MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

As I often said, I find it regrettable that sceptics often say THERE IS NOT A SINGLE STUDY THAT SHOWS HOMEOPATHY TO BE EFFECTIVE (or something to that extent). This is quite simply not true, and it gives homeopathy-fans the occasion to suggest sceptics wrong. The truth is that THE TOTALITY OF THE MOST RELIABLE EVIDENCE FAILS TO SUGGEST THAT HIGHLY DILUTED HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES ARE EFFECTIVE BEYOND PLACEBO. As a message for consumers, this is a little more complex, but I believe that it’s worth being well-informed and truthful.

And that also means admitting that a few apparently rigorous trials of homeopathy exist and some of them show positive results. Today, I want to focus on this small set of studies.

How can a rigorous trial of a highly diluted homeopathic remedy yield a positive result? As far as I can see, there are several possibilities:

  1. Homeopathy does work after all, and we have not fully understood the laws of physics, chemistry etc. Homeopaths favour this option, of course, but I find it extremely unlikely, and most rational thinkers would discard this possibility outright. It is not that we don’t quite understand homeopathy’s mechanism; the fact is that we understand that there cannot be a mechanism that is in line with the laws of nature.
  2. The trial in question is the victim of some undetected error.
  3. The result has come about by chance. Of 100 trials, 5 would produce a positive result at the 5% probability level purely by chance.
  4. The researchers have cheated.

When we critically assess any given trial, we attempt, in a way, to determine which of the 4 solutions apply. But unfortunately we always have to contend with what the authors of the trial tell us. Publications never provide all the details we need for this purpose, and we are often left speculating which of the explanations might apply. Whatever it is, we assume the result is false-positive.

Naturally, this assumption is hard to accept for homeopaths; they merely conclude that we are biased against homeopathy and conclude that, however, rigorous a study of homeopathy is, sceptics will not accept its result, if it turns out to be positive.

But there might be a way to settle the argument and get some more objective verdict, I think. We only need to remind ourselves of a crucially important principle in all science: INDEPENDENT REPLICATIONTo be convincing, a scientific paper needs to provide evidence that the results are reproducible. In medicine, it unquestionably is wise to accept a new finding only after it has been confirmed by other, independent researchers. Only if we have at least one (better several) independent replications, can we be reasonably sure that the result in question is true and not false-positive due to bias, chance, error or fraud.

And this is, I believe, the extremely odd phenomenon about the ‘positive’ and apparently rigorous studies of homeopathic remedies. Let’s look at the recent meta-analysis of Mathie et al. The authors found several studies that were both positive and fairly rigorous. These trials differ in many respects (e. g. remedies used, conditions treated) but they have, as far as I can see, one important feature in common: THEY HAVE NOT BEEN INDEPENDENTLY REPLICATED.

If that is not astounding, I don’t know what is!

Think of it: faced with a finding that flies in the face of science and would, if true, revolutionise much of medicine, scientists should jump with excitement. Yet, in reality, nobody seems to take the trouble to check whether it is the truth or an error.

To explain this absurdity more fully, let’s take just one of these trials as an example, one related to a common and serious condition: COPD

The study is by Prof Frass and was published in 2005 – surely long enough ago for plenty of independent replications to emerge. Its results showed that potentized (C30) potassium dichromate decreases the amount of tracheal secretions was reduced, extubation could be performed significantly earlier, and the length of stay was significantly shorter. This is a scientific as well as clinical sensation, if there ever was one!

The RCT was published in one of the leading journals on this subject (Chest) which is read by most specialists in the field, and it was at the time widely reported. Even today, there is hardly an interview with Prof Frass in which he does not boast about this trial with truly sensational results (only last week, I saw one). If Frass is correct, his findings would revolutionise the lives of thousands of seriously suffering patients at the very brink of death. In other words, it is inconceivable that Frass’ result has not been replicated!

But it hasn’t; at least there is nothing in Medline.

Why not? A risk-free, cheap, universally available and easy to administer treatment for such a severe, life-threatening condition would normally be picked up instantly. There should not be one, but dozens of independent replications by now. There should be several RCTs testing Frass’ therapy and at least one systematic review of these studies telling us clearly what is what.

But instead there is a deafening silence.

Why?

For heaven sakes, why?

The only logical explanation is that many centres around the world did try Frass’ therapy. Most likely they found it does not work and soon dismissed it. Others might even have gone to the trouble of conducting a formal study of Frass’ ‘sensational’ therapy and found it to be ineffective. Subsequently they felt too silly to submit it for publication – who would not laugh at them, if they said they trailed a remedy that was diluted 1: 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 and found it to be worthless? Others might have written up their study and submitted it for publication, but got rejected by all reputable journals in the field because the editors felt that comparing one placebo to another placebo is not real science.

And this is roughly, how it went with the other ‘positive’ and seemingly rigorous studies of homeopathy as well, I suspect.

Regardless of whether I am correct or not, the fact is that there are no independent replications (if readers know any, please let me know).

Once a sufficiently long period of time has lapsed and no replications of a ‘sensational’ finding did not emerge, the finding becomes unbelievable or bogus – no rational thinker can possibly believe such a results (I for one have not yet met an intensive care specialist who believes Frass’ findings, for instance). Subsequently, it is quietly dropped into the waste-basket of science where it no longer obstructs progress.

The absence of independent replications is therefore a most useful mechanism by which science rids itself of falsehoods.

It seems that homeopathy is such a falsehood.

 

 

95 Responses to I smell a rat: something extremely odd about the ‘positive’ studies of homeopathy

  • The other issue that has always bothered me is the absence of ‘venture capitalists’. These folks cares about one thing and that is return on investment. They will carefully look at all the data regarding these blockbuster treatments and invest if these treatments actually work as well as claimed. The fact that they don’t should tell people something

    • The fact that homeopathic medicines cannot be patented would be the OBVIOUS reason that venture capitalists don’t invest in homeopathic medicines.

