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

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a rare but potentially debilitating condition. So far, individualised homeopathy (iHOM) has not been evaluated or reported in any peer-reviewed journal as a treatment option. Here is a recently published case-report of iHOM for BMS.

At the Centre of Complementary Medicine in Bern, Switzerland, a 38-year-old patient with BMS and various co-morbidities was treated with iHOM between July 2014 and August 2018. The treatment involved prescription of individually selected homeopathic single remedies. During follow-up visits, outcome was assessed with two validated questionnaires concerning patient-reported outcomes. To assess whether the documented changes were likely to be associated with the homeopathic intervention, an assessment using the modified Naranjo criteria was performed.

Over an observation period of 4 years, an increasingly beneficial result from iHOM was noted for oral dysaesthesia and pains as well as for the concomitant symptoms.

The authors concluded that considering the multi-factorial aetiology of BMS, a therapeutic approach such as iHOM that integrates the totality of symptoms and complaints of a patient might be of value in cases where an association of psychological factors and the neuralgic complaints is likely.

BMS can have many causes. Some of the possible underlying conditions that can cause BMS include:

  • allergies
  • hormonal imbalances
  • acid reflux
  • infections in the mouth
  • various medications
  • nutritional deficiencies in iron or zinc
  • anxiety
  • diabetes

Threatemnt of BMS consists of identifying and eliminating the underlying cause. If no cause of BMS can be found, we speak of primary BMS. This condition can be difficult to treat; the following approaches to reduce the severity of the symptoms are being recommended:

  • avoiding acidic or spicy foods
  • reducing stress
  • avoiding any other known food triggers
  • exercising regularly
  • changing toothpaste
  • avoiding mouthwashes containing alcohol
  • sucking on ice chips
  • avoiding alcohol if it triggers symptoms
  • drinking cool liquids throughout the day
  • smoking cessation
  • eating a balanced diet
  • checking medications for potential triggers

The authors of the above case-report state that no efficient treatment of BMS is known. This does not seem to be entirely true. They also seem to think that iHOM benefitted their patient (the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy!). This too is more than doubtful. The natural history of BMS is such that, even if no effective therapy can be found, the condition often disappears after weeks or months.

The authors of the above case-report treated their patient for about 4 years. The devil’s advocate might assume that not only did iHOM contribute nothing to the patient’s improvement, but that it had a detrimental effect on BMS. The data provided are in full agreement with the notion that, without iHOM, the patient would have been symptom-free much quicker.

 

42 Responses to Burning mouth syndrome: a case-report of (harmful?) effects of homeopathy

  • Great article documenting the benefits of homeopathy.

    One wonders, however, why the author chose the title “harmful homeopathy” when offering his opinion on the experiment made by the German Faculty of Health Sciences and the Swiss University.

    Here are the (harmful?) statements that raised my eyebrows:

    1) The devil’s advocate might assume that not only did iHOM contribute nothing to the patient’s improvement, but that it had a detrimental effect on BMS.

    The case-report suggests exactly the opposite.
    “To assess whether the documented changes were likely to be associated with the homeopathic intervention, an assessment using the modified Naranjo criteria was performed.”

    2) The data provided are in full agreement with the notion that, without iHOM, the patient would have been symptom-free much quicker.

    The data provided suggests quite the opposite:
    “Over an observation period of 4 years, an increasingly beneficial result from iHOM was noted for oral dysaesthesia and pains as well as for the concomitant symptoms.”

    3) “The authors of the above case-report state that no efficient treatment of BMS is known. This does not seem to be entirely true.”

    Would the author of the article care to elaborate?
    Does “sucking on an ice cube, changing toothpaste or avoiding stress” constitute a “known efficient treatment” in your opinion?

    Here is further information about this condition that can be found on medical (not homeopathic) and dental health websites:

    “As no one knows the exact causes of BMS, it is hard to plan a correct course of treatment. Therefore, BMS is a long-term condition which could affect you for months, years, or perhaps the rest of your life.”

    This directly contradicts the author’s statement that BMS “goes away on its on”, probably faster if you do not use a homeopathic treatment. This last statement is the only case of “post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy” that I could find in this article.

    • thank you for documenting so very clearly that you have understood nothing.

      • Thank you for this useful comment. It definitely provides the factual elements and respectful tone as the basis for your interesting and well-informed blog.

