Tag Archives: homeopathy

update: COMPLEMENTARY, HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE APPROVED IN SWITZERLAND, DEBATED IN AUSTRALIA, GERMANY AND SWEDEN

20 Oct 2014  an update Swedish perspective;

Forsch Komplementmed. 2013;20(5):376-81. doi: 10.1159/000355916. Epub 2013 Oct 17.  Homeopathy: meta-analyses of pooled clinical data.
Hahn RG.    Research Unit, Södertälje Hospital, Södertälje, Sweden.

In the first decade of the evidence-based era, which began in the mid-1990s, meta-analyses were used to scrutinize homeopathy for evidence of beneficial effects in medical conditions. In this review, meta-analyses including pooled data from placebo-controlled clinical trials of homeopathy and the aftermath in the form of debate articles were analyzed. In 1997 Klaus Linde and co-workers identified 89 clinical trials that showed an overall odds ratio of 2.45 in favor of homeopathy over placebo. There was a trend toward smaller benefit from studies of the highest quality, but the 10 trials with the highest Jadad score still showed homeopathy had a statistically significant effect. These results challenged academics to perform alternative analyses that, to demonstrate the lack of effect, relied on extensive exclusion of studies, often to the degree that conclusions were based on only 5-10% of the material, or on virtual data. The ultimate argument against homeopathy is the ‘funnel plot’ published by Aijing Shang’s research group in 2005. However, the funnel plot is flawed when applied to a mixture of diseases, because studies with expected strong treatments effects are, for ethical reasons, powered lower than studies with expected weak or unclear treatment effects. To conclude that homeopathy lacks clinical effect, more than 90% of the available clinical trials had to be disregarded. Alternatively, flawed statistical methods had to be applied. Future meta-analyses should focus on the use of homeopathy in specific diseases or groups of diseases instead of pooling data from all clinical trials.

German perspective:      Homeopathy. 2010;99(1):76-82. Placebo effect sizes in homeopathic compared to conventional drugs – a systematic review of randomised controlled trials.     Nuhn T1, Lüdtke R, Geraedts M.1Klinik Roderbirken, Roderbirken, Leichlingen, Germany.  It has been hypothesised that randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trials (RCTs) of classical (individualised) homeopathy often fail because placebo effects are substantially higher than in conventional medicine.  OBJECTIVES:  To compare placebo effects in clinical trials on homeopathy to placebo effects on trials of conventional medicines.         METHODS: We performed a systematic literature analysis on placebo-controlled double-blind RCTs on classical homeopathy. Each trial was matched to three placebo-controlled double-blind RCTs from conventional medicine (mainly pharmacological interventions) involving the same diagnosis. Matching criteria included severity of complaints, choice of outcome parameter, and treatment duration. Outcome was measured as the percentage change of symptom scores from baseline to end of treatment in the placebo group. 35 RCTs on classical homeopathy were identified. 10 were excluded because no relevant data could be extracted, or less than three matching conventional trials could be located.       RESULTS:  In 13 matched sets the placebo effect in the homeopathic trials was larger than the average placebo effect of the conventional trials, in 12 matched sets it was lower (P=0.39). Additionally, no subgroup analysis yielded any significant difference.     CONCLUSIONS: Placebo effects in RCTs on classical homeopathy did not appear to be larger than placebo effects in conventional medicine

and an Australian perspective from the MJA on a recent Australian ethics review: :

J Bioeth Inq. 2014 Jul 19.    A Gentle Ethical Defence of Homeopathy.
Levy D1, Gadd B, Kerridge I, Komesaroff PA.    1Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney, 92-94 Parramatta Rd., Camperdown, NSW, 2006, Australia, David.c.levy@sydney.edu.au.

Recent discourses about the legitimacy of homeopathy have focused on its scientific plausibility, mechanism of action, and evidence base. These, frequently, conclude not only that homeopathy is scientifically baseless, but that it is “unethical.” They have also diminished patients’ perspectives, values, and preferences. We contend that these critics confuse epistemic questions with questions of ethics, misconstrue the moral status of homeopaths, and have an impoverished idea of ethics-one that fails to account either for the moral worth of care and of relationships or for the perspectives, values, and preferences of patients. Utilitarian critics, in particular, endeavour to present an objective evaluation-a type of moral calculus-quantifying the utilities and disutilities of homeopathy as a justification for the exclusion of homeopathy from research and health care. But these critiques are built upon a narrow formulation of evidence and care and a diminished episteme that excludes the values and preferences of researchers, homeopaths, and patients engaged in the practice of homeopathy. We suggest that homeopathy is ethical as it fulfils the needs and expectations of many patients; may be practiced safely and prudentially; values care and the virtues of the therapeutic relationship; and provides important benefits for patients.

