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Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

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Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby Nostradamus » 02 Apr 2010, 20:23

From http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8489019.stm

Sceptics stage homeopathy 'overdose'

Homeopathy sceptics have staged a mass "overdose" of homeopathic remedies, in a bid to prove they have no effect.


Protesters ate whole bottles of tablets at branches of Boots in places such as Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, London, Leicester, Edinburgh and Birmingham.


This from the Society of Homeopaths
The society's chief executive, Paula Ross, said: "This is an ill advised publicity stunt in very poor taste, which does nothing to advance the scientific debate about how homeopathy actually works."


Apparently nothing happened when mega-dosing placebos.
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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby Nostradamus » 02 Apr 2010, 20:33

From http://www.time.com/time/columnist/jaroff/article/0,9565,1114166,00.html

Millions of people around the world swear by the alternative medicine homeopathy. In Britain, the Royal Family endorses and uses it. But that hasn't deterred the editors of The Lancet, the prestigious British medical journal, which has launched an all-out attack on homeopathy. In its current issue, The Lancet published a massive study that compared the results of 110 trials of homeopathy with the same number of trials of conventional medicine. The conclusion: benefits attributed to homeopathy were, at best, placebo effects.


Chances are that The Lancet is somewhat premature in announcing the "death" of homeopathy, which involves a large and very profitable industry and the loyalty of many of the consumers it has duped. In fact, The Lancet notes, ""the debate continues, despite 150 years of unfavourable findings. The more dilute the evidence for homoeopathy becomes, the greater seems its popularity."


Now, The Lancet concludes, it's up to the doctors, who "need to be bold and honest with their patients about homeopathy's lack of benefit." For scientifically-literate physicians, that shouldn't be so difficult to do.
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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby Nostradamus » 02 Apr 2010, 20:40

From http://nccam.nih.gov/health/homeopathy/

This is from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. You'd think they'd have something positive to say.

Most analyses of the research on homeopathy have concluded that there is little evidence to support homeopathy as an effective treatment for any specific condition, and that many of the studies have been flawed. However, there are some individual observational studies, randomized placebo-controlled trials, and laboratory research that report positive effects or unique physical and chemical properties of homeopathic remedies.


Homeopathy is a controversial area of CAM because a number of its key concepts are not consistent with established laws of science (particularly chemistry and physics). Critics think it is implausible that a remedy containing a miniscule amount of an active ingredient (sometimes not a single molecule of the original compound) can have any biological effect—beneficial or otherwise. For these reasons, critics argue that continuing the scientific study of homeopathy is not worthwhile. Others point to observational and anecdotal evidence that homeopathy does work and argue that it should not be rejected just because science has not been able to explain it.


Homeopaths expect some of their patients to experience homeopathic aggravation (a temporary worsening of existing symptoms after taking a homeopathic prescription). Researchers have not found much evidence of this reaction in clinical studies; however, research on homeopathic aggravations is scarce.


If You Are Thinking About Using Homeopathy

* Do not use homeopathy as a replacement for proven conventional care or to postpone seeing a doctor about a medical problem.
* Look for published research studies on homeopathy for the health condition you are interested in.
* If you are considering using homeopathy and decide to seek treatment from a homeopath, ask about the training and experience of the practitioner you are considering.
* Women who are pregnant or nursing, or people who are thinking of using homeopathy to treat a child, should consult their health care provider.
* Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of all you do to manage your health. This will ensure coordinated and safe care. For tips about talking with your health care providers about CAM, see NCCAM's Time to Talk campaign.


So don't use homeopathy as a replacement for proven conventional care, and previously we learned that homeopathy doesn't appear to be effective in treating any specific condition. It could be inferred that homeopathy should not be used.
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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby NucleicAcid » 05 Apr 2010, 02:59

One time, I was looking for allergy medication, and I happened to be buying some vitamins at the time, so I picked up this All Natural stuff and decided to give it a shot. I essentially haven't even heard of homeopathy at the time (I was about 16 I wanna say). Gave it a shot, didn't seem to work at all. Never really took a look at it again. I do believe in hindsight though that it was a homeopathic remedy or something similar.

