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Old 09-10-2015, 03:23 PM
naita naita is offline
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Are there any homeopathic remedies that have been discontinued due to negative research results?

It's a simple question really. Many homeopaths and their national organisations like to promote themselves and their practice as scientific or at least supported by science. They are accused of bolstering that claim by cherry picking positive studies and ignoring all the null results. A fair accusation in my opinion. But would I be right in claiming there is no part of homeopathy that's been reformed due to strong negative evidence?

No significant subgroup that's, say, stopped using a particular substance for a particular ailment due to understanding the science in that isolated case?

I'm asking because I'd like to use that argument and I don't want it to come back to gum me in the butt. It wouldn't hurt much, but it'd look to an external observer like I got bitten.
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Old 09-10-2015, 03:39 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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My guess would be no. Since there is no science behind homeopathy, even if a substance supposedly efficacious for, say, headaches was found by some large number of practitioners to be ineffective, a number would cling to traditional thought and continue to use it. That's true of many "ancient Chinese/Japanese/Native American" etc. remedies - the ancients/elders say it worked, therefore it must have worked then and will work now. (You're just doing it wrong.)

I realize that's not a very GQ answer and I will be interested to see if there are any formal repudiations of ingredients or concoctions in homeopathy, but all the same... the practice doesn't lend itself to such organized self-censure and correction.

Last edited by Amateur Barbarian; 09-10-2015 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 09-10-2015, 05:06 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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How can distilled water have a negative effect? I know that gallons of it can kill you, but homeopaths don't do that.
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Old 09-10-2015, 05:26 PM
janeslogin janeslogin is offline
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Perhaps related; Mystery surrounds hallucinatory chaos at German homeopathy conference
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Old 09-10-2015, 05:28 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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The closest thing I've seen is an acknowledgment that St John's Wort might have some negative side effects and that it might not be a cure-all for everything. While its use has certainly not been discontinued entirely, I know some naturopaths who say they no longer recommend it. In 2000, France banned its sale entirely and that seems to be trickling into the US woo consciousness.
  #6  
Old 09-10-2015, 06:13 PM
Ruken Ruken is offline
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Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
The closest thing I've seen is an acknowledgment that St John's Wort might have some negative side effects and that it might not be a cure-all for everything. While its use has certainly not been discontinued entirely, I know some naturopaths who say they no longer recommend it. In 2000, France banned its sale entirely and that seems to be trickling into the US woo consciousness.
Except homeopathic St John's Wort doesn't have any measurable St John's Wort in it.
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:57 PM
CurtC CurtC is offline
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Originally Posted by Hari Seldon View Post
How can distilled water have a negative effect?
FWIW, most homeopathic nostrums that I've seen are in pill form. After diluting the "ingredient" out of existence, I think they let some of the water absorb into a lactose pill. Or something like that.

dracoi, St John's Wort was not a homeopathic thing. You've made the somewhat common mistake of thinking "homeopathic" means "alternative." It doesn't - homeopathy is something specific and complete fantasy-magic nonsense.
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Old 09-10-2015, 11:07 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Originally Posted by CurtC View Post
FWIW, most homeopathic nostrums that I've seen are in pill form. After diluting the "ingredient" out of existence, I think they let some of the water absorb into a lactose pill. Or something like that.

dracoi, St John's Wort was not a homeopathic thing. You've made the somewhat common mistake of thinking "homeopathic" means "alternative." It doesn't - homeopathy is something specific and complete fantasy-magic nonsense.
Yes. St. John's Wort is a common "alternative" treatment for which there are actually some research studies indicating that it is somewhat effective for depression. See here for an overview and some scientific references to check out. Actual St. John's Wort that you can get from an alternative medicine shop (and even some mainstream pharmacies nowadays, at least in the US) have significant amounts of actual plant matter in them. Consult a healthcare professional before taking any.

Homeopathy, as mentioned above, is a specific kind of alternative medicine that includes two basic principles:

1) If a large amount of a substance causes a symptom, then a small amount will cure that symptom.
2) Diluting a medicine makes it stronger.

Hence, a homeopathic preparation of St. John's Wort:

1) Would have very little, if any, actually St. John's Wort in it.
2) Would actually be prescribed to counteract symptoms commonly observed when taking regular doses of St. John's Wort. Since antidepressants are known to sometimes cause a side effect of diminished sexual drive, it's plausible that a homeopath might try a highly diluted solution of St. John's Wort as a cure for sexual difficulties.
  #9  
Old 09-11-2015, 05:33 AM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
. . .

