of Norbert Aust

    (Part IV)

    RCT FOR HOMEOPATHY ON COPD

    Intubated patients received either placebo or a homeopathic preparation as an adjunct treatment in the Vienna ICU. The main criterion was the amount of sputum on day 2 after the homeopathic treatment. But the authors did not just sum up the amounts of sputum collected during the regular suctions and during the additional ones applied on demand. They selected a pretty complicated rating procedure instead. As in real life: if you ask question of your son or daughter that could be answered in one short sentence and you receive a long speech, then you know there is something wrong. Same here.

    In the first place, they did not measure the amount in each occasion in grams or milliliters but graded them in three grades (1 = 1 to 5, 2 = 6 to 10. 3 = 11 to 15 ml).

    The final average grade for each patient was not taken from all the suctions that occurred during day two but were taken from only three suctions (and the result rounded to a full digit). Criteria for the selection of the samples were not given. Thus the fact, that the homeopathic group on average required more suctions throughout that day (7.2) than control (6.9) was completely lost to the outcome, along with anything that might be called precision of the data assessment. The result was in favor of homeopathy – but there is much in doubt if this bears any resemblance to the actual condition of the patients.

    The second endpoint was the duration until the patients could be extubated, which was significantly shorter in the homeopathy patients. But criteria for extubation did not include the amount of sputum, which was the topic of this research. Patients had to be alert, show a gagging reflex, meet some thresholds in breathing parameters etc. So the second endpoint is of no meaning for the research question as indicated by the title of this paper (‘Influence of Potassium Dichromate on Tracheal Secretions in Critically Ill Patients’).

    There is a third criterion reported, significantly in favor of homeopathy, namely the duration of the stay in the ICU. This proves to be about 1.5 days longer than intubation, the same with both groups. So the third point is not an additional point but is just a linear dependant on the duration of intubation. With some imagination you could add quite a few additional criteria of the same nature, that will prove to be significantly in favor of homeopathy as well: number of doctor’s visits, of meals missed, of sundowns and sunrises during the stay etc. All will add to the significant advantage of homeopathy.

    Details see here (in German):

    http://www.beweisaufnahme-homoeopathie.de/?page_id=1054

    OTHER

    It seems I have missed on some of the papers that professor gives in his article, but the above are the major findings of the studies of Frass and his staff that I have reviewed up to now. Note: There is not one, where I would say that the findings in favor of homeopathy result from sound research or might just be the 5%-chance result of false positive findings.

    No, it is the quality of the research itself that proves amiss.

    • It seems that the fact that this study was randomized, double-blind, and placebo controlled was LOST of Norbert Aust. Totally lost! “How convenient!”

      • It seems that the fact that any research requires valid data assessment and evaluation is LOST on Dana Ullman. Totally lost! How convenient for the authors, that they found a method that just ignores the fact, that homeopathy group needed more suctionings than control. How very convenient.

      • Dana, some time ago, before the learned judge described you as “not credible”, I asked you for the robust evidence that like cures like as a general or even common principle. I am still waiting for an answer. “How convenient”.

  • It seems to me that you’ve made the case quite nicely for homeopathy. The most salient point that you have demonstrated is your incredulity in the face of evidence that runs contrary to your premeditated bias against homeopathy. In your own words, the conclusions are “undeniably true.” You even do a good job of presenting Dr. Frass’ professional background. Aside from sarcasm, which should have nothing to do with any scientific assessment, you offer nothing to refute the facts of the matter. Ergo, Dr. Frass’ work is yet another example of a growing body of research that supports the conclusion that homeopathy is far from the pseudoscience that you believe it to be.

    • CAN YOU EVEN READ?
      I WROTE THAT IT IS UNDENIABLE THAT ALL OF FRASS’ RESULTS ARRIVE AT POSITIVE CONCLUSIONS!

    • Presuming this is really Larry Malerba, D.O. who is writing the above lame defense of shaken-water-healing.

      Here’s an excerpt from one of your many preposterous public appearances:

      A convenient catch-22 has been created by a medical system that refuses to consider the homeopathic option while simultaneously claiming that there are no studies to back up its use. Although there are no specific studies regarding homeopathy and pertussis, there are numerous studies that point to the fact that homeopathy involves significantly more than the placebo effect that it is claimed by naysayers to be (3). The real bottom line here is that this closed-minded attitude, which fails to entertain promising alternative medical options, does a tremendous disservice to suffering patients in need of care.