      • Unsurprisingly, I can see that the “moderation” you apply on comments is just as dishonest and disrespectful as the content of your blog. Not exactly the hallmark of a confident, strong person…

        The sad part is that I was hoping to find interesting fact-based and critical information on your page as I do find most “alternative medicine” websites to be full of caricutural hippie nonsense.
        But I would be an idiot for simply judging a book by its cover, and in the face of the large number of documented cases or empirical evidence available today I was hoping that you would put some order in this.

        Instead, all I find here is equally biased (and often frankly disrespectful) content, unfounded allegations, other assumptions and systematic refusal of actual data if it does not fit your agenda.

        And what is your agenda by the way? Running a smear campaign? Whose payroll are you on?
        If you were able to formulate critical and unbiased articles, why would your blog only paints with one color?

        • “Whose payroll are you on?”
          Ahhhhh yes, this moronic question had to come!
          try to read the blog; it’s all there and fully disclosed.

        • Always enjoyable when people without any apparent medical or scientific background and new to the topic
          feel qualified to offer their opinion in a patronising tone towards an expert in the field.
          🙂

          @alexandre monnier:
          Have you ever heard of the “Dunning-Kruger effect”? You might want to google it.
          Since your comments seem inspired by some weird conspiracy delusion, I think it is possible that you are just another boring internet troll.
          But if not, then please stop making a fool of yourself and instead go read a book on the topic, e.g. “Homeopathy – The Undiluted Facts” by E. Ernst.
          Take your time! Without any scientific background, it might be difficult for you to grasp the content.
          Feel free to ask, many knowledgeable readers of this blog will certainly be willing to help you.

        • alexandre monnier

          I’ve posted many times here that EE motivation for this website is to promote his books.

          Sadly, my posts regarding this have always been blocked by EE. Evidently, there must be some truth in this, or he would have nothing to hide.

          We’ll see what happens with this post…. correct EE ?

          • you are a hoot, RG!

          • @RG on Thursday 17 October 2019 at 17:54

            For your information, moron, the prof doesn’t moderate this blog; he writes but the technical details of publishing and moderating are done by another. That person has a vast scientific background, as well as a well-developed bullshit detector, one well attuned to blocking nonsense from morons.

    • alexandre

      Homeopathy doesn’t work.

      I hope this clears things up for you.

      • Sorry Simon but I do not share the same experience or knowledge as you…

        I am totally in favour of debunking false claims and about feeding accurate, factual information to people. The internet has enough bullsh*t on it already and nobody needs a merchant of snake oil.

        More importantly, I would like to see some informed and documented examples of alternative therapies that work instead of a systematic denigration of papers published or trial / research conducted on the matter.
        I found acupuncture to be useful, and osteopathy too. In specific occasions, homeopathy as well.

        At any rate, explaining why the conclusions of the report are rubbish would be more interesting than simple denigration.

        Perhaps something like this :
        This case report has not been published by the universities mentionned at the top of the document.
        It is bogus entirely, this experiment never happened, where is the actual data?
        It is inconclusive because there is only one subject analysed and documented.
        It is inconclusive because it took a long time for the patient to recover, when this “cure” may have happened naturally.
        Was the patient also encouraged to suck ice cubes and change toothpaste or prohibited from doing so?

        But the OP simply suggests that, had the patient not used homeopathy, he would have healed faster.
        How does that add up?
        Did the OP just discover that homeopathy is, in fact, a time machine?

        At worse, if homeopathy does nothing and is nothing but the placebo effect at its finest, then the 4 euros spent for the remedy are a cheap and inoffensive ride!
        At best, it may actually have helped (according to the people who did the study) although we do not quite know what the mechanics of it are, as homeopathy is apparently mostly empirical.

        How about this:
        I observed a condition called molluscum contagiosum on my children slightly over 3 years ago.
        One had it for 3-4months and then the other for 1 month and a half and spreading before I bit the bullet and chose to try something.
        My GP and a renown dermatologist had suggested either laser/freezing or surgical removal.
        Scarring was a likely side-effect, and I was told that the condition was viral in nature and might come back.

        So instead, I tried a homeopathic remedy called Thuja which I gave to both children.
        Within 10 days there was no sign of the molluscum on either of them and it never reappeared.
        No scarring.

        I was going to go to the dermatologist if nothing had happened… obviously. But I thought I would try that first as it is cheap and apparently not very risky.

        OK, I know, this proves nothing.
        I could have lied (I did not, why would I bother).
        This might not have worked on someone else.
        Maybe I am a hippie/troll/ignorant and should not be trusted.
        Maybe it would have healed faster without homeopathy!

