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

The aim of this new systematic review was to evaluate the controlled trials of homeopathy in bronchial asthma. Relevant trials published between Jan 1, 1981, and Dec 31, 2016, were considered. Substantive research articles, conference proceedings, and master and doctoral theses were eligible. Methodology was assessed by Jadad’s scoring, internal validity by the Coch-rane tool, model validity by Mathie’s criteria, and quality of individualization by Saha’s criteria.

Sixteen trials were eligible. The majority were positive, especially those testing complex formulations. Methodological quality was diverse; 8 trials had “high” risk of bias. Model validity and individualization quality were compromised. Due to both qualitative and quantitative inadequacies, proofs supporting individualized homeopathy remained inconclusive. The trials were positive (evidence level A), but inconsistent, and suffered from methodological heterogeneity, “high” to “uncertain” risk of bias, incomplete study reporting, inadequacy of independent replications, and small sample sizes.

The authors of this review come from:

  • the Department of Homeopathy, District Joint Hospital, Government of Bihar, Darbhanga, India;
  • the Department of Organon of Medicine and Homoeopathic Philosophy, Sri Sai Nath Postgraduate Institute of Homoeopathy, Allahabad, India;
  • the Homoeopathy University Jaipur, Jaipur, India;
  • the Central Council of Homeopathy, Hooghly,
  • the Central Council of Homeopathy, Howrah, India

They state that they have no conflicts of interest.

The review is puzzling on so many accounts that I had to read it several times to understand it. Here are just some of its many oddities:

  • According to its authors, the review adhered to the PRISMA-P guideline; as a co-author of this guideline, I can confirm that this is incorrect.
  • The authors claim to have included all ‘controlled trials (randomized, non-randomized, or observational) of any form of homeopathy in patients suffering from persistent and chronic bronchial asthma’. In fact, they also included uncontrolled studies (16 controlled trials and 12 uncontrolled observational studies, to be precise).
  • The authors included papers published between Jan 1, 1981, and Dec 31, 2016. It is unacceptable, in my view, to limit a systematic review in this way. It also means that the review was seriously out of date already on the day it was published.
  • The authors tell us that they applied no language restrictions. Yet they do not inform us how they handled papers in foreign languages.
  • Studies of homeopathy as a stand alone therapy were included together with studies of homeopathy as an adjunct. Yet the authors fail to point out which studies belonged to which category.
  • Several of the included studies are not of homeopathy but of isopathy.
  • The authors fail to detail their results and instead refer to an ‘online results table’ which I cannot access even though I have the on-line paper.
  • Instead, they report that 28 studies were included and ‘thus, the level of evidence was graded as A.’
  • No direction of outcome was provided in the results section. All we do learn from the paper’s discussion section is that ‘the majority of the studies were positive, and the level of evidence could be graded as A (strong scientific evidence)’.
  • Despite the high risk of bias in most of the included studies, the authors suggest a ‘definite role of homeopathy beyond placebo in the treatment of bronchial asthma’.
  • The current Cochrane review (also authored by a pro-homeopathy team) concluded that there is not enough evidence to reliably assess the possible role of homeopathy in asthma. Yet the authors of this new review do not even attempt to explain the contradiction.

Confusion?

Incompetence?

Scientific misconduct?

Fraud?

YOU DECIDE!

107 Responses to A new, positive systematic review of homeopathy – confusion or fraud?

  • I got the supplementary material from the Download button (beside the “cite” button) at this link
    https://ndownloader.figshare.com/files/14579561

    It doesn’t sound like they looked for registered trials not published, and I’ve never heard of masters theses being considered in a systematic review.

    • thanks that’s helpful
      I only had a quick look at our own trial and can confirm that some of the data in the tables are incorrect.

  • “They state that they have no conflicts of interest.”

    Surely true of all homeoquacks? Their only interest is pimping their made-up magical bullshit, and nothing they say or do ever conflicts with that.

  • No need to waste time on the above review.

    What is topical is immunisation: HP ‘versus’ vaccination.

    Vaccination is scientifically proven, HP not and yet asserted to be proven.

    What does Edzard have to say about this link posted by Tricia?
    http://www.drzimmermann.org/uploads/8/2/6/0/82607374/homeoprophylaxis-a-proven-alternative-to-vaccination-by-dr.-golden1.pdf

  • Did Ernst REALLY assert that it is not appropriate for inclusion in a metaanalysis on the homeopathic treatment of patients with bronchial asthma when studies using homeopathic doses of allergens NOT be included? Really?

    How can you REALLY make such assertions? Oh…I know…one such trial had a VERY positive result and was published in the BMJ! How convenient!

    There are good skeptics, bad ones, and unethical ones. Ernst is one of the unethical ones!

    • 1) it was not a meta-analysis
      2) treatments not following the ‘like cures like’ idiocy are not homeopathy, according to the chief Hahnemann.
      3) I don’t care where this was published, DUllie.
      4) if that makes me unethical, it would make you what?

      • Yes, it was a “systematic review.”

        But please tell me HOW these medicines were made? Were the made the same way that homeopathic medicines are made…and are they sold as “homeopathic medicines”?

        I bet you don’t reply to these questions.

        The additional bottomline is: do these medicine CAUSE the SIMILAR symptoms in overdose that their homeopathic doses helps to heal? The answer is YES but none of your bullshit can assert otherwise.

        • you just lost a bet!
          “HOW these medicines were made? Were the made the same way that homeopathic medicines are made…and are they sold as “homeopathic medicines”?”
          homeopathy is not defined by the pocess of manufacture but by Hahnemann’s dictum ‘like cures like’.
          ” do these medicine CAUSE the SIMILAR symptoms in overdose that their homeopathic doses helps to heal?”
          they cause symptoms not similar but identical, look up the difference, if you don’t know it.
          “The answer is YES but none of your bullshit can assert otherwise.”
          oh my sweaty! don’t be angry with me just because I am right and you are wrong. that would not be grown-up, DUliie!

          in any case, you are trying hard to detract from the subject of the post:
          DO YOU THINK THIS PAPER IS FRAUDULENT OR JUST CONFUSED?

        • “But please tell me HOW these medicines were made? Were the made the same way that homeopathic medicines are made…and are they sold as ‘homeopathic medicines’?”