      You are evidently confused on the matter yourself Larry. To your latched and locked mind this incertitude is surely quite subliminal.
      Now which is it to be? Does homeopathy work on pertussis or doesn’t it? Why do you think it does when, as you say yourself, there is no evidence to support it? How do you know it works? By what mechanism does one of the plants and minerals drawn out of a remedy prover’s hat, and diluted to the ridiculous order of 10^60 (typical) have an effect on a serious diseases?
      By hope and wishes perhaps? All attempts at finding the mechanism behind the magic have not unsurprisingly been abject failures because there is no physical possibility that pure water can retain any effect and even less that it can pass it over to the sugar from which it evaporates. The notion is nonviable from the start.
      There are books upon books that tell stories about Santa Claus even if no one has been able to verify his exceedingly unlikely existence in any way. The same applies to research on homeopathy. The numbers of attempts reflect desperation, not success. The “positive” results can always be found to have other explanations and overambitious conclusions based on wishful thinking prove nothing when the basic preconditions are not there to support them.

      You call yourself “physician” but you use dreams, fables and fantasy. That is pretentious and wrong. You repeatedly write in global media suggesting that sick and suffering patients use purified water and lactose as medicine. Just because mental dwarfs religiously adhere to the fantasies and ignore all evidence against in their well meaning delusion doesn’t make such advice any less wrong and misleading.
      Do you know what such behaviour elicits in people like me who have spent a lifetime dealing with disease and suffering? It gives me a feeling of PROFOUND DISGUST!
      That is why I object deeply to your calling yourself a “physician”. If you ever were bestowed with the honor that title indicates, you have long since forsaken it.
      The above is written with full respect for your person and your beliefs, none for your actions and utterings.

      • Bjorn, I am truly sorry that my assertions take you so far off your scientific game as to cause you to respond with an emotion like disgust and personal attacks on my status as a physician (a conventionally trained one at that). And your disclaimer of full respect is transparent and laughable.

        • Not ‘full’ respect. Only partial. Read my words for heavens sake!

          And please explain why you recommend unproven, unlikely “remedies” for serious disease. You say yourself there is no proof of effect. And there is no reason to postulate there is one. To me that is detestable and deceiptful behaviour by a physician against seriously sick patients.

    • ‘Ergo, Dr. Frass’ work is yet another example of a growing body of research that supports the conclusion that homeopathy is far from the pseudoscience that you believe it to be’

      Exactly. It is hard to come to this conclusion any other way.

  • To be fair, similar runs of positive results are known in research. The difference is that if the results contradict what we already know then certain actions occur. There is skeptical criticism of the results and attempts to duplicate the results by other groups. None of this is seen in homeopathy. Usually the authors blithely carry onto yet another incredible unrelated result.

    The Frass claim on COPD is fairly typical, criticisms on the size of groups, the comparability of the groups and the data analysis have gone unanswered except by rhetoric. The main feature for the marketing of homeopathy is that it was published in a reputable journal. This is more a negative comment on the review process at Chest than positive for homeopathy.

    • You are right that all homeopath it’s care about us the fact of publication. We can see this in their repeated use of studies long shown to be junk. Some still cite the “Swiss HTA” that isn’t, and Dana still holds to his claim that Darwin only wrote the Origin because of homeopathy, even though Darwin denounced it as bunk and changed to a non-homeopath well before the Origin was published.

      Homeopathy is a cult, not a system of medicine. Homeopathy studies are like Chick tracts: they are designed to proselytise and to please the faithful. The reality-based community is not the target audience, hence they only care about the comments of the reality-based community to the extent that the clueless might happen upon them while being spoon-fed by the True Beliver in search of a convert.

      • Hey Guy, to say or suggest that homeopathy is a “cult” is a classic statement showing sheer stupidity (thanx for verifying that again). The World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed France to have the BEST health care in the world. It is therefore not surprising to note that according to a survey recently published in the respected medical journal, FAMILY PRACTICE, that 95% of French pediatricians, dermatologists, and general practitioners use homeopathic medicines (1) Further, dozens of surveys have been conducted over the past 100 years on who uses homeopathic medicine, and EVERY survey ever conducted on this subject has found that people who use homeopathy tend to be considerably more educated than those who do not.

        And I fully realize that Darth Ernst was being sarcastic in his comments about Dr. Michael Frass, though no one denies that Frass’ work is “remarkable.” If Ernst wants to question Frass because all of his studies have found benefits from homeopathic medicine, then, we should ALL question Ernst’s work because all of his writings are antagonistic to homeopathy. By the way, perhaps the reason that Frass’ work is consistently positive is that he, as an active clinician, actually has SEEN high probabililty of positive results in certain ailments…and these observations have been bore out when he and his team have conducted randomized double-blind and placebo controlled trials or when conducting controlled observational studies.

