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Headline Homoeopathy

The Snooks June 2014


This animation helps to explain what individualised homeopathic treatment is all about, and how it could be the safe, gentle and non-toxic healthcare choice you've been looking for. Meet the Snooks and enjoy this series of short animations about homeopathy. The Snooks will take you on a journey to discover the benefits of homeopathy and what to expect as a patient when seeking professional, individualised homeopathic treatment 

           The Huffington Post UK 14/9/11

 The Disinformation Campaign Against Homeopathy                                       by Dana Ullman

Dana Ullman, M.P.H. (Masters in Public Health, U.C. Berkeley) and is widely recognized as the foremost spokesperson for homeopathic medicine in the U.S.

Homeopathic medicine is at present one of the leading alternative therapies practiced by physicians in Europe (particularly France, Germany, UK and Italy) and Asia, especially on the Indian subcontinent (EU Commission, 1997; Prasad, 2007). Since homeopathy's development as a medical specialty in the early 1800s, it has been a leading alternative to orthodox medicine internationally, and it has posed an ongoing threat to the scientific, philosophical and economics of conventional medical care.

The homeopathic approach to healing maintains a deep respect for symptoms of illness as important defenses of a person's immune and defense system. While conventional medicine often tends to assume that symptoms are something "wrong" with the person that need to be treated, inhibited, suppressed or biochemically manipulated, homeopaths tend to assume that symptoms are important defenses of the organism that are most effectively resolved when treatments nurture, nourish or mimic the symptoms in order to initiate a healing process. Ultimately, these two different approaches to healing people have led to various conflicts.

It is common, for instance, for homeopaths to question the alleged "scientific" studies that conventional drugs are "effective" as treatments because of concern that many of these treatments tend to suppress symptoms or disrupt the complex inner ecology of the body and create much more serious illness. Just as opiate drugs of the 19th century gave the guise of healing, homeopaths contend that many modern-day drugs provide blessed short-term relief but create immune dysfunction, mental illness and other chronic disease processes in its wake. Further, the fact that most people today are prescribed multiple drugs concurrently, despite the fact that clinical research is rarely conducted showing the safety or efficacy of such practices, forces us all to question how scientific modern medicine truly is.

Homeopaths contend that increased rates of cancer, heart disease, chronic fatigue and various chronic diseases for increasingly younger people may result from conventional medicine's suppression of symptoms and disease processes. It is therefore no surprise that conventional physicians and Big Pharma have a long and dark history of working together to attack homeopathy and homeopaths.

The antagonism against homeopathy began when the highly-respected Saxon physician Samuel Hahnemann, M.D., first developed the system in the early 1800s. Hahnemann was a translator of leading medical and pharmacology texts and the author of the leading textbook used by pharmacists of his day.

Despite Hahnemann's high stature in medicine, pharmacology and chemistry, his strong critique of conventional medicine led to personal attacks against him by orthodox physicians as well as by the apothecaries (the drug makers of that time) who were philosophically and economically threatened by Hahnemann's work. When homeopathy arrived in America in 1825, it grew rapidly due to its widely-recognized success in treating infectious disease epidemics that raged in the early and mid-1800s. Then, when the American Institute of Homeopathy became the first national medical organization in 1844, a rival organization developed that proposed to stop the growth of homeopathy (Rothstein, 1985, p. 232). That organization called itself the American Medical Association, and this organization worked relentlessly to diminish the popularity and influence of this natural medicine.

Paul Starr's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "The Social Transformation of American Medicine," acknowledged the stature that homeopathy achieved in America in the mid-and later 19th century:

"Because homeopathy was simultaneously philosophical and experimental, it seemed to many people to be more rather than less scientific than orthodox medicine" (p. 97).

U.S. President William McKinley even dedicated a special monument to Dr. Hahnemann in Washington, D.C., in 1900, which still stands today as the only monument in America's capital to the deeds of a physician.

However, because of the economic, philosophical and scientific threat that the paradigm and practice of homeopathy represents, the vitriol and antagonism still exists. It is therefore enlightening to expose the disinformation that is spread about homeopathy and then understand who is leading this disinformation campaign (the second part of this article will name names and discuss two individuals, one from the U.S. and one from the UK, who are presently leaders in the campaign against homeopathy).

