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

Guest post by Norbert Aust and Viktor Weisshäupl

Imagine you recently published an excellent and rigorous trial providing solid evidence that a certain therapy is able to help patients suffering from some inevitably fatal condition. You proved that your therapy is able to significantly prolong the patients’ lifetime, much longer than with the current state-of-the-art therapeutic approach. But the patients not only live considerably longer, but they also do so with a much better quality of life (QoL) and subjective well-being. In short: this therapy marks some progress that would otherwise take years or decades of scientific effort.

And then someone comes forward and points out your data apparently were manipulated. Essential parameters of this trial were modified sometime after data collection was completed, with the patients’ outcome and first analyses available. Thus the results were biased in a certain direction and the critics show that the results as published in your study show characteristics that such manipulations would evoke. After all, this holds an implication of scientific misconduct that could, if verified, ruin your academic reputation more or less completely.

What would you do?

Ignore the preposterous concerns because you know your methods and performance were rigorous and solid? After all, anytime some real academic criticism arises you are ready to prove your findings are well-founded results of accepted scientific methods. Or would you publish data or documents that your critics were too ignorant to find or to understand, and thus to stop such rumours once and for all? Maybe you could even clarify some of the issues raised by those critics, maybe add some follow-up information or data to ensure no more misunderstandings occur. Or would you try to find some clues for a libel lawsuit?

Well, we thought some of the above would happen after we contacted the authors of the recent study on adjunct homeopathy in non-small cell lung cancer. On that date, we forwarded our detailed analysis to the lead author and all the co-authors.

Of course, we even considered the possibility, not very likely though, that we would receive some explanation for the numerous exclusion criteria while other serious conditions that coincide with advanced age did not preclude enrollment. Or an updated CONSORT diagram accounting for the patients excluded. Or some explanation just why the numerous amendments to the protocol were necessary but not important enough to mention them in the published paper.

But nothing of this happened as yet (July 2021). Instead on June 14 and 16, 2021, not two weeks after our messages to the authors, the registration data at ClinicalTrials were updated once again and a new version of the protocol was uploaded [3]. And this update looks pretty much like it is meant to cover up and blur the former data that we based our analysis on. Of course, these data and the former version of the protocol are available still – just one layer further down, and you have to scroll to the bottom of the page to find the small link “history of changes”. Maybe not many visitors will do that.

In contrast to the versions before, now the uploaded data are in line with the study as published, namely, they include a full list of the exclusion criteria and the reduced observation time for QoL, which was the primary outcome. Note: throughout the trial until the end of data assessment those parameters were set with pregnancy as the only exclusion criterion and two years follow up time, only to be amended in the protocol uploaded two months after data collection was complete and analysis presumably was well underway.

In addition, there is a new version of the study protocol, this one dated Feb. 6, 2014. Of course, this protocol is fairly new, in spite of the date it carries. Why would the older version allegedly from January 2011 be uploaded to the register in September 2019, if this more actual version already had existed and was available?

Contrary to the prior version all the clues are removed that would indicate that this document was finished at a much later point in time than given in its date: References to some future software versions that were released years after the protocol was allegedly compiled are dropped. And this strange literature reference “25” that corresponds to the reference list in the final study as published but is pointless in the protocol without any reference list, is removed too. And of course, again contrary to the prior version, the exclusion criteria are identical with the final study as is the shortened follow-up time for QoL.

New to the protocol is a section “Bringing in the patient’s voice”, where the authors disclose how they want to “systematically research the ethical, legal, socio-political, and science theoretical dimensions of homeopathy as in the case of lung cancer (non-small-cell lung carcinoma) exemplified” in some “integral social scientific study”, where some “focus groups” of 4 to 10 participants together with their relatives, friends and caregivers included should be used to study “interactions between individuals, collectively shared and uncontested assumptions, and the emergence of collective meaning”.

But from all of this more or less meaningless but very sciency sounding socio-speak, not a single word found its way into the study. Nothing. So it is pointless to try to figure out what the content of this part of the investigation is all about.

Why then was this chapter added? This “integral social scientific study” was to start after the “third or fourth homeopathic treatment” (But why should patients not be included in this “research” from the very first beginning?). Is it perhaps to give some rationale why the follow-up time for QoL was to end after the third homeopathic treatment?

So what we see, when we look up the study at ClinicalTrials now, is a perfectly matching set of data and a protocol that corresponds to the study as published and looks as if it was published at a time where the trial was underway and the patients were still blinded. If you do not look very closely everything now appears to be perfect.

And here we would like to forward some critique to the register: The purpose of the study register is to prevent not only publication bias but misleading manipulation from happening as well. They do quite a good job in preserving former versions of data and documents and keeping them available to the public. Many national study registers do not offer this service. But you must be of a suspicious mind and of some persistence to actively search and find and check the history of modifications. Thus, a cover-up like the one we are witnessing here might well prove successful. We, therefore, propose to improve the presentation of the registration: If vital amendments occurred that may affect the outcomes – such as protocol changes, extensions of exclusion criteria, modifications of follow-up time – this should be indicated upfront in the study’s record instead of some small hint to “history of changes” at the very bottom of the page.

In conclusion, there appears to be no proof that the results of the study were produced using rigorous scientific methods. And the issues we raised in our report to the authors remain unresolved.

96 Responses to An update on the dubious cancer study by Prof Michael Frass et al

  • Frass?

    Cooking the data and fudging the method?

    No!

    Surely not!

    (The thing is, it’s all of no consequence because Frass’ serial exercises in research misconduct are utterly inconsequential. None have had any impact whatsoever on health care. They serve only as object lessns in the warped mindset of AltMed loons and those who believe in the fantastical magic powers of shaken water.)

    We await the stamping and sputtering of one D. Ullmann esq.

    • Sorry to have to contradict you, Lenny.

      Frass’ “research” found its way into the recent official German Guideline that covers complementary medicine in oncology, authored by the Association of the Scientific Medical Societies. Namely the study of Frass from 2015 is the basis for the recommendation that homeopathy could be considered with respect to quality of life. This was an open label study on the impact of adjunct homeopathic treatment on QoL of cancer patients in Vienna.

      And this recent study considered here got cited there as well, but was published too late to be reviewed and added as a basis for any recommendation.

      Of course, German homeopaths are enthusiastic with this “acknowledgement” by the gatekeepers of evidence based medicine in Germany, meagre as it is. In fact many a homeopath, including Frass himself, use this study as a means for advertising for homeopathy and their own practice of course.

    • You only had to wait 5.5 hours for Dana’s nonsensical response combined with a personal attack. He is so predictable

  • I’m *shocked* that a homeopathic study would need to be fraudulent in order to produce a positive result, given that homeopathy is fraudulent.
    I am very impressed that you managed to find the deliberate flaws, even when they were concealed by the homeopaths.
    When I was doing ethical reviews of research studies I found it relatively easy to spot mistakes, unethical protocols etc that were IN the proposal. I found it a lot harder to spot such things when they were hidden/omitted from them!
    I also HATED homeopathic studies for the same reason I hated chiropractic studies: I could never reconcile the fundamental lack of scientific basis with the desire to make it work. It always felt like they were forever trying to build something without any foundation.

  • Gad, you’d think that you’d provide real evidence here of methodological problems or errors, but instead, you provide a vague bitch fest of theories of possible problems. But where’s the meat? Have you or any of your cult members here considered submitting a critique of this study to a peer-review journal? Methinks that your bitch fest wouldn’t pass review. Prove me wrong.

    • you are incredible, Dana.
      no meat?
      cult members?
      submitting a critique to a publication that is already under investigation?
      on which planet do you live?

      • Eddie…get back to me if or when that “investigation” goes some place…but for now, it is nothing…though a couple of other articles on homeopathy have been retracted based on bogus charges that are really an embarrassment to science, not a well-reasoned retraction.

        • Mr.Dullman: thank you for giving me the permission to get back to you. I might just do that – only to give you the occasion to claim that the retraction was based on bogus charges. Your fantasy world must not be disturbed otherwise you would need to realize that much of your own life has been bogus.

        • though a couple of other articles on homeopathy have been retracted based on bogus charges that are really an embarrassment to science

          Oh dear. Mr Uncredible strikes again.

          As we know, Dana, “science” is defined by you as “any nonsense which appears to validate my fantasies”.

          Let’s see why one of those retractions happened, shall we?

