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Tags alternative medicine , dana ullman , homeopathy

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Old 16th May 2007, 11:29 AM   #1
sbernie87
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More Fun with Homeopath Dana Ullman, MPH(!)

Here was what Dana has to say, in response to my blog (http://secularstudentslb.wordpress.c...y-revisited/):
Quote:
It is EASY to assume that homeopathic medicines are akin to placebos if one has a superficial understanding of what homeopathy is and what good research has been conducted to evaluate it.
I actually think that skeptics of alternative medicine can and should separately understand and evaluate homeopathy if you wish to honor good scientific thinking. Mixing various subjects together is just sloppy, and I know that skeptics don't like or honor such undisciplined thinking.
Further, it is necessary for skeptics of homeopathy to do their homework on the subject. I am amazed to have debated skeptics of homeopathy who know virtually nothing about it and have only a very superficial knowledge of the basic science and clinical science research on the subject. Such sloppiness is common amongst people who think of themselves as defenders of "science." There is more than a tad amount of irony here. The references to the 200+ clinical studies and the several hundred basic science studies are at my website (www.homeopathic.com) and in the ebook that I've written...as well as some of the high quality books on homeopathic research that we sell (i.e. one by Drs. Bellavite and Signorini as well as Dr. Michael Dean are good examples).
If you don't want to spend a dime, you can read the article at my website called " Why Homeopathy Makes Sense and Works." I will be curious if those of you who choose to be skeptical of homeopathy even know much about what it is.
Some new research on the silicates in water provide some very provocative possibilities on how the structure in water can change and how these nano-sized "silica chips" and the nano-bubbles can influence the water. I can tell you that later this week a new study on homeopathy and water will be published by two internationally respected professors of material sciences: Rustom Roy, PhD (of Penn State University) and Bill Tiller, PhD (former head of material sciences at Stanford). If any of your fellow skeptics can claim greater understanding of water than these two gentlemen, please publish your work.

I will be the first to acknowledge that not all of homeopathic research has positive results, though most meta-analyses show that there is more evidence that the "placebo explanation" for homeopathy is inadequate. Please also know that the 2005 comparison of homeopathic and conventional studies that was published in the Lancet was embarrassingly bad science. Here's a short review/critique of it:
In 2005, the representatives of World Health Organization (WHO) were working on a report on homeopathic medicine, and one of the skeptics of homeopathy who was asked to review this report for comment complained bitterly about it because it was too “positive” towards homeopathy. He then leaked it to other skeptics and to the Lancet, a usually highly respected medical journal. In response to the potentially positive report on homeopathy from WHO, the Lancet published an article attacking this “report” that had not even been completed or published (Critics, 2005), and further, the Lancet rushed to publication a “study” that compared homeopathic and conventional medical treatment (Shang, et al, 2005).
The idea for comparing clinical studies of homeopathic and conventional medicine is certainly a good one, but actually doing so in a fair and accurate way is more challenging than it may seem. The lead author of this comparative study, however, was not the ideal physician or scientist to evaluate homeopathy objectively. Dr. M. Egger is a Swiss physician who is notoriously and actively anti-homeopathy. Before he completed his study, he informed the editors at the Lancet that he had planned to submit his study to them and that he fully expected the results to show that homeopathic medicines didn’t work.
Egger and his team first found 110 placebo-controlled trials evaluating the efficacy of homeopathic medicine. Next, they selected 110 “matched” placebo-controlled trials. Finding “matched” trials usually means finding experiments that sought to treat people with a similar disease, in a similar population, and who were treated for a similar period of time, but the researchers never explained how or why they included or excluded any of the conventional medical trials. And needless to say, finding matched experiments is much more difficult than it sounds. Although it is easy to question if these researchers found matched experiments or not, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they were successful in doing so.
Next, the researchers choose to evaluate the “quality of research design” and how each trial was conducted. The researchers determined that only 21 of the homeopathic studies were of a “high quality,” and yet, ironically, they found only 9 (!) of the conventional medical studies to be of a similar high quality.[1] Then, without adequate explanation, the researchers decided to only evaluate those studies that were both “high quality” and had large numbers of patients in each trial. The researchers found 8 homeopathic studies that fit these characteristics and only 6 conventional medical studies. Only two of the eight homeopathic studies used homeopathic medicines that were individualized to each patient, with the remaining studies giving the same medicine to everyone (this method may make research easier, but it is not necessarily a good test of the homeopathic methodology).
Of the remaining 8 homeopathic studies and 6 conventional medical studies, the studies were not matched in any way. How or why the researchers would or could claim that these studies were comparable requires “creative thinking” and logic (or illogic). Further, the researchers never provided the analysis of the results of the 21 “high quality” homeopathic studies as compared with the 9 conventional studies.
What is also interesting is the fact that the researchers acknowledged that they found eight homeopathic studies in the treatment of people with acute respiratory tract infections and that these studies found “substantial beneficial effect” and that this effect was “robust.” However, without adequate evidence or explanation, the researchers asserted that these studies could not be “trusted” and that eight trials is simply not enough to provide an adequate analysis. And yet, these same researchers evaluated 8 other homeopathic trials and concluded that they showed no obvious better treatment than the 6 conventional studies.
If the above concerns were not enough to lead readers to the conclusion that this is “garbage in, garbage out” type of comparative research, there are still even more concerns about this study. For instance, the researchers did not even reveal which studies were selected until many months later. And when the studies were finally announced, it was shocking to note that they had selected a study testing a single homeopathic medicine in the treatment of “weight-loss” (this study bordered on the preposterous because homeopaths assert that there is no one single remedy to augment weight-loss), another study evaluated the use of a homeopathic formula in the prevention of influenza (while there have been at least three large studies verifying the efficacy of homeopathic medicines in the treatment of influenza, only one of these three large studies was selected, while the study that evaluated its prevention was selected even though it was simply an exploratory investigation, not one that homeopaths necessarily expected to have a positive outcome).