        You must admit that muy experience is a bit interesting, at least a little, come on…
        Is it s ok to at least raise an eye-brow?
        This really happened to my kids and I was the first surprised that it did the trick, honest to Ernst!
        Total cost : 2 euros per child – and the bottle used for both is still 90% full.

        So don’t we make this precise example tested?
        What should the actual cost / sample be in order to bring significative results?

        • “More importantly, I would like to see some informed and documented examples of alternative therapies that work instead of a systematic denigration of papers published or trial / research conducted on the matter.
          I found acupuncture to be useful, and osteopathy too. In specific occasions, homeopathy as well.”

          YOU ARE KIDDING, AREN’T YOU?

          well, perhaps not – perhaps you are just kidding yourself.
          grow up!

          • Sorry Ed, I lost you… could you be a little more specific?

            Which part of my comment did you find childish, was it concerning acupuncture, osteopathy or homeopathy? Perhaps all 3 of them?

            PS : I can read your comments even when you do not write in caps

        • @alexandre monnier

          “I observed a condition called molluscum contagiosum on my children slightly over 3 years ago.
          One had it for 3-4months and then the other for 1 month and a half and spreading before I bit the bullet and chose to try something.
          My GP and a renown dermatologist had suggested either laser/freezing or surgical removal.
          Scarring was a likely side-effect, and I was told that the condition was viral in nature and might come back.

          So instead, I tried a homeopathic remedy called Thuja which I gave to both children.
          Within 10 days there was no sign of the molluscum on either of them and it never reappeared.
          No scarring.”

          Compare this with…

          “MC is generally a harmless condition that normally gets better in a few months without any specific treatment.
          However, it’s common for the condition to spread around the body, so it can take up to 18 months or more for the condition to clear completely.”

          [https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/molluscum-contagiosum/]

          So please ask yourself: how can you prove the homeopathic remedy effected the cure; that it didn’t just happen because of the natural history of the disease?

          • MC is an all time favourite with homeopaths. They always have successwith pretending to treat them as they invariably disappear sooner or later – whether you shake the water or not 😀

          • common cold is another one.

          • Thank you Frank for reinforcing my point!

            As I stated myself, my experience does not amount to a proper clinical experiment.

            And, as I asked myself, what protocol of study would be acceptable / respectable?
            Would it need to be reproduced on 1000 people who have MC?
            What would be the estimated cost of such studies?

            As far as my little story with my children is concerned, what puzzles me is the time frame:

            1) One child has been ill for months and, at the time I give the homeo remedy, MC is spreading not receeding
            2) The other child becomes ill as well and, after a few weeks, at the time I give the homeo remedy,
            3) I give them a homeopathic remedy called “Thuja” (MC still spreading and not receding at this point)
            4) MC symptoms progressively clear in both subjects in 1-2 weeks simultaneously although they had been ill for extended periods of time (one for several months, the other for several weeks)

            Perhaps I was just lucky and happened to give homeo to my kids precisely when MC decided to go away on its own.

            I agree this does not amount to a “proof”, so I would like to know what would.

            Any thoughts?

          • “And, as I asked myself, what protocol of study would be acceptable / respectable?
            Would it need to be reproduced on 1000 people who have MC?
            What would be the estimated cost of such studies?”
            you would first need to acquire some basic understanding of science.

          • >you would first need to acquire some basic understanding of science.

            Not really Edzard, I would probably ask an expert, someone like you.
            Pity you won’t answer the questions though…

          • @alexandre monnier:
            I do not mean this as an insult, but it is obvious that you lack basic knowledge about the scientific approach. At least you seem to be aware that personal experience is not a reliable method to investigate efficacy of a medical procedure… so that´s good.

            The best method we have to test for treatment efficacy is called (double blinded and placebo controlled) Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT).
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randomized_controlled_trial

            Regarding your question:
            “(…), what protocol of study would be acceptable / respectable? Would it need to be reproduced on 1000 people who have MC?”

            The question of case numbers (Sample size) is not easy to answer, it is not possible to give a universal statement. Sample sizes have to be determined individually for each RCT (or scientific experiment in general).
            Sample sizes depend on several factors, especially on the statistical test that you use, the Type I and Type II errors that you will allow (also called “false positives” and “false negatives”), the effect size and the statistical variance of the data (which can e.g. be dependent on the method used to acquire the data). For a well-designed RCT, these factors have to be considered carefully befeore conducting the trial, in order to generate a meaningful set of data.

            Homeopathy has been tested many, many times. Unfortunately, only a minority of the studies were designed well, and the results of the well-designed RCTs demonstrate without any doubt that homeopathic remedies have no specific effects – just as you would expect for a “remedy” with no active ingredient, generated by performing a quite silly, magical shaking ritual.

