Show THAT Homeopathy works

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by timokay, Aug 28, 2003.

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  1. timokay Registered Senior Member

    1). "Homeopathy must first show THAT it works - Scientifically - then it will get all the support it needs for HOW it works".

    2). The problem is that Homeopaths are not Scientists. Their attempts at explaining how it works are usually met with derision - attention should be focused on the kind of Scientific testing that shows conclusively THAT it works, not HOW it works. But Homeopathy's ways differ fundamentally from those of Science, so how Homeopaths are not likely to be able to contribute to the Scientific task.

    3). So, Homeopaths cannot do Scientific research, which must be left to the Scientists. The problem is, the Scientists doing the experiments usually do not understand the ways of Homeopathy, and miss obvious flaws in the experiment.

    4). There are significant obstacles to be overcome BEFORE Double-blind Placebo-controlled (DBPC) studies and test protocols should be discussed. The first step is to devise Scientific experiments which are likely to test Homeopathy successfully.

    Preference for:

    A. Experiments which test Objective symptoms.

    B. Experiments where both Science and Homeopathy can agree on the starting point; i.e., a particular "disease":

    EXAMPLE 1. MECHANICAL : Where compression of the spinal cord or a nerve root is clearly demonstrated by MRI, with classical neurological signs confirming the diagnosis in the patient.

    Unfortunately, it is unlikely that such cases could be used for testing Homeopathy. If it were possible, and the patient received Homeopathic treatment, MRI repeated after resolution of pain would (would not?) show how healing processes resolved the mechanical problem, i.e., nerve compression.

    EXAMPLE 2. Bacterial "Diseases" like Syphilis and Gonorrhea, and their cure, were very well documented by Hahnemann.

    The unambiguous presentation of disease symptoms to both Medical Science and Homeopathy, provides a common starting point for testing. Both of these diseases are today treated with antibiotics, but there are concerns about the widespread use of antibiotics.

    Guinea Pig models: Konrad Wicher. Syphilis Research Laboratory

    "Syphilis, caused by infection of Treponema pallidum ssp. pallidum (TP) is one of the sexually transmitted disease known for almost 500 years, and yet, many facts about the disease are unknown and the organism cannot be cultured in vitro. We have found that both susceptible and a resistant strains of guinea pigs are capable of transmitting the disease to their fetuses."

    In uncomplicated cases, Hahnemann treated Syphilis successfully with a single dose of potentised Mercury. (See Chronic Diseases - Samuel Hahnemann, Page 87-96.) Syphilis experiments on Guinea Pigs, with treatment using Homeopathic medicines may provide statistical significance. Monkeys have proved to be the most successful animals for testing this disease.

    Gonorrhea: Bacterium, Neisseria gonorrhoeae:

    In Homeopathy, Gonorrhea (Sycosis) is trested with two potentised medicines; Thuja and Nitric Acid. (See Chronic Diseases - Samuel Hahnemann, Page 83-84.)

    Again, animal testing may provide statistically significant results. Monkeys have proved to be one of the best models for both syphilis and gonorrhea. Homeopaths would, initially, need to take part in this Scientific work as consultants.
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  3. timokay Registered Senior Member

    EXAMPLE 3.

    Homeopathic medicines, whether given to a patient or taken by the healthy ("proving"), show very real signs, such as a localised rashes, or inflammations. Such signs show up very clearly on high-definition Muscle/Spinal Ultrasound (which shows inflammatory and lymphatic "particle" activities in real-time). Monitoring of these activities before and after administration of the medicine would show clear changes in the tissues where the rash is to be expected.

    EXAMPLE 4.

    Discussed earlier with MRC Hans.

    Hans: Also, you claim that Homeopathic drugs taken on their own (by a healthy person, I assume) produce symptoms. This is even easier to test.

    Tim: Yes, it doesn't mean they have any curative effects, just that they do produce symptoms. This test would be the easiest of all.

    Hans: If the predicted effect for Bryonia 6c is objectively measurable, fine. I'd expect something to the tune of 100+100 subjects to be adequate.

    Tim: "Objectively measurable" might be a problem...certainly unmistakable symptoms felt by the that okay? Or they must be measured with an instrument of some kind?

    Hans: Show THAT it works (not HOW). Tim: That is an important statement - THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE I HAVE SEEN. One of the BBCi people said it too. Hans: This is the approach of all modern science, or rather, one of them.