        That said, deniers love to deny denial. Such skeptics should continue to use your rotary phones and typewriters whille the rest of the world has entered the 21st century.

        (1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25921648

        • they also serve red wine and garlic in French hospitals; chances that this correlates with the god health care are about 1000000000000000000000000 times greater than the association with homeopathy, don’t you think Dana?
          “…we should ALL question Ernst’s work because all of his writings are antagonistic to homeopathy”. you forget that I have recently been found out by a fellow homeopath of yours that I did actually publish a POSITIVE homeopathy trial! [http://edzardernst.com/2015/07/professor-ernsts-very-own-positive-trial-of-homeopathy-oh-dear-have-i-been-found-out/]

          • It is so typical of you to demean the integrity of a whole nation of physicians. Typical indeed considering your own upbringing. My most sincere sympathies to you and all of the people and cultures that you prefer to bully.

            It is also VERY curious that the ONE time you actually conducted research yourself on homeopathy, you found POSITIVE results for it…and thanx for confirming this. However, whenever you’ve written reviews of research, you’ve shown your subjective biases. How convenient, indeed.

          • sorry, wrong again Dana: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19832813
            and another thing: I do not demean the French or French medicine – quite to the contrary.
            do you ever think before writing?
            sorry, I now have to leave you – I am going out with my French wife.

          • And doesn’t your French wife and her family use homeopathic medicines? More than a tad ironic, eh?

          • so sorry, but wrong again

          • Are you spotting a pattern here?

          • Typical of Dana Ullman, who appears to be brain-dead, to pick up Edzard’s comment about French hospitals as “demean[ing] the integrity of a whole nation”.
             
            Point (a): just because a cure happens after a particular action is not evidence that the action led to the cure. (Post hoc fallacy).
             
            Point (b): just because a “whole nation” favours a particular approach to medicine or any other matter does not prove that that approach is rational or effective. (Argumentum ad populum fallacy).

        • The French spend more on health care per head of population than most countries in the world. There is a good correlation between the amount spent and outcomes such as life expectancy. There is no good correlation between the amount spent on homeopathy and outcomes. It is almost as if drops of water and sugar pills have no effect.

        • Is homeopathy a cult?

          It has its early prophet, Hahnemann, the bible that you worship is the Organon, it has blind belief despite evidence, its own theologians who abuse knowledge and logic such as yourself, the same small minded approach to anybody who disagrees and even the same treatment of apostates.

          If it isn’t a cult, it does a damn fine job of imitating one.

          • Misinformation seems to be the religion of Acleron. For the record, below is a short review of the life and work of Samuel Hahnemann, MD, a respected physician and chemist, esteemed translator of scientific works of his day, and highly regarded physician even by previous leading skeptics (as compared with the ill-infomred pseudo-skeptics of this day and age). Hahnemann authored the leading textbook used by pharmacists of his day. I wonder if Acleron can name a single cult leader who authored such a text. Hahnemann was also granted honorary membership to the New York medical society. Can Acleron cite a single cult leader who was granted similar acclaimation?

            In America’s capital city, Washington, DC, the only monument honoring a physician is one to the founder of homeopathic medicine, Samuel Hahnemann, MD (1755–1843). This monument was dedicated in 1900 by President William McKinley.

            Although trained as a medical doctor, Hahnemann was a learned chemist and author of the leading German textbook for apothecaries (pharmacists) of the day. He was conversant in at least nine languages and even supported himself in his mid-twenties teaching languages at the famed University of Leipzig.

            Learning languages enabled Hahnemann to become familiar with the latest developments in medicine and science. He further expanded his knowledge and his growing prestige by translating twenty-two textbooks, primarily medical and chemistry textbooks (several of which were multi-volume works). Over a twenty-nine-year period, Hahnemann translated some 9,460 pages.

            Prior to his discovery of homeopathy, Hahnemann’s respect as a physician brought German royalty to seek his medical care, and modern medical historians confirm that Hahnemann showed sound balance and good judgment in his advocacy of proper diet, fresh air, and exercise as a method of treatment. His promotion of hygienic measures during epidemics won him praise as a public health advocate, and his kind, rather than cruel and harsh, treatment of the insane granted him a place in the history of psychiatry (Rothstein, 1972, 152).