      And perhaps the leading reason that the Frass trial has not been replicated is that numerous skeptics of homeopathy, include “Darth” Ernst has asserted that it is not necessary to do research on homeopathy…and many institutions simply block such research.

      As for Darth’s assertion that there is no viable explanation for how nanodoses of medicines can have significant health effects…he (and other skeptics) KNOW that the work published in LANGMUIR provides compelling AND viable explanations for how and why nanoparticles of the original medicine persists in solutions and how and why the remaining nanodoses (that are comparable in doses to hormones and cell signaling agents in the body are KNOWN to have biological action).

      Why is that the skeptics of homeopathy seem to have their brains fall out whenever they write about homeopathy? The fact that Ernst and others repeat lies and misinformation is typical of medical fundamentalists and fascists. It seems that Trump’s chronic lying has become contagious. No wonder Ernst blocks me on Twitter. I catch him doing this too frequently…

      Now, let the ad homs begin…

      • “perhaps the leading reason that the Frass trial has not been replicated is that numerous skeptics … asserted that it is not necessary to do research on homeopathy…”
        DO YOU HAVE ANY EVIDENCE THAT FRASS LISTENS TO REASON
        “… many institutions simply block such research.”
        NOT IN MY EXPERIENCE
        “…the work published in LANGMUIR provides compelling AND viable explanations for how and why nanoparticles of the original medicine persists in solutions and how and why the remaining nanodoses (that are comparable in doses to hormones and cell signaling agents in the body are KNOWN to have biological action).”
        PURE BS! (as explained here, for instance: edzardernst.com/2018/02/my-challenge-to-the-homeopaths-of-this-world/ )
        “Now, let the ad homs begin…” … HE STATED AFTER ISSUING A PLETHORA OF PERSONAL INSULTS.

        Dana, you are priceless!

      • 1. If the results of the Frass experiments would lead to one of the biggest revolutions in science (nobel price included), don´t you think that someone would have found the financial support within the last decade? After all, quite a lot of money is made with homeopathy ever without reliable evidence for it´s efficacy.
        2. In contrast to homeopatic “remedies”, the function of hormones and other cell signaling compounds (e.g. ions like Ca2+, etc.) can be explained within the boundaries of science. Depending on the sensitivity of the assay, they can also easily be detected. Intracellular concentration of such chemicals are, of course, far higher than the extremely high homeopatic dilutions before they can have any physiological effect.
        3. Not nice to refer to scientists as brainless fascists. You might want to consider your manners.

      • Hi Dana! Is everything alright with you? I miss seeing your funny tweets since you blocked me.

        The fact that homeopathic medicines cannot be patented would be the OBVIOUS reason that venture capitalists don’t invest in homeopathic medicines.

        Of course homeopathic remedies cannot be patented. They contain nothing. Try patenting sugar pills.

        As for the market value of sugar pills, Boiron is an important example. It hasn’t been the worst investment for shareholders. Their shares rose miraculously despite being unable to fend off a class action law suit in 2012. They could not provide any proof that homeopathic remedies work so they were forced to bail out paying $12m to their customers.
        One would intuitively have thought such an incident would hurt the company but instead their shares miraculously roe from about 40 points to about 111 in 2015. Since then they have been holding water and following the general health care market if I am not mistaken. They have plenty of money for research but they do not seem to need it because the sugar pills sell anyway.
        Another big source for research into alternative medicine including homeopathy is of course NCCIH. But they seem to be strangely aloof when it comes to homeopathy. They seem not to believe there is anything to research?
        Perhaps you should have a word with them Dana? They have massive funds ready for any alternative regime that sounds interesting.

        Or did you already? What was their response?

      • Dana Ullman said:

        The fact that homeopathic medicines cannot be patented would be the OBVIOUS reason that venture capitalists don’t invest in homeopathic medicines.

        Oops!

        A search of Google Patents for homeopathy OR homeopathic returns about 21,704 results, many of which are patents granted for homeopathic products as opposed to manufacturing methods.

        For example, US7229648B2 is Homeopathic formulations useful for treating pain and/or inflammation, granted in 2003.

        …numerous skeptics of homeopathy, include “Darth” Ernst… As for Darth’s assertion…

        Now, let the ad homs begin…

        Oops! Too late. You already did. New irony meters all round, please.

        • There’s a big diff between a patent and an enforceable patent…but I hate to pop your bubble or to engage you in a discussion of reality.

          • I hate to pop your bubble, Dana, however easy it is. Your claim was:

            The fact that homeopathic medicines cannot be patented…

            I easily demonstrated the falsity of your claim.

            You now – with hindsight – want to move the goalposts and change what it was you said. That’s fine. Please do. Perhaps you want to now claim, “The fact that homeopathic medicines can be patented but that these patents can never be enforced…”, or something similar?

            But I’m sure even you will be able to anticipate my next question to you.

          • Dana. What is you explanation as to why patents on homeopathic remedies cannot be enforced (I am not even sure if this is the case, is it?)

          • Just popped up on my Google alert:

            US-patent application: https://patents.google.com/patent/US20180055903A1/en

            “Homeopathic composition comprising hypericum perforatum extract and essential oils for the treatment of neuropathic pain ”

            This must mean something as there is no such thing as coincedence, you know.

          • Skeptics of homeopathy continue to PROVE that their superficial knowledge is dangerous and actually increases their ignorance (because such people then become arrogant, which isn’t a good complement to their ignorance)!

            Anyone can patent a homeopathic formula, and then, they can spend millions of dollars to promote it…and then, someone else can take their SAME formula and change one of the many ingredients from 12X to 11X and they could make a case that it is NOT covered by the patent.

            There are good reasons that people here are not finding many patents for homeopathic medicines…and there are better reasons that I previously stated that such patents are not very useful…but heck, having this accurate information has not stopped the ongoing stupidity from people here to continue to post their ignorance.

