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Searching for homeopathy on Google

Posted by Sanjib Sarkar on Thu, Sep 02, 2010 @ 01:31 PM

Tags: Homeopathy Trials, homeopathy searches

This article will focus on proper ways to search for homeopathy information on the google search engine.  You will get more out of the search if you follow these tips on the search.

  For example of a search is using explicit search.  I look for homeopathic trials.  In google, I put "homeopathic trials" in the search.  The double quotes make this explicit.  I received content with the words on homeopathic trials.  

Now, I want a more specific search.  The Homeopathic trials were too generic.  I put in the search "Homeopathic Trials" + "Double Blind".  I now get double blind homeopathic trials in my search.

I also needed some documents on homeopathic trials for the research that I was doing.  I put this in the search.  "homeopathic trials" filetype:doc.  This gives all microsoft word documents on homeopathic trials.

This is a common search for me.  I want to get information on homeopathy but I want to exclude all of things related to homeopathy as being quackery.  I put into the search "Homeopathy"-"Quackery".  I get the information on homeopathy omitting all the quackery.   

Looking for a definition of a remedy.  Type define:ruta graveolens.  This will give you a basis information on ruta without overwhelming with too much information.  

You can you these simple search tips to get more effective information on homeopathy without getting overwhelmed with information or getting incorrect information.

Tell us your search tips in the comments on finding information.

Referenced from

Homeopathy Lancet Trials Revisited

Posted by Sanjib Sarkar on Wed, Nov 19, 2008 @ 03:08 PM

Tags: Homeopathy Trials

  A series of homeopathic trials were published in the Lancet medical journal.  These trials questioned the benefits of homeopathy.  A Swiss and United Kingdom of researchers reviewed 110 double blind placebo trials.  They came to the conclusion that homeopathy works no better than a placebo.  The researchers had said that in the smaller lower quality studies, homeopathy shows a more positive effect than a placebo.  The trials claim in larger studies homeopathy seems to be the same as a placebo.  The researchers used 14 of the larger studies in homeopathy studies to come up with their conclusions.  These trials also had allopathic medicine as a third comparison group.  The trials compared asthma, allergies and muscular problems.  The allopathic trials showed that there was a  significant improvement in their condition compared to the placebo and homeopathy groups in the larger study groups.

  Of course once these trials were made public, the media was all over it.  The BBC published an article saying  Homeopathy benefit questioned.  Lancet stated that this evidence shows there is no medical evidence to tell anyone to use a homeopathy treatment.  Many homeopaths questioned the trials but they fell on deaf hears.  Surely, a reputable medical journal such as Lancet would have accurate homeopathy trial information.  Skeptics and critics now announced that they had ample proof that homeopathy does not work.

  Researcher George Lewith, Professor of Health Research at Southampton University, looked at the data.  The trials did not say which trials were of larger quality and which trials were of poor quality.  Assumptions of the data also were not mentioned such as what constitutes a large trial.  The conclusions become unreliable due to the changing conditions of larger quality trials.  The data seems to be manipulated to meet a preconceived conclusion by the researchers.  There are a limited number of homeopathy studies so researchers choose the homeopathic studies that had an unfavorable response.  The matching with conventional medicine was meaningless.  Conventional medicine trials were not matched at all with the homeopathy trials.  The researchers saying that conventional medicine trials showed a greater response than the homeopathic and placebo trials proved not to be true.  The conventional medicine trials were just randomly chosen trials by the researchers.  They did not match the placebo or homeopathy trials in anyway.  

  The conclusion of the Homeopathy Lancet trials is that this data is totally unreliable.  Researchers manipulated the data to reach a preconceived conclusion about these trials.  Conventional medicine showing a greater effect than a placebo or homeopathy was actually not true either.  There were no matching of these trials.

  Why is a medical journal like Lancet publishing such poorly done trials?  Why is the media also not researching the trials before publishing them?  There is a forum posting to continue this conversation. You can post your opinions on our homeopathic forum about these Lancet homeopathy trials.



Reference: Lüdtke R, Rutten ALB. The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analyzed trials. J Clin Epidemiol 2008. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.06.015
Rutten ALB, Stolper CF. The 2005 meta-analysis of homeopathy: the importance of post-publication data. Homeopathy 2008. doi:10.1016/j.homp.2008.09.008. 


Homeopathy:Proven Medicine or a Placebo (part 2)

Posted by Sanjib Sarkar on Fri, Jun 27, 2008 @ 05:10 PM

Tags: homeopathic remedies, Homeopathy Trials, Homeopathy, homeopathic medicine

In part 1 of our series, we found that when looking at the best trials, Homeopathy performed better than a placebo on a 2 to 1 scale. However, all these trials were before 1991. We are now going to look at more modern trials.

The most recent homeopathic trials include a trial done by A Swiss-UK review of 110 trials found no convincing evidence the treatment worked any better than a placebo.
However, there seems to be many problems with this type of trial.

We are going to examine the better done trials since 1991. We will not examine all of them but look at a fair amount of promising and not so promising evidence of properly conducted homeopathic trials.

Homeopathy Trials and Information Below:

Trials when comparing Homeopathy to A Placebo

A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 242 participants aged 18 to 55 years. Trial compared an oral homeopathic treatment to placebo in asthmatic people allergic to house dust. Authors found the homeopathic treatment "no better than placebo." They noted "some differences between the homeopathic immunotherapy and placebo for which we have no explanation." This was actually an attempt to replicate a successful homeopathic trial with allergies and asthma. No one could explain why the replication was not successful. This trial was much larger than the intial trial that proved successful.

Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 126 children; 116 completed the study. Individualized homeopathic treatments improved digestive problems in children with acute childhood diarrhea. Results are consistent with findings of a previous study.

Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 519 people; 400 completed the study. Homeopathic remedies, including arnica, are not effective for muscle soreness following long-distance running.

Meta-analysis of six controlled clinical trials. Controlled clinical trials indicate that homeopathic remedies appear to work better than a placebo in studies of rheumatic syndromes, but there are too few studies to draw definitive conclusions, and efficacy results are mixed.

The most promising remedy for Homeopathy according to our research is Oscillococcinum. There were several large trials showing positive results for Oscillococcinum in shortening the duration of the flu. Oscillococcinum shows that is has no effect on prevent the flu.

Other successful trials on a smaller scale include perennial allergic rhinitis. The trials showed increased nasal flow as compared to the placebo. This was the fourth replication of this trial. It is noted the trial size was quite small.

In conclusion, more research needs to be done but some Homeopathic remedies are showing promising results in large double blinded placebo studies. Larger studies after 1991 showed approximately a 1 to 1 ratio of successful and unsucessful homeopathic trials. Better quality studies before 1991 showed approximately a 2 to 1 ratio. A couple of the trials have been reproduced in several studies. Oscillococcinum was the only study that we found was reproduced several times by different researches.



Vickers and Smith, 2002 Review of Oscillococcinum on flu symptoms

Lewith et al., 2002 Asthmatic People Allergic To House Dust

Jacobs et al., 2000 Acute Childhood Diarrhea

Vickers et al., 1998 Muscle Soreness

Jonas et al., 2000 Studies Of Rheumatic Syndromes

Papp et al, 1998 Oscillococcinum Onset of Flu Like Symtoms

Taylor et al., 2000 Perennial Allergic Rhinitis


Homeopathy:Proven Medicine or a Placebo

Posted by Sanjib Sarkar on Wed, Jun 04, 2008 @ 01:45 AM

Tags: homeopathic remedies, Homeopathy Trials, Homeopathy, Homeopathic Studies

Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician disenchanted with these methods, began to develop a theory based on three principles: the law of similars, the minimum dose, and the single remedy.

The word homeopathy is derived from the Greek words for like (homoios) and suffering (pathos). With the law of similars, Hahnemann theorized that if a large amount of a substance causes certain symptoms in a healthy person, smaller amounts of the same substance can treat those symptoms in someone who is ill. The basis of his theory took shape after a strong dose of the malaria treatment quinine caused his healthy body to develop symptoms similar to ones caused by the disease. He continued to test his theory on himself as well as family and friends with different herbs, minerals and other substances. He called these experiments "provings."

But, as might be expected, the intensity of the symptoms caused by the original proving was harrowing. So Hahnemann began decreasing the doses to see how little of a substance could still produce signs of healing.

With the minimum dose, or law of infinitesimals, Hahnemann believed that a substance's strength and effectiveness increased the more it was diluted. Minuscule doses were prepared by repeatedly diluting the active ingredient by factors of 10. A "6X" preparation (the X is the Roman numeral for 10) is a 1-to-10 dilution repeated six times, leaving the active ingredient as one part per million. Essential to the process of increasing potency while decreasing the actual amount of the active ingredient is vigorous shaking after each dilution.

Some homeopathic remedies are so dilute, no molecules of the healing substance remain. Even with sophisticated technology now available, analytical chemists may find it difficult or impossible to identify any active ingredient. But the homeopathic belief is that the substance has left its imprint or a spirit-like essence that stimulates the body to heal itself.

Critics of homeopathy point out that no way such a dilute medicine could work. People are feeling better because of the placebo effect. Critics also say the research in homeopathy is very unimpressive. Proponents of homeopathy point out to numerous trials that have been successful.

Recent homeopathic trials include a trial done by A Swiss-UK review of 110 trials found no convincing evidence the treatment worked any better than a placebo.
However, there seems to be many problems with this type of trial.

The University of Limberg investigators, who are all epidemiologists, conducted an exhaustive search of the published medical literature to find evidence of homeopathy's efficacy regardless of implausibility. They found an astonishing 107 controlled studies. Many of them compared a homeopathic remedy with a placebo. While some studies were well designed, the investigators found that the methods used in the majority left much to be desired. But their findings were favorable enough toward homeopathy to suggest further evaluation: "Of the better studies, 15 trials showed positive results whereas in seven trials no positive effect could be detected (in one trial only homeopathic treatments were compared with each other)."

They used strict criteria for the selection of the best trials. Highest marks went to the studies with these characteristics: a large number of participants, double blinding (neither physicians nor participants know who is receiving the homeopathic remedy), a placebo that was described as indistinguished from the homeopathic remedy, and random assignment of participants to a treatment group.

All in all, the University of Limberg investigators found that number of published studies to be impressive. "The amount of positive evidence even among the best studies came as a surprise to us." But they acknowledged that many questions remain. Chief among them is a plausible explanation for how homeopathic remedies work.

The article that quoted the homeopathic studies is a 1991 article. All homeopathic trials examined were before 1991. In part 2 of Homepathy: Proven Medicine or A Placebo we will look at more recent trials and guage those results.