/ Health

Your view: the homeopathy debate roars on

Lion roaring

When we rounded-up your views on homeopathy and pharmacists we didn’t expect another 800 comments to roll in! That, and the fact it’s World Homeopathic Awareness Week, has re-fuelled our homeopathic fire…

In a first for Which? Conversation, this week’s ‘Your view’ is based on a previous round-up. If you’ve had enough of the word ‘homeopathy’ then bear with us for another week because it’s clearly a popular topic.

That said, previous discussions haven’t been problem-free. Many contributors have threatened to leave the debate and warnings have been issued.

So it is with a little trepidation that we broach the subject one more time with a short summary of your main points and themes…

The role of pharmacists

Our first Convo came out of our snapshot investigation which found that 13 out of 20 pharmacists failed to explain that there’s no clinical evidence that homeopathy works. Amy, a retired community pharmacist, found this surprising.

‘I have never advocated the use of homeopathic medicine and can see no scientific reason as to why it should have any place in modern medicine. If it does work it is probably due to the placebo effect or blind faith!’

BobH agrees:

‘Should pharmacists offer homeopathic solutions to medical problems? Probably not, unless you also think that it would be reasonable for them to ask you to bring in eye of newt and toe of frog and they’d make up a potion for you. People expect pharmacists to offer something that, in their professional opinion, will treat the illness presented.’

But SAHC says we should apply the same theory across all medicine:

‘If a pharmacist chooses to warn a customer against the use of homeopathy, that is up to him or her. I would vote that it should be up to a pharmacist’s personal conscience and belief. Conversely, should a pharmacist be required to warn his customers of the adverse side effects of mainstream drugs? Oh, that might not be a good idea… it would take up too much time, would it not?’

How is homeopathy being sold?

Robin spoke to his local Boots’ pharmacist about our investigation:

‘He was very aware of the Which? survey. He said Boots had sent out information and training reminders to them as a result. I take some comfort from this, and credit is due to Boots for taking some prompt action. Perhaps if everyone reading this also politely asked their local pharmacist if they were aware of the survey results and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society policy it might help even further.’

But Wavechange still feels let down by the way that homeopathic labelling works:

‘I have been looking at the Boots website and am disappointed to see that it lists various homeopathic properties. There are some guarded statements, but to have words such as “pain relief” shown without qualification on the front of the packet is little short of disgraceful.’

Where does homeopathy stand with science?

The issue of science has been discussed at length in both previous Conversations, and Wavechange sums up many people’s views here:

‘It is not up to us to disprove homeopathy but for you and your fellow believers to get together and prove that it works to command respect from the scientific community.’

Dr Lionel Milgrom responds:

‘Thank you: with this, I think you have at last verbalised the gigantic hubris under which many on this site labour. And that is proving or disproving how and whether homeopathy works, and gaining the respect of the scientific community have very little to do with patients’ democratic right of access to safe, cost-effective healthcare. Quite clearly many want homeopathy. The reason the pseudo-sceptic movement is so rife in the UK is because patients can still have homeopathy on the NHS if they choose to.’

ChrisP says homeopathy should not be seen as an alternative medicine:

‘The science plainly shows it can be as potent as a placebo, not that it actively heals. I doubt any doctor or pharmacist would treat an illness as significant as type 1 diabetes with homeopathy alone, whereas many members of the public would genuinely hope their chronic stress, indigestion or pain can be solved by homeopathy as it will be safe, not make them experience side effects nor directly kill them, which wrongly (or in some cases rightly) they may believe is always possible of traditional medicine.’

But Robin worries that homeopathy will still be used in the wrong way:

‘The only fly in this non-ointment is some homeopaths are claiming it can treat serious conditions such as cancer, aids, malaria etc. It is clear some are promoting the view that homeopathy is not just a placebo, as an adjunct to medical care, but a primary treatment. Others claim homeopathic “vaccines” have efficacy.’

So, do you agree with 71% of voters who say that pharmacists should only recommend remedies backed by science, or will you continue to buy and use homeopathic treatments?

Comments
Rachel B says:
5 August 2013

I have been reading Wikipedia on homeopathic dilutions, and clearly there is nothing left. Except what about the bubbles? Found a nice easy explanation here:
http://staff.aist.go.jp/m.taka/nano-bubble.pdf

Although that would not apply to sugar pills of course. However in solution the bubbles clearly have a rejuvenating effect and anti-bacterial properties. But you have to shake it with electrolytes in the water. Perhaps its the bubbles that vibrate?

That is starting from a conclusion and working back to a hypothesis. The question is: what specific property of the bubbles might exist, and be transferrable to the patient via the intermediate? The answer is that no *specific* property can be identified, there’s no connection between the “remedies” and the disease and nothing specific in the bubbles that relates to the remedies.

If this was a useful principle in science then it would be evident elsewhere, but it’s not. One of the telling points against homeopathy is its lack of “explanatory power” – it offers nothing that is useful or even confirmed as true by other independent lines of inquiry. This is distinct from, say, molecular biology, that is supported by many other scientific findings, and in turn supports others.

Remember, for homeopathy to be right we would have to be wrong about the nature of matter, thermodynamics, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology and many other fields. Not just a little bit wrong, completely wrong.

Before we set about looking for reasons why this might be the case, we first need some evidence that homeopathy does work. And in practice there is none, at least none that rules out the null hypothesis.

Rather like the claim that someone has a unicorn in their garden. It might have been plausible 200 years ago but by now we have a lot of evidence about the species of the world, none of which supports the existence of unicorns. Not only that, the more of the garden we can see, the less persuasive the claim that the unicorn is in the ever-diminishing bit we can’t yet see.

That’s where homeopathy is. It’s inconsistent with all relevant science, and each time someone trumpets a claim of direct evidence of a mechanism, investigation shows the claim to be false and a little bit more of the garden is exposed as not containing the unicorn.

Alan Henness says:
5 August 2013

Here’s a better, more scientific, more accurate explanation of how homeopathy works, taking into account the totality of the best evidence: http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/

Alan,
you must have missed my post which detailed the following: “The issue of a multi-disciplinary field of small dose effects which is called “hormesis,” and approximately 1,000 studies from a wide variety of scientific specialties have confirmed significant and sometimes substantial biological effects from extremely small doses of certain substances on certain biological systems.
A special issue of the peer-review journal, Human and Experimental Toxicology (July 2010), devoted itself to the interface between hormesis and homeopathy. The articles in this issue verify the power of homeopathic doses of various substances.
Human and Experimental Toxicology, July 2010: http://het.sagepub.com/content/vol29/issue7

Skeptics of homeopathy state that homeopathic medicines have “nothing” in them because they are diluted too much, however, new research conducted at the respected Indian Institutes of Technology has confirmed the presence of “nanoparticles” of the starting materials even at extremely high dilutions.
Researchers have demonstrated by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction and chemical analysis by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES), the presence of physical entities in these extreme dilutions. In the light of this research, it can now be asserted that anyone who says or suggests that there is “nothing” in homeopathic medicines is either simply uninformed or is not being honest.
Chikramane PS, Suresh AK, Bellare JR, and Govind S. Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective. Homeopathy. Volume 99, Issue 4, October 2010, 231-242.

Alan Henness says:
5 August 2013

chrisb1 said:

“you must have missed my post…”

Nope.

However, I’m sure that Guy explained clearly and concisely to you why that study is nonsense.

More than once, probably.

Hormesis does not explain homeopathy, it’s a temporary infexion in the dose-response curve within the pharmacologically active dosage range in some substances below which the normal exponential decay is observed so it gives no support whatsoever to the assertion that dilution increases potency for all substances, or that dilutions below measurable levels can or do have any effect whatsoever.

The examples cited are pure wishful thinking, and having been refuted only the uninformed continue to cite them. Homeopathy has a long history of claiming that it is *definitely* X until X is refuted and it becomes *definitely* Y (and repeating the chain of claims in each new venue in the apparent hope of finding a new audience unaware of the refutation).

chrisb – How do we get access to the articles in Human and Experimental Toxicology?

Alan,
then I suppose this is all nonsense as well……….

In 2005 the World Health Organisation brought out a draft report which showed homeopathy was beneficial, causing Big Pharma to panic and The Lancet to bring out an editorial entitled ‘The End of Homeopathy’.

In 2005 The Lancet tried to destroy homeopathy but were only looking at 8 inconclusive trials out of 110 of which 102 were positive. This was a fraudulent analysis.
“The meta-analysis at the centre of the controversy is based on 110 placebo-controlled clinical trials of homeopathy and 110 clinical trials of allopathy (conventional medicine), which are said to be matched. These were reduced to 21 trials of homeopathy and 9 of conventional medicine of ‘higher quality’ and further reduced to 8 and 6 trials, respectively, which were ‘larger, higher quality’. The final analysis which concluded that ‘the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects’ was based on just the eight ‘larger, higher quality’ clinical trials of homeopathy. The Lancet’s press release did not mention this, instead giving the impression that the conclusions were based on all 110 trials.”
(http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1375230)

There have been many clinical trials that prove homeopathy works. In the past 24 years there have been more than 180 controlled, and 118 randomized, trials into homeopathy, which were analysed by four separate meta-analyses. In each case, the researchers concluded that the benefits of homeopathy went far beyond that which could be explained purely by the placebo effect.

The Bristol Homeopathic Hospital carried out a study published in November 2005 of 6500 patients receiving homeopathic treatment. There was an overall improvement in health of 70% of them (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/4454856.stm) .

Homeopathy can never be properly tested through double blind randomized trials because each prescription is individualized as every patient is unique. Therefore 10 people with arthritis, for example, may all need a different homeopathic medicine.

The popularity of homeopathy has grown in the past 30 years, its revival entirely through word of mouth (because of its efficacy) and estimated to be growing at more than 20% a year the world over.

And to illustrate your own and other naysayers position listed under (UK)………………..

In a recent Global TGI survey where people were asked whether they trust homeopathy the following percentages of people living in urban areas said YES: 62% in India, 58% Brazil, 53% Saudi Arabia, Chile 49%, United Arab Emirates 49%, France 40%, South Africa 35%, Russia 28%, Germany 27%, Argentina 25%, Hungary 25%, USA 18%, UK 15% (http://www.tgisurveys.com/documents/TGIbarometerhomeopathy_Jan08.pdf)

Access to the articles in Human and Experimental Toxicology, is via this link Wavechange…….
http://het.sagepub.com/content/vol29/issue7

There is a free “sign in” to register, and you can then have access to articles within the site.

Alan Henness says:
5 August 2013

chrisb1 said:

“Alan,
then I suppose this is all nonsense as well……….”

Yep. You got it in one.

Alan, be fair – some of it is merely fallacious irrelevance.

Judgement without investigation is sheer folly Alan, but I understand your stance which probably wouldn’t admit to anything re’ Homeopathy, even if it were deemed to be correct beyond all shadow of doubt.
This reminds me of the comment made by Brian Josephson, Ph.D., a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, who stated: “many scientists today suffer from “pathological disbelief;” that is, they maintain an unscientific attitude that is embodied by the statement “even if it were true I wouldn’t believe it.”

Alan Henness says:
5 August 2013

Nope. You misunderstood what I said.

Nope. I understood you very well.

Judgement without investigation is indeed folly. The nonsense you posted has been investigated and rebutted many times, so that doesn’t apply.

