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Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ?
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HCN
science forum beginner


Joined: 05 Jul 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 8:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

"ship" <shiphen@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1152128595.145854.169200@v61g2000cwv.googlegroups.com...
Quote:

Hi

Please excuse the cross-posting. But I recall a rather long and
VITRIOLIC discussion about homeopathy that I started in these
newsgroups back in 2003.
....


Just answer this question:

When Hahnemann created homeopathy in Germany about 200 years ago he had
deduced a few "miasms". One of these miasms is the "syphillis miasm"... So
please tell me which remedy is better for the syphillis disease which is an
upswing in some urban areas... A specific homeopathic remedy (which one?) or
antibiotics?

Also, for your reading pleasure: http://www.badhomeopath.com/
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Peter Moran
science forum beginner


Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 9:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

"ship" <shiphen@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1152128595.145854.169200@v61g2000cwv.googlegroups.com...
Quote:

Hi

Please excuse the cross-posting. But I recall a rather long and
VITRIOLIC discussion about homeopathy that I started in these
newsgroups back in 2003.

I presented the case that there is hard scientific evidence that
Homeopathy can and sometimes unambiguously does work. The universe is a
mysterious place, and we need to have humility about our theories and
accept good quality counter evidence if and when it occurs.

And several hard-core orthodox medics/scientists flamed me SERERELY.
Their killer argument essentially being we know of known mechanisms as
to how Homeopathy could possibly work (because there is 'nothing' in it
according to our chemistry friends) THEREFORE it doesn't work.
Therefore any study you put before me MUST be of poor quality. Even if
it isn't.

Recently The Lancet had a go at Homeopathy too. With a headline of "The
End of Homeopathy".


But sometimes The Establishment is simply lies to us.

There is so much intellectual capital built up and so many professional
reputations at stake, not to mention the multi-trillion dollar pharma
industry itself... that, surprise, surprise, the truth is crucified.


Does coffee ever get stronger for anyone if they keep diluting and shaking
it? Why not? (no mystical answers or resort to otherwise unevidenced
hypotheses, please - you are claiming this would be acceptable science, if
it were not for unwarranted medical biases)

And do you see "like cures like" as a clear universal principle in medicine?
What about the homeopathic "provings" - do you see those as a likely valid
or validated method of choosing a treatment method, even under the terms
that homeopathy has set for itself? What about the "psora", the elusive
factors that homeopathy claims are the source of all human illness? How
does the evidence for that stack up against the enormous understanding of
illness that has built up in the two hundred years since this superstition
was advanced by Hannemann. There are *numerous* ways in which
homeopathy is completely unevidenced and/or conflicts with not only
well-trodden and repeatedly validated paths of science but with our daily
experiences.

You have scarcely touched upon all the reasons that homeopathy can be
regarded as an elaborate placebo. So far as the controlled trials are
concerned and the "80% of our patients get better" claims are concerned,
numerous conventional medical treatments have had to be abandoned because,
like homeopathy, they have been unable to produce consistent results in
controlled trials. (80 % of most common medical conditions, including
such conditions as asthma, will be better at *some* later endpoint,
especially whenever the practitioner is able to self-assess, superimposing
his own biases on material that is already distorted by spontaneous events
and patient reporting biases).

Lastly, in over two hundred years of usage, homeopathy has been unable to
produce even good anecdotal evidence of benefit for any major disease. It
only seems to "work" for conditions where placebos also do very well. The
only relatively objective and stable condition that homeopaths often claim
benefits with is rheumatoid arthritis, and even Peter Fisher, homeopath to
the Queen of England, had to admit that his treatments for that worked no
better than placebo after his own controlled trial.

Peter Moran

Quote:
not.

Please read what follows *carefully* from beginning to end.
And let's see if we can have a half intelligent conversation without
everyone seeing red and behaving like arrogant, bigotted little school
children.

Here goes: [deep breath]





THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT HOMEOPATHY AND THE MEDICAL ESTABLISHMENT

Research discovers doctors are not telling the truth to patients



You probably use homeopathic remedies for you and your family, and so
you know they work. Despite this, doctors keep repeating the mantra:
'There's no evidence for it'.

The most recent attack came from a group of 13 scientists and doctors,
led by Prof Michael Baum, who urged the National Health Service to stop
wasting money on 'an implausible' therapy that had never worked in any
trial.

So how come it works for you, and for thousands of others? Most
doctors put it down to the 'placebo effect' - you think it is going
to do you good. But the real reason is far simpler, as researchers at
What Doctors Don't Tell You (WDDTY) have uncovered - doctors just
aren't telling us the truth about homeopathy.

In a special research project, WDDTY investigators have uncovered
scores of major studies into homeopathy that all prove just how
effective homeopathy can be, research that was ignored by Baum and
colleagues.