          The PLOS ONE Editors have discussed the study design and results reported in this article with experts in RNA-seq analysis, statistical analysis and members of our Editorial Board. Based on our assessment and the advice received, and in light of the above concerns, we have determined that the results presented in this article do not provide sufficient support for claims about effects of Arnica m. on gene expression. Hence, we are retracting this article due to concerns about the study design and about the validity and reliability of the reported conclusions. We regret that these issues were not fully addressed during the article’s pre-publication peer review.

          In addition to the above, the PLOS ONE Editors hereby notify readers that the Competing Interests statement was incorrect for this article and should have explicitly stated that Boiron Laboratories, a company that provided funding support for this study, markets homeopathic products including various dilutions of Arnica m.

          So the experts know nothing do they, Dana?

          The paper shouldn’t have made it past the peer-review process, Dana. Peer review. Which you trumpet about regularly.

          And non-disclosure of a massive, glaring Conflict Of Interest? COI declarations are fundamental part of scientific papers, Dana. How is this “bogus” in your little World of delusion?

          Of course the authors of the paper stamped and shouted and sputtered in the way that homeopaths always do when their claims are shown to be nonsense. To no avail. The retraction stands.

          And remind us, Dana. Has the Australian HMRC report been retracted following the supposed complaints by the HRI which never appear to have been made?

          No, Dana. It hasn’t.

          The World continues to turn. Homeopathy continues to be utter bunkum. And you continue to be the inconsequential, pathetic, ignorant little clown you always have been.

          • Well, well, well…it seems that you don’t know shinola about that Australian Report…and you just verified that. Whooops. The Australian Report’s conclusions were acknowledged to be changed.

            Quoting from my article in CUREUS https://www.cureus.com/articles/62105-an-analysis-of-four-government-funded-reviews-of-research-on-homeopathic-medicine :

            Most recently, the Australian government’s Department of Health finally acknowledged the existence of a “first report” on homeopathy [31] after investigative efforts uncovered its existence [32]. After the release of this original report, the NHMRC acknowledged, “Contrary to some claims, the review did not conclude that homeopathy was ineffective.” Further, this original report asserted that there was “encouraging evidence” for five medical conditions: side effects of cancer therapy, otitis media, fibromyalgia, postoperative ileus, and upper respiratory tract infections. After the release of this original report, the NHMRC acknowledged in relation to the subsequent Optum review, “Contrary to some claims, the review did not conclude that homeopathy was ineffective.”

            Thanx for proving yourself wrong (again)…

          • Oh Dana

            You really do need to check that there’s water in the swimming pool before you jump in.

            The first report. A draft report. Which was found to have drawn conclusions which the data did not support. Which was why it was just a draft. And when the text was released it was made very clear the parts which were incorrect. The parts which asserted that there was “encouraging evidence” for five medical conditions: side effects of cancer therapy, otitis media, fibromyalgia, postoperative ileus, and upper respiratory tract infections was one of them.

            Remind us, Dana, what did the annotations say?

            Let me help you. We know your reading skills aren’t up to much.

            “Conclusions not confirmed by expert committee, just represent the views of the report authors. Grade ‘C’ used here to represent ‘encouraging evidence of effectiveness’ but further down the page grade ‘C’ represents ‘no convincing evidence'”

            You really are an embarrassment to yourself, Dana. Carry on, please. Again, all you have demonstrated here is your own wilful stupidity. You remain the inconsequential, yammering fool you always have been.

          • Lenny, you don’t understand:
            IF DANA SAID SO IN HIS CUREUS PAPER, IT MUST BE RIGHT!!!

          • @Dana

            Cureus Journal of Medical Science: Impact factor 1.15

            Wow, you are a genius, that you have placed an article with this “highly relevant” journal.

            Thank you very much for the hearty laugh at noon.

          • @Dana Ullman,

            our last discussions came to the following conclusions:

            You were unable to point out any difference between the results of NHMRC, that you criticise, and those of RT Mathie, member of the Homeopathy Research Institute, which seem to meet your standards.

            You were unable to name any indication in the NHMRC review where the result would be different, when what you consider “faults” were not in place.

            You were unable to specify the difference between the result of NHMRC and this rejected draft of a consultant with regard to solid evidence.

            You were unable to identify any lab that would be able to distinguish between what you called “homeopathic water” and “water”.

            We still are waiting for you to explain this resonance phenomenon that you introduced as an explanation of how homeopatrhy works.

            Anything new in your last comment?

          • 1. “You were unable to point out any difference between the results of NHMRC, that you criticise, and those of RT Mathie, member of the Homeopathy Research Institute, which seem to meet your standards.”

            Aust, you’re very aggressive and vindictive. If you had bothered to read (which I know you’re very biased and don’t) you would have read the letter Robert Mathie published at the BMJ:

            “Rapid Response:
            There is some evidence that individualised homeopathic intervention is more effective than placebo, report could have concluded
            As recognised by Dana Ullman elsewhere in these Comments, the timing of the Australian NHMRC report’s publication prevented its consideration of a high-quality systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials in individualised homeopathic treatment, published in December 2014 [1]. Using the NHMRC’s own description of an evidence base, dated 2013 [2], it is reasonable to expect that the new paper’s evidence, if available in the timeframe, would have been judged as: ‘A small body of good-quality evidence has been appropriately meta-analysed and found a significant difference in favour of homeopathy’. The NHMRC’s conclusion about individualised homeopathy would therefore properly have been: ‘Based on the body of evidence evaluated in this review, there is some evidence that homeopathy is more effective than placebo’.” R. Mathie, 2015.

            2. “You were unable to identify any lab that would be able to distinguish between what you called “homeopathic water” and “water”.”

            Sorry, but your comment is very silly and naive, there is no” only laboratory”, there are several in Russia, Germany, Brazil and other countries that if you had bothered to consult the literature you would have noticed. Starting with the Nobel prize laureate Luc Montagnier and his research team that includes several physicists, in fact there was even a documented acclaimed and has around 1.5 million visits in which they live replicated an experiment of transmission of electromagnetic signals. Other work that you can find are those of Dr. Marc Henry and Dr. Louis Demanget, strangely these works are not mentioned in one of Edzard Ernst’s articles. Indeed, it is ridiculous to see magazines like” Skepter ” seeking attention and trying to ridicule for the old “million dollar prize” trick of James Randi, a rude, uneducated and simpleton character who never brought anything to science. Don’t try to answer me with insults, I’ve seen you usually do. I read your blog and I felt so sorry for it.

          • you know, of course, that Mathie is an employee of the British Homeopathic Association, don’t you?

          • “you know, of course, that Mathie is an employee of the British Homeopathic Association, don’t you?”

            This is a very poor argument Ernst, if you want to start with it you are employed by various charities including Science 2.0, Sense About Science, Science Media Centre, American Council on Science and Health, CSICOP, GWUp, among others. The difference with you is that Mathie keeps his neutrality intact. You, instead, Ernst, were fired from the Homeopathy editorial panel for libel against the prestigious Peter Fisher. It should be noted that Fisher achieved good positions and was director of the then homeopathic hospitals and general practitioner of Queen Elizabeth, you instead have held a position in a department at a local University in the United Kingdom.

          • “you are employed by various charities including Science 2.0, Sense About Science, Science Media Centre, American Council on Science and Health, CSICOP, GWUp, among others”
            THAT’S VERY STRANGE!
            Not even I knew about this!!!
            Could it be that you are talking absolute idiotic nonsense?

          • “libel against the prestigious Peter Fisher.”
            another thing that I did not know about!

          • “Friend” Ernst, Aust asked Ullman if he could tell him what was the difference between Mathie’s conclusions and the Australian report (the second in particular). I just mentioned Mathie’s comment and you respond with an ad hominem saying that “he’s an employee of…”. To this I have simply mentioned in the places where you appear as a member of organizations of dubious (better said, null) reputation or as an advisor, I hope you have done it for free that if not your reputation can fall a lot, I do not think it is much problem to ask for transparency documents. You had to control that aggressiveness, you feel more nervous and angry, maybe you’re a relative of the troll Lenny.

          • I am not in anybody’s employment.
            all my life I have been an academic
            you need to check your facts before you continue to issue further idiocies.

