Time for Naturopathic Medicine Week 2014, a.k.a. Quackery Week

Naturopathic-Medicine-Week-Square

In my eagerness to note that Brian Hooker’s “reanalysis” of a ten year old study that failed to find a correlation between vaccines and autism had been retracted, I forgot to write about what I was originally planning on writing about yesterday. It actually would have been more appropriate a topic for yesterday, because it was the beginning of a week. In fact, it was the beginning of a very special week for a certain class of quacks. No, it’s not homeopathy week. Here’s a hint: Do any of you remember this time last year? Sure, I knew you did.

We’re talking Quackery Week 2014! I mean Naturopathic Medicine Week 2014. No, actually, I do mean quackery week, because naturopathy is quackery.

Once again, this year it’s Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chair of the Appropriations Committe and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, who are responsible for S. Res. 420, which passed the Senate without amendment on September 18 and reads:

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES APRIL 10, 2014

Ms. MIKULSKI (for herself and Mr. HARKIN) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

RESOLUTION

Designating the week of October 6 through October 12, 2014, as ‘‘Naturopathic Medicine Week’’ to recognize the value of naturopathic medicine in providing safe, effective, and affordable health care.

Whereas, in the United States, more than 75 percent of health care costs are due to preventable chronic illnesses, including high blood pressure, which affects 88,000,000 people in the United States, and diabetes, which affects 26,000,000 people in the United States;

Whereas nearly 2⁄3 of adults in the United States are overweight or obese and, consequently, at risk for serious health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and depression;

Whereas 70 percent of people in the United States experience physical or nonphysical symptoms of stress, and stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, depression, and diabetes;

Whereas the aforementioned chronic health conditions are among the most common, costly, and preventable health conditions;

Whereas naturopathic medicine provides noninvasive, holistic treatments that support the inherent self-healing capacity of the human body and encourage self-responsibility in health care;

Whereas naturopathic medicine focuses on patient-centered care, the prevention of chronic illnesses, and early intervention in the treatment of chronic illnesses;

Whereas naturopathic physicians attend 4-year, graduate level programs that are accredited by agencies approved by the Department of Education;

Whereas aspects of naturopathic medicine have been shown to lower the risk of major illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes;

Whereas naturopathic physicians can help address the shortage of primary care providers in the United States;

Whereas naturopathic physicians are licensed in 20 States and territories;

Whereas naturopathic physicians are trained to refer patients to conventional physicians and specialists when necessary;

Whereas the profession of naturopathic medicine is dedicated to providing health care to underserved populations; and

Whereas naturopathic medicine provides consumers in the United States with more choice in health care, in line with the increased use of a variety of integrative medical treatments: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) designates the week of October 6 through October 12, 2014, as ‘‘Naturopathic Medicine Week’’;

(2) recognizes the value of naturopathic medi6 cine in providing safe, effective, and affordable health care; and

(3) encourages the people of the United States to learn about naturopathic medicine and the role that naturopathic physicians play in preventing chronic and debilitating illnesses and conditions.

I’ve written about Sen. Mikulski’s penchant for alternative medicine woo before; indeed, she’s known for being a patron of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine and for having appeared on Dr. Mehmet Oz’s radio show to promote “integrative medicine.” This time around, Sen. Mikulski was joined by Sen. Harkin as a co-sponsor, which is not surprising. (I’m only surprised he didn’t co-sponsor last year’s resolution.) Remember that Tom Harkin, more than anyone else, was responsible for creating the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and defending it from all science-based attacks, even as he’s expressed frustration that NCCAM hasn’t validated enough of his favored woo. Joining Harkin and Mikulski are two other Senators, one of whom we’ve heard of before, namely Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), who came to our attention when she appealed to the FDA to allow McKenzie Lowe, a girl with inoperable brain cancer, to receive Stanislaw Burzynski’s antineoplastons. Then there’s Senator Angus S. King, Jr. (I-ME), of whom I’ve never heard before. At least, I didn’t know he was a woo-friendly legislator, but apparently he is. Meanwhile, in the House, there’s H. Res. 508, sponsored by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-At Large) and cosponsored by Reps. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Sam Farr (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Frank LaBiondo (R-NJ). It’s identical to the Senate version, and it passed, too. Oh, and Arizona made a similar declaration for this week.

Naturally (of course), the naturopaths are celebrating. Big time. Just take a look at the American Association of Natural Physicians (AANP) website. Naturopaths have even come up with an acronym for the theme of this year’s quackfest:

The 2014 theme is: EUREKA! The word means “I have found it” and is, according to legend, whatArchimedes exclaimed when, after long study, he made a significant discovery. Naturopathic medicine is our significant discovery – and what we want the whole world to know about! EUREKA! reflects your education and training, your patients’ realization of health, even AANP’s tagline: “Natural medicine. Real Solutions.” EUREKA! also stands for the following:

  • Empowered patients
  • Underlying cause
  • Restoring health
  • Energy
  • Knowledge
  • Active lifestyle
  • ! (so much more to learn about naturopathic medicine)

We recommend that you make EUREKA! the guiding light of your event promotion for Naturopathic Medicine Week.

I had a vision of time travel to thirty years ago, where, upon reading this, I would say, “Gag me with a spoon.” “EUREKA”? Seriously? You know what I noticed about the theme of Naturopathic Medicine Week 2014? It’s missing something. Can you guess what? It should be pretty obvious. That’s right, there’s no mention of science or evidence in the EUREKA acronym. There is, however, a mention of a lot of quackery “integrated” with seemingly reasonable dietary and lifestyle interventions, in its educational one-pager, in other words, par for the course. For example, here’s a blurb about homeopathy:

Homeopathy is a powerful system of medicine that is more than 200 years old. This medical system uses highly diluted natural sub-stances to treat illness. Some conditions that do not respond well to conventional medicine will respond to homeopathy.

Need I repeat again how homeopathy is The One Quackery To Rule Them All? If you don’t believe me, just enter the term into the search box of this blog, Science-Based Medicine, or NeuroLogica Blog. and you will find copious evidence to demonstrate just that. Or, if you don’t like bloggy sources (even though, if I do say so myself, medical and skeptic blogs tend to do a far better job of explaining why homeopathy is quackery than most of the medical literature. However, I also have two papers recently published that also explain why homeopathy is quackery, particularly this one. Come to think of it, there’s lots of evidence on the same blogs that naturopathy is quackery, but the magnum opus of explaining naturopathic quackery has to be the article by Kimball Atwood published in Medscape 11 years ago.

In any case, it’s not surprising that naturopaths would tout homeopathy because, as I explained before, you can’t have naturopathy without homeopathy. Homeopathy is considered an integral part of naturopathy, with the curricula of naturopathy schools containing lots of required homeopathy courses and the NPLEX (the naturopathic licensing examination) including a section testing candidates’ knowledge of homeopathy.

