DO HOMEOPATHY TRIALS SHOW LESS POSITIVE RESULTS AS PROTCOLS TIGHTEN?

Finally someone from the camp of the opposition has posted something that is worthy of discussion . . Here is a comment from “ISayISaw” . .

ISayISaw submitted the following response on 2010/12/01 at 1:08 pm | In reply to Nigel.

“It’s curious when homeopaths trot out their pet meta-analyses they almost always include Linde’s 1997 study, but not the re-analysis of 1999.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10391656

“Why is that?

“Could it be the damning words: “We conclude that in the study set investigated, there was clear evidence that studies with better methodological quality tended to yield less positive results.” which do rather undermine the homeopaths’ case.

“Also they said this;

“’The evidence of bias weakens the findings of our original meta-analysis. Since we completed our literature search in 1995, a considerable number of new homeopathy trials have been published. The fact that a number of the new high-quality trials … have negative results, and a recent update of our review for the most “original” subtype of homeopathy (classical or individualized homeopathy), seem to confirm the finding that more rigorous trials have less-promising results. It seems, therefore, likely that our meta-analysis at least overestimated the effects of homeopathic treatments”

“Homeopathy: never letting the facts get in the way of a good story.

I, John Benneth respond:

Dear I Say,

Bravo for finally ponying up some seemingly reasonable opposition, it certainly is better than most of the other garbage being dumped on us from the opponents of homeopathy. But shame on you for leaving important concluding remarks that put what you have quoted in contrast in context, which reveals your negative bias. The quote actually runs: “We conclude that in the study set investigated, there was clear evidence that studies with better methodological quality tended to yield less positive results. Because summarizing disparate study features into a single score is problematic, meta-regression methods simultaneously investigating the influence of single study features seem the best method for investigating the impact of study quality on outcome.”

But like them all, you’re missing the point entirely, switching criteria away from what is important to what can be made vituperative. The unproven underlying assumption in all opposition to homeopathy is that there is no physical basis for its action, that its action is psychogenic, therefore a medical sham, wrapped up into one vague term, placebo.
Would you be laying the charge of medical sham at the doorstep of psychology because it uses a “talking cure”, attempts to treat mental disorders without psychoactive drugs? The success of psychology, a derivative of hypnosis, is also considered to be a psychological construction. This part of the argument against homeopathy contradicts the second, that homeopathy doesn’t work, for if the terms did not reflect reported benefits, they wouldn’t exist, nor would there be a doctrine such as psychology that is in full support of them.
This may seem a wandering from Linde, but it goes right to the point. The Linde study explicitly asks “Are the Clinical Effects of Homeopathy Placebo Effects?” and then says it is “A Meta-analysis of Placebo-Controlled Trials.” (Linde,1)The results of their meta-analysis, they say, “are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are completely due to placebo. Lancet 1997; 350: 834–43.
The subsequent re-analysis of Linde by the authors does not recant this, it merely says they may have overestimated the effects, and this is prima facie, only within the context of the meta-analysis.
But who can expect Linde questioning placebo effects to be a reasonable investigation when the trials are for verum? Linde has fallen into the common trap of allowing allopathy to set the terms criteria and question. But even so it still favors homeopathy, even in re-analysis.
If we are to ask the placebo question, then we must explore it using a protocol for placebo, not verum, and all testing I have seen is testing for verum. For instance, if we are asking if this is placebo, we would first strip away the psychogenic influence, and using homeopathic high dilutes, perform objective biochemical tests on human products, such as red and white blood cells, in vitro.
It then should come as a great surprise to anyone who believes homeopathics are placebos, to learn that biochemical testing has been done, repeatedly, showing overwhelming results in favor of homeopathy. The majority of results are positive, and they rate higher in methodological assessment than the negative tests. Unless you are willing to believe that the majority of the investigators in biochemical tests for homeopathics, like Prof. Madeleine Ennis of Queens University in Belfast, have psychokinetic powers, or are all making the same unknown error, or are liars, then you have to conclude that it is most likely that the effect of these substances in the subjects they came from are not solely due to psychogenesis. How can the placebos have an effect on blood cells in a petri dish?
Now compare this to human testing in vivo, which is confused by visible results, patient satisfaction and credibility, time, administrator’s skill and influence . . and the placebo effect. How can you expect to get credible results from one thing when it can be influenced by another? An engine mechanic, investigating the cause of stoppage, doesn’t test for lack of fire and fuel at the same time, he reduces the problem by checking oen at a time, such first testing for a spark, then if the spark is getting fuel . That’s what makes him a mechanic, he can make that distinction. But that reductionism isn’t being applied here by Edzard Ernst or anyone else who has intentionally pitted himself against homeopathy, and that is why Ernst is intentionally leaving biochemical testing out of his damning reviews of it. The foregone conclusion of placebo, based on criteria selected for its support of the foregone conclusion, most likely will not be supported by a reductionist approach. If the placebo effect was real, then we would simply be investigating its marvels and how to improve on them, such as in hypnosis. Please belive me when I tell you, many a practitioner of homeopathy is comfortable with the placebo conclusion, it makes him a maven.
One other thing . . and this is the knockout punch. Notice the last name on the list of authors of “ Impact of study quality . .” (Linde, 2) Jonas WB.
This is Dr. Wayne B. Jonas, a medical doctor and practicing physician who still treats members of the US Armed Forces. He was also one of the authors of the Linde 1997 meta-analysis of homeopathy (Linde, 1). He spent 20 years as a military physician. He was the keynote speaker Bastyr University in Seattle .He has conducted serious in vivo epidemiological research, testing prophylaxis against rabbit fever in mice at Walter Reed Army Hospital.
Rabbit fever, or tularemia is a serious contagion because it hits humans quickly and hard enough to incapacitate. Tularemia is a potential bio-warfare agent. It is highly contagious but not infectious or especially fatal and can be used specifically against troops without great danger to nearby civilian populations. Given its bio-warfare potential, finding a tularemia prophylaxis should be and presumably is of interest to the government, and so handling this kind of a study requires some extremely strict protocols.
In that he is being cited here in criticism of homeopathy admits him as a good witness for homeopathy. Critical of av past assessments by himself and his colleagues adds to his credibility, and certainly you wouldn’t have quoted his efforts if you did not think them to have some authority. He is also very critical of homeopathic research in other assignments we can see, such as in Wallach’s Research on Homeopathy: State of the Art, which he co-authored (Wallach).
In this report he and his colleagues say. “There is, to our knowledge, no single clinical area where reported effects have been demonstrated unequivocally. Thus, the overall picture of clinical evidence that is emerging is quite disappointing for the homeopathic community.”
They then go on to say, ”Viewed together, the clinical research on homeopathy compared to placebo is not much different from conventional medicine research where approximately the same proportion of studies are positive and negative. Once unpublished studies are retrieved from drug-licensing agencies, well-supported substances, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for depression, show diminishing effects.”
Homeopathy critics should take comfort though in that Wallach qualifies this: “But overall, effect sizes are still statistically robust, even if diminished. This same result cannot be claimed for homeopathy, except in a few clearly delineated areas”