          • Hi jashak, and thank you for taking the time to answer my question and for doing so with dignity.

            As you noted, I am no scientist or medical expert. I am just a father with genuine questions and my little experience of some fourty odd years seeking ways to stay healthy.
            I imagined that I would find here some solid information about what alternative therapies actually bring benefits, and why others should not be trusted.

            If I understand well, the main risk associated with some alternative therapies is that some patients may choose to delay or avoid altogether the use of more efficient remedies?

            Regarding osteopathy, could someone explain why it would be a “bad” way of fixing musculoskeletal issues?

            Also, can anyone share documents or studies that explain the mechanics of the famous “placebo effect”?
            Many people refer to it a lot, but nobody has yet been able to explain to me how it actually works and why.
            This has been bugging me for years and I really wish somebody could point me in the right direction.

            Also, I am very curious about the role (causes and effects) of “yawning”. Has anyone heard of serious research done on the subject?

            Thanks in advance

          • @alexandre monnier

            You’re asking the right questions, for sure. A good place to start would be for you to look up things you want to know about in PubMed (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed). This is a publicly available database of every scientific paper published in the field of biomedicine since the early 1980s.

            It’s easy to search for a topic. For example, I typed ‘yawning’ in the search box and got 1170 results (‘hits’). Obviously not all of the papers are going to be of interest or significance to you (it’s a good exercise in enhancing your critical thinking skills to go over all 1170 and spot the ones most likely to have something to say about the mechanisms of yawning).

            Personally I’d hit the word ‘Review’ at the top left of the screen, so you limit the hits to ‘review’ articles. A review article is a paper critically examining the original, experimental papers in a given field. For ‘yawning’ there were only 20 reviews, of which I’d guess you’d be interested in about five or six. Watch out for reviews written by people with an agenda: instead of reviewing all the original studies in a field they cherry-pick the ones that support their case.

            If you search for ‘placebo effect’ you get 10,735 ‘hits’. Good luck in finding the ones explaining the effect concisely!

            For papers earlier than the 1980s you need access to a database like Medline, which costs a lot of money. If you can become a member of a university library they usually have electronic access to Medline, so you can view all publications in biomedicine since the 19th Century.

            Professional scientists become used to reading dozens of papers every week (often more). They have to become expert at sorting good science from bad (and doing so in a hurry). That’s why the comments from professional scientists on this blog (myself included) often sound so exasperated with people who google a topic, find a few websites with messages they like, and imagine they’re in every way the equal of people who’ve spent decades immersing themselves in the literature of their specialist fields.

            You sound genuinely interested to be able to read about various aspects of biomedicine. Like other commenters (e.g. Jashak’s comment today) I’m happy to help answer a genuine question.

          • @alexandre monnier:
            Many persons posting on this blog are not open to reasoning, most of the CAM proponents apparently only want to promote their irrational beliefs, make insulting ad hominem comments and are certainly not looking for ways to discriminate between what is real and what is not.
            If your interest is genuine, you will learn a lot following this blog.

            So how to discriminate between reality and wishful thinking?
            In my opinion, applying the scientific methods is today by far the most reliable strategy (maybe the only available?) to find out what is real on what is not. If you are interested why it is rational to use science (and not belief) as the fundament for epistemology, I recommend the great book “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark” from Carl Sagan (the audio-version of the book is great as well).

            Regarding your questions:
            “(…) the main risk associated with some alternative therapies is that some patients may choose to delay or avoid altogether the use of more efficient remedies?”

            Yes, this is one of the risk factors of CAM – but not necessarily the main risk. The individual risks are of course dependent on the specific CAM treatment that you are looking at. If we judge the value of a medical (or pseudo-medical) procedure, we must sum up all benefits on the one hand and all risks on the other hand – the so-called risk-benefit assessment. Only if this balance indicates more benefit than harm, we should consider applying this procedure.

            “Regarding osteopathy, could someone explain why it would be a “bad” way of fixing musculoskeletal issues?”

            I do not feel adequately qualified to make a judgment about osteopathy. However, Prof. Ernst summarized this nicely in his new book “Alternative Medicine: A Critical Assessment of 150 Modalities.
            According to his assessment, osteopathy is scientifically implausible, and the risk/benefit balance is debatable.

            “(…) can anyone share documents or studies that explain the mechanics of the famous “placebo effect”? Many people refer to it a lot, but nobody has yet been able to explain to me how it actually works and why.”

