Canadian Groups to Stage Homeopathic Overdose: 10-23

Today, groups from across Canada: Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa and Montreal, announced their intent to participate in the international 10-23 event, as organised by the Merseyside Skeptics in the United Kingdom.

Independent organizers, along with the Centre for Inquiry Canada, the Association for Science and Reason, and Les Sceptiques du Québec will be joining skeptics in the US, UK, Australia and several other countries to stage an overdose to show that homeopathy, a pre-scientific invention by Samuel Hahnemann in the 18th century, is nothing more than water and sugar pills.  The event is planned to take place February 5th or 6th, with video evidence of the events to be uploaded to the 10-23 website and shown at the Merseyside Skeptic’s QED event on the 6th.

Last year, the Merseyside Skeptics in the UK staged a homeopathic overdose as a protest to Boots Pharmacy that sells homeopathic preparations and whose professional standards director, Phil Bennet, told the UK parliamentary committee that they “sell homeopathic remedies because they sell, not because they work.”

The recent furor over the CBC Marketplace episode on homeopathy has sparked interest in the Canadian media and among the public in the claims made by homeopaths and the dubious scientific evidence behind them.  Instead of countering claims with evidence, several groups decided even before viewing the episode to slam the CBC website with complaints about the producers.  The comments section on the episode website re-opened and currently sits at over 400, and producers have told CFI that it is the highest rated Marketplace episode to date.

If you have a group of 2 or 200 that would like to participate in the international event, let the Centre for Inquiry Canada know, as we are organizing the communications strategy in Canada.  Email us at cass@cficanada.ca for more information.

26 Responses to “Canadian Groups to Stage Homeopathic Overdose: 10-23”

  1. Steve Thoms says:

    For those around the Kitchener-Waterloo region (and of course, Cambridge, Guelph, Brantford, London, Hamilton and area), this is the facebook group where we will be announcing details of our overdose attempt.

  2. Alex Murdoch says:

    Are there no skeptical groups in Atlantic Canada?

  3. Dianne Sousa says:

    What should I do with the time I have left? I should put together a skeptical bucket list.

  4. Art Tricque says:

    The link to the CFI in the article above is malformed.

  5. If anyone lives on PEI and would like to form a sceptical group, even if only for the purpose of this homoeopathic OD, you can contact me.

  6. Toxicosis says:

    I’m calling out to the ignorant of science here. A skeptic can only be such if they possess the requisite background and intensive self study and research to know what they are being skeptical about. Essentially in our day and age the vast majority of self-proclaimed skeptics are profoundly ignorant narcissists and sociopaths with little to no education in the hard sciences. If this statement offends you, than so be it. Prove yourself otherwise since you’re so bent on calling out what you see as quackery or pseudoscience. As a scientist who researches and applies the tenets of science again and again are there any among you skeptics who possess the knowledge and integrity to fight fact with fact. I am not willing to babysit the ignorant nor attempt to convince them of something well below their educational pay grade. If you can think for yourself, than you shall be given the opportunity to do so. If you can find somebody, in fact anybody who can dispute the findings provided below in biophysics, materials science, immunology and vibrational spectroscopy, than bring em to the table. Homeopathy is an application of science just as allopathy is an application of science. I guess we should find out who’s actually got it right.
    So if you can offer an intelligent response and have of course read, understood and grasped the material present, which means you’d be hard science educated than I’d entertain a scientific discussion. Barring that please continue being an ignorant fundamentalist, uneducated and uninspired.

    Oh yeah here ya go.

    HOMEOPATHY:

    SCIENTIFIC REFERENCES FOR PHYSICIANS,
    SCIENTISTS AND SKEPTICS

    References to the scientific literature representative of homeopathic research are presented below. Cited are both medical and related journal articles, including books or compendiums of research into the physics, biophysics, materials science, and chemistry of related homeopathic preparations and their application to biologic systems.

    1. The Elusive Mechanism of the Magnetic ‘Memory’ of Water
    Miroslav Colic *, Dwain Morse

    Abstract
    It has been claimed that preliminary water treatment with magnetic or electromagnetic (EM) fields can help descale metal surfaces, improve cement hydration, change z potential of colloids, make plants irrigated with such water grow faster, enhance efflux of calcium through biomembranes or influence the structure of model lyposomes. The effects persist minutes or hours after the water treatment. It is well known that relaxation phenomena in water occur on a picosecond to second timescale. The nature of these ‘mysterious’ and questionable phenomena uniquely known as the ‘magnetic memory of water’ has recently been scrutinized. Based on our recent work as well as other recent publications, we propose a model for the observed phenomena. We propose that the gas liquid interface is perturbed by the action of magnetic and electromagnetic fields.
    http://www.water-land.co.uk/sdarticle3.pdf

    2. A New Approach to the Memory of Water AV Tschulakow, Y Yan and W Klimek

    Abstract
    We investigated whether water has a ‘memory’ for succussion compared to unsuccussed controls. The method is based on a bioassay using dinoflagellates. The duration of memory measured by this method is at least 10 min, and may be longer. The effect may be based upon solitons. A hypothesis about the mode of action of homeopathy may be experimentally investigated by this method.
    http://www.biophotonen.com/news/2006/homeo.pdf

    3. The Structure Of Liquid Water; Novel Insights From Materials
    Research; Potential Relevance To Homeopathy
    Rustum Roy, W.A. Tiller, Iris Bell, M. R. Hoover