          • Dr. Fisher’s publications speak for themselves, his reputation speaks for itself, he even has an obituary in the prestigious British Medical Journal. He came to occupy important positions, you with your age presume a lot and I only see you being interviewed by mainstream media that talk nonsense against homeopathy. I could list your numerous contradictions, but I’ll leave that for later in a document.

          • something to look forward to!

          • Looking at their profiles in “About” section of your friend Ernst, they all share being atheists resentful against religion, some seem to have links with large pharmaceutical companies or the agrobiotechnology sector, others are the same clowns of other Genetic Literacy blogs of Monsanto. They are simply an anti-religious sect, from the same groups of “Friends in Science Medicine”, “Questao da Ciencia”, and so on. The truth is not worth discussing much, it shows that they will continue to deny their own contradictions. It says a lot about your false neutrality, Ernst. It is like reading a blog of Christian fanatics or flathe earth belivers run by a group of madmen who are still determined to prove that evolution does not exist, only that here they are determined to try to prove a priori that homeopathy cannot work by recycling arguments so boring that they only gain strength by the media.

          • “The truth is not worth discussing much…”
            not that you are anywhere near grasping it.
            ” they are determined to try to prove a priori that homeopathy cannot work”
            … and I had always thought the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the homeopath.

          • From one of the profiles in the “about”section: “He is currently attempting to correct the many wrongs in order to save science, scientific education and minimise the negative health impact on society”

            It sounds like a Messianic sectarian who wants to save all from imaginary threats. Confirmed that your friends are a sect, possibly a group based on coertion. For today I have seen enough of this blog.

          • “Friend” Ernst, the burden of proof has been borne by homeopathy since its birth and has consistently fulfilled it over more than 200 years. I’ve read a lot about you (and your friends) and I know you’re not versed in your own cult. If you want to talk about Sagan and the ” school” of so-called pseudoscientific skeptics, I can give you a full lesson, and I can show you why “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” is nonsense. Your naivety and superficial knowledge in philosophy of science (and that of most of those who follow you) is very pitiful. Was sorry to read your article in collaboration with philosopher Angelo Fasce, chery picking and a complete list of ad hominem fallacies. I see you love use the ad hominem attack and censoring comments when you’re in trouble. If you wish to censor me I give you the freedom to do so, you are the example of a pseudo-sceptic, a rude and cowardly skeptic who can’t tolerate criticism, ironic don’t you think?

          • your lack of understanding is profound.
            if I’d say you are an idiot, it would be an ad hominem attack.
            when I state that your comment is idiotic, it is a demonstrable fact.

          • @ Astro

            Throwing insults on people’s positions and achievements but keeping your own identity together with your position and achievements hidden behind a nickname is not exactly what I would consider a great personal style. So I would like to return to a discussion based on facts.

            I ask you the same questions as I asked Dana Ullman a while ago, which he chose not to answer:

            (1) What is the difference between the findings of Mathie in his four reviews on homeopathy in humans, published between 2014 and 2019, and the results of the NHMRC? Please name any solid evidence that Mathie could identify which is not included in the NHMRC report published 2015. Please note: results where the author himself notes that they require “caution in the interpretation” due to the poor quality of the trials do not really resemble solid evidence. And yes, you should read at least the conclusions in the abstracts completely.

            (2) Could you name any of the findings in the NHMRC report that would turn to solid evidence if what homeopaths and the HRI considered shortcomings were not in place? Like downgrading of studies with less than 150 participants? With the extensive documentation of the NHMRC this should be easy.

            (3) What is the difference between the draft of the consultant’s report to the NHMRC – for some incomprehensible reason often referred to as some “first report” – and the NHMRC report published in 2015? Which solid evidence is presented by the consultant that is not included in said report? Please note: “encouraging evidence” is different from “solid evidence”, otherwise it would be named accordingly.

            (4) Can you name any lab that is able to distinguish between “homeopathic water” and “water” in a blinded test or define a method on how this can be done? Name one and we give it a try. Note: This has nothing to do with the work of Benveniste, Montagnier and the others.

            If you cannot answer these simple questions, then I conclude that you are unable – just as Dana Ullman is – to base your critique on our critique of homeopathy with facts. And you should keep this occasion in mind, because wherever we meet again in such a discussion I will ask you the same questions.

            But of course, being too timid to disclose your identity, you can easily avoid that.

          • “Friend” Aust, it’s no insult to tell the truth, none of Ernst’s blog contributors are a prominent scientist. Your questions have been answered to satisfaction, but I can answer you again in detail if you wish:

            1. Ironically you agree with me, the results of the Australian report and Mathie’s comment and his four reviews are consistent that homeopathy has a superior effect to placebo regardless of the condition being treated. That’s what Mathie means by his comment. What you have to answer is why the Australian report (the second) focuses only on the specific conditions and not on the placebo effect. You should also be able to answer why the authors of that report did not perform a meta-analysis to quantify the placebo effect and see if the null hypothesis was met.

            2. The solid evidence is that regardless of the conditions to be treated, homeopathy has an effect above placebo, this is consistent with the conclusions of all meta-analyses (including Shang’s) published in both homeopathy journals, complementary medicine and orthodox journals. The placebo hypothesis has been falsified by both proponents and detractors of homeopathy. In other words ,the claim that” there is not a single placebo-controlled trial that has shown homeopathy to be better than placebo ” has been totally and definitely proven false.

            3. Encouraging evidence is more than a lack of evidence. Solid evidence is a fairly subjective term that is defined a priori. However, if you take into account the standards of all the detractors of the world (and believe me I know the literature that your sect publishes), many of you say that it is enough that a trial of positive results, in more than 200 years there have been hundreds of them, that is enough and more than solid evidence to conclude that homeopathy has an effect above placebo.

            4. You more than I should know, there are several labs around the world, not “just one.” There is no” only method”, there are many. The evidence is now convincing that methods such as nuclear magnetic resonance are among the most reliable and promising. You more than I should know the works of Louis Demangeat and Marc Henry, these works have been validated by José Teixiera of the CNRS. On the other hand, the children’s contests offered by the GWUP none take them seriously, just read that the last contest that you organized in your circus fair only one applicant was presented, that should make you think that you are no one in the scientific world. Well, I guess bioethicist Kevin Smith or Richard Rasker are experts in nuclear magnetic resonance, or maybe Lenny.

          • Ernst, “friend,” don’t be so aggressive, you seem pretty angry. Ad hominem attacks can also be insults, you use both at the same time. You can mind taking a basic course in informal logic, seriously, every time I read your entries I feel sorry that your level of logic is so low and lousy.

          • thank you, it was fun while it lasted. but now I will call it a day. your comments are too imbecilic for my taste and do not justify continuing this unproductive little chat.
            https://edzardernst.com/2017/05/a-method-of-ending-discussions-with-belligerent-twits/

          • “Name one and we give it a try.”

            “Friend” Aust, believe me that no serious scientist like Demanget, Montagnier, Baumgartner or Henry is interested in paying you the slightest attention. Listening to you is giving you attention in the media that you will use to promote your cult and make a profit. With the experience gained with pseudoscientific skeptics it is best to always turn to real experts and not to clowns who think they are experts in all fields. It’s a shame to see you calling Robert Mathie’s attention, seriously, make yourself look a little, your obsessive behavior borders on harassment. Magazines like Skepter are very popular with immature gentlemen who believe they are the world or with teenagers who are just out of college who believe that science is done with whims. No “buddy,” don’t be like Lenny and try to grow up.

            The question of homeopathy is now settled and will be resolved over time, what now interests is to do psychological studies that evaluate the denial of pseudoscientific skeptics, my hypothesis is that their dogmatic attitude does not differ from that of the most recalcitrant anti-vaccines or flath earth believers.

            Note: I’ve been a regular reader of pseudoscientific skeptics ‘ magazines, in your youth it’s fun to insult, but when you grow up and listen to both sides, you end up realizing that the real science is in the objective pursuit and not in harassment campaigns orchestrated by a few clowns who believe James Randi is unquestionable.

          • Ernst,” friend, ” you’re still pretty aggressive, maybe you need some joy in your life. Now I understand why the pseudoscientific skeptical atheist community is so childish and so toxic. In my experience I was coerced by a skeptical group that wanted to get away from my family by beginning to question their dogmas. I am glad to have moved away from that community, now I prefer a thousand times to live with the CAM community, most of them do not distil that air of moral or intellectual superiority, they rarely insult and you can freely comment on many issues without being sanctioned. Today I try to warn young people not to be victims of parareligious sects or sects based on radical atheism, both are very dangerous. Now I understand what sociologist Edgar Wünder, a former member of GWUP, once warned of the sect of pseudoscientific skeptics.

