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Lifelinking wrote:
so, if it is a demonstration about homeopathy, does that mean that the more strongly that people care about it the fewer of them turn up?
Isn't it that the fewer brain cells they have, the more they believe in it?


November 17th, 2007, 1:26 am
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Homeopathy is the water dilution thing right?

They should look up and research a little thing called Avogadro's number.

They also should look up the placebo effect.

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December 20th, 2007, 11:38 pm
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I did a talk to the Perth Group of the HSS earlier this year on homeopathy. I thought I had linked to the presentation I did - I'll check at the weekend if it's still there.

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December 21st, 2007, 1:24 am
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Here it is at last!

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December 26th, 2007, 11:36 pm
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*sigh*

I just got the tail end of an item on BBC Breakfast TV featuring a homeopathist making an impassioned plea for homeopathy to be funded by the NHS. He presented an argument for the efficacy of a homeopathic remedy for allergies which, so far as I could understand it, went like this:

"There is evidence that a dilution of histamine is effective treating allergies."

What do you mean by 'dilution'?

"I mean ultra molecular dilution which effectively means there is no histamine left in the water."

So how can that work?

"The important thing to note is that it does work. That's the important thing!"

But how?

"It changes the structure of the water."

:puzzled:

Dr Rosemary Leonard, GP, was there for balance and at times she had trouble keeping a straight face but fortunately every time the homeopath claimed there was a "growing body of evidence" for this or that in favour of homeopathy she countered that there was an even larger body of evidence that it didn't work.

They asked viewers to let them know our views so I fired off a quick email.


January 31st, 2008, 10:11 am
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I think it was yesterday's Guardian and I think the figure was 1 out of 4 or 5 NHS Trusts are cutting down or stopping their funding of homeopathy.
If one set up a School of Placebo, one would have as much success but of course no would take much notice or want to fork out their hard earned pennies for diluted water. The sad thing is that if the NHS funded time spent on talking to people and listening it would be cheaper than medication.


January 31st, 2008, 10:29 am
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Homeopathy is total nonsense. If it works for someone it can be shown it is the placebo effect(affect? effect? lol), no other causative mechanism exists. I am just starting an immunology module in semester B this year. Immunology is an extremely complex system of interrelated components. Homeopathy is bunk.

Here is two links from Doctor Ben Goldacre, operator of http://www.badscience.net and I think he publishes a column weekly in The Guardian. The first link has an MP3 of him talking about some acupuncture research. The second link is titled "The end of homeopathy (I wish)."

http://www.badscience.net/?p=571

http://www.badscience.net/?p=578

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January 31st, 2008, 2:04 pm
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I sense you haven't read the first page of this thread, Luc. :grin:

Still, no harm in reproducing links to excellent articles. Alan's presentation that he links to a few posts above is well worth a read for anyone wanting to know more about the "science" of homeopathy.


January 31st, 2008, 4:06 pm
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I read the first page of the thread. I never seen those links :-S. Are they in the actual presentation?


After checking I realised they are in the complementary medicines thread. :redface:

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January 31st, 2008, 7:04 pm
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One of them is also in Autumn's post of this thread.


January 31st, 2008, 11:41 pm
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jaywhat wrote:
I think it was yesterday's Guardian and I think the figure was 1 out of 4 or 5 NHS Trusts are cutting down or stopping their funding of homeopathy.
If one set up a School of Placebo, one would have as much success but of course no would take much notice or want to fork out their hard earned pennies for diluted water. The sad thing is that if the NHS funded time spent on talking to people and listening it would be cheaper than medication.
Another article on this:

Quote:
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Pulse - The GP's website - Homeopathy victim of PCT funding cuts
http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/story.asp?s ... 116950&c=2
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Homeopathy victim of PCT funding cuts

30 Jan 08

By Nigel Praities

Homeopathy is becoming the highest profile victim of the Government’s drive to promote cost-effective use of NHS resources, with PCTs across the country stopping funding for the controversial treatment.

A Pulse investigation into the services provided by 132 PCTs reveals only 37% still have contracts for homeopathic services. More than a quarter of trusts have stopped or reduced funding over the past two years, with many cancelling contracts with homeopathic hospitals. Only one PCT said it funded homeopathy as an extra service in primary care.

Homeopathy is highly contentious but remains popular in general practice, with a survey finding it was the second most used complementary treatment after acupuncture last year. But PCTs have come under acute pressure to divert funding away from homeopathy, with a group of experts writing an open letter to directors of commissioning in May 2006, saying the treatment caused ‘cultural and social damage’ and was ‘unsupported by evidence’.

Homeopathic clinics in the UK are in crisis. Tunbridge Wells Homoeopathic Hospital in Kent has announced it will close and the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital is fighting for survival after eight trusts cancelled contracts over the past year, and a further six reduced referrals. Referrals to the hospital are down 20% in a year.

Professor Edzard Ernst, professor of complementary medicine at Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, and a former homeopath himself, said he supported moves to withdraw funding for homeopathy as it was nothing more than a placebo. ‘There can be no cost-effectiveness without effectiveness,’ he warned.
Click here to find out more!