* The ” WHO report” like the “Swiss report” was a paean to homeopathy written by a true believer and not a WHO document. This did not cause panic, the Lancet editorial was a response to Shang et. al, a comprehensive meta analysis prepared as part of the Swiss PEK, which persuaded the Swiss health ministry to terminate reimbursement.
* The clinical trials which find benefit do not prove homeopathy works, because trials of that kind cannot prove any such thing; however, a stable finding in the literature is that positive results are strongly linked to sloppy methodology, and more rigorous trials are more likely to be negative. No trial of homeopathy refutes the null hypothesis. None provides any reason to suspect homeopathy should or could work.
*The Bristol study s a customer satisfaction survey, evidentially worthless.
* The claim that RCTs do not work for homeopathy is special pleading and you really need to decide whether you’re going to rly on this or the claim tat RCTs find homeopathy beneficial, because the two positions at mutually contradictory. You also neeto provide credible proof ha your clim is true, since genetic hers pies can be tested in clinical trials nd thy (unlike the random remedy selection in hmopathy) are genuinely individualised.
* Finally, another opinion poll, as relevant as the number of Southern Baptists is to the fact of biological evolution.

So, any more nonsense you want refuted again?

chrisb

The only option I can see is to log in as a subscriber to the journal Human and Experimental Toxicology, and there is no free access. I have access to the articles, having worked in a university. Have you read the articles you have suggested we look at?

Alan Henness says:
6 August 2013

Indeed.

Yes Wavechange I have read some of the articles.
I believe I mentioned it is a free subscription process, but you have to pay for article access.

I am a bit suspicious of this journal because it has a low impact factor and Web of Knowledge stopped indexing its content in 2002.

The latest Journal is dated August 2013, Wavechange.

Journal quality is not that relevant, we already know it’s not too hard to come up with a false positive, either by chance or deliberately, and we also know that as long as the core doctrines of homeopathy remain refuted, nothing will change: homeopathists will continue to believe, and the reality-based community will continue not to.

Guy – The main point is that the journal is no longer indexed, which is not a good sign. The journal may have strayed into homeopathy, but that is not its main focus. I forgot to mention that it is not one of the main journals in its field. Even the best journals contain misleading and erroneous information.

Chrisb – I did not say that the journal is no longer published. It is no longer included in the Web of Knowledge database. I have not seen this before, except when journals have changed their name, so it suggests some problems with quality.

Greg Smith says:
19 September 2013

“Homeopathy can never be properly tested through double blind randomized trials because each prescription is individualized as every patient is unique. Therefore 10 people with arthritis, for example, may all need a different homeopathic medicine.”

So? get 10 people in (or better, 50 or 100), go through the whole consultation, and give to about half of them the remedies recommended after consultation, and give the other half (randomly, blindly selected) a placebo. Evaluate results, unblind, see if you got better results in the first group. Problem solved.

If it works, you’ll be able to do this; if you can’t do this, then it doesn’t actually work. It’s that simple.

The ‘individualizing’ is really just part of the self-delusion; by making everyone part of very a small sample it’s much, much easier to not notice that in aggregate, there’s no correlation between the remedy and the effect (especially when you work from the unassailable premise that the remedy has a effect).

“So Mr Jones, arthritic pain in the right knee. Let me check my records and the MM. OK, you’re a smoker, over 40, early riser, construction worker, hmmm.. red hair… (flip flip) do you travel much? (flip)… Ok so this one worked… but there was Mr Bloggs last year. hmmm. Do you live in a basement flat, Mr Jones?”

This one thing worked before, according to Mr Bloggs. And if it doesn’t work for Mr Jones, he can be in a new group of size=1, and something else will ‘work’ for him. See a problem? If not, then you could be be a homeopath.

And more than that, “individualisation” is the quack’s get out of jail free card.

Patient gets better: homeopathy works!
Patient doesn’t get better: wrong totality of symptoms; switch remedy, go back to start
Repeat until patient either reports an improvement or dies (in which case it was “too late”, blame the allopaths).

The intellectual dishonesty of homeopathy is intrinsic and inseparable from its practices.

Rachel B says:
5 August 2013

I accept its not homeopathy because of the lack of claim linking remedy to a disease. But the oysters looked pretty good on the nanobubbles. If someone can bottle it, I will certainly buy some and see if it has the same effect on me!

Alan Henness says:
5 August 2013

…and no mention of dilutions, nor succussions, nor like treating like…

But are you aware of the problems relying on your personal observations to be a reliable indication of whether something works or not?

Hormesis and homeopathy

Publication: Human & experimental toxicology
Publication Date: 2010
Study Author(s): Oberbaum, Menachem;Singer, Shepherd Roee;Samuels, Noah;
Institution: Center for Integrative Complementary Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.

Homeopathy is an empirical method of treatment. Hormesis, while stemming from within the rationalist tradition, has yet to be explained according to current pharmacological theory. Both share in common sub-threshold doses of toxic substances and an initial semi-toxicological insult followed by a greater compensatory (or healing) response. We question whether the differences between these fields may be amenable to scientific research. WE IDENTIFY FIVE CARDINAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN homeopathy AND HORMESIS: (1) Hormesis is a universal phenomenon, while homeopathy is highly specific; (2) Hormesis uses only measurable quantities of compounds, as opposed to homeopathy, which frequently administers medicines at dilutions far beyond the material range; (3) Preparation of hormetic solutions follows standard laboratory procedure, while homeopathy requires a sequential series of dilutions, each followed by vigorous shaking (‘succussion’); (4) The effects of hormesis are moderate and temporary, while homeopathy claims curative and permanent responses and (5) Hormesis is a lab phenomenon observed primarily in healthy organisms, whereas homeopathy is a mode of treatment administered primarily to ailing individuals. We believe that all five of these differences are amenable to scientific investigation, and suggest comparing succussed to non-succussed diluted solutions as an optimal first evaluation.
We conclude that while certain differences exist between hormesis and homeopathy, hormesis may in fact be a subset of homeopathy.
PMID: 20558608

Hormesis does not validate homeopathy. Hormesis is a temporary inflexion in the dose response curve at pharmacologically active doses of a substance with a provable connection to the condition, after which the normal exponential decay in dose-response is resumed.

Homeopathy uses substances with no connection to the condition and posits that for undetectable levels of dose, the potency increases with dilution. Nothing about this is remotely consistent with hormesis.

The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analyzed trials.

Publication: Journal of clinical epidemiology
Publication Date: 2008
Study Author(s): Lüdtke, R;Rutten, A L B;
Institution: Karl und Veronica Carstens-Stiftung, Essen, Germany.

OBJECTIVE : Shang’s recently published meta-analysis on homeopathic remedies (Lancet) based its main conclusion on a subset of eight larger trials out of 21 high quality trials (out of 110 included trials). We performed a sensitivity analysis on various other meaningful trial subsets of all high quality trials.

STUDY DESIGN : Subsets were defined according to sample size, type of homeopathy, type of publication, and treated disease/condition. For each subset, we estimated the overall odds ratios (ORs) from random effect meta-analyses.

RESULTS : All trials were highly heterogeneous (I2=62.2%). homeopathy had a significant effect beyond placebo (OR=0.76; 95% CI: 0.59-0.99; p=0.039). When the set of analyzed trials was successively restricted to larger patient numbers, the ORs varied moderately (median: 0.82, range: 0.71-1.02) and the P-values increased steadily (median: 0.16, range: 0.03-0.93), including Shang’s results for the eight largest trials (OR=0.88, CI: 0.66-1.18; P=0.41). Shang’s negative results were mainly influenced by one single trial on preventing muscle soreness in 400 long-distance runners.

CONCLUSIONS : The meta-analysis results change sensitively to the chosen threshold defining large sample sizes. Because of the high heterogeneity between the trials, Shang’s results and conclusions are less definite than had been presented.
PMID: 18834714

Yes, the conclusions depend on the trials. It is known that the better the study quality, the more likely it is to produce a negative conclusion about homeopathy, so of course the outcome of a review will depend on trial selection – the more junk studies you include, the more likely you are to get a positive result. However, the consensus of systematic reviews is that there is no evidence of effect other than placebo, and any effect beyond placebo would require a fundamental rewriting of human knowledge.

Ioannidis* also points out that the chances of false positives are much higher where the base premise is unlikely to be true (as is clearly the case for homeopathy).

* Ioannidis JPA (2005) Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. PLoS Med 2(8): e124. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

Use of homeopathy in pediatric oncology in Germany.

Publication: Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM
Publication Date: 2011
Study Author(s): Längler, Alfred;Spix, Claudia;Edelhäuser, Friedrich;Kameda, Genn;Kaatsch, Peter;Seifert, Georg;
Institution: Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Gemeinschaftskrankenhaus Herdecke, Gerhard-Kienle-Weg 4, 58313 Herdecke, Germany.

Homeopathy is a frequently used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment. We present results comparing responses of homeopathy users (HUs) and users of other forms of CAM (NHUs) in pediatric oncology (PO) in Germany. Differences between these two groups (usage, associated demographic characteristics, previous experience with CAM) are investigated. 186 (45.2%) of the 367 CAM users were exposed to homeopathy. The treatment duration amounted to a median of 601 days for HUs and 282 days for NHUs. Parents with p (127; 76.5%) also used homeopathy for their child’s cancer. Nonmedical practitioners played a considerably greater role as source of information than did treating physician. In the majority HUs received their prescriptions from nonmedical practitioners (56%; 29.4% of NHUs). HUs communicate more frequently with their physicians about the CAM-use (77.7% versus 65.2%) and recommend CAM more often than NHUs (94% versus 85.6%). Homeopathy is the most frequently used CAM treatment in PO in Germany. HUs sustain treatment and therapies considerably longer than NHUs. Most families who had used homeopathy before their child was diagnosed with cancer also used homeopathy for the treatment of their child’s cancer.
Compared to other CAM treatments, patient satisfaction with homeopathy appears to be very high.

“Evidence based complementary and alternative medicine” is oxymoronic. If it was evidence-based, it would not be alternative.

It is, in any case, an opinion poll, and begs the question of efficacy. There are billions of believers in religions of various sorts around the world, each of which typically holds that it is the one true religion. The numbers of believers has no relevance to the objective truth of the beliefs of any of them, any more than it affects the objective fact that homeopathy’s doctrines are long refuted and there is no remotely plausible reason to think it should or could work.

So if anything is “evidence-based” then it wouldn’t be alternative, essentially means that the only evidence acceptable to you, is from RCT’s: a very narrow minded and restricted approach. One wonders why TCM and Ayurveda Medicine has stood the test of time, if it was not based on evidence from the people who have used them.

This begs the question as to why Homeopathy is growing globally in “leaps and bounds” and reported to be by word of mouth. I suppose this would be translated by you that we are subject to the “placebo effect”, and that thousands upon thousands of users are gullible enough to swallow the hype.

Try this for evidence-based anything: as a child, when you accidentally placed your hand into a flame, you would realize through that experience it is both harmful and injurious, and you are unlikely to do so again, so when you experience the healing benefits of homeopathy you are likely to learn from that experience that it has indeed been beneficial.
Talk of placebos and any other lame excuses just do not hold water, unless you have experienced classical homeopathy for yourself.
The mechanism of action is also irrelevant to anything or anyone, and why this form of therapy has grown exponentially over the last few decades because of its efficacy.

In addition, users of homeopathy who have discovered the very real benefits for themselves, reserve the human right to undergo a therapy of their own choosing, without the diktats and antipathy clearly displayed within this forum, and from the elitism of medicine or elsewhere. You have no actual right to pronounce judgement on a therapy that I choose to undergo, and which has been found to be of distinct benefit on a global scale in millions of users.

The definition of alternative is that it is an alternative to evidence based medicine. It is the collection of things that have not been proven to work or, as with homeopathy, are known not to work. It is a category by exclusion: once something is proven to work, it is no longer alternative.

Your lesson in perpetuating inferential error is not useful. A better comparison is when, as a child, you suffer a minor ouchie and mummy kisses it better. Homeopathy works by exactly the same method. We lose our belief in the power of kissing it better because we don’t have a network of people selling kisses and earnestly telling us they are a gentle system of healing.