            Hahnemann stopped practicing conventional medicine of his day because he felt that he was doing more harm than good. Instead, he made a living for his family of eleven children as a translator. During the translation of a book by William Cullen, the leading physiologist of that time, Hahnemann noted that Cullen asserted that Peruvian bark was an effective drug for malaria because of its bitter and astringent properties. Hahnemann thought this a peculiar statement because he knew other bitter and astringent medicines that provided no benefit in the treatment of malaria. He then conducted an experiment upon himself, taking this herb twice a day until he developed symptoms of its toxicology, and here he discovered that it created a fever with chills as well as other symptoms that mimicked malaria. Hahnemann proposed that Peruvian bark (which contains quinine) may be effective for treating people with malaria because it has the capacity to cause similar symptoms.

            Hahnemann ultimately conducted upon himself experiments with ninety other substances, and his colleagues and friends also engaged in these experiments. He found a consistent pattern from these experiments: that various substances in overdose create their own unique syndrome of symptoms and whatever syndrome a substance causes in toxic dose, it can and will elicit a healing response when given in specially prepared small doses to people who have similar symptoms of pathology.

            Hahnemann observed that sick people were hypersensitive to the medicine that causes similar symptoms as they were experiencing. Because of this, Hahnemann began using smaller and smaller doses. Being a chemist, he experimented with various ways to make these doses both safe and effective. Over the next forty years, he experimented with diluting the medicines 1:10, 1:100, or 1:50,000, with vigorous shaking between dilutions, and he consistently found that exceedingly small doses of medicines had powerful therapeutic effects when prescribed according to his principle of similars.

            Being an incredibly avid experimenter, Hahnemann did not come easily or quickly to his conclusions about the exceptionally small doses he and his colleagues found effective. In fact, he first wrote about homeopathy in 1796, and for the next thirty years (!) he primarily used doses that are today considered low potencies. Further, in 1829, a homeopathic physician wrote him about his successes in using potencies that were diluted 1:10 more than 200 times, and Hahnemann expressed skepticism for such actions until he himself found that these higher potencies were surprisingly effective (Bradford, 1895, 455–456).

            Ultimately, Hahnemann authored three major books on homeopathy, including six editions of his seminal work Organon of the Medical Art, continually updating and refining this science and art.

            Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland, MD (1762–1836), Germany’s most well-known and respected physician of his day, was as famous as Goethe and Schiller in the early nineteenth century. As the editor of the leading medical journal in Germany, Journal of Practical Medicine, Hufeland published some of Hahnemann’s writings and held him in extremely high regard: “I have discovered in him an amplitude of knowledge, clearness of mind, and a spirit of tolerance, which last is the more worthy of notice in him.” Hahnemann was described as “one of our most distinguished, intelligent and original physicians” (Everest, 1842, 186).

            Even though Robert Koch first discovered the cholera bacteria in 1883, as early as 1831 Hahnemann ascribed the cause of the cholera epidemics raging at that time to “an enormously increased brood of those excessively minute, invisible, living creatures so inimical to human life, of which the contagious matter of the cholera most probably consists” (Hahnemann, 1831).

            Nicholas Von Hoffman, a columnist for the Washington Post, wrote: “Although this German physician never visited the U.S., for 70 years or more his ideas tore up and divided American medicine. No other single individual caused the settled and comfortable structures of this profession the trouble Hahnemann did, and even now many of the questions he raised have not been answered” (Von Hoffman, 1971).

            Many of homeopathy’s most severe critics have actually had kind words for Samuel Hahnemann. Morris Fishbein, executive director of the American Medical Association, wrote: “The influence of Hahnemann was, on the whole, certainly for the good. He emphasized the individualization of the patient in the handling of disease … and he demonstrated the value of testing the actual virtues of a drug by trial” (Fishbein, 1925, 37).

            Of additional interest is the fact that Hahnemann was granted honorary membership into the Medical Society of the County of New York in 1832. However, a few years later, the society rescinded his membership when they determined that homeopathy’s growth represented an “ideological and financial threat” (Kaufman, p. 32)

            Despite Hahnemann’s significant contributions to medicine, pharmacy, chemistry, psychiatry, and public health, he remained a humble man. “I do not ask during my lifetime any recognition of the beneficent truth, which I, without any thought of myself, offer. What I have done, I did from higher motives for the world. Non inutilis vixi (I have not lived in vain)” (Neng, 1930).

            On the Hahnemann monument in Washington, DC, are those Latin words. Indeed, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann did not live in vain.

          • are you feeling alright Dana?