As for some good studies in homeopathy...
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the #4 reason that people in the US die. A study conducted at the University of Vienna Hospital found "substantially significant" results from a double-blind placebo-controlled trial using homeopathic doses of potassium dichromate. This study was published in the most respected journal in medical respiratory health, CHEST.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?CMD=search&DB=pubmed

50% (!) of people in hospitals who experience severe sepsis die, and yet, the below study found that there was a 50% reduction in these deaths in those people with severe sepsis who were individually prescribed homeopathic medicines, as compared with those patients who underwent the same homeopathic interview process but who were given a placebo. There study was also double-blind, placebo controlled and randomized.
Adjunctive homeopathic treatment in patients with severe sepsis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in an intensive care unit.

When skeptics of homeopathy assert that there is "nothing" in homeopathic medicines, they seem to
assume that they know everything there is to know about the physics of water. I want to remind skeptics that good and serious scientists maintain a high level of HUMILITY about what they know and what they don't know. I am proud of my humility of what I know and what I don't know.

I am perfectly familiar with Mr. Randi's silly offer. He was involved in the intellectually dishonest study conducted by ABC's 20/20 program. If Randi was serious about science, he would have supported my critique of Mr. Stossel's junk science. For details about this junk journalism/science, go to: http://homeopathic.com/articles/media/index.php

I honor conventional medicine for its integrity to consistently and repeatedly disprove itself. What treatments have lasted 50 or more years? That's consistency! Homeopaths have expanded considerably its use of various medicines, but we have maintained the use of our past medicines too because 200 years of clinical experience has verified it.

Dana Ullman, MPH


So, what do you think, Skeptics? Has Dana proven homeopathy? Oh my!
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Old 16th May 2007, 11:57 AM   #2
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If we would grant the woo-woo physics of water...

To me, it does not say one single thing on how this then would translate in the body being triggered into healing.

