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

In the world of homeopathy, Prof Michael Frass is a famous man. He is the First Chairman of the Scientific Society for Homeopathy (WissHom), the president of the Umbrella organization of Austrian Doctors for Holistic Medicine, and the Vicepresident of the Doctors Association for Classical Homeopathy. Frass has featured on this blog before, not least because he has published numerous studies of homeopathy, none of which has ever failed to produce a positive result

This is not just remarkable, in my view, it defies logic and the laws of nature. Even if homeopathy were a supremely effective therapy – a very broad consensus holds that it is not! – one would occasionally expect some negative results. No treatment works under all circumstances

… that is no treatment except homeopathy, according to Frass.

Recently Frass amazed even the world of oncology by publishing a study suggesting that homeopathy can prolong the survival of lung cancer patients. Every oncologist I know was flabbergasted.

Can this be true? This is the question, many people have been asking for some time in relation to Frass’s research.

In my quest to shine more light on it, I was recently alerted to an article by the formidable Austrian investigative journalist, Alwin Schönberger. In 2015, he came across a press release announcing that “HOMEOPATHY HAD BEEN PROVEN TO WORK AFTER ALL” (strikingly similar to one issued in 2018). It came from Austria’s leading manufacturer who was giving an award to an apparently outstanding thesis supervised by Frass. Even today, this piece of research has not been published in the peer-reviewed literature.

Yet, after some difficulties, Schönberger managed to obtain a copy. What he found was surprising, and he thus published his findings in the respected Austrian journal ‘Profil’ (2. Mai 2015 • profil 22).

Frass’s student had been given the task to systematically review all the homeopathy trials published between 2008 and 2012. Contrary to the hype of the press release, the meta-analysis merely suggested a very small effect. When digging deeper, Schönberger found several inconsistencies and mistakes in the analysis. They all were such that they produced a false-positive picture for homeopathy. Upon their correction, homeopathy turned out to be no longer significantly superior to placebo. Frass was then interviewed about it and claimed that the inconsistencies were only ‘errors’ but insisted that homeopathy is not a placebo therapy.

Yes, of course, errors happen in research. But if they all go in one direction and if that direction coincides with the interests of the researchers, we have the right, perhaps even the duty, to be suspicious. The questions that arise from this story are, I think, as follows:

  • Have the errors been corrected?
  • Are there perhaps other errors in Frass’s research?
  • Can we trust anything that Frass says?
  • Is it time to consider an official investigation into Frass’s studies of homeopathy?

 

 

19 Responses to A truly perplexing homeopath – is it time for an official investigation?

  • I wouldn’t bother with Prof Frass.
    More important is the fact that he is associated with a much (otherwise) respected university.
    It is the University which merits investigation.
    It is bringing humankind into disrepute!

    From Wikipedia:
    “The Medical University of Vienna (German: Medizinische Universität Wien) is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It is the direct successor to the faculty of medicine at the University of Vienna, founded in 1365 by Rudolf IV, Duke of Austria. As one of the oldest medical schools in the world, it is the oldest in the German-speaking countries, and was the second medical faculty in the Holy Roman Empire, after the Charles University of Prague.

    The Medical University of Vienna is the largest medical organisation in Austria, as well as one of the top-level research institutions in Europe (ha!) , and provides Europe’s largest hospital, the Vienna General Hospital, with all of its medical staff.
    It consists of 31 university clinics and clinical institutes, and 12 medical-theoretical departments, which perform around 48,000 operations each year.”

    How come they tolerate Prof Frass? We should be told.

  • Of course, but who investigates?

  • The thing is, Frass’ work is of no consequence. Paper after paper has been published, recognised for the utter twaddle it is and consequently ignored. You’d have thought that by now he’d have given up but perhaps he likes Dana blowing smoke up his arse each time he brings something out. His body of work exists only as an object of ridicule. Leave him to his nonsense but it is, as you say, worth asking a few questions of the establishment which formerly employed him.

    Probably of more relevance now is the continuing employment of antivax loon Christopher Exley by Keele University.