            You may start with these two articles from this blog:
            https://edzardernst.com/2016/01/placebo-the-illusion-of-a-cure/
            https://edzardernst.com/2019/09/does-placebo-research-boost-pseudoscience/

          • Thank you Frank, and sorry for the lag in replying…

            Between your comment and Jashak’s input, I think I have enough homework cut out for myself and some good reading for the weeks to come!
            I really appreciate your contribution and might take up your offer if I need further guidance on those topics (yawning and placebo effect). I will also probably read up on meditation as well if I can find related articles in PubMed.

            You are both right in assuming that my education did not go beyond basic scientific classes for A levels and a bit of stats during my university studies. But I do have an appetite for reading and an inquisitive mind…
            I am currently finishing a cycle of conferences on particle physics, quantum physics and cosmology which I particularly enjoy because, in those videos, the speaker often exhibits a good sense of humour, a very healthy doubt concerning the relative certitude of our collective knowledge at any given time (science is, after all, constantly evolving and correcting itself) and often combines his expert scientific knowledge with some history of science and sometimes philosophy for good measure.

            Anyway, I totally understand why seasonned scientists such as yourselves may end up providing short and sometimes acerbic replies to poorly formulated/documented comments from less scientifically educated people – and may have to deal with frankly outlandish claims on a regular basis. It certainly must be testing your patience.

            But I do believe that when one does make the effort to reply in a factual, constructive and respectful manner (as some of you eventually did) it elevates the conversation, educates those who read your blog and brings more value to it. On the other hand, impatience simply antagonizes some readers while providing little more than some mildly entertaining “ACM bashing”.

            My earlier posts simply sought further elements from EE regarding his conclusions and were met with what sounded like a cynical and disrespectful rant.
            This was all the more surprising for me as the author of this blog was/is an expert academic on ACM … but seems mostly focused on ridiculing people seeking or sharing info concerning the subject of his blog.
            Is there anything at all that can be said in favour of ACM? What is the data that supports it?

            One should also try to appreciate that there is as much climato-scepticism in the oil & gas industry as there is ACM-scepticism in the medical industry… so non-experts often have to take everything with so many pinches of salt that they can find themselves thirsty for clean water (diluted or not, shaken or not…).
            Personally, I really only care about results. I am glad that I can have access to antibiotics and lung surgery when I need those things. I am also glad that I can find less invasive and yet efficient treatments when possible.

            Perhaps a more respectful and more balanced input from the scientific community would be beneficial to non-experts and carry more weight beyond its boundaries.
            Scepticism is, in my opinion, as vital as keeping an open mind. Sometimes, the results of a study say more about the observation protocol than about the phenomenon observed and the failure to confirm a theory should not necessarily equal the invalidation of that theory. I do no know if the “innocent until proven guilty” applies in science 🙂

            Seeing an article entitled “Scientology and chiropractic: is there a link?” does not inspire me much and mostly highlights the bias of the author. Obviously, Scientology is a scary cult feeding on ignorants and troubled minds, while chiropractors are… well I don’t really know what they are.
            I saw some chiropractors a couple of times (in London) but was not very favourably impressed, quite the opposite.
            Sessions with a talented osteopath, on the other hand, were very beneficial and addressed issues that other therapists failed to resolve.

            Anyway, I did not mean to hijack this thread, sorry for the digressions and thank you for the PubMed links.
            Keep up the good work!

          • Alexandre Monier,

            One should also try to appreciate that there is as much climato-scepticism in the oil & gas industry as there is ACM-scepticism in the medical industry

            There is no controversy within climate science (although there are many details still to be worked out the evidence is overwhelming) and the reason for the position of the oil and gas industries is that accepting the realities of climate change threatens their existence.

            When it comes to alternative medicine, the evidence isn’t there at all. It isn’t a matter of the medical profession (which I would certainly not describe as an industry) being sceptical. During my 30 years in medical practice I have seen the great harm done to my own patients resulting from believing the claims of charlatans. I have also seen the great progress made as a result of advances in our understanding of biomedical science and of basing patient management on evidence rather than dogma. Despite this increasing numbers of people are turning towards what is essentially witchcraft.

            Do you seriously think that my reactions to this, and those of my colleagues, puts us in the same category as climate-change deniers?

        • @ alexandre monnier on Thursday 17 October 2019 at 20:10

          Are you remotely aware of Avogadro’s Number, which renders homeopathy a ridiculous nonsense, putting aside the total implausibility of its foundations?