THE WAR AGAINST HOMEOPATHY


Worse, the WDDTY research team discovered that evidence had been
tampered with or rejected to such an extent that it ceased to be
science, and instead smacks of an agenda to finally kill off homeopathy
as a genuine alternative to mainstream medicine.

Last autumn the prestigious medical journal The Lancet published a
study that was so damning of homeopathy that the cover read 'The End of
Homeopathy'. Beneath it, it told doctors that they 'need to be bold
and honest with their patients about homeopathy's lack of benefit'.

Of course, this made national news - and no doubt many people were
influenced by it. Sadly, the journalists, as always, took the story on
face value, but there was another story to tell.

The Lancet's strident headline was based on a meta-analysis that
reviewed 110 clinical trials in homeopathy. All the trials were of a
high quality and were scientific, the researchers agreed. The majority
of trials found that homeopathy worked or had 'a beneficial effect', as
the research team put it.



PREJUDICE DRESSED UP AS SCIENCE


However, the researchers decided to reject 102 of these trials from
their final analysis. Eight of the 'rejects' were trials on patients
with upper respiratory tract infection that had such positive results
in favour of homeopathy that they could not be 'trusted'.

So, the researchers were already convinced that homeopathy didn't work,
and so rejected trials that proved otherwise. In fact, they said so.
When they set out to research homeopathy, they viewed it as
'implausible'.

After weeding out all the positive studies, they were left with just
eight trials - and all of them 'proved' homeopathy didn't work.

It's strange that the press and doctors have latched on to The Lancet
study, and ignored the many other major studies that had found in
favour of homeopathy. The first major study took place 16 years ago at
Limburg University in Holland. It was a two-year study that analysed
the findings of 105 clinical trials - and, of these, 81 found
homeopathy worked.

Eight years later, researchers from Munich University analysed 89
trials into homeopathy and concluded that it was more than 'twice as
good' as placebo, which makes it as effective as any pharmaceutical
drug.



HOMEOPATHY IS 'EXTREMELY SIGNIFICANT', SAYS EU STUDY EVERYONE IGNORED


The European Commission carried out its own research programme in 2000,
and with even more rigorous standards. In the end they found just 17
out of 118 clinical trials that they felt were properly scientific -
and, from those 17 trials, concluded that homeopathy had an 'extremely
significant' effect.

Perhaps the most impressive trial in terms of size was carried out by
the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital in Bristol, England. They studied the
progress of 23,000 patients between 1997 and 2003, and found that 70
per cent reported 'clinical improvement'. More impressive still, most
patients had tried homeopathy only after conventional medicine had
failed them. In other words, these were people with the most
difficult, intractable health issues. The biggest effect was among
children, 80 per cent of whom reported a positive improvement from
conditions such as asthma, eczema, and depression.



THE TWO BIG ARGUMENTS AGAINST HOMEOPATHY


Homeopathy's critics always cite two arguments: that the science
behind it is 'implausible', and so therefore it's impossible for it to
work, and any good effects are all in the mind. Taking the second
argument first, homeopathy is very effective when given to animals, as
studies have demonstrated, which demonstrates that the placebo effect
is not an issue after all.

In one, pregnant pigs were given a homeopathic remedy to stop
stillbirths. In the homeopathic group, the rate of stillbirths fell to
30 per cent compared to an 80 per cent rate in the control group that
was not given homeopathy.

In another study of mastitis in cows, those who had a homeopathic
remedy added to their water had a 3 per cent rate of mastitis compared
with 48 per cent in those not given the remedy.

The first argument is subtler still. Effectively it states: 'It's
impossible for homeopathy to work, so therefore it doesn't'. Prof
Colin Blakemore of the UK's Medical Research Council has stated: "If we
were to accept the principles of homeopathy we would have to overturn
the whole of physics and chemistry."

Precisely. As you may know, science works according to 'paradigms'.
Anything that adds to, or supports, an existing paradigm is accepted as
science; that which refutes it is rejected as 'unscientific'. In
other words, science is a self-defining system.

It was implausible that the Earth should revolve around the Sun, as
Galileo claimed, or that time was not an absolute, as Einstein
demonstrated. In medicine, it was 'implausible' that a bug called
helicobacter pylori could cause ulcers, or that folic acid could
prevent neural-tube defects, but they did, and eventually the paradigm
shifted.

But there's a much bigger game at stake if we are to accept
homeopathy as an effective therapy. It would mean that the way we
treat people is wrong, that we do not truly understand disease, and
indeed that human beings are not the mechanical pieces of flesh and
bone that doctors and drug companies believe us to be.





If you look at all the trials on homeopathy, you will find that they are all
performed on conditions that either can get better by themselves or involve
subjective outcomes that can be very prone to reporting biases or observer
biases. They are always the condtions that homeopaths think respond well
to their treatment, with homeopathic participants strongly motivated toeards
obtaining positive results. The incosistent results described above cannot
be regarded as strong evidence of usefulness of homeopathy oin any
condition.




s so that the fact that the results are so inconsistent weoghsstent, . ,
becasue homeopaths are invariably involved.