The Myths Spread about Homeopathy

Like other propagandists, the homeopathy deniers seek to create disinformation by using three straightforward techniques. First, the homeopathy deniers make a simple false accusation, a lie, and repeat it constantly and consistently in an attempt to make it a new "truth." Second, this repetition is then done within the context of some legitimizing element. In the case of the homeopathy deniers, that element is a corruption of normal science, an analysis of scientific evidence that creates reasons (excuses) to exclude high-quality studies that show positive results (even those studies that have been published in leading conventional medical journals), and a mis-use of the concept of skepticism. The homeopathy deniers ignore or downplay the substantial body of evidence from basic science and clinical research, from outcome studies, from cost-effectiveness studies and from epidemiological evidence, and only quote from those studies that verify their own point of view, rather than reviewing the entire body of evidence.

The third component of the technique is to sell the lie to a vulnerable population in an attempt to have repetition from that group. In the case of the homeopathy deniers, the vulnerable groups are often young students of science who are enamored with the language and elitism of their newly-learned craft, but who lack the deep understanding and experience to realize that they are being "used" by the deniers. The homeopathy deniers also play on the fears of those older and established scientists and physicians and who are led to believe that "if homeopathy is true, then everything about modern medicine and science is false." This over-simplification of reality is commonly repeated.

However, just as quantum physics does not "disprove" all of physics -- but, rather,extends our capability to understand and predict events on extremely small and extremely large systems -- likewise, homeopathy does not disprove all of modern pharmacology but extends our understanding of the use of extremely small doses of medicinal agents to elicit healing responses.

History is replete with orthodox medicine and science being steadfastly resistant to different systems of medicine and paradigms of healing. Although, the average physician and scientist tends to be threatened by new ideas, a common attribute of leading physicians and scientists is a certain openness and humility due to the common and even expected evolution of knowledge.

It should be acknowledged upfront that homeopathic practitioners, patients and users of these natural medicines are often surprised and amazed at the results they experience in the treatment of themselves, children, infants, animals and even plants. In my observations over the past 40 years, most people are skeptical about homeopathy until they try it and see for themselves ... and there are then good reasons that tens of millions of people all over the world use and rely upon these natural medicines for a wide range of acute and chronic ailments. That said, the challenge is not just trying homeopathy, but first learning something about it so you can use it correctly and effectively.

Sadly, however, the homeopathy deniers tend to spread disinformation about homeopathy, including the following myths:

Myth #1: "There is no research that shows that homeopathic medicines work."

Such statements are a creative use of statistics, or what might be called "lies, damn lies and statistics." Actually, most clinical research studies conducted with homeopathic medicines show a positive outcome. However, if "creative statisticians" evaluate only the smaller number of large studies, a positive result is less likely, not because homeopathy doesn't work, but because these larger studies tend to dispense only one homeopathic medicine for everyone in the study, without any degree of individualized treatment that is typical of the homeopathic method (1). To claim that homeopathic medicines do not work using only these studies is as illogical as to say that antibiotics are ineffective just because they do not cure for every viral, fungal or bacterial infection.

Myth #2: "The research studies showing that homeopathic medicines work are 'poorly conducted studies.'"

Wrong! Studies showing the efficacy of homeopathic medicines have been published in the Lancet, the British Medical Journal, Pediatrics, Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, Cochrane Reports, Chest (the publication of the British Society of Rheumatology), Cancer (the journal of the American Cancer Society), Journal of Clinical Oncology (journal of the Society of Clinical Oncology), Human Toxicology, European Journal of Pediatrics, Archives in Facial Plastic Surgery, Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry and many more (2). All of these studies were randomized, double-blind and placebo controlled. Further, because of bias against homeopathy, these studies have been scrutinized rigorously, perhaps even more rigorously than is usual.

The weak response from the homeopathy deniers is that the above studies are "cherry-picked." Well, it seems that there are a lot of "cherries" (clinical studies that verify the efficacy of homeopathic medicines). Also, numerous of the above leading medical journals have published meta-analyzes of clinical trials on specific diseases and have shown that homeopathic medicines have significantly more benefits than does a placebo. And further, the deniers erroneously equate the "negative" studies as evidence that the whole system of homeopathy does not work when, in fact, these studies are usually of a preliminary nature that explored the use of one or a small handful of remedies for a specific condition.

Ironically, the one review of research that the homeopathic deniers most commonly assert as strong evidence that there's no difference between homeopathic medicines and placebo (Shang et al, 2005) has been shown to be bad or certainly inadequate science (Walach, et al, 2005; Fisher, 2006; Rutten, 2009, Rutten and Stolper, 2008; Lüdtke and Rutten, 2008).

Myth #3: "12C is like one drop in the entire Atlantic Ocean."