          Here are two examples where homeopaths have claimed that well conducted studies (which found no evidence for an effect of homeopathy above placebo) are invalid because at least some of the methods involved were isopathy, not homeopathy:

          http://www.rationalvetmed.org/papers_b.html#Bell2005
          Bell, I.R. (2005) ‘All evidence is equal, but some evidence is more equal than others: Can logic prevail over emotion in the homeopathy debate’, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 763–769.

          http://www.rationalvetmed.org/papers_k-l.html#Lewith2002
          Lewith, G.T., Watkins, A.D., Hyland, M.E., Shaw, S., Broomfield, J.A., Dolan, G., et al. (2002) ‘Use of ultramolecular potencies of allergen to treat asthmatic people allergic to house dust mite: double blind randomised controlled clinical trial’, British Medical Journal, vol. 324, pp. 1-5.

          So are you now saying that homeopathy is the same as isopathy? If so then many homeopaths disagree, especially when studies involving isopathy give negative results for homeopathy.

          Niall

          • Show me (and ALL of us) anywhere that Hahnemann asserted that the use of allergens to treat allergies is NOT homeopathic. Give me a friggin’ break! How embarrassingly stupid…literally stupid!

            Secondly, legally, a homeopathic preparation of an allergen is a “homeopathic medicine.” Please show me drug law that defines an “isopathic medicine.”

            Ok, we’re done here…and again, you’ve be shown to be embarrassingly incorrect (again).

            As for the systematic review, there IS evidence that homeopathic medicines can be beneficial for people with bronchial asthma, though more research is certainly needed.

          • “Show me (and ALL of us) anywhere that Hahnemann asserted that the use of allergens to treat allergies is NOT homeopathic.”
            WHY DON’T YOU SHOW US THAT HE DID?

          • Deflection supreme!

            The bottomline (once again) is that the medicine was legally and pharmaceutically a homeopathic medicine and it is made just like every other homeopathic medicine.

            It is so CUTE watching you SQUIRM…and SPIN…and DENY. You are now twisting in the wind. That is not what people do when they are innocent. They (YOU!) know you’re guilty!

  • Cool…Ernie is actually saying that there is a “conflict of interest” by the author of this study simply because they are homeopaths! In that case, virtually ALL of conventional medical research has this same “conflict of interest” because they are conventional physicians or conventional scientists (please note that I am not saying this…Ernie is saying it!…based on his logic…or illogic!

    Embarrasing eh?

    And how so convenient to try to omit evidence from the British Medical Journal (how convenient indeed!)

  • Dana, can you name a single fact that was ever discovered by a homeopathic practitioner and is accepted by the scientific community?

    • Really? Is THAT all you got?

      Don’t take my word, take the word of the former President of the AMA:

      One of the leading antagonists to homeopathy in the 20th century was Morris Fishbein, MD (1889-1976) who was the President of the American Medical Association and editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association. And yet, Dr. Fishbein had a real respect for Hahnemann for his contributions to the field of medicine. In 1925, he noted, “The influence of Hahnemann was, on the whole, certainly for the good. He emphasized the individualization of the patient in the handling of disease … and he demonstrated the value of testing the actual virtues of a drug by trial.”

      • perhaps it’s not all he’s got – but it seems more than enough for you.

        • Harpers Magazine 1890

          In an 1890 issue of Harpers Magazine, Mark Twain acknowledges the value of homeopathy, remarking that, “The introduction of homeopathy forced the old school doctor to stir around and learn something of a rational nature about his business.”

          Public appreciation of homoeopathy was perhaps best expressed by Mark Twain in a celebrated writing published by him in 1890. The February Harper’s Magazine contains a remarkable article entitled, “A Majestic Literary Fossil.”

          In this article the incomparable Twain rakes over the literature of the old school of medicine of a hundred years ago and more, and in his facetious way presents its absurdities in their most ludicrous light.

          He discusses an old allopathic medical text, which had been employed by a Confederate physician during the Civil War and later comments:

          “When you reflect that your own father had to take such medicines as the above, and that you would be taking them today yourself, but for the introduction of homoeopathy, which forced the old school doctor to stir around and learn something of a rational nature about his business, you may honestly feel grateful that homoeopathy survived the attempts of the allopathists to destroy it, even though you may never employ any physician but an allopathist while you live.”

          • Wow.

            Samuel Langhorne Clemens liked homeopathy. And wrote about it in 1890. Because he was the father of modern medicine, wasn’t he?

            Pathetic, Dana. Just pathetic. Look at yourself and what you’ve written with just the faintest iota of self-awareness.

          • not even a nano-particle of it!

          • Lenny…thanx for verifying your scientism…and your disrespect for the brilliance behind our literary greats.

            So embarrassing.

            Is this the result of your psychiatric medicines or your natural daftness?…or perhaps both!?

          • Hey LOOK…the pot is calling the kettle black.

            Oh my!!

          • I know, I sometimes am regrettably impatient.
            But quite honestly, you seem to be unable to post a single comment without issuing hefty insults.

          • Oh, poor Ernie. The bully is crying in his soup…and he forgot that HE is the bully in this town, but it seems that he likes to pretend he’s meek and mild. It’s fun to watch him SPIN. Even the blind can see his baloney.

            I realize that it is a problem when soneone stands up to the bully.

          • try to think back:
            WHEN DID YOU LAST MANGE TO SAY SOMETHING MEANINGFUL WITHOUT AT LEAST ONE INSULT?

          • @Lenny:

            Wow.

            Samuel Langhorne Clemens liked homeopathy.

            Maybe not as much as Dana would like us to think. Here’s something else Twain wrote about homeopathy:

            “[i]f another citizen preferred to toy with death, and buy health in small parcels, to bribe death with a sugar pill to stay away, or go to the grave with all the original sweetners undrenched out of him, then the individual adopted the “like cures like” system, and called in a homeopath physician as being a pleasant friend of death’s.”

            See Ober, KP: The Pre-Flexnerian Reports: Mark Twain’s Criticism of Medicine in the United States. Ann Intern Med. 1997;126(2):157-163.