Then all of a sudden, tt gets worse, for the opponents of homeopathy, that is. “Several high-quality reviews of all published or a selection of published studies exist. There is even a comprehensive review of all clinical studies ever conducted, including early studies published in German. This review concluded that homeopathy is clinically effective. In addition, meta-analyses and reviews of several specific diagnoses have been carried out. Most of these reviews and meta-analyses, with some exceptions, reached the conclusion that the effects observed in all trials are not compatible with the hypothesis that homeopathy is identical with placebo but that too few trials exist in any single clinical areas to recommend homeopathy clinically.”

In other words, when you do all the math, homeopathy works. As Wallach says, one comprehensive review of all clinical studies ever conducted concluded homeopathy is clinically effective. Wallach and Jonas do not disagree with this, but qualify their ellipses by saying too few studies exist in single clinical areas to recommend it clinically. But then Wallach goes on further to say that it depends on who you are and who you’re quoting,
“Whether homeopathy is a placebo or not is also dependent on the inclusion and analysis criteria used by a meta-analysis or a review. If the analysis is based on studies retrievable only through MEDLINE® and published in the peer-reviewed literature, the outcome is normally not different from placebo. If all evidence is included, there is a difference from placebo. Hence, the conclusion varies with the decision as to what one is willing to accept as scientific information.”

So, if you cherry pick the clinical data, as Edzard Ernst and others do, you can conclude its nothing more than placebo. Wallach says, “As a result of the bias in the scientific community against homeopathy, it is easier to publish negative results in the peer-reviewed literature than positive ones. The latter are scrutinized more closely for methodological shortcomings than studies with the expected negative outcome, a prominent example being the recently published meta-analysis by Shang and colleagues the reporting of which is unacceptably bad and yet it passed peer-review.”
So much for Shang and peer review. The one study that Edzard Ernst and all critics eventually hold up above all others. Shang, by Wallach’s report, is just flat out “unacceptably bad.”
Now here’s the killshot: Jonas, who is quoted here as not recommending homeopathy clinically, conducted perhaps the most amazing trials of high dilutes as used in homeopathy. It was that bio-warfare tularemia study. What he found was able to reduce the effects of tularemia in mice was . . You guessed it, homeopathy. Tularemia, for which there is no vaccine, only prophylaxis . . Homeopathic prophylaxis.
How do you explain that? (Jonas)
Homeopathy, the story just keeps getting better.