          • He seems to be suffering from the concussive delusion that inevitably result from relentless attempts to shake carpets hard enough to force them into sweeping all of the abject failures of homeopathy under themselves.
            http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Dana_Ullman

          • Exaggeration of the achievements and abilities of your prophet is also a cult activity that I forgot, thanks for the reminder Dana.

          • The sanctimonious devotion seems agonizing. One can easily envision his holiness lighting a candle and flogging (i.e. potentizing) himself in front of old Hahnemann’s shrine. 😀

  • Prof Ernst said to Ullman:

    do you ever think before writing?

    Do you need an answer to that?

  • I just found this: http://www.narayana-verlag.com/Homeopathy-in-Intensive-Care-and-Emergency-Medicine-Michael-Frass-Martin-Buendner/b14188
    Frass has published a book about “Homeopathy in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine”
    Here is a review of it:
    This is a unique work, which documents how homeopathy can achieve predictably successful results in emergencies such as anaphylactic shock, acute abdomen, acute asthma, myocardial infarction of the inferior wall, and oedema of the glottis.

    The book contains 145 well-documented case histories, similar to those written by the old American homeopathic clinicians. In each case it is clearly demonstrated how to quickly find the best remedy using straightforward Kentian repertorisation. The results are impressive. The authors show that conventional treatment and homeopathy can perfectly complement each other.

    This work offers also a lot of general information on homeopathy like potentisation, source materials used in homeopathic remedies and methods of administration. It also comprises a stringently edited materia medica of the most important 70 remedies for ICU and emergency situations.

    Both editors have extensive experience in emergency medicine and homeopathy. Michael Frass is former head of the intensive internal medicine unit at the Medical University of Vienna and Martin Bünder also has long-standing service in rescue and emergency medicine.

    “At first glance the idea that homeopathy can help in intensive care and emergency medicine seems far-fetched, since we normally associate an intensive care ward with high-tech equipment rather than gentle remedies. So it is all the more surprising to see how sensitively authors Michael Frass and Martin Bündner deal with this controversial field, which is often a matter of life or
    death. Their main focus is on integration.

    What stands out here is the high-class presentation of case-related detail, including repertorisation and remedy selection as well as evaluation and criticism of each case. The treatment section remains exceptionally clear, guaranteeing the practical usefulness of the high-quality scientific information in this book. This book is to be recommended not just to homeopaths but also to doctors working in a conventional clinical setting who have so far only used orthodox medical techniques.”
    Review by the Karl and Veronica Carstens Foundation, Germany

    • Well, I guess this review answers your questions about how and why Michael Frass’ work is consistently positive in its results for homeopathy. Michael Frass is an intelligent and medically experienced physician who is also a competent researcher who seeks to provide and evaluate the highest quality and safest medical care. I just wonder when you will finally apologize for decades of your misjudgment and abuse of homeopathy and the people who practice it.

      • BUT I DO, I DO! I DO APPOLOGISE – for having taken so long to be outspokenly critical about homeopathy; this could have saved a few lives.

  • I am surprised, too, that some authors publish only negative papers on complementary medicine.
    With regard to Claudia Witt: she has recently co-authored a paper with negative results with regard to homeopathy.
    I like the criticism of Dr. Aust: We had a wonderful and fruitful correspondence regarding the Gaertner paper. At the end, I had to admit that we had some errors in the publication. By revising it, we found that the results were similar even better than before. So we want to thank Dr. Aust for his very careful criticism.
    With regard to the discussion with Dr. Aust in Vienna: the students wanted to have it at a time when more people can attend, while 10 days before Christmas only few students would join the lecture. However, next year we are planning to have the requested discussion.
    With regard to the sepsis paper: As Lüdtke, statistician at the Carstens-Stiftung at the time of publication stated, criticized we should recalculate the results, however, the results are the same. The question whether the patients died from an accident can be easily answered: no one died during the observation period due to an accident. The publisher at that time was not interested in a paper too long. There was no significant difference with respect to the causes of death. Some people are wondering why the observation period was 180 days: this is easy to answer: some therapies help to survive short-time, e.g. hydrocortone for septic shock; however, long-term survival does not change. Therefore, it is useful to observe patients for a longer period of time, a method still used today (COIITSS Study Investigators, et al. Corticosteroid treatment and intensive insulin therapy for septic shock in adults: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA 2010;303:341-8).
    With regard to the Potassium dichromate (Chest) study, I do not understand why 3 times collecting mucusal secretion should not suffice. We have defined this method clearly in the Methods Section therefore it is equal for all patients. Dividing into three groups was the idea of the statistician: same results would have been seen with the use of absolute numbers. To criticize that profuse secretions is not included in the extubation criteria demonstrates lack of knowledge of intensive care medicine: every nurse knows that too much secretion might lead to obstruction of the patient´s airways; this is followed by respiratory arrest. Respiratory arrest leads to cardiac arrest which, if untreated, leads to death of the patient. I am sorry but these basics are never included in a scientific paper. The extubation criteria by the way are defined by a non-homeopath.
    What is no surprise that my letter regarding the Shang paper (Lancet 2005; my response in Hoemopathy) is not cited: Interpretation of data demonstrates clearly that homeopathy does more than placebo. At any discussion this paper is neglected to due understandable reasons. So we are happy to say that homeopathy helps to heal people. I hope my comments help to clarify some unclear points. I will be unable to submit more comments due to time restriction.