And, I never got an answer to a question I once asked in a homeopathy store:

If it works, then why can I not put some diluted drops of most of the remedies into the ocean and have all people on the planet heal by just taking a dip in the ocean?
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Old 16th May 2007, 12:06 PM   #3
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I honor conventional medicine for its integrity to consistently and repeatedly disprove itself. What treatments have lasted 50 or more years? That's consistency! Homeopaths have expanded considerably its use of various medicines, but we have maintained the use of our past medicines too because 200 years of clinical experience has verified it.
You neither need to be a top skeptic nor a health professional to call 'BS' on that last paragraph alone. This must be a very dumb person who considers himself being very smart. And as long as there are people more stupid than him, he is doing fine.
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Old 16th May 2007, 12:13 PM   #4
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What a pompous twit he is.
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Old 16th May 2007, 02:22 PM   #5
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I honor conventional medicine for its integrity to consistently and repeatedly disprove itself. What treatments have lasted 50 or more years? That's consistency!
you would think anyone could see the problem with this statement before they hit send, but i guess not.
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Old 16th May 2007, 02:27 PM   #6
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Not if they are Amish... what other modes of transport have lasted 50 years or more? That is consistency!
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Old 16th May 2007, 02:29 PM   #7
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I completely agree that the placebo explanation is inadequate. It has been demonstrated that the effect is also due to bias in the design, analysis and reporting of homeopathic studies.

The criticisms of the Lancet article are contrived. The characteristics on which the studies were matched was explained in detail. The reasoning behind the selection of studies for further analysis was explained in detail and was valid - i.e. to see what would happen to the outcomes if the studies that were least influenced by bias were analyzed. The outcomes were still significant in the conventional medicine trials, but the significance disappeared in the homeopathic trials.

The other clinical trials mentioned are isolated "significant" findings. Since we expect this to happen in 5% of trials (in the absence of bias), the studies need independent replication. Otherwise it is more likely that they are simply spurious results, given the lack of any other support.

Linda
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Old 16th May 2007, 03:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by realpaladin View Post
If we would grant the woo-woo physics of water...


If it works, then why can I not put some diluted drops of most of the remedies into the ocean and have all people on the planet heal by just taking a dip in the ocean?
I think you could, but then the homeopaths wouldn`t make any money.

I was thinking of a similar idea adding a homeopathic solution to the local drinking water for a negligible sum (Taking away all business from Homeopaths). That would bring out the homeopaths to start attacking their own theories.

Anyone know what water homeopaths use to dilute their solutions, is it a special kind of water ?
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Old 16th May 2007, 10:07 PM   #9
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I am amazed to have debated skeptics of homeopathy who know virtually nothing about it and have only a very superficial knowledge of the basic science and clinical science research on the subject.
"Basic science" of homeopathy? Huhn?
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Old 16th May 2007, 10:10 PM   #10
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"I am perfectly familiar with Randi's silly offer."

I love how an offer for a double-blinded, controlled experiment conducted with due oversight is branded with the ad hominem "silly".
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Old 16th May 2007, 10:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Kochanski View Post
What a pompous twit he is.
You should have seen his more "knee-jerk" reaction. He made me promise not to share it.
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Old 17th May 2007, 03:27 AM   #12
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What treatments have lasted 50 or more years?
Hmm, let me think. Aspirin? 108 years. Penicillin? 79 years. Paracetamol? 129 years. Bandages? Probably thousands. Is this person actually insane?
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Old 17th May 2007, 05:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by realpaladin View Post
And, I never got an answer to a question I once asked in a homeopathy store:

If it works, then why can I not put some diluted drops of most of the remedies into the ocean and have all people on the planet heal by just taking a dip in the ocean?

They have a whole host of "reasons". For example the seawater will not have been succussed properly, or will not have been diluted serially in the approved manner; homoeopathy, it is claimed, only works when properly individualised to the particular patient's set of symptoms (a handy get-out for negative results of clinical trials studying the effects of a particular remedy for a particular condition, at least until someone carried out a double blind placebo controlled trial of individualised homoeopathy and found that it still didn't work, hence the next one); there is some sort of magic (possibly even "quantum"!) entanglement between the patient, the practitioner and the remedy which is destroyed by any blinding process...

A more important question, in view of the claims that it only works if properly individualised, is: why do homoeopaths not object to OTC "homoeopathic" remedies sold to treat a particular condition?
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Old 17th May 2007, 05:36 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
A more important question, in view of the claims that it only works if properly individualised, is: why do homoeopaths not object to OTC "homoeopathic" remedies sold to treat a particular condition?
Money?
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Old 17th May 2007, 05:52 AM   #15
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Do homeopaths enjoy watered down drinks?
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Old 17th May 2007, 06:42 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by RenaissanceBiker View Post
Do homeopaths enjoy watered down drinks?
You know, I was just thinking about something along these lines....