References

JONAS. WB Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 35–52, 2000 “Protection of mice from tularemia infection with ultra low serial agitated dilutions prepared from franciscella tularemia infected tissue. Jonas WB, Dillner D

LINDE 1: The Lancet Vol 350 • September 20, 1997“Are the Clinical Effects of Homeopathy Placebo Effects? A Meta-analysis of Placebo-Controlled Trials Klaus Linde, Nicola Clausius, Gilbert Ramirez, Dieter Melchart, Florian Eitel, Larry V Hedges, Wayne B Jonas

LINDE 2: J Clin Epidemiol. 1999 Jul;52(7):631-6. “Impact of study quality on outcome in placebo-controlled trials of homeopathy.” Linde K, Scholz M, Ramirez G, Clausius N, Melchart D, Jonas WB.
Münchener Modell–Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, Department of Internal Medicine II, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany.
Comment in:
J Clin Epidemiol. 2000 Nov;53(11):1188.
J Clin Epidemiol. 2002 Jan;55(1):103-4.

Witt: “The in vitro evidence for an effect of high homeopathic potencies—–A systematic review of
the literature” Claudia M. Witt (a), Michael Bluth (b), Henning Albrecht ©, Thorolf E.R. Weighing (a), Stephan Baumgartner (d), Stefan N. Willich (a)
a) Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charit´e University Medical Center,
D-10098 Berlin, Germany
b) Klinik f¨ur Tumorbiologie, D-Freiburg/Br, Germany
c) Karl and Veronica Carstens-Foundation, D-Essen, Germany
d) Institute for Complementary Medicine (KIKOM), University of Bern, CH-Bern, Germany

Wallach: Research on Homeopathy: State of the Art HARALD WALACH, Ph.D.,1–3 WAYNE B. JONAS, M.D., Ph.D.,3 JOHN IVES, Ph.D.,3 ROEL VAN WIJK, Ph.D.,4 and OTTO WEINGÄRTNER, Dr.Phil.Nat.5 http://www.sld.cu/galerias/pdf/sitios/mednat/research_on_homeopathy_state_of_the_art_(3).pdf

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32 comments on “DO HOMEOPATHY TRIALS SHOW LESS POSITIVE RESULTS AS PROTCOLS TIGHTEN?

  1. ISayISaw says:

    I’ve not read this page for a couple of days and hadn’t realised Benneth was still talking about Cuba here.

    I see plenty of windy rhetoric, but still no answer to this: list the other factors that were at play in the treated region during the study period.

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    • johnbenneth says:

      Gees, you guys really are getting desperate, aren’t you? You’re looking for every little straw you can grasp at to explain away those 2.5 million doses. Looks like you got a lot of explaining to do. Better get with it. Try some Mylanta and Vic’s Nyquil, that oughta help. Take an asperin and some Vioxx. Don’t foret to chase it with your Oxycontin and a flu shot! Take some Celebrex with you and alittle Viagara, that ought to help, too.

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  2. jeff garrington says:

    Roniger H, Jacobs J. Prophylaxis against Leptospirosis using a nosode: Can this large cohort study serve as a model for future replications? Homeopathy. 2010 July;99(3):153–155. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.homp.2010.06.004.

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    • Guy Chapman says:

      Seems to me to be a great example of regression to the mean. Whatever, it’s will never persuade a single scientist until you’ve come up with credible mechanisms to support the “law of similars” and “law of infinitesimals” since both go against numerous well-established fields of scientific knowledge. You can start any time you like.

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  3. jeff garrington says:

    Again from the paper
    The un-spun truth is that in both treated and untreated regions, the Leptospirosis rate was in the same “3 – 4 cases/week per 100,000″ range over the course of 2008 (Roniger and Jacobs, 2010). The untreated region did just as well as the treated one. Again behind your bluster, not a message that you want anyone to spot.

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  4. jeff garrington says:

    More from the paper, reviewed here.
    http://apgaylard.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/much-ado-about-nothing/#more-1219
    “Within a few weeks the number of cases had fallen from 38 to 4 cases per 100,000 per week, significantly fewer than the historically-based forecast for those weeks of the year.”
    This clearly aims to make an impressive point, and it’s straight from the paper, so reflects it fairly. However, the press release like Bracho et al (2010) fail to mention that this just returned the region to its 2004 level of Leptospirosis – when it didn’t use homeopathy – a level typical of the rest of the country. This is quite a nice propaganda technique – presenting something that is true, but removing it from a context that would help someone draw ‘off message’ conclusions.
    “The 8.8 million population of the other provinces did not receive homeopathic treatment and the incidence was as forecast.”
    This tries to imply that something bad happened in the rest of the country, it did not. The incidence rate for Leptospirosis for the whole of 2007 was 16.7 cases/week per 100,000 inhabitants for the Intervention Region (IR) and 3.5 in the rest of Cuba. In 2008 these weekly rates ran at 2.7 and 4.3 respectively.
    The un-spun truth is that in both treated and untreated regions, the Leptospirosis rate was in the same “3 – 4 cases/week per 100,000″ range over the course of 2008 (Roniger and Jacobs, 2010). The untreated region did just as well as the treated one. Not a message that the Faculty of Homeopathy wants anyone to spot.
    The biggest problem with this sort of homeopathy is that there is no medicine in the medicine. This intervention used mind-bending levels of dilution. Staring with “1 x 106 bacteria/ml” and using Korvsakovian [sic] dilutions (plus succession) the manufacturers produced two potencies: “200°C [sic] (200 X 1:100 dilutions) and 10 MC (104 X 1:100 dilutions)”
    So the most concentrated form of the medicine diluted the initial preparation to one part in 10400! The highest potency represents a dilution of one part in 1020000!!
    Given that there are something like 1050 atoms in the world, one thing is crystal clear: the manufacturing process washed the bugs clean out of the medicine. This fact alone rules out the homeopathic preparation having any specific effect against the disease.
    Homeopaths may declaim about ‘the memory of water’, but there’s no evidence to support this effect (if you exclude hand waving theories and badly run experiments). It also contradicts the knowledge embodied in modern Chemistry and Physics. Finally, homeopaths and their apologists tend to gloss over that often water is not the only dilutent. In this case it’s 30% ethanol in water. So, what the homeopaths need is ethanol/water memory. It goes without saying that the evidence for this is even more dilute.”
    Kaviraj any thoughts on the possible memory of ethanol and any thoughts on the paper
    Do you think its good science or is it a poor paper (that failed to get published in peer reviewed journals)

