MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

One thing one cannot say about George Vithoulkas, the ueber-guru of homeopathy, is that he is not as good as his word. Last year, he announced that he would focus on publishing case reports that would convince us all that homeopathy is effective:

…the only evidence that homeopathy can present to the scientific world at this moment are these thousands of cured cases. It is a waste of time, money, and energy to attempt to demonstrate the effectiveness of homeopathy through double blind trials.

… the international “scientific” community, which has neither direct perception nor personal experience of the beneficial effects of homeopathy, is forced to repeat the same old mantra: “Where is the evidence? Show us the evidence!” … the successes of homeopathy have remained hidden in the offices of hardworking homeopaths – and thus go largely ignored by the world’s medical authorities, governments, and the whole international scientific community…

… simple questions that are usually asked by the “gnorant”, for example, “Can homeopathy cure cancer, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, etc.?” are invalid and cannot elicit a direct answer because the reality is that many such cases can be ameliorated significantly, and a number can be cured…

And focussing on successful cases is just what the great Vithoulkas now does.

Together with homeopaths from the  Centre for Classical Homeopathy, Vijayanagar, Bangalore, India, Vithoulkas has recently published a retrospective case series of 10 Indian patients who were diagnosed with dengue fever and treated exclusively with homeopathic remedies at Bangalore, India. This case series demonstrates with evidence of laboratory reports that even when the platelets dropped considerably there was good result without resorting to any other means.

The homeopaths concluded that a need for further, larger studies is indicated by this evidence, to precisely define the role of homeopathy in treating dengue fever. This study also emphasises the importance of individualised treatment during an epidemic for favourable results with homeopathy.

Bravo!

Keeping one’s promise must be a good thing.

But how meaningful are these 10 cases?

Dengue is a viral infection which, in the vast majority of cases, takes a benign course. After about two weeks, patients tend to be back to normal, even if they receive no treatment at all. In other words, the above-quoted case series is an exact description of the natural history of the condition. To put it even more bluntly: if these patients would have been treated with kind attention and good general care, the outcome would not have been one iota different.

To me, this means that “to precisely define the role of homeopathy in treating dengue fever” would be a waste of resources. It’s role is already clear: there is no role of homeopathy in the treatment of this (or any other) condition.

Sorry George.

33 Responses to HOMEOPATHY: When the great Vithoulkas publishes his findings, we should listen – or shouldn’t we?

  • To me, this means that “to precisely define the role of homeopathy in treating dengue fever” would be a waste of resources…

    … to the net benefit of the homeopath only.
    Maybe we could redefine homeopathy (and most other alternative treatment systems) as ‘parasitic medicine’?
    After all, it surreptitiously sucks up resources without being useful in any real sense.

  • If I find 10 people that were cured from the flu in one week without doing anything, would that be evidence of the need for further, larger-scale trials to study and validate the role of doing nothing for minor ailments?

    (By nothing, I mean individualized nothingness of course, each subject will have to do nothing in a different way, e.g. answer some different questions etc.)

    • it has to be individualised nothingness at a high price to be truly effective [the more you pay, the more it’s worth!]

      • Let me guess… Anywhere between 50-300$ is ok?

        It’s a miracle, what wonders all that money works after all!

      • Edzard

        “Dengue is a viral infection which, in the vast majority of cases, takes a benign course.”

        You sure? What is vast majority of cases? 25000 deaths every year and climbing.

        “Of these, 500,000 cases develop into dengue haemorrhagic fever, a more severe form of the disease, which results in up to 25,000 deaths annually worldwide.”

        Most, if not all, these deaths are because of allopaths. Check treatment protocol once patient gets fever and you do not need to be Dr David Eddy to reach the right conclusion for deaths.

        and pay for this benign death also.

        https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/dengue-patient-dies-parents-billed-16-lakh-for-2-weeks-in-icu/articleshow/61732259.cms

        https://in.reuters.com/article/india-health-dengue-idINKCN0RE10C20150914

        • That’s the price, fellow Iqbal! If you insist on keeping homeopathic treatment, you are never going to see lower numbers, not in India at least.

          • edzard

            “To put it even more bluntly: if these patients would have been treated with kind attention and good general care, the outcome would not have been one iota different.”

            So what led to the death of 25000 dengue patients? Allopathic treatment that you define as Science based?

            This is science of medicine or science of killing patients?

          • Why do you insist, fellow Iqbal? You think you can cure dengue fever with homeopathy?

          • My calculator says Mojo seems to hvae overcalculated the mortality rate of Dengue fever by a factor of ten. One in 15.600 cases died per annuum worldwide and one in 780 developed hemorrhagic fever. That is 0.0064% and 0,128% respectively.