Jane McCredie
Monday, 20 October, 2014
Jane McCredie

YOU don’t see the word “gentle” in the title of a scientific paper all that often.

But there it is atop a paper coauthored by two homeopaths and two prominent Australian medical ethicists, Associate Professor Ian Kerridge and Professor Paul Komesaroff: “A gentle ethical defence of homeopathy”.

Homeopathy doesn’t usually keep that kind of company. Medical leaders are generally more likely to lambast the alternative health practice than to defend it.

These authors, however, suggest those who criticise homeopathy as unethical have “an impoverished idea of ethics — one that fails to account for either the moral worth of care and of relationships or for the perspectives, values, and preferences of patients”.

“The choice to seek care from a homeopath can be just as valid and as ethically sound as any other health care choice that a patient or consumer makes, and the notion that consent or agency is untenable in respect to homeopathy is deeply paternalistic and challenges the very idea of moral autonomy”, they write.

I can’t help gently suggesting that perhaps the authors are setting up a bit of a straw man here.

I’m not sure that even the most virulent critics of homeopathy would argue an adult seeking homeopathic care was acting unethically, though they might criticise that choice on other grounds.

But what of the homeopaths? Is it unethical to provide a treatment that comprehensively fails to meet the normal standards of evidence-based medicine (EBM) (see this MJA review)?

The authors of the current paper argue the EBM approach alone is not enough, but that we need “a more sophisticated approach to evidence in medicine” in this and every other field of health care.

“This approach would recognise that what constitutes evidence can be defined and measured in different ways by different people or groups and that judgements about competing epistemes are ultimately statements about the ‘value’ of particular data or outcomes”, they write.

“When looked at in this way, it then seems completely appropriate that congruence with patients’ values, goals and preferences as well as their reported experiences and outcomes from homeopathic interventions should be included in any comprehensive evaluation of the efficacy of homeopathy.”

That’s all getting a bit postmodern for me.

I have no doubt many patients experience benefit from seeing a homeopath, and I support their right to keep doing it. I also don’t doubt the vast majority of homeopaths hold a sincere belief in the value of what they do.

But I don’t believe their medicines “work”, other than by triggering a sometimes powerful placebo effect, and I am disturbed when claims are made for them that go beyond that.

I wrote last year, for example, about homeopathic remedies being sold in pharmacies with claims they were effective against fever and other symptoms in children, claims that were withdrawn after a successful complaint to the Therapeutic Products Advertising Complaints Resolution Panel.

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are far from perfect but, as Winston Churchill famously said about democracy, they’re the worst system we have, except for all the others.

I’d certainly rather base my decisions about health care on RCTs than on a bunch of patient anecdotes.

Others have different values and different decision-making processes and that’s fine. I have friends who attest to the mental health benefits of past-life regression and tarot readings and I respect that.

My own ethical concerns about homeopathy arise when attempts are made to place it in contexts where it doesn’t belong, when the public purse subsidises it through private health insurance rebates, for example (something that may come to an end next year).

And I think it’s fundamentally misleading for a practice without a conventional evidence base to be promoted in a scientific context — as happens when pharmacists endorse homeopathic products or universities teach homeopathy as part of a science degree.

The ethics of that, I’d gently suggest, are troubling.

 

Jane McCredie is a Sydney-based science and medicine write

June 2009   editorial comment on `HOMEOPATHIC BASICS (June ’09)   Dr. Ron Beare ND., DHomMed, South Africa below:

On May 17, 2009, in a unique referendum ” the people of Switzerland voted by a two-thirds majority  to force Parliament to pass  a constitutional amendment that supports the use of complementary medicine (CAM), incorporating admission of doctors of anthroposophical medicine, homeopathy, neural therapy, phytotherapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) into obligatory health insurance; integration of complementary medicine into teaching and research; and safeguarding of proven remedies.”