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    • johnbenneth says:

      Dear Mr. Garrington,
      The reason for your confusion is that you are not reducing the problem before you down to its elements and attacking them one at a time, and the “apgaylard” review of the CUban report does the same thing. In fact, this is the repeating problem with local skepticism, is it leads to a solipsism of the tongue that makes it impossible to deal with new data without first straining it through your bias.
      You and the “apgaylard” review of the Cuban leptospirosis intervention you quote from bring up an a priori conlcusion by which you judge the report, as is revealed in this quote of apgaylard:
      “Could there be other potential candidates for the dramatic reduction in cases seen in the IR? Observing that the regions making up the IR had a problem that appeared to start in 2005 and peaked in 2007 (see Figure 4) could it just simply be that this is a disease with variable incidence and that a strong peak will likely be followed by a fall? In other words, could the homeopaths have struck lucky, intervening at a peak and benefitting from regression to the mean?
      Maybe not the strongest candidate for an explanation, but more plausible than magic water, certainly.” http://apgaylard.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/much-ado-about-nothing/#more-1219
      So “apgaylard” here goes on and on massaging the numbers, putting forward theories, making mismissals, explanations and grumbling complaints that “this just cannot be, the numbers don’t add up,” but then collapses in this paragraph and admits there is a dramatic reduction in lepto cases seen in the intervention region (IR). After all this slide ruling he concludes that maybe the homeopaths got lucky? “apgaylard” asserts this is more plausible than “magic water,” which is an priori statement.
      So, in other words, if someone were to explain this to you and apgaylard in crystalographically clear terms, you would drop the whole thing. You are searching for statistical flaws in the results because you are convinced there has to be exogenic cause over an intrinsic one.
      As I have repeatedly said, no argument against homeopathy can be logially sustained, every asssertion against it is based on a fallacy.
      If the “apgaylard” review was forensically valid, that is, if we are to accept it as being criticsim to be taken seriously, it in itself would not be questioning the qualifcations of the publisher as having any less credibility than his or her own in an online anonymous blog. I trust you see the hypcrisy in attacking the data because of how it is framed, an then giving license to his own for being completely idiopathic. If the truth can be evident in an anonymous blog, then certainly it can be evident in a trade journal.
      You have already established in this article that you believe that homogenous aqueous based solvents as used in homeopthy can have no biolgoical effects, and so therefore you will accept no evidence that shows biolgoical effects for any prupose except to mill it. Sp bother disucssing it with you untill we ahve seen you atually have an interest in understanindg what the physical theory is?
      If you or the majority of the criticism against homeoapthy were truly following the scientific method we must infer you espouse, and that you pose as having exclusive purchase of, you would be asking questions, such as, “are there any in vitro trials that show positive action?”
      You apparently have assumed there aren’t any, just as you have assumed there isn’t any phsyical theory for high dilutes or any physical tests to support that theory . . if it exists, just as you have assumed there is no concordant body of literature that supports the use of high dilutes epidemiologically.
      Since it seems that you and your colleaagues are so intent on the strength of ridicule and contempt in the discussion, I would suggest that before you leap to conlcusions about this, explore it some more, before setting yourself up to eventually look foolish. The Internet has a long memory. If you’re honest with yourseelf and others, you’ll leave your guns at the door and not come in here shooting from the lip, but rather start out by asking some simple questions. If we are the fools and charlatans you seem to think we are, a simple dialectic and jump on the literature will reveal it.
      John Benneth

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  5. jeff garrington says:

    So individualization isn’t required except for 5 – 10% of the population. OK thats that cleared up. However despite your bluster the trial is weak and does not produce the results you dream about. Its in the paper published by Homeopaths (have you read it?) “The number of cases of Leptospirosis dropped from 38 cases/ week per 100,000 population at the beginning of the study to 3 – 4 cases/week per 100,000 population within three weeks.”
    They fail to put this into context: this is the same infection rate that the treated region had in 2004 and the same rate that the ‘untreated’ region had during 2008. ”
    Read the paper and come back with a answer that isn’t abusive, you are doing Homeopathy a disservice by being so blinded by your knee jerk response.
    Is the paper an endorsement for Homeopathy or is it showing it had no effect.
    Simple question.

