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Homeopathy Misinformation on Wikipedia

Posted by Sanjib Sarkar on Wed, Jul 30, 2008 @ 04:32 AM

Tags: Homeopathy. Homeopathy Trials, Homeopathy Information

As many people know that on many search terms, Wikipedia comes up number 1 in Google. They are almost definitely in the top 10. So when the search term is Homeopathy, how accurate are they?

I was looking at following wikipedia page on Homeopathy. The general definitions and information on Homeopathy seem to be for the most part correct. The part where all of the information that is incorrect seems to be in the research side of Homeopathy.

The first paragraph with issues are as follows below:

" Positive results have been reported, but no single model has been sufficiently widely replicated, local models proposed are far from convincing, and the nonlocal models proposed would predict that it is impossible to nail down homeopathic effects with direct experimental testing. [129] For example, while some reports presented data that suggested homeopathic treatment of allergy was more effective than placebo,[130][131] subsequent studies have questioned the conclusions.[132][133]"

This first example has some incorrect information. Study 132 is about Belladonna 30C. The study attempts to find out if Belladonna 30C is given to a healthy person, what happens. The study shows nothing happens but this certainly has nothing to do with allergies. Study 133 is about people who suffer from Asthma from dust mite allergies. Study 130 and 131 were on different subjects. Study 130 and Study 131 were on hayfever and allergic rhinitis. In all fairness to Wikipedia, Study 133 was an attempted replication on a successful study on Asthma from dust mite allergies. However, Wikipedia fails to mention that study all together.

This maybe an oversight on Wikipedia so I looked at some information on Homeopathy to see their results. I used Wkipedia to search for oscillococcinum. The results were very surprising on the trials section.

The quote from Wikipedia.

"Various clinical trials of Oscillococcinum have been conducted; however, the statistical significance and the scientific rigor of these studies is debated, and some studies attributed the results to the placebo effect."

I looked through the Internet, I did find some studies that were debated with Oscillococcinum. Some studies did debate the quality of the trials which is valid. However, no study attributed the shortening of the flu duration to a placebo effect.

Another quote from Wikipedia.

"In one systematic review of the published clinical studies, the authors reported that the studies showed that Oscillococcinum possibly reduced the duration of the flu by about six hours, but has no effect on preventing it. They concluded the data are not strong enough to make a general recommendation to use Oscillococcinum for flu.[2] Another review of flu treatments (vaccine, medicine, homeopathy) has concluded that the popularity of Oscillococcinum in France was unsupported by the current evidence as to its efficacy"

This second review is someone looking at flu prevention treatments. Wikipedia makes it seem as if trials of Oscillococcinum never yield any other postive results in shortening the duration of the flu other than the first trial. Two other successful replications of Oscillococcinum have taken place which are listed below.

OscillococcinumR in patients with influenza-like syndromes: A placebo-controlled double-blind evaluation.

A controlled evaluation of a homoeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes

Wikipedia failed to mention these trials in their summaries. There were some other Oscillococcinum trials as well that yielded positive results but these trials were not particularly well done.

Wikipedia also make dubious references with their information. Homeowatch.org is not an informational source. This is the same website as quackwatch.org with another name. I really do not have an issue with their website. They are skeptics entitled to their opinions. However, Wikipedia is using this website as a resource that does not carry all factual information but more opinions of skeptics.

If you find more homeopathy misinformation, please put them in the comments. If you think this article has misinformation, please tell us in the comments section.

Also do not forget,

Homeopathic Free Online Seminar
Hmedicine.com is holding a free online seminar with Dr. Mike Smith, a homeopathic doctor, of Carolinas Natural Health Center. The topic is Homeopathy 101. Send your questions on Homeopathy to customerservice@hmedicine.com. We will answer as many questions as possible. The information for the call is below
Date Thursday, July 31, 2008
Start Time: 02:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time
End Time: 02:55 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Dial-in Number: 1-309-946-5100 (Midwest)
Participant Access Code: 53145