          • However (and this is a BIG however!), my reference to Twain was from 1890…and your reference was earlier in his life. By 1890, he had a more developed sense of what was and wasn’t real. In any case, he abhored allopathic medicine (or whatever you wish to call conventional medicine), and he had a deep appreciation for osteopathy (before it became more medicalized).

            It is like Florence Nightingale. She had very critical things to say about homeopathy earlier in her life, but due to her and others experiences, she changed her point of view.

            It is hard for skeptics HERE to imagine that people can change their point of view, but that happens a LOT when people really are smart and don’t think like sheeple.

          • see what I mean?

          • Trotting out the insults again, Dana? Because I’ve demonstrated irrefutably the nonsense of yet another one of your posts? Or are you going to give us F. Scott Fitzgerald’s thoughts on breakthroughs in contemporary neurosurgical technique?

          • Dana, you still don’t get it, do you? Your quotation from Twain isn’t an endorsement of homeopathy, it’s a comment, to quote Ober, about “the importance of the competing systems in pressuring allopathic medicine to evolve into a new scientific discipline.”

            And, of course, Twain isn’t an appropriate authority in this field.

            It is like Florence Nightingale. She had very critical things to say about homeopathy earlier in her life, but due to her and others experiences, she changed her point of view.

            I hope you have better references for this than the ones discussed here. As you have said elsewhere, “C’mon…give us dem quotes and references…or STFU.”

          • Dana not getting something?
            impossible!
            you must be mistaken!

          • “Look at yourself and what you’ve written with just the faintest iota of self-awareness.”

            Dana’s a homeopath, Lenny. His iota of self-awareness is so faint even Avogadro couldn’t find it.

      • Dana.

        Let’s have a closer look at what you’re claiming and your selective quoting. What did Dr Fishbein say in his 1932 essay on The Rise And Fall Of Homeopathy?

        “Professors Meyer-Steinheg of Jena and Sudhoff of Leipzig, two of the world’s greatest medical historians, assert that the influence of Hahnemann was, on the whole, certainly for good. He emphasized the individualization of the patient in the handling of disease, he stopped the progress of half a dozen or more peculiar systems of treatment based on a false pathology, and he demonstrated the value of testing the actual virtues of drugs by trial.”

        So Fishbein didn’t say what you’re claiming. Others did.

        And before you start trumpeting about these two marvellous and influential historians, try Googling their names to find out how great and marvellous their influence now is.

        I’ll save you some time, Dana. They are insignificant and forgotten.

        Fishbein isn’t, though.

        So what did he later say in the same essay, Dana?

        “The fact is, indeed, that homeopathy died from within. The very disciples of Hahnemann, and most of the more enlightened practitioners of homeopathy since Hahnemann’s time, when they came into practice, found their system unavailing in the face of serious illness. They then availed themselves of the right of every practitioner of medicine to use any treatment that may be for the good of his patient. They informed themselves of scientific medicine and prescribed drugs in doses that would work. The American Institute of Homeopathy, the official organization, finally adopted the definition: “A homeopathic physician is one who adds to his knowledge of medicine a special knowledge of homeopathic therapeutics and observes the Law of Similia. All that pertains to the great field of medical learning is his, by tradition, by inheritance, by right.” This was essentially a desire to allow homeopathic practitioners to prescribe “old school” drugs in old school doses. It was a confession of inadequacy and failure.”

        It was true then. It is true now.

        Unlike your fatuous claims.

      • There is a lot more where that came from.

        Dana, did you really needed to go back almost 100 years to back when medical science was in its infancy to find a quote? In 1925, even Penicillin wasn’t yet discovered. Radium water pools were medicinal then. What do you think current JAMA editors think today about homeopathy? No one is interested in quotes from 1825 and 1925 or quotes from Mark Twain on medicine. There is a reason I used the term “scientific community”. I am not looking for beliefs of individuals. Individually, we can be cranks in this or that. As a scientific community, we hold ourselves to better standards since we have to show evidence for everything.

        Can you find a single homeopathic claim that is accepted by the scientific community t-o-d-a-y? Name a single statement or observation that Hahnemann wrote that is accepted as science today. O-n-e s-i-n-g-l-e c-l-a-i-m.

      • Also Dana, explain to me how Homeopathy “research” is anything but scientism – because you oddly accuse everyone of it. Homeopathy is basically a textbook definition of the word scientism. Homeopaths publish things that look like science. But not a single paper from any Homeopathy journal was ever proven as science. At what point are homeopaths going to recognize that their publications are scientism? You can’t go below 0%. You are solidly in faith/religion territory at this point. Homeopaths need to unambiguously prove at least O-N-E claim.

        • Raj, homeopathy is a ‘philosophy of healing’, an esoteric ‘healing art’.

          That is why it can’t be assimilated into medical science; 200 years of medical scientism has demonstrated that.

          • > Raj, homeopathy is a ‘philosophy of healing’, an esoteric ‘healing art’.

            Well, it has to prove that it healed something first.

            Why publish faux science papers if people think it is a philosophy or art. Just admit that it is a faith – a sugar pill prayer.

  • Dear Mr D.Ullman

    ‘However (and this is a BIG however!), my reference to Twain was from 1890…and your reference was earlier in his life. By 1890, he had a more developed sense of what was and wasn’t real. In any case, he abhored allopathic medicine (or whatever you wish to call conventional medicine), and he had a deep appreciation for osteopathy (before it became more medicalized).

    It is like Florence Nightingale. She had very critical things to say about homeopathy earlier in her life, but due to her and others experiences, she changed her point of view.

    It is hard for skeptics HERE to imagine that people can change their point of view, but that happens a LOT when people really are smart and don’t think like sheeple.’

    Quoting Twain and Nightingale in a comment to supposedly defend ‘homeopathy’ is absurd and embarrassing to the defense of homeopathy.

    From your many comments on this site, in my view, you have proven that you are an ardent defender of clinical homeopathy, and homeopathy of all kinds. So perhaps you will answer the question that I asked John Benneth? What is your top, best, scientific study that you consider to be conclusive proof for homeopathy efficacy in medical-clinical practice?

    Forget about the nano theory of homeopathic dilution, forget about Twain’s and Nightingale’s conversions, forget about those essays written 100+ years ago.

    What is your absolute anchor for believing in homeopathy?

