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A result! Well done!

However, I'm none the wiser as to exactly why they see a need for a respected scientific organisation to produce a list of quack nonsense. They say:
Quote:
The homeopathy database is a standard reference system for homeopathic practitioners, and other users of plant remedies. It reconciles the old homeopathic codes with the current botanical code. The information is based on long established remedies in the Homeopathic Materiae Medicae that are now revised and updated and the online access means it can be maintained and updated easily in line with current concepts of botanical nomenclature.
So, why? Surely it's a job for the quacks?

Also, I'm struck by their naivete when he says:
Quote:
I am not sure that I agree that the material on the site gives homeopathy scientific credence
Of course it is giving it credence. Just imagine all the quacks referring to the NHM's database...

I think we need to wait and see what they change. I've set up a change detection for their main page on homoeopathy, but can some of us regularly check their website?

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November 21st, 2008, 11:38 pm
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Going back to the subject of placebo, and more particularly to misgivings as to the ethics of using this, I heard something on Radio 4 this evening. Apparently, you can say something like 'this pill has no active ingredients but some people find it effective' and the placebo will still have an appreciable effect. Also, when some people are given a bigger tablet than others, they are likely to improve better than those using the smaller tablets. As the broadcaster said, a funny thing, the mind.

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November 27th, 2008, 10:35 pm
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...and the colour of the placebo pill makes a difference!

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November 27th, 2008, 10:44 pm
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Any idea which? (Striped, chequered, poker dot?)

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November 27th, 2008, 10:45 pm
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Coulor of placebo pills seem to have an effect too, as does the number of pills volunteers are asked to take (in trials).

Ben Goldacre explains this really well in his book Bad Science (if I can understand it, anyone can!)

The human mind sure is an amazing and strange thing. :wink:

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November 28th, 2008, 7:20 pm
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As homeopathic medicines mention their composition in the package (they must, at least in Italy) a good idea would be to take the content to a chemical laboratory for testing. If the report says something different then the producing company could be reported to the police.

I remember to have done this with colleagues at my office when someone came to propose the purchase of pure olive oil. We colleagues shared the cost of testing: oil turned out to be really pure! We bought it in quantities and ... it was really good.

The problem with Homeopathic medicaments is, I think but am nor sure, that their composition is arranged by small laboratories/pharmacies whose reliability might be dubious. All medicaments were made up by pharmacists in good old times; good :puzzled:

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November 29th, 2008, 5:35 pm
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Quote:
peneasy
As homeopathic medicines mention their composition in the package (they must, at least in Italy) a good idea would be to take the content to a chemical laboratory for testing.

They do indeed list the ingredients peneasy (as they must in the UK also)
This short video from James Randi explains all, enjoy.

James Randi explains homeopathy.

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November 29th, 2008, 10:01 pm
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peneasy wrote:
As homeopathic medicines mention their composition in the package (they must, at least in Italy) a good idea would be to take the content to a chemical laboratory for testing. If the report says something different then the producing company could be reported to the police.
An interesting idea...I'll look into the labelling. In the UK, it would be Trading Standards that would deal with something like this, I think.

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November 30th, 2008, 5:02 pm
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I can't immediately find any list of ingredients that is useful. I'll look at one the next time I'm in a Chemist.

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November 30th, 2008, 5:17 pm
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Awesome vid Alan. I had no idea Randi was so short. He has a gift for hitting home, see when everyone was laughing and it was funny, but then he mentioned the pill to fight anthrax, bubonic plague, smallpox and radiation the whole room went silent.

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December 2nd, 2008, 11:06 am
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what I find really really disturbing is that the cash strapped NHS, here in Scotland, funds a whole in and out patient unit for homeopathy (I believe it's at Gartnavel Hospital).

I used to work in the NHS and the whole concept of evidence based practice was constantly being drummed into us.

Latterly, I worked in a department which (amongst other things) evaluated different forms of treatment and services. We employed "Health Econimists" who's whole raison d'etre was the evaluation of services.

Can someone tell me where a made up treatment regime fits into this?
Of course you can't. No one could justify public funds being used for quack medicine.

But then along come the politicians!
Constituants like this soft and fluffy option, where you are treated as an individual and your doctor has time to listen to your problems.
There has been a homeopathic hospital in Glasgow for many many years.

What politician is going to jepordise their seat by sugesting that funding is taken from this service and redirect it to-oh!, I don't know-let's say to cancer services?

Makes my blood boil.

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December 2nd, 2008, 9:27 pm
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getreal wrote:
Can someone tell me where a made up treatment regime fits into this?
I think you answered your own question!

Seriously, I'm glad to hear evidence based practice was drummed into you, but I think it's just a bit too much of 'well, patients are asking for it and (and it's cheaper than proper medicine)' and not enough 'but is it the right thing to do'.