          • Hi Frank

            I did, like everyone else (I think), learn how to use Avogadro’s number at school some 30 years ago in order to measure the mass of a mole.

            Perhaps you can explain to me how it renders homeopathy a ridiculous nonsense, as I am eager to understand more about this specific point.

          • Alexandre,

            It is explained quite well here:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathic_dilutions

            Essentially Avogadro’s number enables us to calculate how many molecules there are in a given solution. We can use this to work out how much of the mother tincture is remains in a homeopathic preparation after it has been potentiated (i.e. diluted) enough to be used as a treatment. For instance a 10X potentiation is a dilution by a factor of 10^10, and a 30C dilution is by a factor of 10^60.

  • One of the etiologies of BMS burning mouth syndrome has been linked to oral galvanism; due to the use of dissimilar dental materials.

    “Galvanism Electrical Current With The Power To Destroy

    These abnormal electrical currents can cause or contribute to a wide variety of symptoms and disease; typically, burning mouth syndrome and Lichen Planus. Amalgam removal in patients who have conditions related to galvanic electrical generation sometimes produces almost immediate improvements.”

    https://www.ericdavisdental.com/biological-dentistry/symptoms-of-toxicity/galvanism/

    https://www.fremontnaturaldentistry.com/blog/mixed-metals-in-the-mouth-can-be-trouble-oral-galvanism/

    Homeopathy alone cannot address this syndrome. However, a homeopath will often recommend the removal of dental amalgam (amalgam meaning combined with mercury) restorations. After proper amalgam removal and restorative dentistry with safer materials, a properly prescribed constitutional homeopathic remedy can help.

    • Sandra said:

      Homeopathy alone cannot address this syndrome.

      How do you know?

    • Sandra

      You can continue on your evangelical anti-amalgam crusade if you wish by citing isolated cases of possible sensitivity to galvanic reactions. You can try to support your position by linking to the websites of quack dentists. They can try to support their fraud by citing papers. It’s a shame that they and you don’t appear to have read or understood them. From the Fathi and Mortazavi one, for example:

      Furthermore there is no evidence to support the contention that mercury exposure from amalgam could cause neurological disease, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, renal disease, immunological dysfunction, effects on the fetus, increased antibiotic resistance, and adverse effects on general health.”

      How inconvenient.

      You claim: “After proper amalgam removal and restorative dentistry with safer materials, a properly prescribed constitutional homeopathic remedy can help.”

      “can” help, Sandra?

      Bit of a vague and wishy-washy assertion regarding the theraputic properties of this supposedly most powerful of therapies for which you otherwise make so many claims. Is this what the homeopaths say as well, or just you?

      And are there any published studies to support your claims, or is it just your own anecdote of how Hal Huggins conned you out of your savings with a load of derisory quackery?

      • Lenny

        If you believe in EBM, as you claim, you had better have another look;
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466133/

        • Another exercise in starting with a premise and trying to find evidence which supports it, RG. It’s called putting the cart before the horse. It’s shabby science.

          If you look at the data for neurological disease such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons and compare the data from 40 years ago when 60% of the UK population over the age of 50 had no teeth and hence no amalgam fillings with the figures for now with the war babies and baby-boomers who had their heads filled with amalgam in the 50s, 60s and 70s you will see a HUGE increase in incidence. Amalgam is obviously a neurotoxin!

          Er..

          No.

          Life expectancy has increased in the intervening years. And both diseases are diseases of old age. And if you control for age, the incidence rate has not changed.

          It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few years as the younger generations who have seen the benefits of fluoride and have unrestored dentitions grow older and suffer neurological disease at the same rates.

          Much like the quacks who blamed thimerosal for causing autism, the cranks will have to flail around once more. Obviously fluoride…

  • “(4) the availability of recent epidemiological data supporting the link of dental amalgams to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson.”

    “Mercury, the principal component in dental amalgam, derives the very well-known toxicity from its high affinity towards proteins and amino acids [7]. In vitro experiments have demonstrated that elemental mercury is ten times more toxic than lead on neurons (Pb) [8]. Tissues such as the liver, kidney, and central nervous system (CNS) are the primary targets for bioaccumulation [9,10,11]. In view of the proximity of the oral cavity to the brain, the mercury penetrates and deposits in this organ affecting the CNS. Experiments using rats have shown the immediate fate of mercury release into the brain [12,13].”

    “In 1991, the World Health Organization confirmed dental amalgams are the biggest source of mercury, exposing the people to mercury levels significantly exceeding those set for food, air and water [16]. Autopsy studies have shown dental amalgam to be the main source of mercury in human tissues, responsible for at least 60–95% of mercury deposits [8]. From the above, it should be obvious that the health hazard of mercury amalgam is a serious problem which needs urgent control.”