This vote by the  notoriously conservative rightwing Swiss  is a stunning precedent for enforcement of the peoples’ sensible rights and wishes irrespective of the machinations of  politicians and Big Business, the inconvenient truth of  oligarchy disaster capitalism especially when it manipulates organized religion as extremist  “right wings” do everywhere from Islam to Baptist America to C of E Britain to Rome to  India, China, Japan and without exception in Africa. Especially in South Africa where the AK47-brandishing State President Rev Jacob Zuma- a habitual serial adulterer  (never mind polygamist) supported by acolytes swearing to kill for him – announces that he will rule until the Christ comes….

Phytotherapy, anthroposophical and TCM deal with foodstuffs, natural plant remedies- the origin and foundation of modern drugs. But what of homeopathy?

In 2005 the University of Berne published a major meta-analysis comparing homeopathy with allopathy (Hahneman’s reference term for conventional modern medicine)  in comparable chronic conditions including respiratory-allergy, musculoskeletal, neurological and gastrointestinal. They concluded that “Biases are present in placebo-controlled trials of both homoeopathy and conventional medicine. Discounting these biases, there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional interventions.”

But “110 homoeopathy trials and 110 matched conventional-medicine trials were analysed. 21 homoeopathy trials (19%) and nine (8%) conventional-medicine trials were of higher quality. When the analysis was restricted to large trials of higher quality, the odds ratio was 0·88 (95% CI 0·65–1·19) for homoeopathy (eight trials) and 0·58 (0·39–0·85) for conventional medicine (six trials).”  This outcome statistically favours alopathic medicines and not homeopathy. .

But such analysis does not address the risk:benefit ie the adverse effects of allopathic drugs; it did note the small number of large trials of high quality.  So what this study largely raises is the power of placebo, belief ie autosuggestion and spontaneous resolution in both homeopathy and alopathy, and the fallacies of randomized controled trials and metanalyses.

It also highlights the paradox that while western medicine aims, claimsto be science-based, for daily minor consultations in the better-off  it is largely in daily practice  the art of  temporizing medicine, symptom-based palliation while the underlying stressor, be it emotional or infection, subsides spontaneously. And apart from trauma, or infection, or the small percent of adults with the most common deadly genetic diseases  eg Huntingdon’s chorea or haemophilia which can only be palliated,  for chronic common  diseases of aging there are no modern drugs which address the rckbasic degenerative pathogenesis.

Metformin the 85year old extract of the age-old medicinal galega officinalis is the only prescription “drug” which does so, in the appropriate dose and patient a true panacea since (like fish oil)  it addresses virtually every pathogenetic mechanism of obesity- lipidemia- diabetes, hypertension- heart-vascular-renal, retinopathy, dementia and hypoimmunity. Quality cannabis the Forbidden Medicine is similarly a powerful multidisease therapy, while vastly safer as a recreational dependency than heavily marketed tobacco smoking, gratuitous sex, alcohol and sugar products-the four horsemen of the apocalypse-  after human bloodlust- mass starvation, violence,  murder and warfare the greatest killers of all ..

But  homeopathy is like religion: ineffable, unprovable. As  the great Dane Søren Kierkegard the founder of modern psychology and  fierce critic of the Church wrote almost two centuries ago,  personal religion (as opposed to tribal membership) can only be by a leap of faith, a suspension of reason. The theologian Karen Armstrong, the scientist Steven Jay Gould, the London philosophers AC Greyling and John Gray, and many top novelists – George Elliott,   Hermann Wouk, Margaret Attwood and John Fowles – have written perceptive books dissecting  true religion- which is at worst a harmless fulfilling moral code – and caring calling-  for many, except when (like religion and medicine through the ages) abused for political domination and greed in the pursuit of power by the ruthless. Homeopathic physicians surely  cannot be thus accused, unlike the Disease Industry and Big Pharma ..  Homeopathy did not, like mainstream medicine in Hahneman’s time, incarcerate and even neuter  like animals the feeble and the  sad with the bad irrespective.

It is commonly said that one in three admissions to USA hospitals, and thousands of premature deaths there  each year, are iatrogenic, contributed to by modern medicines and rash surgery. Except in nondiagnosis of serious treatable illness which progresses by neglect, this cannot happen with homeopathy.

But if these beliefs and organized practices- homeopathy, reflexology, craniosacral medicine, faith healing, personal (not dictated) religion, nutritional supplements in moderation by experience –   are harmless, are they better or worse than most modern marketed chronic drugs, which mostly prove for common chronic conditions eventually  to be inferior to old and proven remedies, if they do not collapse or fall into neglect within years of their launch from adverse effects or disillusion. Examples are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesics including coxibs (compare to the enduring paracetamol, and analgesic herbs); bisphosphonates (compare to appropriate ancient anabolic supplements including enduring appropriate HRT), or statins and glitazones (compare to ancient metformin and other natural antioxidants); or the troublesome angiotensin blockers for common hypertension (compare to gold standard old  low dose reserpine plus low dose coamilozide) .

