MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Yes, I am afraid it is Dana Ullman again!

On the last post, he commented: “If you actually think that homeopathic medicines will KILL people, then, we all must assume that you think that conventional medicines create MASS MURDERS.”

In my view, this is a sad comment indeed. It reveals that a homeopath who has, after all, been in the business for decades has really very little idea about what makes an intervention a potentially good or a bad treatment.

Is it its efficacy?

No!

Is it its safety?

No!

IT IS THE RATIO OF THE TWO!!!

For the Ullmans of this world, I provide two very simple examples:

  1. One could prevent a common cold effectively with interferon. Why don’t we do this routinely? Because the benefit would not out-weigh its harm.
  2. We all know that chemotherapy can have terrible adverse effects. Why do we nevertheless use it for cancer? Because the benefits of saving a life out-weigh all the significant harm chemotherapy might do.

The conclusion is simple: to be useful, a therapy must demonstrably generate more good than harm. If there is no effectiveness, the risk/benefit balance can never be positive, even if the risks are relatively small. But risk/benefit balance can still be favourable, even if the therapy causes considerable harm.

This hardly is rocket science, is it? But the Ullmans of this world do refuse to get it, and that is sad, in my view. This ignorance is the basis for the fundamentally misguided advice they issue to their patients day in, day out.

What is more, the Ullmans of this world stubbornly deny that anyone can do significant harm with homeopathic remedies; they evidently think that homeopathy cannot kill patients. Yet they are evidently wrong.

Whenever the simple rules of risk/benefit are ignored, even apparently harmless treatments, like highly diluted homeopathic remedies, can – and sadly will – kill patients.

I suspect that the Ullmans of this world are still in closed-minded denial about this point. Let me therefore quote a few of my own posts where cases of ‘death by homeopathy’ have been mentioned:

I fear that the Ullmans of this world will still not be convinced. Perhaps a look at this website might do the trick? No, probably not – changing one’s mind vis a vis facts requires intelligence. They will carry on claiming that, in comparison, “conventional medicines creates MASS MURDERS”.

And this is where we go full circle and I start again explaining about the balance of risk and benefit…

GIVE ME STRENGTH!!!

72 Responses to Dana Ullman, the ‘MASS MURDERERS’ and death by homeopathy

  • I’ve recently made the comment on one of your posts, that the only way to break this vicious circle will be to create an exit strategy – or at least that is the way I see it.

    How such an exit strategy will look like – no idea. Fact is Dana will indeed go full circle on this, and that will be enough for his followers to sleep easy tonight.

    • the exit strategy could be to force them to use homeopathy, and just homeopathy for all illnesses. but that would be cruel, I guess.

      • That’s a good suggestion. Perhaps use homeopathy and just homeopathy in all illnesses for the first 24 hours. (Though, of course, in many situations that would still be cruel.)

      • Might solve the hypochondria epidemic that we are witnessing, thanks both to the CAM and pharmaceutical industry – but that is a different story. Imagine that Dana comes back to you, based on this post, and acknowledge that he has been wrong all these years and what he has been doing was just unethical and he will now advise his thousands of followers accordingly – this will never happen. So one might call this a generational problem that will take maybe 10-20 years to solve – but that will be wrong. More and more universities are offering courses in pseudosciences so there will be an army of people taking Dana’s place and hence a workable exit strategy will be the only way to solve this issue on the medium term.

  • It will be up to Edzard to allow this comment or not. I’ve been working on getting my head around the bigger picture regarding CAM, and of course integrative medicine. Homeopathy being part, if not taking a very big part on all of this, I would like some feedback. I’ve written two articles in a series of articles, which will probably end up being 10 articles or so, but I would like some feedback. Even from people like Dana. I am working towards an exit strategy but I still need a bit of debate. You can find it here: https://frankvanderkooy.com/2017/02/01/the-st-valentines-day-massacre-led-to-the-demise-of-al-capone-will-the-fda-finding-on-the-death-of-ten-infants-do-the-same-for-the-cam-empire-part-1

    • Edzard

      “If you actually think that homeopathic medicines will KILL people, then, we all must assume that you think that conventional medicines create MASS MURDERS.”
      THIS IS THE FACT. FOR ONE DEATH FROM SUPPOSEDLY HOMEOPATHIC REMEDY(?) I CAN SHOW 1000 CASES OR MORE DYING FROM ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT.
      When Dr. Leape first came out with deaths due to medical errors, no one accepted the figures. And now they say the figures were UNDER REPORTED.
      “The new research followed up on a landmark study, To Err is Human, conducted by the Institute of Medicine 15 years ago, when researchers reported that as many as 98,000 people die in hospitals each year due to preventable medical errors. Experts now say that figure was too low and hospitals have been too slow to make improvements.”
      https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/medical-mistakes

      Now Medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of deaths in the USA where the fear of litigation makes every doctor take an insurance and be extra careful. (http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2139)
      In the developing world, where records are not maintained and people are available aplenty, medical errors are probably the largest killer even today as no one really cares.
      “Compared to the rest of the world, the United States is about average. “While average is OK, given that we spend more on health care than any other country we should be a lot better. Our high spending is not buying us particularly safe care,” said Dr. Ashish Jha of the Harvard School of Public Health.”
      https://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/medical-mistakes

      And all this is not stated by Dana Ullman. This is based upon studies by scientists/doctors from Harvard, John Hopkins. Dana Ullman has used the right adjectives.

      “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011 said 1-in-25 hospital patients get an infection from being in the hospital; 700,000 of them get sick as a result and 75,000 die.”