There’s lots of quackery in naturopathy, too:

Clinical Nutrition is a cornerstone of naturopathic medicine. It refers to the practice of using food to maintain health, the therapeu-tic use of food to treat illness, and the utilization of targeted vitamin and nutrient therapy, given orally and by IV, as part of their treatment plans.

And, of course, vitalism:

NDs recognize a person's innate ability to heal and remove obstacles to healing and recovery to facilitate this inherent self-healing process.

This is, as Naturocrit notes, a thinly veiled statement of vitalism, where in the job of the naturopath is to use the “vital force” to help patients heal themselves. Of course, we science-based physicians are more than aware that the body has remarkable self-healing properties, but, unlike many naturopaths, we know that these abilities are due to biology, not to any magical life force.

So here we go again. After last year’s quackfest that was Naturopathic Medicine Week, we have Naturopathic Medicine Week 2014, made official by the U.S. Congress. No wonder naturopaths have so many plans. In particular, they see to be taking a page from antivaccinationists and arranging to hit Twitter using the AANP’s Naturopathic Medicine hashtag, which they don’t actually define, although I did find it elsewhere. It’s #NMW2014. Perhaps I’ll keep an eye out for particularly egregious examples of naturopathic quackery, you know, just for this week. On the other hand, that wouldn’t be any different from a normal blogging week. After all, I often blog about egregious examples of naturopathic quackery when I encounter them.

Be that as it may, for their next trick, maybe these same Senators and Representatives will be approving a “vaccine skepticism” week, complete with an endorsement by Andrew Wakefield and Brian Hooker. It wouldn’t surprise me if they chose the first week of April, in order to coincide with Autism Awareness Month. They’re just that clueless.

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the job of the naturopath is to use the “vital force” to help patients heal themselves

So if the patients don't get better it's their failure?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 06 Oct 2014 #permalink

Hey, thanks for the mention!

I'll be thinly veiled too:

there's nothing like fake causes with solutions being offered by the fake cause creators

[NDs' and their vital force / healing power of nature, and vital force effecting treatments like homeopathy and acupuncture!]...

I play tennis with a...

racket!

Well, maybe not so veiled.

-r.c.

By naturocrit (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

"the job of the naturopath is to use the “vital force” to help patients heal themselves

So if the patients don’t get better it’s their failure?"

Don't be silly. When the patients cannot harness their "vital forces", it is because they delayed seeking out naturopaths for treatment, relying on allopaths who are unschooled in helping patients heal themselves.

The twisted beauty of being a naturoquack or a chiroquacktor or a ho-listic "healer" is that you can all congeal by some twisted law of mass action into a big enough group to fool an increasing number of people who weren't taught science and critical thinking in school. Those people, sadly, include most of our elected leaders.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

""EUREKA""?

I visited Eureka once- it was rather misty and dampish but they had excellent cafes and used book shops.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

So if the patients don’t get better it’s their failure?

Of course. Naturopathic medicine cannot fail, it can only be failed. Or at least that's what the naturopaths seem to say.

@Denice: I grew up a few miles from a road called Eureka Drive. It's an ordinary suburban arterial street, which happens to lie on a township boundary (in a state where townships have no particular meaning), but otherwise there is nothing special about it.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

I thought "eureka" was Greek for "the bath water is too hot."

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

It is amusing to me to see you copy and paste from the AANP site, thus promoting what you intend to deface. You also posted about all the great things that Naturopathic Physicians stand for and do, for that I thank you.
A two-fold promotion!! WONDERFUL!!

Why would anyone want to do away with professional, well-trained, educated and licensed doctors who help prevent and manage illness? Did you mention how many MDs are now taking "integrative medicine" courses? How about the CAM and integrative MDs who are graduating from places like George Washington Medical School?! How about talking of how the American Cancer Treatment Center actually refers their patients to AANP to help with their cancer management of care to find a ND to work with?!

You sir, are showing your uneducated and spoon-fed beliefs about medicine. When you have cancer someday, I hope that you will take an integrative approach. When you are dying of heart disease, I hope you consider changing your diet. When you are so stressed out from the hate that you expel, I hope that a good Naturopathic Physician can help you. I am sure a medical physician would agree; we live in a time where preventative and safe approaches to healthcare are essential. I hope you find the right pill to fix whatever uneducated hate-fest you spew!!
(by the way, did you actually COPY a COPYRIGHTED DOCUMENT?!!!)
Don't look now, but your lack of education is showing!

By Ronda Ramsey (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

So our congress can't get any actual legislation done, but they can create a week to celebrate woo. They grow ever more homeopathic every day.

By Kochanski (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

The medical profession sounds a lot like big oil. They don't want you to explore other options.
For the example salacilic acid (aspirin) was derived from the salix alba (white weeping willow) bark. The chemisists found the organic compounds creating aspirin. There is only one problem, nature created antioxidants and other beneficial organic chemicals that prevented the side effect of aspirin including stomach bleeding. You can't make money off bark but you can off a chemical.
The medical profession wants people to believe that they have all the answers to health problems. Yet they PRACTICE medicine.
I have suffered from a condition termed idiopathic (medical establishment term for DON'T KNOW).
The efforts to have Medicare cover these alternatives to the established medical PRACTICE, are essential for those of us who are termed idiopathic.
Why can't Americans choose. The inclusion is not quackery since all medicine, chemistry, and psychology originated from alchemy. Yes DR.s your profession originated from the true quackery of alchemy so perhaps you should not mock something you obviously can't possibly understand.

"Clinical Nutrition is a cornerstone of naturopathic medicine."
As a registered dietitian, this makes me sick. Guess I just don't have the supplements to take with this brand of kool aid.

By nutritionprof (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

@Ronda Ramsey

Please provide citations to published, high-quality scientific research supporting naturopathic practices, such as homeopathy. Thanks.

Oh, and by the way, are you familiar with the term "Fair Use"? It applies to the use of copyrighted material for the purposes of commentary, critique and education. Don't look now, but your lack of comprehension is showing.

(by the way, did you actually COPY a COPYRIGHTED DOCUMENT?!!!)
Don’t look now, but your lack of education is showing!

Might I refer you to http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html , where we read -

The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law cites examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use: “quotation of excerpts in a review or criticism for purposes of illustration or comment; quotation of short passages in a scholarly or technical work, for illustration or clarification of the author’s observations; use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied; summary of an address or article, with brief quotations, in a news report; reproduction by a library of a portion of a work to replace part of a damaged copy; reproduction by a teacher or student of a small part of a work to illustrate a lesson; reproduction of a work in legislative or judicial proceedings or reports; incidental and fortuitous reproduction, in a newsreel or broadcast, of a work located in the scene of an event being reported.”

Bolding mine.

Lack of education, indeed.

When you have cancer someday, I hope that you will take an integrative approach.

Let's see, in the past week there have been trolls wishing both autism on the children of people who vaccinate and cancer on people generally, but I think having the AANP Membership Director flatly pronouncing that people who don't buy naturopathy hook, line, and sinker will get cancer (and heart failure) is something special.