    • so, why are all your results positive? is it because homeopathy works in all these situations?
      BTW: if you are implying that I only published negative results, you are mistaken!

    • Michael Frass said:

      I am surprised, too, that some authors publish only negative papers on complementary medicine.

      Why?

      • What is interesting is that the many skeptics here love to provide hyper-detailed critique of any study tthat shows homeopathy may work…but they NEVER ever critique even really bad & stupid studies that suggest that it doesn’t work!

        I challenge you all to show and prove your objectivity and start analyzing and critiquing the work by Shang and by the new report from the Australian government.

        I predict a LOUD silence!…and “placebo responses” (meaning = faux responses).

        • Ah, the non sequitur approach to debate. Quick, discuss anything other than the topic.

        • If you claim a study to provide evidence, then finding major flaws in it with possibly substantial impact on the outcome, then this study loses the property of being evidence pro homeopathy – but does not gain status of being evidence against homeopathy.

          In the same manner, a study that does not provide evidence pro homeopathy, this will not turn into evidence when you find it flawed.

          Conclusion: Reviewing evidence pro homeopathy may result in some effect on the evidence base, whereas reviewing negative ones does not.

        • Because you can’t prove that something doesn’t exist/work. This is a basis in experimentation. You can’t prove that god does not exist. You can just produce negative results. But seeing your other post here it doesn’t surprise me that you are out of your mind.

          • It is so cute to watch people here pretend to be objective when they deny evidence and they don’t criticize the poor research studies, such as Shang (2005) and the Australian government…and then, they blame critics of their limited thinking and resort to ad homs. This is all typical of unscientific and non-objective-thinking people. My sincere condolences.

          • Dana says: “It is so cute to watch people here pretend to be objective when they deny evidence”

            Yes, Dana, it is. We laugh every time you do it. Were you ever intending to answer the questions you were asked in the comments on the previous post? In particular:

            1. What kind of evidence would cause you to change your mind?
            2. What robust evidence exists to prove that like cures like, as a general or even common principle?
            3. What objectively verifiable property of matter confers cure based on symptomatic similarity, and where are the independently verified objective tests showing this being transferred through the various stages from solution to sugar pill to patient to affected organ?

    • So we are happy to say that homeopathy helps to heal people

      Eh…? Shaken water and lactose. Are you quite sure? If you’re right, we will have to reevaluate all we know about reality.

    • @Michael Frass: I don’t know anyone who only produces negative results, but there is one obvious potential reason. It’s called Minchin’s Law.

      Minchin’s Law posits that there is no alternative medicine that provably works, because any alternative medicine which provably works, is by definition no longer alternative.

      The likelihood of a positive outcome in trials of anything – whether real medicine or fake – tends to decrease as the study quality increases and bias is eliminated. Proponents of alternatives to medicine typically refuse to countenance the possibility that they might be wrong.

      There are two obvious possibilities if a group produces uniformly negative results of some alternative to medicine:

      1. The group is successfully eliminating bias and the treatment is bogus.
      2. The group is biased against the treatment.

      With homeopathy, in particular, even proponents produce negative outcomes (e.g. http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/11/08/rheumatology.keq234.abstract), so the first seems more likely, especially given that homeopathy is based on doctrines that have no convincing evidential support.

  • @Prof. Frass,

    I am not so sure, that this is the proper place to continue our discussion. So let me just give some direct answers to the issues you raised in your comment. Please bear in mind, that we are talking about an assumption that would render half of our knowledge on nature and science as obsolete if it was true. So, I don not know if we need extraordinary proof – but I am sure we need extraordinarily sound proof, that can be trusted without any slightest doubt.