The use of the term “alternative medicine” is mostly used nowadays Guy to distinguish this from mainstream medicine, and the drug/surgery model of the treatment of disease: nothing to do with not being evidence-based, and your own particular definition of what actually constitutes “evidence”, and the restrictions placed upon this evidence by RCT’s.
Your comment that: “once something is proven to work, it is no longer alternative,” merely falls into the narrow category of RCT’s, which for the most part cannot apply to most all alternatives because of individuality, and the recognition of this by functional medicine which seeks to treat the person “holistically”, rather than treat just a set of symptoms. Symptoms of disease, although made manifest by a set of symptoms in a particular bodily location
I fully understand your approach and mindset on the nature of disease and its treatment, because that is the product of your education and a resultant antipathy towards any other method of healing and health-recovery. I am a testimony to alternatives after recovering from advanced leukemia via Natural Hygiene and water-only-fasting, when I had a six-month death sentence placed over my head 32 years ago.
Nothing you will ever say or do will convince the growing body of people, who on a global scale, are moving away from the largely failed drug model of disease treatment, into more effective forms of disease treatment and prevention in particular.
You are more intelligent than your restricted views and opinions will allow and a huge loss to what matters the most: patient outcomes.

No, the term “alternative medicine” and its replacement “complementary and alternative medicine” and its successor in turn “integrative medicine” is, and always was, pure marketing.

Alternative medicine in reality means alternatives to medicine, most of which either can’t be shown to work or can be shown not to work (homeopathy is in the latter class). It is a heterogeneous group of often mutually incompatible and frequently nonsensical ideas. Are illnesses caused by miasms, subluxation complex, imbalance of yin and yang? The answer of course is “none of the above” but devotees of the three happily work together as advocates of alternatives to medicine because what unites them is a need to gain access to patients, which is opposed by the worlds of science and medicine on the entirely reasonable grounds that if your model of human physiology is completely wrong you have no basis treating patients.

CAM was an attempt to add the halo effect of legitimate complementary therapies and thereby claim legitimacy by association. There is nothing remotely alternative about relaxation therapy, diet or massage. There are regulated professions delivering all three: psychotherapists, dieticians and physiotherapists. Why would you advocate getting these therapies from unlicensed practitioners just because they also believe in magic? Beats me.

Integrative medicine is the attempt to integrate nonsense with science. It’s like integrative baking: you don’t improve an apple pie by “integrating” cow pie.

So the approach and mindset re the nature of disease and human physiology is religious for those in the world of alternatives, and emphatically not religious for those who follow science. The example of ulcers again: the evidence of h. pylori as a cause of ulcers was accepted rapidly and no properly trained doctor would today advocate the old mind-body causality of “stress”.

The world is full of misleading anecdotes like yours. People are given bad news follow the alternative route, the bad news does not transpire, and they credit the magic. In the process of self-validation they maximise the bad news (“we think you may have a serious condition” becomes “you will die in 6 months”), they ignore any mainstream therapies they had, and they studiously ignore the fact that if you give the medical therapy to 1000 people, maybe 500 will be alive at 5 years, whereas the non-medical therapy it might be one if they are lucky, and that due to the random nature of these things.

The therapies you advocate are not mainstream. the reason for this is absolutely nothing to do with the mainstream feeling threatened, conspiracy, money or any of the other purported reasons, it’s that there is no credible evidence that they work. Humans are terribly good at drawing false inferences, it is completely normal and the inferences remain false however common. The cockerel does not make the sun rise, ever. This is why we have the science of epidemiology.

The science of epidemiology says you are wrong. This is not a restriction, in the same way that beliveing that fairies will protect me in a crash is a restriction on the requirement for my car to have airbags, crumple zones, seat belts and the like.

You portray this as your being open minded and me not, but you haven’t spotted: medicine will test acupuncture, endlessly, despite the fact that qi and meridians do not exist. Over the last few years a consensus has finally begun to develop that it is really only a placebo, albeit an elaborate one. Acupuncturists will *never* accept that. Homeopathists will *never* accept the results of careful science that show they are wrong. Chiropractors will *never* accept the strong body of evidence that chiro is no better than evidence-based manipulative therapy and carries an additional significant risk of stroke due to their practices; they will *never* accept that their “maintenance adjustments” benefit only themselves.

That’s the difference between science and the world of SCAM. Science discards treatments when they are found not to work. Either quietly without fanfare, or with massive publicity (Vioxx). SCAM does not recognise any objective tests – because the objective tests all show SCAM to be wrong at a fundamental level – so everything is opinion,. and opinions are like a*******s: everybody has one.

Quite a predictable response Guy, and I suppose I didn’t really expect anything else.
You are unaware then of the role of the flexner report of 1910……….

“The link/conspiracy of Rockefeller and Carnegie and the monopoly of the drug cartel, dates back to the “Flexner Report” of 1910.
Flexner was John D. Rockefeller’s “stool pigeon” in setting up the takeover of the entire medical school industry by Carnegie Foundation, which was a Rockefeller Foundation subsidiary at that time…….When you say “Carnegie Foundation”, you’re talking about something that has no substance. It’s entirely under the domination of the Rockefellers. ……………..He (Abraham Flexner) did “The Flexner Report”, and this changed the medical schools of the United States from homeopathic, naturopathic medicine, to allopathic medicine — which was a German school of medicine which depended on the heavy use of drugs, radical surgery, and long hospital stays. That’s what we’ve got today, allopathic medicine.”—Eustace Mullins.

Incidentally, acupuncture is science-based, and used effectively within Mainstream as a painkiller that has no adverse side-effects.

Alan Henness says:
12 August 2013

chrisb1 said:

“Incidentally, acupuncture is science-based, and used effectively within Mainstream as a painkiller that has no adverse side-effects.”

Triple LOL for that!

Then you had better read this Alan…………..
http://www.acupunctureprogram.com/

or this……….
http://www.geocities.ws/rudhyad/Download/Evidence_Based_Acupuncture.pdf

or even this………
http://aim.bmj.com/

Just a few examples.

Strange how your combined efforts in denigrating anything alternative, is based upon opinion and a belief-system, rather than anything to do with the facts.

Alan Henness says:
12 August 2013

Oh dear.

Alan Henness says:
12 August 2013

Anyway, isn’t this thread supposed to be about homeopathy, not some other pseudo scientific quackery?

Chris: Of course the response was predictable, you introduced no new facts so no change of view was required.

I am well aware of the Flexner report. It found that a lot of the quack medical schools in the US were teaching abject nonsense, and often not even teaching that very well.

If you want a real and concrete example of industry lobbying, look at the way the supplement industry has been protected from scrutiny by its legislative supporters, some of whom have a direct financial stake. Like homeopathy, special pleading by political interests has protected a profitable business form being subject to the normal standards of consumer protection.

Then you have ignored the information from within the links I provided Guy.

Your “take” and explanation of the results and ramifications of the Flexner report have been viewed as a predictable pseudo-scientific and biased approach, which has no bearing on what really happened at all, and of course exemplified in most all of your posts on anything to do natural healthcare.

The supplement industry has been protected from scrutiny Guy because they are not drugs: they are food supplements and classified as foods or food derivatives. This is why DSHEA was passed (not from lobbying) but by consumer pressure.
Drugs are not foods, and foods are not drugs. The safety of supplements is impeccable (unlike prescribed drugs), so the only remaining question is to quality, and where the manufacturers of bogus and ineffective supplements wouldn’t stay in business for very long without that assurance of efficacy.
Further, try not to ignore those things that do not fit into your own slanted perspective, and be a little more susceptible to those things that reflect the actual facts of the matter. Thank you.

Chris, you keep interpret understanding the information and not being persuaded by claims which fail basic tests of scientific accuracy, and not reading or understanding it.

To accept the scientific conclusion is not a slanted perspective, any more than sticking to a belief in the absence of any credible evidence and in the face of a mass of disconfirming fact, is open-minded.

Science has tested homeopathy. It doesn’t work. Science will test anything, most of the things fail to live up to the claims of believers. That includes drugs, supplements, alternatives to medicine, all kinds of things.

The scientific term for an alternative medicine that can be proven to work, is “medicine”.

Guy,
my my a quick response. Well done.
Not everything can be measured or quantified by the scientific method Guy, and a rather restricted view of the explanation of our World:something we have alluded to in earlier posts. The science of today can be the junk of tomorrow and as I have highlighted previously.

I have also mentioned that the widespread and successful practice of Homeopathy, is not, and never has been, subject to a “belief-system” or the “placebo-effect” from those who have used it, but rather the objective outcome from undergoing that health-modality. The fact that science, or the scientific method, is as yet unable to explain its efficacy is a problem for the scientific community to unravel, rather than the other way round. In fact your own stance on homeopathy could be more accurately be portrayed as a “belief-system” than anything, because it doesn’t fit squarely with your own ideas and dogma.

Indeed science has tested homeopathy and found it to be effective above that of the placebo-effect: evidence you have conveniently ignored and an anti-scientific stance.
Further, science will test anything, but this is not infallible, and as experienced by Robert Klenner MD who successfully treated and eradicated polio with high doses of Ascorbate, the results of which were ignored by the medical fraternity in favor of their own brand of “science”.

The actual scientific term for Alternative medicine that can be proven to work, is “health-recovery” and NOT medicine. “Medicine” is for medical people whose business is with disease, and the perpetuation of disease rather than its cure.

Perhaps you would like to explain why our hospitals are spilling-over with patients with all manner of disease and our “health”-service is at breaking point, if the scientific method is so efficacious?

The scientific term for an alternative medicine that can be proven to work, is “medicine”.

Every claim made by homeopathy is squarely in the realm of things that would, if they were true, be measurable and testable by science.

Science does not restrict our view of the world in any meaningful sense. Science does not tell you how to respond emotionally to the sight of a flower, science does tell you how the flower comes to look like that, the evolutionary processes by which it developed into that shape over billions of years, the mechanisms by which it nourishes and reproduces itself and so on.

Homeopathy is not “successful” in any meaningful sense. It is a placebo therapy, which induces placebo responses and expectation effects like any other inert treatment. It is usually administered by people whose medical training is effectively negative, since everything they have learned about human health is wrong.

The supreme irony is that this appeal to popularity and “it works for me” was explicitly rejected by Hahnemann when it was raised by the doctors of the time. The thing that sustains homeopathy right now is precisely the dogmatic cleaving to beliefs with no foundation in objective truth, that Hahnemann criticised in “allopaths”.

As an aside, the claim that ascorbate can “cure” polio was not “forgotten” or “ignored”, it is simply wrong.

As far as I can tell it was first advanced in the literature by Jungeblut in 1935, there are about a dozen papers discussing it, but it did not survive the determined efforts of the 1950s to control the disease – because it does not prevent or cure the disease. And there’s no reason it should: the poliovirus is extremely hardy and there’s no obvious correlation between infection rates and diet, which you’d expect if vitamin C was meaningfully protective.

There is some recent work looking at a possible role of ascorbate as an adjuvant in therapeutic management of polio, which is more plausible but still the evidence is very weak, whereas the evidence for the protective effect of polio vaccine is very strong indeed. In fact, an aggressive immunisation programme has real potential to eliminate polio altogether, possibly within a decade – that would be an astounding feat, to eradicate a second major cause of mortality and morbidity, as smallpox was eradicated in the 70s.