    Abstract
    This paper provides an interdisciplinary base of information on the structure of liquid water.
    It begins with a synthesis built on the information base on the structure of noncrystalline,
    inorganic, covalently-bonded condensed liquid phases, such as SiO2, S, Se, P, and H2O, which
    exists in the materials science literature. The data for water are analyzed through the prism of
    well-established algorithms in materials research: the connection of properties to structure;
    the pressure-temperature (P-T) phase diagrams; the phenomenon of epitaxy; the phenomenon
    of liquid-liquid phase separation; the stability of two phase colloids; and, the recently
    discovered effects of weak magnetic and electric fields on the structure of simple inorganic
    oxides. A thorough combing of the literature of the condensed matter properties reflecting
    structural features of essentially pure water obtained via the normal processes of preparing
    homeopathic remedies, provides another rich data base.
    The most distinctive feature of bonding in liquid water is not only the “well-known hydrogen
    bonds, but the necessary presence of a wide range” of van der Waals bonds between and
    among the various oligomeric (cluster) structural units. It is this range of very weak bonds
    that could account for the remarkable ease of changing the structure of water, which in turn
    could help explain the half-dozen well-known anomalies in its properties. In its subtler form,
    such weak bonds would also allow for the changes of structure caused by electric and
    magnetic fields and by radiation of all kinds, including possibly so-called “subtle energies”,
    which are the basis of an enormous range of claims about specially “structured” water.
    http://site.fixherpes.com/roy_structure_water.pdf

    4. The ‘Memory of Water’: an almost deciphered enigma. Dissipative structures in extremely dilute aqueous solutions.
    V. Elia, E. Napoli and R. Germano

    Abstract
    In the last decade, we have investigated from the physicochemical point of view, whether water prepared by the procedures of homeopathic medicine (leading inexorably to systems without any molecule different from the solvent) results in water different from the initial water? The answer, unexpectedly, but strongly supported by many experimental results is positive. We used well-established physicochemical techniques: flux calorimetry, conductometry, pHmetry and galvanic cell electrodes potential. Unexpectedly the physicochemical parameters evolve in time. The water solvent exhibits large changes in measurable physicochemical properties as a function of its history, the solute previously dissolved, and time. In particular we found evidence of two new phenomena, both totally unpredicted, in homeopathic dilutions: the presence of a maximum in the measured physicochemical parameters vs sample age, and their dependence on the volume in which the dilution is stored. These new experimental results strongly suggest the presence of an extended and ‘ordered’ dynamics involving liquid water molecules.
    doi:10.1016/j.homp.2007.05.007

    Spectroscopic & Physical Methods to Assess High Dilutions

    A/ Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (RMN) by Izel Botha

    This paper seeks to perform a meta-analysis of the findings of these studies and to draw a
    conclusion on the nature of homoeopathic dilutions as well as the validity of performing
    this type of inquiry into the nature of homeopathically prepared medicines.
    From the studies presented, two conclusions can be drawn, the first dealing with the
    evolution of the thinking processes associated with the studies that needed to be
    conducted. In the initial studies, conducted by Ross and Power investigated the
    nature of Q potencies. These researchers acknowledged that the theories as to the
    molecular organisation in solutions existed, but they refrained from conclusively
    interpreting the results in terms of to those theories. Their research lead to Cason
    investigating the influence of the frequency of the NMR spectrometer on results obtained.
    Davies and Malan investigated the role of dilution on the physico-chemical structure
    of the homoeopathic solutions, showing that information storage does take place in the
    solution, but that different dilution methods result in different solutions, even when the
    theoretical dilution level is equal. Malan’s mention of dilution level and succussion
    opened the door for investigation of the effect of various potentisation methods.
    Each investigated different variables that may be introduced during the manufacturing process, particularly looking at the number of succussions and the effect of trituration. Erasmus
    took this one step further by investigating the mechanics of the succession process. These researchers interpreted their results based on the theories of Resch and Gutmann and Anagnostatos. This body of knowledge has inspired Allsopp to look into the effect of energy transfer into the solution – whether it is imperative that the energy is imprinted mechanically by hand production of the remedies, or if it can equally be achieved through electromagnetic means. In comparing the studies, it is evident that both trituration and serial dilution changes the physico-chemical properties of the solvent to produce distinct medicines.
    Conclusions: The meta-analysis supports the conclusion that different potentisation
    methods result in medicines with different physico-chemical properties. One can also
    conclude that NMR Spectroscopy is a valuable tool in assessing the physico-chemical
    effect that potentisation methods have on the lactose and water/ethanol bases utilised in
    the manufacture of homoeopathic medicines. It works well to study a single compound
    and is not adapted to the investigation of a complex mix of different substances. NMR
    may be used for low potencies and only with the best available instrument.