Quote:



Source: WDDTY. July 2006

Thanks for reading this far



Ship
Shiperton Henethe

"The truth is out there - and it shall set you free"
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Robert11
science forum beginner


Joined: 17 Nov 2005
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 10:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

"ship" <shiphen@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1152128595.145854.169200@v61g2000cwv.googlegroups.com...
Quote:

Hi

Please excuse the cross-posting. But I recall a rather long and
VITRIOLIC discussion about homeopathy that I started in these
newsgroups back in 2003.

I presented the case that there is hard scientific evidence that
Homeopathy can and sometimes unambiguously does work. The universe is a
mysterious place, and we need to have humility about our theories and
accept good quality counter evidence if and when it occurs.

And several hard-core orthodox medics/scientists flamed me SERERELY.
Their killer argument essentially being we know of known mechanisms as
to how Homeopathy could possibly work (because there is 'nothing' in it
according to our chemistry friends) THEREFORE it doesn't work.

Makes sense to me.
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HonestMED
science forum beginner


Joined: 05 Jul 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 10:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

RE: Homeopathy

There are powerful economic forces that have a vested interest in
promoting the idea that homeopathy doesn't work. We here at Honest
Medicine (http://honestmed.com) promote honesty and ethics in health
care, and we support homeopathy as well as alternative medicines that
work. Doctors and dishonest pharmaceutical companies want more to
profit from disease than cure it. This can only change as patients are
educated to take responsibility for their own health care, and we want
to provide resources to make that possible.
--Phil Taylor, Admin
HonestMED.com
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ship
science forum beginner


Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 10:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

HCN wrote:
Quote:
Hi

Please excuse the cross-posting. But I recall a rather long and
VITRIOLIC discussion about homeopathy that I started in these
newsgroups back in 2003.
...

Just answer this question:

When Hahnemann created homeopathy in Germany about 200 years ago he had
deduced a few "miasms". One of these miasms is the "syphillis miasm"... So
please tell me which remedy is better for the syphillis disease which is an
upswing in some urban areas... A specific homeopathic remedy (which one?) or
antibiotics?

Just because homeopathy doesnt work for certain illnesses doesnt mean
it doesnt work for any. Likewise for many illnesses it may be true to
say that by far the best results are obtained by using some treatment
other than homeopathy. But that still doesnt prove that homeopathy
doesn't work at all. In fact I would argue that it is, philosophically
at least, entirely irrelevant.

Thinking *practically*, of course is different. If you actually HAVE
syphillis, I suggest you go and use antibiotics - I know I would! But
that still says nothing whatsoever about homeopathy.

Now, for all I know the early work on homeopathy may have gone down
some blind alleys.. and for all I know it may NOT. Maybe the best long
term resistance for the individual against a broad spectrum of diseases
is NOT to use antibiotics for syphillis.

So in conclusion I dont know the answer to your question. And although
it is a very *practical* question that you raise, you do not address
the central question of whether or not there is any credible scientific
evidence that homeopathy has been shown to work by experiment... ...and
whether or not The Lancet has been lying to us.

So in a nutshell I dont know the answer but I dont think your response
is relevant to the question.

Level-headedly


Ship
Shiperton Henethe
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Peter Moran
science forum beginner


Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

"HonestMED" <philtaylor98052@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1152138598.709745.36410@v61g2000cwv.googlegroups.com...
Quote:

RE: Homeopathy

There are powerful economic forces that have a vested interest in
promoting the idea that homeopathy doesn't work. We here at Honest
Medicine (http://honestmed.com) promote honesty and ethics in health
care, and we support homeopathy as well as alternative medicines that
work. Doctors and dishonest pharmaceutical companies want more to
profit from disease than cure it. This can only change as patients are
educated to take responsibility for their own health care, and we want
to provide resources to make that possible.
--Phil Taylor, Admin
HonestMED.com

There can be true honesty and truly ethical behaviour when it is accepted by
all that inert, inactive treatments can satisfy many of the demands that
the present day public place upon medical services, but with serious
limitations when it comes to serious or disabling diseases. Scientific
opinion is always tentaive and often approximate, but it has never been
wrong about so much all at the one time.

The public, in general, doesn't care much either way, but scientists,
medical practitioners, and those interested in the advancement of medicine
and that it should not be hindered by any wastage of resources, should.

We could then move on to more important practical and ethical questions such
as the proper place of such methods within medicine. There are NO
unresolved scientific issues, although it suits the promoters of these
methods to pretend that it is all just a "normal scientific controversy".

Peter Moran.


..