    Thank you,

    Greg

    • Greg…let’s agree to disagree. I consider comments from cultural heroes of various sorts to ADD to the understanding of and respect for homeopathy. The words and experience of Twain and Nightingale as well as Darwin, Rockefeller, and many others augment our sense of what is and isn’t real.

      There is not just one study but many good studies that verify the benefits from homeopathy, though I’m writing a new review of homeopathic research that will create a strong and compelling case for homeopathy.

      Taylor, MA, Reilly, D, Llewellyn-Jones, RH, et al., Randomised controlled trial of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial Series, BMJ, August 19, 2000, 321:471-476. (This review of FOUR studies on the homeopathic treatment of people with respiratory allergies)

      Jacobs J, Jonas WB, Jimenez-Perez M, Crothers D, Homeopathy for Childhood Diarrhea: Combined Results and Metaanalysis from Three Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trials, Pediatr Infect Dis J, 2003;22:229-34. This metaanalysis of 242 children showed a highly significant result in the duration of childhood diarrhea (P=0.008). Each of these 3 studies used different prescribing homeopaths, verify replicability. A 4th trial testing a “homeopathic formula” had a negative result.

      Frass, M, Dielacher, C, Linkesch, M, et al. Influence of potassium dichromate on tracheal secretions in critically ill patients, Chest, March, 2005;127:936-941. Published in the leading journal on respiratory medicine, this study shows remarkable results in treating the #4 reason that people in the USA die. Conducted at the University of Vienna Hospital.

      Bell IR, Lewis II DA, Brooks AJ, et al. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo, Rheumatology. 2004:1111-5. Published in the leading journal on its subject, this study showed clinically relevant improvements from homeopathy as well as influences on objective EEG readings.

      Macías-Cortés EdC, Llanes-González L, Aguilar-Faisal L, Asbun-Bojalil J (2015) Individualized Homeopathic Treatment and Fluoxetine for Moderate to Severe Depression in Peri- and Postmenopausal Women (HOMDEP-MENOP Study): A Randomized, Double-Dummy, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. PLoS ONE 10(3) http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0118440

      • “I’m writing a new review of homeopathic research that will create a strong and compelling case for homeopathy.”
        I’m sure you will, but will anyone take you seriously?
        All of these trials have been heavily criticised by people who understand methodology better that you.
        Ahh, ‘cultural heroes'(pity you did not read my book):
        Ambrose Bierce: HOMOEOPATHIST, The humorist of the medical profession
        Darwin Charles: [Homeopathy] is a subject which makes me more wrath, even than does Clair-voyance: clairvoyance so transcends belief, that one’s ordinary faculties are put out of question, but in Homœopathy common sense & common observation come into play, & both these must go to the Dogs, if the infinetesimal doses have any effect whatever. How true is a remark I saw the other day by Quetelet, in respect to evidence of curative processes, viz that no one knows in disease what is the simple result of nothing being done, as a standard with which to compare Homœopathy & all other such things.
        Dolphin Tom: I got into trouble for saying at the juniors’ conference that homeopathy is witchcraft. I take that back and apologize to the witches I apparently offended by association.

        Forbes John: The favourable practical results obtained by the homeopathists – or to speak more accurately, the wonderful powers possessed by the natural restorative agencies of the living body, demonstrated under their imaginary treatment – have led to several other practical results of value to the practitioners of ordinary medicine.
        Freer Joseph W: It is impossible for a homeopathic physician to be an educated man, or an educated man to be a physician. To say “homeopathic physician” is as great a solecism as to say “black white bird”.

        Ben Goldacre: for the purposes of popular discourse, it is not necessary for homeopaths to prove their case. It is merely necessary for them to create walls of obfuscation, and superficially plausible technical documents that support their case, in order to keep the dream alive in the imaginations of both the media and their defenders.
        Phil Plait: If homeopathy works, then obviously the less you use it, the stronger it gets. So the best way to apply homeopathy is to not use it at all.
        Venkatraman Ramakrishnan: They (homoeopaths) take arsenic compounds and dilute it to such an extent that just a molecule is left. It will not make any effect on you. Your tap water has more arsenic. No one in chemistry believes in homoeopathy. It works because of placebo effect.
        Joe Schwarcz: At the declared homeopathic dose of 200C, the total mass of pills that would have to be consumed to encounter a single molecule of the original substance would be billions of times greater than the mass of the Earth. Yet the label on this product says it contains a ‘medicinal ingredient!
        Taleb Nassim Nicholas: Its [homeopathy’s] benefits lie in attenuating medical over intervention, acting as a placebo in cases that are marginal, in order to “distract the patient while nature does the job.
        Trousseau Armand: To know how to wait is a great science in our part; prudent waiting often explains success; it explains, above all, those obtained sometimes by those of the Hahnemann sect.
        Mark Twain: [I]f another citizen preferred to toy with death, and buy health in small parcels, to bribe death with a sugar pill to stay away, or go to the grave with all the original sweetners undrenched out of him, then the individual adopted the “like cures like” system, and called in a homeopath physician as being a pleasant friend of death.

        Oliver Wendell Holmes: Homeopathy…a mingled mass of perverse ingenuity, of tinsel erudition, of imbecile credulity, and of artful misinterpretation, too often mingled in practice…with heartless and shameless imposition.

      • @Dullman

        Is there ever even any little thing you get right? “Frass, M, Dielacher, C, Linkesch, M, et al. Influence of potassium dichromate on tracheal secretions in critically ill patients, Chest, March, 2005;127:936-941. Published in the leading journal on respiratory medicine” [my bold type].

        Leading journal?! Chest has an impact factor (2017) of 7.7. Please compare Thorax (impact factor 9.7), European Respiratory Journal (impact factor 12.2), American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (impact factor 15.2) and the true leading journal in the field, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine (impact factor 21.5).

  • Thanks for providing this link Edzard, but, as you well know, I don’t consider any of the 3 trials mentioned in that post as ‘trials on homeopathy’.

    Now let’s see what Mr D.Ullman’s response is.

  • It is odd to disagree with Dana and Edzard on the same topic.