I am going to try two homeopathic experiments!

One:
First I am going to create a C30 solution of Jack Daniels (have to do that first, because I have to be sober to do all the measuring and shaking... well not the shaking, but you get my drift)

Then I am going to get drunk on JD.
Then, if I am able to remember, I will try the solution to see if it cures me of being drunk!

Two:
I am taking the C30 solution prepared earlier and see if it makes me more drunk!
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Old 17th May 2007, 07:24 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by TheGline View Post
"I am perfectly familiar with Randi's silly offer."

I love how an offer for a double-blinded, controlled experiment conducted with due oversight is branded with the ad hominem "silly".
Not to mention an offer of $1m for carrying out such an experiment (assuming homeopathy works, of course...) I mean, if someone offered me a million bucks research funding in exchange for carrying out one simple experiment, I wouldn't really care how 'silly' what they wanted me to do was...hell, if I was asked to wear a clown outfit while working, my response would be 'what type of shoes'

Maybe homeopathic research is better funded, though? Or Dana doubts that homeopathy would pass such a 'silly' challenge.
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Old 17th May 2007, 07:33 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by realpaladin View Post
I am going to try two homeopathic experiments!

One:
First I am going to create a C30 solution of Jack Daniels (have to do that first, because I have to be sober to do all the measuring and shaking... well not the shaking, but you get my drift)

Then I am going to get drunk on JD.
Then, if I am able to remember, I will try the solution to see if it cures me of being drunk!

You need a control.

Blinding this shouldn't be too difficult though: when preparing the 3oC JD, just take two bottles, put your 30C JD in one and water in the other, and mark them "A" and "B". With a bit of luck you won't be able to remember which is which after you've drunk the JD. Then get a friend to volunteer to get drunk with you and give them whichever bottle you don't use yourself.

If you want to double blind the experiment, label the bottles while drunk.
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Old 17th May 2007, 08:37 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by fls View Post
The other clinical trials mentioned are isolated "significant" findings. Since we expect this to happen in 5% of trials (in the absence of bias), the studies need independent replication. Otherwise it is more likely that they are simply spurious results, given the lack of any other support.

Linda
Would you mind elaborating on that? I understand that a small percent of all experiments will produce positive results. Of course whether those results could be replicated independently is another matter.

But why should we expect 5%? And in absence of what bias?

I see it as the best explanation for why positive homeopathy publications exist, and why none of them (to my knowledge) have been replicated. But I don't really get the details...
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Old 17th May 2007, 09:22 AM   #20
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The quick version is that when a scientific experiment reports a significant result, the cutoff for significance is usually that the chances of the result occurring by accident (that is, in the absence of any real difference between the two test groups) is only 1 in 20 (that is 5%, usually expressed as p<0.05, the probability of the result being random is less than 0.05).

So if you do an experiment to try to find a difference where none exists, and you keep doing it, then one shot out of every 20 repetitions will give you an apparently significant difference.

One shot in 100 will give you significance at p<0.01, and one out of every 1,000 will get you p<0.001, which is usually considered to be a pretty strong indication of significance.

Rolfe.
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Old 17th May 2007, 11:39 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Pipirr View Post
Would you mind elaborating on that? I understand that a small percent of all experiments will produce positive results. Of course whether those results could be replicated independently is another matter.

But why should we expect 5%?
Five percent simply represents our arbitrary cut-off for significance testing.

A clinical trial is the process of taking a bunch of people, dividing them into two groups and then taking some measurements after a period of time has passed. We expect some differences in the measurements between the two groups just due to chance. What we are really interested in knowing is whether the differences are so unexpected (if it were only due to chance) that we really should consider that the treatment given to one of the groups contributed to the difference. By convention, we have chosen p<0.05 (less than %5 chance or 1 chance in 20) as the cut-off for considering a difference so unexpected that it provides evidence in favour of a real drug effect. However, 1000's of clinical trials have been performed, which means that we should expect to see 100's (i.e. 5%) of "statistically significant" differences due to chance, so we need to be cautious of isolated findings.