            I urge people here to STOP posting evidence of your ignorance on homeopathy. The exception here is the rare person who doesn’t claim knowledge or judgment but who simply poses questions. Such people are not only rare, they are non-existent at THIS website.

          • “Skeptics of homeopathy continue to PROVE that their superficial knowledge is dangerous..”

            HA! Another ludicrous and unevidenced statement from Mr Uncredible. Dangerous? How? We might somehow cause someone to take the wrong type of inactive sugar pill?

            Carry on, Dana. Your mealy-mouthed pomposity continues to amuse.

          • ‘There are good reasons that people here are not finding many patents for homeopathic medicines…’

            You mean, like Alan’s 21,704 homeopathic patents! It has to be asked, if homeopathic remedies are so difficult to patent and to profit from, where do those multinational homeopathic pharmacies get their billions of dollars profit every year?

            The patent argument is a red herring with hints of conspiracy theory. The truth is that no pharmaceutical company would touch homeopathy with a barge pole because it has been proven time and again to be no more effective than placebo. The fact remains however that those who do chose to market homeopathy despite the obviously questionable ethics, do very well indeed, thank you.

            Niall

          • You cannot verify ANY homeopathic company whose profit margin is $1 billion. Prove it or STFU.

          • Thats the way patents work all over the industry. Take a look at the claims in the referenced patent to find out how far the applicant goes to avoid just this, namely to include slight modifications into his claims.

            Ahh, then, I fear when people who stop posting about the things they do not understand, the first I would miss is you, Dana, right?

          • Dana Ullman said:

            homeopathic medicines cannot be patented

            Dana Ullman said:

            Anyone can patent a homeopathic formula

            Oh do try to make your mind up, Dana.

            Dana Ullman said:

            There are good reasons that people here are not finding many patents for homeopathic medicines

            It only takes one to prove your original claim false and that has already been done.

            But here are some 6,429 results returned for a search for homeopathic formulation. Is that enough?

            Dana Ullman said:

            someone else can take their SAME formula and change one of the many ingredients from 12X to 11X and they could make a case that it is NOT covered by the patent.

            You’re showing a worrying – but not entirely unexpected – lack of any understanding of the language of patents, Dana. You might actually learn something if you spent a few minutes reading the claims in the patent referenced by Norbert Aust, particularly claim 2. I wait with bated breath…

          • Different than ANYONE else at this website, I admit errors. I erred when I said that homeopathic medicines cannot be patented…but later, I corrected that by saying that such patents have virtually no practical usage because any other company can create a very minor change in a formula (from 12X or 13X or 11X) of one ingredent.

            And yet, I’ve proven so many mis-statements here to be dead-wrong or just stupid, and yet, people here cling to their ignorance and stupidity. How quaint.

          • sorry, but I get the impression that you are not able to distinguish right and wrong in the areas of science and medicine.

          • This post is about the fact that there is no rigorous evidence for homeopathy that has stood the test of independent replication. By distracting from this message and diverting the discussion to other issues, you tacitly agree with it – am I correct Dana?

          • Dana Ullman said:

            I corrected that by saying that such patents have virtually no practical usage because any other company can create a very minor change in a formula (from 12X or 13X or 11X) of one ingredent.

            Ah. You must have missed – or not understood – my previous comment on this. Please let me know if you need it put in simpler terms for you.

            And yet, I’ve proven so many mis-statements here to be dead-wrong or just stupid, and yet, people here cling to their ignorance and stupidity. How quaint.

            ROFL!

          • As ever it’s fun to watch the soldiers marching by with Private Ullman knowing he’s the only one marching in time.

          • ‘You cannot verify ANY homeopathic company whose profit margin is $1 billion. Prove it or STFU.’

            Since that’s not what I said there’s nothing to prove!

            This is just another red herring, like the patenting thing, like the ‘homeopathy is the same as hormones/pheromones’ thing. I can understand why you’d want to divert the argument away from the nub (afterall, if you admitted homeopathy was ineffective, you’d be out of a job) but the fact remains homeopathy has never been shown to do anything more than placebo and exists outside science and the real world; ergo it is a pseudo-medicine, based on pseudo-science.

            Niall

          • in any case, a “profit margin is $1 billion” is a nonsensical concept – per what? per product? per country? per life-time? per year worldwide? etc. etc.
            the main thing for me is this: BY DIVERTING TO SUCH SUBJECTS ON A POST QUESTIONING THE EFFICACY OF HOMEOPATHY, DANA ACCEPTS THAT HOMEOPATHY DOES NOT WORK.

          • Not a single person here can reference a single homeopathic company that profited $1 billion in any one year, even if you accounted for worldwide sales.

          • and where did I ever claim that such a company exists?

          • It wasn’t YOU. Don’t take everything so personally. Read below…

          • I know it wasn’t me – but you addressed your comment to me.

          • “Not a single person here can reference a single homeopathic company that profited $1 billion in any one year, even if you accounted for worldwide sales.”

            Is that the best you’ve got – homeopathy must work because no single homeopathic company makes $1 billion p.a.?

            Sorry – homeopathy doesn’t work because… science. LOL 🙂

            Niall

          • As long as you ignore science (in its largest and deepest sense, not the limited worldview of the pseudo-scienetists here), you will ignore the fact that homeopathy and nanomedicine are the future. People here may continue to use your conventional drugs, which will be proven to be sheer quackery in the near future just as drugs of yesterday have been shown to be). History cannot be denied.

            My statement about the $1 billion was not “my best” anything…it was just further evidence that the bullshit that you folks assert is just that bullshit…just stuff that you fabricate or that you deny good evidence.

            Pseudo-skeptics here love to misconstrue, misdirect, and misinform. My sincere sympathies…

          • “My statement about the $1 billion was not “my best” anything…it was just further evidence that the bullshit that you folks assert is just that bullshit…just stuff that you fabricate or that you deny good evidence.”