    Like

  6. jeff garrington says:

    The comment above re, individualization is a valid question. Yes or no.
    The leprosy trial and paper has been discussed here and raises the same question.
    http://apgaylard.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/much-ado-about-nothing/#more-1219
    “Classical Homeopathy prides itself on individualised treatment based on finding the ‘true’ simillimum, respecting the traditions of the Master Hahnemann and his later disciples. For these reasons, as the authors note:
    “Homeoprophylaxis with nosodes has been practised for many years but is not typically used by practitioners of Classical Homeopathy.”
    Homeoprophylaxis is not reconcilable with classical homeopathy. There is no like-curing-like and no individualisation. However, now that one homeopathic faction has apparently found success, the authors are prepared to snub Classical Homeopathy:”
    However is the trial successful, well no it isn’t, and for you Mr Benneth it should be embarrassing, go and read the review linked above, a few quotes below.
    “As for the size of the trial, given that there was no control group or randomization, this does not inoculate it against bias. Particularly as infection risk is not evenly spread over the population. Living near a contaminated water source, being in a high risk occupation or failing to take personal protective measures will raise the risk for particular people or places. Given that these risks will vary within a large entity like a state, size alone cannot compensate for poor design. It’s just a very large poor trial.”
    “This just revisits the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. It was certainly large, but it is not impressive. At best it’s a correlation observed in an un-randomised, un-controlled intervention for a highly variable weather-dependant disease, in a region where conventional measures were also used. There is absolutely no evidence that the magic water prevented anything.”
    “The number of cases of Leptospirosis dropped from 38 cases/ week per 100,000 population at the beginning of the study to 3 – 4 cases/week per 100,000 population within three weeks.”
    They fail to put this into context: this is the same infection rate that the treated region had in 2004 and the same rate that the ‘untreated’ region had during 2008. And yet this is built up as a disaster:”
    “Incidence in the untreated rest of the country (8.8million persons) in both years followed historical trends and correlated with rainfall.”
    They do not mention that the ‘intervention’ failed to beat these historical trends to any practically relevant degree. The comment about rainfall is also misleading – In the rest of Cuba incidence was poorly correlated with rainfall.
    For an academic medical researcher and a specialist doctor, the authors seem to have no idea of what constitutes a good trial design.
    So all in all not a very good advert for Homeopathy

    Like

    • Kaviraj says:

      An excellent advert, because we know the genus epidemicus and thus can provide both treatment and prophylaxis. Of course in genus epidemicus epidemics, such is easy to detect, as you should know and is equally one-sided treated by your side. So you demand we do it that way and then when we do you claim to understand individualisation. There are possibly 5-15% in a population that MAY require a different remedy, but due to homogeneity of the populations, circumstances and diet, such is not very likely. You have obviously no idea how homoeopathy works.

      Like

      • Kaviraj says:

        And even less ideas about epidemics, in which I have a 10 year of tropical experience and 20 years plus in temperate climates. Don’t come with lame answers like this, because you know jack shit about epidemics.

        Like

  7. ISayISaw says:

    John Benneth said;

    “Yes, a clinic in Africa was represented at the Cuban conference and I have spoken to this person directly. As with the leptospirosis homeopathic, three strains of the antigen are i one remedy. It is currently being used as both prophylaxis and treament.
    I might add that it takes a strong belief in the medicine for someone to use it in instead of the standard regime.
    Given the usual attacks, I willnot ivulge mcuhmore infomation to you about it, as you have not identified yourself as someone who can be trusted notto use this infomration to try to destroy the project.”

    So, you claim to have evidence, bu it’s a secret. How many people were enrolled in the trial. How were blinding and randomisation performed?

    You are surely aware that homeopathy was not the only intervention used in the treated region of Cuba. Why do you claim that the reduction in the number of cases was due to homeopathy?

    In both of these instances, there is no personalisation and individualisation of the remedy that is given. Nor is there any in the lab-bench experiments that you assert support homeopathy. Will you confirm expliciyly that you do not require individualisation to be used in valid trials of homeopathy?

    Like

  8. Simon says:

    I am going to repeat my question, as it was ignored before…

    Mr Benneth – the question for you is, do you think your challenge is definitive? That is, if someone could show that trials of homeopathy that were negative were of better quality and lower risk of bias than trials that showed positive effects, would you change your mind about homeopathy?

    If you would not change your mind, why would it change anyone else’s and what is the purpose of your challenge?