>
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ship
science forum beginner


Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

Quote:
Does coffee ever get stronger for anyone if they keep diluting and shaking
it? Why not? (no mystical answers or resort to otherwise unevidenced
hypotheses, please - you are claiming this would be acceptable science, if
it were not for unwarranted medical biases)

The idea is that coffee (i.e. caffeine) is working by an entirely
different mechanism.
Both mechanisms have their place and are not mutually exclusive.

By analogy increasing the octane rating of fuel in a car may improve
the top
speed. Unless the engine has been adapted to run on deisel of course -
in
which case raising the octane level of fuel in the tank wont help - and
worse -
at a certain octane level you will start to cause *severe* ill-health
to the deisel engine.

A slightly weak analogy, I concede, but you get the general idea -
which is
that under some circumstances increasing the octane level will kick
into place
one mechanism - which is perfectly valid in its own right. But under
other
circumstances doing the same thing - adding the same additives to the
fuel can have quite a different impact.

Likewise I am told that a very small injection of water vapour can
improve
the efficiency of a petrol engine - by, depending on prevailing
atmospheric conditions up to 2.5 or maybe 5%. But it depends on many
variables such as how much water vapour is already in the air going
into the engine. And although a very small input of water may improve
things a fractionally larger input will be disasterous! But that all
depends
on the temperature then engine is running at, the oxygen/fuel mix,
atmospher
pressure, atmospheric moisture levels, engine speed,
start-stop/acceleration
profile & type of journey... and who knows maybe even some subtle
things
like type of spark plug, shape of cylinder head.

So it's all quite complicated. But yes, by one mechanism a subtle
increase
in water vapour injected into an engine may improve efficiency, but by
what about the guy who says water cant work, it only only puts OUT
fires...
And every time he tries the experiment it always fails.

Well, it all depends on getting the controls right, yes.

If he lives in a tropical rainforrest the air will already be for too
moist and
extra water will probably never help!

But if an engine is a complex machine, how many more billions of
times more complex is a human body type of machine.

So... "just get all your CONTROLS right" I hear you say.

Now, the trouble with this is that we may not actually KNOW what
all the relevant variables are that we need to be controlling for.

And maybe this is part of the reason for such inconsistent experimental
evidence. Supposing the entire homeopathic mechanism was controlled
by something extremely subtle - like it only worked with un-stressed
people
who dont have certain genes, and who arent near radio masts for
example.

My pet theory is that the act of observing could be affecting the
experiment.
Strange as it may sound, to quantum theorists this bizarre idea is a
given.
I am told that human intent - prayer experiments - also seem to have
an distinct, highly replicable effect.

But from what the WDDTY original post in this thread is saying, the
answer
is simpler. Homeopathy results themselves have been negatively
tampered with... by medics with vested interests.


Quote:
And do you see "like cures like" as a clear universal principle in medicine?
What about the homeopathic "provings" - do you see those as a likely valid
or validated method of choosing a treatment method, even under the terms
that homeopathy has set for itself? What about the "psora", the elusive
factors that homeopathy claims are the source of all human illness? How
does the evidence for that stack up against the enormous understanding of
illness that has built up in the two hundred years since this superstition
was advanced by Hannemann. There are *numerous* ways in which
homeopathy is completely unevidenced and/or conflicts with not only
well-trodden and repeatedly validated paths of science but with our daily
experiences.

You have scarcely touched upon all the reasons that homeopathy can be
regarded as an elaborate placebo. So far as the controlled trials are
concerned and the "80% of our patients get better" claims are concerned,
numerous conventional medical treatments have had to be abandoned because,
like homeopathy, they have been unable to produce consistent results in
controlled trials. (80 % of most common medical conditions, including
such conditions as asthma, will be better at *some* later endpoint,
especially whenever the practitioner is able to self-assess, superimposing
his own biases on material that is already distorted by spontaneous events
and patient reporting biases).

Lastly, in over two hundred years of usage, homeopathy has been unable to
produce even good anecdotal evidence of benefit for any major disease.

A grandiose sweeping statement that rather implies you have not
completely
read the original post.

Quote:
If you look at all the trials on homeopathy, you will find that they are all
performed on conditions that either can get better by themselves or involve
subjective outcomes that can be very prone to reporting biases or observer
biases. They are always the condtions that homeopaths think respond well
to their treatment, with homeopathic participants strongly motivated toeards
obtaining positive results. The incosistent results described above cannot
be regarded as strong evidence of usefulness of homeopathy oin any
condition.

My understanding is that extremely well conducted double-blind
placebo controlled experiments have been used to show that in
at least some situations that homeopathy IS working.

must dash

Ship
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ship
science forum beginner


Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 11:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

Peter Moran wrote:
Quote:
"HonestMED" <philtaylor98052@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1152138598.709745.36410@v61g2000cwv.googlegroups.com...