Greg Smith says:
19 September 2013

True enough, Guy. This happens to the be the footnote to the very first paragraph in Hahnemann’s Organon, so rather hard to miss:

“[The physician’s] mission is not, however, to construct so-called systems, by interweaving empty speculations and hypotheses concerning the internal essential nature of the vital processes and the mode in which diseases originate in the interior of the organism, (whereon so many physicians have hitherto ambitiously wasted their talents and their time); nor is it to attempt to give countless explanations regarding the phenomena in diseases and their proximate cause (which must ever remain concealed), wrapped in unintelligible words and an inflated abstract mode of expression, which should sound very learned in order to astonish the ignorant – whilst sick humanity sighs in vain for aid”

In other words, he basically cried out from the first paragraph against everything that homeopathy is doing today. If he could see the world today, I imagine he’d be absolutely delighted to find that, due to a staggering amount of research and discovery, ‘phenomena in diseases and their proximate cause’ didn’t actually turn out to be forever concealed, and he’d be utterly horrified that his followers choose to ignore that new information in favor of what have clearly been shown to be ’empty speculations and hypotheses’.

Yes. And the first six aphorisms of his organon, effectively tell homeopaths to accept evidence-based medicine as it now is (as opposed to the old humoural beliefs prevalent in his time).

Guy,
“the claim that ascorbate can “cure” polio was not “forgotten” or “ignored”, it is simply wrong”.

Then you had better read the actual scientific facts and studies located here…………….

Jungeblut CW. Inactivation of poliomyelitis virus by crystalline vitamin C (ascorbic acid). J Exper Med 1935. 62:317-321.

and the peer-reviewed journal here……………
http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v09n16.shtml

Skip the attacks on the source as being a “crank” website Guy, as this would be a phony excuse to ignore the facts: just study the facts for yourself.

and here as well………..
http://www.doctoryourself.com/klennerbio.html

Chris, how many times do we have to have this conversation? The proselytising of true believers has no relevance to objective fact.

You’re taking a 1935(!) source, adding advocacy from the “orthomolecular” journal (being the crank end of the supplement sales industry) and asserting it as ineffable fact, despite a total lack of any interest among actual scientists.

In reality, the ascorbate hypothesis was raised over half a century ago, and after a brief discussion in the literature, quietly dropped.

That’s what usually happens with wrong ideas in scientific disciplines.

Don’t know how they refute it , when it works they say they might have used steriods, if incorrectly prescribed by so called homeopaths(not sticking to principles) and it doesnt work they say how could it work its all water. I have been using this for last eight years or so and i am convinced it has relieved me of my health issues..eg i had cholestrol problems in the past since late teens and when docs advised me to start blood thinners in my 30s, i came across a wonderful cure for myself which relaxed me as well as my levels and when i check my blood tests the ldl levels came back to normal….and its my 5th year or so that i without exerting and food dieting my levels are all normal….the best part of homeopathy is to consider causation and not effects…while the scientfic medicines runs after effects and leave causation hanging. I dont care whther science prove it or not cause if i didnt try it i would have been on blood thinners for the rest of my life,,,which evidence based medicines are usually prescribed for, a real advancement in science,

Indeed ad; evidence-based medically-approved blood thinners cause all manner of adverse side-effects including: abdominal pain, indigestion, diarrhea, intestinal bleeding, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and so on.
Natural blood thinners that have few if any side effects include Red Clover, Cayenne, and Chamomile.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/100483-list-natural-blood-thinners/

And problems with medicine validate homeopathy in exactly the same way that plane crashes validate magic carpets.

Greg Smith says:
19 September 2013

“the scientfic medicines runs after effects and leave causation hanging.”

I know they tell you that’s true in homeopathy school. But it’s one of the most blatantly obvious lies that homeopaths keep repeating. Likely it was a fair critique of ‘mainstream’ physicians 200 years ago.

It’s now part of the fossilized belief system of homeopathy — which also include ‘miasms’, while we’re on the topic of causation.

Greg,
the quote you have quoted: “the scientific medicines runs after effects and leave causation hanging”, is not actually a lie at all and a truth that non-mainstream health modalities have been stating for years.
Scientific medicines (assuming these to be pharmaceutical-based) only address symptoms and do not address causes at all, otherwise most all chronic disease would be eradicated by now (which it isn’t).
Name one pharmaceutical drug that addresses the cause of a chronic disease or even effects a cure?
Here’s a short list to help you………..

Diabetes Mellitus types 1 & 2
Diabetes insipidus
Parkinsons disease.
Osteo and rheumatoid arthritis.
Cancers.
Multiple sclerosis.
Motor Neurone Disease.
Eisenmenger Syndrome.
Asthma.
Crohns.
COPD.
Hypertension.
Hypothyroidism.

Ans so on. These are “managed diseases” by the Medical Profession, and current treatments by them do not address causation whatsoever.

Greg Smith says:
20 September 2013

Chris, your answer is self-fulfilling (which would explain, I guess, why it’s a favorite with “non-mainstream health modalities”). They are chronic diseases because there’s no known cure. It’s not inconceivable that cures could be developed for some of these, and once this became commonplace they would no longer be chronic conditions, would they? Syphilis for instance, was once a chronic condition. Your assertion — that it should be possible to cure all of these with medicine, if medicine addressed causes — is false. Medicine, you see, is not magic; unlike homeopathy, it needs to work within the confines of what is actually possible. It makes for a lot more hard work but, seriously, the results speak for themselves.

And, I presume you are not saying that homeopathy goes after the real causes of these conditions you list? if it does, then by your own logic homeopathy should thus be able to cure them. How’s that going? (If you believe this to be the case, please stay well away from diabetics, cancer patients, and, well, anyone. Penelope Dingle’s homeopath believed it and we know how that worked out).

What about all of the serious conditions that *can* be cured, by understanding and treating the actual reality-based cause? Staph infections, and various parasites for instance. These were once fatal or chronic And a huge number of once-fatal or once-chronic conditions that can be treated with relatively minor surgery – e.g. appendicitis and hernia – and such surgery would not be practical without anesthetics, antibiotics, and other drugs. All developed by people who, unlike homeopaths, actually understand a great deal about biological processes and the causes of medical conditions. To say that all these treatments ‘go after the symptoms’ and not the cause, is just utterly false.

And, remind me please, which ‘system of medicine’ is it that chooses a remedy based on the *symptom*, — under the preposterous, childishly simple-minded premise that, for instance, any condition which causes your skin to itch can be treating using a substance which makes your skin itch? *Any* condition that has nausea as a major symptom can be treated using some substance that makes you nauseous? And then, having selected a vial of ordinary sugar, based on this premise (with the substance itself represented only on the label) they have the arrogance to say that “we’re going after the root cause, not just the symptoms…”

The point that quackery promoters always miss when they claim that medicine has nothing for chronic disease, is precisely the point you make: the definition of a chronic disease is one for which there is currently no cure.

The fallacious nature of this claim becomes very apparent when you notice that at one time syphilis was considered a chronic disease. And then they found a cure.

Coeliac is also a chronic disease, but medicine has a 100% effective way of managing it and a cure is likely in my lifetime. It won’t join smallpox (and probably by then polio) in the glorious list of diseases totally eliminated by science, but it will be curable.

Interestingly, homeopathic treatment does not make any difference whatsoever to coeliac symptoms, homeopaths never identified the “gluten miasm”, and a coeliac who goes to a homeopath will probably never be diagnosed because most homeopaths have no access to TTG antibody tests or duodenal biopsies, and in any case wouldn’t now what to do with them because their model of disease, diagnosis and cure – which is asserted to be both complete and the sole valid model – does not include these things.

Are there any examples of diseases whose cause has been correctly identified by homeopaths, and where homeopaths have provided a valid treatment taken up by medicine? I can’t find any. There are examples that could be argued for herbalism, but none I can find for the main forms of quackery (homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, reiki and so on).

Greg,
“They are chronic diseases because there’s no known cure. It’s not inconceivable that cures could be developed for some of these, and once this became commonplace they would no longer be chronic conditions, would they”?

Indeed Greg, chronic diseases have no known cure; and to qualify that statement: known within Mainstream Medicine. It took 10 years for a man to set foot on the moon, but it has taken over 40 to 50 years to find a “cure” for cancer to no avail, and despite spending billions of $$$ in the process. Mainstream merely achieve the aim of “managing” chronic disease to a limited extent and in many of these the failure and mortality rate is still high.
Homeopathy does not pretend to cure these either, but has great success in a wide variety of diseases, discounted by Orthodoxy, and why it is growing in popularity.

Syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia are all triggered by bacteria, and where Pasteur stated that bacteria is nothing—but the terrain everything. “Germs seek their natural habitat – diseased tissue – rather than being the cause of diseased tissue.”– Bieler.

I agree with you that once-fatal or once-chronic conditions that can be treated with relatively minor surgery – e.g. appendicitis and hernia – and such surgery, would not be practical without anesthetics, antibiotics, but do these address the true causes of the appendicitis and others? and we know or should know of the growing ineffectiveness of antibiotics, and an impending crisis for Medicine generally. Mainstream is invaluable in many respects, but does not address the true causes of ill-health and disease generally.

“To say that all these treatments ‘go after the symptoms’ and not the cause, is just utterly false”.

One example of your above comment is that of the need for angioplasty and heart by-pass operations; do these address the cause of the build-up of arterial plaque leading to these procedures? The villain of the piece is said to be cholesterol, and the huge sales of the blockbusting drugs “statins”, which are the Greatest Medical Fraud of All Time: http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/2013-09-18/statins-are-the-greatest-medical-fraud-of-all-time-study-reports/ http://www.paleoplan.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/CholMythCamb1.pdf

“Which “system of medicine” is it that chooses a remedy based on the symptom?”

Modern medicine of course, as the diagnostic process evaluates the symptom complex and is further investigated based on the summary of that symptom complex. This is widespread throughout medicine, and esp’ so from GP’s who then use this analysis for further investigation.
I thought that was fairly obvious.

Your explanation of Homeopathy is merely conjectural, as the mechanism for action is not as yet fully understood, but will be in the fullness of time.

Putting a man on the moon was a well defined and constrained technological challenge. It required some extensions to fields such as metallurgy and computing, but was not in any real sense a breakthrough in these fields – the heavy lifting had already been done at Peenemunde and Bletchley Park.

Cancer is vastly more complex. It is not a single disease, and individual cancers are often heterogeneous. Some cancers have been understood to the extent that a cure can be effected in many patients (e.g. Hodgkin’s lymphoma), others are either poorly understood or present intractable problems.

Homeopathy holds that there are three causes of chronic disease: the psora, syphilis and sycosis miasms. The sum total of insights this gives on the management and cure if chronic disease is: none at all.

In short, you engage in a fallacious appeal to mystery, advocating that because medical science has, as yet, only eliminated one disease, found cures for a few, and worthwhile treatments for many more, but has yet to develop a full cure for every disease, so we should also accept something that has no explanatory power and has failed to deliver any objectively provable cures, ever.

I know you will dispute the last point, because I know you simply do not understand the concept of objective proof in medical science, but that is your error not mine.

well if someone think its a lie to consider causation and its a myth then read on…..my emotional suppression in my history was all causing the trouble and i had my cholestrol levels up along with other problems including fears , and when i took staphysagaria 1m(main remedy to nullify suppressions) , i felt relieved of my emotional suppressions makeup and my mind relaxed, as i was using homeopathy for long time i was convinced that my ldl levels would have come down and exactly that happened after years of having the levels up it came back to normal and years after i try checking it in lab the levels dont bother atall….so atleast i can say the addressal of causation was Prime factor here. if u still think otherwise then dont waste time debating its use carry on with your usual modern harmful medicines cause its scientific and well proven on “rats”

Correlation is not causation, and placebo effects, expectation effects, and especially the placebo effect of homeopathic consultations, are the major source of perceived benefit. This is well documented.

Medicine does not go on sale after being tested only on rats, There first have to be limited trials on humans, then phase 3 trials. It would be truly extraordinary for a drug to be marketed based solely on animal models. There’s also the small matter of mechanism. Nobody disputes that administering measurable amounts of pharmacologically active compounds can cause objective effects in the body. With homeopathy, there is no provable link between remedies and disease, no remotely plausible way that homeopathic dilutions can have any effect at all, and no credible evidence that there is any effect beyond placebo.