            Look back at the thread – no one ever made the claim that a single homeopathic pharmacy made a billion dollars’ profit.

            “Pseudo-skeptics here love to misconstrue, misdirect, and misinform.” so I think you’ll find that particular boot is on the other foot!

            But it’s still weird that you would think homeopathic pharmacies being unprofitable means homeopathy must work, or for that matter even if gold is magnetic or if there are nano-particles in homeopathy (i.e. the remedies haven’t been diluted properly) then it must work. Or that you believe those lumpy ‘nano-particles’ can act like hormones. It’s true, there are a lot of weird, magical things out there in the real world – but that doesn’t mean homeopathy is any better than placebo – it isn’t.

          • Niall Taylor said:

            But it’s still weird that you would think homeopathic pharmacies being unprofitable means homeopathy must work

            I wonder if he also thinks that, because Big Pharma make enormous profits, their medicines must be enormously effective?

          • good point!
            from now on, I will only take medicines produced by the richest manufacturers.

      • Dana. Is that Langmuir paper still featuring in your fevered masturbatory fantasies? It has been repeatedly shown to be a heap of specious nonesense which demonstrates exactly none of the points you claim for it. We here have all read and understood the demolitions of it. All you are doing by waving it around again is making yourself look silly. Again.

        • In due respect, please provide a link to a “debunking” of that LANGMUIR study that was published in LANGMUIR. I’m still waiting!

          Oh, you’re talking about a debunking in a BLOG. Oh, so THAT is your standard of evidence these days?

          Thanx for verifying YOUR standards.

          • Yes, Dana. Blogs. Written by scientists. Proper ones.

          • Yes…EVERY blog that is on the internet written by a “scientist” is YOUR measure of credible. Congratulations for having the lowest standards of peer-review.

            There’s no irony here at all, except everything.

            You guys are hilarious.

          • Dana, perhaps an apology is in order now that it’s been established that homeopathy CAN be patented, as opposed to your previous assertion? Maybe you could also suggest another reason that greedy venture capitalists don’t invest in homeopathy?

            I’m sure you wouldn’t want anyone to think you were without credibility.

          • Presumably, Dana, you’d consider the likes of Thomas Mohr and David Gorski not to be scientists. On the grounds that they have repeated shown your claims to be wrong..

            You have shown previously that you are utterly ignorant of the process of critical appraisal. That you cannot tell the difference between it and peer review is therefore not surprising.

            Demonstrating your foolishness again, Dana. The points you try to score are points you have tried to score many times.. Why you fail to is explained to you. Every time. And yet you seem to forget this every time. Much like water, you appear to have no memory. Or is it that we need to bang you on a bible a few times every time we prove you to be wrong? Would that help?

          • Why, Dana? Are you going to stop believing in homeopathy then? If yes, please, say so and we can make it happen for you. Which journal would you prefer seeing it published in?

      • Dana, don’t you see: If nanoparticles are at work in homeopathy, then the problem of insufficient drug material in the remedies arises well before the Avogadro limit. It takes a couple of thousand atoms / molecules to build them, you know.

        • Hey Aust, how many molecules does it take for phermones to act? Homeopathic medicines contain a LOT more than that!

          Poor skeptics…are now have to admit that you’ve been wrong ALL of this time…my sympathies.

          • Hey Ullman, as far as I know it is one for 1 % of the sensor cells of Bombyx mori (silk moth). (Don’t know how many sensor cells this animal has for smelling) That is, if these molecules are to be detected when they are the only ones around. But the active ingredients of homeopathic remedies are not alone, if present at all. Take Natrium muriaticum. The body of a grown up person contains between 150 and 300 g of it. And with the daily ration of sugar pellets in C1 potency you ingest about 0.01 mg (at least with the stuff sold here in Germany). So the proper question would be what is the least number of atoms a silk moth can recognize as different. To detect C1 would mean to be able to distinguish 20,000,001 from 20,000,000. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

            Better luck next time, Ullman

          • Aust, your math skills suck. When you consider that conventional glass/water research finds that there is 6ppm of silicate fragments, there may be even a lot more than this in the higher potencies (due to increased turbulence, etc.), the entire water is seeded with nanodoses of whatever medicine is made.

            And your knowledge of phermones also suck, but you already know that.

          • Okay, I understand that you find a little math boring. And with regard to pheromones you might want to check this reference: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00593550 (unfortunately in German, but I doubt if you would have checked it out anyway even if it was in plain English).

            So I get it, it is silicate fragments that achieve effects determined by the nature of the mother tincture. How? And somehow the mother tincture must be diepersed in a peculiar way. If you want to make sure that it is present in high potency preparations, then there must be some shortage of it in lower potencies. How is this achieved?

          • Mr. Ullman, pheromones and other cell signaling molecules can work because in the cell, there are RECEPTORS (or other binding-proteins, e.g. calcium-binding proteins) that specifically bind to the signaling substance.
            Since you seem to like the pheromone example so much, so called pheromone-receptors exist. After binding to the signaling molecule (which can in some cases be in low concentrations, but still far higher than the extreme dilutions of homeopathy), the RECEPTOR then TRANSMITS the signal to the cell.
            Without the RECEPTOR, the signaling molecule does NOTHING (this can be proven by eliminating the receptor from the cell e.g. by gentic manipulation, so called gene knockout). I myself investigated such an example in my PhD work.
            However, no such thing as a “Berlin Wall RECEPTOR” (or any other of the obscure homeopathic substances) has been identified. Keep in mind that the human genome has been sequenced and if there were 8.000 (or so) receptors for homeopathic substances present, at least ONE would have been found and investigated, don´t you think? If you know of any, please tell.
            Without being passive-agressive again, could you please explain how you think that the obscure homeopathic substances can lead to a CELL RESPONSE?