RE: Homeopathy

There are powerful economic forces that have a vested interest in
promoting the idea that homeopathy doesn't work. We here at Honest
Medicine (http://honestmed.com) promote honesty and ethics in health
care, and we support homeopathy as well as alternative medicines that
work. Doctors and dishonest pharmaceutical companies want more to
profit from disease than cure it. This can only change as patients are
educated to take responsibility for their own health care, and we want
to provide resources to make that possible.
--Phil Taylor, Admin
HonestMED.com

There can be true honesty and truly ethical behaviour when it is accepted by
all that inert, inactive treatments can satisfy many of the demands that
the present day public place upon medical services, but with serious
limitations when it comes to serious or disabling diseases. Scientific
opinion is always tentaive and often approximate, but it has never been
wrong about so much all at the one time.

The public, in general, doesn't care much either way, but scientists,
medical practitioners, and those interested in the advancement of medicine
and that it should not be hindered by any wastage of resources, should.

We could then move on to more important practical and ethical questions such
as the proper place of such methods within medicine. There are NO
unresolved scientific issues, although it suits the promoters of these
methods to pretend that it is all just a "normal scientific controversy".


If you think these words through carefully "inert, inactive
treatments"
you will find that the rest of your arguments are a given.

But how would you define your words?

All the key question remain unresolved, and we
are suddenly going round in circles. If the treaments are genuinely
having no effect then yes they are inert and inactive. But this is
what is being debated. ARE the treaments inert and inactive.
You are assuming the answer before you start.

Okay yes, so much for your opinions... Fine we know where you stand.

But, please! What about the original article?!
Have you actually, carefully read the whole thing?

*Is* there any credible evidence that The Lancet lied to us?

And how much, and what specific research have you done to back
up your case on this issue?

Ship
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David Wright
science forum beginner


Joined: 06 Jul 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 2:27 am    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

In article <1152128595.145854.169200@v61g2000cwv.googlegroups.com>,
ship <shiphen@gmail.com> wrote:
Quote:

Hi

Please excuse the cross-posting. But I recall a rather long and
VITRIOLIC discussion about homeopathy that I started in these
newsgroups back in 2003.

So you decided to start another one? Gee, thanks.

-- David Wright :: alphabeta at prodigy.net
These are my opinions only, but they're almost always correct.
"If you can't say something nice, then sit next to me."
-- Alice Roosevelt Longworth
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Jim Chinnis
science forum beginner


Joined: 06 Jul 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 4:19 am    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

"ship" <shiphen@gmail.com> wrote in part:

Quote:
Please excuse the cross-posting.

Screw you.
--
Jim Chinnis Warrenton, Virginia, USA jchinnis@alum.mit.edu
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Peter Moran
science forum beginner


Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 6:34 am    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

"ship" <shiphen@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1152142911.872659.229720@a14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
Quote:

Peter Moran wrote:
"HonestMED" <philtaylor98052@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1152138598.709745.36410@v61g2000cwv.googlegroups.com...

RE: Homeopathy

There are powerful economic forces that have a vested interest in
promoting the idea that homeopathy doesn't work. We here at Honest
Medicine (http://honestmed.com) promote honesty and ethics in health
care, and we support homeopathy as well as alternative medicines that
work. Doctors and dishonest pharmaceutical companies want more to
profit from disease than cure it. This can only change as patients are
educated to take responsibility for their own health care, and we want
to provide resources to make that possible.
--Phil Taylor, Admin
HonestMED.com

There can be true honesty and truly ethical behaviour when it is accepted
by
all that inert, inactive treatments can satisfy many of the demands
that
the present day public place upon medical services, but with serious
limitations when it comes to serious or disabling diseases. Scientific
opinion is always tentaive and often approximate, but it has never been
wrong about so much all at the one time.

The public, in general, doesn't care much either way, but scientists,
medical practitioners, and those interested in the advancement of
medicine
and that it should not be hindered by any wastage of resources, should.

We could then move on to more important practical and ethical questions
such
as the proper place of such methods within medicine. There are NO
unresolved scientific issues, although it suits the promoters of these
methods to pretend that it is all just a "normal scientific
controversy".


If you think these words through carefully "inert, inactive
treatments"
you will find that the rest of your arguments are a given.
But how would you define your words?

All the key question remain unresolved, and we
are suddenly going round in circles. If the treaments are genuinely
having no effect then yes they are inert and inactive. But this is
what is being debated. ARE the treaments inert and inactive.
You are assuming the answer before you start.

Not at all. We understand fairly well what inert treatments, placebos,
sham treatments, whjatever you want to call them can do and what they can't
do. Most of the time, when a placebo is prescribed and a beneficial
effect is claimed, there has been no significant effect on the symptoms and
certainly not on any disease process. The condition would have improved
anyway and/or there are reporting biases by either the subordinated patient
or the practitioner enthusiast. When placebos are compared to no
treatment at all you get are minor effects on symptoms such as pain.
Here is part of the evidence ----

Is the Placebo Powerless?- An Analysis of Clinical Trials Comparing Placebo
with No Treatment

Asbjorn Hrobjartsson, M.D., and Peter C. Gotzsche, M.D.