As you are so fond of the plane crashes validating magic carpets mantra Guy, I thought you may wish to consider this………………

“Antidepressant drugs are effective, in that they lift depression in most patients. But that benefit is hardly more than what patients get when they, unknowingly and as part of a study, take a dummy pill—a placebo. As more and more scientists who study depression and the drugs that treat it are concluding, that suggests that antidepressants are basically expensive Tic Tacs”.

So when you critique Homeopathy, it would give a more balanced view if you were to examine the hallowed ground of “evidence-based medicine” on which you rely so much………..the wide use of approved antidepressants that have no more of an effect than mere placebo.

Have a nice day.

Chris, what was the point of posting an article about a problem with medicine, as if it in some way invalidates the obvious fact that problems with medicine cannot and do not validate the nonsense that is homeopathy?

Science has one standard. If you haven’t noticed the number of prominent skeptics promoting the AllTrials initiative then the problem is your end. Ben Goldacre busts homeopathy wide open in Bad Science, he also busts the manipulation of trials and statistical evidence by “big pharma”.

The science that finds problems like the one you note, is the same science that shows homeopathy, acupuncture, reiki and so on to be ineffective. Only one person is being inconsistent here: the one who accepts that science without question when it criticises evidence-based medicine, but rejects its criticism of favoured quackery.

Guy,
“Chris, what was the point of posting an article about a problem with medicine, as if it in some way invalidates the obvious fact that problems with medicine cannot and do not validate the nonsense that is homeopathy”?

The main point is about your failure to admit that “evidence-based-medicine” is anything but evidence-based, and the scientific method that you value so highly is therefore sometimes no more effective than a placebo, and therefore nonsense and quackery. So your history of critiquing anything “alternative” is baseless.
In addition, homeopathy has been proven to work over and above that of placebo, which cannot be said for SSRI’s.

You have once again repeated your usual error. I read the original source, and other reliable sources. You read the original source and a true believer site cheerleading for natural woo.

Your inability to distinguish between science and wishful thinking seems to be constant, and a great deal of patient explanation by several people does not seem to be helping you to avoid making the same obvious mistake again and again.

You also misuse the word proof. There is weak evidence of homeopathy effect beyond placebo, which is entirely expected and consistent with the null hypothesis. False positives are expected, and publication bias ensures that a null treatment will have weak positive evidence. But there is no proof. If there was, the debate would be over, the Nobel prize awarded and the world of particle physics in turmoil.

Guy,
“Your inability to distinguish between science and wishful thinking”………is based on actual experience and results.
Read those websites again, but please remove your blinkers this time.

Well Guy, you obviously did not read this by Dr Frederick R Klenner MD himself…………….
http://www.nutri.com/49/

Chris, we have had precisely the same conversation time and time again.

What matters on science is not that someone once said something you like, bug whether others were able to repeat the finding and turn it into a clinically useful result.

In this case, Klenner published his ideas half a century ago, they did not turn out to be useful. No amount of repetition of his ideas by true believers, changes that.

EVERY SINGLE SITE that you propose as a source to counter the published record in the medical literature, is promoting an agenda – usually your agenda – and almost always turns out to be engaged in a revisionist crusade.

Looking at them eith or without blinders does not change anything. For gage conclusion to change, you have to add the filter of true belief.

Guy,
“In this case, Klenner published his ideas half a century ago, they did not turn out to be useful”.

Useful for the patient or for the Doctors Guy?

Klenners findings were discounted without further investigation, because of a “belief-system” that refused to accept that a mere “Vitamin” could have such remarkable properties.

Either, Chris. Unlike you I do not subscribe to conspiracy theories.

It’s not used because it doesn’t work. There’s no evidence outside the closed bubble world of people actively selling it, and most of the evidence they claim turns out either to be unreliable or more than half a century out of date.

The idea that a group of people who are in general medically and scientifically untrained, have a parallel and competing understanding of human disease and physiology which is not just comparable to but superior to that of the best and brightest in medical science, is seriously unpersuasive.

No not a conspiracy Guy, just the qualified experience of many Doctors.
I suggest you read (which I have mentioned before now) the research from the book entitled: “Ascorbate: The Science of Vitamin C” by Dr Steve Hickey (a qualified Medical Biophysicist) to grasp what I am actually talking about.
You will no doubt continue with your “head in the sand” approach, but this does negate the facts of the matter. Also research the: Dynamic Flow Model of using high doses of Ascorbate and you may learn something of value.

The group of people who you state are “in general, medically and scientifically untrained” is based on ignorance, as that is the only way I can describe your stance on the matter.
From the outset, you have had a closed mind, and your last post serves to illustrate this very very well.

Further to my post on Vitamin C Guy………….

The latest recommendation from the US Centres for Disease Control states that everyone aged 60 and over should get a shingles vaccine.

Simple and cheap…

There’s no way around it, vaccinating a large portion of the population with a quasi-compulsory vaccine means big bucks for Big Pharma.

Firstly, the vaccine industry is pretty useless for stopping shingles. And secondly, contrary to whatever you’ve heard from the mainstream, shingles is highly treatable. And you never have to endure the excruciating pain. Because there’s a way to stop that pain dead in its tracks, turning a shingles outbreak from a painful nightmare to a minor inconvenience.

And we’re talking complete relief within HOURS. Not days or weeks or months.

The treatment — intravenous ascorbic acid (IAA) — which floods your cells with a massive dose of vitamin C. In one trial, seven of eight patients treated with IAA reported complete relief within two hours!

Researchers were stunned when more than 300 shingles patients found “complete resolution of shingles outbreaks” within three days of beginning daily IAA treatments.

But does the medical establishment want you to know about this?
NOPE.

Reference: Schencking M, Vollbracht C, Weiss G, et al. Intravenous Vitamin C in the treatment of shingles: Results of a multicenter prospective cohort study. Medical Science Monitor, 2012;18:CR215-224.

http://www.wikicuria.com/SHINGLES.html

Yeah, because all the clever, diligent people work in the supplement industry and the world of medicine is full of unimaginative dolts who would never even think to check out any claim not handed to them on a plate by Big Pharma.

I can’t imagine why this is only obvious to people who read crank websites, and not to people who follow the science.

I’m sure the word sheeple belongs in there somewhere, but I’m behind the curve on whale-peak these days.

Guy,
I didn’t say that: ” all the clever, diligent people work in the supplement industry and the world of medicine is full of unimaginative dolts who would never even think to check out any claim not handed to them on a plate by Big Pharma”

OR………..
“I can’t imagine why this is only obvious to people who read crank websites, and not to people who follow the science.”

What should be staring you in the face Guy, but you have as yet not come round to realizing, is that all these “clever people” are locked in a system of healthcare that only sees and considers the drug/surgical model of disease treatment, to the exclusion of all else. This begins in Med’ School, and continues throughout the career of that health professional.

Some enlightened Doctors within Mainstream have expanded their horizons, and they include: Professor T C Campbell; Dr Caldwell B Esseltyn; Dr. Dean Ornish, founder and president of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute, and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; Dr Al Sears MD; Dr Joel Fuhrman MD; Professor Ian Brighthope; and the list goes on and on.

The websites you refer to as “crank” are basically websites that report the facts impartially, rather than having an agenda.
Most all the media within the United States for example, rely on the income from Pharmaceutical Companies, so not too difficult to work that one out.

Weird how the “enlightened” ones are always in a minority, and their views are always promoted on crank websites. There must be some kind of conspiracy to discredit them.

Alternatively, early work over half a century turned out to be wrong, and some people refuse to accept that. Which is ore likely? (rhetorical)

Guy,
this isn’t rocket science. The enlightened ones are in a minority because of the conservative establishment majority view: pure and simple, but it is a growing trend and away from the failures of pharmaceuticals.
Lifestyle choices and nutrition will be the health-modality of the future and as envisioned by Thomas A Edison: “The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. ”

Oh look, someone once said this and it agrees with my prejudices therefore it’s right. Oh look, crank websites repeat this claim therefore it’s unquestionably true. Oh look, the world of so-called mainstream medicine does not recognise this wonderful truth therefore mainstream medicine is a bunch of quacks and charlatans.

Rinse and repeat, and so off down into the intellectual black hole again.

One of the most vexatious things about crackpots is their exploitation of the honest self-criticism of medical science, as justification for promoting the scientifically indefensible on an equal footing. Don’t be one of those people.

It is most definitely NOT a case of “someone once said” and “it agrees with my prejudices” so it must be right?
Rather a growing consensus of opinion borne out of professional health experience, and indeed clinical studies, would be a more accurate description.
The crank websites you refer to (a condescending view) are websites that report natural news not reported in the mainstream press. Admittedly, some are cranky, but the vast majority report on the actual health-news omitted from the mainstream media.
I also wonder what these health-professionals would think about your reference to them as being “crackpots”? and a rather lame, clutching at straws viewpoint, that essentially means you are floundering for reasons not to accept their findings.

Of course not. It’s just a bizarre coincidence that Medline has nothing on this for the past half century and all the references you post are on websites promoting precisely the sort of quackery you habitually promote.

No, not a coincidence Guy: Medline are known for excluding natural-based therapies including the peer-reviewed Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. Even the British Medical Journal has published a letter about Medline bias and this has forced Medline to index articles on Medline bias……….http://www.health-science-spirit.com/medicaldisease.html.
AND….http://www.doctoryourself.com/medlineup.html

It would seem you have a lot of catching up to do.

Wrong on two levels.

First, there is nothing natural about things like vitamin megadoses or homeopathy.

Second, Medline indexes a number of woo-specific journals which do indeed cover these delusional systems in isolation, and has an even wider base of articles addressing tests of natural substances, which are the starting point for many new drugs.

Remember, every time your argument relies on a conspiracy, your argument is almost certainly wrong.

Finally, please STOP citing crank websites. These sites are all founded ont he same core premise: that $WOO is being suppressed by Them because They don’t want you to have a “natural” cure that They can’t make money out of (coincidentally available at our website, all major credit cards accepted). It’s conspiracist claptrap, and it just makes you look like a crackpot.

Guy,

“First, there is nothing natural about things like vitamin megadoses or homeopathy”.

First……….
A. Yes there is, because megadoses of vitamins are doses of bioavailable and food derived nutrients (as opposed to artificially metamorphosed chemicals that constitute drugs), and where approx’ 80% of homeopathic remedies are made from the crude material of specific plants (not metamorphosed or altered chemically to allow a patent). However, others are made from specific minerals, salts, and insects. A very few are made from animal, and even disease material itself. All remedies start with the basic crude material of which the remedy is made.

Second,

It is true that Medline indexes a number of “woo-specific journals” (hint of bias here) which do indeed cover these non-delusional systems in isolation, and has an even wider base of articles addressing tests of natural substances, which are the starting point for many new drugs”.

But, these natural substances are indeed used as the starting point for new drugs, but this is only to allow patents to occur and huge profits to be made, rather than use the natural substance without modification: any herbalist will tell you that.

AND………..
“Remember, every time your argument relies on a conspiracy, your argument is almost certainly wrong”.

You seem to be very fond of the word “conspiracy”, but an irrelevancy to what I have referred to. My advice to you, is to do some impartial and unbiased research, into why the EU have been instrumental into restricting the max’ upper levels of nutrients found in supplements, to non-therapeutic paltry levels, on the alleged grounds of “safety”. Nutritional supplements have always had an impeccable safety record, and esp’ when a comparison is made to prescribed pharmaceuticals, which do not. This is not a conspiracy, but a matter of fact and the result of the lobbying efforts within the EU by the Pharmaceutical Companies, who perceive these as a threat to their wares, and therefore their profit margins.

If you stop using the word crank it would be of help, but rather read the evidence from what you refer to as: “crank” websites; a rather paltry effort in denigrating the evidence, and where you should be able to do better than that.

