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

At first glance, the article entitled ‘Homeopathy: A State of the Science Review With Recommendations for Practical Therapies in Midwifery Practice‘ looks interesting and fairly solid; it was published in a mainstream, peer-reviewed midwifery journal; it is lengthy and thus seems thorough; it cites 125 references; and its two American authors have respectable affiliations (Art of Nursing Care Inc., Playa del Ray, California. Sonoran University of Health Sciences, Tempe, Arizona.). Yet, it does not take long to discover that ‘solid’ is not the term to describe it accurately. In fact, the paper is one of the worst examples of pseudo-science that I have ever come across. Let me just show you its conclusions:

This state of the science review has explored the history of homeopathy, its evidence base, manufacturing, regulation, and licensure. We have examined some of the controversies between homeopathy and conventional medicine in an effort to provide an overview and understanding of homeopathic science. Suggestions for practical therapies for use in midwifery practice have been given.

Despite misperceptions, homeopathy has become a well-established global practice with a growing body of research to support its benefits. Homeopathic medicines provide a comprehensive treatment approach to the myriad of conditions encountered in the midwifery practice model of care. With homeopathy’s generally accepted safety profile, low risk of side effects, few drug interactions, and low risk of overdose, midwives educated in homeopathic science can be confident that homeopathy provides a satisfactory complement for patients seeking alternative practices.

Increased opportunities for clinical research of homeopathic medicines by large funding organizations is recommended to advance patient care, understanding, and acceptance of the whole person and inform future health policy. Researchers around the world have begun to investigate the unanswered questions verifying the safety and efficacy of homeopathic treatment and the future of homeopathic research is promising. As homeopathic science continues to evolve, many health care professionals, including midwives, now seem open to adding homeopathy to complement their system of care for the whole person.

_______________________

In the article, we find two short paragraphs dealing with the effectiveness of homeopathy:

Essential to these debates are questions surrounding theories of homeopathy, such as the Law of Minimum Dose, like cures like, nonstandardized dosing, and symptom evaluation in a manner different from that of conventional medicine. It has been argued that the homeopathic paradigm is different from conventional scientific concepts associated with evidence-based medicine such as independent replication, confirmation of findings, measurement, and interpretation of results based on homeopathy’s reliance on individualized treatments and it basic tenets of the Principle of Similars and Law of Minimum Dose.6968 Conventional medicine practitioners find it counterintuitive that further dilution of a substance is believed to enhance its healing power when compared with a less dilute substance.65 For example, if the level of dilution is unmeasurable, how can the active ingredient be found, and is it even there?22 Recent research using nanopharmacology is beginning to uncover, identify, and characterize these ingredients in ultradiluted remedies and may help to answer these questions.3970 Debates arise concerning why individuals with similar symptoms often receive different treatments.22 Others ask whether homeopathic remedies perhaps inadvertently lead consumers to forgo conventional treatments that have been proven to work.5212265

Interestingly, studies examining placebo therapies have appeared in scientific literature with increasing frequency, and some have compared the effectiveness of placebos with homeopathic remedies.687173 Multiple studies that have examined homeopathic treatments have found them equivalent to or no more effective than placebo,6568 whereas other studies found either measurable success or that patients perceived their outcomes as improved following homeopathic treatment.267574 Mathie et al conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis focused on randomized controlled trials of nonindividualized homeopathic treatments. Authors reported that the quality of evidence was too low to determine whether homeopathic treatment results were distinguishable from those of placebo.72 These issues cited above represent some of the inconsistencies surrounding the theoretical basis and effectiveness of homeopathic therapies.

WHY WOULD ANY RESPECTABLE AUTHOR WRITE SUCH MISLEADING NONSENSE?

WHY WOULD ANY RESPECTABLE JOURNAL PUBLISH IT?

The answers to these questions might be found at the end of the paper:

Support for this supplement has been provided by Boiron USA. Boiron representatives provided no input into the article content.

Sharon Bond, CNM, PhD, who was an Associate Editor of the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health during the initial drafting of the manuscript, received compensation from Boiron USA for the assistance she provided the authors with editing and proofreading of the manuscript. Dr. Bond was not involved in the editorial review of or decision to publish this article.

The findings and conclusions in this supplement are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the host organizations, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., or the opinions of the journal editors.

I would argue that publishing such an article is unethical and amounts to scientific misconduct!

8 Responses to This might easily be the worst paper on homeopathy that you will ever read

  • How about asking for the paper to be retracted? We did it before.

  • Strengths and Limitations

    Finally, there is potential for bias regarding the selection of articles. Despite ready access to multiple databases for searching, availability of some literature was restricted by requirements for membership with a specific journal, professional organizations, or cost.

    Good grief!

    Authors also noted that articles published in conventional medical literature were less supportive of homeopathy as a science than those published in homeopathic and alternative journals, suggesting either bias within both conventional and alternative journals or the presence of wholly opposing perspectives about homeopathy.

    🙈

  • … its two American authors have respectable affiliations (… Sonoran University of Health Sciences, Tempe, Arizona.

    Clearly Doctor you have picked up the English habit of irony.

    Sonoran University of Health Sciences (formerly Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences) is a fully-accredited university dedicated to a comprehensive team approach to natural health and nutrition. Complementing patient care with innovative research and natural medicine backed by science, both Sonoran University students and graduates are using a uniquely different mindset to change healthcare.
    https://www.sonoran.edu/

  • The paper states that “The research budget for NCCIH was increased by almost 20% from $100,093 in 2014 to $119,115 in 2019.” The authors should have noticed that these numbers are absurdly low. A look at the reference for these figures
    https://www.nccih.nih.gov/about/budget/complementary-and-alternative-medicine-funding-by-nih-institutecenter
    shows that the given figures are “Dollars in thousands.” That is, the true values are $100,093,000 and $119,115,000.

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