    Firstly, Edzard quotes: ‘Venkatraman Ramakrishnan: They (homoeopaths) take arsenic compounds and dilute it to such an extent that just a molecule is left. It will not make any effect on you. Your tap water has more arsenic. No one in chemistry believes in homoeopathy.’

    This suggests that the phenomenon of potentisation has eluded Edzard via the molecular theory of matter.

    Secondly, Dana: Thank you for your detailed reply and providing evidence for your viewpoint. However, if homeopathy was simply ‘like cures like’ applicable in diseases with physical pathology then, in my view, the evidence would, by now, be demonstrable: thousands/millions of people cured of crippling chronic diseases through the magic of homeopathy would surely be something that would be internationally known.

    Unfortunately Dana, homeopathy may act to ameliorate, whether through drug effect or placebo effect, but it is not known to me that the major chronic clinical conditions are cured, or significantly improved with homeopathy. That is one reason for my reading edzardernst, to see when someone is going to present the evidence that homeopathy does do so.

    So let’s disagree.

    Thanks again.

    • “This suggests that the phenomenon of potentisation has eluded Edzard via the molecular theory of matter.”
      logic is definitely not you strong point.

      • It looks like you’ve got me there Edzard.

        Molecular physics is not my area of knowledge, so please would you ask Dr Ernst to enlighten me and assist me to improve my logic?

        Your argument against homeopathy seems to be:
        ‘In logic, reductio ad absurdum (Latin for “reduction to absurdity”), also known as argumentum ad absurdum (Latin for “argument to absurdity”), apagogical arguments or the appeal to extremes, is a form of argument that attempts either to disprove a statement by showing it inevitably leads to a ridiculous, absurd, or impractical conclusion, or to prove one by showing that if it were not true, the result would be absurd or impossible’ (Wikipedia)

        In other words, since water has more arsenic molecules than 200C Arsenic, and does not act as the Ars Alb 200C remedy is supposed to act, then Ars Alb 200C can’t possibly act as a remedy because if it did then water would do it even more so because it has more molecules of arsenic than Ars Alb 200C.

        Therefore: *Homeopathy can’t be true because molecular theory proves that it can’t be true* is Professor Ernst driving principle. Al the studies that suggest otherwise MUST either have a fault or be FRAUDULENT science. That is what this blog exists to show.

        However, there is a problem because Professor Ersnt has stated many times that the preponderance of the evidence is that homeopathy is placebo but within this body of evidence there is *some* evidence that indicates that it *may* not be only placebo (Mathie 2014): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25480654

        If there is some evidence that high potency homeopathy remedies remedies may act as drugs rather than placebo, and it turned out that the negative evidence against homeopathy is due to the misconceived practice and trial of homeopathy, and that high potencies are not placebo, then what does that suggest about the molecular THEORY of matter? Needs some work?

        Thank you for your help with with logical deficiency and I look forward to Professor Ernst’s reply

  • Edzard the ad hominem supremo provides a link to me on ad hominem without pointing out what is in my comment that is ad hom?

    This is the point that this site once again goes above its normal clown threshold, and needs to be rested once again.

    • claiming or implying that a scientist has a closed mind is ad hominem;
      sorry, I did not realise that you don’t comprehend ad hominem!

      • When indications of a closed (theoretical) mind are presented, deflecting from challenging the evidence presented rather than challenging the points raised means that it is not a claim to be a scientist that you make but a purport to be one in a filed that you barely comprehend. Your understanding of homeopathy comes down to one principle that you have repeated many times: ‘like cures like’. The juvenile level of your understanding equates to saying that because a country holds political elections it is therefore democratic. If homeopathic philosophy and practice was as simple as ‘like cures like’ there would be no need for university courses in it, would there?

        (Please note: my comments are primarily for readers of this blog, as I have little hope of him engaging in self-critique and responding to points raised.)

        • you might not be very good at understanding ad hominems, but you are extremely apt at distributing them.
          thank you for disclosing that you have no valid arguments.

  • There is way too much focus on so called ‘alternative medicine’ and those ‘quack’ practitioners. Let us just reflect then on the thousands of NHS patients who have suffered from contaminated blood and other treatments of care. This snippet says it all, read on;
    Doctors are meant to preserve life and cause no harm. The Hippocratic Oath, written 2,500 years ago, includes the line: “I will use treatments for the benefit of the ill in accordance with my ability and my judgment, but from what is to their harm and injustice I will keep them.” A review published on Wednesday found more than 450 patients died sooner than they would have after being given powerful painkillers inappropriately at Gosport War Memorial Hospital. The Police have been called in to carry out a full investigation …
    … And who is the doctor who actively shortened her patients’ lives? Yes, it’s Dr Jane Ann Barton, now aged 70, graduated from Oxford University in 1972 as a Bachelor of Medicine. Nice one Dr Jane, hope you sleep well at night – not!
    It’s a fact that around 2/3rds of all UK in-patients don’t come out alive. Fortunately there are an increasing number of whistle-blowers within the medical profession who are prepared to speak the truth in Public.

    • Oh-my!! “Helen Murray” is back and she found us out, fellas!
      We doctors have been able to hide our murderous intentions for all those tears, not bothering to save our patients but killing them off by the millions. A single lady has now valiantly found out, after years of homeopathic research, that we doctors kill most of our patents! And that in cold blood as it appears.
      This is of course monstrous.
      Of the 16.6 million annual admissions in the NHS, two thirds are (according to Helen) killed off just to save work and make easy money for us doctors.
      This means that the official number of deaths in the UK is seriously under-reported – 533.253 deaths annualy (2018) in the UK. The correct death rate, (according to Helen) must be closer to 12 million deaths per annuum! And most (more than 11 million) are due to homicidal health care.
      No need for Brexit !!
      Just let this go on for a few years more and the entire UK population will have left the EU, feet first 😉

    • Helen

      They will argue that there is bound to be unfortunate results (colateral damage) in allopathic medicine. They will blame it on all sorts of excuses. The bottom line is they have a license to kill…. homeopaths don’t.

      • Homeopaths don’t kill, do they?

        Wrong.

        Thankfully, homeopaths rarely have access to dangerously ill patients but when they do and imagine that their pathetic nostrums will have real effects, the results are tragic. Have a read. http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

        As has been said many times before, aircraft accidents do not validate magic carpets as a means of travel.