Natural cures Guy are relatively inexpensive in comparison to blockbuster drugs, and equally if not more effective at achieving the same goal. I recall a recent case where a new blockbuster cancer drug-treatment was withheld from cancer patients on the NHS, because of “cost”: £30,000 per month for ONE patient. Try and equate that with the cost of a nutraceutical if you can.
Please don’t give me the nonsense about the recovery of R&D, when drug companies spend much more than that on commercial advertising.

Try this simple test: eat enough oranges per dat to equal the dose of vitamin C proposed by the vitamin megadose quacks.

I absolutely guarantee that this will disabuse you of the idea that it is natural.

You will, however, probably have the most vitamin enriched urine in Britain.

You seem to be in denial abut a fundamental fact: science is generally impartial and unbiased. By placing the scientific consensus against the claims of quacks and charlatans, you engage in the fallacy of false balance.

The simple and rather well documented fact is that the vast majority of supplements consumed in Britain are entirely unnecessary. It’s a massive and immensely profitable industry whose R&D spend is negligible, whose claims are vague and unspecific (because there is no credible evidence to support anything else) and whose customers are generally almost entirely uncritical.

Big Herba is not far behind Big Pharma in profitability, and its R&D spend as a proportion of turnover is often less than 1% of that of a typical pharmaceutical company.

The idea that SCAM is run by altruists for the love of their wonderful cures, and is brutally suppressed by rapacious Big Pharma, is a malicious fiction spread by quacks. Don’t fall for it.

Or perhaps you would like to read this one Guy………………….

Why would reading an advocate’s decidedly non-neutral promotion of Klenner’s postulate be an improvement on the original? Nobody disputes that people make these bogus claims, even Linus Pauling promoted this nonsense.

Guy,
how many times do we have to have this conversation? Well until you consider that you may just be wrong, although I doubt very much that you will admit to this; but I fully understand your viewpoints, as you are entrenched and educated into a scientific and one-sided “belief system” to the exclusion of all else.

I will also admit that I am a true believer in what I have stated, but this has not come about through an act of faith, but tangible experience and study, and the results which really should speak for themselves, and that you have skillfully ignored.

Whether this was 1935 is irrelevant to anything, and where the efficacy of Ascorbate as a treatment modality is still practiced successfully today, and since that time.
Btw, it is laughable to suggest that Orthomolecular Medicine is the “crank end” of the supplement industry; remember Nutraceuticals?

Interest amongst actual scientists differs considerably, but peer-pressure from the “status quo” goes a very long way here.

Ascorbate as therapy was quietly dropped because of the above, not because of a lack of efficacy.

As always, the claim that it is “practiced successfully” originates solely with those who are selling the product.

I am always prepared to consider the fact that I might be wrong. You can prove me wrong any time by the simple expedient of citing credible peer-reviewed sources that show me to be wrong. In this case we have a handful of papers form half a century ago, as a result of which ascorbate is not used in clinical practice for treatment or prevention of polio.

Interest from actual scientists differs very little. If there were any meaningful interest, it would show up in the literature. It doesn’t.

So, once again you are rejecting the consensus view based on the claims of those with a vested interest. And once again, you have failed to persuade. Plus ça change…

Guy,
fairly standard responses I suppose, and nothing of any real consequence except your refusal to accept the facts.
I believe you are more intelligent than to quote successes only come from those selling their wares, but I have heard that before somewhere: the favorable clinical studies of drug trials from the drug companies who are funding the research, springs to mind.

By all means you are at liberty to refuse to accept the evidence, but then for someone who preaches the “scientific method”, that is not really very scientific or science at all.

I have explained the consensus view previously, which again you have chosen to ignore, so you are presenting a non-argument for discussion.

You have much to learn it would seem, as most scientists/medical Doctors are kept in the dark, and are enmeshed within their system of healthcare, if not essentially brainwashed into conservative medical dogma.

The evidence in science means the sum total of the evidence, not just the little bit that salesmen punting the quackery in question like the look of.

In this case, the sum total of the evidence is that you’re wrong. And it’s blindingly obvious because in order to excuse the lack of mainstream support, the usual conspiracist claptrap is invoked.

Same as every time. Exactly the same as homeopathy, in particular.

Incidentally, this whole business of everyone else being in the dark and blind and having much to learn and so on? That’s why your nonsense is insulting not just stupid.

The idea that if only people would learn then they’d understand and believe, is an import from overt religion. It denies the possibility that one can look at the facts and form the conclusion that the quacks are wrong. In other words, it posits that only the quacks are right, and the mainstream is wrong. Which is semantically equivalent to asserting that the quacks are smarter – which is incredibly unlikely given the competition for top medical and research jobs.

Of course if you’re too “smart” to study medicine for five years and then spend another ten years learning a specialty, you could always got so someone like “Dr” Robert O Young, “learn” a model of biochemistry that is trivially demonstrated to be utter claptrap, and set up as a “live blood physician”. And what you will be is not enlightened or smarter or whatever, but a quack.

I hardly know why I’m even bothering to point this obvious fact out to you any more, because your mind is totally closed. And yes it is yours not mine: Alan and I have both told you precisely the kind of information that would persuade us to change our minds, and all you provide is a mess of outdated discarded hypotheses and yet another bunch of quacks selling product.

I suggest you read my posts again as your answers do not reflect what I have actually said.

I did not say: “this whole business of everyone else being in the dark and blind and having much to learn and so on?”. What I actually did say, is that in essence, the Mainstream fraternity are locked into a system of healthcare that relies on drugs and surgery: this is the “status quo” of Medicine, and has been since the Flexner report of 1910. In other words this is the generally accepted system that dominates healthcare.
So Doctors and other healthcare workers are trained into this system to the exclusion of all else; that is all they know and the drug-model dominates, despite its many failings and harm. The Pharmaceutical companies have considerable power and influence, and as one leading manager of a primary-care trust once informed me.

Most all other health modalities have therefore been considered as “Quackery” despite their efficacy; the champion of all champions who promotes this cause with a fanatical zeal is Stephen Barrett MD, and who has been discredited many times within the American judiciary.

I have said this before, and will say it again because of your misunderstanding: Mainstream does have much to offer and of great value: I would hardly need a herbalist when in need of surgical intervention for example.

No I do not have a closed mind Guy, because I do accept and endorse many practices and procedures within Medicine, but have also accepted many health-practices which fall outside of general medicine, and which you do not. By definition then, the person with the closed mind is therefore you.

The remainder of the post to which I am responding to, is evidence-enough of that.

The practices you accept that fall outside mainstream health, fall there because there is a lack of credible evidence that they work. Various excuses are offered for this, but they are only excuses,

Homeopathy, for example, is not accepted because it is incompatible with our knowledge of the nature of matter and human physiology. It defines itself as being mutually incompatible with medicine, and this is based on the model of disease, cure, and method of action – the same things that make homeopathy irreconcilable with medicine also make it irreconcilable with herbalism.

Vitamin megadoses are under investigation for certain specific uses, with mixed results. The inflated claims made by the “orthomolecular” crowd are not supported by good evidence. The claims promoted by Linus Pauling, for example, are largely refuted, even if some very much more modest versions of similar claims may have some cautious support. There is nothing natural about consuming the equivalent of a box of oranges every day, and to pretend otherwise is simply to exploit public weakness for the naturalistic fallacy.

Herbalism is the medical equivalent of historical re-enactment. Sure,. willow bark contains salicylic acid. If you have a toothache, chewing willow bark may help. But the dose and purity are completely unknown, whereas an aspirin has a known and controlled dose and purity. The idea that being natural means being safe, is false. Cancers and renal failure caused by the use of aristolchia as a “natural” slimming aid are just one example.

The system by which the reality-based community separates truth from falsehood, and weighs the claims of advocates of a given intervention, is known as medical science. This is the process which tells us that homeopathy, reiki, chiropractic and acupuncture are wrong. It’s the process by which we discarded bloodletting, purging, and the belief that ulcers are caused by stress.

The scientific method in general and medical science specifically has a good record. Advocates of treatments whose benefits are found to be greatly exaggerated, or in some cases completely illusory, advocate abandoning those conclusions of scientific inquiry which are inconvenient to them. That is not the way science works.

One final point: there is no debate anywhere in the literature about whether measurable doses of pharmacologically active compounds can have an objective physiological effect. Nobody seriously disputes this. To place tests of homeopathy or vitamin megadoses against tests of a specific medicine, is fallacious. A valid test would be a specific remedy against a specific drug (as done by Shang et. al., with the finding that homeopathy effects are weak and non-specific, whereas drug effects are strong and specific – i.e. homeopathic remedies are inert).

What you are advocating is not individual treatments whose evidence base is poor, like SSRIs, but treatments whose entire theoretical basis is dubious or wrong.

Yes Guy that is all to the good, but your post is only a reiteration of your “belief-system” with nothing new to add.
Feel free to do your own research as I have, and your conclusions will differ markedly from what they are currently.

“The practices you accept that fall outside mainstream health, fall there because there is a lack of credible evidence that they work”.

Could be more accurately be rewritten as: The practices I accept that fall outside mainstream health, fall there because there is an overall lack of mainstream incentive to discover their potential and efficacy.
The evidence is overwhelming Guy and has been for decades.

Allow me to illustrate just one example………

In the April 3, 2007 issue of the prestigious Journal of the American College of Cardiology, leading researchers revealed that a startling 100% of patients with chronic heart failure ALL had the same, unique signs of degeneration in their cells.
However, a known cure has been available the whole time, but totally ignored.
For anyone suffering from heart disease, there is a new technology that can be used to regenerate the cells of the heart so they look and act like younger cells. This technology, which won a Nobel Prize in Medicine, is NOT a drug or surgical procedure, but has been ignored and overlooked by cardiologists, and is now targeted by the American Heart Association.
Heart health can be restored by activating a simple enzyme called telomerase. This can extend the length of telomeres, and when telomerase is swithched on, you make your telomeres longer, which regenerates the heart’s cells.

Here’s a list of some of the research ignored by mainstream cardiology

1. Weischer M, et al. Short telomere length, myocardial infarction, ischemic heart disease, and early death. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2012 Mar;32(3):82209.
2. Brouilette S, et al. White cell telomere length and risk of premature myocardial infarction. Aterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2003 May 1;23(5):842-6.
3. Samani NJ, et al. Telomere shortening in atherosclerosis. Lancet. 2001 Aug 11;358(9280):472-3.
4. van der Harst P, et al. Telomere length of circulating leukocytes is decreased in patients with chronic heart failure. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2007 Apr 3; 49(13):1459-64.
5. Wang XB, et al. Resveratrol-induced augmentation of telomerase activity delays senescence of endothelial progenitor cells. Chin Med J (Engl). 2011 Dec;124(24):4310-5.
6. Borum RP and Bennett SG. Carnitine as an essential nutrient. Journal of American College of Nutrition. 1986; 5(2):177-182.
7. Makpol S, Zainuddin A, Rahim NA, Yusof YA, Ngah WZ. Alpha-tocopherol modulates hydrogen peroxide-induced DNA damage and telomere shortening of human skin fibroblasts derived from differently aged individuals. Planta Med. 2010 Jun;76(9):869-75.
8. Suzana Makpol, et al. Gamma-Tocotrienol prevents oxidative stress-induced telomere shortening in human fibroblasts derived from different aged individuals. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 3(1); Jan-Feb 2010.
9. Furumoto K. et al. “Age-dependent telomere shortening is slowed down by enrichment of intracellular vitamin C via suppression of oxidative stress.” Life Science 1998, vol. 63, no. 11 pp. 935-48.