    Ross, A. H. A. (1997). An evaluation of Hahnemannian quinquagenimillesimal potencies using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Department of Homoeopathy. Durban, Technikon Natal. Master’s Degree in Technology: Homoeopathy: 71.
    Power, S. M. (1999). An appraisal of Homoeopathic Quinquagenimillesimal Potencies of Plumbum metallicum and Stannum metallicum by means of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Department of Homoeopathy. Durban, Technikon Natal.
    Master’s Degree in Technology: Homoeopathy: 72.
    Cason, A. (2002). A comparison of the 80MHz, 200MHz and 500MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectra of Homoeopathic Sulphur 30CH. Department of Homoeopathy. Durban, Technikon Natal. Master’s Degree in Technology: Homoeopathy: 79. 139
    Davies, T. M. (2001). A comparison of Hahnemannian and Korsakovian potentising methods using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Department of Homoeopathy. Durban, Technikon Natal. Master’s Degree in Technology: Homoeopathy: 103. 140
    Malan, J. F. (2002). A comparison of Centesimal and Decimal Hahnemannian potencies using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Department of Homoeopathy. Durban, Durban Institute of Technology. Master’s Degree in Technology: Homoeopathy: 91.
    Hofmeyr, D. (2004). A Nuclear Magnetic Resonance study of potencies of Natrum muriaticum 15CH prepared by trituration and succussion versus Natrum muriaticum 15CH prepared by succussion alone. Department of Homoeopathy. Durban, Durban Institute of Technology. Master’s Degree in Technology: Homoeopathy: 57. 142
    Lyell, D. (2004). An NMR study of the effect of succussion on parallel potencies of Natrum muriaticum. Department of Homoeopathy. Durban, Durban Institute of Technology. Master’s Degree in Technology: Homoeopathy: 51. 143
    Botha, I. (2005). A comparative study of the nuclear magnetic resonance spectra of Kalium Bichromicum 12CH manufactured from 3CH and 4CH triturations respectively. Department of Homoeopathy. Durban, Durban University of Technology. Master’s Degree in Technology: Homoeopathy: 58. 144
    Erasmus, F. (2004). A comparative study of the NMR spectra of parallel potencies of Pulsatilla pratensis, prepared according to Hahnemannian and Anthroposophical Extended Medicine methods respectively. Department of Homoeopathy. Durban, Durban Institute of Technology. Master’s Degree in Technology: Homoeopathy: 59. 145
    Resch, G. and V. Gutmann (1987). Scientific Foundations of Homeopathy. Berg am Starnberger See, Germany, Barthel & Barthel Publishing. 146
    Anagnostatos, G. S., G. Vithoulkas, et al. (1991). “A working hypothesis for homeopathic microdiluted remedies.” Berlin J Res Homeopathy 1: 141. 147
    Allsopp, C. (2009). A comparative study of Hahnemannian and Radionically prepared potencies of Natrum muriaticum using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Department of Homoeopathy. Durban, Durban University of Technology. Master’s Degree in Technology: Homoeopathy. 148
    Weingärtner, O. (1990). “NMR-features That Relate To Homoeopathic Sulphur Potencies.” The Berlin Journal on Research in Homoeopathy 1(1): 61-68. 149
    Williams, D. A. R. (1986). Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Chichester, John Wiley & Sons.
    150
    Barnard, G. O. (1965). “Microdose Paradox – A New Concept.” Journal of the American Institute of Homoeopathy 58: 205-212. 151
    Young, T. M. (1975). “NMR studies of succussed solutions: a preliminary report.” J Amer Inst Hom 68: 8-16. 152
    Sachs, A. D. (1983). “Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of homoeopathic remedies.” J Holistic Med 5: 172-177. 153
    Bol, A. (1997). NMR Research in Homoeopathy. HomInt R&D Newsletter. 1/97. 154
    Aabel, S., S. Fossheim, et al. (2001). “Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies of homeopathic solutions.” Br Homeopath J 90: 14-20. 155
    Milgrom, R., K. R. King, et al. (2001). “On the investigation of homeopathic potencies using low resolution NMR T2 relaxation times: an experimental and critical survey of the work of Roland Conte et al.” Br Homeopath J 90(1): 5-13.

    B/ A new Magnetic Resonance method by K. Lenger

    The “homeopathic information” in high homeopathic potencies on sugar globule could be
    considered as photons with frequencies in the MHz-region by scientific evidence. These
    photons in high homeopathic potencies were detected by two magnetic resonance-methods
    firstly by the modified photomultiplier-method and secondly by the Tesla-coil method.
    Both methods allowed determination of physical properties of these photons: holistic, coherent quantum behavior, damping of the magnetic field by resonance effect, at least two resonance frequencies in the MHz-region, frequency spectra after being excited by one of their characteristic resonance frequencies, measurability of the degree of potencies by separation of the photons from their carrier substances alcohol or sucrose by increasing the electromagnetic fields of their resonance frequencies. A
    device for measuring the degree of the potencies and their resonance frequencies must be
    developed for quality control of them in future. Further investigations about the stability
    of the remedies in different media: water, alcohol, sugar, are necessary. A physical model
    must be developed in which way matter substance can be converted into energy, into
    photons by succussion in alcoholic dilutions and in triturations.

    C/ UV – Visible spectrometry

    A promising approach was reached when the dilutions were studied near the upper limit
    of their ultra-violet absorption spectrum (200 to 400 nm). Rao, Roy, Bell and Hoover
    got some interesting recordings for ultra-molecular solutions of 3 different products
    selected in totally different kingdom (Natrium muriaticum, Pulsatilla, Lachesis) and were
    able to discriminate them at the 30C level. Similar results were equally obtained by
    Pollack and Wexler working on Havit, Apis mellifica and Histaminum. This method,
    however, proved to be highly sensitive to rather unforeseen parameters, like the time of
    the day. Reproducibility has not yet been possible.

    D/ Raman spectroscopy

    Different attempts have been done to see whether a close investigation of the Raman shift
    could help discriminating the dilutions between themselves. Once more the operating
    conditions proved to be determinant: the position of the tube, recording done in a dark
    room and the same instrument. Under those conditions Rao148
    could demonstrate that the
    spectral peaks corresponding to different potencies of the same strain or dilutions of the
    same potency from different sources are different. Even if those differences are small,
    they look reproducible.