    Thanks for your approval of my criticism and our correspondence about the Gaertner paper. You did not disclose any new data yet so I cannot say anything in this direction. However, from our last exchange it seems you did not get my point. The method of data evaluation that is detailed in this paper invokes a very strong bias in favor of homeopathy, which is called ‘immortal time bias’. It is not a matter of a few errors in your data, as you pointed out to me, it is the approach as a whole that is at fault. See this reference here:

    http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Samy_Suissa/publication/6550497_Immortal_time_bias_in_observational_studies_of_drug_effects/links/02e7e52a7571d07f93000000.pdf

    or here:

    http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/167/4/492.long

    Your sepsis paper:
    Understood, there is an increased mortality after severe sepsis for up to a few years after treatment. But in your paper you do not give any rationale why mortality after 180 days was selected as main outcome, not three months, not one year. Not even why you considered homeopathy effective for long-term survival only and not for short term. In that, how are we to distinguish this study from a Texas sharpshooter fallacy?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_sharpshooter_fallacy

    COPD-Study:
    “I do not understand why 3 times collecting mucusal secretion should not suffice.”
    Because this does not give the amount of sputum a patient produced through the day.

    “Dividing into three groups was the idea of the statistician: same results would have been seen with the use of absolute numbers.”
    Then why didn’t you just follow the simple and easy way? Instead you lost precision and invoked ambiguity to your data.

    Thanks for your help in seeing the obvious about extubation and amount of sputum. So let’s put it this way: The point in time, where extubation took place was not depending on the amount of sputum alone, there were quite a few further conditions to meet, that were not directly dependent on this. So what prevented the placebo group from early extubation? Could it be connected to the fact that in this group there were nearly twice as many patients suffering from extreme COPD, namely requiring long term O2-treatment (9 of 25 instead of 5 of 25)?

    Well, you see, there are some doubts persisting.

    • If it takes 180 days for an effect of homeopathy to appear in sepsis, what on earth is the value of a
      homeopathic first aid kit?!

      • For the record, the survival rate at day 30 was 81.8% for homeopathic patients and 67.7% for those given a placebo. After six months, there were twice as many survivors in the homeopathic-treated group.

        It seems that Darwin was wrong: some human don’t care if they or others survived.

        • ” After six months, there were twice as many survivors in the homeopathic-treated group.”

          Sure. But was this a result of the homeopathic treatment of sepsis?

          “some human don’t care if they or others survived.”
          … and tend to treat severe conditions with nothing but sugar and some residual of solvents.

          • Yeah…more than TWICE as many people in the homeopathic treated group in this trial survived as compared with placebo…and a P<0.05, suggesting that, YES, homeopathic medicine had an effect. #DUH

            As yet, not a single person here has shown the slightest bit of objectivity and provided the seemingly high level of critique for Shang and the reallly stupid Australian report. Waiting.

          • A significance of 0.05 only suggests there is a difference between the groups. If that convinces you that sugar and water have an effect over sugar and water, it is probably strongly suggestive of the reason why you are not a scientist.

          • @Norbert
            I doubt that DU can be trusted to coæmprehend any English text over preschool level. Others might however benefit from opening your link using the Chrome browser. It automagically translates the text into many languages. German is a bit difficult when autotranslated as the order of words is so different. So DU would do better to let it pass as I am afraid it might just aggravate his constitutional confusion 🙂

        • Dana: Oddly* the primary endpoint was not declared in advance, giving a strong impression of dumpster diving through the data in a Texas sharpshooter fallacy.

          * No, not oddly at all.

  • I don’t understand why all positive conclusions should look incredible. homeopathic law of similars is a universal law like Newton’s laws of motion. Every time it’s tested it would only yield positive conclusion unless there is a serious defect in the test methodology.

    That is why the sayings “homeopathy never fails but it’s the homeopaths who fail “, “homeopathy is as good as the homeopath” etc are being accepted within the community.
    if Dr.Frass is a good homeopath, naturally most cases he handled would show efficacy.

    • so no #blindspot in Frass’s work? RCTs an acceptable research tool after all? he must be a genius then – never a wrong remedy picked assigning minus pointsvto the score. Does that mean Frass is almost as good as you?

    • Ah, Venkatesh

      Always good to see that No True Scotsman being paraded.

      Well done.

    • If there is no reason for positive results and the majority of quality evidence is negative then single workers having such an incredible string of wrong results is improbable to say the least. When combined with the known propensity of homeopaths to dishonestly cherry pick results then suspicions are quite rightly raised.