          • @ Astro (25 August / 10:25)

            (1) Somehow there seems to be a lack of understanding: NHMRC came to the conclusion “that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.” (NHMRC Statement on Homeopathy). There is no way that this would mean something like “… that homeopathy has a superior effect to placebo regardless of the conditions being treated.” Try again, but please read the statements of Mathie in total – including the caveats he states.

            (2) You did not answer my question.

            (3) You did not answer my question.

            (4) You did not answer my question. There is no doubt that you could find differences between pure water and low decimal potencies by highly sophisticated technology, but all this vanishes upwards of D4 or so, if I remember Demangeat’s results correctly. But I asked about “homeopathic water” and “water”. You may refer to Dana Ullman, who brought this up some time ago.

            (11:10)

            Brainfart, foul and smelly.

          • “Friend” Aust:

            1. Thank you for again confirming what I said. Your problem is that you don’t distinguish between testing the null hypothesis of whether homeopathy works better than placebo and demonstrating whether homeopathy works for A, B or C clinical condition. The Australian report does not prove the first hypothesis, which is why they did not do any meta-analyses. It is interesting that the report of the French high health authority does not do so either. The only reports that attempted to evaluate the null hypothesis were the British report, the Belgian report, but these reports are now outdated and full of serious methodological biases, not to mention that they did not even conduct a literature review as did the Swiss German report. The Spanish report of the ministry of health does not even reach null conclusions, it leaves it in suspension. And the memoranda of the EASAC and the External Commission of the Russian Academy of Sciences are also not evaluations of the literature as such, but are both based on the second Australian report and part of the British report. When you see all this together you can perfectly conclude that these” verdicts ” that Ernst quotes in his pamphlets are at best a fraud.

            2. I answered your question.

            3. I answered your question.

            4. This tells me you haven’t really read Demangeat’s works. If you allow me, I can summarize what it says: Demanget shows that in principle there is a destructuring of the liquid that corresponds to the limit of D4, but this is not a problem because usually a dilution of that degree still usually contains molecular species that can be therapeutic in conventional terms. From a certain degree of potentiation the liquid restructures again, and this phenomenon is curiously consistent with the primary results of Montagnier, Baumgartner, Henry, Elia among others.

            What is “brainfart” is that you dare to publish and sell a book in German criticizing homeopathy without even having read the reference works that anyone who dedicates himself to researching the field of homeopathy at a scientific level should know. This confirms to me that in reality you, Grams and the team of the anti-homeopathy propaganda network have no idea what you’re talking about. I spent some time reading the unfortunate “wikipedia” in horrendous green color that they have and it is very superficial, every rebuttal they have they try to solve and cover with verbal juggling. Luckily anyone with some experience can detect and smell the deception behind the scenes.

          • We have a saying in Germany: You cannot chose your relatives but your are free to chose who are your friends. Taking this liberty I would ask you not to use the term “friend” together with my name, not even in quotation marks.

            (1) Yes: “Homeopathy does not work beyond placebo” is pretty much the same for me as “Homeopathy does not work beyond placebo for any clinical condition.”

            (2) You did not name a health condition, as I asked you to do.

            (3) You did not name a health condition, as I asked you to do.

            (4) Who of the various persons you refer to is able to distinguish between “water” and “homeopathic water” in a blinded test? Demangeat? Let us contact him or her and define how we set up the test?

            I already did comment on your dubious personal attitude, trying to deal out insults while hiding behind a mask.

        • “IF DANA SAID SO IN HIS CUREUS PAPER, IT MUST BE RIGHT!!!”

          So does Robert Mathie and several authors if you’ll bother looking a little more. Thanks for Ullman’s article, it doesn’t look like “Lenny” has a single scientific article published, not to mention your colleagues in the “About” section that the few who look like scientists are mediocre in their fields, the rest are small-time activists. No wonder, so much envy, so much anger, so much hatred, that’s what leaves fanatical atheism. They’re talibans of science, not scientists.

    • Why would any peer-reviewed journal be interested in a critique of a meaningless study of homeopathy?

      Frass’ work is of no consequence whatsoever. It is ignored by healthcare providers, other than those who decide to dissect his work as an academic exercise to demonstrate why it is nonsense.

      You could, of course, prove me wrong by, for example, showing me an ICU which uses the homeopathic methodologies he has advocated for help in the treatment of sepsis.

      For how many years have you been yammering this nonsense to absolutely no effect, Dana?

      Keep on with your delusions, Dana. Healthcare will continue to ignore you. And we’ll keep laughing at you.

    • Yes of course we did.

      There is a letter to the editor under way. And we informed the Medical Univeristy Vienna, the affiliation of the lead author, of our findings. They forwarded our report to the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity, who started an investigation for scientific misconduct.

      Any more questions, Dana?

    • There are only three problems with homeopathy, Dana.

      1. There is no reason to suppose it should work, as it’s based on an entirely incorrect understanding of disease.

      2. There’s no way it can work, it is contradicted by everything we have discovered about the nature of matter, disease, biology, physiology and chemistry since Hahnemann plucked it out of his organon.

      3. There’s no good evidence it does work, as the more carefully a trial is designed and the more rigorous its conduct, the less likely it is to find any effect at all.

      But apart from those three things – and the obvious fact that allowing medically unqualified charlatans to treat sick people is very stupid and dangerous – you’re good.

      • Looks like you’re old troll Guy Chapman, if I’m wrong it doesn’t matter. Your three sentences have been refuted by the scientific literature.

        1. There are many reasons to assume that it works, in fact it has recently been shown that in the nineteenth century allopaths borrowed several of the principles of homeopathy and camouflaged them with other terms to exclude homeopaths from the playing field. Terms such as vital force became “vital capacity”, that of opposite effects according to the dose to hormesis and paradoxical effects of drugs, among others such as vix medicatrix naturae or vaccination.
        2. No one has been able to prove that the principles of homeopathy contradict “all that is known about science”, that myth was spread by Robert Leslite Park, a physicist who published in his time a book without any reference. This book was taken up by several prominent pseudoscientific skeptics (including Aust and a German physicist) who repeated the myth in their books.
        3. It is another myth, already at the time both Kleijnen and Linde himself demonstrated that there are instances that the higher the quality of the clinical trials is not always displays lower effect. Linde tried to show that this was a general trend but admitted in his own paper that it was not a universial rule and that the general trend is also true for trials with allopathy. Shang confirmed this when he found that 8 trials for respiratory tract infections had positive effects and were of high quality. Mathie reconfirmed this in his 2014 meta-analysis. And the Australian report has indications that they confirmed this also in their limited analysis of the literature.

        About your last point is an irony, most of the skeptics who stand against homeopathy are people without scientific education, I have confirmed it multiple times, the few who have some kind of scientific education repeat myths or nonsense based on what others repeat. The ultimate “authority” is Edzard Ernst, but his works published are a rehash of his earlier works and reveals a poor knowledge of chemistry and physics, I guess that’s why no reference to the literature that you should not, nor meddle with Luc Montagnier and Marc Henry, would be ridiculous.

        • @Astro

          1) Garbage, unless you have evidence to prove otherwise.
          2) Ditto
          3) Ditto

          Standard handwaving and flimflam that we’ve seen countless times before. If there were concrete evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy, you’d be waving it around. But there isn’t any so instead you produce garbage like Frass’ pathetic and inconsequential exercises in data-mangling which you imagine validate your position. They don’t. Frass has been publishing this tripe for years. None of his papers have had any influence on medicine. They are recognised as the rubbish they are and are consequently ignored. Homeopathy remains the nonsense it has been since Mad Sam first pulled the idea out of his arse 200 years ago.

          And pretty much everyone I know in the world of skepticism has a sound scientific education. That science shows homeopathy to be garbage is a problem for homeopaths, not science.