In that context of inquiry one can read this exposition by a naturo-/homeopathic physician with well over 50 years of practice experience on the observations and teachings of Hahnemann, a profoundly observant and ethical medical practitioner, linguist and scientist for his times. . . he was certainly the first and most famous medical doctor of modern times. Although Edward Jenner was four years his senior and William Harvey two centuries earlier, they made their mark each in only one field, whereas Hahnemann applied his mind to all disease – both chronic, infectious, poisoning and the humane care of the insane. He was eerily prophetic of our modern Disease Industry- sell at any cost: he  claimed that the medicine of his time did as much harm as good: ‘My sense of duty would not easily allow me to treat the unknown pathological state of my suffering brethren with these unknown medicines. The thought of becoming in this way a murderer or malefactor towards the life of my fellow human beings was most terrible to me’ .” If only the FDA and it’s devotees would follow this principle before applying relatively untested new drugs where well-proven old have long existed.

It is not inconceivable that molecular biology may yet, paradoxically,  explain by quantum mechanics a theoretical basis for homeopathy, setting it aside from pseudoscience and quackery, since modern critical reviews still leave room for doubt. .

ndb

`HOMEOPATHIC BASICS (June  ’09)   Dr. Ron Beare ND., DHomMed, South Africa.

“It is amazing to think that Dr. Samuel Hahnemann MD  (1755-1843), a German physician and the Founder of homeopathy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Hahnemann lived at a time when medicine recognized bloodletting and purging, mixtures made from vipers, opium, mercury; and other physically degrading poisons.

He was always mindful of the teachings of that other genius Hippocrates, Father of herbal medicine.

Hippocrates, the Father of Natural/Herbal Medicine, died about 400 years before the Christian era.

It is he whose Hippocratic Oath defines the Code of medical ethics even to-day.

Hippocrates denied the then superstitious causes of disease.

He stated in lectures and books that feelings and thought came from the brain, not the heart or liver (as it was thought for centuries before and after Hippocrates).

He was the first dr. to describe epilepsy and pneumonia.

He also said that physicians should do no harm.

Because health is our greatest blessing, we must always improve our lifestyles, by walking, diet and hygiene.

Some 2000 years after Hippocrates’ entreaties about Natures’ healing without perpetrating invasive harm;  Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) established a vibrant energy type of medicine, based on the totality of each patient’s individual symptoms.

“The Removal of the Totality of Symptoms means the Removal of the Cause” (Kent, “Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy”).

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TOURISM HEALTH: SAFARI HEALTHSPANLIFE HEALING CAPE TOWN HOLIDAY 2013.

Health- slante, l’chaim!, hayah, sawubona! – in any country or language  is a blessing, a gift- not a right. It is insurance that has to be planned and enforced. Leaving it to fate, illness and hoping for a cure is often too late, sometimes crippling if not often  fatal. With comprehensive natural supplements, we can and should all die peacefully at an  active fit advanced  age  90years +  –   not old, incapacitated and demented. We owe this prevention to both ourselves, our  kids and our aging seniors.

So sensible lifestyle aside, promoting health  includes simple low-cost  (no-xray/no-laboratory) periodic screening:  for all,  from childhood:  of weight,  girth, eyes, teeth, bloodpressure, brainfunction- memory; and ultrasound bones – at any pharmacy/ optometrist, school or clinic;                         and  for women:  checking the breasts and pelvis for risk of  cancer.

The HealthSpanLife  South African Natural Medicine Clinic SANMC next to Cavendish Mall on the slopes of Table Mountain in beautiful Cape Town – one of the favourite world tourist  and heritage centres-  is a specialist clinic  staffed by experienced  registered professional practitioners- a medical internist specialist  (also UK registered);  a homeopath;  and a Muslim nursing sister.