    “While mercury vapor passes readily the blood-brain barrier, while inorganic mercury has a limited capacity to do so; however, once in the brain the toxicant is bound more strongly [18,30]. This might explain why the half-life of inorganic mercury in the brain is estimated to be 20 years, while the biological half-life is approximately 30–60 days [18]. Recent reports on human studies indicate a half-life of inorganic mercury in the brain of the order of years, contradicting older radioisotope studies which estimated half-life in the order of weeks to months [31]. Additionally, inorganic mercury may be produced from organic mercury, as experiments have shown that inorganic mercury levels within the brain correlate with organomercury administered doses [30,32]. Mercury salts have been shown to accumulate in exocrine glands, making saliva an excretion pathway [33]. A post-mortem study performed to assess mercury exposure in the human brain showed that dental amalgam increases the inorganic mercury concentrations in the brain. At time of death, a significant correlation was found between inorganic mercury in the blood and the number of surfaces filled with dental amalgam [34].”

    “In contrast, the weekly contribution of organomercury due to the biomethylation (oral bacteria) of the mercury in amalgam fillings (the average case) is equivalent to consuming moderately mercury-infested fish. Clearly, humans with dental amalgams eating mercury-containing fish are extremely endangered by mercury toxicants. Therefore, it should be evident that organomercury exposure through dental amalgams is an important and relevant health problem. More research on the toxicity of organomercury deriving from amalgam fillings is necessary to protect the health of our population. Organomercury and mercury vapor pose a more serious threat to pregnant women and their newborns.”

    “a New Zealand investigation claimed a link between amalgam exposure and multiple sclerosis [75]. Extensive epidemiological work in Taiwan (using over 200,000 subjects) reported a higher risk of Alzheimer disease for individuals (age 65 and over) with dental amalgams compared to the no-amalgam control. The data showed that Individuals exposed to amalgam fillings had higher risk of Alzheimer’ s disease (odds ratio, OR = 1.105, 95 % confidence interval, CI = 1.025–1.190) than their nonexposed counterparts. The ‘odds ratio’ for Alzheimer’s disease was 1.07 (95 % CI = 0.962–1.196) in men and 1.132 (95 % CI = 1.022–1.254) in women [76]. For the first time we have been alarmed about an association between amalgam exposure from dental fillings and gender. Moreover, a survey (also from Taiwan) on more than 20,000 individuals revealed the impact of dental amalgam on the development of Parkinson’s disease. Patients with amalgam fillings had a significantly higher risk of PD after adjusted hazard ratio HR = 1.583, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.122 ± 2.234, p = 0.0089) than those who did not [77]. Clearly, these recent data are slowly emerging, and some are presenting a direct links between dental amalgam, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases.”

    “Enough data have been presently assembled to be concerned with the mercury health problem. The mayor sources of mercury in humans are dental amalgams and the food chain. The constant release of mercury and its presence in saliva, as well as the added consumption of contaminated fish and seafood products, constitute a serious and exacerbated burden in humans.
    Due to such acute or chronic exposure, many pathological conditions have been ascribed to mercury toxicity: immunosuppression, neurological disorders, cardiovascular diseases, hormonal imbalance, and gingivitis, to mention a few of the more serious ones. Consequently, the development of the pathological conditions associated with mercury exposure constitutes a serious health burden, which adds constraints and limits lifespan. Indeed, recent studies have revealed an association of dental amalgams with Alzheimer and Parkinson disease. Therefore, relevant individual polymorphism in mercury-responsive genes can alter its availability, bioaccumulation in specific tissues and, hence, its toxicity.

    • RG,

      These statements have many numbers in brackets which are clearly references to published studies, but you haven’t included a list of references so we have no way of checking them. I, for one, feel that it is important to look at the original paper and form my own views as to whether the data supports the authors’ conclusions. It looks as though you have simply cut and pasted a fragment of something that you found online, without even given your source, which for all I know could be a Web site advertising a dentist who makes a living from removing fillings.

      Some of what you are saying is not contentious – the toxicity of mercury is well-established. Dentistry is not my specialist area, but it is my understanding that the absorption of mercury from fillings is minimal, and if you are quoting evidence to the contrary then I would like to see the evidence itself.