        • Lenny please, it’s even close.

          368,000 people dead blamed from homeopathic medicine WORLDWIDE over DECADES.
          http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

          While Allopathic medicine blamed for a minimum of 250,000 in the USA alone…. EVERY YEAR
          https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/22/medical-errors-third-leading-cause-of-death-in-america.html

          Those numbers might suggest that homeopathy IS the jet airliner, while allopathic medicine is a ride on the magic carpet.

          • I think we need another red banner. Medical errors are not the third leading cause of death in America, as has been pointed out countless times in comments on this blog. Please read this piece and think again.

          • Frank Odds

            So I read it, not my first time either. I would expect Science based medicine website to come to that conclusion, would you ?
            I can easily google a dozen websites that claim otherwise.
            Even if the numbers are only half of the Johns Hopkins study, it’s still a number of deaths too high.

            There is very likely some discrepency in the defination of what exactly is a medical error, depending on the defination of such a specific metric alone can be a bit misleading.
            The criteria considered from the link you posted:
            “Adverse effects of medical treatment (AEMT) were classified into six categories: (1) adverse drug events, (2) surgical and perioperative adverse events, (3) misadventure (events likely to represent medical error, such as accidental laceration or incorrect dosage), (4) adverse events associated with medical management, (5) adverse events associated with medical or surgical devices, and (6) other.”

            I happen to have also read the comments below the article you referenced. To me, many comments were more rervelaing than the aim of the article.
            I’ll post a few here:
            “While I agree that the Johns Hopkins study overestimated the number of deaths from medical errors, there is an elephant in the room, namely, that the percentage of autopsies conducted following hospital deaths has plummeted from well over 50% to around 5%. Studies have found that when autopsies conducted following hospital deaths that from 10% to over 25% of diagnoses were wrong. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the patient would have lived if the diagnosis had been correct; but it does raise questions. So, without autopsies, our data on hospital deaths is, at best, incomplete. In addition, it isn’t just mortality from errors that should be considered. While hospital-based infections, for instance, have been coming down thanks to recent programs, they are still high, higher in for-profit hospitals. These and other “errors” can lead to unnecessary suffering, possible amputations, and other disabilities. As Dr. Gorski says, even one death from an error is too much; but also suffering, amputations, and disabilities as well.”

            “I fully agree that “it isn’t just mortality from errors that should be considered, but also hospital-based infections, possible amputations, and other disabilities”.

            “One thing that has always confused me about this discussion is whether the deaths include events from appropriate treatments like chemotherapy. Intuitively I’d call that an extremely adverse event from a medical treatment, but it wouldn’t be an error. Or would that be considered an error because the treatment actually was inappropriate, even though no one could have known that? ”

            “Hmm. Where did you get the idea that if someone died from medical negligence, they must have died in hospital? If anything it is the opposite. I would assume a good chunk if not the majority die outside the hospital. People are withheld treatment, sent home with petty diagnoses for serious issues, peoples mental healthcare being swept under the rug (suicide, eating disorders, psychosis etc.) giving up on the elderly, not admitted or being discharged too early, waiting ridiculous amounts of time to see a specialist, being sent home with the wrong medication, being given the wrong medication at home by a nurse, lack of medication reviews, physical disorders diagnosed as mental disorders. Oh my god I could go on.
            There are just a few issues that I HAVE PERSONALLY EXPERIENCED, myself or for the people I care for. (I am a carer for friends and family, not a doctor) All of these issues could have killed someone easily and have. I can only imagine how many more problems there are with care outside of the hospital. Think about it, when people are admitted into hospital that is often the first and only time someone actually pays attention to the patient. Patients outside the hospital are often ignored by doctors, as they are ignored in this article. I have to be their doctor for them, and myself. Medical negligence being the third leading cause of death is not implausible to me considering what my family, friends, myself and the people I’ve met in support goups have experienced. I’m just waiting for the rest of the people I care for and myself to be bumped off by inadequate, untrained and overworked doctors and nurses, or lack thereof. ”

            “I’d frankly be surprised if it was only the third leading cause of death. Between the tens of thousands of deaths (according to CDC) from healthcare-associated infections, the opioid crisis, and then the types of data looked into by the “quack” studies (misdiagnosis, medication errors, surgical errors, etc.), PLUS all the ones that aren’t accounted for at all–like my father who died of kidney failure because an idiot doctor kept prescribing him hydrocodone and fentanyl for TEN YEARS for a sore knee, and had several episodes that made clear he was overusing the meds to the point of once being unable to move his legs or speak. An adept ER doc was smart enough to know what had happened and told the family and showed us the record indicating overdose, but miraculously, by Monday morning, the record was devoid of any such commentary/diagnosis. So, officially, his death was due to “pneumonia.” The teeny tiny amount of dark brown urine in his catheter bag after 24 hours of IV fluids said otherwise.”

            Many other comments about this subject at the link you provided worth reading if you take the time.

          • And how many people has homeopathy helped?

            None.

            Actually, there may be some. If you have been misdiagnosed and prescribed an inappropriate medication, homeopathy (i.e no treatment) would be better. But the solution here is better diagnosis, not the use of homeopathy.

            You can continue with your delusions of efficacy, RG. But objective reality will not be altered.

          • @RG

            Thank you for demonstrating your fine powers of critical thinking.

  • As a ‘true believer’ in homeopathy, I would like to let people know that millions of patients are provided with the most advanced and scientifically established medical treatments for innumerable conditions and illnesses that are beyond the scope of homeopathy to make a significant difference (palliative amelioration perhaps in cases) towards improvement of the well being of patients.

    In the defense of homeopathy, please do not become indefensible.

    Thank you.

    • Hahnemann did not allow the use conventional medicine and wrote “He who does not walk exactly the same line with me, who diverges, if it be the breadth of a straw, to the right or the left, is an apostate and a traitor and I will have nothing to do with him.”

      • One example of Hahnemann allowing the use of conventional medicine is sufficient to nullify your sweeping statement:
        § 186 Sixth Edition. I have separated the lines in the paragraph to make it easier for you to understand:

        ‘Those so-called local maladies which have been produced a short time previously, solely by an external lesion, still appear at first sight to deserve the name of local disease. But then the lesion must be very trivial, and in that case it would be of no great moment. For in the case of injuries accruing to the body from without, if they be at all severe, the whole living organism sympathizes; there occur fever, etc.