          • Incredible, you only have insults, aggression and a deep denial that could well be called psychological projection. If Frass trials were not relevant, he would not have been able to publish them in a reference journal such as Oncologist. Instead, you can not say anything about you “Lenny” that in your life you have published a single scientific article and do not know how to conduct clinical trials. It’s a shame for you, but professional historians (not amateurs like Edzard Ernst or Jan Wilhelm who try to make “historians” and end up writing superficial pamphlets) are recovering the history of homeopathy from a scientific and rigorous point of view after the disaster left by Oliver Wendel Holmes and other small authors who in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries wrote based on myths. Sooner rather than later homeopathy will receive the massive recognition it deserves, in fact it is already receiving it little by little, there are more and more homeopathy articles in mainstream magazines and peer reviewed journal. You can continue to believe what the media publishes that is all you can sustain, you are a resentful and bitter atheist who sees in homeopathy a religion, although ironically you are part of a rather dangerous sect that I would not be surprised that over the years they form a kind of Taliban dogma.
            It is a pity, only see the team that Edzard Ernst forms, most professionals or former professionals of small or mediocre in their field, on the other hand in homeopathy you have nobel laureates, emeritus professors and scientists from various fields including the prestigious inventor of one of the most used vaccines in the world, Dr. Concepción Campana Huergo. What about you, Lenny? can you quote your wonderful articles and contributions to science? No, you can’t.

          • @Astro

            Others have patiently dissected the twaddle you’re spouting. I won’t bother because you wouldn’t understand it it if I did.

            Carry on dreaming your dreams of significance. Homeopathy has spent 200 years being laughed at by science. The only recognition it will receive is, as now, as an irrelevant religion with a following of delusional fools.

          • I guess you mention the “others” because you can’t make a single argument. There was no need to confess, your aggressiveness and lack of empathy tell a lot about your profile of atheist resentful of life.

        • @Astro

          1. There are many reasons to assume that it works,

          You are 100% wrong. There are no reasons to assume that homeopathy does anything.

          in fact it has recently been shown that in the nineteenth century allopaths borrowed several of the principles of homeopathy …

          FYI: we’re living in the 21st century now, not the 1800s. And oh, homeopathy’s lack of any effect was convincingly proven in 1835 already.

          Terms such as vital force became “vital capacity”

          ‘Vital capacity’ has nothing to do with the fully fictitious concept of ‘vital force’.

          that of opposite effects according to the dose to hormesis

          Hormesis still involves a measurable amount of an active substance. In homeopathy, there usually is no active substance at all, so hormesis does not apply. Also, hormesis is a relatively rare phenomenon, whereas homeopaths claim that they see it happen all the time.

          and paradoxical effects of drugs, among others such as vix medicatrix naturae

          You really have no idea what you are talking about. ‘Vix medicatrix naturae’ literally means that diseases often resolve naturally, without any intervention, and that intervention includes administering medication of any type. And yes, real doctors and scientists now know that homeopathy is exactly that: doing nothing – contrary to what homeopaths themselves believed (and, alas, still believe): that their shaken water and sugar crumbs actually have extra effects over what nature can accomplish.

          or vaccination.

          As with hormesis, vaccination still involves a well-defined amount (often 50 micrograms) of active substance, to which the immune system responds. These comparisons betray your ignorance on both homeopathy and real medicine.

          2. No one has been able to prove that the principles of homeopathy contradict “all that is known about science”,

          Homeopathy claims that fully absent substances can still have well-defined effects, and that absolutely contradicts scientific principles.

          This book was taken up by several prominent pseudoscientific skeptics (including Aust and a German physicist) who repeated the myth in their books.

          Sorry chum, but homeopaths are the pseudoscientists who make claims that contradict not only real science, but even everyday experiences. There is no evidence AT ALL for the very base principles of homeopathy:
          – There is not one repeatable experiment that proves the viability of the similia principle (‘like cures like’). This principle is simply belief in sympathetic magic.
          – There is not one repeatable experiment that proves the universal viability of the law of infenitesimals (i.e. that increasing dilution produces stronger effects). Quite the contrary: it is one of the basic laws of chemistry that lower concentrations have less effect. And a concentration of zero (i.e. with all the original substance diluted away, a point usually reached at dilution 12C) CANNOT HAVE ANY EFFECTS. Yet homeopaths merrily keep on diluting this 100% water anyway, and even claim that its effects are getting stronger still. They are wrong.
          – And perhaps the most foolish (yet least mentioned) principle of homeopathy is the ritual of ‘proving’, whereby a new remedy is identified and ‘tested’ by administering it to a group of healthy volunteers, without any blinding whatsoever. In case you haven’t noted: these idiots think that you can establish the therapeutic effects of something (which in fact is literally nothing) without testing it on actual sick people. They think that it is enough when a dozen or so healthy believers experience placebo and/or nocebo responses because they know what the new ‘remedy’ was based upon.

          3. It is another myth, already at the time both Kleijnen and Linde himself demonstrated that there are instances that the higher the quality of the clinical trials is not always displays lower effect. Linde tried to show that this was a general trend but admitted in his own paper that it was not a universial rule

          There is not one repeatable experiment that consistently and clearly demonstrates that homeopathy can have a significant effect. NOT ONE. The (very scarce) exceptions to the overall trend of ‘better quality = less effects’ are easily explained by statistical noise or as yet unrecognized biases.

          and that the general trend is also true for trials with allopathy.

          Sigh. This is a well-known fallacy. Please get the following into your head, and remember it:
          The fact that real medicine does not always work does NOT imply that homeopathy does work. Also, the effects of real medicine are generally quite significant, whereas even the most optimistic homeopathic ‘research’ finds only marginal effects. And oh, the term ‘allopathy’ is mostly used by arrogant quacks as a denigrating term for real medicine, so please stop using this slur word.

          About your last point is an irony, most of the skeptics who stand against homeopathy are people without scientific education,

          With all due respect, but you are a liar and a fool. The vast majority of real scientists denounce homeopathy as a magical belief system, and the academies of science of most major countries have concluded that there is no evidence at all that homeopathy is effective for treating any condition. It is found to be a 100% placebo treatment.

          The ultimate “authority” is Edzard Ernst, but his works published are a rehash of his earlier works and reveals a poor knowledge of chemistry and physics,

          This is not a very sensible remark. By believing in homeopathy, you implicitly reject chemistry and physics. Prof. Dr. Edzard Ernst has had both an extensive education in and experience with homeopathy, and that indeed makes him the best authority to judge its efficacy (or lack thereof). Together with many other real scientists who found that homeopathy is foolish quackery.

          I guess that’s why no reference to the literature that you should not, nor meddle with Luc Montagnier and Marc Henry, would be ridiculous.

          Montagnier was once a respected scientist, but appears to suffer badly from ‘Nobel disease’. His findings with regard to homeopathy and purported electromagnetic signals from bacterial DNA are simply wrong, and have never been independently replicated.

          If you want to claim that something as unlikely as homeopathy works, then first come up with VERY good evidence for the existence of its founding principles.
          So please provide at least a dozen different peer-reviewed trials by real scientists (NOT homeopaths or other scientifically incompetent people) that clearly and repeatable show the viability of
          – the similia principle (‘like cures like’),
          – the law of infenitesimals (that increasing dilution produces stronger effects), and
          – the practice of ‘proving’, i.e. that one can reliably identify therapeutic concoctions without ever testing them on real patients.

          You need not bother responding if you can’t produce the above. And please do not (ab)use the word ‘science’ again in promulgating your favourite quackery, as it betrays you as a liar and a fool every single time. Science has concluded that homeopathy does not and cannot work. The fact that a few former scientists believe otherwise does not change this – unless they come up with compelling evidence as requested above.
          For all the rest, have a nice life.

          • “Friend” Richard, I must confess that it has made me laugh to read your comments and that your lack of reading comprehension is evident.

            I have said that the concepts of vital capacity, vaccination (actually immunization) and vix medicatrix naturae were taken and adapted by the then allopathy of the nineteenth century, this is not an invention of mine, in a historical analysis this has been demonstrated convincingly. Over time the term vital capacity only became measurable and changed and reduced to the modern concept related to pulmonary air pressures.

            Perhaps you should read a little more what Michael Stolberg says, ironic a sociologist who supports the use of homeopathy. The Nuremberg trial does not evaluate the efficacy of homeopathy, it is a rudimentary proving. Stolberg mentions that the trial was rigorous for its time only in terms of methodology (double-blind employment), but not conclusive. Löhner was a religious sectarian fanatic who defended the prohibition of homeopathy, this in itself introduces a strong bias, the conveners who participated had open bias against homeopathy. But if you only take into account the substance of the matter, the 1831 essay is based on the answers of 50 participants without objective measurements, but only that they felt. In the early 1900s this type of evaluation was criticized and so today a serious proving must be done with a director and not only with what the participants report, Löhner was neither an expert nor a doctor.