      “This hardly is rocket science, is it? …. This ignorance is the basis for the fundamentally misguided advice they issue to their patients day in, day out.”
      “One 2011 study put the figure at $17 billion a year. Counting indirect costs like lost productivity due to missed work days, medical errors may cost nearly $1 trillion each year, according to a 2012 report in the Journal of Health Care Finance. With $1 trillion, symbolically, how many rockets can you send to moon every year?

      “Let me therefore quote a few of my own posts where cases of ‘death by homeopathy’ have been mentioned”
      A lie repeated often enough becomes the truth: Goebbels. He your relative?

      “And this is where we go full circle and I start again explaining about the balance of risk and benefit…” Explain to these poor people:
      “Lisa McGiffert of Consumers Union spoke about the everyday impact on individuals and families. “People who are harmed lose their jobs, their homes, their insurance. Many go bankrupt trying to pay the medical bills that they would not have had if they had not been harmed by a health care provider,” she said.”

      The problem Edzard has to explain: why are the death figures increasing year on year.
      You can take some ideas from your friend: David Gorsky.
      https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/are-medical-errors-really-the-third-most-common-cause-of-death-in-the-u-s/

      “GIVE ME STRENGTH!!!” Wrong use of words: “GIVE ME POUNDS!!!” (or is it EURO).

      • funny but DOES NOT MERIT A REPLY

        • Edzard

          “funny”

          No doubt, 251,000 deaths in USA because of medical failure is fun for you. Closer home, in Europe the situation is even worse. Every family has a horror story to recount.

          http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/Health-systems/patient-safety/data-and-statistics

          It will stop being funny for you the day one of your family member becomes a victim of medical error or may be you are at the receiving end.

          Remember, no doctor would like to see a patient turn into a corpse. The system is faulty.

          • funny because you exactly did what I predicted in the post:
            “I suspect that the Ullmans of this world are still in closed-minded denial about this point. Let me therefore quote a few of my own posts where cases of ‘death by homeopathy’ have been mentioned:
            The ‘pernicious practice of homeopathy in Australia’: ‘tolerated by authorities to avoid an inconvenient confrontation’
            The end of a free ride for homeopathy in the US
            Homeopathy cost another life … and homeopaths remain once again silent
            A further strong nail in the coffin of homeopathy
            Time for the legal profession to have a serious look at homeopathy?
            I fear that the Ullmans of this world will still not be convinced. Perhaps a look at this website might do the trick? No, probably not – changing one’s mind vis a vis facts requires intelligence. They will carry on claiming that, in comparison, “conventional medicines creates MASS MURDERS”.
            And this is where we go full circle and I start again explaining about the balance of risk and benefit…”

          • so your solution is: stop using conventional healthcare altogether and replace it with homeopathy.

          • Edzard

            You removed my post?

          • I remove all posts where someone calls me a ‘conman’ (at least those where I notice such insults [sometimes I miss them])

          • Edzard

            Adjective removed. Does it change anything?

            “And this is where we go full circle and I start again explaining about the balance of risk and benefit…”

            This explanation is coming from ? Check the truth:
            “Yet recently, just within the past few decades, amid all of these medical advances, something has gone terribly wrong. In many different ways we appear to be getting sicker. You can see the headlines every day. We are suffering from a mysterious array of what I call “modern plagues”: obesity, childhood diabetes, asthma, hay fever, food allergies, esophageal reflux and cancer, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, autism, eczema. In all likelihood you or someone in your family or someone you know is afflicted. Unlike most lethal plagues of the past that struck relatively fast and hard, these are chronic conditions that diminish and degrade their victims’ quality of life for decades.”

            First, in the name of cure, crude drugs are used to create new more virulent diseases and then patients killed under cover of scientific learning. What benefit are you talking about?

            “The reasons for this disaster are all around you, including overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals, Cesarian sections, and the widespread use of sanitizers and antiseptics, to name just a few. While antibiotic resistance is a huge problem—old killers like tuberculosis are increasingly resistant and making a comeback—there now seem to be separate ones, affecting people with such scourges as Clostridium difficile (C. diff), bacteria of the digestive tract resistant to multiple antibiotics, a potential danger in the hospital, and a spreading pathogen, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which can be acquired anywhere. The selective pressure of antibiotic use is clearly increasing their presence.”
            http://martinblaser.com/excerpt.html

            You recognize or understand the terms used? This is the outcome of handling of simple diseases by the allopathic system. The system replaces simple diseases with more virulent ones. The only benefit is to the companies that make the drugs as a patient never gets well.

            “It’s not just the 1,000 deaths per day that should be huge cause for alarm, noted Joanne Disch, RN, clinical professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, who also spoke before Congress. There’s also the 10,000 serious complications cases resulting from medical errors that occur each day.
            In the hearing’s closing questions, when Sanders inquired as to why this crisis was not constantly splashed across front page news, he was met with this: “When people go to the hospital, they are sick. It is very easy to confuse the fact that somebody might have died because of a fatal consequence of their disease, versus they died from a complication from a medical error,” Jha said. “It has taken a lot to prove to all of us that many of these deaths are not a natural consequence of the underlying disease. They are purely failures of the system.”

            This is the benefit that you propogate?

            Managing diabetes helps patient take home additionally bladder cancer and kidney failure.
            https://www.drugwatch.com/actos/side-effects.php

            Outcome of EXPERT SCIENTIFIC MEDICAL THINKING:
            http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e7191

            The experts defined the tests using the same scientific logic that you use to deride alternative medicine. End result: ZERO. Why did the scientific logic go wrong?