        The treatment of such diseases is relegated to surgery; but this is right only in so far as the affected parts require mechanical aid, whereby the external obstacles to the cure, which can only be expected to take place by the agency of the vital force, may be removed by mechanical means:
        e.g., by the reduction of dislocations,
        by needles and bandages to bring together the lips of wounds,
        by mechanical pressure to still the flow of blood from open arteries,
        by the extraction of foreign bodies that have penetrated into the living parts,
        by making an opening into a cavity of the body in order to remove an irritating substance or to procure the evacuation of effusions or collections of fluids,
        by bringing into apposition the broken extremities of a fractured bone and retaining them in exact contact by an appropriate bandage, etc.

        But when in such injuries the whole living organism requires, as it always does, active dynamic aid to put it in a position to accomplish the work of healing, e.g. when the violent fever resulting from extensive contusions, lacerated muscles, tendons and blood-vessels requires to be removed by medicine given internally, or when the external pain of scalded or burnt parts needs to be homoeopathically subdued, then the services of the dynamic physician and his helpful homoeopathy come into requisition.’

        Hahnemann’s issue with allopathy was mainly concerned with the ‘suppressive’ nature of allopathic treatment in existence at that time, which he believed resulted in worsening the internal condition of the illnesses of patients.

        Edzard, if you are going to continue with your endeavour to ‘critique’ ‘homeopathy’, you need to start studying it.

        • Greg, when did you last managed to post a comment without an insult?

          • Edzard Q: Answer: Yesterday.

            ‘Greg on Wednesday 01 May 2019 at 13:39
            Do you have the reference for Hahnemann’s statement: You seem not to have referenced it either in your book ‘Undiluted Facts’?

            I am not suggesting that your quote is incorrect, it is just that it is useful to read a quote in the original context.

            Thanks.

            Btw: if Hahnemann meant what you suggest he meant, then he may have been correct at the time, but would no longer be correct. Everyone knows that conventional medicine was a horror story in Hahnemann’s day.’

            I think that insults are best left to you and Dana, no one could compete with that.

          • but if it were a competition, you would be doing quite well!

  • I think he meant that quote in regard to the PRACTICE of homeopathy. This is the point that I have been trying to convey to you for God knows how long.

    ‘Adopt, adapt, improve’ worked in regard to medical science exploiting and exploring medical herbalism for the development of new drugs, but it has FAILED DISMALLY trying to do the same thing with homeopathy (as your posts adequately demonstrate).

    • no, with this and several similar remarks, he meant to forbid homeopaths to use any other treatments than homeopathy.

      • Do you have the reference for Hahnemann’s statement: You seem not to have referenced it either in your book ‘Undiluted Facts’?

        I am not suggesting that your quote is incorrect, it is just that it is useful to read a quote in the original context.

        Thanks.

        Btw: if Hahnemann meant what you suggest he meant, then he may have been correct at the time, but would no longer be correct. Everyone knows that conventional medicine was a horror story in Hahnemann’s day.

        • Campbell cited this quote
          https://archive.ph/p8JIK
          but I think I took it form elsewhere but cannot find from where just now.

          • You took it from The Life and Letters of Samuel Hahnemann, by Thomas Lindsley Bradford.

            The quote is not Hahnemann’s words but from Albrecht who stated that is what Hahnemann stated.

        • see also this
          Furthermore, “his intolerance for those who differed from him latterly attained to such a height that he used to say, He who does not walk on exactly the same line with me, who diverges, if it be but the breadth of a straw, to the right or to the left, is an apostate and a traitor, and with him I will have nothing to do.” (Bradford, 312) And in a letter to Dr Stapf, written in 1829, he speaks in very severe terms of Trinks and Hartlaub (Hom. World, Vol. XXIV., p.502), saying: “their conduct, I plainly perceive, since it affects me also, is egotistical, arrogant, offensive, ungrateful, deceitful, and is calculated to vex us.” (Bradford, 312)
          https://petermorrell.webs.com/organon200thessay.htm

          • The book that you are now referencing may be interesting to historians and other readers but, for purposes of homeopathy practice, the Organon, and Kent’s Lectures on Homeopathy Philosophy are the texts that must be understood.

            For many people though (you, Bjorn, Frank, Lenny and the others), there is no need to bother with any of this reading: ‘like cures like’ ‘similia similibus curentur’, is all that there is to know about ‘homeopathy’.

            The majority of the studies that you have reviewed, are in line with being drivel: homeopathy for eczema, homeopathy for asthma, homeopathy for rhinitis, on it goes. Total bollocks.

          • thank you for another confirmation of your inaptness

    • @Greg: it may be instructive to scroll through the professors’ “Categories” section below the comments….and ask yourself how many of these other arcane, meritless and meretricious undertakings are also full-up with “true believers” ? Applying the same criteria you apply to your preferred homeopathetic-nonsense it would be interesting to see which ones would survive such scrutiny….and would also find YOU having to becoming a true-believer in those as well. As your criteria for “true belief” seems to be wholly wrapped up in your own opinions, ego and pecuniary rewards, just like all the other indefensible stuff whose believers are convinced has profundity beyond scientific-understanding. Like blowing ones’ self up in a public marketplace because God said to.
      Or am I missing something?

  • Edzard, thank you for confirming your devotion to the critique of Homeopathy straw man:

    ‘A straw man is a form of argument and an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man.” (Wikipedia)

  • Thanks Edzard, but I would need some coaching from you in order to win the competition.

    I will work at improving my ad homs for use in argumentation, and hopefully you will work at improving your homeopathy for your ‘critique’.

  • Do you disapprove of fact based discussions?