    1) You have a thesis (A causes B), so you test it, and if it turnd out to be true, you set out discovering why. Especially in medical science this is productive; after all, the patient does not care why the treatment works, as long as it works.

    2) Based on a putative causal effect (given our knowledge of A it should cause B), you make a prediction and design a test to verify (or reject) it. We are talking about both types here. About the case stories in your next post: These are old stories that cannot be confirmed. We cannot know if the diagnosis was correct, we cannot know if the patient was really cured or relapsed later. All the participants are long dead, no independent records exist (I presume). I know you trust Hahnemann 100%, but this trust is entirely belief-based and is of no use to others. I'm sorry, but such accounts, while interesting in a historical perspective, have zero scientific value.

    Tim: I merely pasted parts of the Chronic Diseases, i.e., the manual describing the diseases and how to treat them (used by Homeopaths for 170 years).
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  5. BTox Registered Senior Member

    This is what we have been asking all along. To date, no one has been able to show homeopathy works at all, against any disease, any symptom of disease, better than placebo. Don't you think after 200 years of failure it's time to bury this worthless system of health care?
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  7. timokay Registered Senior Member


    That's nonsense. I assume you are referring to Scientific evidence.
    Homeopaths have been reporting successes in their own Journals for nearly 200 years.

    If the Scientists don't want to look at this evidence then so be it.
  8. timokay Registered Senior Member

    "So be it" is not acceptable way to leave things.

    The onus on anyone who has taken the trouble to study and therefore understands the "Scientific acceptance problem", is to try to do something about it motivated by a sense of justice.

    This is an extremely important issue to Medical Science. Anyone who has read modern Medical Pathology texts understands the growing problems of antibiotics, for instance, and the Pathologist's search for ways to treat bacterial diseases in other ways :

    From Pathology by MITCHINSON: Page 111: "The agents of bacterial disease have proved to be much more resourceful than anticipated. If we cannot always cure a bacterial infection with an antibiotic, we may be able to enhance the body's natural killing merchanisms so that they can do the job for us".

    This is no more than a Pathology pipedream, at the moment. Yet, Homeopathy has cured nearly all disease, completely, without antibiotics and by natural means, since Hahnemann discovered how to do it over 200 years ago.

    There has NEVER been any animal testing on Homeopathic medicines. Why might this be?
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2003
  9. timokay Registered Senior Member

    Here's a protocol written by Clare, with my replies in QUOTES.

    1) Homeopaths decide on what condition is to be treated and diagnostic criteria

    2) homeopaths decide on what patients are to be treated and the treatment regime

    3) homeopaths decide on what constitutes "improvement" or "cure"

    4) homeopaths decide on what homeopathic remedy is appropriate to the patients

    5)homeopaths prepare the remedies according to correct homeopathic protocol

    6) scientists take the prescribed, pre-prepared remedies, and replace half with a placebo, then number or code the remedies so that only the scientists know which are homeopathic and which aren't.

    7) Homeopaths give out the remedies and assess the patients' improvement

    8) scientists analyse the results to see if the homoepathic group showed more improvement than the placebo group.

    (Following paragraphs by Clare.)

    9) This would preferably all be replicated by an independent group of people in exactly the same way.

    This would ensure that there could be no argument over how the treatments were prepared, the nature of the consultations, the remedy used, etc etc. So there is no problem at all with the scientific testing of homeopathy. It's just a case of having the will to set up an experiment where there could be no dispute of the results.

    Obviously there would need to be some scientific consultation on the disorder chosen, but there need not be too many restrictions at all. It would need to be something that is capable of being cured/improved! I don't see that it is necessary to follow conventional disease classification - as long as the patients are split into remedy/placebo groups at random. Ideally they would all have the same disorder (however classified) and one that will show an improvement reasonably quickly; a simple example might be pain or nausea.
    The signs don't need to be objective - it could just be the patients' own perception of whether they have seen an improvement, eg how bad the pain/nausea is on a scale of 1-10, before and after treatment. It only matters that all patients are judged in the same way.

    The biggest stumbling block seems to be the prescription - ideally each patient needs to be given the same dose (of remedy or placebo) and the same treatment regime. Increasing the dose of some patients and not others would cause all sorts of confusion. Of course in conventional medicine there is lots of adjustment of doses and remedy combinations for each patient too, it's not unique to homeopathy, and yet drug trials are still successfully designed, so this in no way precludes scientific trials.