It's a shame that we have to even waste time engaging quacks like @Rhonda Ramsey in debate. What next, start arguing with characters in aluminum foil hats? The earth is not flat, disease is not caused by witchcraft, and there is no vital force. Get over it!

Why would anyone want to do away with professional, well-trained, educated and licensed doctors who help prevent and manage illness?

Please provide data to show that the people you refer to provide useful prevention and management of illness. Thanks.

When you are dying of heart disease, I hope you consider changing your diet.

It's my understanding that when someone is actually dying of heart disease that it may be too late to change one's diet.

When you are so stressed out from the hate that you expel, I hope that a good Naturopathic Physician can help you.

What do you mean by this? What would one expel because of stress? Why do you believe that Orac has too much hate? What kind of help could a Naturopathic Physician provide that would be better than what, say, a psychologist or a good walk in the woods wold do?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

imr90: "It’s a shame that we have to even waste time engaging quacks like @Rhonda Ramsey in debate"

The responses are not actually for her edification, it is for the rest of us. I, for one, appreciated the bold part of the blockquote in Johnny's comment.

I gotta say, that logo they're using is beautifully designed to appeal to a certain mindset .

By palindrom (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

Voodoo bullshit nonsense. I hope to God no one takes Rhonda's advice and takes an "integrative approach" if they're diagnosed with cancer, or the only thing they're going integrate with is the dirt covering their sorry, misinformed carcass.

When will congress declare "National Astrology Week"?!

I think Naturopathic Medicine Week is especially an insult to Physician Assistants because National Physician Assistant Week is the same week and honors actual medical professionals.

If "Rhonda Ramsey" is the same Rhonda who works for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, I find it disappointing that she is a member of what is essentially a cult.

WOW - I see that Ms. Ramsey is a "Masters Student in Clinical Research Administration"! I can't wait to see her thorough critical analysis of credible research supporting the plausibility & efficacy of homeopathy, applied kinesiology, live cell analysis, etc.

@ palindrom:

Agreed about the logo. It's entertaining to look at logos which esconce the sites of experienced woo-meisters: Mike Adams uses leaves.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

Yep, nice logo. I'd take marketing and lobbying advice from the AANP--health advice, not so much.

re: naturopath and br. cancer awareness-I just read a blog that says John Catanzaro's hearing is scheduled for Nov. He's the naturopath, with connections to the Mars Hill church, who's WA license was suspended for offering unapproved cancer treatments. I've been watching for news since originally his hearing was scheduled for August.

Eureka, Illinois? The sign on the way into town brags that it was the home of Ronald Reagan.

That should be ENSCONCE

@ Shay:
Different Eureka.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

The week of October 31st, can we have "Un-Naturopathy" week? Finding homeopathic remedies for zombies and vampires, and other unnatural creatures?

licensed doctors who help prevent ... illness
Perhaps Ronda would like to buy my tiger-preventing rock.

the naturopath, with connections to the Mars Hill church
A grifter in cahoots with a flock-fleecing mega-church? I am shocked.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

S-ReS-420. Counter Strike, I'm baaack...

Denice: I kinda figured. Last time I was there I only saw one bookshop (nice yarn store, though).

Underlying cause

Would this be a yin/yang imbalance, or misaligned chakras? Or a spinal subluxion? It's never lupus, I know that much.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

@RobRN
"When will congress declare “National Astrology Week”?!"

It wouldn't surprise me if one had been declared while Reagan was President.

By Amy Crittenden (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

This link may be of interest to those wanting to peer into the community thought of naturopaths: http://www.reddit.com/r/medicine/comments/2cm43z/read_what_naturopaths_…

Apparently, there's a much larger leaked database of emails floating around..

They are dangerous, as the original poster remarks. Intravenous H2O2? Scabbles about undefined treatment protocols? Anti-vaccination? Billing to Medicare? Their practices are quackery and often illegal!

The logo looks like a tree-man held by a pair of hands. Did they steal it from the Association for the Protection of Baby Ents?

DW: I was guessing the one in California. You must've visited it in the winter, because we were in the central valley in summer and it was so hot the squirrels and lizards were walking.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

Yazd-

I looked at the one for Graves Disease. They stated that the first they do is check for celiac or gluten intolerance. Not surprisingly, every suggestion had to do with diet and 'sensitivities'. Way to completely misunderstand the most basic aspect of the disease. There is a strong genetic component that triggers the auto immune anti-bodies that attack the body. It has nothing to do with gluten whatsoever.

Not that this should surprise me, but it is just astounding they can be so clueless about such a common and reasonably well understood disease.

Continuing my foray into those files, here are excerpts from an ND who teaches at an ND school complaining about his students:

"First off, I may be old school but I was shocked by the number
of grammar and spelling mistakes in what I would have expected
to be polished pieces of writing. In an era of spell-check and
grammar-check built into everyone's word processing software, to
have glaring mistakes in both came as a shock. I wasn't looking
for or expecting great writing, yet I wasn't expecting as many
mistakes as I found. I was tempted to send some essays back
and ask for the writer to resubmit a corrected copy."

"I teach health science courses at a local school of acupuncture
and massage therapy and I was called into to talk to the dean
becasue I apparently got low scores on my class evals by
students. It turned out, when I made him break the
aggeegate score down by class and topic, the low scores were
from one class, and it was becasue I did things like make
students take quizzes and tests in class instead of making them
take-home, I used the whole class time instead of sending them
home early, and I wouldn't give them all the exam questions
before the exams. It was interesting to start the conv being
told I got one of the worst scores in the school, then have it
end with being told I was a very good professor, lol. So I
wonder if it is a larger educational issue, either in schools
of alternative medicine, or in all the educational system, or
different expectation by students thinking they are 'entitled'
to get good grades/win just by showing up."

Wow, heaven forbid a teacher require quizzes and tests where the students weren't given the questions as take home problems prior to the test.

I went through graduate level optometry school, and the level of rigor is completely different, as I know it is for MD's and other real medical degrees.

Sounds to me like one of the problems with ND's is systemic idiocy. If they can't write essays, and balk when one (and apparently only one of their profs) requires actual tests of competence, they have zero right to attempt to be given primary care responsibility. I think I would trust the doctor in 'Idiocracy' before I would let an ND treat me. At the in 'Idiocracy' they had a machine that automated the important parts...

@ PGP:

It was in July: ( the north coast is unlike the valley which nearly broils) a land of perpetual mist, fog** and dismal greyness encouraging morose youngsters on computers in cafes to write lyrics for misery-proclaiming alternative rock songs and short novellas expressing the abysmal meaninglessness of their future.

But it's not Scotland either.

** a 30 year old told me it snowed once when he was 8.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

Eureka, Illinois? The sign on the way into town brags that it was the home of Ronald Reagan.

I'm pretty sure there's no such sign here.

Not surprisingly, every suggestion had to do with diet and ‘sensitivities’. Way to completely misunderstand the most basic aspect of the disease.