            Replacing epidemics: http://www.wanttoknow.info/870511vaccineaids

      • And ….. there we go again. Because there are big issues facing conventional healthcare, it doesn’t imply that homeopathy works, or does it?
        Seriously, come up with solutions. Should everyone abandon conventional healthcare and run to homeopaths – is this what you are saying?

        • Maybe we should take the money being wasted of very well established pseudoscience “research” and put it into research to improve the issues facing conventional healthcare.

          That sounds like a useful thing…

      • What is your solution to the problem? All GPs, specialists and medicine are there to harm you and to take your money – what do you suggest we do?

      • “If you actually think that homeopathic medicines will KILL people, then, we all must assume that you think that conventional medicines create MASS MURDERS.”
        THIS IS THE FACT.

        No, it’s not. RTFA.

      • As if homeopathy could ever replace effective medicines.

      • Iqbal, let me explain something to you. Homeopathy does NOT work. I do not want to know the mortality rates in a world that relies solely on homeopathy. One example: Scarlet fever. Treated widely with homeopathy during the 19th century. reduction in mortality: ZERO. With homeopathy we would still have the mortality of the 19th century. I strongly recommend you to read the Kindertotenlieder, written after the death of two children from scarlet fever. This is homeopathy. Second example: breast cancer. Relying on homeopathy only bears a three times higher probability to die within 5 years. This also is homeopathy. Frankly, I am sick of you homeopaths demanding further trials in humans. Homeopathy is the result of a bad experiment having lead to erroneous conclusions by a bad scientist (Hahnemann) Your tu quoque argument is a pathetic attempt to cover that.

        • Job done. Well done.

        • Okay, Thomas, now let me explain something to YOU.
          You wouldn’t say “homeopathy doesn’t work” if you were not inexperienced in it.

          Not only does homeopathy work, in some situations, if not most, it is the only thing that does work. You’ll never know that because you don’t have the facility to investigate. You have to master semiotics. This is something that few people are capable of, certainly not you. To master semiotics you have to stop making assumptions and start asking questions.

          You’ll never get it, Thomas. You’ll continue badmouthing things you know nothing about.

          What this is, what your complaint is really about, is a cover for your lack of comprehension and fear of medicine.

          See my post below.

          • Look, John, to assess the efficacy of a treatment it is not necessary to be able to do the treatment. You need to know how to assess and interpret experiment design, p-values, type I error, type II error, power of a study, prior probabilities, metastudies quality and all that stuff. Concerning that, as a computational biologist in cancer research I am doing exactly that for an entire institute of a medical university since a quarter of a century. Did you ever design or analyze a clinical study or a scientific experiment with respect to the statistics behind it ? No ? I did. Thousands.

            Additionally to that I have read Hahnemann in the original, I know the physiological background of his cinchona bark experiment and how cinchona works in reality. Had Hahnemann repeated his experiment, the entire “like cures like” crap would have come down. Interestingly this was already noted by his contemporaries who realized that the symptoms described by Hahnemann are some unusual reaction – which did not impress Hahnemann, thus constituting observational bias.

            I also know the mechanism behind cinchona bark. It has nothing whatsoever to do with “like cures like”. It is the blockage of the hem pathway with kills plasmodium falciparum.

            I also know the most important clinical studies. I know how a “proving” is done and I also know how it is “analyzed”. I have myself calculated the statistical power behind such “provings”. It is abysmal.

            I have also read your “proof of homeopathy page”. Do you know the probability to detect a false positive result if the study power is 0.8 ? It is 20%. I.o.W. the few positive studies you describe as “proof” are likely false positives.

            The truth is, John, you have no idea how to analyze a clinical study beyond noticing whether a p-value is below 0.05 or not. I have and can tell you that homeopathy is scientific crap. Derived from a falsely interpreted experiment by a bad scientist.

            You are really messing with the wrong one.

          • There’s a plate there, John. Thomas has just handed it to you. If you look at it you’ll notice it has your arse on it. You’ll never recognise your own stupidity. . You can keep at this if you want to continue being made to look foolish on a public forum.

      • Ijgabl, your comments are misleading and ridiculous. Many critically ill patients die in hospitals because they are critically ill and and usually require high risk treatments for any chance at survival. Real doctors and hospitals keep data to critically evaluate evidence based interventions and make improvements to minimize risks. How often do Homeopaths treat such critical patients or even report outcomes with fake therapies? How many lives are saved by alternative therapies? Who knows how many die due to mistreatment, inadequate treatment and avoidance of conventional treatments because you do not report them or punt the really sick ones to real doctors before it is too late, or just before it is too late. Most patients in the civilized world are treated by conventional health care, so the number of successes and known failures are much greater than with alternative gimmicks, which helps no one but the witch doctors and frauds. Many patients in the world are convinced that witch doctors, voodoo and other alternative alleged medicine cured them, but we all know better, as I am sure you do as well. If not you are more deluded than fraudulent.

        • S. Cox, MD

          “Many critically ill patients die in hospitals because they are critically ill and and usually require high risk treatments for any chance at survival.”

          The quoted data DOES NOT include critically ill patients. It is for those patients who died due to MEDICAL ERRORS.

          This is reconfirmed from other interesting studies:

          “A paradoxical pattern has been suggested in the literature on doctors’ strikes: when health workers go on strike, mortality stays level or decreases…. We used PubMed, EconLit and Jstor to locate all peer-reviewed English-language articles presenting data analysis on mortality associated with doctors’ strikes. We identified 156 articles, seven of which met our search criteria. The articles analyzed five strikes around the world, all between 1976 and 2003. The strikes lasted between nine days and seventeen weeks. All reported that mortality either stayed the same or decreased during, and in some cases, after the strike. None found that mortality increased during the weeks of the strikes compared to other time periods.”