    Like

    • johnbenneth says:

      Simon,
      I replied at length to your question. Did you not see it? The current blog addresses your concern in part. Trials of pharmaceuticals, according to Wallach, show similar declines. Biochmeical, phytopatholcial, and zoological trials disprove psyhcogenesis.
      You’re also confusing the quesiton of biologcial action with clinical efficacy. notice how the argumenet shifts from one to the other when proof of one is shown. The purpose of the challenge to Ernst is prima facie. Show us your cites adn we’ll show you ours. The first guy to run out of ammo loses. SO far none of you has been able to o that. You’ve all chosen to either quibble withour evidence or simply attack me perosnally. You have yet to show a test that demonstrates the protocol and action of placebo. You haven’t even defined what it means. neither has ernst or anyone else on that side.

      Like

  9. Kaviraj says:

    “News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.” Lord Northcliffe, British publisher 1865-1922

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  10. ISayISaw says:

    Mr Benneth, you misunderstand the purpose and nature of experimental controls. Homeopathic verum is tested against placebo because the claim that homeopathic pills have specific effects is the unique claim of homeopathy. If the pills don’t work then homeopathy is just a talking cure. It might be a good talking cure or it might be a useless talking cure but it wouldn’t be homeopathy.

    The tularaemia model, by the way, doesn’t sustain any reasonable analysis and I’ll not discuss it.

    I don’t think the basophil studies show anything either, but are you really happy to defend homeopathy by reference to non-individualised prescribing of homeopathic remedies to isolated cells? It seems that when a trial of non-individualised homeopathy fails to show an effect in people then homeopaths line up to complain that if it ain’t individualised, it ain’t homeopathy.

    I think you’ve also cited a paper by Roy and Rao where they brilliantly showed that their control bottle of ethanol was not from the same source as their samples. Once this absolute refutation was published in Homeopathy, homeopaths really should have stopped citing that experiment. It reveals a lot about their motivation and thought processes that they continue to count incompetent work as credit to homeopathy.

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  11. Sarah Townsend says:

    Can I ask a simple question John?

    If you were to read back your posts, do you think you come across as a thoughtful and intelligent questioner, carefully thinking through the issues, or do you think you might come across as a Grade A Netloon?

    Like

    • Kaviraj says:

      Here we go again. The usual abuse and not one bit to refute what John has said. Now that is truly loony.

      Like

    • Sarah Townsend says:

      I say this Kaviraj because, reading this stuff, I have come to the conclusion that the two of you play right into the skeptics hands. They have you exactly where they want you: ranting, incoherent, rude, libellous and full of stupid conspiracy theories that the skeptics are part of some massive shady conspiracy.

      All the skeptics have to do is point people to sites like this and say “this is who you are dealing with”. You do far more harm to homeopathy than the skeptics ever could.

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      • johnbenneth says:

        You hve no idea who you’re addressing. Kaviraj is one of the great homeopaths of our time. He has treated contless people in India, Australia, England, Europe and other places inthe world. he has done more good than you could ever hope to do, even with people like you obstrcuting it. And there have been seriouis, hairraising attmepts on his life because of attitudes like yours that support the crimnal enterprises, like Pfizer, that have been CONVICTED of felonies and reacketeering. If that soundss like fiction to tyou, just google pfizer, racketeering and seee wehat you find.
        So now who’s the fool? Me for revealing it, or you for supporting it?
        We have every right to be outraged over your ignorance and hypocrisy. How much are they payhing you per post? Fifty Mao?

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    • johnbenneth says:

      I can do both equally well. But what does that have to do with this particular blog about the evidence for homeoapthy? I have cited references by reputable people in reply to a commnet that actually could inspire some discussion between people, and you take this opportunity t o take me to task for what you are doing? Did you not read the title of the latest blog?
      Maybe I should domore as you say, just bashing the opponents of homeoapthy, its all that seems to arouse view and comment by you and others.
      In this blog it is brought out that one, the most exhaustive review of all the clinical trials of homeopathy ever known tothe authors, reaching back into the 19th century, conlcuded that homeopathy is clinically effective, in direct contradiction to the comment that inspired it. I don’t read you taking the opponents of homeoapthy diretly to task for what has amounted tonothing mroe than bashing.
      Other appraisals were made by credentialed people who have done meta analyses that no effective review ofhomeoapthy has ever concluded placebo. ANd for thata I am attacked? Interesting that you should have nothing to say about that, except to hypocritcally also attack me personally.
      And an earlier blog of mine reported on dramatic comparisons between the success of homeoapthy in comparison to allopathy in epdiemics, including the recent swamp fever epidemic in Cuba, that was stopped by homeoapthy. Not one word of appreciation from you for that that i have read. Nothing! Jus this personal assessment of me.
      We are now in the midst of other epidemics, such as soft tissue cancers, the sufferers of which homeoapthy I believe can be effective in treating. I believe in my work spreading the word about the evidence for homeoapthy, I am passionate about it, I think it is the answer needed,and to date I have received nothing for it ecept a very nice trip to london and an honorary degree. I have lectured to scientists by the invtiation of a laureate, I have made numeorus videos on the subject, i have brought forth the literature on it, and for this, as with all my other efforts, I am maligned, and characteried as you have done, as a Netloon? Well look who’s resonding to a netloon. And I am supposed to take all of this with aplomb, and never say a word about organied effrots to pdicredit me and my colleagues? WHo do you think I am? Would you ever have the courage to sit down and seriously speak to me about this? Out of hundreds it would be a first if you did, because what I have found is you’re all heartless cowards who known nothing of which you speak.