Off topic so apologies, but just one more example of the use of Vitamins in treating, what as yet has been an incurable disease………..
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-204532/Vitamin-cure-emphysema.html

Wait, so the fact that medical science has investigated one claim and found it to be supportable at some level, means that we should accept every single claim at face value even when large amounts of evidence shows it to be wrong?

Nope. That is simply fallacious. It took a couple of decades to discard outdated therapies for ulcers after the cause was found to be h. pylori, so the example you give is fully consistent with the patient progress of science, but you’re conflating it with things that have been extensively investigated and found to be useless, namely homeopathy and vitamin megadoses.

Science is the current state of knowledge. For homeopathy and vitamin megadoses, the current state of knowledge has converged over a long period on the conclusion that the former is bunk and the latter may have some limited uses but does not come anywhere close to living up to the claims of proponents. For telomerase, the state of knowledge is converging on a therapeutic indication.

To propose accepting scientifically rejected theories using an example of an emergent theory which is currently still being investigated, makes no sense.

…”things that have been extensively investigated and found to be useless, namely homeopathy and vitamin megadoses”.

Not according to the vast number of users of Homeopathy, and the voluminous studies on high dose Vitamin C Therapy.

Thousands of successful orthomolecular case studies exist, yet Medical people claim there is no documentation proving vitamin C`s efficacy.

How Vitamin C Stops The Big “C”…Johns Hopkins……….

The Hopkins study, led by Chi Dang, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and oncology and Johns Hopkins Family Professor in Oncology Research, unexpectedly found that the antioxidants’ actual role may be to destabilize a tumor’s ability to grow under oxygen-starved conditions. Their work is detailed in “Cancer Cell” journal.
http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/reports/healthy_living/1548-1.html
http://www.my-immunity.com/en/vitamin-c-megadosage-miracle

Quite a number of studies listed here on the benefits of high dose ascorbate
http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/

Further…….

Scientists from the RECNAC II project have published findings that verify the safety of mega dose intravenous vitamin C. In this study, published in the Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal, a phase one clinical trial with 24 terminal cancer patients receiving between ten and sixty grams of sodium ascorbate daily for eight weeks, adverse effects were reportedly minor. “The results presented in this manuscript should allay fears about the safety of ‘mega-dose’ vitamin C,” said Dr. Joseph Casciari, co-author of the manuscript.

This research comes on the heels of independent studies demonstrating efficacy of high dose vitamin C against tumor cells in experimental tumor models. Moreover, recently published case studies suggest that high dose intravenous vitamin C can be an effective clinical modality against cancer (RECNAC II, March 2000, and National Institutes of Health (NIH), September 2005).

Intravenous vitamin C therapy has been a cornerstone of research at The Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning International (CIHFI). Dr. Michael J. Gonzalez, RECNAC II Director, stated, “This is our second publication involving human subjects showing the safety and utility of intravenous vitamin C. We are very happy with the results. We envision the use of vitamin C as part of the conventional treatment of cancer in the near future……………

Source: Puerto Rico Health Sciences Journal, vol. 24 (4): 269-276.

As far as lengthening of telomeres is concerned, and heart-disease/function, triggering the activity of these with specific high dose nutrients is well documented, and as I have posted on previously.

I could go on and on and on, but space is limited.

Science has an explanation for the belief that homeopathy works which is both complete and consistent with other knowledge.

Homeopaths’ explanation is neither complete nor consilient. In fact it includes claims which are diametrically opposite to what is found in scientific investigations.

Homeopathy is simply wrong.

The RECNAC study claims to validate the *safety* of vitamin megadoses, that is not efficacy. CIHFI is one of the quack clinics that advocate the therapy, check out the FDA website for the warning letters re ethical breaches in these trials.

Once again you selectively present the views of outliers and cranks conflated with data that, while correct, does not actually validate your position.

I really rather wish you would stop doing this.

The Johns Hopkins study Chrs cites is a great example of how questionable claims are coat-tailed onto valid scientific research. From the intro:

“Nearly 30 years after Nobel laureate Linus Pauling famously and controversially suggested that vitamin C supplements can prevent cancer, a team of Johns Hopkins scientists have shown that in mice at least, vitamin C — and potentially other antioxidants — can indeed inhibit the growth of some cancer tumors, just not in the manner suggested by years of investigation.”

So, in animal models there is limited evidence after decades of study that there might be some inhibitory effect on some tumours, but not in the way hypothesised by the vitamin megadose quacks.

This is then followed by a link to a vitamin megadose quack site making claims way beyond what the JH study supports, based on the mechanism the JH study says is wrong.

This is a repeated theme in the world of quackery.

Another example is a study purportedly showing homeopathic remedies to kill breast cancer cells. In fact the study is junk, it merely shows that alcohol is cytotoxic (who knew?), but homeopaths then take this and tack on a bunch of nonsensical claims from SCAM-specific journals and build a sort of upside-down house of cards.

One of the things that separates science from pseudoscience is that science tries not to build on or reference work that has been refuted.

In one debate I had a homeopath denying that the 1999 Linde paper (showing the correlation of poor methodology with positive results for homeopathy) did not materially affect the result of the 1997 Linde study, and that the authors were completely different – even thuogh the 1999 study makes the link explicitly.

Another example is the Bornhoft document previously discussed. This is claimed by homeopaths to be a Swiss HTA report vindicating homeopathy, claims which are explicitly refuted by the responsible official in a letter to Swiss Medical Weekly. The same people post the same claims in debate after debate, each time it is necessary to point out that the claim is explicitly refuted. These zombie arguments just won’t die, because believers have such strong cognitive filters against accepting facts that contradict their beliefs.

You omitted to mention: http://www.vitamincfoundation.org/

As far as the RECNAC study is concerned, someone has had to do the research, so if it isn’t a Mainstream study, then its just a quack clinic eh?
You also overlooked the studies findings: “recently published case studies suggest that high dose intravenous vitamin C can be an effective clinical modality against cancer”.
There has always been a lack of funding for research into the use of megadoses of ascorbate, (or any other vitamin) including the use of IV ascorbate, for reasons that you seem to be unaware of, is that the funding for RCT’s and other clinical studies, originates from those who have a vested interest in the outcome. Favorable results for that product allow a patent and huge incomes. Ascorbate or Vitamin C cannot be patented, so there is a lack of any incentive to investigate further.

So you trust the FDA and take their word as gospel? (a true believer).
The FDA has been known to be corrupt for many years: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505123_162-42844396/fda-corruption-letter-authenticated-lawyers-start-your-engines/

Quote: “The thing that bugs me is that the people think the FDA is protecting them. It isn’t. What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks it’s doing are as different as night and day.”—Dr Ley former Commissioner of the FDA.

Homeopathy continues to grow on a global scale, and accepted by those who use it because of its efficacy, and regardless as to whether science has proved or disproved this or not. The continued critique and antipathy demonstrated almost exclusively within the UK towards Homeopathy, is therefore a rather pointless and futile exercise against the freedom and democratic choice of those who wish to undergo it, so your efforts would be better served by dealing with the genuine quackery and pseudoscience, of the fraud and global acceptance of the use of statin drugs ($20 billion annually).
http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/statins-are-the-greatest-medical-fraud-of-all-time-study-reports/
http://www.spacedoc.com/statin_scam

1. Vitamin C has some clinical uses. This does not validate the claims of vitamin megadose quacks, most of which have been tested and found to be false. Failure to cite some of the uses does not indicate ignorance of this repeatedly stated fact, just as repeatedly citing the uses never addresses the fact that the core claims of vitamin megadose quacks are long since refuted.

2. The FDA has several roles. Te specific role in question is their oversight of ethical controls and institutional review boards. This has never been in question, and is a vital protection for the public. Any pharmaceutical board found to be systematically violating ethical rules in this way,. would be lambasted by the SCAM community (and also by the science community). For some reason, ethical breaches by SCAM-favoured enterprises such as CIHFI, Wakefield, Burzynski and others, seem to get a free pass from the SCAM community. This is hypocritical.

3. Homeopathy is abject nonsense on a stick. Deal with it, the fact is never going away.

4. Once again you cite a crackpot website. Come back when you have a credible source.

Interestingly, I believe I have already made every single one of the above points, most of them more than once. Please bring better arguments.

So, the claims of vitamin megadose quacks are long since refuted.?

1. In a review article in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, UC Berkeley’s Bruce N. Ames (a professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley and a researcher at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI). ) who lists more than 50 genetic diseases successfully treated with HIGH DOSES of vitamins, most of them rare inborn metabolic diseases due to defective enzymes.

Ames found a common thread in the effectiveness of these megavitamin therapies that suggests there may be many more diseases treatable with high-dose vitamins, in particular the eight B vitamins like niacin, thiamine and pyridoxine. And because aging involves similar biochemical deficiencies, megavitamins may help perk up an increasingly older population.
“I suspect that the big impact is going to be in aging,” Ames said, though younger people, too, might benefit from supplementary B vitamins to “tune up” their metabolism.
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/75/4/616.full

Intakes of Vitamin C – above 5000mg a day (the equivalent of 100 oranges) – substantially increases the life expectancy of cancer patients.

In the 1970s, Dr Linus Pauling and Dr Ewan Cameron, a cancer specialist, working in Scotland gave 100 terminally ill cancer patients 10g (10,000mg) of vitamin C every day and compared their outcome with 1000 cancer patients given conventional therapy. The survival rate was five times higher in those taking vitamin C. By 1978, while all of the 1000 ‘control patients’ had died, 13 of the vitamin C patients were still alive, with 12 apparently free from cancer [3]. Other studies have confirmed these findings. Dr Murata and Dr Morishige of Saga University in Japan showed that cancer patients on 5–30g of vitamin C lived six times longer than those on 4g or less, while those suffering from cancer of the uterus lived 15 times longer on vitamin C therapy [4]. This was also confirmed by the late Dr Abram Hoffer in Canada, who found that patients on high doses of vitamin C survived, on average, ten times longer.

Of course these findings were discredited, largely due to an apparent ‘replication’ of their study by the Mayo Clinic in the US [5]. However, one major difference between the original trial and that of the Mayo Clinic: the ‘terminal’ patients in the original trial kept taking vitamin C EVERY DAY, while those in the Mayo Clinic trial STOPPED after an average of 75 days. This of course proved that mega-dose vitamin C was considered quackery, despite the differences.

[3]. E. Cameron and L. Pauling, ‘Supplemental ascorbate in the supportive treatment of cancer: Prolongation of survival times in terminal human cancer’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 1976 Oct.;73(10):3685-9; E. Cameron and L. Pauling, ‘Supplemental ascorbate in the supportive treatment of cancer: reevaluation of prolongation of survival times in terminal human cancer’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 1978 Sept.;75(9):4538-42; M. Jaffey, ‘Vitamin C and cancer: examination of the Vale of Leven trial results using broad inductive reasoning’, Medical Hypotheses, 1982 Jan.;8(1):49-84

[4]. A. Murata and F. Morishige, International Conference on Nutrition, Taijin, China 1981. Report in Medical Tribune (22/6/81) A. Murata et al., ‘Prolongation of survival times of terminal cancer patients by administration of large doses of ascorbate’, International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, Suppl, 1982;23:103-13

[5]. E.T. Creagan et al., ‘Failure of high-dose vitamin C (ascorbic acid) therapy to benefit patients with advanced cancer. A controlled trial’, New England Journal of Medicine, 1979 Sept. 27;301(13):687-90

2. Your opinion of the FDA is rather naive, as their corruption has been known for years, and does invalidate the report by CBS news where the FDA admitted corruption (I refer to my previous link).
There is also a revolving door between the FDA and the biggest pharmaceutical companies.
http://www.cptech.org/ip/health/politics/revolvingdoor.html

Jonathan Emord is a Constitutional attorney who has defeated the Food and Drug Administration seven times in federal court.
“The FDA doesn’t conduct any scientific, clinical trial of any drug it approves. It relies entirely on the industry to determine whether the drug is safe not.”