Just goes to show even the placebo effect doesn't even work all the time. :lol:

The only way I'd give homeopathy ANY credit is if it basically worked along the lines of ritual magick (which is bears some resemblance to). Because the proposed mechanism is rather implausible. So you're essentially selling a spell. But that would mean that the factories producing it would have to actually work magick on it, which I doubt. They're basically selling a magickal cure (which I don't want to get into the semantics and feasibility of here, suffice it that if psi works, magicks is just an extension of it), without doing any magick. Fail.
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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby Craig Browning » 06 Apr 2010, 03:02

I tend to get things a bit confused in my own head when it comes to this debate in that certain skeptics imply that any and all modes of alternative health care are homeopathy when that's not how I understand such. In other words, I can agree with the fact that those little "melts in your mouth, not in your hands" tablets don't do a thing... on the other hand, the theory behind homeopathy... taking small doses of the stuff that ails you... has a level of validity when it comes to things like seasonal allergies. But only when employed in conjunction with an actual "curative" such as tea made from locally grown herbs and locally harvested honey. It must be local product because it delivers a mild dose of the allergen and helps you acclimate, balancing your body's natural defenses and thus LESSENING the physical reaction you would typically enduring at the peek of allergy season.

Notice that I'm saying that such treatments curb the problems/symptoms, not cure. Most herbal type treatment does just that, it creates a comfort level for the patient until the body is better able to heal itself.

It's been years since I tinkered with this stuff, but I'm quite aware of how effective it can be as well as the logical aspect of working in conjunction with a qualified MD during whatever condition you are seeking recovery for. The biggest mistake most people make when it comes to alternative care is not having an educated medical professional who's not gullible when it comes to alternative treatment hype but at the same time, supportive of the patient when it comes to its application -- placebo or not, if it expedites physical and emotional healing, the goal is obtained!
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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby ProfWag » 06 Apr 2010, 03:49

Yes, there is a difference between homeopathic medicine and alternative medicine. Homeopathic medicine I'm totally against. Alternative medicine, well, I'm against if my conventional doctor tells me to be against it and for it if my conventional doctor recommends it.
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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby Craig Browning » 06 Apr 2010, 22:21

ProfWag wrote:Yes, there is a difference between homeopathic medicine and alternative medicine. Homeopathic medicine I'm totally against. Alternative medicine, well, I'm against if my conventional doctor tells me to be against it and for it if my conventional doctor recommends it.


Of course, you need to be careful on that front in that some western docs are blindly pro such treatments just as you have those on the other extreme. Finding that happy center is the hard part. :?
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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby londonskeptic » 20 Sep 2011, 06:13

Sorry, but just because your doctor tells you an alternative medicine works, that doesn't mean it does. I frequently argue with a family member of mine, who is a psychiatrist, because he prescribes CAM to his patients when he doesn't know what else to do for them. I frequently just send him to my favourite debunking pages! - http://londonskeptic.org.uk/homeopath-london.

Doctor's are capable of drinking the cool aid too. My advice is do your own research if you get prescribed anything off the radar - if it's alternative, then by definition it's either not been proven to work or proven not to work!

The argument from authority is no reason to start believing nonsense.
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If homeopathy works, then obviously the less you use it, the stronger it gets. So the best way to apply homeopathy is to not use it at all. –Phil Plait
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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby craig weiler » 20 Sep 2011, 23:10

Well, this is an interesting argument. I'm surprised that no one has addressed the elephant in the room: Big Pharma. I don't have it in front of me, nor do I have the time to research this morning, but large pharma is absolutely influencing the debate with phony studies and propaganda. You have to be very careful about what you accept as evidence lest you simply be a puppet of skillful disinformation and manipulation. Billions of dollars are at stake.

As far as megadosing skeptics: That is pure nonsense. Homeopathy does not work like conventional medicine and makes no claim that megadosing is dangerous.

Furthermore, conventional pharmaceuticals often have very questionable trials fueled by a strong need for profit. They aren't all that they're made out to be and one should not necessarily put their faith in these chemical cocktails. In the U.S. alone, prescription medications are the cause of death in approximately 100,000 people a year.

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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby Arouet » 21 Sep 2011, 00:31

craig weiler wrote:Well, this is an interesting argument. I'm surprised that no one has addressed the elephant in the room: Big Pharma. I don't have it in front of me, nor do I have the time to research this morning, but large pharma is absolutely influencing the debate with phony studies and propaganda. You have to be very careful about what you accept as evidence lest you simply be a puppet of skillful disinformation and manipulation. Billions of dollars are at stake.