  • Congratuations Eddie…you have again proven your complete your deaf, dumb, and blindness. This isn’t an ad hom. This is simply a description…

    You have inserted above that “Recently Frass amazed even the world of oncology by publishing a study suggesting that homeopathy can prolong the survival of lung cancer patients. Every oncologist I know was flabbergasted.”

    You obviously surround yourself with sycophants. According to this survey, “Ten percent of oncologists (in France) stated they prescribe homeopathy; 36% recommend it; 54% think that homeopathy is potentially helpful in SCO.”

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33763723/

    Perceptions of homeopathy in supportive cancer care among oncologists and general practitioners in France
    J L Bagot 1 2 3, I Theunissen 4, A Serral 5
    Affiliations expand
    PMID: 33763723 DOI: 10.1007/s00520-021-06137-5
    Abstract
    Objectives: In France, homeopathy is the most frequently used complementary therapy in supportive care in oncology (SCO); its use is steadily increasing. However, data is limited about the perception and relevance of homeopathy by oncologists and general practitioners (GPs) both with and without homeopathic training (HGPs and NHGPs, respectively). Our aim was to evaluate French physicians’ perceptions of homeopathy to clarify its place in SCO through two original observation survey-based studies.

    Materials and methods: Two cross-sectional surveys of French physicians were conducted involving (1) 150 specialist oncologists; (2) 97 HGPs and 100 NHGPs. Questions evaluated physician attitudes to homeopathy and patterns of use of homeopathic therapies in patients requiring SCO. Survey responses were described and analyzed on the basis of physician status.

    Results: Ten percent of oncologists stated they prescribe homeopathy; 36% recommend it; 54% think that homeopathy is potentially helpful in SCO. Two-thirds of the NHGPs sometimes prescribe homeopathy in the context of SCO and 58% regularly refer their patients to homeopathic doctors. HGPs have a positive perception of homeopathy in SCO.

    Conclusions: Homeopathy is viewed favorably as an integrated SCO therapy by the majority of French physicians involved with cancer patients-oncologists and GPs. Symptoms of particular relevance include fatigue, anxiety, peripheral neuropathy, sleep disturbance, and hot flashes. In such clinical situations, response to conventional therapies may be suboptimal and homeopathy is considered a reliable therapeutic option. These two studies highlight the fact that homeopathy has gained legitimacy as the first complementary therapy in SCO in France.

    And then, you have the sheer audacity to claim that Frass is not trustworthy because all 12 (!) of his articles have reported “positive” information about homeopathy. Based on YOUR logic, you are totally untrustworthy because you’ve published a tad more “studies” on homeopathy, and how many of YOUR studies haven’t had the same conclusions?

    • thanks Dana!
      as long as you issue insults, I can be sure to be on to something.
      btw, you forgot to mention the affiliation of one of the authors of the article you cited:
      Laboratoires Boiron, Messimy, France.

      • Ooooh my gosh. Frass is “affiliated” with Boiron. In that light, we can ignore the VAST majority of all medical research because so much of it is from researchers “affiliated” with drug companies.

        • not Frass! I was referring to the French customer survey you cited and which, of course, had nothing to do with the claim that homeopathy prolongs the life of cancer patients.

          • Edz…oh…did I write some place here that homeopathy prolongs the life of cancer patients? Hmmm, no, I didn’t. So, your strawman argument just bit the dust.

            That said, Frass’ previous study that was published in The Oncologist (edited by a Harvard oncologist) did show the prolongation of life in patients who integrated homeopathy into their treatment.

            But Eds, you didn’t respond to my concern about the consistent results from your “studies” of homeopathy. Because you claim that Frass’ consistency of results must be questioned. Perhaps you are simply projecting what we all should be thinking about your results.

          • the post is about these questions in relation to a meta-analysis in which errors were discovered:
            Have the errors been corrected?
            Are there perhaps other errors in Frass’s research?
            Can we trust anything that Frass says?
            Is it time to consider an official investigation into Frass’s studies of homeopathy?
            why don’t you try to answer them or stay on the subject?
            or is that too embarrassing for the cult of homeopathy?