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18849101 (Elective Surgeries are NOT carried out to kill patients.)

          ” Who knows how many die due to mistreatment, inadequate treatment and avoidance of conventional treatments because you do not report them or punt the really sick ones to real doctors before it is too late, or just before it is too late.”
          Edzard keeps a record. Read his article above and count dead bodies(here, here….here ) and compare with data I presented. http://www.explorejournal.com/article/S1550-8307(09)00280-8/abstract

          “Many patients in the world are convinced that witch doctors, voodoo and other alternative alleged medicine cured them, but we all know better, as I am sure you do as well.”

          I believe you have not tried to read beyond what Edzard writes.

          http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/92455/1/9789241506090_eng.pdf
          https://case.edu/med/epidbio/mphp439/complimentary_meds.pdf
          http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/187543

          I am part of a family (cumulative age >1200 years and range 16 years-95 years) that has never used allopathic drug.

          I am aware of numerous cases cured by alternative medicine that were given up by allopathic system.
          The Indian army: “Mainstream doctors have traditionally resisted alternative medicine treatment. But let’s be frank, we really don’t have the domain knowledge to dismiss it. The idea behind the experiment is to see if alternative medicine can work where allopathy has no answers,” said Lieutenant General BK Chopra, director general, Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS).
          http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/army-to-throw-open-doors-to-alternative-medicine/story-PfJRoliSdSvMqeYQMeGltN.html

          Edzard’s alma mater, that he used to be very proud of, has added a course in Homeopathy.
          http://edzardernst.com/2016/11/details-about-a-homeopathy-course-at-one-of-germanys-leading-medical-schools/
          So have many hospitals in the USA.

          “If not you are more deluded than fraudulent.”
          Your lack of knowledge about alternative therapy is your failure.

          • Bravo, Iqbal, you have put Edzard on the ropes and vindicated Dana. Good information, great post. Thank you.

          • Iqbal, I have avoided commenting on this site for a while because Edzard and his followers resort to insults when they have no possibility of making a rational response to a criticism. It seems that your response here has given them a kick in their butts and, who knows, maybe wake them up?
            Uh, I’m sleeeping…leave me alone…

            I commented weeks ago that Edzard’s book on homeopathy was inaccurate as his comment showed that he has not even read Hahnemann’s Materia Medica but he avoided responding to this comment.

          • I suspect you did not avoid commenting but you did not you did not know what to respond to this post initiated by you: http://edzardernst.com/2017/02/the-growing-body-of-positive-evidence-for-homeopathy-in-your-dreams/
            I furthermore suspect that you have not read my ‘book on homeopathy’ – you even don’t say which one.

      • “THIS IS THE FACT. FOR ONE DEATH FROM SUPPOSEDLY HOMEOPATHIC REMEDY(?) I CAN SHOW 1000 CASES OR MORE DYING FROM ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT.”

        Thanks for shouting. It helps us stupid, pro-evidemce, pro-knowledge, pro-education understand you self-indulgent make-it-up types so much better.

        But as ever you aren’t comparing like with like. Funny that. Your 1,000 cases conveniently ignore the million who were benefited by evidence based medicine. Why is that? Why do you cherry pick your evidence?

        And when you accuse the author of corruption, that’s a serious charge. I wonder if you have any evidence for it?

        (that e word again…I do apologise: you’re not into it are you? Just make it up all the way for you…)

  • The subject of homeopathy will be discussed as part of a new course offered at the University of Washington by two biologists. Over 20,000 students have applied in the last few weeks alone. This NOT a joke, but for a little levity, be sure to read the “Disclaimer”:

    http://callingbullshit.org/index.html

    • Modern medicine has already made great use of homeopathy. By strict definition of homeopathy as “like cures like,” the similitude of cowpox serum for the vaccination for smallpox is homeopathic. Therefore it could be said, and should be said, that homeopathy saved the world from humanity’s worst scourge in completely eradicating smallpox.
      Now you deniers will struggle with this before it blows up in your face, for it is a sad fact in the war on homeopathy that the action of the smallpox vaccine is technically homeopathic, as are many other medical materials used by modern medicine.

      The genius of homeopathy is its manipulation of the electronic structure of matter and the medical efficacy of the subatomic field. For greater understanding of the quantum chemistry of homeopathy, look at “ionic theory” and “infinite dilution” and question me . .