    Ideally each patient needs to be given the same dose (of remedy or placebo) and the same treatment regime. Increasing the dose of some patients and not others would cause all sorts of confusion.

    "Ideally they would all have the same disorder (however classified) and one that will show an improvement reasonably quickly; a simple example might be pain or nausea. "

  10. BTox Registered Senior Member

    You are right, it is nonsense. Homeopaths have been reporting successes is no different from psychics reporting successes. Both have been tested independently and found to be nothing but fraud.

    You yourself admit that homeopathy did not cure your back pain, only lessened it. And you were taking NSAIDs at the same time. What kind of cure is that?
  11. timokay Registered Senior Member


    People like you are a waste of time because you do not report facts, just the first thing that comes into your head.

    I do not take NSAID's..I did several years ago...Re. Homeopathy I visited a Homeopath just once about 8 months ago...was not impressed by that particular person - it was nothing whatsoever to do with the effectiveness or otherwise of homeopathy.

    Some sites for interested parties:
  12. BTox Registered Senior Member

    Sure, here are the most recent "facts" on homeopathy:

    If you or Hahnemannian ever post anything remotely close to a fact, and FYI the inane writings of a discredited 18th century quack do not apply, I'll let you know...
  13. BTox Registered Senior Member

    And speaking of reporting facts, does this look familiar?

    "8 years ago I seriously injured my back, had two ops., and been in pain ever since. No medical doctor has succeeded in dealing with this pain, but its not that bad. The doc. could kill the pain, with Steroids, but it would mean addiction for life, plus some horrific, probably fatal side-effects. I take safer, maximum dose NSAI's (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories).
    I tried homeopathy and, believe me, it works - though I still have some pain.


    Last edited by timokay on 11-30-2002 at 10:49 AM"

    Posted at JREF last november.
  14. timokay Registered Senior Member


    "And speaking of reporting facts, does this look familiar?"

    What exactly is your point, oh infantile one?
  15. timokay Registered Senior Member

    Re; Five Medline papers posted above:

    (i.e., Btox's: "Sure, here are the most recent "facts" on homeopathy")

    My support extends only to Hahnemannian Homeopathy (the classical Homeopathy practiced by Hahnemann) at the moment, as that is the only Homeopathy I know in detail.

    I could never support mixing remedies, as you will find in most of the Medline papers.

    MEDLINE 1:

    “ At present, we do not have any evidence that homeopathic therapy has any effect other than a placebo effect. However, this can be very impressive sometimes. We do not know which variables are correlated with placebo effectiveness, and we do not have any data on real-type homeopathy outside a trial setting, as there are no data available. ”

    I would not call the above a conclusive test of any kind.

    MEDLINE 2:

    "In dermatology, homeopathy is often used in atopic dermatitis, ”

    The atopic preparations are mixtures. And Hahnemann never supported external treatment like this. He stipulates in the ORGANON of medicine that medicines should not be applied externally.

    MEDLINE 3:

    “The effect of homeopathic treatment on mental symptoms of patients with generalized anxiety disorder did not differ from that of placebo. ”

    A tough one for me. Who was the Homeopath and what did he administer? Probably not a Hahnemannian.

    "B w" would have an answer here, as it's his field. Hahnemann mentions strategies for handling anxiety disorders..he would always search for and treat the underlying problem. He was aware of the Placebo effect also, and knew how to use it. In fact, it may be the treatment in many cases like this.

    MEDLINE 4:

    “ In the common classical form of homeopathy, prescriptions are individualised for each patient. ”

    The "common classical form" is NOT Hahnemannian Homeopathy.

    “ ..medication in 96 children with mild to moderate asthma as an adjunct to conventional treatment. ”

    Homeopathy can never be tested as AN ADJUNCT to conventional treatment. Conventional treatment ALWAYS interferes with both case-taking and the action of the medicine. Hahnemann had some VERY STRONG WORDS on that matter.

    MEDLINE 5:

    “ Homeopathic arnica is widely believed to control bruising, reduce swelling and promote recovery after local trauma; many patients therefore take it perioperatively. ”

    This kind of study could never a strategy for testing Homeopathy. The effectiveness of a polychrest like Arnica on one or two symptoms is not what Homeopathy is about, at all.

    Polychrests are medicines that MAY affect a high proportion of people, but certainly not in the specific symptoms measured in this study. Homeopathic medicines act on the "totality of symptoms" in that patient.

    Each patient is carefully assessed for ALL their symptoms, signs and manifestations. The doctor selects (from about 2,500) the medicine which is most homeopathic to each particular case.