    E/ Dynamic Electrophotonic Capture: Gaz Discharge Visualization – EPC/GDV

    The introduction of the so-called EPC/GDV technique in the research on high dilutions is
    a somewhat accidental and unforecastable event. It results from the pioneering work of
    Konstantin Korotkov who developed a completely new process to analyse “the energu
    fields” on multiple targets thanks to the analysis of the electrophotonic glow stimulated
    by a train of controlled pulses of a high-tension electromagnetic field, a technique based
    upon the Kirlian effect. Applied to ultra-molecular dilutions by Iris Bell, very small
    drops of liquid (0,02cc) gave successive glow images under electric discharge, which
    could be further processed thanks to the elaborative software of K. Korotkov. The triple
    analysis of their fractality (shape), size and brightness did show different patterns which,
    under well selected conditions, could be species-specific, and Iris Bell discovered that a
    high dilution of Natrium muriaticum had definitely a different overall dinger-print than
    its original solvent (ethanol in that particular case). It is most likely that this innovative
    technique might open perspectives in dilution research.

    F/ Calorimetric and Electric Measurements

    In a completely different field, Elia and al were able to show that when a high dilution
    was mixed with an acid or a base, the heat release was much more important than it
    should be for a standard reference. He claimed that this was due to the fact that, in the
    case of high dilutions, an excess of energy was basically needed to “rupture” intrinsic
    structures (so-called dissipative structures) resulting to their preparation.
    Similar discrepancies were also observed by Elia when he measured the electric
    conductivity of high dilutions, an observation which was shared by Zacharias
    and his group in Brazil when they compared succused high dilutions of Vincristine sulfate an
    inert solvent.

    Another interesting approach in the field of electric measurements is opened by the use of
    Impedance spectroscopy. In that particular technique the behavior of a dilution is
    assessed as a dielectric medium in low frequencies and some preliminary research
    (Monod – Cemagref) did show that the loss angle (Tg delta) and the dielectric constant
    are substantially different from one dilution to its original solvent.

    G/ Thermoluminescence (abstract Prof. Louis Rey)

    Low-temperature thermoluminescence is a very sensitive investigation tool and, for
    instance, could discriminate very easily different highly diluted alumina colloids which
    could not be distinguished by classical chemical analysis. On that base this method was
    used to study inter alia, potassium dichromate, sodium chloride and lithium chloride
    preparations made in D20. For potassium dichromate, the experiments carried out with
    Ilse Muchitsch and Michael Frass showed very clearly that their “finger prints” were
    totally different from the one of the heavy water alone even in dilutions above Avogadro
    number.

    Anagnostatos, G. S. (1994). Small water clusters (clathrates) in the preparation process of homeopathy. Fundamental Research in Ultra High Dilution and Homeopathy. P. C. Endler and J. Schulte, Kluwer Acad Publ.
    Bellavite, P. and A. Signorini (2002). The Emerging Science of Homeopathy: Complexity, Biodynamics, and Nanopharmacology.
    Berkeley, USA, North Atlantic Books.
    Smith, C. W. and S. Best (1989). Electromagnetic Man. London, J.M. Dent and Sons Ltd.
    Antonchenko, V. and V. Ilyin (1992). “Points at issue in the physics of water and homoeopathy.” Br Homeopath J 81(2): 91-93.
    Shaw, D. (1976). Fourier Transform Spectroscopy. Amsterdam, Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company.
    K. Lenger, R.P. Bajpai, & M. Drexel, Delayed luminescence of high homeopathic potencies on sugar globuli, Homeopathy 97,3 (2008), pp. 134-140
    K. Lenger, Homeopathic potencies identified by a new magnetic resonance method, Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine 15,3, (2006), pp. 225–243.
    K. Lenger, R.P. Bajpai, M. Drexel, M. Spielmann & J. Ambrusch , Principal mode of action and properties of homeopathic
    potencies identified as photons. 63rd LMHI-World-Congress 20-24 May,2008,Oostende, Belgium
    K.Lenger, A physical and biochemical model of homeopathic function applied to patients with different diseases. Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine in press 2009
    Rao ML, Roy R, Bell IR and Hoover R. The defining role of structure (including epitaxy) in the plausibility of homeopathy. Homeopathy 2007; Vol 96, Issue 3:175-182.

    Biological, Immunological and Cell Physiological Studies

    Immunology and Homeopathy;
    Paolo Bellavite1,*, Anita Conforti2, Valeria Piasere1 and Riccardo Ortolani3
    1Department of Scienze Morfologico-Biomediche, University of Verona Piazza L.A. Scuro, 37134 Verona, Italy, 2Department of Medicina e Sanità Pubblica, University of Verona Piazza L.A. Scuro, 37134 Verona, Italy, and 3Association for Integrative Medicine ‘Giovanni Scolaro’, University of Verona Piazza L.A. Scuro, 37134 Verona, Italy