That is inevitable, given the "We address Underlying Causes while conventional medicine just cures symptoms" part of the grift.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

@EBMOD

From "Bad Numbers II" message 2

"we spent a lot of money and time to set up
a residency. It was a complete failure – a very expensive
failure. The reason for this is that a first year resident is a
financial liability. They are like an infant – they require
constant support, supervision, and guidance. This is not
because they are incompetent but because the gap between your own established level of care and their still forming level of care is wide, and you have a brand and reputation to protect."

This statements contradicts the arguments coming from the AANP that naturopaths are ready to practice right out of graduation. More critically, the practice director writing this is concerned about a new resident messing up his reputation but not hurting patients with inexperience! This makes me sick to my stomach.

Nard --Even leaving out the fact that the Sun-Times makes me want to kick someone (preferably on their editorial staff), I think the idea that there's money to be made off a Reagan relic is pretty absurd. Eureka has not exactly become a Mecca for Reagan fans.

For reasons that escape but infuriate me, my tablet will not let me type n a r a d without auto-correcting it to the monosyllable above.

They are dangerous, as the original poster remarks.

The "tick bite black salve" entry is pretty good. One path to "Dr." Kathleen Riley leads here.

"Using organ liquescence mixtures we are able to gradually strengthen digestion, liver, and kidney assimilation and detox. Combined counseling and Flower Essence therapy were given to address the anorexic tendencies and PTSD from being a teen that was unable to participate socially due to debilitating joint pains and headaches. Once she was strong enough and able to tolerate the strong botanical combinations necessary to kill off persistent Lyme and co-infections her life turned around."

This appears to be the only use of "organ liquescence" or "liquescence mixtures" known to G—le.

While IMHO it's a waste of time to engage trolls, I'll take an employee of a professional organization appearing to write on behalf of that group as possibly-something-more than a troll.

However, it appears Ronda Ramsey MAY have inflated her status a bit on her Linked-In page, where she identifies herself as "Membership Director at American Association of Naturopathic Physicians." The AANP website however, lists Ms. Ramsey as "Membership Associate", and places her last in the list of staff. Her ignorance of copyright, ettiquette and basic human decency may not be representative of the AANP. Maybe Orac could inquire with AANP President Kasra Pournadeali about the organization's official stance on such matters as how board-certified surgical oncologists count as "uneducated", whether naturopathy can actually predict he will contract cancer and heart disease, exactly how changing his diet is supposed to help after he is not only already dying from heart disease but has tumors waiting to metasticize should his ticker make a miraculous recovery, how anybody in DC knows what he eats now anyway, and whether naturopathy proposses his stress will be reduced by bottling up his 'hate' of naturpathic quackery rather than expelling it.

Ms. Ramsey's status notwithstanding, her comment did lead me to the AANP website, where one-click in I was greeted with an animated display of logos of the AANP's many "corporate partners". My gut feeling is that some of these companies may be a bit scammy. I'm wondering how representative this list is of the woo-industrial complex, what kind of power and profit these firms command. Who owns the stock. That sort of stuff. If anyone knowledgable in such matters wants to have a look: http://www.naturopathic.org/corporatepartners

the strong botanical combinations

Green Chartreuse, perhaps. Or gin.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

Green Chartreuse, perhaps. Or gin.

I'm mildy committed to ensuring that Malört is never really off topic.

I am committed to offering a safe method of disposal for any bottles of Becherovka or Gammel Dansk or Vana Tallinn that people might find themselves in possession of.
Avoid organ liquescence! Take those bottles to a trained professional!

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

Organ liquescence is a great dip for lomticks of toasted salt-rising bread enhancing the delicate Clostridium perfringens aroma of the bread.

From the looks of all these comments you all have no idea what Naturopathic Medical school actually entails. Come spend a day with me as a student and we'll see if it's not "real" medical school. This thread isn't even worth going into details because it is so ridiculous and close minded.

Avoid organ liquescence! Take those bottles to a trained professional!

I'm quite sure that my dad had a 3 σ outlier* in terms of recycling variety last month.

* Yes, a space. Long story.

Eureka (and most of the rest of the north coast) is a place where it is always November or February. It's why Humboldt County became famous for a certain plant of ill-repute--there has to be some way to endure the place...

By brewandferment (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

Eureka Springs, AR? nice little tourist trappy town. great no-biker biker bar (Pied Piper. order the scotch egg)

and coming from MD, my apologies to you all on my state's behalf. I did send a note to the good senator. Ahh well.

EBMOD: ND who teaches at an ND school complaining about his students: “I teach health science courses at a local school of acupuncture and massage therapy and I was called into to talk to the dean becasue I apparently got low scores on my class evals by"
Your comment quotes him as saying that he works at an acupuncture and massage school, which is not the same as a ND school. That doesn't exactly speak well as to the credibility of your argument then.

Cancer Treatment Centers of America is on the partner list. I wondered about them the second I heard the first commercial. My BS meter pegged itself.

By Kelly M Bray (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

Shay: My gut feeling is that some of these companies may be a bit scammy.

Shay, I regret to inform you that you made a typo. "Some' should've been "all"

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 07 Oct 2014 #permalink

@JA

Perhaps you can help us out, since Ms. Ramsey seems to have been simply a post-and-run sort. Could you enlighten us with some of the robust science that backs up naturopathic practices like homeopathy? Much appreciated.

Eureka. Uh-huh. Pronounced You Reek Of.
What ND reeks of to me is Bovine Excrement.

Hey, now: Naturopathy is a PERFECT cure for fatwalletitis. True story.

By R.w.Foster (not verified) on 08 Oct 2014 #permalink

I rather have a cure for thinwalletitis. Perhaps becoming a ND would be the solution? Alas I'm to honest for that.

So, preliminary studies undertaken by national insurance companies show substantial savings (up to 73%*) and greatly improved health endpoints when naturopathic doctors are in-network. More studies need to be done, but this certainly should inspire some curiosity- our current healthcare system is not sustainable as it is, and doesn't provide nearly the beneficial health outcomes as in other Western countries, even though it spends the most by far. We have doctors who are specialists in so many areas already, but if a specialist in natural medicine can benefit patients and our healthcare system alike, this should be explored further and be made available for patients to choose when appropriate, and not simply dismissed as "quackery." *Referenced link:
http://aanp.membershipsoftware.org/files/About_Naturopathic_Medicine/fa…

@Jason

"EBMOD: ND who teaches at an ND school complaining about his students: “I teach health science courses at a local school of acupuncture and massage therapy and I was called into to talk to the dean becasue I apparently got low scores on my class evals by”
Your comment quotes him as saying that he works at an acupuncture and massage school, which is not the same as a ND school. That doesn’t exactly speak well as to the credibility of your argument then."

Ah, good catch. My apologies for missing that. It was all part of the same wall of text on the site, apparently they shifted perspectives in there. As such, I retract the claim of the second paragraph being by an ND prof. Double checking it though, the first paragraph was indeed from the ND teaching at an ND school.