      • here are three sections from my book (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Homeopathy-Undiluted-Including-Comprehensive-Z/dp/3319435906) that might be a fitting response:
        “Edward Jenner’s (1749 – 1823) discovery of smallpox vaccination fell into the life time of Hahnemann who was impressed with this medical break-through. Hahnemann commented that “the widespread use of vaccination has so effectively put an end to all epidemics of the terribly deadly smallpox that the present generation no longer has any clear of this hideous bygone scourge.”
        Despite the monumental success of this and many other forms of immunisation, and despite the fact that some proponents of homeopathy claim that homeopathy works via the same principles as immunisations, many homeopaths soon became highly sceptical about immunisations. Today there is evidence that homeopaths from across the world tend to advise their patients against vaccinations.
        There seem to be several reasons for this stance:
        • Some homeopaths believed to discover that immunisations can cause chronic diseases which are often difficult to cure.
        • Some dispute the evidence showing that immunisations are the main reason for controlling major infectious diseases.
        • Some believe that ‘homeopathic immunisations’, i. e. the use of ‘nosodes’ for the prevention of infections, are effective and free of side effects.”
        ——-
        “Some homeopaths advise their patients against immunisations and instead recommend homeopathic immunisations or ‘homeo-prophylaxis’. This normally entails the oral administration of homeopathic remedies, called nosodes. Such remedies are potentised remedies based on pathogenic material like bodily fluids or pus.
        There is no evidence that homeopathic immunisations are effective. After conventional immunisations, patients develop immunity against the infection in question which can be monitored by measuring the immune response to the intervention. No such evidence exists for homeopathic immunisations.
        Despite this lack of evidence, some homeopaths – particularly those without medical training – continue to recommend homeopathic immunisations. A recent US conference on the topic was advertised with the slogan ‘homeo-prophylaxis is a gentle, non-toxic alternative’. Such promotion constitutes a serious risk for public health: once rates for conventional immunisations fall below a certain threshold, the population would lose its herd immunity, subsequently even those individuals who were immunised are at risk of acquiring the infection.”
        ——-
        “Even enthusiastic homeopaths often admit that they fail to understand how homeopathic remedies work. Hahnemann believed that his potentised remedies unleash the vital force which, in turn, brings about the cure. Such vitalistic notions are, however, long obsolete. Several attempts have been made to find explanations which are in line with science: secondary structures of water molecules, quantum entanglement, hormesis, nanoparticles, silicea-hypothesis. However, none of these are accepted outside the field of homeopathy and none would provide a full explanation of the mechanism of action of highly diluted homeopathic remedies. A team of authors who recently evaluated all of the current theories critically concluded that they are ‘a collection of terminally-flawed trivia’.”

      • Modern medicine has already made great use of homeopathy. By strict definition of homeopathy as “like cures like,” the similitude of cowpox serum for the vaccination for smallpox is homeopathic. Therefore it could be said, and should be said, that homeopathy saved the world from humanity’s worst scourge in completely eradicating smallpox.
        Now you deniers will struggle with this before it blows up in your face, for it is a sad fact in the war on homeopathy that the action of the smallpox vaccine is technically homeopathic, as are many other medical materials used by modern medicine.

        The genius of homeopathy is its manipulation of the electronic structure of matter and the medical efficacy of the subatomic field. For greater understanding of the quantum chemistry of homeopathy, look at “ionic theory” and “infinite dilution” and question me . .

        It was already established that he knows nothing about medicine, physics, chemistry or biology, but I was under the impression he knew something about homeopathy.
        Clearly not.

      • Nope John, vaccination is *not* similar to homeopathy. The immune system works by pattern recognition. An immune response may also be triggered by dead viruses/bacteria which display a *completely* different symptom pattern in healthy volunteers. For instance even high doses would not lead to any sign of infection or symptoms associated with it. I.o.W. a homeopath would *never* use a dead virus or bacteria (or antigens derived from it) to vaccinate against a disease because the symptom patterns would not fit.
        Aside that, a vaccination does not treat a disease, it prevents it. This is a completely different pair of shoes.

      • When you re-define homeopathy to include evidence based medicine we are all with you John.

        But the blood doesn’t wash off you hands with a little word salad.

        Children die from preventable diseases because people like you peddle bullshit.

  • Dana Ulmann said also (in a message in RG) that Prof Bellavite is worried about my mental heath. So, he intended to make aware people (with fraudulency, and scarce fair play of course) about the fact that Chirumbolo is mad…or may be mad…Why? Because Chirumbolo is writing against homeopathy.
    So, I convicted myself that homeopathy, for homeopaths such as Ulmann, is a religion, never a science. Despite the fact that I’m deeply religious (catholic), this perception is felt (by Chirumbolo, who’s writing here…) as an awful, regrettable thing. Science is a wonderful attempt to respond to our curiosity of knowing nature. It is never a religion!! it is this human adventure. What else?
    This very bad and sad attitude to raise a violent outcry against conventional medicine, by using offensive and conflictual items and words, is typical of those people who are not warmed up by the rigour of the experimental science and its consequential logics. They are angry because thay know they are wrong and Nature does not change to meet their absurdities in order to satisfy their foolish ideas. From a religious point of view: they are angry because God is God and works as a God, i.e. he changes the reality according to the rules of the reality, never through magicians, witches, Maxwell’s devils, ghosts, fakes and other circus-attending fellows. Sorry for Dana.
    Salvatore

  • Comments from: The role of criticism in alternative medicine

    Edzard
    I don’t suppose you have my new book Homeopathy-Undiluted-Including-Co
    here is what it says about MM:
    In homeopathy, a materia medica is a collection of descriptions of the totality of the symptoms, signs, emotions etc. experienced by healthy volunteers after ingesting specific homeopathic remedies during provings. Homeopaths call the totality of these symptoms, signs etc. drug pictures.
    Hahnemann was the first to publish such a collection in 1811 which he extended numerous times up to the year 1833; he called it ‘Materia Medica Pura’. Subsequently many more such documents, often also referred to as a repertory, emerged. Kent’s materia medica became by far the most widely used of them all.

    Greg
    The quote that you provided from your book Homeopathy – The Undiluted Facts is missing the point that I made earlier and so I am wondering whether you are reading the comments carefully.
    I wrote:
    ‘Hahnemann was able to produce his Materia Medica by combining the ‘ancient knowledge of medicine’ with his low potency provings. In my view, the toxicology of the drugs was known to the ‘authorities’ and his low potency provings supported those findings.’