“The FDA maintains a blanket censorship on any claim of nutrient disease association. (An example would be) prune juice reduces constipation. If you were to put that on the label of a prune juice bottle you would be committing a felony, even though it’s true.”

“The tragedy is we really do have a system that is financially controlled by the drug industry, the influence is extraordinary, the evidence in support of that is immense . . . It’s horrendous that an agency of the government that is commissioned purportedly for the purpose of protecting public health is more an agent of the drug industry. The FDA’s office of drug safety associate director, David Graham, has said, “The FDA is inherently biased in favor of the pharmaceutical industry, it views industry as its client, who’s interest it must represent in advance, it views its primary mission as approving as many drugs as it can regardless of whether the drugs are safe or needed.”………….
http://www.gatheringspot.net/topic/political-activismcover-ups/fda-hopelessly-corrupt-possible-solutions

3. 3. Homeopathy is a growing therapy and will continue to do so because it is successful.

4. No not a crackpot website Guy, just information contained therein that you have chosen to ignore.

It’s called bait and switch. You find a claim that is scientifically supportable, follow it to a site advocating stuff which is in the main not scientifically supportable, and then switch to the stuff that’s not scientifically supportable.

Those of us in the reality-based community don’t “choose to ignore” such claims, we simply choose not to believe them on the word of True Believers or people with a vested interest in promoting them. We apply exactly the same standard to everything: is it supported by robust independent evidence. That’s why the leading lights in the AllTrials initiative, demanding full publication of all data from all clinical trials, are also prominent skeptics. People like Ben Goldacre and Simon Singh.

To quote Aristotle: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

The reality-based community has entertained the thought of homeopathy, for example, sufficiently to examine and test its basis. This results in the inevitable conclusion that it has no basis other than belief.

Unlike homeopathy, science goes on being true whether you believe it or not.

No it isn’t called “bait and switch” Guy, it’s actually called “the Emperor has no clothes”. Ponder awhile.

“Reality-based-community” is just a pseudonym for “drug-treatment community”, to the exclusion of anything else.

The AllTrials initiative is a very welcome step, but I believe only applies to drug-trials and RCT’s from Pharmaceutical Companies, which illustrates my second paragraph very well.
Indeed, this “reality-based-community” has entertained the thought of homeopathy, and rejected it as inexplicable with no efficacy, but just because it cannot be verified scientifically, doesn’t equate with it not being efficacious. I have said this before, and I will say it again: it is the role of science to discover and understand this mechanism of action, rather than reject it out of hand. Time will tell scientifically, and as Dr Lionel Milgrom has pointed out.
A “belief-system” requires faith, and a certain degree of gullibility for a placebo to be effective; this essentially means that there are millions upon millions of people who fall into this category. It therefore requires a substantial degree of faith and gullibility just to think along those lines. Not very plausible.

Your problem here is that you advocate provably wrong ideas such as young earth creationism, homeopathy, MMR-autism and so on, based on links to self-evidently crackpot sites like whale, and then expect people to take your word as an authority that other views are rigorously supported, and other fishy looking sites are reliable. Do you see why that is a problem?

Specifically: when someone claims that whale is reliable, any other claim to reliability they make will be dismissed, because they have demonstrated a serious shortfall in critical thinking ability. Whale presents the protocols of the elders of zion as fact, it also presents 9/11 Truther conspiracies as fact. It promotes the work of David Icke and other crackpots. Presenting a site like whale as a source doesn’t just undermine the credibility of information sourced there, it indicates that that person’s entire process for deciding what is correct and what is not, is profoundly wrong.

That’s why I keep asking you to stick to mainstream sources. A reputable claim from a reputable site, is worth discussing; a fantastical claim from a site committed to promoting a particular belief (be it miracle cure or sinister alien overlord conspiracy) simply is not.

The idea that science systematically ignores useful therapies due to ideological bias is a conspiracy theory, and one which pretty much reverses the reality. In truth belief systems such as homeopathy view everything through a filter of belief, refuse to contemplate the possibility of being wrong. It may occasionally fail to pick something up, usually because it has in the past been tainted by advocacy from crazy people, does not change the fact that in the end science doesn’t give a monkey’s where an idea comes from as long as it can be proven to be true. Ideas published and soberly discussed half a century ago, and then discarded because they were found to be false, are not being suppressed or ignored, they are just wrong! There’s nothing in the literature these days about bloodletting to balance the humours either. Does that mean humoural theory is being suppressed? No, it simply means it’s wrong.

The core question in all scientific work is: what if I’m wrong? The core question in all of pseudoscience is: how can I prove I’m right in the face of this evidence that I’m wrong?

Science will revisit any claim if there’s evidence that its view on that claim is incorrect. It will put away visceral reactions if there is evidence that buried beneath those reactions is a usable therapeutic intervention. Even thalidomide, one of medicine’s greatest bogeymen, has now found a few niche uses.

Science cannot validate homeopathy, the earth being 6000 years old or the moon being made of cheese for the simple and extremely obvious reason that these ideas are simply wrong. The more wrong ideas a person or a website advocates, the more likely it is that every other idea they advocate is also wrong, and the less likely it is that they will be taken seriously on anything, right or wrong.

Guy,
to fill you in on the gaps, my views on anything are based on the evidence and the ability to formulate an opinion one way or the other; this includes the young earth view and creationism, homeopathy, and that of Andrew Wakefield.

Your denigration of what you refer to as “crackpot” sites, isn’t based on anything concrete except bias and prejudice, so your comments are not worth an answer.
I certainly do not expect anyone to take my word at face value, but if researched thoroughly, then the views that I hold are not just isolated, but quite common, so no, there is no “problem” there.

Much of Whaleto is supported by many scientists and medical Doctors, because of the facts and their personal experience, so the argument you have presented is invalid.
I have not said that everything presented in Whaleto is kosher, but that accusation can be laid elsewhere in the sites you consider to be reliable, but in fact are not.
I agree that David Icke is actually a crackpot so at least we can agree on something.

Guy, whatever makes you think or believe that Mainstream sources are a reliable source of information?

AND your comment………..
“The idea that science systematically ignores useful therapies due to ideological bias is a conspiracy theory, and one which pretty much reverses the reality”.

There is nothing conspiratorial about the suppression of non-mainstream therapies, as the internet is rife with information regarding this and from leading experts in their fields, so I suggest you do some research of your own to discover the truth of this. “Vested medical interests” would be a good starting point.

AND……….
“Science cannot validate homeopathy, the earth being 6000 years old or the moon being made of cheese for the simple and extremely obvious reason that these ideas are simply wrong”.

True. But you cannot disprove homeopathy, or that the Earth is 7000 years old (to be precise) and that the man in the moon has already eaten all the cheese there either.

Your definition of “wrong” is only your opinion and substantiated by anything except opinion. Very scientific I’m sure.

One example: you have cited whale several times and asserted that it is a good source of information.

Whale publishes, as “fact”, the protocols of the elders of zion, a well-documented antisemitic hoax.

Whale publishes as “fact” conspiracy theories including 9/11 “truther” claims.

Whale is not just unreliable, it is the canonical crackpot site. Hence Scopie’s Law.

What I cannot work out is whether you are unable to distinguish reliable from misleading sites, but this is probably not particularly relevant.

Your reversal of the burden of proof is noted, but fallacious. I do not have to disprove homeopathy, you have to prove it. The scientific consensus is that it is nonsense, and science has a complete explanation for all the observed facts which is also consistent with other knowledge; homeopathists offer an incomplete understanding which is inconsistent with other knowledge, based in several instances on claims that are long since refuted. As with young earth creationism, belief in homeopathy relies on elevating a belief in the words of historical figures as subsequently interpreted by humans assumed to be infallible, above every single piece of relevant scientific evidence.

As a true believer – in numerous things contradicted by science – you are clearly unprepared to allow that science is right about your beliefs. This is the case, as far as I can tell, for all homeopathists, and is the reason why they think that Wikipedia, the NHS, the skeptic community, the Advertising Standards Agency and so many others are engaged in a conspiracy against them.

I am running out of ways to explain to you why your arguments are unpersuasive. This sort of stalemate is sort of inevitable when debating with creationists, homeopathists or others whose beliefs are contradicted by science.

Yes Patrick, much of this has been off topic, but digression can be the result if prompted in that way.
However, some of the posts have mentioned Homeopathy, and I will endeavor to adhere to that subject in the future if the need arises.
Thank you.

I see that Jeremy Hunt is to be replaced. He was reputed to be a supporter of homeopathy. Maybe the NHS will stop supporting homeopathy and devote their limited funding to more useful purposes such as reducing the amount of unnecessary prescription drugs and looking at how to prevent problems rather than treat them.

I spoke too soon. “Jeremy Hunt will keep his job as Health Secretary, despite initial reports he had been sacked as part of Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle.”

Well, we can live in hope…

At least with homeopathy, no-one has to be treated for the effects of overdose, side effects, adverse reactions or interaction with other medications. Of course most of these problems could be overcome if our GPs handed out more advice and fewer pills.

No. but you may well have to be treated for underdose.

Trouble is we have seen so many medical advances that work using pills and procedures that we believe in them more than advice. Maybe we just like the idea of a magic fix that requires no real effort on our part.

I go to the dentists regularly to check for problems and nip them in the bud, hopefully. I do not understand why well-persons clinics should not be a routine where we, perhaps annually, have basic checks on our health and a brief meeting with our doctor or nurse. It could prevent problems developing that would be much more costly to treat. I’d rather see money, while it is in short supply, spent on such a service rather than HS2 or Trident.

Money in short supply, Malcolm? But the Leave campaign kept telling us all the they’d be spending £350m per week extra on the Health service if we left Europe. Surely they weren’t wrong?

We should keep this apolitical, I suppose, but as both sides made stupid statements – headline grabbing was maybe the idea – I would pay no attention.

I am in favour of (what I believe to be) facts and information in any discussion, as you might perhaps have guessed. Whether it is government, business or….Which? I do not like being misled into a particular view by biased, emotive, unbalanced and partial information. Perhaps Which? should run a campaign to ensure, like the Crystal Mark, we have a Fact Mark?

One of the main criticisms of conventional medicine is that it focuses on treating disease rather than preventing it, which is undoubtedly true. Of course this costs money, but identifying people with diabetes would save a fortune because in many cases the problem can be managed by diet changes or inexpensive drugs, and if patients know early enough they can act at the pre-diabetes stage.

I get routine invitations for asthma checks, though my condition and medication have been unchanged for over 25 years. When I’m there, I am offered blood tests. I was pleased to discover that this now includes a test for diabetes (the Hb1Ac test). I don’t have a problem but last time I had my routine checks the nurse said that the practice had identified many people with diabetes. Routine checks can also identify high blood pressure and perhaps it would be good to ask patients if they have any lumps, recent skin blemishes or a change in bowel habits, all of which could point to cancer at a time when there is a greater chance of success and potential to save money for the NHS.

For the past ten years I have been asked to book an appointment to have a medication review with my GP, without which I would be unable to request a repeat prescription. The aim is to make sure that patients are not taking drugs they don’t need or a higher dose that is necessary – something I very much approve of.

Malcolm: I think I suggested something on those lines some time ago. I wondered why, if Which? tests products and rates them, Newspapers shouldn’t be subject to similar scrutiny. They are, after , merely products in their own right.

The medication review also checks that there are no potentially dangerous side effects from the drugs. I have a blood test to check for these when the review takes place. But of course there are many people not on drugs (medicines sounds better!) but who may be harbouring a problem.

Test kits for bowel cancer are routinely sent out to older people. I hope most make use of them but suspect many don’t. They perhaps prefer not to know.

One of the problems with homeopathy is, of course, that it may delay the start of proper treatment that could relieve suffering and even save lives.