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Homeopathy a placebo?

August 29th, 2005, 12:00 AM
Anybody read this article? Any comments?

Homeopathy a placebo

Canadian Press

Friday, August 26, 2005

TORONTO (CP) -- Homeopathic remedies may help people feel better, but their impact appears to be no greater than a placebo effect, a comparison of more than 200 studies of the alternative medicine and conventional treatments concludes.

Homeopathy, which aims to stimulate a patient's own healing processes with minute dilutions of specific remedies, is based on the theory of treating "like with like." The patient describes symptoms in detail and the practitioner prescribes tiny, non-toxic doses of a selected substance that, at higher doses, would produce those symptoms in a healthy person.

A group of international researchers wanted to determine whether homeopathic medicine actually works beyond the power of suggestion.
"We do know that people do get better with homeopathy," said co-investigator Dr. Matthias Egger, head of social and preventive medicine at the University of Bern in Switzerland. "I have friends who tell me they went to see a homeopath and got better.

"But the question is how does it work?"
After searching the medical literature, the researchers distilled 110 studies that compared homeopathic remedies to placebo, or dummy pills, and an equal number that compared conventional medicine treatments to placebo.
The team, whose paper appears Friday in the Lancet, matched the studies to ensure patient profiles were similar and the ailment being treated was the same. Ailments included respiratory tract infections, asthma and gastrointestinal problems.

Because small studies tend to produce effects that appear significant but may actually be misleading, the authors limited their analysis to patient trials for both homeopathic and conventional therapies that were well-designed and involved large numbers of patients.

"What we saw was when you looked at these good, large studies, you did no longer see an effect for homeopathy, whereas you still saw an effect for conventional medicine," Egger said Thursday from Bern.

"Conventional medicine interventions did better than placebo, whereas the homeopathy interventions basically did the same as placebo."

Egger stressed that the researchers aren't disputing patients' reports that taking homeopathic remedies makes them feel better.

"It just means that the reason why they feel better is probably not because of that little white pill," he said. "It's more likely to be due to the fact that they see someone, spend quite a bit of time with someone who takes a very detailed history of his or her symptoms and gives a lot of attention to this patient."

But Toronto naturopath Ruth Anne Baron disputed the researchers conclusions.

"They're saying that by looking at these 110 studies and subjecting them to this kind of statistical analysis that it conclusively proves that homeopathic treatment is no better than placebo," said Baron, president of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors.

"Now, all of us who use homeopathy clinically would definitely argue with that, and patients who use homeopathy would argue with that, as well.
"The homeopathic effect, I have felt it myself, I have seen it in my patients, but it's very elusive, it's so difficult to quantify it," she said. I personally believe we don't have a fine enough measurement tool yet."

Baron said the Lancet analysis involved studies using several different homeopathic approaches, not all of them considered valid by many practitioners. Furthermore, the alternative medicine system can't be studied using the same methods as conventional medicine, she added.

Here are some facts about homeopathy:
What it is
--A method of healing based on the idea that substances causing specific symptoms in a healthy person can cure these symptoms in someone who is sick.
--Derived from the Greek "homeo," meaning same, and "pathos," meaning suffering.
--The remedies, among them pills and liquids, are prepared from plant, mineral and animal extracts that are highly diluted in a specific way that makes them non-toxic.
Where it came from
--Homeopathy was developed by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, who first published his treatise on treating illness in 1810. The sixth edition of Organon of Rational Therapeutics, published in 1921, is still used today as homeopathy's basic text.
The controversy
--In the latest scientific questioning of homeopathy, an analysis of more than 200 international trials concludes the alternative medicine system may make patients feel better, but the impact is no greater than that of the placebo effect -- a beneficial result that occurs because of a patient's expectation that the therapy will help.
--Practitioners and proponents of homeopathy dispute that the "homeopathic effect" is merely psychological.
Ran with fact box "What homeopathy's all about" which has been appended to the story.
Alberni Valley Times 2005

August 29th, 2005, 01:53 AM
sounds to me like you should work for the big money mogel medical companies :p :p man im cheeky, oh well. nhow its a conspiracy i tells ya, truly it is, but first hear me out :p :D

oh this is a biigie

i look at the 2nd theory of thermodynamics for a bit of a hand here, and yes i think it fits here, basically as we know it says energy cannot be created or destroyed, just distributed. so if were strictly talking the memory of water theories yes i do agree with them, you put in the molecule of whatever into water and that mol is never destroyed, its essential energies may change but it will never disapear so i think, yes if you put a foreign molecule into water molecules there will be a memory of sorts of that foriegn molecule, even if in the minuteset amount... so i do believe in the memory of water theories, they seem to be quite sound from the evidence i have seen.

it cant be psychological only, not if the energies still exist, to me i cant see it as possible.., and arent all medicines placebos to some extent, taking medicinee makes most ppl feel better, activly feeling they are addressing their ilness is very beneficial.

to a certaiin extent and for want of a better word i consider homeopathy/naturopathy all those original complimentries the 'forefather's of modern medicine.

hey what do you think they took 5000yrs ago. there are many native plants of australia that were used mby my indigenous ppl and many of these products were used in very very miniscule amounts, often diluted in liquid, but still in tiny amounts. is that not really the same???

many plant products are extrememyl toxic in the human system ,yet as these theories show in tiny amounts can often produce quite effective results, so as far as dilution goes that to me is understandable and testament to the healing power of nature, man its jsut some strong crap :angel: :D :p .

i thought i would add this quote from the australian college of natural medicines- 'Contrary to popular opinion, Homeopathic potencies are not simply highly diluted solutions, but ones made by rigid scientific procedures of serial (consecutive) dilution and succussion (vigorous agitation)'.

so i reckon this is not an overnight operation, this is a system that has been used and accepted as effective for thousands and thousands of years, check out the writings of hypocrates (sp aw crap) who also felt this many moons ago.

i think its time that the medical companies accepted that alternative and complimentry medicine can exsist beside the common stuff and not kill of their industry, nah i reckon this is a huge conspiracy of a few money bugger to stop ppl realiasing the truth about some aspects of modern medicine and in particular sonme treatments in modern medicine.

now off to harass the world and spout more of my colourful crap, yippers skippers.....

August 29th, 2005, 11:59 AM
In my organic 2 class, my prof kept talking about how we have stereotypes of "natural" vs "synthetic" and he pointed out that a lot of the so-called natural things are much more toxic than a lot of synthetic things. It's all about chemistry- where the stuff comes from doesn't determine how it will affect the body whereas its chemical properties will. :)

August 29th, 2005, 06:39 PM
I think it is a good article,there are similar ones all over the net.I dont believe in homeopathy.

August 30th, 2005, 04:27 PM
just out of interest, do you support complimentry medicines such as naturopathy??

just interested is all :D

August 30th, 2005, 09:39 PM
I believe in testing and in science. :) If something is taken and it has a desired significant effect, then it doesn't matter what it is, or who made it.