It provides  one-stop holistic screening and diagnostics, and – uniquely-  evidence-based  natural remedies- nutritional support for all symptoms and chronic conditions-  also  for menopause-andropause-genitourinary- breast-sexual dysfunction- obesity-pain/headache –chiropractic  and detox ,

as well as if needed  appropriate modern specialized  testing and prescription medicines for all chronic major conditions including bio-identical hormone replacement for both genders (including implants);

and integrated referrals nearby (and in Gauteng)  as patients desire eg for autism, acupuncture, aromatherapy, physiotherapy, aquarobics,  advanced scopes, delicate restorative micro (eg hands, toes)-as well as major (eg bariatric, spinal,eye-, ear- neuro-)  surgery, infertility, xray/other scans, cancer, hyperbaric oxygen, spiritual intervention, psychiatric-hypno- therapy, and eg genetic profiling and counselling,   dialysis and transplantation, and stem cell therapy. …

Gentle Non-xray  ultrasound bone-density measurement (recommended by Cape Town , UK, and USA universities),  and tactile mechanical breast mapping (recommended by CANSA, UK, USA, Indian and Chinese studies) are available at SANMC (and in Gauteng) by appointment, and are covered by some medical aid plans;  whereas menopause consultations are covered by all open plans.

As typified by a new review last month,    World opinion is to use xray  mammography and  xray bone density imaging  only as last resort and only  in the elderly – or in staging those with breast cancer- because of the major problems and risks of xray imaging..   As world experts Profs Cornelia Baines epidemiologist in Canada, Mike Baum breast surgeon  in London and Peter Gotzsche epidemiologist  in Denmark  say,  there never has been any independent scientific evidence to support hazardous routine mass mammography crush xray screening of well women, let alone any repeated mass xray screening for decades, or the dangerous fictitious marketing hype of the American radiology-Breast Surgeons and Curves International nonsense  that xray mammo screening saves lives ..

While health tariffs must rise with inflation,  where med aid doesn’t cover, New Year 15% discount applies through January on cash-paid clinic services and in-house products. . .

For out-of-town/ overseas  visitors, accommodation and travel locally and throughout Africa and beyond can be arranged by outside experts around  clinic appointments. .  http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/visiting/Pages/default.aspx

For appointments visit  the SANMC at 1st floor no.  15 Grove Medical Bldg on Pearce St  cnr Grove Ave (parking opposite at ABSA on Grove);    or  phone +2721-6831465/  -6717415; or fax  +27865657215; or email the manageress, doctors or Sister at   sales@healthspanlife.co.za  to discuss needs,  timing and preliminary costing. For details, references  and rationale for screening and prevention,  see https://healthspanlife.wordpress.com/?s=screening.

The Ineffectiveness of modern antidepressants

At last, some real truth is published in the mainstream media about modern drugs for chronic disease-

– in this case the ineffectiveness of the modern antidepressants:

see

:
“New generation anti-depressants have little clinical benefit for most patients, research suggests. A University of Hull team concluded that the drugs helped only a small group of the most severely depressed.”

Professor David Healy of the University of Wales recently forwent an appointment at a top Canadian Psychiatry department in the interests of truth, he defied the Disease Industry that creates such marketing hoaxes and funds many such academic departments (In the grip of the python: conflicts at the university-industry interface. Sci Eng Ethics. 2003 ;9:59-71) .. “Before 1980, most people experiencing common nervous problems and who sought medical help complained of anxiety and were treated for anxiety. Similar experiences increasingly led to complaints of or treatment for panic attacks in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and to complaints of or treatment for mood disorders by the mid-1990s. Today, such patients seem once again increasingly likely to complain of and be treated for anxiety. This paper reviews … the standard ploys of company sales departments to increase demand for products, including celebrity endorsements, the sponsoring of educational events and a host of reminders; ghost-written scientific papers authored by celebrity researchers; and creating fashion through medical activism, by setting up patient groups and disease awareness campaigns (Healy D. Shaping the intimate: influences on the experience of everyday nerves. Soc Stud Sci. 2004;34:219-45)”

“The literature profiles and citation rates of industry-linked and non-industry-linked articles differ. The emerging style of authorship in industry-linked articles can deliver good-quality articles, but it raises concerns for the scientific base of therapeutics”. Interface between authorship, industry and science in the domain of therapeutics. Healy D, Cattell D. Br J Psychiatry. 2003 ;183:22-7. ”Depression was infrequently diagnosed before the advent of the antidepressants but has now apparently become a major public health problem”. The three faces of the antidepressants: a critical commentary on the clinical-economic context of diagnosis. J Nerv Ment Dis. 1999 ;187:174-80

As Shaughnessy and Slawson wrote a decade ago from a family practice at the University of Virginia, especially for chronic treatment, evidence– be it good long term observational experience or research results- should be Patient-Oriented Evidence that Matters (POEM – Ann Intern Med. 1997;126:667), not just “statistically significant” in small three-month randomised controlled trials RCTs- which is all that the leading Drug Regulator (the FDA- that too many others follow) apparently requires before allowing a new drug to go public.