Pure fantasy (and fuzzy math)! In fact, the 12C dose requires 12 test tubes, and 1 percent of the solution is drawn from each of the 12 test tubes. It is also very typical for the "deniers" of homeopathy to assert with a straight face that the making of a single homeopathic medicine requires more water than exists on the planet. It seems that the skeptics are so fundamentalist in their point of view that they consciously or unconsciously mis-assume that the dilutions used in homeopathy grow proportionately with each dilution; they assume that each dilution requires 10 or 100 times more water with each dilution -- which they don't, and even the most elementary articles and books on homeopathy affirm this fact. Sadly (and strangely), most of the skeptics of homeopathy seem to read each other's misinformation on homeopathy and have a propensity to spin the reality of what homeopathy is in ways that misconstrue it.

Myth #4: "There is nothing in a homeopathic medicine. It is just water."

Ignorance and direct disinformation. First, a large number of homeopathic medicines that are sold in health food stores and pharmacies are what are called "low potencies," that is, small or very small doses of medicines, most of which are in a similar dose to which certain powerful hormones and immune cells circulate in our body. Second, using samples of six different medicines made from minerals, scientists at the Department of Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology have consistently confirmed that the starting substance is still present in the form of nanoparticles of the starting minerals even when the medicine has undergone hundreds of serial dilutions -- with vigorous shaking in between each dilution, as per the homeopathic method (Chikramane, Suresh, Bellare, 2010) (3). Further, leading chemistry and physics journals have published other research to confirm that there are differences between water and "homeopathic water" (Elia and Niccoli, 1999; Elia, Napoli, Niccoli, et al, 2008; Rey, 2003)

Myth #5: "If we do not presently understand how homeopathic medicines work, then, they cannot work. It's witchcraft."

Lame on face value. How many more times in history do scientists and others need before they realize that we do not understand a lot of nature's mysteries, but our lack of understanding does not mean that the mysteries are not real. Calling homeopathy "witchcraft" clearly is someone's fear of what they do not know or understand, and a common observation from history is that whenever one goes on a witchhunt, a witch is found (one way or another). The fact that there is a small but significant body of basic sciences research that has shown physical and biological effects from homeopathic medicines tends to be ignored (Endler, Thieves, Reich, et al 2010; Witt, Bluth, Albrecht, et al, 2007). To publish in peer-reviewed scientific journals is not a common practice from witches (or warlocks).

Dr. Karol Sikora is a respected oncologist and dean of the University of Buckingham medical school in England. Sikora has expressed serious concern about the "Stalinist repression" that certain skeptics of homeopathic and alternative medicines engage (Sikora, 2009). Sikora has harshly criticized "armchair physicians" and others who seem to have little or no experience in using these treatments with real patients.

One other critical piece of evidence to show and even prove the unscientific attitude of the homeopathy deniers is that they now wish to close off all discussion of the efficacy of homeopathic medicines (Baum and Ernst, 2009). These medical fundamentalists actually discourage keeping an open mind about homeopathy. One must question this unscientific attitude that select antagonists to homeopathy embody, and one must even wonder why they maintain such a position.

The second part of this article will provide further specific evidence of the unscientific attitude and actions from those individuals and organizations who are leading the campaign against homeopathy. A leading antagonist to homeopathy from the U.S. and another from the UK will be discussed in order to shed light on this important debate in health care. Stay tuned to find out who they are and why they maintain their point of view.


FOOTNOTES:

(1) Although individualization of treatment is one of the hallmarks of the homeopathic method, there are exceptions to this common rule. For instance, there have been four large randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled studies that have shown that homeopathic Oscillococcinum is effective in treating people with influenza or influenza-like syndrome (Vickers and Smith, 2006).

(2) References to these and other studies can be found in the following article: The Case FOR Homeopathic Medicine: Historical and Scientific Evidence -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/the-case-for-homeopathic_b_451187.html

(3) Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction by Selected Area Electron Diffraction (SAED), and chemical analysis by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy.


REFERENCES:

Baum M, Ernst E. Should we maintain an open mind about homeopathy? American Journal of Medicine. 122,11: November 2009. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2009/03.038. http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(09)00533-6/fulltext

Chikramane PS, Suresh AK, Bellare JR, and Govind S. Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective. Homeopathy. Volume 99, Issue 4, October 2010, 231-242. http://www.homeopathy.org/files/HomeopathyandNanoparticle.pdf

Elia V, and Niccoli M. Thermodynamics of Extremely Diluted Aqueous Solutions, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 879, 1999:241-248. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10415834/

Elia V, Napoli E, Niccoli M, Marchettini N, Tiezzi E(2008). New Physico-Chemical Properties of Extremely Dilute Solutions. A Conductivity Study at 25 °C in Relation to Ageing. Journal of Solution Chemistry, 37:85-96. http://www.springerlink.com/content/v27884306836g251/

Endler PC, Thieves K, Reich C, Matthiessen P, Bonamin L, Scherr C, Baumgartner S. Repetitions of fundamental research models for homeopathically prepared dilutions beyond 10-23: a bibliometric study. Homeopathy, 2010; 99: 25-36. http://www.similima.com/homeopathyresearch/thesis108.pdf

EU Commission report evaluating implementation of Homeopathy Directives 92/73 EEC and 92/74/EEC, 1997.