Quote:
And in absence of what bias?
Bias is the propensity to create differences between groups that is unrelated to the purported intervention.

For example, there may be a bias in the way you divide the people into two groups (putting all the men in one group and all the women in the other would lead to obvious differences), the two groups may undergo different treatment, the measurements may be performed differently, the method of analysis may create differences that wouldn't exist otherwise, etc.

These problems are well-documented and pervasive in homeopathic research.

Linda
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Old 17th May 2007, 12:15 PM   #22
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Two good answers, thanks Rolfe and Linda.

Quote:
However, 1000's of clinical trials have been performed, which means that we should expect to see 100's (i.e. 5%) of "statistically significant" differences due to chance, so we need to be cautious of isolated findings.
I guess that's the key point for me. Thanks for clarifying.
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Old 17th May 2007, 02:29 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by RenaissanceBiker View Post
Do homeopaths enjoy watered down drinks?
Shaken, not stirred, presumably.

Homeopathic "remedies" would definitely cure dehydration (and would be
good for plants too).
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Old 18th May 2007, 12:36 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by TX50 View Post
Homeopathic "remedies" would definitely cure dehydration (and would be good for plants too).

Not really: they're usually administered in the form of a sugar pill on which the magic water has been dripped and allowed to evaporate.

So there's not even any of the water left to remember what it used to have dissolved in it...
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Old 18th May 2007, 05:48 AM   #25
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To quote supafly: "Awww, my frickin' head!"

Meaning, homeopathically curing a hangover did not work...

(Yeah, I really tried)
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Old 18th May 2007, 06:46 AM   #26
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I am constantly confused by the claims of homeopaths.

For one, there is the British (classical) and French schools. French prescripts separate "substances" or mixes of substances to treat specific diseases. Think Boiron. There are people who swear by those remedies. Then, there are those for whom a homeopath need not even have a diagnosis, but merely draw a picture of the person's symptoms and personality, and prescribe the best possible remedy, but of only one kind.

Then, there is the Organon itself, the deluded writings of Mr. Hahneman. In it, he explicitly claims that homeopathy is not for surgical cases or acute conditions.

Why then the sepsis study? And what remedy?

Besides, the results of the study are not statistically significant. Was the study replicated? Important thingy.

Sometimes homeopaths who swear by the British-classical-two hour interview homeopathy will gladly quote the research of Boiron.

What I have noticed- homeopathy is like a religion. It is quasi-scientific, mystical, with a touch of alchemy to it and a chance to throw in quantum mechanics, if you are so inclined. So, the adherents will constantly move the goalposts, quote failed studies and all the time violate their own principles (such as claiming how important it is to have a personalized cure while at the same time recommenting a certain remedy over an internet forum).

I am constantly pissed when people use homeopathy for children, sometimes forgoing other treatment.

As for the alcohol preparation: when dilluted, it should actually be a hangover remedy. And dilluted coffee should be a sleeping pill.
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Old 18th May 2007, 06:49 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by hipparchia View Post
As for the alcohol preparation: when dilluted, it should actually be a hangover remedy. And dilluted coffee should be a sleeping pill.
My achin' brain says nope.

And the first person brave enough to serve me diluted coffee will meet the natural sleeping pill called 'knuckles'
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Old 18th May 2007, 07:18 AM   #28
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I though I’d share an amusing story my wife relayed to me. Her friend, our friendly neighbourhood alternative healer, left a bottle of homeopathic pills unattended at home, which were then swallowed by her daughter. Frantic, she phoned the British Homeopathic Society, who told her not to worry – the child would not suffer any ill effects!

I wonder whether they believe it themselves.
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Old 18th May 2007, 09:59 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by realpaladin View Post
My achin' brain says nope.

And the first person brave enough to serve me diluted coffee will meet the natural sleeping pill called 'knuckles'
Followed by my all-natural size 11 boot.
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Old 21st May 2007, 07:58 PM   #30
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Let's take this issue seriously

I appreciate good skeptical thinking, and yet, am I the only one who thinks that no one responded to the numerous basic science and clinical studies that Dana Ullman referenced?