ABSTRACT

Background Placebo treatments have been reported to help patients with many
diseases, but the quality of the evidence supporting this finding has not
been rigorously evaluated.

Methods We conducted a systematic review of clinical trials in which
patients were randomly assigned to either placebo or no treatment. A placebo
could be pharmacologic (e.g., a tablet), physical (e.g., a manipulation), or
psychological (e.g., a conversation).

Results We identified 130 trials that met our inclusion criteria. After the
exclusion of 16 trials without relevant data on outcomes, there were 32 with
binary outcomes (involving 3795 patients, with a median of 51 patients per
trial) and 82 with continuous outcomes (involving 4730 patients, with a
median of 27 patients per trial). As compared with no treatment, placebo had
no significant effect on binary outcomes, regardless of whether these
outcomes were subjective or objective. For the trials with continuous
outcomes, placebo had a beneficial effect, but the effect decreased with
increasing sample size, indicating a possible bias related to the effects of
small trials. The pooled standardized mean difference was significant for
the trials with subjective outcomes but not for those with objective
outcomes. In 27 trials involving the treatment of pain, placebo had a
beneficial effect, as indicated by a reduction in the intensity of pain of
6.5 mm on a 100-mm visual-analogue scale.

Conclusions We found little evidence in general that placebos had powerful
clinical effects. Although placebos had no significant effects on objective
or binary outcomes, they had possible small benefits in studies with
continuous subjective outcomes and for the treatment of pain. Outside the
setting of clinical trials, there is no justification for the use of
placebos.


I happen to agree with the "alternative" writer Kapchuk (sp?) that there
may under certain circumstances be "enhanced" placebo effects for
psychological reasons, or through the provision of a "hook" that offers the
patient an acceptable basis on which to cease sickness behaviour. I think
that may explain some of the more dramatic testimonials of symptom relief
from alternatives such as homeopathy. For this reason I am prepared to
allow that under some circumstances they may have a place in medicine. I
do insist that as science they are a dead issue. Only alternaitve
practitioners, and journalists, and even some scientific journals wanting
to maintain circulation want to create the impression that there is any
ongoing scientific controversy as to whether these agents have any intrinsic
activity .

The few positive trials and even the "eighty per cent of my patients get
better" claims are readily explained by existing knowledge about clinical
trials and the biases that afflict the enthusiastic practitioner. Here is
some of the evidence that you probably have not seen.

1. Schmerz. 2005; [Epub ahead of print]
[Do physicians overestimate effects of acupuncture treatment?] [Article in
German]

Lungenhausen M, Endres HG, Kukuk P, Schaub C, Maier C, Zenz M.

Abteilung fur Schmerztherapie, Klinik fur Anasthesiologie,

Intensiv- und Schmerztherapie der Berufsgenossenschaftlichen Kliniken
Bergmannsheil Bochum, .

BACKGROUND: Physicians' ratings about their patients' pain prove to be
invalid compared to patients' ratings. This is especially true if pain
rating acts as an indicator for therapy outcome. The aim of this study was
to compare physicians' and patients' ratings of pain relief following
acupuncture and to identify correlations between patient characteristics and
potential miscalibrations.PATIENTS AND METHODS: In a cross-sectional study
291 pain patients with gonarthrosis or chronic low back pain and their
attending physicians were asked to give their rating of patients' pain
relief following acupuncture. Patients were interviewed by telephone, and
doctors responded to

questionnaires.RESULTS: The proportion of false-positive physicians' ratings
was 81% referring to patients without self-reported benefit from
acupuncture. Just every fifth patient without pain relief was correctly
classified by his physician. There was no correlation between patients'
characteristics and false-positive ratings of physicians.CONCLUSIONS:
Evaluation of treatment in daily medical routine should be primarily based
on information provided by patients.

Roberts, A. H., D. G. Kewman, L. Mercier, and M. Hovell. 1993. The power of
nonspecific effects in healing: Implications for psychosocial and biological
treatments. Clinical Psychology Review 13:375-391.

" ABSTRACT. We evaluate the hypothesis that the power of nonspecific effects
may account for as much as two thirds of successful treatment outcomes when
both the healer and the patient believe in the efficacy of a treatment.

Five medical and surgical treatments, once considered to be efficacious by
their proponents but no longer considered effective based upon controlled
trials, were selected according to strict inclusion criteria. A search of
the English literature was conducted for all studies published for each
treatment area. The results of those studies were categorized where
possible, into excellent, good, and poor outcomes. For these five treatments
combined 40 % excellent, 30 % good, and 30 % poor results were reported by
proponents. We conclude that, under conditions of heightened expectations
the power of nonspecific effects far exceeds that commonly reported in the
literature. The implications of these results in evaluating the relative
efficacy of biological and psychosocial treatments is discussed."