    1. Historical Background

    Abstract
    Homeopathy was born as an experimental discipline, as can be seen from the enormous amount of homeopathic data collected over more than two centuries. However, the medical tradition of homeopathy has been separated from that of conventional science for a long time. Conventional scientific wisdom dictates that homeopathy should have no effect above placebo but experiments on ultra-high dilutions of solutes together with some clinical data suggest the intriguing possibility that it might do in some circumstances. Today, an osmotic process between disciplines, previously seen as in conflict, is facilitated because over the last few decades homeopathy has initiated the methods of current medical science and a substantial number of experimental studies—at molecular, cellular and clinical levels—are available. One area of dialogue and of common progress is that of inflammation and immunity, probably because these are closely related to the traditional ‘vital force’ of the body’s self-healing power. In a series of papers we review the historical origins of homeopathy, the laboratory and animal models related to the field of immunopharmacology, the clinical evidence in favor and against the use of homeopathy in the inflammatory diseases and the hypotheses regarding its action mechanism(s). Finally, we will enlighten the specific characteristics of the homeopathic approach, which places great emphasis on identifying a cure for the whole organism.
    http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/2/4/441

    2. Cells of the Immune System and Inflammation

    Abstract

    Here we describe the results of some experimental laboratory studies aimed at verifying the efficacy of high dilutions of substances and of homeopathic medicines in models of inflammation and immunity. Studies carried out on basophils, lymphocytes, granulocytes and fibroblasts are reviewed. This approach may help to test under controlled conditions the main principles of homeopathy such as ‘similarity’ of drug action at the cellular level and the effects of dilution/dynamization on the drug activity. The current situation is that few and rather small groups are working on laboratory models for homeopathy. Regarding the interpretation of data in view of the simile principle, we observe that there are different levels of similarity and that the laboratory data give support to this principle, but have not yet yielded the ultimate answer to the action mechanism of homeopathy. Evidence of the biological activity in vitro of highly diluted-dynamized solutions is slowly accumulating, with some conflicting reports. It is our hope that this review of literature unknown to most people will give an original and useful insight into the ‘state-of-the-art’ of homeopathy, without final conclusions ‘for’ or ‘against’ this modality. This kind of uncertainty may be difficult to accept, but is conceivably the most open-minded position now.

    http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/3/1/13

    3. Experimental Studies on Animal Models

    Abstract

    A search of the literature and the experiments carried out by the authors of this review show that there are a number of animal models where the effect of homeopathic dilutions or the principles of homeopathic medicine have been tested. The results relate to the immunostimulation by ultralow doses of antigens, the immunological models of the ‘simile’, the regulation of acute or chronic inflammatory processes and the use of homeopathic medicines in farming. The models utilized by different research groups are extremely etherogeneous and differ as the test medicines, the dilutions and the outcomes are concerned. Some experimental lines, particularly those utilizing mice models of immunomodulation and anti-inflammatory effects of homeopathic complex formulations, give support to a real effect of homeopathic high dilutions in animals, but often these data are of preliminary nature and have not been independently replicated. The evidence emerging from animal models is supporting the traditional ‘simile’ rule, according to which ultralow doses of compounds, that in high doses are pathogenic, may have paradoxically a protective or curative effect. Despite a few encouraging observational studies, the effectiveness of the homeopathic prevention or therapy of infections in veterinary medicine is not sufficiently supported by randomized and controlled trials.

    http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/3/2/171

    4. Clinical Studies

    Abstract

    The evidence-based research of the effectiveness of homeopathic medicines in common immunologic disorders is reviewed. In part 1, we introduce methodological issues of clinical research in homeopathy, and criteria utilized to evaluate the literature. Then 24 studies (12 randomized and 12 non-randomized) on common upper respiratory tract infections and otorhinolaryngologic complaints are described. In part 2, the focus will be on allergic diseases and the effectiveness of homeopathy will be globally evaluated and discussed using the criteria of evidence-based medicine.

    http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/3/3/293

    5. The Rationale of the ‘Simile’

    Abstract

    The foundation of homeopathic medicine is the ‘Similia Principle’, also known as the ‘Principle of Similarity’ or also as the ‘Simile’, which reflects the inversion of pharmacological effects in healthy subjects as compared with sick ones. This article describes the inversion of effects, a widespread medical phenomenon, through three possible mechanisms: non-linearity of dose–response relationship, different initial pathophysiological states of the organism, and pharmacodynamics of body response to the medicine. Based on the systemic networks which play an important role in response to stress, a unitary and general model is designed: homeopathic medicines could interact with sensitive (primed) regulation systems through complex information, which simulate the disorders of natural disease. Reorganization of regulation systems, through a coherent response to the medicine, could pave the way to the healing of the cellular, tissue and neuro-immuno-endocrine homeodynamics. Preliminary evidence is suggesting that even ultra-low doses and high-dilutions of drugs may incorporate structural or frequency information and interact with chaotic dynamics and physical-electromagnetic levels of regulation. From the clinical standpoint, the ‘simile’ can be regarded as a heuristic principle, according to which the detailed knowledge of pathogenic effects of drugs, associated with careful analysis of signs and symptoms of the ill subject, could assist in identifying homeopathic remedies with high grade of specificity for the individual case

    http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/short/4/2/149

    *Meta analyses – Systematic review

    The « gold standard », accepted principally by conventional medicine to evaluate the efficacy of a remedy is referred to as a meta-analysis or a systematic audit of RCTs. Since 1991, 6 comprehensive reviews concerning homeopathy were published.

    The conclusion arrived at concerning all comprehensive systematic reviews was that homeopathy elicits a positive and specific effect greater than placebo alone. Several randomized and controlled studies (RCT) showed a statistic significant difference between homeopathy and placebo.