      Like

  12. Kaviraj says:

    The usual cherry picking from a trial meta analysis. That is, however, only one. Guy Chapman promised us to match it, trial for trial. So far, deadly silence on his part. Bluff does not cut the cake, however. Neither does cherry picking, nor plain denial. The placebo argument is really a no-brainer.

    A paper published in the Annals of Medicine about use of placebos in clinical trials points out that less than 10% of trials give any information about the make-up or content of the “placebo” used in the trial. Is this important? Well, they argue, yes, because sometimes the ingredients in the “placebo” produce a negative effect, and sometimes a positive one, but if we don’t know what was actually used, how can we make sense of the results?

    This conclusion is fascinating –

    “…there isn’t anything actually known to be physiologically inert. On top of that, there are no regulations about what goes into placebos, and what is in them is often determined by the makers of the drug being studied, who have a vested interest in the outcome. And there has been no expectation that placebos’ composition be disclosed. At least then readers of the study might make up their own mind about whether the ingredients in the placebo might affect the interpretation of the study.”

    The Fallacy of the Placebo Effect

    Invariably, the skeptics bring in the fallacy of the placebo effect.

    “In 1955, an anesthesiologist named Henry Knowles Beecher said that a drug or doctor’s success is due to the patient’s expectation of a desired outcome.

    “You go to a doctor. The doctor gives you a pill. You get better. Then you find out the doctor gave you a sugar pill and you got better anyway. There are two reasons this can happen. The first is because you might have gotten better without bothering to go to the doctor at all. The second is called the Placebo Effect. Many scientists believe it is what makes homeopathy and herbal cures work, and it has some folks in the UK pretty ticked off.”

    If this is so, then why is homoeopathy the only form of medicine where that works?

    You would expect that a regular doctor’s success would be in the same leage.

    If all these people get better from placebo, what can any sane person have against that?

    It is cheap, effective and saves billions in health care. One would be insane to not apply such an effective and cheap method to keep people healthy, happy and at work, than to pay billions for drugs that don’t work.
    Drugs, designed to make people addicts and through their side effects produce more need for drugs, ad infinitum.
    We could save billions in lost man hours, bring costs for insurance down and even instigate the rule “no cure, no pay”, because these placebos cannot be a loser on that path.

    For if we look at close to a million deaths from pharmaceutical cr@p every year, in the US alone, why is their placebo effect of a drug or doctor’s success not due to the patient’s expectation of a desired outcome?
    And if it is, why so many deaths?

    Against 1 death attributed to homoeopathy in the last ten years.

    Means a million people want to commit suicide?

    Get real!

    If a placebo is that good, it should be implemented immediately and everywhere.

    That is real skeptic thinking, instead of coming with so-called proof that ours does not work and their’s is better.

    A Challenge To Skeptics – Do The Real Scientific Experiment

    For if it is all placebo, then i have a challenge for the skeptics.
    In science, one is wont to view all sides of a scientific problem, if an independent result is to be achieved.
    Therefore, since your way of problem solving has not enough positive results, we should be allowed to make the test under our parameters, which in consideration of fairness and open scientific enquiry should not be a problem. Being the skeptics you are, such an experiemnt should be declared laudable and as eagerly approached as your quasi experiment on the 30st of January 2010.

    You must accept a randomly selected group of independent provers as a control group, who will receive the same remedy as yourself, as also some placebo.

    For if there is “nothing in it’, a repeated proving – or RCT in your parlance – according to the homoeopathic protocol set out for such an experiment should pose no objections.
    We shall include isolation of the participants, so that no undue influence can be generated by individuals on each other.
    An Independent notary shall be appointed by the judiciary and each of the parties shall also have a notary present.
    The independent notary shall hand out the remedy and the placebos and only he has knowledge of the remedy used and who gets what.

    After the test is over, all participants and their recorded symptoms as noted by themselves and the sensory result as noted by the physician shall be noted and presented.
    We shall see if the skeptical gentlemen will maintain that “there is nothing in it”, or have changed their minds.
    Experienced homoeopaths will evaluate the participants.

    Any takers out there?

    Like

    • ISayISaw says:

      Kaviraj

      You clearly fo not understand what is meant by the placebo effect. To assert that homeopathy’s opponents claim that the effect only happens with homeopathy is just foolishness.

      However, in most medical situations the placebo effect is probably quite small. Regression to the mean, coincidence and biased reporting are much greater effects in most circumstances. Homeopathy is not going to cure malaria by s placebo effect. The malaria will carry on its own course as if nothing at all had been done. It is for this reason that homeopaty is dangerously delusional not brcause some yummy mummies in Islington or Amsterdam think it makes their migraines better.