And that still doesn't change the fact that ND's teach things like homeopathy, H2O2 injections, and chelation which are require a mind boggling amount of ignorance to implement. So the overall argument is still pretty darn credible...

@JA

"From the looks of all these comments you all have no idea what Naturopathic Medical school actually entails. Come spend a day with me as a student and we’ll see if it’s not “real” medical school. This thread isn’t even worth going into details because it is so ridiculous and close minded."

Bullshit. If you can show evidence as to why ND's are competent, we are willing to listen. Just what part are you disagreeing with? Do you NOT believe in homeopathy? Do you NOT believe that Graves disease is caused by gluten? Stating that you are 'above' going into details is disingenuous and nothing more than an excuse.

Explain precisely why we are being so 'closed minded'. Are we misrepresenting ND's? Are we ascribing therapies to your profession that are no longer used? We're open to cogent arguments if you have them.

Why would anyone want to do away with professional, well-trained, educated and licensed doctors who help prevent and manage illness?

No one wants to. It's naturopaths--not professional, well-trained, educated and licensed doctors who help prevent and manage illness--that are the problem.

schoosda: "So, preliminary studies undertaken by national insurance companies show substantial savings (up to 73%*) and greatly improved health endpoints when naturopathic doctors are in-network.....*Referenced link:"

Schoosda, now think very hard on why we would believe the referenced link might have a bias. Especially if we the actual reference abstract. Now if you can provide an unbiased study we may take it as evidence.

Schoosda, now think very hard on why we would believe the referenced link might have a bias. Especially if we the actual reference abstract.

The Paterson et al. entry in Table 1 is pretty funny: It reports a cost savings of $26 from the use of homeopathy in dyspepsia, with the footnote "excludes the cost of homeopathy ($191)."

What's actually going on is that they were looking at costs to the NHS. That is, homeopathy potentized $26 NHS dollars into a $191 out-of-pocket cost for the patient.

I only glanced at the reference I listed, but I don't recall seeing anything about vaccine preventable illnesses. Since we know that kids who are not vaccinated get sick with those diseases more often: how does save insurance companies money?

With that, and what Narad pointed out, that is why we need an unbiased study.

The Paterson et al. entry in Table 1 is pretty funny: It reports a cost savings of $26 from the use of homeopathy in dyspepsia, with the footnote “excludes the cost of homeopathy ($191).”

Well, sure if you're going to actually read the paper and look at the tables it all falls apart, but who in their right mind is going to do that?

[/sarcasm]

Oh Orac, as always you generalize and throw every idea that doesn't fit your limited medical model view out the window. Granted, homeopathy sounds fishy (and therefore I don't use it), you can't just disregard every natural and alternative method out there by labeling it "quackery".

I've had migraines since the onset of puberty, and have tried a multitude of treatments mainstream medicine had to offer for 10 long and painful years. Nothing worked. I'd been to neurologists, doctors, took prescriptions meds, identified triggers, had CAT scans, MRIs etc you name it. It wasn't until I adopted a holistic lifestyle (changing the way I eat, supplements, exercise, getting rid of all household and personal products with chemical ingredients, specific herbs that have been studied and proven my MAINSTREAM SCIENCE to help migraines- ei: feverfew, butterbur and the like) that I started getting better. I can now say the number, frequency and severity of those migraines have been drastically reduced. I actually have some quality to my life now, and it's in part thanks to the two naturopathic physicians that I've worked with over the years. Their careful guidance has helped in such a way that someone like you would never understand.

But I guess pointing this out to you is useless, considering that you're probably just going to yell "QUACKERY! Watch out for the quackery" with your fingers blocking your ears.

Looks like big pharma is paying you a lot of money (as they do with many doctors) to jibber on about how it is only allopathic medical model that one should follow (I'd just like to point out that allopathy has its place and has many benefits as well- before you throw me under the bus and call me an alternative medicine nut). Either that, or you're just so brainwashed that it actually astounds me.

Time for my anecdote: I too suffered from debilitating migraines as a teenager and young adult. The kind that would force me to miss school or work and just hide in a quiet, dark room for 10 or 12 hours or even longer until it passed.

And then, one day, the migraines just stopped. No witch doctors, no essential oils, no acupuncture, no supplements, no holistic nonsense, they just stopped. Had I gone to any kind of crackpot naturo-whatever they no doubt would have taken credit for the cessation of the migraines due to their expensive potions and pills.

And A, you DO realize that most naturopathy (except and specifically homeopathy) is also "allopathic" as defined by homeopathy's founder? It's also an idiotic, irrelevant term to be using in 2014, if you had any understanding of what it was intended to mean over 200 years ago.

By Woo Fighter (not verified) on 10 Oct 2014 #permalink

@a

Pulling out the old pharma shill gambit? You do realize it makes your assertions look ridiculous.

@A: getting rid of all household and personal products with chemical ingredients

what on earth? do you mean you use distilled water for everything?

By brewandferment (not verified) on 10 Oct 2014 #permalink

do you mean you use distilled water for everything?

Water is hydrogen, a very flammable gas, and oxygen, a very aggressive corrosive. No thinking person would allow these in their home.

The only acceptable cleaner is a vaccum. Vaccums are the only thing with no chemicals.

/sarcasm

The only acceptable cleaner is a vaccum.

No no no! I am given to understand that Nature abhors them.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 10 Oct 2014 #permalink

I used to get regular migraines that stopped when I was in my early 40s. I also used to get hay fever which has also now disappeared. Like Woo Fighter, if I had happened to have been using some CAM treatment when this happened I would have been tempted to think it was responsible.

Drinking only distilled water is common in CAM - you will see water distillers on sale on many woo websites. I can remember reading furious arguments about whether distilled water is a) good for you because it contains no nasty chemicals or b) bad for you because it leaches essential minerals from your body. Tap water may be a useful source of calcium and magnesium, so drinking distilled water seems to me to be counterproductive.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 10 Oct 2014 #permalink

This picture appears to be how ND students at Bastyr learn or apply organic chemistry for their treatments. Or maybe it's a little example of a credit hour. This is elementary nonsense.

http://instagram.com/p/uBFo1nO6Ds/

This picture appears to be how ND students at Bastyr learn or apply organic chemistry for their treatments.

I guess Jatropha oil is good to go, then.

"... getting rid of all household and personal products with chemical ingredients"
That reminds me of the dolt that was stinking up the steamroom with methyl 2-hydroxybenzoate while claiming his liniment didn't have any chemicals in it.
I wonder if it is counted among the fungacidal (sic) esters in the pic Yazd linked to. Would it count if you got it from rootbeer? (I used to enjoy the occasional rootbeer. Then I found out it contains wintergreen and now I can't stand the stuff because it always tastes and smells too strongly of exactly the same amount of wintergreen it had back when I still liked it.)

I'm guessing that this was some sort of public offering. Jordanna is Benescentials.