    If you check any of the remedies listed in Hahnemann’s Materia Medica, you will see that he listed ‘authorities’ from whose works he obtained the information that he used to compile his drug descriptions. The low potency provings were in addition to the material obtained from the ‘authorities’ regarding a particular drug.

    Human beings have researched and formulated approaches to treating illness since ancient times. In Hahnemann’s time, drugs made from plants and minerals were commonly used but in larger doses. Hahnemann conceived the idea that perhaps smaller doses would also work but with less side effects. Medicine is not something that was discovered only recently and your dismissal of forms of medicine/therapy that have been known for centuries is something that I find interesting. How did human beings manage to survive for thousands of years until modern medicine was invented?

    Edzard
    I give up

    • ” How did human beings manage to survive for thousands of years until modern medicine was invented?”
      remind us of the average life-expectancy only 150 years ago.
      remind us of the fate of patients who had diabetes or appendicitis or infected wounds etc.

      • Question for Professor Ernst: have you carefully studied Hahnemann’s Materia Medica Pura (volumes 1 and 2) and Hahnemann’s Chronic Diseases or have you based your opinion of Hahnemann’s works on hearsay?

        I think that people may be beginning to develop pity for you (I am). I have family members who are doctors, nurse practitioners and CAM practitioners; my GF was a dentist and GM a theatre nurse. Homeopaths are not against doctors and pharmacists (remember your ‘pharmacists are charlatans’ post: disgraceful). Homeopaths are not against the medical profession! But I am against the misinformation about homeopathy that you are disseminating.

        There is a story that you became angry and bitter towards homeopathy when you were not given a top post in some big organisation? Is this true Edzard?

        Why don’t you retire and find some peace in yourself?

        • as usual, you are hilariously ill-informed.
          my views changed because the evidence became more clear.
          before you write nonsense, read up the facts.
          I even published them in a memoire: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scientist-Wonderland-Searching-Finding-Trouble/dp/1845407776
          if that is too demanding for you, see here: https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2012/apr/03/homeopathy-why-i-changed-my-mind
          and no need to pity me, I am quite happy; particularly when you contribute to so many good laughs!

          • See: you are unable to answer any of the questions that I asked. Why is this Edzard, is your brain failing you?

          • I did not see a question.
            was it that about the Materia Medica?
            I thought I had answered it.
            I read it some time ago in German [I bet you didn’t] and I read the Organon frequently [if you had looked at my book 9https://www.amazon.co.uk/Homeopathy-Undiluted-Including-Comprehensive-Z/dp/3319435906), you would know.
            it’s a daft question anyway!

          • Important question raised in this post is if healthcare is about a ratio between benefit and risk. To focus on only one of these aspects renders any debate futile – you have focused on risks (medical errors, adverse reactions) but haven’t said anything regarding benefits – and you know this. I find this unfair and unethical

          • @Edzard, will we ever see any of your books in audio? And if they are, any chance of getting them listed on audible.com? I have spare credits there waiting for the right books.

          • See: you are unable to answer any of the questions that I asked. Why is this Edzard, is your brain failing you?

            Ah… Edzard did answer your questions. The answers are in the links he provided.

            You, on the other hand, appear to have not bothered checking them.


          • @Edzard, I just had it pointed out to me the entertaining nature of language.

            “see your book in audio”

            This is what I meant. No really, I want to watch your book like this…

            😉

        • @Greg

          Why don’t you answer the two simple questions Edzard asked you?

    • Greg, your logical fallacy of appeal to tradition does not work. Roughly 10% to 20% of “ancient medical knowledge” works as has been found in some publication on botanical medicine. You should probably familiarize yourself with the modern (and likely correct) interpretation of Hahnemanns cinchona bark experiment, then you will see how far off Hahnemann was. Interestingly this was already noted by contemporaries which noticed that cinchona bark usually does *not* induce the symptoms that Hahnemann described and *correctly* deduced that Hahnemann’s conclusions must be wrong. In fact, this was the mainstay of the criticism of homeopathy.

  • But if you read Hahnemann’s Materia Medica then you would not write the nonsense that you write:

    ‘In homeopathy, a materia medica is a collection of descriptions of the totality of the symptoms, signs, emotions etc. experienced by healthy volunteers after ingesting specific homeopathic remedies during provings. Homeopaths call the totality of these symptoms, signs etc. drug pictures.
    Hahnemann was the first to publish such a collection in 1811 which he extended numerous times up to the year 1833; he called it ‘Materia Medica Pura’. Subsequently many more such documents, often also referred to as a repertory, emerged. Kent’s materia medica became by far the most widely used of them all.’

    For the final time: that is not how Hahnemann originated the Materia Medica!

    As for me, I still read it ( not in German) because there is so much information in it – it probably would take a lifetime to read it all carefully but Hahnemann’s introductions to each remedy are simple enough to follow, and had you read them then you would know that you are uninformed.

    • Greg, if you would *know* medicine and pharmacology in particular you would recognize the nonsense Hahnemann writes. Take .f.i. the entry about China (cinchona bark). Pages and pages and pages of ranting, peppered with things that are clearly wrong (cinchona being effective in diarrhea). Finally a symptom collection that is not even remotely statistically robust and is more reflective of the psychological state of the individuals participating than anything else. Additionally to that dosages that provenly do not help in malaria, even if you would dance a raindance around a camp fire.

    • What do you mean by “experienced by healthy volunteers after ingesting specific homeopathic remedies during provings”? Homeopathic remedies were based on the symptoms produced after the ingestion of raw materials, such as cinchona bark, taken by healthy individual in large doses. This is a well established fact.