  • If you would like to change the facts regarding your ‘retirement’, take it up with Wikipedia:

    Edzard Ernst’s Wikipedia biography states:
    ‘In 2005, a report by economist Christopher Smallwood, personally commissioned by Prince Charles, claimed that CAM was cost-effective and should be available in the National Health Service (NHS). Ernst was initially enlisted as a collaborator on the report, but asked for his name to be removed after a sight of the draft report convinced him that Smallwood had “written the conclusions before looking at the evidence”.[14] The report did not address whether CAM treatments were actually effective and Ernst described it as “complete misleading rubbish”.[14]
    Ernst was, in turn, criticised by The Lancet editor Richard Horton for disclosing contents of the report while it was still in draft form. In a 29 August 2005 letter to The Times Horton wrote: “Professor Ernst seems to have broken every professional code of scientific behaviour by disclosing correspondence referring to a document that is in the process of being reviewed and revised prior to publication. This breach of confidence is to be deplored.”[15]
    Prince Charles’ private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, also filed a complaint regarding breached confidentiality with Exeter University. Although he was “cleared of wrongdoing”,[16] Ernst has said[14] that circumstances surrounding the ensuing university investigation led to his retirement.
    In the 1 January 2006 edition of the British Journal of General Practice, Ernst gave a detailed criticism of the report.[17]’
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edzard_Ernst, with acknowledgements to Wikipedia

    • EXACTLY!
      your ‘dismissal’ was a lie!

      • Edzard, I understand that English is not your first language and you have mentioned a number of times regarding reading Homeopathy books in German (so what?). This suggests that you consider the German versions of Hahnemann’s work to be better or more accurate than English translations?

        If this is the case, here is some English help for you:

        In regard to ‘dismissal’:
        1.
        the act of ordering or allowing someone to leave.
        2.
        the act of treating something as unworthy of serious consideration; rejection.

        (Google)

        In regard to this:
        ‘In a 29 August 2005 letter to The Times Horton wrote: “Professor Ernst seems to have broken every professional code of scientific behaviour by disclosing correspondence referring to a document that is in the process of being reviewed and revised prior to publication. This breach of confidence is to be deplored.”[15]

        What do you say?

        • I say you are wrong! I was not dismissed or ordered to leave or considered unworthy of serious consideration.
          Horton had to apologise for his stupid statement.
          if you are interested in the truth, read the only detailed account of this in my memoir https://www.amazon.co.uk/Scientist-Wonderland-Searching-Finding-Trouble/dp/1845407776
          BUT YOU ARE NOT INTERESTED IN THE TRUTH, ARE YOU?

        • as to Hanemann’s writings: yes, I do suggest that reading it in German provides a different and more realistic view. his English translators were too benign on him. a simple example is the term proving – Arzneimittelpruefung, they have two quite different connotations.

  • Tell us something RG and Greg.
    In my office there is a machine that carbonates water. It is very refreshing and I drink rather lot of it.
    At Helios you can obtain a remedy made from carbon dioxide (https://www.helios.co.uk/shop/carbon-dioxide).

    It seems obvious that in the carbonating process, the water is mixed violently with carbon dioxide, there is a lot of turbulence so one would expect a certain amount of potentisation, right?
    The water I am drinking right now should therefore be a mother tincture of sorts, or whatever you guys call the stuff. When homeopaths test if something works, which it always does, right? then they make a solution and have a bunch of their buddies ingest it an watch for all the symptoms that they experience, right? In this proving of Carbon dioxide, all kinds of strange and even frightening things happened to those who ingested the shaken carbonated water. They describe vivid dreams and nightmares and thought disturbances that I think would highly interest my psychiatrist friends.
    Here is an example of more mundane whysical problems the provers describe. Must be some potent material they took:

    Still feeling tight in neck, upper back; legs and jaw
    Carbon Dioxide
    file:///D|/kris/lum/Carbon_Dioxide__Complete_.htm (48 of 61) [2/14/2000 9:45:14 AM]
    bothering me – crunching. Still feeling like stone – this gives me feeling
    of weakness and vulnerability. Notice especially in tai ch’i – pushing
    hands, I get
    toppled over; like hinges in my arms and scapulae are not flexible- hinges
    are dry. I am bothered a lot by this feeling of vulnerability.
    04,13:09:XX Hip ached.
    04,14:01:XX Deltoid pain + weakness < raising arm. Worse on left. Arms
    sore and weak < left.
    04,14:XX:XX Calf cramps – felt started 3-4 D ago but suppressed.
    05,14:XX:XX Stiffness and pain in upper extremities has mostly gone,
    thank God! Feeling of relief. Relaxation – my normal body.
    05,18:XX:XX Tai Ch'i – relaxed, Jing power training felt good – pain in
    the last two weeks was getting stuck in my shoulders but now it is OK. Did
    kicks in class which I was able to do very well – what a contrast to the
    tight legs and back I had two weeks ago. I feel strong, less vulnerable,
    centered focus is good.
    07,22:XX:XX Fasciculation left forearm – brachioradialis were distracting.
    I was working on cases. This lasted on and off throughout the evening. I
    noticed it while watching TV. NS.

    05,34:XX:XX Woke up stiff in lower back. I can't figure out what I did.
    Carbon Dioxide
    file:///D|/kris/lum/Carbon_Dioxide__Complete_.htm (49 of 61) [2/14/2000 9:45:14 AM]
    Pain is stiff, acute, at level of L-5, PSIS.
    NAILS
    08,06:XX:XX Biting my nails while at the computer. [I used to
    bite my nails as a child]. OS.
    08,06:19:XX Went for a walk with my friend around 5. Pain in the medial
    side of knee while walking right in between the condyles of the
    femur/tibia.

    When I drink my carbon dioxide shaken water, should I not experience something similar??

    Why am I feeling fine and not experiencing all or some of these symptoms?
    Can you please explain?

    • Bjorn Geir, in your case, you could try arsenic trioxide and see what happens.

      Cheers.

    • Bjorn

      I have no interest in knowing that prefer bubbles in you water.

      But since you do, I’m guessing that you read somewhere that carbonated water can relieve constipation, so you tried it and found it to be true in your personal experience.

  • I am surprised! I thought you two were our go-to experts on homeopathy these days, right after Mr. Ullmann? Instead of answering a perfectly valid and earnest question you sulk and throw rude insults like small children. Telling me to take poison just isn’t civil. Please tell me what it was that you find offensive about my question? I find it perfectly valid and respectful.

    Or perhaps Mr. Ullmann can find a moment in his busy schedule to answer this, if he is not sulking himself after I asked a similar question on twitter and he blocked me instead of replying.

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