    Comprehensive reports of these meta-analyses are presented below;

    Kleijnen en al. 1991 (18) British Medical Journal. 105 studies with
    interpretable results. Meta-analysis based on validated criteria.

    * 77% of the studies show positive result for homeopathy.
    *The results are mostly favourable for homeopathy regarding the quality of trials.
    * There is a legal argument for further evaluation of homeopathy

    Boissel en al. 1996 (19) Report for the European commission. 15 studies.
    Inclusion of only very rigorous studies (highest quality).

    * Combined p-values for the 15 studies is significant. (p = 0.0002).
    * It is evident that homeopathy is more efficient than placebo
    * Little evidence for non-published negative results
    *Further research is justified.
    Linde en al. 1997 (20) The Lancet. 89 studies.

    * Odds ratio» combined 2.45 (95% CI, 2.05-2.93) in favour of homeopathy
    * «Odds ratio» for the best 26 studies was 1.66
    * It is not possible that the clinical effects of homeopathy are due completely to placebo

    Linde and Melchart 1998 (21) Journal of Alternative and Complementary
    Medicine. 32 studies, inclusion of studies on invidualised homeopathy only (19)

    * Individualised homeopathy is more efficient than a placebo: the value of the combined
    coefficient was 1.62 (95% CI, 1.17-2.23).
    * Further pragmatic research is justified.

    Cucherat en al. 2000 (22) European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
    16 trials representing 17 comparisons with placebo (based on data from the
    Boissel 1996 study).

    * Several studies have positive results. More trials have a positive result than would be
    expected to chance alone.
    * Publication bias is unlikely.
    * More clinical trials are needed.

    Shang & al. 2005 (23) Lancet. 110 trials included, but the final conclusion
    is based on a selection of 8 trials.

    * Final conclusion (8 heterogeneous trials) : weak evidence for a specific effect of
    homeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional
    interventions
    * Presented as comparison of homeopathy and carefully matched conventional trials, but
    data about conclusive trials were missing
    * Quality of homeopathy trials is better: 21 (19%) good quality trials for homeopathy, 9
    (8%) for conventional medicine.
    * Homeopathy is effective for acute upper respiratory tract infections (odds ratio 036
    [95% CI 026–050]), based on 8 trials without indications for bias. The Science of Homeopathy-Books and Research Compendiums

    The Emerging Science of Homeopathy: Complexity, Biodynamics, and Nanopharmacology- Paolo Bellavite & Andrea Signorini
    Italian physicians Paolo Bellavite and Andrea Signorini thoroughly examine previous and current literature on the science of homeopathy in order to discover answers to the elemental questions about homeopathy. Bellavite and Signorini engage in a fascinating discussion of the biophysics of water, biological effects of electromagnetic fields, chaos theory, and fractals.

    Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis- James L. Oschman
    This book, written by a well-known scientist with a background in biophysics and biology brings together evidence from a range of disciplines to provide an acceptable explanation for the energetic exchanges that take place in all therapies. It addresses a growing interest in the field of mind-body medicine and the role of natural “energy forces” within the body in maintaining normal health and wellbeing. This in turn has lead to interest in how these energies or forces may be channelled to assist in healing and the restoration of normal health.

    The Scientific Basis of Integrative Medicine- Leonard A. Wisneski
    Provides doctors and other health practitioners with information on complementary and alternative approaches to health, that is authoritative, scientifically based, and epidemiologically substantiated. Written for doctors and healthcare professionals by pioneering practitioners and updated with the newest research across an increasing range of possibilities.

    The Extracellular Matrix and Ground Regulation- Alfred Pischinger
    The workings of the suitable environment for cells—called the extracellular matrix (ECM) and ground regulation—has occupied the European medical tradition since the early part of the 20th century. As it has become more clear that the origin of disease and its first signals register in the connective tissue, or myofascia, cellular pathologists and biochemists have sought to circumscribe networks of cell communication and microcirculation in the ECM.
    Alfred Pischinger (1899-1982) continued this line of work by further studying, in work published from 1926 through the late seventies, the connections of the ECM to the hormonal and autonomic systems. In the last twenty years Professor and Doctor of Natural Sciences Hartmut Heine and his colleagues have carried on Pischinger’s work, here summarized in one volume. Part One encompasses theoretical underpinnings; Parts Two and Three address applications and directions for further research.
    This updated English-language translation not only is an account of the work of Pischinger’s successors—Heine, Otto Bergsmann, and Felix Perger, (the three editors of this volume) and their many colleagues—but notes the positive development of complementary therapies based on this understanding of histology. Acupuncture and homeopathy are referenced directly. Both in Europe and the States the work of manual therapists, including Rolfers, cranio- sacral therapists, and other somatic disciplines have been informed for many years by Pischinger’s outsider model of how changes in the ECM register in the central nervous system and the brain, and are conveyed back to the periphery and connected organs. Heine’s exciting recent work shows that the regulation and construction of the ECM have relationships to cybernetic non-linear systems and phase transitions.

    Biological and Medical Aspects of Electromagnetic Fields (Handbook of Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields)- Frank S. Barnes, Ben Greenebaum
    Biological and Medical Aspects of Electromagnetic Fields examines potential health hazards, exposure standards, and medical applications of electromagnetic (EM) fields. This book draws from the latest studies on the effects of exposure to electric and magnetic fields. In addition to extensive reviews of physiological effects, the book contains now separate reviews of behavioral and cognitive responses to various exposures. The book also describes an approach to setting standards for exposure limits and explores a few of the beneficial uses of EM fields in medical applications, both diagnostics and in treatment. Biological and Medical Aspects of Electromagnetic Fields provides a practical overview of the experiments and methods used to observe ELF and RF fields and the possible useful and hazardous implications of these observations.