      With regard to the epidemiological studies finding a correlation between mercury fillings and Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to understand that such studies by their very nature cannot control for confounding factors (i.e. other reasons for the correlation besides cause and effect). For instance I can immediately think of two possible confounding factors. It is known that Alzheimer’s disease is associated with diabetes, and it may be that only the more prosperous people in the study were able to afford fillings and they were also able to afford a less healthy diet. Another explanation invokes the recently postulated and intriguing idea that Alzheimer’s disease is due to an infection, specifically with Porphyromonas gingivae, a bacterium commonly found in gum disease and (in an admittedly small study) in the brains of people who have died of Alzheimer’s. The confounding factor in this case would be poor dental health.

      • Dr. J

        The source of what I posted, I already posted previous to Lenny on Friday.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466133/

        I think you will recognize the source. It’s quite informative, have a read.

        • RG,

          I don’t recognise the source as this isn’t the sort of thing I normally read. However, I have had a look at the paper that you cite which is essentially a review article by a number of biochemists from the University of Puerto Rico. They clearly believe strongly that mercury amalgum fillings are harmful. I have better things to do than to go over all their references in detail, but I have followed a few of them and I get the impression that they are cherry-picking their sources and also misrepresenting what they have to say. For instance

          <blockquote.In 1991, the World Health Organization confirmed dental amalgams are the biggest source of mercury, exposing the people to mercury levels significantly exceeding those set for food, air and water
          The 28-year-old report which they cite, which clearly states on the first page that it does not necessarily represent the views of the WHO, actually says nothing of the sort. It does examine a number of studies estimating the mercury dose from fillings and gives a very wide range (covering a factor of over 20) within which it considers the true value to lie. It does not make any comparison with mercury levels set for food, air and water (I can’t even find any mention of these in the report), and nor could it; absorption and concentration are completely different things

          Another one:

          A post-mortem study performed to assess mercury exposure in the human brain showed that dental amalgam increases the inorganic mercury concentrations in the brain. At time of death, a significant correlation was found between inorganic mercury in the blood and the number of surfaces filled with dental amalgam

          This was a post-mortem study looking at 30 individuals, reduced to 29 after one of them turned out to have had occupational exposure to mercury. They measured a great many different things and found a mixture of positive and negative correlations, and concluded that certain positive correlations between tissue concentrations and number of amalgum surfaces in teeth were evidence of mercury absorption from fillings, as opposed to what you might expect to find by chance if you examine enough veriables.

          I have already suggested other possible explanations for the findings of the Taiwan studies.

          Essentially while the data seem to suggest that there is some absorption of mercury from fillings, which is clearly undesirable, they have not provided convincing evidence that the amount is enough to amount to an important public health problem, and indeed the rate of new fillings with mercury amalgum seems to be falling in any case.

          I don’t know what the truth is, and I will have to defer to the dentists, whose job it is to know about these things (as it is mine to know about the effects of ionising radiation), but one not very rigorous review by a group of biochemists with an axe to grind is not enough for me to make up my mind one way or another.

  • The authors of the above case-report treated their patient for about 4 years. The devil’s advocate might assume that not only did iHOM contribute nothing to the patient’s improvement, but that it had a detrimental effect on BMS. The data provided are in full agreement with the notion that, without iHOM, the patient would have been symptom-free much quicker.

    While this statement is true, it is rather misleading as the data are also consistent with iHOM having speeded up the patient’s improvement and also with it having made no difference whatsoever. With a single case report it is impossible to correct for the effects of chance and therefore you can’t draw any meaningful conclusions (I know this is the point that you were trying to make and your contention was meant ironically, but it does seem to have been misunderstood by at least one person here).

    Also I think you are being a little unfair on Alexandre Monnier, who appears to be genuinely trying to understand something while handicapped by a lack of training in biomedical science and in statistics. My answer to his experience of molluscum contagiosum in his children is that the duration of the infection is subject to a great many random factors and it would therefore be rather surprising if it followed the same course in each of them, and that it is impossible to conclude either that their recovery was due to the homeopathic treatment or that they were about to recover anyway when the treatment was started (which seems more likely to me given what we know of homeopathy). Unfortunately most people’s intuitions about probability are completely wrong leading them to draw erroneous conclusions in a wide variety of situations. That is why it is so important to use mathematics.

    For the benefit of AM, much of the design and analysis of medical studies centres around the problem of separating genuine effects (e.g. as a result of treatment) from random ones. There are different ways of doing this, applicable in different situations, but unless the authors understand the statistical tools they are using and apply them appropriately there is a strong risk that their results will be meaningless, and unless the reader also has some training in statistics they, too, can readily draw the wrong conclusion.

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