    • As for me, I still read it ( not in German) because there is so much information in it – it probably would take a lifetime to read it all carefully but Hahnemann’s introductions to each remedy are simple enough to follow, and had you read them then you would know that you are uninformed.

      I see the problem here. If you took the time to read any basic science text you’d likely get enough knowledge to be able to reach the conclusion that the concepts of homeopathy are crazy and implausible. Instead you’ve read about that and taken it as Truth (yes, with a capital T, just like religious people understand it) are now wasting that live piling garbage that looks good on top of crap that sounded right to someone that was ill equipped to know otherwise.

      It’s not too late though. You can go back at any point and start that basic education.

  • Dullman clearly does not understand the difference between negligence and uncertainty.

    Promoting homeopathy for serious illness is negligent bordering on fraudulent. It’s based on belief contradicted by all relevant empirical fact.

    Medicine has uncertainties. No outcome is certain, and some actions may result in good faith errors, but promoting medicine is not negligent because medicine is based on empirical fact, not belief.

    The core difference is readily understood by anyone outside the homeopathy cult: medicine can work, homeopathy can’t.

  • Here are some selected peer reviewed papers on homeopathy –

    Paper entitled, ‘Low Doses of Traditional Nanophytomedicines for Clinical Treatment: Manufacturing Processes and Nonlinear Response Patterns’, by Iris R. Bell , MD, PhD, Barbara Sarter, PhD, APRN, FNP-C, Leanna J. Standish, ND, PhD, Prasanta Banerji, FMIH, and Pratip Banerji, MD(Hom) published in the peer-reviewed journal, Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, June 2015.

    Paper entitled, ‘Integrative Nanomedicine: Treating Cancer with Nanoscale Natural Products’, by Iris R. Bell, MD, PhD; Barbara Sarter, PhD, APRN, FNP-C; Mary Koithan, PhD, RN; Prasanta Banerji, FMIH; Pratip Banerji, MD(Hom); Shamini Jain, PhD; John Ives, PhD; accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal, Global Advances in Health and Medicine, November 2013.

    Paper entitled, ‘Efficacy of Baptisia Tinctoria in the Treatment of Typhoid: Its Possible Role in Inducing Antibody Formation’, by Pratip Banerji, Prasanta Banerji, Gobinda Chandra Das, Aminul Islam, Shailendra Kumar Mishra, Susmita Mukhopadhyay. Published in peer reviewed journal, Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Vol. 9, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1553-3840, DOI: 10.1515/1553-38440.1622, July 2012.

    ‘Successful Treatment of Chronic Viral Hepatitis With High-dilution Medicine’ by Barbara Sarter, PhD, APRN, FNP-C, DiHom; Prasanta Banerji, FMIH; Pratip Banerji, MD(Hom), published in the peer-reviewed journal, Global Advances in Health and Medicine, March 2012.

    Book Chapter: ‘A Compendium of Essays on Alternative Therapy’, Edited by Dr. Arup Bhattacharya, the Chapter entitled, ‘Homeopathy: Treatment of Cancer with the Banerji Protocols’ published by InTech in January 2012.

    Paper entitled ‘Cytotoxic effects of ultra-diluted remedies on breast cancer cells’ published in the International Journal of Oncology, DOI: 10.3892/ijo_00000512, July 23 2009, paper jointly authored by Moshe Frenkel, Bal Mukund Mishra, Subrata Sen, Peiying Yang, Alison Pawlus, Luis Vence, Aimee Leblanc, Lorenzo Cohen, Pratip Banerji and Prasanta Banerji.

    Paper entitled ‘Cancer patients treated with The Banerji Protocols utilizing homoeopathic medicine: A Best Case Series Program of the National Cancer Institute USA’., Prasanta Banerji, Donald R. Campbell and Pratip Banerji; Oncology Reports 20: 69-74, 2008.

    A Paper Entitled ‘Intracranial Cysticercosis: An effective treatment with alternative medicines’ published in ‘In Vivo’ of the International Institute of Anticancer Research. Volume 15, Issue No. 2, 2001.

    • @Michael Johnson

      I guess you’re a fan of homeopathy from your list and that you offer these publications in an effort to convince the skeptics who frequent this site that they are wrong.

      Let me make a few small points. You’ve obviously gone to a lot of trouble and I’m sure you expect some kind of response.

      1) When professional scientists cite papers, they typically provide simply the name of the first author & “et al.”, the article title, the journal name (usually abbreviated) the year of publication, volume number, issue number and page numbers. Alternatively, the doi reference or — most common nowadays — simply the unique PubMed citation reference. You have gone to a lot of extra bother providing the first and last names of all the authors and their qualifications, but this is unnecessary. Your format for citing references is also very inconsistent and idiosyncratic. If you are impressed with all the MDs, PhDs and so on, that’s fine, but you move in the direction of the logical fallacy known as the ‘argument from authority’. Take a peek at the letters after the name of this blog’s author (About>Edzard Ernst at the top of any page) and you’ll see he’s no slouch for professional qualifications, either.

      2) You start by saying “Here are some selected peer reviewed papers on homeopathy” but your list includes a book chapter, which discredits your introduction. In any case, while peer review is the least worst system we have today for ensuring some sort of minimum standard of quality of a scientific paper, it’s a badly flawed system. Many comments on this blog and elsewhere reflect this point, and the fact that a paper has undergone peer review is no guarantee of its truth or quality. Google “problems of peer review” to see what I mean.

      3) My comments on the papers you cite (excluding the book chapter)…

      Bell et al., 2015: review article in a low quality journal (impact factor 1.25 in 2015-16). I don’t know if it’s a good review or a bad one; the full paper lurks behind a pay wall ($113+tax! the most outrageous price I’ve yet seen.) But authors can cherry pick citations and say pretty much whatever they like in a review article.