Homeopathy, as mentioned above, is a specific kind of alternative medicine that includes two basic principles:

1) If a large amount of a substance causes a symptom, then a small amount will cure that symptom.
2) Diluting a medicine makes it stronger.

. . .
I've always thought that homeopathy could be summed up as a complete misunderstanding of how vaccines and immunotherapy work. You can see how their logic went.

"If . . .

- a small dose of the infectious agent scratched into the skin can prevent a killer disease,

and . . .

- regular administration of tiny amounts of pollen seems to prevent major Seasonal allergy episodes,

then . . .

Surely this tiny dose of X will prevent acute/symptomatic X from occurring. Oh, but we should dilute it to be sure it's a small enough dose. And maybe again. And then one more time. OK, yes, one more dilution will definitely make certain we're not giving them too much . . .

Let the begin.

Last edited by TruCelt; 09-11-2015 at 05:33 AM.
  #10  
Old 09-11-2015, 06:06 AM
Isilder Isilder is offline
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[QUOTE=naita;18675151]A fair accusation in my opinion. But would I be right in claiming there is no part of homeopathy that's been reformed due to strong negative evidence?
/QUOTE]


Hopefully yes,

The UK gov realised it was spending money on homeopathy, when it could just buy candy at a candy shop , or grains of rice or something small and inoccuous, and give that out as a placebo.

"The report was even more critical of homeopathy being funded by the taxpayer through the NHS, and called on government to cut its support. Providing homeopathy on the NHS damaged trust between patients and doctor, gave patients false assurance by endorsing homeopathy, and contradicted the NHS constitution, which says people have the right to expect that decisions made on drugs and treatments are based on “proper consideration of the evidence”.


Also science and convention medicine keeps getting to the media and getting statements in like "it certainly will not cure cancer and deadly diseases, and you must not delay conventional treatments"...
  #11  
Old 09-11-2015, 07:14 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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bold added.

Band name.
  #12  
Old 09-11-2015, 07:28 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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I've never heard of any homeopathic treatment being dropped for lack of effectiveness, whether or not a research study came to that conclusion.

This is characteristic not just of homeopathy, but of woo in general. Weirdly, woo-ists point to this as a strength (while sneering at mainstream medicine for dropping ineffective and/or dangerous drugs and treatments).
  #13  
Old 09-11-2015, 08:53 AM
naita naita is offline
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Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
I've always thought that homeopathy could be summed up as a complete misunderstanding of how vaccines and immunotherapy work. You can see how their logic went.
The occasional modern day homeopath tries to use that similarity as an argument, even though it's totally silly, but when Hahnemann invented homeopathy vaccines weren't around to be misunderstood in that way.
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Old 09-11-2015, 08:57 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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i have long maintained that the reason for today's (general) good health is tapwater. It contains infinitesimally small amounts of every homeopathic remedy-so drink tapwater, and you will be fine.
  #15  
Old 09-11-2015, 08:59 AM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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The occasional modern day homeopath tries to use that similarity as an argument, even though it's totally silly, but when Hahnemann invented homeopathy vaccines weren't around to be misunderstood in that way.
What's sad in a way is that Hahnemann actually did intend to do real research medicine, which barely existed in his day. He did recognize that his treatments actually did better than many mainstream techniques, which we now know were actually counterproductive (e.g. surgery without washing hands, mercury treatment, unnecessary bloodletting, etc.). He did the best that he could with 1700's knowledge and technology. Unfortunately, homeopathy ended up becoming a quasi-religious system of doctrine rather than a continued effort to keep up with the latest science, and it lost out when "mainstream" medicine actually caught on to research and ran with it.
  #16  
Old 09-11-2015, 09:03 AM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Joke:

A homeopath turned terrorist was arrested last week after he diluted half of an aspirin tablet in a bucket of water, dumped it into Lake Michigan, and then threatened to refill the bucket with water from the lake and re-dump the contents back in unless his demands were met.
  #17  
Old 09-11-2015, 11:46 AM
Your Great Darsh Face Your Great Darsh Face is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
Joke:

A homeopath turned terrorist was arrested last week after he diluted half of an aspirin tablet in a bucket of water, dumped it into Lake Michigan, and then threatened to refill the bucket with water from the lake and re-dump the contents back in unless his demands were met.
What a quack.

Obviously, he would have had to drain the lake and refill it with clean water before mixing the bucketful back in.