  16. BTox Registered Senior Member

    Just pointing out the many contradictions in the hokum you cut and paste, and even your own words.
  17. BTox Registered Senior Member

    There are hundreds more, go look them up and try to find more excuses for why homeopathy doesn't work. Don't you think someone by now would be able to prove it works, that any highly diluted "remedy" has any physiological effect whatsoever? So far, after more than 200 years, nothing. Quit wasting your time on this hogwash, already.
  18. scotth Registered Senior Member


    Proponents of homeopathy (like yourself) regularly point out why a given test regime could not fairly test homeopathy (as you did above).

    What you fail to take account of is that these tests were frequently devised by or with the aid of homeopathic practitioners and they were perfectly happy with the setup right up to the moment they realized that the tests showed that homeopathy failed the test. Then the scramble is on to find the reason for the test failure (beside the obvious culprit that homeopathy consistently fails to deliver as promised).

    If people claim that homeopathy can cure some specific problem, that is a testable premise. Period. Find some people with the specified problem, randomly give them either placebo or the homeopathic treatment. If the homeopathic practitioner cannot sort the people into the placebo and treatment groups after the trial better than he could by chance, homeopathy fails. Time to find another miracle cure to test. It is that simple.

    I have read all the carrying ons in the recently closed thread, "On homeopathy" and I joined this board just to mention to Hahnemannian that I have never seen anyone so in need of a padded room as him on a public forum. But, alas, that thread is closed. Since I don't get to do that there, I will say this here:

    1) Homeopathic believers claim that homeopathy can plainly cure many diseases.
    2) Double blind placebo controlled trials are NOT ROCKET SCIENCE and surely at least ONE homeopathic believer is smart enough to design one that is "compatible" with homeopathy.
    3) Once designed, a trial could be done entirely by homeopaths and merely supervised by non homeopaths.
    4) This would demonstrate to any skeptical person that there was at least something to homeopathy.

    And regardless of your protestations to the contrary, steps 1-4 have been carried out numerous times with completely negative results every single time.

    These simple four steps would provide you with INSTANT CREDIBILITY, anything less will leave you languishing in la-la land.

    Now, you decide. Are ya gonna crap, or get off the pot, as it were?

    Double blind placebo controlled studies are designed to do one single thing: To separate the wheat from the chaff. Does something/anything do what it says it does, or not. It is incredibly simple, and incredibly effective, and very hard to fool. If your precious homeopathy can’t perform under scrutiny, it just can’t perform. Any statement to the contrary is simple wishful thinking and self-delusion.
  19. timokay Registered Senior Member


    "Just pointing out the many contradictions in the hokum you cut and paste, and even your own words."

    You have not pointed out anything, oh stupid and infantile one.
    If you claim to know anything about Science you will know that vague global statements and superficial levels of understanding are totally worthless...and those you possess in abundance.

    Re. the 100's of Medline papers, I HAVE LOOKED AT EVERY ONE OF THEM, and found them all to be phony w.r.t. the teachings of the founder of Homeopathy. If you had a spark of interest or commitment, (indeed intelligence - impossible in one living such a superficial existence) I would point these out in detail.

    I know about this because I STUDY MY SUBJECT before commenting on it. YOU, on the other hand are a weak, superficial little clown, probably about 17, who knows nothing of Science, Homeopathy, OR ANYTHING as far as you have demonstrated so far.

    " Don't you think someone by now would be able to prove it works, that any highly diluted "remedy" has any physiological effect whatsoever? So far, after more than 200 years, nothing. Quit wasting your time on this hogwash, already."

    If you would try Bryonia 6c, that is, if you have any integrity or interest in facts, you will get a reaction...a clear pattern of symptoms, in other words, physiological effects.

    Because of your ultra-superficial understanding of everything, you have not LOOKED FOR EVIDENCE, and formed an opinion on a whim. You and the many other simple minded people just like you should "Quit wasting your time.." because you are uninformed.


    No doubt you'll be coming back with some vague infantile follow-up.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2003
  20. timokay Registered Senior Member


    "What you fail to take account of is that these tests were frequently devised by or with the aid of homeopathic practitioners and they were perfectly happy with the setup right up to the moment they realized that the tests showed that homeopathy failed the test. Then the scramble is on to find the reason for the test failure (beside the obvious culprit that homeopathy consistently fails to deliver as promised)."

