Neurophilosophy

The homeopathic challenge

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The authors of Trick or Treatment? The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine have thrown down the gauntlet to homeopaths:

We challenge homeopaths to demonstrate that homeopathy is effective by showing that the Cochrane Collaboration has published a review that is strongly and conclusively positive about high dilution homeopathic remedies for any human condition.

Or, we challenge homeopaths to have such a review published within 12 months of the first publication of extracts from Trick or Treatment? (8 April, 2009).

The Prize will be £10,000 – it will be paid by Ernst and Singh out of their own pockets to the first person or persons to present such evidence.

I’ve just finished reading the book, and recommend it highly, even to people who, like me, do not need convincing that complementary and alternative medicine doesn’t really work. (Here in the U.K., it’s called Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial.)

Ernst and Singh put four popular alternative therapies under the microscope. Acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy and herbal medicine, each have a devoted chapter, in which the evidence for and against is comprehensively examined. 30 more alternative therapies are summarized in the appendix.

The conclusion is that acupuncture can be effective as a short-term analgesic and in treating nausea; chiropractic is somewhat effective as a treatment for back pain; and some herbal remedies, such as garlic for high cholesterol, are effective. Given their confidence about offering £10,000 of their own money in this challange, you can imagine what they concluded about homeopathy.

What made this book enjoyable for me was the strong historical emphasis. I learned, for example, that the Nazis advocated homeopathy, and that George Washington died as a result of having half of his blood drained from his body by bloodsucking leeches.

Comments

  1. #1 Daphnea
    June 19, 2008

    I have been receiving treatment for tick borne
    diseases for several years, using standard
    antibiotics.

    In exploring complimentary fields for
    relief of various symptoms, I used
    German homeopathic liver drainage remedies.
    My liver counts dropped 30% after using them, to
    a level not seen since pre-treatment (2.5 years).

    I also was given local spring pollen homeopathics
    to combat spring allergies. Result: major
    sinus drainage the whole time I was on them (instead of congestion),
    and eye puffiness gone.

    I dont understand, and I am sure this is not
    placebo.

    The problems is the either or attitude about methods.
    I dont know if all homeopathics work all the time, but I do know that some do.

    This same finding also applies to
    using antibiotics for tick borne diseases….certain kinds
    work for some people, and yet will not help another.

    Nothing is black and white in the field of health.

    Daphnea

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