Holy G-d, for around $500 you will be taught, inter alia, "isomers and chirality" by...

Jimm Harrison, Cosmetologist and Certified Aromatherapist

Also, Bastyr is a “fragrance-free” campus.

I guess everybody is presumed to have already done that undergrad vanillin O-chem thingamabob.

I'll stop now.

Wait a minute - on top of the course fee you have to buy stuff from the instructor?

It shouldn't matter who made the oils should it?

At least the website says there's still plenty of room in the class

During the cholera outbreak in London, the leading physicians and scientists at the time believed that cholera was caused by poisonous gases. In fact, it was ridiculed that it could arise from germs. The person who suggested the unpopular belief had no scientific reason to suggest this! However, the principles and foresight that became of this lead to principles we use today in outbreak investigations..and he became known as the father of epidemiology. I caution those that attribute traditional science as the end-all and know-all of things. Science itself has an element of time factored into it. Therefore, what may be true now may not be in the future. After all, how did you feel when they took Pluto out of the list of planets?

In fact, there is no scientific reason to invalidate homeopathy especially if substances are a composite of smaller things we study in the lab as a pure, isolated form. In fact, lab science often weakens when we don't include the several interactions that are in play in vivo. The only difference is that homeopathy takes a wholistic approach rather than an isolated one. Truth is...both practices actually compliment one another rather than serve as being mutually exclusive.

By squiddlyadmirer (not verified) on 05 Nov 2014 #permalink

In fact, there is no scientific reason to invalidate homeopathy especially if substances are a composite of smaller things we study in the lab as a pure, isolated form.

This statement is simply false. Potency does not increase with succussion and dilution. The Law of Similars--the idea that substances that cause specific symptoms are effective treatments for disease which causes those same symptoms is false. Any dilution that exceeds Avogadro's number --beyond 10 ^23rd--will be biologically, chemically and physiologically indistinguishable from pure diluent.

Even more, there's a large body of evidence in the form of appropriately designed, controlled and blinded clinical trials which demonstrate homeopathic treatments are no more effective better than placebos.

Therefore, what may be true now may not be in the future. After all, how did you feel when they took Pluto out of the list of planets?

That Pluto was what it had always been-i.e., what had been true in the past was still ture and would be true in the future--and we'd just embraced a more accurate definition to describe it..

What a bunch of strawman arguments there....there is no plausible reason & in fact the very notion of homeopathy violates several basic laws of physics, to show that it works at all....

@jgc:
You seem like a pup..albeit a dumb one..so I'll help you along your way.
You're refering to dose-dependent effect...While you mention potency...you alway fail to mention effectivity. If you've taken enzymology and/or done any bench science (other than googling), you'll understand that dilution can be more effective than higher concentrations...e.g. concentration inhibition of operons. And yes, we work with dilutions all the time to show concentration effects. That being said, dose-dependency is not the thing to consider in determining causal association...another is biological plausibility, stregnth, consistency...etc...On top of that, each field has their own postulates...e.g.Kock's postulates for determining disease.
In regards to Avogadro's 'constant'....you'll have to remember this is a unitless number....so you've scientifically argued yourself into a corner....what is the scientific reason for comparing concentrations to a unitless numbers. Please don't fail your education by claiming that's what you read in a textbook. The dilution you're speaking of was set as a rule of thumb..not a law.
Finally, while there is no argument that there are papers to suggest experiments do or don't work. Taken together, they don't constitute a reason to invalide the field of homeopathy itself. That amounts to no more than Tom Cruise reading a handful of articles and claiming a universal... depression is really not a mental disorder?! This is called reader's bias.

One of our departments actually does clinical trials using homeopathic treatments....so stay tuned...lol. Please don't cite us anything less than 2009 from your literature search (if you haven't already).

Ummm...it was knowledge that "Pluto was a planet in our solar system." It is now true that "Pluto is no a planet in our solar system." What don't you understand about that? You can try to pretend to look educated by dressing up what you think you know about epistemology (pun...lol)....but you're actually arguing yourself to a loss.

By squiddlyadmirer (not verified) on 05 Nov 2014 #permalink

In regards to Avogadro’s ‘constant’….you’ll have to remember this is a unitless number

Huh? My wikipedia says that it has units, and gives its values for three different systems of units in a convenient table. Maybe someone vandalized it.

By justthestats (not verified) on 05 Nov 2014 #permalink

Wow, what a burning pile of stupid that is....you are talking about dilution to the point where not a single atom of the original substance exists within the solution.

Please explain how this "dose" does anything other than represent the taking of water (or a sugar pill). By what "exact" method is this supposed to work?

" ... a burning pile of stupid ..."
I donnow. I'm not convinced you could get so much as a single photon or a yoctojoule (one C-twelfth of a joule) out of that if you doused it with a hogshead of ether and tried to set it alight.
What is it with kooks and ellipsis abuse?

Avogadro’s ‘constant’….[...] is a unitless number
You'd think that "the mole (abbreviation: mol) is one of the seven base units in the International System of Units (SI)" would be a bit of a giveaway.

Are we to infer from the scare quotes that Avogadro's number is not a constant?

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 05 Nov 2014 #permalink

@squiddlyadmirer

.what is the scientific reason for comparing concentrations to a unitless numbers. Please don’t fail your education by claiming that’s what you read in a textbook. The dilution you’re speaking of was set as a rule of thumb..not a law.

Let's go over it again, using an example. Suppose you wanted to make a homeopathic solution of sulfur. Sulfur is an element with an atomic mass of 32. One mole of sulfur is 32 grams, and that would be 6.02 x 10^23 atoms of sulfur. The smallest amount of sulfur that is still sulfur is 1 atom. Questions so far?

OK, good. Suppose you took 32 grams of sulfur and dissolved it in water to make 100ml of solution. Then take 1 ml of that out - if you mixed everything perfectly, then you'd have .32 grams of sulfur mixed in that 1ml of solution. That would be 6x10^21 atoms

Now mix that 1ml with water to make 100ml. How much sulfur is in the total new solution? Yes, you in the back are correct, it's .32 grams, or 6x10^21 atoms.

OK, repeat the process. Now you have a new 100ml solution with 6x10^19 atoms of sulfur. Let's call that a 3C solution. Every time you repeat that, the new solution has 1/100 as much sulfur as the previous solution. Thus a 2C solution has 1/100 as much as a 1C; a 3C has 1/100 as much as a 2C (or 1/10000 as much as a 1C); and so on.