Fisher P, 2006. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006 March; 3(1): 145-147.
Published online 2006 January 26. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nek007 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1375230/

Lüdtke R, Rutten ALB. The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analysed trials. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. October 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.06/015. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18834714

Prasad R. Homoeopathy booming in India. Lancet, 370:November 17, 2007,1679-80. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18035598

Rey L. Thermoluminescence of Ultra-High Dilutions of Lithium Chloride and Sodium Chloride. Physica A, 323(2003)67-74. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378437103000475

Rothstein WG. American Physicians in the 19th Century. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1985.

Rutten L, 2009. http://www.dokterrutten.nl/collega/Liga09.pdf

Rutten ALB, Stolper CF, The 2005 meta-analysis of homeopathy: The importance of post-publication data. Homeopathy. October 2008, doi:10.1016/j.homp.2008.09/008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19371564

Shang A, Huwiler-Müntener K, Nartey L, Jüni P, Dörig S, Sterne JA, Pewsner D, Egger M. Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy. The Lancet. 366,9487, 27 August 2005:726-732. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16125589

Sikora K. Complementary medicine does help patients. Times Online, February 3rd 2009. Online document at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/court_and_social/article5644142.ece

Starr P. The Social Transformation of American Medicine. New York: Basic, 1982.

Vickers A, Smith C. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for preventing and treating influenza and influenza-like syndromes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD001957. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001957.pub3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14973976

Walach H, Jonas W, Lewith G. Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Lancet. 2005 Dec 17;366(9503):2081; author reply 2083-6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16360778

Witt CM, Bluth M, Albrecht H, Weisshuhn TE, Baumgartner S, Willich SN. The in vitro evidence for an effect of high homeopathic potencies--a systematic review of the literature. Complement Ther Med. 2007 Jun;15(2):128-38. Epub 2007 Mar 28. From 75 publications, 67 experiments (1/3 of them replications) were evaluated. Nearly 3/4 of them found a high potency effect, and nearly 3/4 of all replications were positive. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=pubmed&uid=17544864&cmd=showdetailview&indexed=google

                       http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/disinformation-about-homeopathy_b_952967.html

Breaking News over the last 12 months

 

Summary of randomised controlled trials

By the end of 2009, 142 RCTs of homeopathy had been published in peer-reviewed (peer-reviewed = process by which articles are selected for publication in academic) journals by a panel of experts. In terms of statistically significant results, 74 of these trials were able to draw firm conclusions:

  • 63 were positive (patients given a homeopathic medicine improved significantly more than the comparison group given either an inactive placebo or established conventional treatment)
  • 11 were negative (no significant difference was seen between the action of the homeopathic medicine and the comparison group)[1]

The fact that the remaining 68 trials were inconclusive highlights the need for changes in the way homeopathy research is conducted in future to generate meaningful results. Two key factors are the need for larger scale trials (commonly prevented by a lack of funding) and the use of more appropriate research methods such as pragmatic trials, which are better-suited to the task of testing a complex individualised therapy such as homeopathy.

[1] Mathie, R. The Research Evidence Base for Homeopathy. British Homeopathic Association, 2009. www.britishhomeopathic.org

 

 The Daily Mail    29th May 2010

Not everyone has a pet name for their eczema, but actress and TV presenter Nadia Sawalha called hers 'my John rash' after a mild attack was triggered as a 17-year-old after she broke up with her boyfriend. 

And as mysteriously as the skin condition arrived, it disappeared. But then, in 2002, at the age of 39 and six months after the birth of her first daughter Maddie with TV producer Mark Adderley, Nadia noticed tiny bumps on the little finger of her left hand.

Known as vesiculation, these bumps are a classic symptom of eczema, as is the erythema or redness that next appeared.

'The bumps began to itch before splitting open and weeping,' she says. 'They quickly spread to the rest of the hand and then to the other one, too. They were red raw. I looked like something from a horror film.' 

Nadia, 46, is best known for playing Annie Palmer in EastEnders, while her younger sister Julia, 41, found fame as Saffy in BBC hit comedy Ab Fab and Dorcas Lane in Lark Rise To Candleford.

The stress of being a new mum was playing a huge part in exacerbating Nadia's problem.