        • Oh dear, Dana. Deflecting and misrepresenting again, deciding 2+2= flowerpot and claiming victory. Pathetic.

          Affiliations with companies are known as Conflicts Of Interest, as you should know. And should be listed at the end of papers. Which the authors of the paper you linked to failed to do. And which you should have noticed. But you don’t read reputable research. You read risible propagandist tripe like the one you’ve just linked to. And any research you do read, you do so selectively using your limited and blinkered powers of perception. It’s why you remain the insignificant figure of ridicule that you are.

          Have you actually read that “research”? – in reality a laughable customer satisfaction survey. What does it actually say? That a bunch of homeopathy freaks reckon that a few French doctors think homeopathy might make their cancer patients feel a bit better in themselves.

          Wow. F**k my old boots. Hold the front page. Notify the Nobel Prize committee. Re-write the textbooks. Even given your long history of one-eyed barrel-scraping, this is pretty thin gruel, Dana. A whipping causing the leg to fall off the rotting corpse of the dead horse that is homeopathy and claiming that it is a sign of life.

    • Oh dear, Dana. A self-reported customer satisfaction survey by a bunch of homeopathic loons. And you think this validates Frass’ mendacious twaddle? Is that the best you can come up with?

      And let us not forget that Hahnemann called clinicians who used homeopathy alongside conventional treatments ‘traitors‘! He categorically forbade it and denied that such an approach merits the name ‘HOMEOPATHY’

      So, according to Hahnemann, the French clinicians aren’t actually using homeopathy. And Mad Sam is the great prophet of the religion that is homeopathy. You wouldn’t want to commit heresy and contradict him would you, Dana?

      • Lenny! Your intellectual prowess is homeopathic in size, not in power. The survey of French oncologists and general practitioners is NOT a “satisfaction survey.” #DUH! It is a survey of these physicians, how many of them use homeopathic medicines themselves (!) and how many refer their cancer patients to homeopathic physicians.

        I encourage you to continually respond to my comments because you can’t help but to show your super powers of daftness.

        • please don’t forget that a Boiron employee is one of the authors, Dana!

        • It’s people asking, on behalf of a homeopathy manufacturer, how many people use their product and if they like it. Which is a customer satisfaction survey is, Dana. They used a customer survey company to design the questionnaire. We know you’re a bit thick but even you with your hapless and one-eyed grasp of reality can understand this.

          There again, maybe not because you never really understand anything.

  • I stumbled over this and don’t really have any interest in the topic, but it’s very intriguing how defensive and deflective this Dana character is. He behaves as though he’s a paid representative, and his house payment relies on somehow keeping this Frass guy viable by crediting him with the obvious concept that positivity is helpful to cancer patients, as though Frass invented the hopeful outlook, himself. How sad. He would look better if he just quietly sold used cars.

    • I give reference to formal studies published in respected medical journals. What do you do? Are you a drug dealer or just a Big Pharma stooge? I can’t help but sense that you somehow defend Big Pharma and their multiple criminal actions that led the way to the addiction and deaths of millions. You might benefit the world more by selling used cars.

      • Dana

        You give reference to published studies which you imagine validate your belief in the magic powers of shaken water.

        They do no such thing.

        For how long has Frass been publishing his tripe, Dana? Fifteen years? Plenty of time for people to sit up and take notice.

        Answer me, Dana. How many of his studies have been independantly replicated?

        I’ll save you the effort of looking, Dana. The answer is “none”.

        How many of his ICU studies, particularly the ones on secretions and sepsis, have influenced patient care in ICU units?

        Again, I’ll save you the effort of looking, Dana. The answer is “none”.

        His work is recognised for the risible tripe that it is and is, hence, ignored. You fondly imagine that publication somehow gives validation to the spurious claims of homeopaths. It does no such thing.

        Homeopathy remains the nonesense it always has been and you remain the pathetic, bloviating, grifting, inconsequential object of ridicule that you always have been. Run along, now.

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