Dr Michael Dixon, chair of the NHS Alliance, said since the letter to PCTs, complementary therapies had been targeted in budget cuts by PCTs to reduce the NHS deficit. He said the future of homeopathy in primary care relied on practice-based commissioning. ‘In the fundholding years, the use of complementary medicine increased rapidly in the NHS, so we may well see the same again.’

Of 37 PCTs that responded, the majority would consider a PBC proposal for homeopathic services, although 28% would not or said such a proposal would be unlikely to succeed.

Dr Tim Robinson, a GP who provides a local homeopathic service in Dorset, said patients denied homeopathic treatments on the NHS might take risks by consulting non-medical practitioners. ‘They will have to pay someone and go to a non-doctor and there are potential risks with that,’ he said.

Pulse conducted its investigation through the Freedom of Information Act, and enquiries to the Royal National Homoeopathic Hospital and Sense About Science.
Readers' comments

* DrPlato | 30 Jan 08

Thousands of patients say they have been helped at these NHS homeopathic hospitals, many of them suffering from illnesses that failed to respond to orthodox treatment. I find it cruel and uncaring to deny them help on the NHS. If they say they feel better then they have benefited from homeopathy.

The attack on homeopathy in the name of cost-effectiveness is ridiculous. Homeopathy works on animals, is safe to use on children, has been used in the UK by doctors for nearly 200 years.

It is cheap, organic, natural and safe and used by many privileged people who could choose whatever medicine they want. A good example of this is the Royal family.
* Graham Jagger | 30 Jan 08

As a GP who uses homeopathy as part of my armamentarium and refers to the homeopathic hospitals when all the local secondary care consultant expertise has been exhausted, I have good evidence that homeopathy helps. I

In the week that we have seen the ENHANCE Trial question the evidence base of conventional medicine in the use of a cholesterol lowering drug (that I am sure would have been accepted to date by the likes of Professor Ernst) we need to acknowledge the quality of observational evidence, that the likes of me and my fellow GPs, who look laterally at alternative and complementary therapies when we run out of effective treatments, have to hand.

The process of Practice Based Commissioning needs to reflect this experience.
* james may | 31 Jan 08

GPs who are trained to understand the principles of evidence-based medicine will look to ensure that we prescribe medicines that work, rather than ones that don't work.

To say that homeopathy 'works' is in itself a bizarre statement. The question should be 'which homeopathic therapy for which illness'? with defined end-points. The best quality evidence shows that no homeopathy has been found to be effective in any condition.

To be recommending homeopathy in the face of current evidence (which GPs should aim to know about) is dishonest and is indistinguishable from quackery. PCTs should withdraw funding in order to preserve the integrity of the NHS.

[Captured: 31 January 2008 23:42:56]

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February 1st, 2008, 12:44 am
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An interesting article in Newsweek:

Quote:
********************************************************************************
Adler: No Way to Treat the Dying | Newsweek Health Matters | Newsweek.com
http://www.newsweek.com/id/105581
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

No Way to Treat the Dying

Cancer, says Barrett, is 'a fertile field for exploitation because patients are so often frightened.'
Feb 4, 2008 Issue

What price do you put on hope? Is $3,000 a week too much? Said Nedlouf faced that question when his wife, Mary, was diagnosed with an inoperable recurrence of breast cancer in the summer of 2006. It did not at first seem like too much to spend on "bioresonance therapy," "quadrant analysis" and "autosanguis" treatments by Dr. Jarir Nakouzi, a homeopathic physician in Bridgeport, Conn. "Whatever that woman wanted, I would do it," says Nedlouf, a native of Morocco who met Mary at Disney World and lived with her in Orlando. Now, a year after his wife's death, Nedlouf thinks he made a bad deal. "He sold us hope that wasn't there," says Nedlouf, who has filed a complaint against the doctor with the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

But Nakouzi was the only one who was offering hope. By the time Mary saw him—after a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation—her cancer was incurable, according to her oncologist, Dr. Nikita Shah. At that point conventional medicine could offer only a remission that might last years, months—or weeks.

Nakouzi did talk about a cure, according to Said Nedlouf. "He talked about getting to the 'root' of the cancer, and that there could be as many as 20 roots," Nedlouf says. He recalls that Nakouzi took a history that went back to Mary's early childhood, focusing on emotional traumas and the deaths of people close to her, probed her with electrodes and prescribed a daily regimen of 30 to 40 pills and supplements. "He talked about eating healthy, using the right toothpaste," Nedlouf says, wonderingly. (Nakouzi declined to be interviewed, citing the ongoing investigation. DPH records show no past disciplinary actions against him.) Homeopathy, a longstanding alternative to standard medical practice that appears to be undergoing a revival, is described on Nakouzi's Web site as "based upon the idea of Similia Similibus Curantur (Like cures Like): A pharmacologically active substance … triggers a series of symptoms. These same symptoms in a sick person can be cured by giving micro doses of this substance." Dr. Jack Killen, acting deputy director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, says homeopathy "goes beyond current understanding of chemistry and physics." He adds: "There is, to my knowledge, no condition for which homeopathy has been proven to be an effective treatment."