And then shake Lake Michigan up and down a lot. That's important.
  #18  
Old 09-11-2015, 12:26 PM
Half Man Half Wit Half Man Half Wit is offline
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Interesting question to which I'd really like a factual answer (but am not able to provide one, hence I'm posting just to subscribe, even though I know you can do that via thread tools). Homeopathy adherents have grown immune to the 'there's no evidence it works'-argument, but pointing to the fact that in actual medicine, treatments are regularly dropped if they're found ineffective is a new line of attack, and I'd like to know if it's workable (like the OP and many of the responders, I strongly believe it is, mostly because by and large the homeopathy peddlers have never quite gotten the hang of this whole empiricism thing).
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Old 09-11-2015, 12:38 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is offline
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(like the OP and many of the responders, I strongly believe it is, mostly because by and large the homeopathy peddlers have never quite gotten the hang of this whole empiricism thing).
Well, not since the days of Empire, at least.
  #20  
Old 09-11-2015, 12:59 PM
naita naita is offline
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Interesting question to which I'd really like a factual answer
I think the factual answer is no, but since it's a statement for which the only possible evidence is the lack of counter-evidence we'll just all have to wait and see.

I will reveal though that whomever is running the twitter account for the Norwegian Association of Homeopaths hasn't been able to show any evidence either. But it took a couple of "not what I was asking about" answer before they even understood what I was actually asking.

Going to write up a blog post about the homeopath view of science when the twitter-duel has run it's course, but so far it's just strengthened my understanding that the homeopath approach to science is still "Only positive results are interesting and you need to prove this specific study is flawed to counter it, and if you do I have a long list of more, and what's your expertise exactly, no I don't care that actual experts like the NHS has rejected homeopathy, or other medical experts, na na na na na na I can't hear you!".
  #21  
Old 09-11-2015, 01:20 PM
naita naita is offline
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One interesting thing is that homeopathy researchers produce some spectacular results. Such as this: Homeopathic pathogenetic trials produce specific symptoms different from placebo Three groups receive one of three remedies, either a placebo or one of two randomly chosen homeopathic pills. They all record their symptoms, the symptoms, sans patient and group data, is then sorted by a blinded expert. And practically everyone on homeopathic pill A reported symptoms expected for pill A, an average of 6 and close to zero other symptoms. Those on pill B an average of 5 "correct" symptoms. And those on placebo none of the symptoms reported by A or B, but on average 11 others. So not only does homeopathy work amazingly well, it actually protects you from the nocebo effect.

Sounds too good to be true? Well it's from 2009 and I can't find a replication. The paper doesn't give the actual distribution of symptoms, despite there only being 25 subjects all together, and the graph that's the only full display of the results has error bars indicating subjects gave an average of zero symptoms + or - 2. Now I'm not a statistician, but I'm fairly sure that's indicative of a flawed application of the tools, or they have some system for registering anti-symptoms ...

Last edited by naita; 09-11-2015 at 01:21 PM.
  #22  
Old 09-11-2015, 01:22 PM
Bill Door Bill Door is offline
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If it doesn't work you just dilute it 10X and try again. There's no such thing as a negative result, even if there's only a statistical chance of there even being a single molecule of the remedy in the mixture.

Last edited by Bill Door; 09-11-2015 at 01:22 PM.
  #23  
Old 09-11-2015, 01:44 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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dracoi, St John's Wort was not a homeopathic thing. You've made the somewhat common mistake of thinking "homeopathic" means "alternative." It doesn't - homeopathy is something specific and complete fantasy-magic nonsense.
No, I know that homeopathic remedies are a subset of woo.

So I'll rephrase that: the alternative medicine field seems to have acknowledged that St John's wort has risks/side effects/dangers, and many are moving away from it. Since homeopathic practitioners are a sub-set of the alternative medicine field, they also appear to be moving away from it.
  #24  
Old 09-11-2015, 02:09 PM
Stoneburg Stoneburg is offline
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To be fair homeopathy has two things working for it:

1. Absolutely great placebo effects. Placebo is real and it works. I'm actually disgusted that mainstream medicine does not do more to raise the placebo effect of medicines.

2. No negative side-effects!
  #25  
Old 09-11-2015, 02:23 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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One interesting thing is that homeopathy researchers produce some spectacular results. Such as this: Homeopathic pathogenetic trials produce specific symptoms different from placebo
Fascinating (as Spock would say). I especially loved the "specific symptoms" reported by the physicians taking the ultra-diluted homeopathic remedies which should have contained not a single molecule of the "active" substance. For instance, the doc who was "loquacious all day" and the multiple participants who sneezed three times (and three times only), which we are to believe is a specific effect of one type of magic water.