BIg pharma sells homeopathy too. I agree that they often have questionable studies, but their making money whichever way you go.

As far as megadosing skeptics: That is pure nonsense. Homeopathy does not work like conventional medicine and makes no claim that megadosing is dangerous.


But does it work like water?

Furthermore, conventional pharmaceuticals often have very questionable trials fueled by a strong need for profit. They aren't all that they're made out to be and one should not necessarily put their faith in these chemical cocktails. In the U.S. alone, prescription medications are the cause of death in approximately 100,000 people a year.


Agreed the companies are often sketchy in their studies. we have to be skeptical all around.

Are you actually arguing for homeopathy Craig? You do know how its made, and that there is no actual active ingredient left in the dosages. And that the theory behind it is a tough pill to swallow (no pun intended!)

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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby craig weiler » 21 Sep 2011, 07:26

BIg pharma sells homeopathy too. I agree that they often have questionable studies, but their making money whichever way you go.


Only as a last resort. It is not patentable and therefore not terribly profitable.

But does it work like water?


If you are going to evaluate the effectiveness of something, you can't apply a different set of rules.

Are you actually arguing for homeopathy Craig? You do know how its made, and that there is no actual active ingredient left in the dosages. And that the theory behind it is a tough pill to swallow (no pun intended!)


Yes, I'm aware of how its made. The more I learn about consciousness, the more it starts to make sense. Since I haven't used any sort of medication outside of some OTC stuff in years, it's not much of an issue for me. I think that for certain situations, it's probably better than conventional medicine. And it's far less dangerous.
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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby Arouet » 21 Sep 2011, 13:07

craig weiler wrote:Only as a last resort. It is not patentable and therefore not terribly profitable.


Really? Then why is my drug store filled with it? My wife was even convinced by the pharmacist to buy some homeopathic cough medicine the other day. When she asked what the difference was the pharmacist simply said the homeopathic one was "all natural". She didn't have a clue.

But does it work like water?


If you are going to evaluate the effectiveness of something, you can't apply a different set of rules.


I was just being glib that it really is just water.
Yes, I'm aware of how its made. The more I learn about consciousness, the more it starts to make sense. Since I haven't used any sort of medication outside of some OTC stuff in years, it's not much of an issue for me. I think that for certain situations, it's probably better than conventional medicine. And it's far less dangerous.


Certainly its not dangerous: there is no active ingredient: how could it be dangerous? But also: how could it work? I'm all for accepting homeopathy: but demonstrate through proper clinical trials that its effective and you'll get me on board. From what i understand, outside of some odd tests in petrie dishes, where the results are subject to some pretty serious interpretation, there's not much clinically in favour of homeopathy.
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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby Arouet » 21 Sep 2011, 13:08

Oh, and there is a very real danger with homeopathy when it comes to more serious illnesses: some people believe that it works and take it in place of conventional medication. Sometimes to tragic consequence.
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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby craig weiler » 21 Sep 2011, 21:38

People are also not always responsive to conventional medicine. So this is a very weak argument. If you're going to compare death rates of pharma and homeopathy, it's no contest. Pharma kills about 100,000 people a year, (not including people who did not respond to medication.) This compares to zero for homeopathy. Probably about 5 people a year die from an illness treated with homeopathy that might have been treated conventionally. (Or maybe not.) All of life involves degrees of danger and homeopathy is much lower on that list than pharma.
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Re: Homeopathy just doesn't work - It's a failure

Postby Arouet » 21 Sep 2011, 22:13

Craig: this is a bit of a red herring. Medications can kill directly because they actually do something in the body. Of course homeopathy is safe! It's water! It has no active ingredient. How could it not be safe? But also: how could it be effective?

Your focus on the safety of homeopathy is the wrong focus for this issue.

The danger lies in thinking you are treating something when you are not. If it is is homepathic cough medicine (like my wife was conned into getting), the risks are minimal. If it is for more serious illnesses the risk of not being properly treated is of course worse.

But we've got the cart before the horse here. The first thing to figure out is whether homeopathic remedies have any medicinal benefits at all on the body in treating certain conditions.
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