            Here is the reference Iqbal quoted selectively:
            http://www.eliminatedengue.com/our-research/dengue-fever

            And now, dear Iqbal, we wait (not in awe) for you to cut and paste some evidence for your claim, that these numbers are solely due to unwanted side effects of antiphlogistic drugs.

        • Come on, Iqbal, that’s a pretty poor example of quote-mining even for you. You’ve left in wording that points directly to the information that supports the comment you’re objecting to. The “of these” refers to a figure of 390 million infections per year, which indicates that of those infected, only about 1 in 1,500 dies, and only about 1 in 80 develops the severe form of the disease.

          In other words, the source you quoted actually supports the statement that “Dengue is a viral infection which, in the vast majority of cases, takes a benign course.”

          • well spotted!
            Iqbal is priceless

          • Edzard

            These 25000 die for one simple reason: the treatment available or offered.

            Do you know the first symptoms of dengue? Fever, headache and body ache. And the recommendation available:

            “What should I take for a fever and headache?
            Medications that reduce pain (analgesics) and fever (antipyretics) are used to relieve headaches, body aches, and fever. The three classes of analgesics/antipyretics that are available OTC are aspirin, acetaminophen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).”

            RESULT: 25,000 deaths which would not be there if fever was allowed to run its course.

          • My calculator says Mojo seems to hvae overcalculated the mortality rate of Dengue fever by a factor of ten. One in 15.600 cases died per annuum worldwide and one in 780 developed hemorrhagic fever. That is 0.0064% and 0,128% respectively.

            Here is the reference Iqbal quoted selectively:
            http://www.eliminatedengue.com/our-research/dengue-fever

            And now, dear Iqbal, we wait (not in awe) for you to cut and paste some evidence for your claim, that these numbers are solely due to unwanted side effects of antiphlogistic drugs.

          • It’s interesting that Iqbal is now arguing that in the case series discussed above, the homoeopathy was not responsible for the patients’ recovery.

          • As you probably know already, Mojo, Iqbal’s critical faculties are severely compromised. His reasoning works like:

            An airplane crashes into a large cemetery. Thousands are found dead. So, airplanes are the cause of thousands of deaths.

            And then, you have to undertake the humongous and tedious task of explaining to Iqbal that a typical aircraft can hardly hold more than 700-800 people at once anyway…

          • Mojo

            “It’s interesting that Iqbal is now arguing that in the case series discussed above, the homoeopathy was not responsible for the patients’ recovery.”

            Left on its own with proper care, Dengue patient would recover in about 15 days. It would take about one month for body aches to become normal. This is if the patient does not use allopathic drugs.

            The treatment offered in the allopathic system leads to aggravating the outcome. Aspirin, Paracetamol is used in the initial phase as tests would not define dengue in early stage. And then paracetamol is recommended.

            “Only paracetamol has to be taken for fever.Patients with uncomplicated Dengue fever usually recover completely in 10-15 days. But generalized weakness may persist for few days to weeks.Patients with Dengue haemorrhagic fever and Dengue shock syndrome take a longer time to recover and they may need intensive care.”

            What does BMJ show for paracetamol usage: http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/11/01/could-paracetamol-aggravate-liver-injury-dengue
            This is from Sri Lanka: they are writing their experiences.

            With homeopathy, dengue does not get complicated. With right remedies, the patient is up and running in 7/10 days -if treated from the beginning- and generalized weakness does not persist.

          • With homeopathy, dengue does not get complicated. With right remedies, the patient is up and running in 7/10 days -if treated from the beginning- and generalized weakness does not persist.

            Well, almost. That is what happens when you take the large sample of recovered patients, focus on those that recovered the most quickly, and then make believe that was because they were given the right remedies. The long list of those that took more time to recover… was because the corresponding homeopathic remedies given were, ummm… not the “right” ones.

            Flawless reasoning!

          • James

            You sure missed the critical killer. Paracetamol.

            Being recommended and used by doctors and BMJ article explaining how it kills when it is used.

            Perfect science: 25000 deaths from dengue every year are more than one person dying in India from Epsom salt in 12 years:

            What says you EDzard? Do you have a calculator or can borrow one from Bjorn Geir,

          • 😀 You failed the simplest epidemiology test again dear Iqbal. You really are not playing in the junior league, even.

          • I might not be the keenest in epidemiology, so please enlighten me, Iqbal:

            Trusting Björn’s calculation then death rate with dengue fever treated properly is 1 in 15,600 cases. You say good care would have saved their lives. BTW I trust you could provide some statistics that prove that all (!) dengue-patients treated with homeopathy survive? That is how I understand your statement.