Quote:
Okay yes, so much for your opinions... Fine we know where you stand.

But, please! What about the original article?!
Have you actually, carefully read the whole thing?


Yes I have. There are a lot of unsubstantiated assertions and
misrepresentations of the facts. For example it may be true that in some of
the meta analyses of the clinical trials of homeopathy some very positive
trials have been excluded, but that is on the grounds of trial quality. It
has been well proven that the better the quality of trial of homeopathy (and
acupuncture) the more likely it is to be negative and vice versa. For
example simple loss of effective blinding causes a 14% increase in positive
results.

Remember most of these trials incolve homeopaths seeking vindication for
homeopathy, and they have at least as powerful motives to get positive
results as anyone has to debunk homeopathy, which is no threat whatsoever to
proper medicine. For example, I am sure English doctors, who are paid
via a capitation system, are only too happy if the homeopaths want to take
some of their workload off them, - they just don't want to have to listen
to the scientific claims or silly assertions that they want to suppress
homeopathy for personal gain, or to have funds diverted from renal
tranplants or cancer centres when there are already extremely long waiting
lists for the treatment od seriously ill patients.

Homeopaths also choose to test homeopathy out on conditions that they think
they get exceptional results with. The negative trials should be given
more weight. on those grounds alone.

Peter Moran

Quote:

*Is* there any credible evidence that The Lancet lied to us?





Quote:
And how much, and what specific research have you done to back
up your case on this issue?

Ship



>
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HCN
science forum beginner


Joined: 05 Jul 2006
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 6:49 am    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

"ship" <shiphen@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1152139454.209535.119170@m79g2000cwm.googlegroups.com...
Quote:

HCN wrote:
Hi

Please excuse the cross-posting. But I recall a rather long and
VITRIOLIC discussion about homeopathy that I started in these
newsgroups back in 2003.
...

Just answer this question:

When Hahnemann created homeopathy in Germany about 200 years ago he had
deduced a few "miasms". One of these miasms is the "syphillis miasm"...
So
please tell me which remedy is better for the syphillis disease which is
an
upswing in some urban areas... A specific homeopathic remedy (which one?)
or
antibiotics?

Just because homeopathy doesnt work for certain illnesses doesnt mean
it doesnt work for any.

WHOA.. WHOA... wait... Are you saying that homeopathy has LIMITS!!! Even for
things that Hahnemann said it was good for?



Likewise for many illnesses it may be true to
Quote:
say that by far the best results are obtained by using some treatment
other than homeopathy. But that still doesnt prove that homeopathy
doesn't work at all. In fact I would argue that it is, philosophically
at least, entirely irrelevant.

Thinking *practically*, of course is different. If you actually HAVE
syphillis, I suggest you go and use antibiotics - I know I would! But
that still says nothing whatsoever about homeopathy.

Now, for all I know the early work on homeopathy may have gone down
some blind alleys.. and for all I know it may NOT. Maybe the best long
term resistance for the individual against a broad spectrum of diseases
is NOT to use antibiotics for syphillis.

Do you have any clue what happens when syphillis is NOT treated?

Oh, wait... perhaps you are experiencing the tertiary stage of syphillis.



Quote:

So in conclusion I dont know the answer to your question. And although
it is a very *practical* question that you raise, you do not address
the central question of whether or not there is any credible scientific
evidence that homeopathy has been shown to work by experiment... ...and
whether or not The Lancet has been lying to us.

So in a nutshell I dont know the answer but I dont think your response
is relevant to the question.

Level-headedly


Ship
Shiperton Henethe
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Peter Moran
science forum beginner


Joined: 16 Dec 2005
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 6:53 am    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

"ship" <shiphen@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1152142208.862252.105690@p79g2000cwp.googlegroups.com...
Quote:

Does coffee ever get stronger for anyone if they keep diluting and
shaking
it? Why not? (no mystical answers or resort to otherwise unevidenced
hypotheses, please - you are claiming this would be acceptable science,
if
it were not for unwarranted medical biases)

The idea is that coffee (i.e. caffeine) is working by an entirely
different mechanism.
Both mechanisms have their place and are not mutually exclusive.

You miss the point. There is no example in nature where such effects of
dilution.succussion have been demonstrated. It is not merely that no one
can explain how homeopathic effects could possibly occur, they have never
been shown to occur. The examples you use are not worth discussing. No
quantum physicist wants any truck with homeopathy either.

Peter Moran
Quote:

By analogy increasing the octane rating of fuel in a car may improve
the top
speed. Unless the engine has been adapted to run on deisel of course -
in
which case raising the octane level of fuel in the tank wont help - and
worse -
at a certain octane level you will start to cause *severe* ill-health
to the deisel engine.