If you do the math, then:
1C 6x10^23 atoms
2C 6x10^21 atoms
3C 6x10^19 atoms
4C 6x10^17 atoms
5C 6x10^15 atoms
6C 6x10^13 atoms
7C 6*10^11 atoms
8C 6*10^9 atoms
9C 6*10^7 atoms
10C 6x10^5 atoms
11C 6x10^3 atoms
12C 60 atoms

At this point we have to change to probabilities, since you can't have less than one atom of a substance. If you take out 1ml of our 12C solution and use it to mix 100ml of solution, there's a 60% chance you have one atom of sulfur (well, if you don't mix it well you might have more, but this will even out in further dilution). Thus:
13C 60% chance of one atom
14C 0.6% chance of one atom
15C 0.006% chance of one atom
16C 0.00006% chance of one atom

If you have a 30C solution, the odds are 6x10^-53% that there will be a single atom of sulfur in the final 100ml of solution. If your dose is 10ml, then the odds are even worse.

That's why Avogadro's number is brought into this.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 05 Nov 2014 #permalink

@squiddlyadmirer - after reading my message you may be saying to yourself, "Self", you say to yourself, "Self, that's all well and good but what if they start with MORE than 32 grams of sulfur? Suppose," you continue to yourself, "that they use 32 kilograms of sulfur instead?"

It's been a while, I'll admit, and I don't recall if you can dissolve 32 kg of sulfur in 100g of water. But suppose you could?

Why, then at 12C you'd have 60,000 atoms in 100ml of solution. Then at 13C you'd have 600, then at 14C you'd have 6, then at 15C you'd have a 6% chance of one atom, then at 16C you'd have a .06% chance of one atom, and by 30C your odds of having nothing but water would be so close to 100% it makes no difference.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 05 Nov 2014 #permalink

You’d think that “the mole (abbreviation: mol) is one of the seven base units in the International System of Units (SI)” would be a bit of a giveaway.

Perhaps it was thinking of the fine-structure "constant."

During the cholera outbreak in London, the leading physicians and scientists at the time believed that cholera was caused by poisonous gases. In fact, it was ridiculed that it could arise from germs. The person who suggested the unpopular belief had no scientific reason to suggest this! However, the principles and foresight that became of this lead to principles we use today in outbreak investigations..and he became known as the father of epidemiology.

Leaving aside that Snow didn't invoke "germs" as far as I recall, one might note that Hahnemann did explicitly invoke "miasms" in the Organon. Is there a point here? Homeopathy sure the hell hasn't "advanced" in the meantime.

M.O'B.,

It’s been a while, I’ll admit, and I don’t recall if you can dissolve 32 kg of sulfur in 100g of water. But suppose you could?

Not that it affects your argument, but sulfur is insoluble in water. Back in the mists of time we used to sprinkle flowers of sulfur on urine to see if it floated or sank*, the latter indicated the presence of bile salts.

* Not for fun, in my basement stacked to the ceiling with mason jars full of urine, but as a diagnostic test in a clinical biochemistry lab.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 06 Nov 2014 #permalink

During the cholera outbreak in London, the leading physicians and scientists at the time believed that cholera was caused by poisonous gases. In fact, it was ridiculed that it could arise from germs. The person who suggested the unpopular belief had no scientific reason to suggest this! However, the principles and foresight that became of this lead to principles we use today in outbreak investigations..and he became known as the father of epidemiology.
What do you mean, "no scientific reason" ? From what I read, he made a lot of rigorous and precise observations, he didn't pull his idea out of the aether. At first they were simply interesting but insufficient to prove his case (especially since the miasm theory seemed to make sense at the time). Then he collected much more solid data from the 1854 outbreak . That sounds like plenty of scientific reasons to me, enough to overcome the miasm theory once others replicated his observations.
http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2007/06/12/the-outbreak-that-shaped-t…
Also, scientific methodology in medicine was just evolving, thanks to works on bloodletting among others. Tradition still had a lot of weight compared to the evidence presented by Snow.
So, yes you can't say a theory is wrong simply because it doesn't follow the prevalent theory of the time. However, you can't either expect to be automatically vindicated as time passes ; you have to always look for better evidence.

(Regarding my opinion on homeopathy, I don't care about pontificating on why it works or ridiculing its principles since some pretty counterintuitive ideas can be true. I simply don't have the basis in physics and biology to determine what is more coherent.
However, I'm far more interested on its real efficacy ; "Does it really work ?". This is the part where I remain unsatisfied.)

@Krebiozen - thanks for that. I was thinking it was insoluble in water, but seeing that you can buy Boiron Sulphur 30C or Hyland's Sulphur 30X (to name but two) - neither of which should have an atom of sulfur in it even if you start with the clearly ludicrous solutions I mentioned - someone might have argued that, well, insoluble doesn't mean it can't be dissolved...

Naturally, insoluble is a relative term. You're quite right - even the first dilution will have negligible sulfur in solution and the point where you get to no probability that there will be a single atom of sulfur in a dose comes much more quickly.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 06 Nov 2014 #permalink

@LouV - I agree with you. The key information is whether homeopathy actually works. The fact that the underlying principles are, well, not well supported by science means that the amount of proof needed is rather high. The additional fact that many homeopathic remedies should be indistinguishable from placebo by any known test increases the need for proof.

If someone shows rather conclusive evidence that it works in ways that cannot be explained by current chemistry, physics, and biology - well, then, it's time to look at that evidence.

Much like perpetual motion machines, though - it seems incredibly unlikely that the evidence is out there.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 06 Nov 2014 #permalink

The person who suggested the unpopular belief had no scientific reason to suggest this!

Science is about investigating natural phenomenons and deriving an idea, a theory of how things are working. But apparently, someone who is doing such investigation is not a scientist.

Ah, I see. A scientist is some old dude in a dusty office who does nothing but stifle innovation. On the other hand, a discoverer is Not a Scientist, but just This Bright Guy (or sometimes Lass).
Someone has some daddy issues, doesn't he?

And on top of this, some scientifically illiterate goon is lecturing us because Pluto, due to its small size and other peculiarities, is now labelled a dwarf planet by astronomers.

Funny that.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 06 Nov 2014 #permalink

You seem like a pup..albeit a dumb one..so I’ll help you along your way.

In my late 50’s, I doubt anyone would refer to me as a ‘pup’

You’re refering to dose-dependent effect…”\

I’m simply pointing out that the extreme dilutions homeopathy typically uses has never been shown to result in increasing chemical or biologic potency. If you’ve credible evidence to the contrary by all means provide it.

While you mention potency…you alway fail to mention effectivity.

“Effectivity”? Do you perhaps mean efficacy?

If you’ve taken enzymology and/or done any bench science (other than googling), you’ll understand that dilution can be more effective than higher concentrations…e.g. concentration inhibition of operons.

For what it’s worth I’ve been employed as a research biologist/molecular biologist/immunologist for more than 30 years, all of which I’ve spent as a bench scientist. I presume what you’re referring to here is the characteristic sigmoidal dose-response curves most biologically molecules display. Note that they aren’t found display increased activity at extreme dilutions such as used in homeopathic preparatons, but instead typically exhibit a linear curve bounded by upper and lower plateaus.

The only exception to this I can think of off the top of my head is the hook effect often seen in ELISA assays, due to double-armed binding to the capture antibody/protein masking epitopes and preventing detector molecules from binding.