          • No one in homeopathy says that these nanodoses work in every instance, ONLY when that medicine’s toxicology matches the patient’s syndrome of symptoms. Every musician (and evey smart scientist) understands the power of RESONANCE.

            BTW, I bet NO ONE here knew that gold in nanodoses become magnetic. It seems that some things change substantially in their nanodose form. Sorry to use science to those here who prefer to be in denial…

          • priceless !!!
            I am a musician but, actually, its not a musical but a physical phenomenon that has as good as no relevance to therapeutics.

          • @Norbert Aust:

            So I get it, it is silicate fragments that achieve effects determined by the nature of the mother tincture. How?

            See Dana’s comment here:

            Is it just a coincidence that silica has a tendency to store and to broadcast information?

            See also apgaylard’s response further down the thread.

          • @ Mojo

            would be interesting what you (and Dana) mean by the word “information”. And what this information would consist of.

            Homeopathic preparation: “Hey body, I am a piece of sugar where somebody had poured some water on – long since evaporated – where a mother tincture of [any name] was diluted out of existence by [number] steps of [select one: X/C/LM] potentisation. Otherwise I am accompanied by some random contaminations only. Cheers – Sugar.”

            Body: “Hey homey, is that BS supposed to assist me fighting [any disease]?”

          • Glass/water having some ppms of silicate fragments proves in what way, again, that the water is seeded with whatever medicine is made?

            And, gold, in nanodoses, becomes magnetic, how exactly? This having to do with saccharum aquae evaporatus what precisely, again?

            The science was rather dilute in Dana’s posts, I must have missed it. Not everybody can catch up to nanodoses of science. Maybe some elaboration could help. Are you up to some new homeopathic pheromone Dana?

          • The fact that GOLD becomes magnetic in nanodoses has nothing to do with homeopathy and everything to do with good science…but I don’t expect you to know about good science.

            Heck, have you ever heard about this thing called GOOGLE? You should try it sometime.

            Ignorance isn’t bliss, despite your desire for it to be such.

          • Heck, have you ever heard that GOOGLE can be wrong?

          • Thanx Edzard for confirming your inability to use google and/or your desire to even try. Not surprised.

            Can anyone PROVE me wrong that gold becomes magnetic in nanodose? Let’s see who is honest here (and how knows how to use search engines).

          • please don’t stop making a fool of yourself – it’s just too amusing!

          • Dana Ullman said:

            Thanx Edzard for confirming your inability to use google and/or your desire to even try. Not surprised.ROFL!

            Google Patent search, Dana?

          • Dana, if you knew a thing about science you would know that it is the claimant that has to prove his cleim. You claim that gold under certain conditions is magnetic, then show us your evidence. Otherwise you would have to believe me that a sizable piece of old Cheddar cheese is currently in an orbit around Jupiter – unless you prove me wrong you got to believe it.

          • … and I have just googled that the earth is flat!

          • Norbert Aust said

            You claim that gold under certain conditions is magnetic, then show us your evidence.

            I’m dying to find out from Dana whether gold is dia, para, ferro, anti-ferro, ferri, superpara, etc and what that has to do with homeopathy.

          • And therein lies _your_ failure to understand that which you proselytise.

          • The fact that GOLD becomes magnetic in nanodoses has nothing to do with homeopathy and everything to do with good science…but I don’t expect you to know about good science.

            Anyone with a relatively simple grasp of mathematics, linguistics or formal language theory can see that this statement, if true, leads to the exclusive conclusion that homeopathy has nothing to do with good science.
            It’s that or gold does not become magnetic in nanodoses.

            Pick your conclusion Dana, or rephrase of course, because this statement does not fit your own beliefs.

            If you insist, you might as well show some proof about that. Otherwise, try to find some science that disproves the notion that no homeopathic potion beyond 12C can be identified with respect to the original material (if there ever was one).

          • For the record, here is a great reference for evidence that GOLD BECOMES MAGNETIC WHEN IT IS IN NANOPARTICLES:

            http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2012/nr/c2nr30640a#!divAbstract

            And once again, once ALL of the skeptics are proven WRONG, there will be a deafening SILENCE.

            Strong evidence of a poor scientific attitude is the avoidance of admitting errors. In contrast, I have selectively acknowledged a couple of errors I have made…and this is evidence of my ethics and scientific mindset, in sharp contrast to the minds-in-cement here.

          • @Dullmann

            You said

            And once again, once ALL of the skeptics are proven WRONG, there will be a deafening SILENCE.

            Not at all, Dana. What you originally said was “I bet NO ONE here knew that gold in nanodoses become magnetic.” [My bold] I certainly didn’t know that, because I don’t know what the heck a ‘nanodose’ is supposed to be, beyond the fact that you and other homeopathist believers keep banging on about them.

            Now you link us to a proper scientific publication entitled “Magnetism in gold nanoparticles“. That’s an entirely different matter, because nanoparticles are genuine, reproducible entities that can be measured and characterized. And I agree there’s plenty of scientific literature about gold nanoparticles being magnetic.

            In science it’s kind of important to get the terminology right, Dana. Please don’t use a nonsense word like ‘nanodose’ when the correct word is ‘nanoparticle’, or people might think you lack real knowledge of what you’re babbling about.

            I’m afraid you have yet another error to selectively acknowledge now.

          • LOL!

            Thanx for that great non-apology apology!

            So, when will you acknowledge your errors about the LANGMUIR study, let alone the many others since then that have found “nanoparticles” of each of the original substances…OR will you again refer to these substances as “contaminants” of the original substance (yeah, silver nanoparticles are NOT “contaminants” in a double-distilled water that began with siliver!)…and will you recognize the silicate fragments are NOT “contaminants” but are carriers of silver, gold, or any other substance which is placed in a glass vial.

            Will you condemn me for referring to them as homeopathic medicines rather than nanoparticles?

            I now see the future: Skeptics of homeopathy will herald in the emerging science of nanoparticles, yet insist that “nanodoses” of homeopathic medicines are “magic.” Yeah, right…

            A crack in the egg has begun…and what is oozing out?