Am I the only one who think that Ullman also gave a good, solid critique of that questionably done "meta-analysis" that sought to compare 110 homeopathic and allopathic studies? Am I the only one who is surprised that even the skeptics who did this study found that the homeopathic studies had a larger number of higher percentage of higher quality studies than the allopathic studies (by THEIR own definition of high quality studies).

At first blush, homeopathy seems weird to me too, but heck, nature is full of mysteries. Humility is a healthy scientific attitude.
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Old 21st May 2007, 11:17 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
I appreciate good skeptical thinking, and yet, am I the only one who thinks that no one responded to the numerous basic science and clinical studies that Dana Ullman referenced?

Am I the only one who think that Ullman also gave a good, solid critique of that questionably done "meta-analysis" that sought to compare 110 homeopathic and allopathic studies? Am I the only one who is surprised that even the skeptics who did this study found that the homeopathic studies had a larger number of higher percentage of higher quality studies than the allopathic studies (by THEIR own definition of high quality studies).

At first blush, homeopathy seems weird to me too, but heck, nature is full of mysteries. Humility is a healthy scientific attitude.
I think post 7 is the one that best answers your concerns. Whether you agree with the post in a separate issue, but the question has been answered there .
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Old 22nd May 2007, 05:57 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
I appreciate good skeptical thinking, and yet, am I the only one who thinks that no one responded to the numerous basic science and clinical studies that Dana Ullman referenced?

Am I the only one who think that Ullman also gave a good, solid critique of that questionably done "meta-analysis" that sought to compare 110 homeopathic and allopathic studies? Am I the only one who is surprised that even the skeptics who did this study found that the homeopathic studies had a larger number of higher percentage of higher quality studies than the allopathic studies (by THEIR own definition of high quality studies).

At first blush, homeopathy seems weird to me too, but heck, nature is full of mysteries. Humility is a healthy scientific attitude.
I attempted to respond to the critique of the metanalysis (thanks for pointing that out Mashuna). I don't think that I would call it a "good, solid critique" as many of the criticisms were not valid or were irrelevant. For example, no meaningful conclusions can be drawn about differences in the percentage of high quality studies, since two different methods were used to obtain that number. For the homeopathy group it is a population value (i.e. all the homeopathy studies of that type were included) and for the conventional medicine group it is a sample value. Since the sample was not drawn randomly, but rather selected, it is a biased sample on that value and cannot be used to make general predictions about the percentage of high quality studies among conventional medicine trials. Also, the measures of quality were fairly gross and only really differed on one measure (concealment of allocation) - it more likely represented a variation in whether it was reported, than in the actual performance.

Ullman's critique would be relevant if one were talking about disproving homeopathy. The analysis does not exclude the possibility that there is a real effect. However, since homeopathy is without supporting evidence independent of the results of clinical trials, it is sufficient to point out that there are alternate explanations for those results. And the support for those alternate explanations does not need to be robust, it simply needs to be plausible - a standard the meta-analysis easily acheives.

Ullman also makes the common mistake of thinking that individual trials demonstrating the effects of a "special" water provides support for homeopathy. At best, all it can demonstrate is that a particular water may have a therapeutic effect in a particular condition. But it doesn't tell us why. The analogy I have used in the past is "alfabetopathy". If I choose a drug that starts with the same letter as the condition it is meant to treat and a clinical trial shows that the drug is effective, that doesn't mean that I have proven that drugs can be chosen on the basis of their initial letters.

It is true that many people who are skeptical of homeopathy are ignorant of the details, but that is true of anything in science - no one person has adequate knowledge, but collectively we do. The skepticism is based on trust in the process of the objective evaluation from those in the field, rather than based on the wishful thinking of individuals. I think the comments in this thread have been directed at evaluating those things that we are competent to evaluate, such as whether appeals to longevity are valid or whether it is "silly" to perform studies that remove/reduce the effects of chance and bias.

I agree that humility is important, but why assume skepticism reflects a lack of humility? It seems to me that it is the skeptics, who realize that we are all subject to cognitive biases and therefore need to actively avoid their effects, who demonstrate humility. It is the homeopaths who somehow seem to think they are immune from bias and can trust their "clinical experience" who suffer from a lack of humility.