            But, what beats me: what is the mortality rate for completely healthy people in India? Or worldwide in the areas where dengue is at large? My reckoning would be if the maximum age in a population is 100 years (assumption) then 1 in 100 dies every year. Which is roughly 1 in 2600 every two weeks of time. Of course a linear function might be somewhat misleading, but anyway, 1 in 15,600 does not compare too bad with this rate, does it?

            Or to put it in another way: What makes you so sure, that the said dengue patients died of dengue fever and would have survived longer if they were not affected?

          • Bjorn Geir

            “You failed the simplest epidemiology test again dear Iqbal. You really are not playing in the junior league, even.”

            Hand over your calculator to Edzard. He has to calculate if 25000×12 is < = 1.

            Remember his concern "http://edzardernst.com/2017/10/severe-liver-injury-due-to-naturopaths-prescription-of-epsom-salt/&quot;.

          • Norbert Aust

            “Trusting Björn’s calculation then death rate with dengue fever treated properly is 1 in 15,600 cases.”

            You are putting your trust in the wrong person. First teach him to Phrase the problem correctly.

            The question is not how many people die out of how many infected. The correct question is “why should anyone die from a problem that left on its own with proper care and NO medication will resolve in 10/15 days”. Still 25000 patients died.

            “Dengue is a viral infection which, in the vast majority of cases, takes a benign course. After about two weeks, patients tend to be back to normal, even if they receive no treatment at all.”

            This is Edzard and he is wrong when he says “majority”. By using this word, he is trying to cover the deaths due to poor treatment methodology followed by allopaths. Using aspirin, paracetamol etc. as doctors in Sri Lanka found out. And Edzard forgets the aftermath of dengue.
            “Dengue fever usually recover completely in 10-15 days. But generalized weakness may persist for few days to weeks.”

            ” In other words, the above-quoted case series is an exact description of the natural history of the condition.”
            This is misrepresenting data, something Edzard is good at. Which patient from the trial report took 10/15 days to get well? With homeopathic treatment, the patient recovers within 5/7 days and weakness does not go beyond 3/4 days.

          • Iqbal,

            maybe you are more dexterous with the calculator, but you should do something about your reading capacity:

            “Each year, an estimated 390 million dengue infections occur around the world. Of these, 500,000 cases develop into dengue haemorrhagic fever, a more severe form of the disease, which results in up to 25,000 deaths annually worldwide.”
            Source: http://www.eliminatedengue.com/our-research/dengue-fever, the source somewhat familiar to you, I understand.

            This makes 25,000 people in 390 million infected die. So I type into my calculator – lets see – hhmmm – 390,000,000 – where is the division on this blasted thingy – ah yes – here – divided by 25,000 – AND THE RRRRRESULLT IS – 15600.

            Interpretation: One out of 15,600 people dies worldwide after they were infected with Dengue fever.

            So I repeat my question:

            What makes you so sure, that those unfortunate people died of Dengue and not because of any other causes, accidents for instance? Concurrent maladies? Please indicate, how you can be sure, that these people would not have died, if a homeopath was involved in the treatment?

          • Why treat dengue fever with homeopathy, Iqbal, if all cases resolve by themselves?

          • Norbert Aust

            “What makes you so sure, that those unfortunate people died of Dengue and not because of any other causes, accidents for instance? Concurrent maladies?”

            Because this report is NOT made by me and I am assuming that those doctors who made the report are smarter than all of you put together. And for a change they know the subject and have a healthy respect for figures. Because they are not foolishly defending an error and possibly trying to make a case why 25000 should not necessarily die.

            “Please indicate, how you can be sure, that these people would not have died, if a homeopath was involved in the treatment?”

            This is simple depending on who you believe in: As per George, homeopathic remedies resolve the case in short period as demonstrated in the case studies. If you take Edzard for granted: these cases would any way resolve themselves, as the special homeopathy that he learnt (minus many basic understandings) does nothing: exactly as prescribed by him.

            But the interesting part is a possibility: a vaccine being developed for dengue. If this succeeds, the same Edzard would recount the Enormous number of deaths -25000 – that take place every year and the MANDATORY requirement for the vaccine to be used on everyone, including new-born children, every year. First one shot, next year onwards a booster, and then to save every one, at least 95% population to be covered to establish herd immunity.

            And ALL of you including Bjorn Geir would jump on soap boxes and cry yourself hoarse why this is the only way forward.

            And Norbert, you may have to buy a new calculator that functions differently: multiplies data by 10000 before presenting the answer.

            And the purpose of the din you all will create, you will hope homeopathic treatment is forgotten. The reality is, the patients who get well help others decide the treatment to be used. In India, homeopathic remedies are used by masses to save themselves.

  • By the same logic, an X-ray examination of the vertebral column cures back pain. Thousands have improved after getting an x-ray.

  • ” same old mantra: “Where is the evidence? Show us the evidence!” ….and not a bad mantra, as mantras go, I should say!