      Bell et al., 2014 (you incorrectly cite 2013; I had to do my own search to find the paper you refer to). Review article. Journal impact factor unknown (which almost certainly means it’s not high). Article describes itself as ‘an overview’. Author free to say what they like.

      Banerji et al., 2012. Preliminary paper in a journal of notorious unreliability. Full text behind a paywall. Authors conclude “The present studies found that Baptisia administration possibly caused a salmonella-like reaction…” (my italics). Clearly it’s equally possible Baptisia didn’t cause….

      Sarter et al., 2012. Two anecdotal case reports. Worthless as evidence: just because remission occurred after treatment with X doesn’t prove remission was caused by X.

      Frenkel et al., 2010. Yet again, you have mis-cited the reference! it’s 2010 and February 1, not July 23 2009, as you state. I found the article from the doi. Two incorrect citations in a list of 8 references is seriously unimpressive, and making me bad-tempered. The work described is experimentation in vitro. The point has often been made on this blog: provide robust evidence for clinical efficacy of homeopathy before you provide explanations. I shan’t waste my time reading this paper.

      Banerji et al., 2008. See my comments on Sarter et al., 2012.

      “A Paper Entitled ‘Intracranial Cysticercosis: An effective treatment with alternative medicines’ published in ‘In Vivo’ of the International Institute of Anticancer Research. Volume 15, Issue No. 2, 2001.” Only papers from 2004 available on-line on journal website.

  • Professor Odds, I hope that Mr Mohr reads your comment because he moans like a drain about me not disclosing qualifications. I have mentioned to him that HE does not have a qualification in homeopathy (my qualifications are irrelevant to commenting on this blog). As for the papers cited above: if I have trouble sleeping, I will download them to read as they are likely to support a cure.

    Dr Benneth, I hope that you are still reading the blog as I would like to continue our discussion: you hold the keys to many mysteries that may end up helping many people in their thought clarity progression. The oaths that you have taken as a Mason are not legally enforceable, and are not morally binding. I hope that you return to the discussion.

    • Greg, in order to evaluate studies and evidence, one does not need to have a homeopathic qualification. One needs to have a qualification in statistics and how to design studies. You have neither. If you think your qualification is irrelevant here, you are sorrily wrong. Its non-existence renders your ramblings here senseless.2.

    • Greg

      As has been demonstrated to you ad nauseum, you need no qualifications in homeopathy to point out and demonstrate evidencially that it is utter nonesense. The continuing bleating of homeopaths and their supporters otherwise is special pleading, nothing more. That you continue to try to make this point shows only your stupidity and inability to understand a logical argument. There again, you’re a proponent of homeopathy which demonstrates an obvious inability to follow logic.

      And, no. That is not an ad hominem.

    • ‘Dr Benneth’???? ROFL!

  • Thanks Lenny, I hope that Mr Mohr reads your comment too.

    FYI: The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) recognizes as official the drugs and standards in the Homeopathic Pharmacopeia of the United States and its supplements (Sections 201 (g)(1) and 501 (b), respectively).’
    https://www.fda.gov/iceci/compliancemanuals/compliancepolicyguidancemanual/ucm074360.htm

    Your Mickey Mouse comments on this site never contribute anything to the discussion, other than empty words resembling a fart in a thunderstorm.

    • Nice link, Greg. To quote from it “A product’s compliance with requirements of the HPUS, USP, or NF does not establish that it has been shown by appropriate means to be safe, effective, and not misbranded for its intended use.”

      You really should try reading some of the stuff before posting it. It would make you look less foolish.

      I’ll carry on being Mickey Mouse

  • No Edzard, if you can name one person that is commenting on this blog that is an expert in homeopathy then you will get the point, but I don’t think there are any. There are experts commenting but they are medical doctors, dentists, vets (use to be), food laboratory technicians etc but no real homeopath expert. Professor Vithoulkas is an example of a real expert in homeopathy and that is why he has a worldwide following. Using the term ‘Professor’ is taking the mickey on someone that does not have the knowledge on a subject but believes that they do.

    • thank you for confirming my suspicion

    • Greg, Vithoulkas has no education in biostatistics whatsoever. That disqualifies him from assessing the validity of studies.

      Your posts prove beyond any doubt that you have no idea about the methodology of science. Guess who evaluates the data of a clinical study ? The MD expert or a statistician ? IT IS THE STATISTICIAN YOU IDIOT !!!

      • Thank you for your comment Dumbo. Did you read what Professor Odds and Martin had to say regarding the relevance of QUALIFICATIONS to participating in a discussion: verdict of your peers: it is you that is in need of EDUCATION.

        • this is the last time I pass your moronic comments; either you try to discuss normally or you are out.
          see here please: http://edzardernst.com/2017/05/a-method-of-ending-discussions-with-belligerent-twits/
          Personally I intend to do the following in future (and I invite others to follow my example): before I reach the point where I lose my temper completely and regrettably, I will refer the evangelist to this blog post entitled ‘A method of ending discussions with belligerent twits’. At the same time, I will inform him (rarely it is a ‘her’) that I am about to break off the discussion with him because I fear that otherwise I might be openly rude, and perhaps even tell him: YOU ARE A FLAMING IDIOT WHO POSTS FAR TO MUCH NONSENSE TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.

          • A review of your comments indicates that you would be high up on the list to be debarred from commenting but that would be a shame because it is your blog.

  • As always, thank you.

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