          • Ehhmm, Dana, please tell me, that this is NOT your conclusion:

            “Because all you skeptics were ignorant of the fact that nanoparticles of gold may be magnetic, you all are in error about the Langmuir paper and therefore this is solid evidence and this is proof that homeopathy works.”

            Please do, or I am done for the day for fits of laughter.

          • You see, Dana, just looking up Google and finding some paper is not what you would call knowledge and understanding. At least you should have had a look at the paper to learn what the authors say. In the case of your referenced paper on gold nanoparticles you would have found:

            “Measurements are widely scattered and reproducability is astonishingly poor.”
            “The observation of remnant magnetization in the absence of an external field is not explained.”
            “Experiments […] return contradictory results and no clear trend has ever been demonstrated.”

            Seems not so clear, if gold nanoparticles are (ferro)magnetic.

            Note: Knowledge is gained by reading and understanding literature, not by referencing it.

          • well put; but will he understand?

          • Mr. Ullman,
            since your “magnetic gold” comment seemed to have been a direct response to my question on how homeopathic substances could lead to a CELL RESPONSE, let me give a final answer.

            Quote#1:
            “No one in homeopathy says that these nanodoses work in every instance, ONLY when that medicine’s toxicology matches the patient’s syndrome of symptoms.”

            Mentioning that homeopathy WILL NOT WORK for every person is not an explanation for HOW it works for the “matching” persons.

            Quote#2:
            “Every musician (and evey smart scientist) understands the power of RESONANCE.”

            Not sure that I agree, I am a scientist, but a biologist and not a physicist. Therefore, I am not an expert on the phenomenon of resonance and would not say that I fully “understand” this phenomenon. Maybe I am not smart enough. However, this comment also does not answer my question. If the homeopathic substances would induce “resonance signals” of some sort, there still would have to be “resonance RECEPTORS” (or maybe “resonance “partners”?) in the cells. These would have to be found encoded in the human DNA (if they are proteins), but they simply do not exists.

            Quote#3:
            “BTW, I bet NO ONE here knew that gold in nanodoses become magnetic. It seems that some things change substantially in their nanodose form.”

            Now you switch from “resonance” to “magnetisms” as a possible explanation. However, the fact that gold nanoparticles may or may not become magnetic does still NOT AT ALL explain HOW the cell would detect the magnetic signal. In addition, how about the other thousands of homeopathic substances, do they all become magnetic in your mind? How does the cell differentiate between the different “magnetic signals” then? You still do not give a concrete answer to my concrete question.

            Quote#4:
            “Sorry to use science to those here who prefer to be in denial…”

            No reason to be sorry. I do not agree that scientists -in general- are “in denial”. For example, I myself would accept that homeopathy works (and that we then would have to reject several basic laws of physics, chemistry and biology) if very strong and reproducible evidence for this fantastic concept would exixt. However, this is not the case. This approach seems reasonable for me, calling it “denial” is not adequate.

      • Oscillococcinum. Only available from Boiron.

        • Damn, Guy, you are as honest as Donald Trump!

          Boiron has patented the NAME, but NOT the ingredient. There are several other sources of its ingredient.

          Skeptics have NO ability and perhaps no desire to tell the truth…and yet, this ignorance doesn’t slow the arrogance…and together they form an embarrassingly unscientific attitude.

          Guy, thanx for verifying your ignorance again.

          • “Boiron has patented the NAME, but NOT the ingredient.”

            And Perrier has patented the NAME (Perrier), but NOT the ingredient (water) yet they seem to be doing quite well out of it!

          • Yeah…but there are a million other examples of the profit margin disappearing or simply being poor…and more important, your argument was literally torn apart but you are pretending that you’re still standing. Brilliant! and DAFT!

          • Dana Ullman said:

            Boiron has patented the NAME, but NOT the ingredient.

            ROFL!

            You don’t even know the difference between a patent and a trade mark (trademark to you Americans), do you?

            Dana, thanks for verifying your ignorance again.

          • I don’t know where you get the idea the argument about patenting homeopathic remedies has been ‘literally blown apart’. My point (and others’) is that big business is perfectly capable of copyrighting or branding simple cheap products – aspirin, paracetamol, water, lemonade, baked beans or whatever and doing very well out of them. There is no reason they couldn’t do the same with homeopathy if they felt there was any truth in the claims that it worked.

      • If homeopathy’s mechanism of action depends on nano-particles as Dana alleges can he please explain how nano particles of mother tinctures such as human placenta, Welsh slate, tiger urine, the Peregrine Falcon, smallpox, syphillus, cancer, the Berlin Wall, light from the planet Venus and so on can cure anything. And can he also explain how these nano-particles become stronger and more potent with increasing dilutions.

        It has been said before, even if a convincing mechanism for homeopathy was discovered tomorrow it would still remain utterly implausible.

        And what ever happened to quantum? That was the big thing not that long ago when it came to homeopathy’s mechanism of action, now it’s nano, I wonder what it will be this time next year!

        Niall

        • Now that you say it: Homeopaths missed on Higgs-particles, bosons, gravitational waves. Why are these discoveries not used to explain the mechanism behind homeopathy?

        • The purported mechanism of action of homeopathy reminds me of this old joke:
          A man walks into a London post office, carrying a heavy parcel, obviously containing bricks. He drops the parcel on the counter, and asks what it costs to have it sent to Australia. The parcel is duly weighed, and the postage fee is calculated at £380, standard shipping. Then the man asks about express service – which comes down to £460.
          The man then says, “OK, I am NOT sending this parcel to Australia, and especially not by express service. So that’s £460 you owe me – cash is fine, thank you very much.”
          (And if the man were a homeopath, he would also claim that this procedure would somehow cause Australia to lose a whole building worth of bricks.)