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    • Kaviraj says:

      I thought you were a reasonable guy. I was mistaken. You are someone with an agenda, who does not hesitate to discredit over a billion satisfied customers of homoeopathy. That does not make your arguments any more scientific.

      I have treated 1000’s of people with homoeopathy against malaria. We have remedies that destroy the plasmodium and this has been verified by laboratories. So your claims are claims and nothing else. We have 200 verified reports that homoeopathy works better than placebo, but as usual, you deny. Denial is more than that famous river in Egypt. Like that river, you denialists suffer from cataracts also. The first is bias, the second a preconceived agenda and the last blindness to the facts.

      Like

      • ISayISaw says:

        You presumably understand that malaria is a fluctuating disease with a variable course, so if you do nothing to patients and wait for a while then many will show clinical improvement. Do you have an appropriately large and well-controlled trial to support your assertion that homeopathy “destroys” Plasmodium. That is a specific and powerful claim

        Like

        • johnbenneth says:

          Yes, a clinic in Africa was represented at the Cuban conference and I have spoken to this person directly. As with the leptospirosis homeopathic, three strains of the antigen are i one remedy. It is currently being used as both prophylaxis and treament.
          I might add that it takes a strong belief in the medicine for someone to use it in instead of the standard regime.
          Given the usual attacks, I willnot ivulge mcuhmore infomation to you about it, as you have not identified yourself as someone who can be trusted notto use this infomration to try to destroy the project.

          Like

      • ISayISaw says:

        From the BBC news website at the time of the sting operation that showed homeopaths giving advice about malaria;

        “The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital is run by doctors who are also homeopaths and who treat conditions such as hay fever and rheumatism. They are also furious that some homeopaths are making these false claims about malaria.

        The hospital’s Director Peter Fisher told Newsnight “I’m very angry about it because people are going to get malaria – there is absolutely no reason to think that homeopathy works to prevent malaria and you won’t find that in any textbook or journal of homeopathy so people will get malaria, people may even die of malaria if they follow this advice.””

        Like

      • Kaviraj says:

        Dr Peter Fisher does not know his materia medica. There are at least 4 remedies that do it. So I don’t really care what he says. I have 1000’s of satisfied customers that prove him wrong.

        Like

    • Guy Chapman says:

      I love the fact that you accuse others of cherry-picking in a post defending Benneth’s cherry-picking of text from a published study.

      “We conclude that in the study set investigated, there was clear evidence that studies with better methodological quality tended to yield less positive results”.

      If you want people with any kind of a scientific education to believe you, then you’re going to have to explain the mechanisms by which the purported laws of similars and infinitesimals work, in a way that is consistent with the totality of modern scientific knowledge. Otherwise you’re in the same box as “free energy” suppression and perpetual motion machines.

      Like

      • johnbenneth says:

        Once again, how hypocritical. First he says he for every study proving homeoapthy there’s one disproving it, but when challenged to show one, all he can do is accuse us of cherry picking. At least we have an orchard, Guy, you don’t even have a tree! LOL! The quote you quote from was in ISAY’s post and was what I was responding to.
        And I doubt you can explain how a normal chemical reaction works, but now you think we need to show you how our medicines work. I’ll tell you what. Since you’re the one making the charge, you tell us, at the molecular level, how your medicine works, and then we’ll tell you how ours works. Fair enough? I mean,why should i waste my time trying to eplain soemtehing to someone who does’nt want to hear it, or even if he did, wouldn’t be able to udnerstand it? Certainly you woldn’t demand anything so important to you from us that you wouldn’t have yourself and easily be able to provide for your own claims. Tell us how the law of opposition works at the molecular level, and the tell us how the law of mass action works there too, and then I’ll eplain to you the chemical correlary for similia and then how the remedy works at the molecular leve!.
        Now, does anyone want to bet he can’t do it and will just go on demanding something he doesn’t have, just like he did with his claim about having studies that disproved homeopathy.

        Like

      • Guy Chapman says:

        The accusation of cherry-picking was yours. There is evidence that supports homeopathy, there is evidence that says homeopathy is placebo (which is, incidentally, consistent with much of the evidence for homeopathy, since it very frequently lacks any control group). Your preferred method for resolving the conflict seems to be to hurl abuse at those who prefer the evidence consistent with the balance of scientific knowledge. You can try that, I guess, but there are rather more of them than there are of you.

        Much better to set to work and actually come up with credible scientific explanations of how homeopathy supposedly works. These must address, specifically, the “law of similars” and the “law of infinitesimals”. There is no credible evidence of any mechanism by which a thing which appears to cause symptoms similar to those suffered by a patient, can, in small enough doses, reverse those symptoms in a patient who already has them. That is why scientists mock you. You won’t stop the mocking without fixing that. You seem very determined not to get this point, and your response always falls back on empirical evidence from generally poor-quality studies, or studies where other more plausible explanations exist. This does not address the cause of your credibility problem, so it will never resolve it.

        Like

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