    Signals and Images: Contributions and Contradictions about High Dilution Research-Leoni Villano Bonamin
    The GIRI – Groupe International de Recherche sur l´Infinitésimal – was created in 1986 with the aim to gather researchers toward the high dilution questions, such as hormesis, isopathy, homeopathy and the phenomenological and conceptual differences among them. This is the only international scientific society organised exclusively to promote multidisciplinary forums about these subjects. Since 1990, a series of books titled “Signals and Images” has been published regularly by the initiative of Prof. Madeleine Bastide (1935-2007), containing the synthesis of most interesting lectures presented in the GIRI annual symposiums. This third volume “Signals and Images – Contributions and Contradictions about High Dilution Research” is a legacy from Prof. Madeleine Bastide to the GIRI members. Is a portrait of the GIRI scientific activities, which have been built to strengthen high dilutions and homeopathy through rigorously managed high-level research. It was organised in six parts: epistemology, experimental research / biology, experimental research / physics, clinical research, veterinary research and practice and an epilogue. All chapters were submitted to peer-review. To read it is an interesting way to reach up-to-dated knowledge about High Dilution Research, that has been developed in different parts of the world.

    The Memory of Water- Michel Schiff
    This work tells the story of the persecution of Jacques Benveniste, a French scientist whose career was frustrated when he tried to expand the horizons of traditional science. His research provided an explanation for one of the great mysteries of medical science – the working of homoeopathy. This book explores the witch hunt that was carried out against Beveniste and examines the way that, historically, science has vilified those considered heretics, only to canonize them years later.

    The Body Electric- Robert Becker M.D.
    The Body Electric tells the fascinating story of our bioelectric selves. Robert O. Becker, a pioneer in the filed of regeneration and its relationship to electrical currents in living things, challenges the established mechanistic understanding of the body. He found clues to the healing process in the long-discarded theory that electricity is vital to life. But as exciting as Becker’s discoveries are, pointing to the day when human limbs, spinal cords, and organs may be regenerated after they have been damaged, equally fascinating is the story of Becker’s struggle to do such original work. The Body Electric explores new pathways in our understanding of evolution, acupuncture, psychic phenomena, and healing.

    “There are four chief obstacles in grasping truth, which hinder every man, however learned, and scarcely allow any one to win a clear title to learning, namely, submission to faulty and unworthy authority, influence of custom, popular prejudice, and concealment of our own ignorance accompanied by an ostentatious display of our knowledge.”– Roger Bacon: Opus Majus

    • Agashem says:

      Keep working on it. The burden of proof remains yours. We await a definitive study of the efficacy of homeopathic remedies beyond placebo in humans. If that happens, you will see medicine begin to accept it, that is how it works. So keep it up, you may hit on it yet.

    • Andrewziak says:

      “I am not willing to babysit the ignorant nor attempt to convince them of something well below their educational pay grade. ”

      I find this comment rather curious. If you are not willing to babysit or convince people ignorant of homeopathy why then include all of the references that you did?

      This seems really bizarre and is something I see a lot in these kinds of responses. You start out by saying that skeptics are not educated enough to discuss with you the science and wealth of evidence and then provide a relatively short list of literature on the subject. Would reading the 15 min worth of information you provided be enough to raise our “educational pay grade”?

      It’s as if you’re stating that we do not have the scientific prominence or intellect to have a debate with us, and then proceed to list off some pretty basic articles and books.

      I hate analogies but it is a little like saying that we as critics do not have the educational background to discuss musical theory and the proceed by listing off Fog-Hat lyrics.

      Slow ride indeed.

    • Dianne Sousa says:

      Toxicosis:

      All you have managed to do here is expose your utter contempt for the people that you claim homeopathy can help.

      If you wish to enter into a productive discussion, then don’t hide behind a pseudonym. You claim to do science: Who are you? What research do you conduct? Where can I read it?

      If your position has any merit whatsoever it stands on its own strength and is not bolstered in any way by your charge that most of us are sociopaths.

      It is embarrasing that you are so scientifically literate and yet are so willing to label those critical of you with serious psychiatric disorders. Do you have the knowledge or integrity to admit that this is totally offside?

      I think that people coming cross the article and your post that are trying to find out more about homeopathy are going to write you off as a crank. Why should they take you seriously?

    • doja28 says:

      TL;DR

  7. gmcevoy says:

    Toxicosis – you should read that Bacon quote again while looking in the mirror

  8. Composer99 says:

    Hello, Gish Gallop!

    Seriously, my hat goes out to anyone who spends a whole weekend going through that pile of references.

    Far better, in my mind, to leave it to the experts who have already done work of that sort: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20402610.

  9. Paul says:

    Hmm. It says here that there will be a Toronto event, but I can find no other reference to it anywhere. There is no mention of any Canadian 10:23 event on either the CFI Canada or the Science and Reason Canada websites. Steve Thoms, above, made reference to a facebook page for a K/W event, but there does not seem to be a link in his comment. Does anyone know where I can find more information about a possible Toronto event?

  10. Paul says:

    My bad, there is a link in Steve’s comment. You know, whatever happened to the Internet convention of making links appear in a different colour text? Why should I have to randomly wave my mouse pointer over a page to see if there’s a link to click on? Bad web design, Skeptic North!