    • it’s like in my local supermarket – they too only have that boring old mantra: you need to pay for the goods you want to buy.
      SO ANNOYING!!!

    • As Dr Jack Nicholson said “You can’t handle the evidence”.

      I’ve seen a handful of Dengue cases in the past few years. Cured them all by doing absolutely nothing except some Paracetamol and Brufen for analgesia.

      • Peter Dyson

        “I’ve seen a handful of Dengue cases in the past few years. Cured them all by doing absolutely nothing except some Paracetamol and Brufen for analgesia.”

        You have no clue about dengue treatment and You are lying about paracetamol and brufen. This treatment is one sure way of killing dengue patients.
        “However, in 2011, Professor Michael Doherty, a rheumatologist at Nottingham University, published a study looking at almost 900 patients aged 40 and older who took paracetamol, ibuprofen or a combination of both for chronic knee pain. When he compared the participants after 13 weeks, it came as no surprise that one in five on ibuprofen lost the equivalent of a unit of blood through internal bleeding. What was surprising was that so, too, had the same proportion of patients who were taking paracetamol.”
        “Paracetamol can actually be a very dangerous drug,” says Dr John Dickson, who retired from general practice in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, last year. “It can cause kidney and liver problems, and causes as much gastrointestinal bleeding as the NSAIDs.”
        https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/may/25/does-paracetamol-do-you-more-harm-than-good

        You will create hemorrhage where it did not exist.

        And you are behind medical knowledge by over 15 years.
        Evidence on the use of paracetamol in febrile children.

        • In a different case, I was going to say “fellow Iqbal, you are watching way too many movies“, but they don’t make so good sci-fi films yet.

          You have no clue about dengue treatment and You are lying about paracetamol and brufen. This treatment is one sure way of killing dengue patients.

          Another masterpiece on delusion.

          Such comments should really be excerpted and included in the next edition of the DSM or ICD. Maybe even in the current editions, probably under this paragraph.

          It is sad, however, so I will not resort to saying:

          Fellow Iqbal, where have you been hiding for so long? Go save India from dengue fever! We will keep an eye on the dengue fever cases in India for the next few years, just to make sure your homeopathy works.

  • […] even when the platelets dropped considerably there was good result without resorting to any other means.

    Also, in the “take home lessons”, the authors write:

    It was possible to maintain even the dangerously low platelet situations without hospitalisation or cumbersome procedures.

    Those guys in India are dangerous and, along with Vithoulkas, they keep massaging their egos and delusions. I mean…the abstract starts with:

    Dengue fever is one of the most rampant epidemics in India of late […]

    Then, a case series of 10 cases from around mid 2015 to late 2017! This is a “significant” number?

    And, really, a rampant epidemic cannot simply have only 10 cases in 2 years. Whatever happened to the rest of the cases with considerably “dropped” platelets? They died? Did those not get a homeopathic remedy? Why do the authors forget all these cases?

    Those people are complete strangers to the notion of ethics, I’m afraid.

    One last diamond (emphasis added):

    In case 8, NS1 was +ve at diagnosis but became IgM + ve by day 4, and one week after receiving the homeopathic remedy, these returned to normal. However, this patient took 8 days to recover. Case 5 required two remedies in succession because the first one was unsuccessful, leading to further decrease in the number of platelets. The second remedy was successful, and the platelet count immediately increased. Though there were at least three cases demonstrating mucosal bleeding, none of these cases proceeded to shock or severe haemorrhage. The significance of the homeopathic treatment is that all patients maintained at least a fairly good general condition during the infection and were able to return to normal functioning in a short length of time. There was no evidence of any post viral syndrome which are common in these cases [4].

    Most of these patients were already on homeopathic treatment for their chronic complaints, so they did not delay in approaching the homeopath. If instead there was considerable time lost between onset of dengue and seeking homeopathy, we cannot say for sure if such favourable results would have been achieved.

    What is this piece of excrement? Why are these people allowed near patients at all?

  • George Vithoulkas is a globally renowned homeopath, and it is perplexing that he selected to present ‘evidence’ for homeopathy based on 10 cases of dengue fever!

    All the evidence that Dr. Ernst needs in order to present his final argument against ‘homeopathy’ is in Prof. G.V Vithoulkas’ publications cited by Dr Ernst, how ironic! Why did George not simply do a ‘meta review’ of his ‘thousands of cured cases’ that cover the full spectrum of human ailments? Why 10 cases of dengue fever to try and present ‘evidence’ for homeopathy?

    It comes down to the imagination of a large proportion homeopathy adherents: that homeopathy could supersede clinical medicine, and medicine be practiced as clinical-medical homeopathy. Sadly, this delusion is taking an awfully long time to dissolve.

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