Nowhere is this better illustrated than in two crucial recent reviews:

While confirming the logic of the randomized double-blind placebo control (RCT) group design, Wampold BE et al note that ”The placebo is powerful: estimating placebo effects in medicine and psychotherapy from randomized clinical trials (Univ Wisconsin J Clin Psychol. 2005;61 35-54). “A re-analysis of these shows that when disorders are amenable to placebos and the design is adequate to detect the effects, the placebo effect is robust and approaches the treatment effect. For psychological disorders, particularly depression, it has been shown that pill placebos are nearly as effective as active medications whereas psychotherapies are more effective than psychological placebos. However, it is shown that when properly designed, psychological placebos are as effective as accepted psychotherapies.”

That same year the influential Lancet journal published a major Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy asking Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects?. (University of Berne, Switzerland: Shang A, Egger M et al . Lancet. 2005 ;366:726-32).

The Lancet Editorial (2005; 366:690) concluded that this analysis heralded The end of homoeopathy .

But did it?

Shang et al wrote: “ Homeopathy is widely used, but specific effects of homoeopathic remedies seem implausible. Bias in the conduct and reporting of trials is a possible explanation for positive findings of trials of both homoeopathy and conventional medicine. Placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy, and trials in conventional medicine matched to homoeopathy trials were randomly selected. Trials described as double-blind, with adequate randomisation, were assumed to be of higher methodological quality.. FINDINGS: The median study size was 65 participants (range ten to 1573). 21 homoeopathy trials (19%) and nine (8%) conventional-medicine trials were of higher quality. In both groups, smaller trials and those of lower quality showed more beneficial treatment effects than larger and higher-quality trials. When the analysis was restricted to large trials of higher quality, the odds ratio was 0.88 (95% CI 0.65-1.19) for homoeopathy (eight trials) and 0.58 (0.39-0.85) for conventional medicine (six trials). INTERPRETATION: Biases are present in placebo-controlled trials of both homoeopathy and conventional medicine. When account was taken for these biases in the analysis, there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional interventions. This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects”

But while statistically the results “favoured” allopathic medicines over homeopathy, do they? “ the odds ratio was 0.88 (95% CI 0.65-1.19) for homoeopathy (eight trials) and 0.58 (0.39-0.85) for conventional medicine (six trials)” represents only 8 versus 6 really good trials – each out of 110 trials finally analysed. Does this truly prove anything more for allopathic medicines than homeopathy, or does it say more for the power of placebo, the healing power of belief, when “The median study size was only 65 participants (range 10 to 1573)”, and “19% of homoeopathy trials and 8% of conventional-medicine trials were of higher quality”? One suspects that the p values (which were tellingly not quoted in the detailed abstract on line) were not all that far apart, although for homeopathy p was just >0.05 and for allopathy <0.05.

Few of us can understand the scientific basis of homeopathy. But does prudent homeopathy do harm, or is it at least harmless and powerful placebo good? When one in three hospital admissions in USA is reportedly for iatrogenic disease caused by modern medical (not homeopathic) interventions? And modern drugs collapse in a blaze of denial every month or three?

Many of us cannot understand how the major regulators- the FDA and the EMA – except in ruthless greed – can in conscience continue to release long-term untested new drugs – especially for chronic disease – onto the unsuspecting public. There are so many old, proven safe remedies that cannot be bettered- in the case of depression, eg brief directive talk therapy, multipurpose natural supplements like fish oil and many other natural supplements that can easily be combined in one blend; and where appropriate, natural lithium and measured human sex hormone replacement and both safe and effective long term.

But of course it does not suite the Drug Industry and the investors, economies, lobbyists, researchers and jobs it boosts (USA or anywhere) to tolerate let alone research the old, since only new patent drugs can be $billion golden rain-checks for a few years before they collapse.

Unlike eg the (plant- galega officinalis) extract metformin (since 1922), appropriate HRT (since 2600BC) and other natural supplements, not one patent new oral drug for prevention of common chronic adult degenerative diseases of the past fifty years has been shown to reduce all-cause disease and mortality in long term use.

ndb