            You are very ignorant, sympathetic magic is a universal phenomenon and in its original sense refers to voodoo rituals. The term was presented by the anthropologist James Frazer, this man believed that gravitation was a type of contact magic and would have been able to say that electromagnetic radiation and radio waves were because they are not seen. Frazer was not a doctor nor was a good anthropologist, all his data were obtained from other people’s expeditions, his work is today very critical by social scientists and his term sympathetic magic has only a very supericial correspondence with Hahnemann’s analogy. Today the false argument that Hahnemann’s homeopathy is a kind of sympathetic magic can be refuted knowing that the similarity principle has molecular and epigenetic foundations.

            Hormesis was ironically introduced by a homeopath to validate homeopathy. Many homeopathic have enough molecular species and with the discovery of nanoparticles and confirmation of water memory it is plausible that they can have hormetic effects. Edzard Ernst nor Aust are experts in hormesis, Edward Calabresse yes and every time he seems to be more convinced that homeopathy is a special case of hormesis. Calabrese is an editor of Dose Response journal in which published Dana Ullman his paper.

            The “majority” of the “real scientists” can continue to denounce homeopathy as they please, if they do not bring data is only their opinion as in ancient times the Arithotelic physicists repeated that the word of Aristotle was the only valid one. The “Nobel disease” does not exist, no DSM manual includes it, it is an absurd term invented by pseudo-skeptics in the press to discredit dissenting views of “consensus”.

          • With regard to vaccines, ironically today the new RNA-based” vaccines ” are not vaccines as such because they do not protect you from the disease or immunize you, they are only palliative for when the disease is serious. Unlike typical vaccines that can be measured antibody load, with new ones it is not yet possible. By your definition, they can’t be called vaccines. And as for homeopathy, I have not said that they are strictly vaccines, but their function may be identical as clinical trials with homeoprophylaxis have shown, the background base is the same in both, not the amount of substance.

        • @ Astro (Aug. 25 / 07:08)

          Your statements have been dealt with otherwise already. But you ask why we do not meddle with Montagnier. Well, apparently I did so more than you. I really recommend you should read his original paper [1], then you surely will find that

          (1) Montagnier identified the source of the signals to be the DNA of the bacteria under investigation. This would mean that any preparation based on non-organic material is useless.

          (2) In addition only some bacteria (e.coli) did produce the signal, others (Lactic acid bacteria)
          did not. So not even all organic material will work.

          (3) The effect generally lasted only for 24 hours, at maximum for 48. Not even long enough to reach the patient apparently.

          (4) The effect could be recognized in a small band of dilutions only, between 6X/3C and 12X/6C. So all dilutions outside of this range – supposedly the majority of homeopathic preparations – would be useless

          (5) The effect got smaller with increasing dilution, much in contrast to the assumptions of homeopathy.

          So, what was it that Montagnier found in support of homeopathy, even if this was reliable?

          [1] Montagnier L et al.: Electromagnetic Signals are Produced by Aqueous Nanostructures Derived from Bacterial DNA Sequences’, Interdiscip Sci Comput Life Sci (2009) 1: 81-90

          • @Norbert Aust
            As an expert in biomedical electronics engineering I can tell you that it is unlikely in the extreme that Montagnier picked up electromagnetic signals from DNA.
            Even his extremely uninformative description of his measurement setup shows that he simply hooked up an electromagnetic coil to an audio amplifier, and from there to the input of a laptop computer sound card, after which some electronic filtering was performed on what was recorded.

            I am 100% certain that he simply recorded meaningless electrical noise, which inevitably produced artefacts during digitization (sampling). Most of this noise was probably coming from inside the actual laptop computer itself. Most laptops of those days were equipped with pretty bad onboard sound chips, which picked up all sorts of digital interference from within the computer. Often, you could clearly hear distinctive interference when the mouse moved or when the hard disk was active.

            If I wanted to check if something produced electromagnetic signals, I’d use nothing less than the most advanced equipment: wideband reception coils and antennas, a wideband low-noise amplifier, and the best digital storage oscilloscope that money can buy – only then could I be reasonable certain that whatever shows up in my measurements would indeed be a real phenomenon, and not artefacts from crappy laptop sound chips and ditto software.

            And the other side, i.e. idea of DNA producing audio-frequent magnetic fields, is also very, very unlikely. First of all, bacterial DNA is a small molecule, in the orders of a few hundred nanometres to perhaps a few micrometers. This means that even if it emitted electromagnetic fields, those fields would have wavelengths matching in size – placing those fields in the visible light spectrum, not the audio spectrum. EM fields in the audio-frequency range have wavelengths between roughly 15 kilometres and 15,000 kilometres. It is in fact impossible that a micron-sized piece of DNA can emit such fields with enough energy to be picked up through a plain magnetic coil several centimetres away at room temperature, without completely drowning in noise.
            Which also introduces the next problem: emitting electromagnetic fields takes energy. Where would free-floating bacterial DNA get this energy from? And what is the source and mechanism turning this untraceable energy into specific audio-frequency signals? And how are these audio-frequency magnetic fields emitted? Normally, this is done using quite large magnetic coils, or (with those old long-wave transmissions) with antennas the size of whole housing blocks. Sorry, but I can’t think of any mechanism by which DNA can consistently and continuously emit macroscopic electromagnetic fields.

            Of course this discovery of Montaigner was never replicated, and there are also some well-founded suspicions that these experiments were partly or even completely made up.
            This is actually quite analogous to homeopathy: someone makes claims of seeing things that, if true, would utterly shake the very foundations of physics and chemistry – yet nobody else has ever seen what Montaigner claims to have seen. And to my knowledge, Montaigner has never repeated this utterly groundbreaking experiment in the watchful presence of other scientists – which is very suspicious in itself. If I had made such a paradigm-shattering discovery, I would demonstrate it as often as possible to other scientists, and have them repeat it as well, just to show that I am right, and that they should rethink a lot of physics and chemistry as we know it.

          • Your comments again reflect that you haven’t the slightest idea and haven’t even read the original articles. The only suspicion I have is that you only read Harriett Hall’s review published in a blog, not in reliable source.

            Montagnier’s replications have been able to demonstrate that not only the pathogenic material generates electromagnetic signals, but also “healthy”DNA. The argument that the effect lasts only 48 hours is irrelevant whether the signal can be stored and reproduced in another vial. Even if the signal disappears, it can be induced again without problem. Elia has given a compelling argument as to why the effect first lasts short and then re-establishes itself. The “reduction of the effect” does not contradict any assumption of homeopathy simply because homeopathy does not assume that, that is a very common invention among pseudoscientific skeptics who do not understand the principle of individualization and confuse it with that of infinitesimal dose. And you’re supposed to be one of the most recognized detractors in Europe, you’ve let me down a lot.

          • “Friend” Rasker, you may be an expert in biomedical electronics, but the authors of Montagnier’s article are largely theoretical physicists. The experiment of Montagnier is quite elegant in its simplicity and in the future can be improved and used as a standard in any laboratory in the world, the argument that the peaks of the signals are noise only makes no sense, because the article mentions that it is necessary a certain amount of background noise, because in an environment like a Faraday Cage “there is no memory of water”. This means that you did not read or understand the article or the theoretical basis mentioned. DNA signals are small and that is why an amplifier is used, you better than anyone here should know what a signal amplifier works and what it is for filtering and applying a transform. And you’re very misinformed, Montagnier’s experiment was replicated live for a French documentary under a double-blind protocol, plus by just looking up the number of citations Montagnier’s work has received you can find the replications that have been made of his work. Your argument that the experiment is very and this makes not able to detect signals can be refuted with the work of Demangeat and Marc Henry using nuclear magnetic resonance or with the experiments of other researchers who were also able to confirm Benveniste’s results. If several researchers using different experimental procedures (proton magnetic resonance, dielectric dispersion, anomalous, phmetry, calorimetry, ultraviolet spectroscopy, detection of patterns by crystallization, X-ray diffraction, etc.) come to conclusions very similar, it is wise to conclude that the phenomenon exists and that it is not a product of the imagination.