I would note this was a small study, conducted by (and on) people sympathetic to homeopathy, which did not demonstrate efficacy in treating any disease, and I am highly that the findings would be replicated if the same experiment was done by non-homeopathy believers on a similarly-sized or larger group.

This report is an example of the kind of study that homeopaths and their adherents love to cite. They are much less likely to tell you about comprehensive reviews like this one:

"Perhaps you remember when scientists debunked homeopathy in 2002. Or 2010. Or 2014. But now a major Australian study analyzing over 1,800 papers has shown that homeopathy, the alternative treatment that relies on super-diluted substances and the principle of “like cures like” is completely ineffective.

After assessing more than 1,800 studies on homeopathy, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council was only able to find 225 that were rigorous enough to analyze. And a systematic review of these studies revealed “no good quality evidence to support the claim that homeopathy is effective in treating health conditions.”


Reading some responses here gives me the feeling that herbalists would be tearing their hair out if they saw them. Herbalism (i.e. the use of St. John's Wort) is quite different from homeopathy, even if practitioners of both use variations of the same remedy. Herbalism is a form of "allopathic" medicine, in that herbal preparations are given to alleviate negative signs and symptoms. SJW has some objective value in treating mild to moderate depression; homeopathic SJW is no better than placebo.
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Old 09-11-2015, 03:35 PM
usedtobe usedtobe is offline
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When I could afford to shop at real stores, I made it a point to shop at independent drug stores in the area.

In one, the owner was a kindly fellow well into his 60's. He had both in-store formulated OTC boric acid (octic) AND a commercial homeopathy display - on the pharmacy counter.
He actually suggested I try one of them and explained the 'little bit cures' theory as fact.

That was my first and last stop at that store. Last time I saw it, the space was a 'gift' shop.

The guy couldn't even sell his business, apparently. The independent store a block away was sold and is still a drug store.
  #27  
Old 09-12-2015, 02:03 AM
naita naita is offline
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Reading some responses here gives me the feeling that herbalists would be tearing their hair out if they saw them. Herbalism (i.e. the use of St. John's Wort) is quite different from homeopathy, even if practitioners of both use variations of the same remedy. Herbalism is a form of "allopathic" medicine, in that herbal preparations are given to alleviate negative signs and symptoms. SJW has some objective value in treating mild to moderate depression; homeopathic SJW is no better than placebo.
Well it's not just the general public that's confused about herbs versus dilutions, it's rather common to dabble in both.

And I'm still getting a "we're immune to negative results"-response from the homeopath. To this null result from the only trial using a protocol they linked to (they were actually trying to promote the studies cited by the protocol designer) the reply was "Yes, but do you see what's interesting about it?" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3652761/
  #28  
Old 09-12-2015, 07:02 AM
Half Man Half Wit Half Man Half Wit is offline
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Originally Posted by naita View Post
Going to write up a blog post about the homeopath view of science when the twitter-duel has run it's course, but so far it's just strengthened my understanding that the homeopath approach to science is still "Only positive results are interesting and you need to prove this specific study is flawed to counter it, and if you do I have a long list of more, and what's your expertise exactly, no I don't care that actual experts like the NHS has rejected homeopathy, or other medical experts, na na na na na na I can't hear you!".
I'd appreciate a link when you get around to writing that blog post.
  #29  
Old 09-12-2015, 08:21 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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Originally Posted by Half Man Half Wit View Post
Homeopathy adherents have grown immune to the 'there's no evidence it works'-argument, but pointing to the fact that in actual medicine, treatments are regularly dropped if they're found ineffective is a new line of attack, and I'd like to know if it's workable (like the OP and many of the responders, I strongly believe it is, mostly because by and large the homeopathy peddlers have never quite gotten the hang of this whole empiricism thing).
"Artists and scientists realize that no solution is ever final, but that each new creative step points the way to the next artistic or scientific problem. In contrast, those who embrace religious revelations and delusional systems tend to see them as unshakable and permanent..."

Anthony Storr, "Feet of Clay"
  #30  
Old 09-13-2015, 01:43 PM
naita naita is offline
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I'd appreciate a link when you get around to writing that blog post.
It turned out somewhat rambling, but here you go: https://hyperbolsk.wordpress.com/201...ls-at-science/
  #31  
Old 09-14-2015, 11:04 AM
naita naita is offline
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And the homeopath response was an unsurprising "here's another long list of a hodgepodge of positive research results".
  #32  
Old 09-14-2015, 12:30 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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It is impossible to do homeopathic drug trials, because the control sample is dosed with distilled water-which is a much more effective homeopathic remedy than 100X -diluted medicine. The control sample would indcate better resuklts
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