    I take account of EVERYTHING because I have studied the material.

    You could have re-phrased the above as a question. "Did you take into account.. ", but people very rarely do because it's Homeopathy, and always fair game.

    Everyone in the world is, by default, an expert on Homeopathy and feel it their duty to voice their profound opinions on the subject such that all Homeopaths humble themselves before them.

    Knowledge of Homeopathy must be instinctual memory, because all these people never feel the urge to actually open up a book on Homeopathy before preaching their profound (if not a little predictable) words.

    E.g., little whippersnappers like the 17yo Btox, above, and 100% of his relatives.

    The rest of what you wrote above, Scott, shows your prejudice and I know from experience that "the prejudiced" are not worth the time of day.

    But if there are Scientists out there, with some integrity, and prepared to be objective, then dialogue may be productive.
  21. MRC_Hans Skeptic Registered Senior Member

    Temper, temper, Tim! You used to stand out by avoiding ad hominem attacks. Better continue that line.

    In your first posts, and citing me extensively, you pointed out that tests could be designed. What are you waiting for, then? I have long ago made an offer: I will help you design a protocol, I'm normally doing this ofr money, but for you, I'll do it for free. But you are the one who knows about Homeopathy, so you musy supply a draft:

    1) State type of preparation you want to test.
    2) Describe the type of symptom it is assumed to cause.
    3) Describe a method to validate that the preparation is genuine (otherwise that would be a method to cheat). I would presume that a check proving it to be chemically clean water would do.

    As I have mentioned, symptoms like body temperature change, blood pressure change, blood glucose level change, are much preferable, becuse they can be measured objectively. This will do away with subjective assesments that will complicate the test.

    And on efficiacy testing: If you find that the difference in the way to see a disease is too big between conventional science and Homeopathy, it needs not be restricted to a specific disease, since a broad array of diseases could still validate if Homeopathy can cure diseases.

    The examination, prescription, random placebo substitution principle can be used as basis for a good test protocol. I may not be able to help you all the way here, as it might require more medical knowledge than I have.

    In short: You know the road. What is keeping you?

  22. timokay Registered Senior Member

    Nice one, Hans.

    Some Preliminaries: This test could be run cheaply by post. One test coordinator would obtain the Medicine and Blanks and split them into labelled envelopes containing either 10 pills of medicine or 10 of blanks.

    The chosen codes on these labels & actual contents of envelopes, could then be sent to someone else. (Test coordinator 2)

    All the envelopes (labelled, but not indicating their contents) then sent as a single package to Test coordinator 3, who logs the labels and writes the name/address of each person to be poisoned..oops, I mean tested, and sends the envelopes out.

    The medicine I propose is called BRYONIA 6c, chosen because it is one of a group that Hahnemann explained have particular symptom swings - that anyone would notice. This medicine is very easily obtainable - I will provide it, in manufacturers sealed container, to the first Test coordinator.

    (Getting blanks from that manufacturer may take longer - making inquiries.)

    This test is just to show that H. Medicines have unmistakable symptoms, not that they will cure a particular disease. The subjects are all healthy people.

    I will get the expected "proving" symptoms of Bryonia from the Materia Medica.

    The subjects must take 2 pills at two hour intervals, between meals, until all 10 are consumed (unless the symptoms appear before all 10 are taken, which is likely, and they will know about it, so stop the doses then).

    Symptoms will be unmistakable, so forget the Placebo effect.

    These symptoms will wear off over 1 to 2 days, so they need fear not.

    What do you think, Hans?
  23. MRC_Hans Skeptic Registered Senior Member

    We can forget placebo effect, because the design of the test cancels this out. I still need to know the expected symptoms in order to design the evaluation process.

    Your mailing process is needlessly complex. Placebo can be obtained from a number of sources. Since test subjects have no oportunity to compare and have no a priori knowledge of how the medicine looks, the placebo needs not be totally indistinguishable from the medicine.

    I would suggest the following process:

    -Medication is obtained and sent to mediator.
    -Medication is validated.
    -Placebo is obtained and sent to mediator.
    -Mediator prepares portions to test subjects by a random sceme, logging who gets placebo.
    -Mediator sends portions to test subjects together with instructions, evaluation form, and return envelope.

    -Test subjects take medication, fill out evaluation form and send it to Homepoath.
    -Homeopath prepares a list based on return form stating who got placebo and who got medicine and sends it to mediator.
    -Mediator compares list with log of who actually got what and publishes the result.

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