A slightly weak analogy, I concede, but you get the general idea -
which is
that under some circumstances increasing the octane level will kick
into place
one mechanism - which is perfectly valid in its own right. But under
other
circumstances doing the same thing - adding the same additives to the
fuel can have quite a different impact.

Likewise I am told that a very small injection of water vapour can
improve
the efficiency of a petrol engine - by, depending on prevailing
atmospheric conditions up to 2.5 or maybe 5%. But it depends on many
variables such as how much water vapour is already in the air going
into the engine. And although a very small input of water may improve
things a fractionally larger input will be disasterous! But that all
depends
on the temperature then engine is running at, the oxygen/fuel mix,
atmospher
pressure, atmospheric moisture levels, engine speed,
start-stop/acceleration
profile & type of journey... and who knows maybe even some subtle
things
like type of spark plug, shape of cylinder head.

So it's all quite complicated. But yes, by one mechanism a subtle
increase
in water vapour injected into an engine may improve efficiency, but by
what about the guy who says water cant work, it only only puts OUT
fires...
And every time he tries the experiment it always fails.

Well, it all depends on getting the controls right, yes.

If he lives in a tropical rainforrest the air will already be for too
moist and
extra water will probably never help!

But if an engine is a complex machine, how many more billions of
times more complex is a human body type of machine.

So... "just get all your CONTROLS right" I hear you say.

Now, the trouble with this is that we may not actually KNOW what
all the relevant variables are that we need to be controlling for.

And maybe this is part of the reason for such inconsistent experimental
evidence. Supposing the entire homeopathic mechanism was controlled
by something extremely subtle - like it only worked with un-stressed
people
who dont have certain genes, and who arent near radio masts for
example.

My pet theory is that the act of observing could be affecting the
experiment.
Strange as it may sound, to quantum theorists this bizarre idea is a
given.
I am told that human intent - prayer experiments - also seem to have
an distinct, highly replicable effect.

But from what the WDDTY original post in this thread is saying, the
answer
is simpler. Homeopathy results themselves have been negatively
tampered with... by medics with vested interests.


And do you see "like cures like" as a clear universal principle in
medicine?
What about the homeopathic "provings" - do you see those as a likely
valid
or validated method of choosing a treatment method, even under the terms
that homeopathy has set for itself? What about the "psora", the
elusive
factors that homeopathy claims are the source of all human illness? How
does the evidence for that stack up against the enormous understanding of
illness that has built up in the two hundred years since this
superstition
was advanced by Hannemann. There are *numerous* ways in which
homeopathy is completely unevidenced and/or conflicts with not only
well-trodden and repeatedly validated paths of science but with our daily
experiences.

You have scarcely touched upon all the reasons that homeopathy can be
regarded as an elaborate placebo. So far as the controlled trials are
concerned and the "80% of our patients get better" claims are concerned,
numerous conventional medical treatments have had to be abandoned
because,
like homeopathy, they have been unable to produce consistent results in
controlled trials. (80 % of most common medical conditions,
including
such conditions as asthma, will be better at *some* later endpoint,
especially whenever the practitioner is able to self-assess,
superimposing
his own biases on material that is already distorted by spontaneous
events
and patient reporting biases).

Lastly, in over two hundred years of usage, homeopathy has been unable to
produce even good anecdotal evidence of benefit for any major disease.

A grandiose sweeping statement that rather implies you have not
completely
read the original post.

If you look at all the trials on homeopathy, you will find that they are
all
performed on conditions that either can get better by themselves or
involve
subjective outcomes that can be very prone to reporting biases or
observer
biases. They are always the condtions that homeopaths think respond
well
to their treatment, with homeopathic participants strongly motivated
toeards
obtaining positive results. The incosistent results described above
cannot
be regarded as strong evidence of usefulness of homeopathy oin any
condition.

My understanding is that extremely well conducted double-blind
placebo controlled experiments have been used to show that in
at least some situations that homeopathy IS working.

must dash

Ship
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Peter Bowditch
science forum beginner


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 7:41 am    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

"HonestMED" <philtaylor98052@gmail.com> wrote:

Quote:
we support homeopathy as well as alternative medicines that
work

I love it. Read it again, homeopathy believers.
--
Peter Bowditch aa #2243
The Millenium Project http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles
Australian Council Against Health Fraud http://www.acahf.org.au
Australian Skeptics http://www.skeptics.com.au
To email me use my first name only at ratbags.com
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JohnDoe
science forum beginner


Joined: 06 Jul 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 8:50 am    Post subject: Re: Homeopathy - was The Lancet lying to us ? Reply with quote

Peter Bowditch wrote:

Quote:
"HonestMED" <philtaylor98052@gmail.com> wrote:


we support homeopathy as well as alternative medicines that
work


I love it. Read it again, homeopathy believers.

I see what you mean. Brilliant. But I doubt they understand what they
actually wrote.
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