      • “The fact that homeopathic medicines cannot be patented would be the OBVIOUS reason that venture capitalists don’t invest in homeopathic medicines.”
        Well, you have a point there. Defrauding people has been going on for as long as mankind exists, so no, you can’t patent that any more. And we’ve been using water to keep alive for even much longer, so I guess the patent on using water as a vital substance has expired some billions of years ago already.

        “And perhaps the leading reason that the Frass trial has not been replicated is that numerous skeptics of homeopathy, include “Darth” Ernst has asserted that it is not necessary to do research on homeopathy…”
        The ‘perhaps’ says that it is mere speculation on your part, now doesn’t it? Besides, the Frass trial is not the only homeopathic trial that hasn’t been replicated, least of all result-wise. In fact, countless homeopathic trials HAVE been replicated, and one quite famous replication attempt was carried out 183 years ago already.
        Perhaps the leading reason that homeopathic trials apparently haven’t been replicated is that numerous homeopaths, include Samuel Hahnemann, did not like the actual results of said replications. So my theory is that homeopaths suppress any results from these failed replication trials. But you were saying?

        Then again, you may have a point here: by our modern-day scientific standards, homeopathy is so utterly ridiculous in its premises alone, that real scientists are reluctant and even embarrassed to admit that they actively engaged in researching this thoroughly discredited folly.

        “and many institutions simply block such research.”
        Well, yes, that is quite sensible. Institutions wouldn’t spend a dime on researching astrology either — even with the actual physical influence(*) of our solar system planets and visible stars being orders of magnitude greater than the chances of finding one active particle in a homeopathic dilution (and please note the mental strain on my behalf to refrain from using the term ‘delusion’).
        *: Photons from those planets and stars are detectable even by the naked eye, which means that they have a noticeable, measurable and undeniable influence on our physical body — something which cannot be said of homeopathic dilutions. And then there’s gravity too…

        “As for Darth’s assertion that there is no viable explanation for how nanodoses of medicines can have significant health effects…”
        Which ‘nanodoses’ are you referring to, exactly? How many molecules of which active substance, please? Based on my (admittedly rather limited) endeavours into toxicology and pharmacology, I find that an active ‘nanodose’ of even the most biologically active substance known (botulin toxin) comprises one nanogram at least, or four billion molecules of this substance. Most homeopathic dilutions, however, do not contain even a single active molecule per dose. So please define ‘nanodose’, and I’ll be happy to discuss this further.

        “he (and other skeptics) KNOW that the work published in LANGMUIR provides compelling AND viable explanations for how and why nanoparticles of the original medicine persists in solutions and how and why the remaining nanodoses (that are comparable in doses to hormones and cell signaling agents in the body are KNOWN to have biological action).”
        I am not familiar with the Langmuir publications you refer to. I AM familiar with biochemistry, and basic biochemistry tells me that biochemical signalling requires detectable levels of hormone molecules to function. No molecules, no action. Most homeopathic dilutions do not contain any active molecules at all any more (never mind that those ‘active molecules’ did not have a signalling function whatsoever to begin with). And even if one accepts the premise that somehow, some molecules escape the dilution process, and that a homeopathic dilution actually contains some biologically active signalling molecules, then this STILL does not explain how those very few signalling molecules survive the digestive tract to end up exactly where they’re supposed to. And there are literally myriads of other problems with this, many of which flat-out contradict homeopathy. Homeopathy cannot possibly work.

        “Why is that the skeptics of homeopathy seem to have their brains fall out whenever they write about homeopathy?”
        Ah, a simple question with a simple answer: the acceptance of homeopathy requires an absence of critical brain functions. Those poor skeptics you describe obviously managed the first step (getting rid of the brain), yet still faltered at the final hurdle, i.e. accepting the principles of homeopathy (otherwise they would no longer be skeptics, of course).

        “The fact that Ernst and others repeat lies and misinformation is typical of medical fundamentalists and fascists.”
        Interesting turn of phrase here. I thought we were discussing the working principles (or the lack thereof) of homeopathy, and the studies that prove or disprove these. But now it would appear that all of a sudden, you equate the venerable Prof. Dr. Edzard Ernst with a ‘medical fundamentalist’ (whatever that may be), and even a fascist? This is a non sequitur. Prof. Dr. Ernst merely points out that according to the best of our scientific knowledge, there is no evidence that homeopathy has any effect beyond placebo. How does this make him a fascist?

        “It seems that Trump’s chronic lying has become contagious. No wonder Ernst blocks me on Twitter. I catch him doing this too frequently…”
        Ah, I think I understand. You are most likely a disgruntled believer in alternative treatments, who feels that his religious faith has been unjustly attacked. Well, yes, that changes things of course. You might want to get some help with your mental issues for starters.

        “Now, let the ad homs begin…”
        Begin? You have a heck of a head start here…

        • Maybe not “venture capitalists” but certainly greedy and unscrupulous capitalists. I’m seeing “homeopathic” products being touted by Multi-Level Marketing scams. I’m seeing homeopaths being sucked into them. To be fair, it’s not the traditional manufacturers involved – companies tend to be the nasty end of the US nutritional supplement market.

          Herbalife is the best known of that type of company – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbalife

          And the traditional manufacturers? Not adverse to cynical marketing qv Forcellati et al v. Hyland’s Inc

  • Maybe slightly off topic but at least it relates to this posts title.
    I have started to collate this years top ten homeopathic remedies and was wondering if homeopaths have something on ‘rats’ or ‘mice’. They have!

    “Homeopathic Rubric for Fear of Mice includes 6 remedies: calc, calc-ar, colch, puls, sep, thul-c.
    MIND: FEAR: Rats include, absin, aconite, arnica, belladonna, BOS-S, calc, calc-ar, cimic, op, phos, Plac, sept
    You could also research into fears of being attacked, and fears of being bitten.
    When using the concept fear of attack, it seems not so specific that this concerns a small pet, an wild animal, from another human or enemy, a chemical or biological weapon, from some unknown force or even an atomic bomb.

