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Gerald O'brian

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Should we let homeopathy be?

The biggest dilemma for me is that placebo is proven to work better if the physician also believes he's giving real medecine. In this view, homeopathy is the perfect placebo. Even the people making it, through laborious dilutions, have GOT to believe in it, or their high school knowledge about chemistry would make it tempting to skip the whole process and make more profit selling sugar.
It's even got quantum mechanics watching its back, losing the more curious ones in complexe explanations about just how complexe liquid water is.
And of course, the idea is fun. Like cures like. 1/1000000th of a molecule of ethanol to cure a hangover.
Sure it's tempting to ridicule the whole industry for the billion dollar quackery it is. But one might actually find that it's saving a lot of healthcare money, and that it WORKS! And it works because we let it, because we don't ask for double-blind tests...
So what's your view on this? Is homeopathy a cheap way to heall the credulous? Or has it gone too far and is part of what makes the transition to the age of reason so darn slow?

thanks

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    Oct 23 2013: This is the view of the UK House of Commons Science and Technology committee concerning homeopathy.
    For anybody interested in the whole report which contains large numbers of references check out here:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/45/45.pdf


    "By providing homeopathy on the NHS and allowing MHRA licensing of products
    which subsequently appear on pharmacy shelves, the Government runs the risk of
    endorsing homeopathy as an efficacious system of medicine. To maintain patient trust,
    choice and safety, the Government should not endorse the use of placebo treatments,
    including homeopathy. Homeopathy should not be funded on the NHS and the MHRA
    should stop licensing homeopathic products."
    • Oct 24 2013: As to the Sci and Tech Committee, out of a 13-member committee, only 3 voted against homeopathy. One was not on the committee at the time of the hearings, one did not attend any hearings and one (Dr. Evan Harris) is well known for his bias against homeopathy and was seen taking part in one of those silly street- corner "overdose" exhibitions. He was later voted out of his MP seat as were the others.

      The real story about homeopathy is told by the Swiss HTA. It was commissioned by the government in order to evaluate 5 CAM modalities including homeopathy and is the most comprehensive analysis of all of the homeopathic literature of the past 40 years ever conducted by any government. It found that homeopathy is as effective as con med, in some cases more effective, and is vastly safer.

      Unlike the report of the Sci and Tech Committee, it was produced by appropriately qualified professionals without a vested interest. The 13 members of the investigating team included 10 professionals trained in con med of whom 6 are also trained in homeopathy. The other three had training in physics, electrical engineering and sociology. 8 of the 13 held academic positions of whom 6 had been involved in CAM research. The full text and names of the authors of each chapter are at:

      link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-642-20638-2/page/1

      A separate cost-effectiveness study was done and concluded that homeopathy is 15.4% less expensive than con med.
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        Oct 24 2013: Christine, you should not confuse science with pseudoscience. Homeopathy is pseudoscience.
        If somebody tries to convince me to take a product where not even 1 single molecule of the active ingredient is present I'd call him a charlatan.
        Until today nobody was able to explain. based on sound science, how the absence of any active ingredient (let alone the shaking ritual) in an homeopathic product could possibly have any physiological effect.......and please don't tell me about the "molecular memory", which sounds more like some sort of dark age witchcraft.
        The same is true for the lack of an explanation how like cures likes.
        In other words, what are the physiological principles on which homeopathy is supposed to work ?

        Many diseases are psychosomatic, which might explain why homeopathic products might help in some cases. Science calls this the placebo effect.

        But then, as I said, the use of homeopathic products at least doesn't hurt anybody so whoever wants to throw out money for it should be free to do so.

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