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December 5th, 2008, 5:16 pm
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I have just written to my MSP and the Scottish health Secy on this subject (the only other time I wrote, was a letter to the Prime Minister -it might have been Harold Wilson, at the time- asking them to stop whaling!).

We even had someone in the department (she had a particularly obscure title, I think it was 'Director for Unscheduled Care') who's remit was to look at treatments which were not provided by our health board, and evaluate them.

I never heard her mention homoeopathy (but she did mention, very disparagingly, NLP--God! is there no end to this new age crap!) and I suspect that as the NHS provided this an another area, it would not even come on to her desk.

I think I have wasted my career--I should have spent 5 mins. thinking up something unusual to do with cat wee and developed a whole new sytem of treatments!!!!

(Oh! I need to go and get a cup of coffee before I explode)

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December 6th, 2008, 5:57 pm
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I've split the posts of about NHS funding chaplains to a new thread here.

Another great blog here.

Quote:
"Saving a lost generation" - Autism and Homeopathy

Just thought I’d share a few thoughts that came to mind when I read about the advertisement documentary being made by homeopath and filmmaker Carol Boyce.



I've also found a website with a really nice, clear and comprehensive explanation about why homeopathy is a crock. Homeopathy is a scam. It's by Ed Zimney, M.D. and promoted as 'Health and Medical News You Can Use' so I thought I'd bookmark it here for future reference.


December 10th, 2008, 12:13 pm
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tubataxidriver wrote:
And an instant reply with a hint of some action. Well done to NHM Director. And well done to Maria for spotting it.

Quote:
Dear Dr Hodge
Thank you for your note on the section of our website devoted to clarifying the classification and identification of plants used by practitioners of homeopathy. I am not sure that I agree that the material on the site gives homeopathy scientific credence, but if you have inferred this then that itself highlights the need to be more explicit.
The NHM is a scientific organisation and we promote good science. This is, for example, why we promote Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection as the only tried and tested explanation of how diverse life forms on our planet came to be, and why we will not promote alternative theories based on faith (e.g. creationism, intelligent design) as having any scientific basis.
As a publicly funded organisation we have a duty to be respectful of the views of our audiences from all backgrounds and walks of life, but this does not mean that we have to agree with all their views or promote something as fact when there is no extant evidence to support this.
When these pages of our website were first posted, there was internal debate about how we presented our position. I have asked that we look at this again in the light of the inferences and comments you have made. This will likely lead to some changes though I would expect this to take some weeks to implement.
Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.
Regards
Michael Dixon
Director
No change yet as far as I can see.

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December 16th, 2008, 12:37 am
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I've just gained access to http://www.provings.info, a site dedicated to providing the 'evidence' for the effects of homoeopathic preparations in the form of their provings. This has to be read to be believed!

There seems to be two forms: either the provers take the homoeopathic dose (in whatever nonsense dilution) or they 'sleep on it'. The latter refers to putting it under your pillow at night and writing down in the morning what your dreams were! They use this to work out what it cures! You just couldn't make this stuff up!

More nonsense: one proving is for the AIDS Nosode, a preparation made from the blood of someone with AIDS who subsequently dies. Given the dilutions (assuming due care and attention), there is, of course, no danger involved for the provers... However, you've just got to read their proving. Apparently, they've got photos of how the blood of one prover changed markedly during the proving...

More worrying (if that's possible) is a proving of 'Sai Baba's materialised Ashes'. For those unaware, Sai Baba is an Indian 'guru' who's been exposed as a fraud and a paedophile, but his followers still defend him. There is more on him here. The proving was done by the dream method and some even raise some ethical dilemmas:
Quote:
Is it ethical to give an energy with such spiritual associations to people without asking their permission first?
Unbelievable garbage.

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December 18th, 2008, 4:16 pm
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I see the "school of homeopathy" is in Devon, that's also the county where most of the "Chiropactors" learn their trade, I wonder if there is a school down there that just offers degrees in bullshit?
Quote:
Acknowledgments

Thanks and acknowledgments go to:

* All the provers who participated willingly and accidentally.

* The many coworkers, collators, extractors and researchers, notably: Jo Overton, Dee MacLachlan, Mariette Honig and Peter Fraser.

* Helios Pharmacy and Friends of Homoeopathy for financial aid.
No relation I hope Maria. :wink:

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December 18th, 2008, 7:28 pm
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Some more information about the complaint to the NHM about its homoeopathy database: A canna’ change the laws of physics (brilliant name!).

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December 20th, 2008, 6:52 pm
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Interesting report on a debate with homoeopaths on the NeuroLogica Blog by Dr Steven Novella (an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine):

Part I
Part II

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December 20th, 2008, 7:14 pm
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I've split off all the posts involving today's exchange with Nancy Malik (yes, all THREE PAGES of it) and merged them with the existing Nancy Malik thread. No more Nancy Malik posts in this thread because it is quite long enough without them.

:angry:


December 26th, 2008, 9:33 pm
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