    MIND: FEAR: Attacked, of being: astac, carc, carn-g, chrysan, cygn-c, dysp, emer, falco-p, fic-i, gins, gryl-a, lac-cpr, lac-lup, lach, ory-c, PLUT-N, salx-f, Stoi-k, STRAM, xanth

    The overall fear and sense of anxiety would be the most generalized rubric which contains 902 remedies listed and I’m not so sure it would provide the closest remedy, but it would not leave anything out.”

    http://homeopathyworldcommunity.ning.com/group/translatinglanguageintorepertoryrubrics/forum/topics/mind-fear-of-cats-and-rats

  • Thank you for this important information. Although certainly not surprising, I was not aware that NONE of the well-designed, positive studies of homeopathy have ever been replicated. As a scientist, I was well aware that experimental results are not worth much until replicated, however, I was not sure how to respond to a friend (a student of health science) who claimed that studies exist that clearly show that CAM works, after I told him that scientific evidence speaks against efficacy of most (if not all) CAM treatments. Good to know how to respond to such claims.

    • not all CAMs are the same; some are backed by god replicated evidence, e. g.: edzardernst.com/2016/10/st-johns-wort-for-depression-the-biggest-success-story-of-alternative-medicine/

  • Perhaps there’s a fifth possibility to account for apparent success of some homeopathic remedies when tested and it’s that some of them do contain measurable amounts of active ingredient, and so the effect is ordinarily pharmacological. The recent hoo ha about ‘inconsistent levels of belladonna’ and related compounds in teething products, plus previous problems with manufacturing quality suggest that the methods of production of homeopathy might not produce an actually homeopathic remedy 😉

    In this case, the inconsistency of product introduces a helpful ambiguity for homeopaths.

    In other news, congratulations to all the skeptics who’ve made great strides in getting homeopathy off the NHS, this seems to be now nearly resolved – hooray.

    Jo

    • “…a fifth possibility to account for apparent success of some homeopathic remedies when tested and it’s that some of them do contain measurable amounts of active ingredient…”
      whom are you telling? that’s why one of my very own ‘homeopathic’ trials yielded a positive outcome (edzardernst.com/2015/07/professor-ernsts-very-own-positive-trial-of-homeopathy-oh-dear-have-i-been-found-out/). That’s why I refer specifically to highly diluted remedies.

  • Wow you nailed this and wrapped it up with a bow ? !!!
    Such a ‘simple’ yet brilliant deduction…a perfect syllogism.
    This crosses over to virtually all fake-miracle-‘medicine’ as well I’d believe.
    A recent PT paper (Gianola: Reporting of rehabilitation intervention in LBP in RCTs: are the findings reproducible?) suggests only 20% of published PT-type research delineates treatment sufficiently for replication.
    The key to fraud: be vague…but forceful.

  • There is one other point maybe worth mentioning: The high number of pilot studies rated “promising” but never followed by some major trial. In Mathie’s reviews of 2014 and 2017 about 30 of the about 100 trials that were included were mere pilots. Why do you do a pilot? My guess would be to establish how to procede with a PCT. If that is true, then each “promising” pilot not followed by a PCT is some kind of proof of a trial that failed to corroborate the findings.

    Or is it just marketing? A pilot is insufficient to build scientific evidence, but may exist below the radar beam of criticism and the layman does not know the difference to science anyway.

  • The problem with a lot of homeopathy is that the underlying mechanism doesn’t make sense. For example an accepted scientific fact is that diluting something makes it less potent. Someone has a huge burden to overcome if they start claiming that dilutions make something more potent. But I am open minded. Maybe taking something like a laxative can help with diarrhea, as some Homeopaths proclaim. Anyway, there seems to be too much nonsense in Homeopathy to spend any time or money on it. It is probably better to just do your own research on the internet to see what “natural” treatments are available. This probably would give you the same or better results than paying to see a Homeopath and save you time and money.

    • Damn (again)…this guy doesn’t read ANY of the posts here. No wonder he thinks that there is no compelling explanations for nanodoses. I wonder if he thinks that his hormones are placebo too…or maybe his brain is the placebo (nothing there). Sorry…but you chose to write without knowledge.

      • Damn (again). It’s that memory of yours failing you again, Dana. You seem to have forgotten that, despite the number of times it’s been explained to you that the actions for hormones are physiologically demonstrable and are explained by biochemical processes. The actions of homeopathy are not physiologically demonstrable and there is no plausible and reproducibly demonstrable means of their action.

        If you wish to huff and puff and wave around some piece of long-derided junk from Bell or her friends, Dana, please feel free. We will continue to laugh at your bluffing, spluttering and hand-waving.

        This has been going on for some years now. You’d have thought that Dana by now would’ve come up with some decent stuff to put in front of us. We’ve all told him what would convince us. Why doesn’t he listen?

      • Hormones are nothing like homeopathy – we know very well how hormones work, they bind to receptors in the cell membrane and act by up or down-regulating cellular activity via well studied and understood pathways.

        We also know homeopathy doesn’t work – it has no effect beyond placebo – and just saying ‘nano’ isn’t a substitute for a viable mechanism of effect.

  • Jo
    Congratulations to all the Sun worshipers for making the Sun rise this morning.

  • Dana Ullman, ‘spokesperson for homeopathic medicine’, is a busted flush. Moreover, he knows it. But to confess as much is too difficult, would be too humiliating. It would take enormous courage… more than the courage of scientists, who have to expose their errors and flawed approaches and ignorance as a matter of course – or (eventually) get found out; because it would require the courage to admit that he has been deceiving gullible people for a very long time. So he has no choice other than to maintain the bluff. Or, if he’s oblivious to this and he seriously believes what he says and the busted material he repeatedly waves, a pathological condition suggests itself. Either way, I imagine that the inside of his skin is an uncomfortable place to be.

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