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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 24 2013: Don't know I'd say 'reform' when speaking of culture or social norms. I'd say 'change the paradigm' or some such wording. People's views must change about health and lifestyle. Since I spend much time with autistic children in my practice, I'd disagree with the vaccination comment, Nadav.

    Instant gratification is the topic of one of my blogs, Harald. People expect to take a pill and get better, turning their responsibility for health over to someone else (the doctor). I just returned from the ILADS conference (Lyme disease) and it's exactly the problem - the doctors seen will treat only one symptom, no one is looking at the entire patient. These people with chronic Lyme fall through the cracks.
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      Oct 25 2013: Often it's real ignorance or disinterest of the health professional. Rarely do they take the time to really understand the patients history. Discovering the root cause of a medical condition can be real detective work and few are willing to "lose" so much time with one patient if many others are already waiting in line.
      Nothing easier than prescribing antibiotics (even if it is unknown whether or not the source of the infection actually was bacterial) or corticoids.
      Chronic lyme disease is a typical case. The symptoms caused by it can have a lot of causes and unless the doctor really starts investigating in detail it's difficult to discover.
    • Oct 25 2013: There is no link between autism and vaccinations. The researches are all very clear on that.

      The thing is, signs of autism first start showing up at roughly the 1 year mark, around the same time the kid is vaccinated against all sorts of things. As tends to happen with these things, parents often jump to conclusions despite the fact that one is not attributable to the other--no control or isolation of variables.

      After all, if the kid was autistic anyway, there really isn't much that can be done. If the vaccinations caused it however, you're allowed to scream and shout and even make law suits to your heart's content. Much easier than accepting it and moving on, in a certain immature way.

      As for sometimes treating the symptoms as opposed to the root cause, its often the only option. The thing is, the human body is a terribly complicated and oftentimes badly engineered piece of machinery, and if there were ever blueprints available, we lost them long ago.
      Add to that the body's infuriating lack of ability to shut itself down for either maintenance, diagnostic or repair (ever try to fix a faulty engine while it was still running? Quite the feat really), and taking care of symptoms is oftentimes all you can do.
      • Oct 25 2013: You have no idea what you are talking about.
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          Oct 25 2013: Nadav is absolutely right when it comes to the autism issue. By now, most people know that Wakefield is a charlatan who caused a lot of damage with his claims that autism and vaccination are related.
          Fact is, he committed a logical fallacy. Just because autism in some kids appeared around the same time they were vaccinated does NOT mean that vaccination is the cause.
          We all know that by now he and his work are thoroughly discredited.

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