          • @Astro

            It has correctly been written of the experiments that

            If the results are correct, these would be the most significant experiments performed in the past 90 years, demanding re-evaluation of the whole conceptual framework of modern chemistry.

            The paper was published 12 years ago.

            Chemistry remains unchanged.

            The paper was ignored because it was utter tripe; an exercise in confirmation bias seized upon credulous fools like yourself, Astro. It proves nothing other than Montagnier’s descent into crankhood.

          • @Astro
            Your are the one who has no understanding. It is quite obvious that you don’t even understand homeopathy (even though there literally is nothing to understand – it is fictitious magic). You are just parrotting the outlandish pseudoscientic gibberish produced by cranks such as Montaigner.

            It really is very simple: the claims those cranks (and you) promulgate would turn science upside down if they were true, and would be groundbreaking enough to merit about half a dozen Nobel prizes.

            Unfortunately, nobody except the cranks themselves succeed in ‘replicating’ their results, and under highly suspicious circumstances, at that(*). At which point we can safely relegate those claims to the land of fiction.

            *: I recall that one or more of Montaigner’s experiments only yielded results in the presence of one particular team member. Which was then ‘explained’ as this person being a ‘natural facilitator’, while the other team members were ‘inhibitors’. What a great scientific explanation … not.

          • For Lenny:
            Montagnier’s article has about 500 citations, you don´t. Be humble.

            For Richard Rasker:
            Montagnier’s experiment was replicated by several laboratories around the world. I understand your attitude, Richard, you think homeopathy shouldn’t study you because you assume to have the absolute truth and reason about the scientific evidence. With all sincerity, and seeing that you don’t have a single scientific publication, I recommend that mounts a business for atheists resentful and sell cheap products with the face of Carl Sagan or James Randi in a coffe cup or pins, I assure you that the media will make of your business, earn some money and you’ll be able to publish a book trash like Ben Goldacre, with his “Bad science” or the Steven Novella. Poor quality is a typical sign of skeptical pseudoscientists. Let young people learn and be curious, you dedicate yourself to your sect.

          • @ Richard Basker

            Thanks for your comment on Montagnier’s “findings”.

            Of course you are right. In my posting I forgot to mention and should have put it more strongly, that his results are not very much in favour of homeopathy, even if we assume against all odds, that his findings were for real.

          • @ Astro

            you need a lot of assumptions and suppositions to come to the conclusion, that Montagnier’s work supports homeopathy while his results do not, even when we presume against all odds that they were for real.

            Is anything of your tale, like the reappearance of the vanishing signal or the existence of “healthy DNA”, corroborated by sound science? If so, could you give exact references?

          • @Astro

            Montagnier’s experiment was replicated by several laboratories around the world.

            Names, references and relevant peer-reviewed papers please, from respected scientists, not cranks, homeopaths or other idiots.

            Just think about it: the main experiment basically claims that a simple glass of water can reliably reproduce certain bacterial DNA when exposed to a 6-second sound fragment for an hour or so.

            Do you have any idea how utterly ludicrous this sounds? And how many laws of (bio)chemistry and physics this breaks?
            – The amino acids necessary to create DNA are not present in water.
            – DNA polymerase, necessary to assemble these amino acids into DNA strands, is not present in water.
            – A DNA template, necessary to guide the highly specific nucleotide order, is not present in water.
            – Bacterial DNA contains between 600,000 and 4.7 million base pairs. A six-second sound sample cannot possibly convey enough information to store the DNA information – let alone perform all these essential, de facto magical steps of creating amino acids out of pure water etc..

            Montaigner and his followers and believers – including you – are seriously deluded fools.

          • Your problem and that of your friends like Hall is that they ignore that Luc Montagnier gave a series of talks in Europe a few years ago talking about his findings confirming part of homeopathy. One of these lectures was given in San Sebastian, Spain. And furthermore, Montagnier’s research is not only important for homeopathy, a limited and mediocre mind could think only of that. No, “friend” Aust, the implications of water memory have many applications for industry.

          • @ Astro

            I guess now it is time to concede that you have made enough of a fool out of yourself – and I do not have much more time on my hands to continue this game of pigeon-chess with you much longer.

            Please continue with your delusions – and maybe I will cut in when you produce something especially ridiculous or contorted.

          • … that means you have to cut in each time he or she comments!

          • @Astro:
            Last attempt to show you how sadly Montaigner has descended into crankhood: https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2012/05/29/luc_montagnier_is_not_losing_it_luc_montagnier_has_lost_it

          • Richard you are very aggressive, I have not stopped laughing that your only source is an opinion comment published in 2012. More laughter has given me is that you ask me for “relevant names” when you are nobody in the scientific world. If you talk about respected scientists Luc Montagnier has a Nobel prize, can Lenny, RPG, Edzard, Hall and their collaborators boast something similar? I know, they can’t.

            And I’m very sorry for your lack of education and information, but Montagnier’s article doesn’t claim to “produce bacterial DNA” or “create amino acids from pure water,” it just claims that it’s possible to retrieve the signal with some of the information from that DNA and reconstruct it with water molecules, easy! You’re no PCR expert. Dr. Marc Henry, a professional and renowned chemist, says that homeopathy does not contradict any current scientific knowledge. Jose Teixeira one of the greatest specialists in water dynamics in the world and a researcher at the CNRS in his early years doubted the memory of water a lot, but in these months he had to accept that the memory of water has some validity from the rigorous works of Dr. Henry.

          • In Lowe’s opinion comes a comment that you should have read, Richard!

            Mark says:
            21 January, 2013 at 8:33 am
            This is totally sick. A real scientist has an open mind. The current attitude shows the same aspects of the muslim terrorists and others who have such strong convictions that it does not leave an opening for the unbelievable, the space where the unknown is to be found. This a psychological deficiency that holds mankind in darkness.

            Edgar Wünder was right that pseudoscientific skeptics are sectarians who don’t care about the evidence, but rub their hands forever to be right. Lenny is an intellectual terrorist.

          • this is the last time: https://edzardernst.com/2017/05/a-method-of-ending-discussions-with-belligerent-twits/
            there is no polite way of putting it: your comments are imbecilic and your behaviour is that of a troll.
            have a good life.

          • Astro

            You are yet another pathetic, ignorant, insignificant and irrelevant idiot. I will leave you to your delusions. Enjoy watching your opinions be ignored and homeopathy remaining the nonsense it is. 200 years of being laughed at by science and the laughter only grows louder with every passing day.

            Goodbye.

  • I have followed this case and it is interesting to me that in principle Aust and his collaborator accused Frass and his team of fraud, as time has passed the accusations have turned into empty promises that” we will publish a letter to the editor ” and “that it does not appear a rigorous study”. Looking at Aust’s historial, I have seen that he previously tried to undermine the credibility of a study by Frass published in a CAM journal by manipulating Kaplan’s curve data set, Frass refuted Aust in a reply letter. The obsessive behavior of Aust trying to refute Frass already looks like that of a stalker, similar of the journalist Christian Kreil who invented a whole string of nonsense in a German public media trying to link Frass to a questionable company, the media does not even mention Frass’s refutation to Kreil. I think Frass should take action on the matter and report harassment and defamation to Aust.

    • You know that it is common practice in science to criticise and discuss results?

      By the way:

      Could you identify, where our reports are wrong? Which of the findings we report is wrong? Which of our conclusions are contradicted by which facts from paper / protocols / registration data?

      If you could not point out, where we are in error, then your babble is just rubbish.

  • Hey, look! We have a new(?) troll under the homeopathy bridge. This one seems well “fed” and nasty 😀

    Reminds me of old and bitter Sandra/@BrownBagPantry.

    • Weren’t you the ones complaining about Hahnemann’s purism? Interestingly, anyone who questions Edzar’s sacred dogmas is a troll. Thank you for confirming that you are a sectarian.

      • Homeopathy does not work beyond the placebo effect.

        You are not just riding a dead horse. No, it has been skeletonized for a long time.

        • All meta-analyses say otherwise, you only have an opinion based on your belief and denial that may well be a projection of your lack of knowledge.