Linda
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Old 22nd May 2007, 06:37 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Cuddles View Post
Hmm, let me think. Aspirin? 108 years. Penicillin? 79 years. Paracetamol? 129 years. Bandages? Probably thousands. Is this person actually insane?
Yes. I am surprised that he is not advocating bleeding to balance the humors, now there is a paradigm that lasted, not like this silly effective medicine one that is constantly coming out with new things.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 07:46 AM   #34
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It's not even as simple as substance --> water --> pill. Many of the substances don't dissolve in water, so a solvent such as alcohol is used. So alcohol (a hydroxylated hydrocarbon, C2H5OH) acts the same as water (an inorganic ionic polar molecule H+OH-) works the same as sugar (a disaccharide whose formula I can't remember).

Hang on a minute... they all have hydroxyl groups... maybe THAT's the magic ingredient! So caustic soda (NaOH) ought to work, too! Perhaps Dana would consider producing a homeopathic solution of ammonia in caustic soda and chugging it down. The two alkalis should cancel themselves out.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 09:54 AM   #35
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Ullman has shown up on Orac's blog with the exact same rant!

I love the fact that this part where he says...
Quote:
As for some good studies in homeopathy...
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the #4 reason that people in the US die. A study conducted at the University of Vienna Hospital found "substantially significant" results from a double-blind placebo-controlled trial using homeopathic doses of potassium dichromate. This study was published in the most respected journal in medical respiratory health, CHEST.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?CMD=search&DB=pubmed
But fails to actually identify the paper, and the actual research facility, but just lists the Pubmed search engine. It did not take too long to find out it was something done in an Institute of Homeopathy!

But there was a response that I wish I could read: Treating critically ill patients with sugar pills. .... especially after reading what the author of that comment says about Homeopathic hospitals in his website,
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Old 22nd May 2007, 10:08 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post
But there was a response that I wish I could read: Treating critically ill patients with sugar pills. .... especially after reading what the author of that comment says about Homeopathic hospitals in his website,
Closed access journals are a pain. I'll quote a good part of Colquhoun's letter below:

Quote:
It surprises me that CHEST would publish an article (March 2005)127 on the effect of a therapeutic agent when in fact the patients received none of the agent mentioned in the title of the article. [T]he “potassium dichromate” was a homeopathic C30 dilution. That is a dilution by a factor of 1060 [which] means there would be one molecule in a sphere with a diameter of approximately 1.46 × 1011 m....To describe this as “diluted and well shaken,” as the authors do, is the understatement of the century. The fact of the matter is that the medicine contained no medicine.

The authors...will doubtless claim some magic effect of shaking that causes the water to remember...The memory of water has been studied quite a lot. The estimate of the duration of this memory has been revised...downwards...to approximately 50 femtoseconds...That is not a very good shelf life.

It is one thing to tolerate homeopathy as a harmless 19th century eccentricity for its placebo effect in minor self-limiting conditions like colds. It is quite another to have it recommended for seriously ill patients. That is downright dangerous.
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Old 22nd May 2007, 11:00 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by jon View Post
Closed access journals are a pain. I'll quote a good part of Colquhoun's letter below:
Thank you!!!

Edit to add: May I copy that in a reply in Orac's blog?
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Old 22nd May 2007, 11:30 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post
Thank you!!!

Edit to add: May I copy that in a reply in Orac's blog?
You're welcome. I've got no problem with you adding that to orac's blog. Not sure if the journal might be awkward about copyright, though...
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Old 22nd May 2007, 12:17 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by jon View Post
You're welcome. I've got no problem with you adding that to orac's blog. Not sure if the journal might be awkward about copyright, though...
Done... oh, and I took the liberty of checking out some of his other claims, particularly the one on Oscillococcinum. He claims that studies showing it as good for influenza were replicated. I checked, but could not really find them. Edit to add: I did call him dishonest... in fact he is a liar who is posting all over trying to get business over to himself!
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Old 22nd May 2007, 01:01 PM   #40
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I suspect that JamesGully is Dana Ullman, judging by the tone of his post, his recent reg-date, and an email I received from Dana where he chided me for sharing his previous e-mail with all of you "randi-holics[sic]."
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