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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 29 2013: It is amazing how many seemingly smart people become literally stupid and ignorant in their critique of homeopathy. These people are ignoring the several hundred randomized and placebo controlled double-blind studies that have been published in the BMJ, Lancet, Chest, Rheumatology, Pediatrics, Cancer, Pediatrics Infectious Disease Journal, and many others. Further, the Swiss govt commissioned a study of homeopathy, and here's a link to information http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/homeopathic-medicine-_b_1258607.html

    Further, the author of the above comment is seemingly un-informed about the compelling evidence for nanoparticles that remain in homeopathic solutions...and in doses that are physiologically active, as noted in this prestigious journal in the field of material sciences: Chikramane PS, Kalita D, Suresh AK, Kane SG, Bellare JR. Why Extreme Dilutions Reach Non-zero Asymptotes: A Nanoparticulate Hypothesis Based on Froth Flotation.
    Langmuir. 2012 Nov 1.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23083226
    • Oct 29 2013: So you're saying their math is wrong, and there are actually traces of the original material left? That's certainly a better explanation than water memory (a work of fiction if I ever heard one), but it still has some holes in it, namely, why a harmful material would produce beneficial effects. Its not like the dosage is carefully controlled or anything, if they were until recently unaware there are traces of the original material left at all--in fact, according to most people in this thread, most homeopathy supporters are still unaware of it.

      I've seen other researches over the years claiming homeopathy to be nothing more than quackery, but posting article per article will get us nowhere on that front. Especially seeing that most sources are biased this way or that; its hard to find proper neutral reporting (I'd say these days, but I have a strong suspicion it was always the case).

      I do however, have rather strong doubts that homeopathy, developed in a haphazard manner and sporting practically no R&D funds managed to outperform conventional medicine in anything. Especially considering just how much R&D goes into the conventional stuff, both in terms of funds, expertise, and methodology (the last one comes with the side effect of your doctor actually knowing how the treatment works, a point homeopaths seem a bit weak on, even if they claim it still works).
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      Oct 29 2013: I'm ignorant and stupid, but working on it. I've read the article about nanoparticles. Can you tell me more about these?
      For instance, if I take Mercurius Solubilis pellets, which are extreme dillutions of mercury (such as which is found in fish and thermometers) to get better from a pharyngitis... how do the atoms of mercury get divided into these nanoparticles? Surely you need more power than dillution to separate a nucleus. But I don't thing you're reffering to protons and neutrons, are you? Because obviously you'd end up with other elements in the dividing process.
      So yeah, I'd love to educate myself about these nanoparticles I've never heard about in chemistry class.

      But here's my really dumb question ;
      where does the dilluting water come from? I mean, if the idea is to ensure that only a ridiculous fraction of a molecule ends up in the finished product, what is the purifying method that checks the gigantic quantities of water for traces of unwanted fractions of everything else?

      Please help me, I don't enjoy being an ignorant.
      • Oct 29 2013: Glad to hear that you want to learn, though it is VERY strange that you would write what you wrote above, taking your firm position, despite seemingly knowing virtually nothing about this field, neither the body of clinical evidence, basic science evidence epidemiological evidence, its international status, or its impressive history of usage, success, and popularity, especially amongst educated populations (literally EVERY survey ever conducted has shown that people who use homeopathy tend to be considerably more educated than those who do not).

        If you knew just a little about homeopathy, you would know that the water used in homeopathy is DOUBLE-DISTILLED, deemed "pharmaceutical grade" water. The fact that you did not know this sheds a serious shadow over you. How can you be taken seriously at all if you write about a subject with so little knowledge of it?

        The best scientists are the most HUMBLE. I sincerely hope that you'll stop writing about this subject until you gain considerably more knowledge about it. You might enjoy and benefit from my own collection of articles on homeopathy at: www.Huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman

        Finally, based on your question above, you said that you read the article on nanoparticles, though it also seems that you do not yet understand what was written and verified in controlled experimentation that was discussed in that article.
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          Oct 29 2013: " I sincerely hope that you'll stop writing about this subject until you gain considerably more knowledge about it. "

          On this forum, people often come up either with questions of with erroneous conceptions about scientific theories. Instantly there is a flow of thorough explanations from fellow TEDsters. Very few people will reply to a misconception about quantum mechanics with hostility.
          And, just a reminder, I'm not writing anything about homeopathy as much as I'm asking questions about it, looking for people who know something about it.

          Oh, and you didn't answer any of my simple questions. Why not? Is it because you don't know?
          If you know, what are the reasons for not educating me and other people like me on this forum?

          PS : thanks for the double-distilled water info. I guess simple distillation isn't enough. Are we sure double-distillation is enough, though? How do we know? Is there a way to say that there is ABSOLUTELY nothing left in the purified water? (is a double distillation the equivalent of a 12CH dillution?)
      • Oct 29 2013: Gerald...sorry for my irritability towards you...please accept my apology. There are many pseudo-skeptics of homeopathy who pretend to want to learn about homeopathy but who refuse to read the research or the theoretical explanations, and yet, they remain arrogant and ignorant (a bad combination for maintaining a healthy scientific attitude).

        I should not assume that you are one of these lug-heads.

        Here's a reference to a brilliant overview of homeopathy and nanoparticles. You will learn how nanodoses can actually provide a profound physiological reaction than larger doses...because they are able to sift through cellular membranes more easily (and other reasons...explained in this article). Enjoy it...because it heralds a profound paradigm change from "bigger is better" (or more powerful!).

        Bell IR, Koithan M. A model for homeopathic remedy effects: low dose nanoparticles, allostatic cross-adaptation, and time-dependent sensitization in a complex adaptive system. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Oct 22;12(1):191.
        http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-6882-12-191.pdf

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