          • @ Astro

            Please indicate which of the following conclusions of the available reviews translates to something like “We found solid evidence that homeopathy is effective beyond placebo!”:

            „At the moment the evidence of clinical trials is positive but not sufficient to draw definitive conclusions because most trials are of low methodological quality and because of the unknown role of publication bias.“ (Kleijnen_1991)

            „The results of our meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo. However, we found insufficient evidence from these studies that homeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition.“ (Linde_1997)

            „The results of the available randomized trials suggest that individualized homeopathy has an effect over placebo. The evidence, however is not convincing because of methodological shortcomings and inconsistancies.“ (Linde_1998)

            „There is some evidence that homeopathic treatments are more effective than placebo; however, the strength of this evidence is low because of the low methodological quality of the trials. Studies of high methodological quality were more likely to be negative than the lower quality studies.“ (Cucherat_2000)

            „… there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homeopathic remedies (…) This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homeopathy are placebo effects.“ (Shang_2005)

            „Medicines prescribed in individualised homeopathy may have small, specific treatment effects. (…) The low or unclear overall quality of the evidence prompts caution in interpreting the findings.“ (Mathie_2014)

            „Based on the assessment of the evidence of effectiveness of homeopathy, NHMRC concludes that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.“ (NHMRC_2015)

            „The quality of the body of evidence is low. A meta-analysis of all extractable data leads to rejection of our null-hypothesis, but analysis of a small subgroup of reliable evidence does not support that rejection. Reliable evidence is lacking in condition-specific meta-analyses, precluding relevant conclusions.“ (Mathie_2017)

            “Due to the low quality, the small number and the heterogeneity of studies, the current data preclude a decisive conclusion about the comparative effectiveness of IHT.” (Mathie_2018)

            „If homoeopathy efficacy is comparable to placebo, and if placebo treatments can be effective in some conditions, then homoeopathy as a whole may be considered as a placebo treatment. Reinterpreting homoeopathy as a placebo treatment would define limits and possibilities of this practice.“ (Antonelli_2018)

            „The current data preclude a decisive conclusion about the comparative effectiveness of NIHT. Generalisability of findings is restricted by the limíted external validity identified overall.“ (Mathie_2019)

          • “All meta-analyses say otherwise”

            No, they do not, see Norbert Aust’s comment. But as a true follower of homeopathy you will not accept this evidence either. I expect nothing else from a believer.

          • Please, Aust, it was not necessary that you paste the convenient parts. Even with the methodological limitations pointed out by all these authors, they all agree that there are high quality trials with positive results of homeopathy, all of them, including Shang. Thank you for proving me right and proving once all those meta-analyses and reviews conclude that the placebo hypothesis has been falsified also in high quality clinical trials. You should now be able to answer why Antonelli’s review inflates conclusions by quoting Ernst’s reviews and reanalysis and Shang’s meta-analysis, but does not mention Lüdtke and Hahn’s critique or refutation of Ernst’s works by Rutten and refutations of Shang’s meta-analysis. You need to mention the parts of Frass’s 2020 review of the Australian report. I hope you realize there’s no point in just mentioning what’s good for you (cherry picking).

          • By the way, before you take Mathie’s conclusions out of context, you should read them and understand them. 2017 meta-analysis evaluates non-individualized homeopathy:

            “Three of five prior comprehensive reviews of homeopathy RCTs, reflecting the broad spectrum of clinical conditions that has been researched, reached the guarded conclusion that the homeopathic intervention probably differs from placebo [4–6]. The fourth such review concluded, ‘The results of our meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo’ [7], though the same authors later published supplementary analysis that weakened this conclusion [8]. The fifth of these global systematic reviews concluded there was “weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies…compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeo- pathy are placebo effects. In their approach, however, each of these ‘global’ reviews has assessed collectively the findings for individualised and non-individualised homeopathy, a method we regard as inappropriate due to the distinction between the two types of intervention in the RCT context”.

            “The sum of these comments supports a generalised conclusion that a non-individualised homeopathic medicine is indistinguishable from a placebo, but the quality of the evidence is low.

            So “friend” Aust, you must apply the same rule for everyone. Not having been the overall quality of the high-quality trials, one cannot draw conclusions that non individualised homeopathy does not work.

    • @Björn

      All the indications are that Sandra’s no longer with us, although I have been unable to get this confirmed. Dana was good enough to respond when I asked him on Messenger saying that he’d not heard anything to confirm or deny the notion.

      • @Lenny
        I am sorry to hear that. Let’s hope she is well, wherever she is. I only mentioned her as a reference, didn’t really think it was her. Sandra is or was a delusional idealist but this person seems properly deranged and in need of help. Sandra also had the courage to communicate in person and would never have gone under the proverbial bridge.
        I would guess this poor bugger is European and might even be known in homeopathy circles?
        The episode just shows us we can be thankful for what we have, a regular gathering of undisguised homeo-hoots who regularly pop up to provide merriment and reinforce the absurdity of homeopathy. 😀

        • From my point of view I would think Astro is from Germany or Austria. He/she seems familiar with organisations and persons in and around the skeptic’s movement in Germany. There was a reference to Edgar Wunder, a former leading German skeptic, who left in anger about 20 years ago and dwindled into insignificance ever since. Only very few people refer to him today, when they want to criticise GWUP or INH in Germany.

          Astro apparently has read a lot of studies about homeopathy and what homeopaths would call basic research. And of our articles we posted on our websites in German. So Astro seems to spend a lot of effort to try to refute us and does so by contorting the evidence into the opposite of what is written in the paper, ignoring other points. And by arguing the competence of the critics to understand what homeopathy is all about.

          In fact, I think I know who Astro is in real life, and that I have met him a few times in person. However this person’s style of discussion is much less aggressive, maybe only when not behind a mask. But I can be utterly wrong here, so I would not disclose, whom I have in mind.

          • @Norbert
            Of course we will never know the identity and it is of little consequence really. Interestingly, this sulky shaker of magic water did refer to you personally in a way that indicates both accuaintance and personal disgruntlement. His native language certainly seems to be German so you have a good chance of guessing the identity but as you say, its better left at that.

  • The NEWEST update to Frass’ research is that it has been ACCEPTED by the highest standards in German medicine who NOW recommend the inclusion of homeopathic treatment in oncology treatment.

    The Association of the Scientific Medical Societies (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Wissenschaftlichen Medizinischen Fachgesellschaften, AWMF) of Germany advises on matters and tasks of fundamental and interdisciplinary interest in medicine, develops recommendations and resolutions and represents them at the institutions occupied with such tasks.

    The AWMF regularly organizes the best-known cancer institutions in conventional medicine in order to define the state of the art for the treatment of cancer for therapy. Here’s a link to their recent guidelines for complementary medicine in cancer treatment…in German, link to PDF – 630 pages ). https://www.leitlinienprogramm-onkologie.de/leitlinien/komplementaermedizin/

    This highly respected conventional medical body expresses support for homeopathy in oncology: “There are data from an RCT on the use of classic homeopathy. … due to the strongly positive results of this study, the use of classic homeopathy (initial anamnesis in combination with individual prescription) to improve the quality of life in oncological patients in addition to tumor therapy can be considered.”

    • ” ACCEPTED by the highest standards in German medicine who NOW recommend the inclusion of homeopathic treatment in oncology treatment.”
      OH, Dana!!!
      1) It has not been accepted but included in a document because the researchers included all published evidence, i.e. they did a systematic review.
      2) It is not anywhere near the highest standards in German medicine.
      3) The document does not recommend homeopathy by attributes the lowest level of evidence to it.
      Are you deluded, stupid, or dishonest?

    • Oh Dana,

      if this is success for you, then I would like to know what would be a failure in your eyes.

      This paper, “Leitlinie” (=guideline), especially covers all treatment-options outside of the regular medical therapies of cancer, that are claimed to show some beneficial effect one way or another. Like Reiki, Meditation, Yoga, Vitamins and others. And of course Homeopathy. And it covers all conditions related to cancer and cancer therapy and its side-effects, like loss of appetite, ileus, pain, vomiting, well-being and the like.

      You would expect, if homeopathy really was as effective in cancer therapy or in treating side-effects of conventional cancer treatment as often claimed by homeopaths, then it would sure be at large all over this 600 pages document. But no: There is only one condition (out of 32), where the application of homeopathy is far from recommended, but just “may be considered” and this is Quality of Life. Same level of recommendation as meditation or “mindfulness-based stress reduction”, Yoga and Tai Chi by the way.

      This seems to be a very poor result, don’t you think?

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