But hope, not proof, is what Mary Nedlouf wanted. On a visit, her cousin Mary Maynard expressed concern about her condition. "I am fine," she retorted. "I am being cured." Cancer, says Dr. Stephen Barrett, who runs the Web site Quackwatch.org, is a "fertile field for exploitation, because patients are so often frightened or desperate." By December, Mary's cancer had broken through the chest wall, covering her skin with an oozing sore. The hotel maids refused to touch her sheets, so Said washed them himself. A cancer-weakened vertebra fractured, excruciatingly. Finally Said stepped in. He called a halt to the treatments, after, he says, running up bills of about $41,000 (most of which he is disputing). When he brought her home, "it was frightening to see her," says Maynard. The sore on her chest was ghastly. She died a few weeks later.

Said Nedlouf doesn't blame Nakouzi for not curing an incurable cancer. He sees now that Mary's will to live may have tipped over into self-delusion. But is she to blame for that? Nakouzi's useless treatments, he says, "robbed me of precious time to console her, to come to closure, to prepare for her departure." And that seems like a high price for hope.

[Captured: 31 January 2008 23:53:04]

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February 1st, 2008, 12:54 am
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I hope everyone is familiar with Dr Stephen Barrett's Quackwatch?

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February 1st, 2008, 12:56 am
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As well as doing a module in Microbial genomes and Immunology I am also doing a Pharmacology module this semester and my shiny new pharmacology textbook arrived today. I was happy to see the following piece of text in the book.

ALTERNATIVE THERAPEUTIC PRINCIPLES.

Modern medicine relies heavily on drugs as the main tool of therapeutics. Other therapeutic procedures such as surgery, diet, exercise, etc, are also important of course, as is deliberate non-intervention, but none is so widely applied as drug based therapeutics.
Before the advent of science-based approaches, repeated attempts were made to construct systems of therapeutics, many of which produced even worse results than pure empiricism. One of these was evidence-based medicine, espoused by James Gregory (1735-1882). The favoured remedies included blood letting, emetics, purgatives, which were used until the dominant symptoms of the disease were suppressed. Many patients died from such treatment, and it was in reaction against it that Hahnemann introduced the practice of homœopathy in the early 19th century. The guiding principles of homœopathy are:

- like cures like
- activity can be enhanced by dilution.

The system rapidly drifted into absurdity: for example, Hahnemann recommended the use of drugs at dilutions of 1:10^60, equivalent to one molecule in a sphere the size of the orbit of Neptune.
Many other systems of therapeutics have come and gone, and the variety of dogmatic principles that they embodied have tended to hinder rather than advance scientific progress. Currently, therapeutic systems that have a basis which lies outside the domain of science are actually gaining ground under the general banner of ‘alternative’ or ‘complementary’ medicine. Mostly, they reject the ‘medical model’, which attributes disease to an underlying derangement of normal function that can be defined in biochemical or structural terms, detected by objective means, and influenced beneficially by appropriate chemical or physical interventions. They focus instead on mainly subjective malaise, which may be disease-associated or not. Abandoning objectivity in defining and measuring disease goes along with departure from scientific principles in assessing therapeutic efficacy and risk, with the result that principles and practices can gain acceptance without satisfying any of the criteria of validity that would convince a critical scientist, and that are required by law to be satisfied before a new drug can be introduced into therapy. Public acceptance, alas, has little to do with demonstrable efficacy.

- Excerpt from H.P. RANG, M.M. DALE, J.M RITTER, R.J. FLOWER - RANG and DALE’S Pharmacology Sixth Edition.

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February 6th, 2008, 1:12 am
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Brilliant! I couldn't have put it better myself! :grin:

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February 6th, 2008, 1:24 am
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I liked it.

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February 6th, 2008, 6:40 am
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Homeopathy and Evidence-Based Medicine: Back to the Future Parts I-IV

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?cat=5

Scroll down and start at part I

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February 6th, 2008, 6:44 am
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This is a good article, the first half on Homeopathy, the second half on faith schools.
Taking evidence seriously.
Quote:
Public policy decisions should be based on evidence. So why are taxpayers funding faith schools and alternative therapies?

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February 29th, 2008, 2:23 pm
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Alan C. wrote:
This is a good article, the first half on Homeopathy, the second half on faith schools.
Did I miss that in yesterday's MediaScan? Thanks god for Alan C! :)

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February 29th, 2008, 5:54 pm
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Alan H wrote:
Alan C. wrote:
This is a good article, the first half on Homeopathy, the second half on faith schools.
Did I miss that in yesterday's MediaScan? Thanks god for Alan C! :)
Aww! Now look what you've done.
:redface: :redface: :redface:

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February 29th, 2008, 6:15 pm
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