Most dose response curves have a range of 3 orders of magnitude, sometimes (at best) 5 orders. No one to the best of my knowledge has ever demonstrated increased biological or chemical activity at the extreme dilutions (e.g., 30C) homeopaths routinely employ.

I’ll note in passing that ‘operon’ refers to a cluster of gene sequences under the control of common promoter sequence, and I fail to see how concentration inhibition of gene expression supports the notion that the extreme dilutions used in homeopathy result in increased potency. Surely you’re not arguing that all homeopathic treatments act by altering gene expression?

And yes, we work with dilutions all the time to show concentration effects. That being said, dose-dependency is not the thing to consider in determining causal association…another is biological plausibility, stregnth, consistency…etc…

Homeopathy possesses no biological plausibility, however. At the dilutions used by homeopaths (in excess of 10^23rd) no molecule of the original compound will be present in the final preparation and it is indistinguishable biologically and chemically from pure solvent.

On top of that, each field has their own postulates…e.g.Kock’s postulates for determining disease.

Homeopathy’s “postulates”—the law of susceptibility, the law of similar, the law of infinitessimals, etc.—have been proven false.

In regards to Avogadro’s ‘constant’….you’ll have to remember this is a unitless number….

It’s no more unitless than is 'dozen'. Just as the unit of a dozen is 'egg's if describing a dozen eggs or 'doughnuts' if describing a dozen doughnuts, the unit for Avogadro’s number is “atoms” if you’re describing a mole of a pure element, “molecules” if describing a mole of a pure compound, etc.

what is the scientific reason for comparing concentrations to a unitless numbers

Not unitless, and it demonstrates that at dilutions above 10 to the 23rd no molecule of the original (diluted) compound will be present in the final preparation: that preparation will be indistinguishable from pure solvent. (Haven’t we already covered this?)

Please don’t fail your education by claiming that’s what you read in a textbook. The dilution you’re speaking of was set as a rule of thumb..not a law.

What dilution are you referring to? If you mean Avogadro's number, it was empirically determined, not set as a rule of thumb.

Finally, while there is no argument that there are papers to suggest experiments do or don’t work. Taken together, they don’t constitute a reason to invalide the field of homeopathy itself.

The fact that homeopathy hs no biological plausibility, that for the principles of homeopathy to be accurate literally everything we know to be true regarding chemistry, phsyics, biology and physiology must be wrong, that there is no evidence which demonstrates homeopathy is any more effective at treating non-self-limiting injuries and illness than appropriate placebos and that there is evidence that homeopathy operates by no mechanism other than placebo effects are entirely sufficient reasons to conclude that the it and its principles are invalid.

That amounts to no more than Tom Cruise reading a handful of articles and claiming a universal… depression is really not a mental disorder?! This is called reader’s bias.

Of course, when he does so those who hold the opposing view can provide a far greater number of articles in credible peer-reviewedscientific journals demonstrating his conclusion is false.

Can you do the same to demonstrate that homeopathy is in fact more effective than placebo treatments at treating non-self-limiting injuries and illnesses?

One of our departments actually does clinical trials using homeopathic treatments….so stay tuned…lol.

In other words, just maybe you’ll have something somehow resembling evidence in support of your assertions somedau soon, the good lord willing?

Please don’t cite us anything less than 2009 from your literature search (if you haven’t already).

You're teh one claiming homeopathy is effective: it's your obligation to support that claim.

We can make it as easy as possible for you to do so, if you like, by identifying whatever you personally believe to be the single most credible and compelling clinical study demonstrating homeopathy is effective at treating a non-self-limiting injury and illness, so we can all discuss it. Before 2009, after 2009—doesn’t matter.

Ummm…it was knowledge that “Pluto was a planet in our solar system.” It is now true that “Pluto is no a planet in our solar system.” What don’t you understand about that?

The part where you suggested established fact had changed, rather than our understanding of what solar and extra-solar bodies represent planets.

Does anyone know what homeopaths use for water in making their nostrums? Even water purified to USP standards for parenterals is going to contain solutes vastly higher in concentrations than target dilutions. Everything in the water would get the same spanking as the magic ingredient. "Pure" products would be impossible. Dilutions of 30C, even if Avogadro didn't stick his rostrum in and mutter Neanche per sogno!, could not be even remotely approached for many solutes. (I haven't found anything "definitive' on how elemental sulfur is processed for dilution, but sulfate ion conc. in USP water is limited to 1 ppm. Even at 1 ppb, it totally blows the notion of even 5C sulfur, unless ions don't count) Though ultrapure water much better than USP water is available today (there are some kooky ideas about it), I doubt if h'prats are using it and ol' Sam probably would have had, at best, single-distilled water available.
Then there's the issue of what will leach out of glass that hasn't been through elaborate cleaning.

Anyone know what year Av's no. was changed from 6.0235... to 6.022...? I've had no luck finding that little tidbit. There's still lots of stuff on the web, including at uni's, that uses the former value.

@squiddlyadmirer #92

I think you mean 'dimensionless unit'

@LouV #102

Yea, I *think* herbalism started getting quashed when bloodletting came along. You know, because of potheads and witches and stuff.

Does anyone know what homeopaths use for water in making their nostrums?

As Dullman never tires of stating, it's "double-distilled water."

Even water purified to USP standards for parenterals is going to contain solutes vastly higher in concentrations than target dilutions.

As per Tim Minchin's song Storm

It's a miracle! Take physics and bin it!
Water has memory!
And while it's memory of a long lost drop of onion juice is Infinite
It somehow forgets all the poo it's had in it!

doug @ 107

Anyone know what year Av’s no. was changed from 6.0235… to 6.022…?

The most recent publication I have is from 2011 (based crystal structure of silica): 6.02214078 x 10^23
http://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.030801

It’s been 6.022 x 10^23 longer than that. My Gen Chem textbooks going back to 2008 have it as 6.0221412 x 10^23 - consistent with the number reference by Wikipedia (also 2008).

And yes, "per mole" is a unit.

Chemmomo, I found some info at NIST. It was 6.022... in 1973. It looks like that may have been the "official" year, but I have to look at the 1969 doc (a scan, so not searchable). It does surprise me that there are so many things on the net, including worked problems for high school students, that use the old value - doesn't change the methods, or course.

Narad, I should (well, perhaps not) have thought of Dullman. Lord that guy is dim.
There is something on his site about a woman whose skin problem didn't clear up with hp sulfur. He says it was because she worked where sulfur was being sprayed on fruit (?! - sulfites or sulfur dioxide probably, elemental sulfur I think not), and she was actually "proving" sulfur. She got better after she changed jobs. Sounds like pretty ordinary sulfite sensitivity reaction to me.

I'm willing to stipulate that water forgets everything it ever knew upon distillation. No more horrible nightmares from carrying around Farmer George's purple pee. But double distillation still isn't likely to get sulfur content down below 5 or 6 C. I guess the sulfur in food, tap water and air don't count because there is no intent.