    • John Greg says:

      This is a great site and all, and clearly a lot of work has gone into it, but I’m afraid I’m with Paul 100% on this issue of Internet/web conventions. Links should always stand out in some meaningful fashion (preferably colour difference, or underlining), otherwise they are and will be overlooked. And that’s not just “one individual’s” opinion, it really is a useful, practical, and “vast majority” convention.

  11. Michael Kruse says:

    Hey Paul,

    There is an event planned in toronto on Feb 5th at Yonge and Dundas in front of the Eaton centre at 12 noon with set up at 11 – I will post a link soon to the list of events and times across Canada soon!

  12. Justin says:

    @Toxicosis: You know, rather than posting an enormous list of studies that claim to support the essential principles of homeopathy (law of similars, inverse relationship of dose to effect, etc.), a single study that actually shows that homeopathy works better than placebo, to a significant extent, would be much more convincing. It is easy to provide this sort of overwhelming and obvious evidence for the efficacy of aspirin, birth control pills, chemotherapy, etc. Why is it so hard for homeopathy to produce just one really convincing, bulletproof, indisputable study that doesn’t rely on tiny percentages and meta-analysis to make its point? Why is it that even the “positive” studies are so mathematically vague about the conclusion?

    If we were flipping a coin and you guessed right 55% of the time I wouldn’t be terribly convinced of your ESP, regardless of the fact that it’s a 5% variation from the expected outcome. If you started hitting it 80% of the time I’d call Mulder, and at 95% I’d pay for your ticket to Vegas. If just one homeopath could run a decent study that showed something really convincing, I’d be buying your sugar pills tomorrow. Until then, you’re barking up the wrong tree full of skeptics. We’re not even convinced that you’re a dog!

  13. skeptikai says:

    Toxpsychosis or whatever your name is (geeze, it takes me ten minutes just to scroll back up), I like your elitist sentiment:
    “Essentially in our day and age the vast majority of self-proclaimed skeptics are profoundly ignorant narcissists and sociopaths with little to no education in the hard sciences.”

    This is coming from the guy who says water has memory. Wow. I wonder if it remembers where it went after I drank it.

    • Giuseppe says:

      Dear Skeptikai, do you know that there is another guy telling that water has memory … a certain … Luc … Luc Montagnier, a simple Nobel Prize, but I’m sure that you are more authoritative of him … of course.

  14. Terry Robinson says:

    Will the ‘sceptics’ be washing the Hp preps down with toxic utility water containing chlorine and fluorine metabolites?
    They need to be warned.
    Terry Robinson
    Qld. Australia

  15. Magufo says:

    It is simply incredible, given the axiom (pseudo) skeptical that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” and never ponene a limit which makes it somewhat ambiguous and pseudo-philosophy, but of course! Sagan said it (actually popularized) and this makes a perfect and easy fallacy of authority or ad baculum. Perfect as Randi also says it must be true is not it?

    Curiously Toxicosis provides a good range of references and the only thing pseudo skeptics were able to launch ad-hominem was and straw man fallacies. I really do not loose any argument, but a well-worn artifice and “the burden of proof” ignoring the fact that Toxicosis is giving references to all scientific studies, so argue the burden of proof is irrelevant. One would come to it if Toxicosis had refused to give references which did not happen.

    Another point is that attempting to analyze the assumption that Toxicosis “does not convince anyone,” I wonder then: The mass suicide wants to convince everyone else or not? rare according to the propaganda of 10:23 does not want to do, though in practice if you want to do. They see the contradiction?

    Regarding the criticism Toxicosis clearly does not refer to the lack of criticism by people who do not know, of course many of the skeptics are doctors of sciences or university graduates, but that does not make (paradoxically) the critical or rational discuitr when its “pseudoscience” favorite (which is also paradoxical as the neo atheist propaganda is skeptical and argued as rational, logical, scientific and intelligent). Thus the critics are skeptical pseudorefutaciones already well known, based on ad-hominem arguments (again paradoxical), a priori judgments, false claims to authorities (ie Penn & Teller or Tim Michin), caricatures, fits of anger (interestingly I read Many skeptics say that their attacks more pissed off “believers” in homeopathy, but otherwise I see the “skeptics” who are more and more pissed off even to mass suicides, apply conferences and organizations are supposedly educational purposes, ideologies and like all good science pseudofilantropos claim to support and give support to Mass Media “attacks” as the case against a blogger Boiron Italian), poor arguments and trite and meaningless questions to give the effect of “refute” (ie ask questions like: “If homeopathy works then all >>> <<< then all the laws of physics and chemistry would not work")

  16. Very good article and interesting posts here. Let’s just wait for more concrete evidence before discarding Homeopath as a mere placebo. While there seems to be some use of these medicines for simpler cases hitherto. There has been no evidence of cure for serious cases.

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  • Michael Kruse

    Michael is an advanced-care paramedic in York Region, just north of Toronto, Ontario. A semi-retired theatrical lighting designer as well, he re-trained in 2005 as an EMT-PS at the University of Iowa and as an ACP at Durham College, and is currently working towards a B.Sc at the University of Toronto. Michael is a founder and the chair of the board of directors of Bad Science Watch. He is also the recipient of the first annual Barry Beyerstein Award for Skepticism. Follow Michael on twitter @anxiousmedic. Michael's musings are his own and do not necessarily represent those of his employer or Bad Science Watch.