      Making a false to fact statement and sticking the word law in front of it is not science and a comparison with Newton’s laws of motion is ridiculous. One might equally claim that homeopathy is proven because 1×0=0. Oh, lol, you do that as well, don’t you?

      A good scam always comes with good get out clauses to excuse all those times the patient fails to get better. Homeopathy is riddled with them.

      As it is unlikely that Frass is correct, the substantive question is why is he getting such a series of results? Random chance, poor technique or fraud appear to be the only choices.

    • homeopathic law of similars is a universal law like Newton’s laws of motion. Every time it’s tested it would only yield positive conclusion unless there is a serious defect in the test methodology.

      Congratulations, Venkatesh, you have just made homoeopathy unfalsifiable

    • Venkatosh said: “I don’t understand why all positive conclusions should look incredible. homeopathic law of similars is a universal law like Newton’s laws of motion.”

      Bullshit. Newton’s Laws of Motion are testable and there is parallel discovery. Homeopathy’s doctrine of similars was plucked out of Hahnemann’s organon based on a false inference from a single data point that is now refuted, and there is absolutely no evidence that like cures like as a general or even common principle. Symptomatic similarity is simply not a demonstrable basis of cure.

      • Homeopathy’s doctrine of similars was plucked out of Hahnemann’s organon

        I knew he’d pulled it from somewhere, but I’ve never heard it called that before.

  • If conclusions are ready-made, we don’t call it the scientific method. what if majority of invalid trials shown poor results ? Does it mean fresh exploration whether they are flawed is totally forbidden?

    Prima facie evidence is strong enough to warrant fresh trials and trials to understand why there’s conflicting results are really necessary because in future it is going to point out one of the most fallacious conclusion made by a section of scientists who are ignorant about another branch of science upon which they happened to trespass inadvertently under a false premise.
    Homeopathy doesn’t solely belong to the Medical Sciences. A good part of its plausible mechanism is physics. without a sound knowledge of contemporary physics, just crying foul is not befitting Scientists.

    Prejudice is detrimental by any standards.

    • Woo-hoo! First Dullman and now Venkatosh! Interested spectators should review this priceless comedy goldmine: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23venkatosh

      I have challenged you dozens of times to provide the mathematics behind your nonsensical quantum flapdoodle.

      The tumbleweed has now piled up to a depth of several metres.

    • The physics needed to discard the plausibility of homeopathy is taught in elementary school. Physicists laugh at the lame attempts of Chikramane and other fools playing with tools trying to demonstrate fantasy.
      But you wouldn’t understand that anyway.

      Now, how about answering my question dear Venkatesh. Why didn’t you collect the $ 1.000.000 and apply for the Nobel prize? You seem to be saying that you can prove that homeopathy works. We ae eager to see it.

    • Missing the point.

      It is the high quality trials that demonstrate that homeopathic sugar and water are no different to sugar and water that raises the question ‘is it ethical to not treat a group of people when we know they will not benefit’.

      Physics, chemistry and biology all indicate that homeopathy is highly unlikely to work and the high quality evidence confirms those predictions. Multiplying numbers by zero and claiming some mystical conclusion to the result being zero isn’t anything at all.

    • Posted by Venkatesh, 16th December:

      homeopathic law of similars is a universal law like Newton’s laws of motion. Every time it’s tested it would only yield positive conclusion unless there is a serious defect in the test methodology.

      Posted by Venkatesh, 17th December:

      If conclusions are ready-made, we don’t call it the scientific method.

      That’s almost precisely the point I was making when I said you had made homoeopathy unfalsifiable. Follow the link I posted above, and you’ll see what we call it.

  • Venkatesh, I see your words do not possess any more meaning in longer prose than short-form tweets. You include a reference to scientific method, but the majority of your words clearly show you have no primary understanding of its meaning or application (and, by extension, cannot understand why homeopathy is utter nonsense.)

    Of particular note is your comment on the “homeopathic law of similars is a universal law like Newton’s laws of motion.” Newton’s Laws of Motion are supported by a sound body of evidence, they are falsifiable and predictions can be made based upon these laws.

    Homeopathy has none of this, it is simply nothing. It is hardly a universal law. For Homeopathy to be true, the rejection of substantial portions of the body of science in chemistry and physics are required (along with casting aside all the sound evidence in support of this knowledge). Not to mention the need to accept new paradigms related to matter, energy transference, molecular interactions, let alone disease pathways and all of germ theory. That’s a tall order. Even a devote homeopathy acolyte such as you can recognize the extraordinary evidence needed to support such a notion. No such evidence has been produced in 200 years. Isn’t it time to throw in the towel?

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