'I was on location in Ibiza filming the TV series Living In The Sun, working 13-hour days, while Maddie was staying in a villa with my mum and dad and her nanny,' she says. 'I was hating the job and being away from my baby. They were fine. I was the problem.

'I saw the eczema as a sign that I wasn't coping. My twisted logic was to brush away any enquiry about my hands  -  which by now had no skin on them at all. It got so bad that the cameraman had to shoot around them.'

Eventually, Nadia was persuaded to buy over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, a mild steroid drug that reduces inflammation, which worked temporarily.

However, when filming later moved to mainland Spain, her hands became infected and the itching was so bad that her hands bled. In desperation she went to the A&E department of the nearest hospital. 

Doctors were shocked that she had let her skin deteriorate to such an extent and prescribed a course of antibiotics to stop the infection.

A few months later, in October 2003, Nadia was presenting City Hospital, a live TV programme every weekday morning on BBC1, when the eczema returned on her hands with a vengeance.

'I'd visit the skin ward and immediately identify with patients, but I thought how on earth can I moan when their conditions are far worse than mine?'

Believing her condition was not that bad, Nadia did not seek medical help but was clearly driven to distraction by the terrible itching.

'Whenever I could, I'd hold my hands above my head to relieve the pain. To get to sleep at night, I'd tie them to the bedstead. If I let them hang down, the pain was intolerable. It felt like lead flowing into my hands.

'By Maddie's first birthday that Christmas, I was no longer able to pick her up. I couldn't cook, something I love to do. And yet, I was still in denial. I'd go up to my bedroom, cry my eyes out and then come down and pretend everything was fine.'

Finally, in desperation, Mark, 39, made his wife an appointment with her homeopath, Rachel Packer.

'I first went to see Rachel when I was about 20,' says Nadia. 'I was having headaches every afternoon, and my GP advised me to drink more water and prescribed pills, but it did not get rid of them.'

Then her younger sister Julia told Nadia how she had bumped into an old classmate who had suffered badly from acne. And yet, here was this girl now with perfectly clear skin. When Julia asked how she had managed to get rid of the acne, the girl said it was due to homeopathy.

'At the time it sounded pretty wacky and I was very sceptical but, on the grounds I had nothing to lose, I made an appointment with Rachel who had a practice in New Cross, near to where we live in South London.'

Far from being wacky, the NHS spends £4 million a year on homeopathy and there are four dedicated hospitals that have treated 55,000 patients a year since the formation of the health service in 1948. 

An estimated 400 GPs use homeopathy in their everyday practice and treat 200,000 patients annually, according to the British Homeopathic Association.

'From my first consultation with Rachel I felt that here was someone interested in all of me,' says Nadia. 'Homeopathy is based on a holistic approach. 

For an hour, she asked me every question under the sun about my physical and emotional wellbeing, the stresses in my life, my likes and dislikes, the food I craved.

'In time, we moved from discussing daily recurrent headaches to terrible period pains. Rachel prescribed a remedy in pill form. I've no idea what it contained but then, like most people, I suspect, I have no idea what's been in any antibiotics I've been prescribed.

'I took one each day for two weeks and the headaches gradually faded and then disappeared for ever. I was grateful although, if I'm honest, part of me still thought it was all a bit of a fluke.'

Nadia began to wonder if other ailments could also be tackled with homeopathy. 'I was in a play at the Edinburgh Festival and began suffering from a severe urinary tract infection  -  although I was convinced I'd caught some hideous disease. My insides felt as if they were being wrung out.'

Her GP prescribed antibiotics which cleared up the bladder infection but, as is common with antibiotics, triggered a yeast infection. 'So I saw Rachel and she gave me one remedy  -  a single pill  -  and it cleared up. When I got another flareup a couple of months later, I remember thinking, "Here we go again!"

'But it lasted only about six hours. That happened twice more down the months and then never again.'

All of which makes it hard to understand why Nadia did not seek homeopathic advice as she battled her crippling attacks of eczema.

'What can I say? Maybe I was suffering a form of postnatal depression but I got it into my head that this was something I had to deal with on my own.'

For her eczema, Rachel prescribed mezereum, a Eurasian shrub extract traditionally used to heal skin complaints. 'The effect,' says Nadia, 'was what I can only describe as biblical. Over the next 48 hours, I watched as my skin renewed itself.

'On one occasion, I had gone to casualty when my hands had become reinfected. I'd been told that there was little that could be done as there was no cure for eczema. The expectation was that I'd have to visit my GP twice a week to have my hands dressed. 

And yet, now I was cured. It was little short of a miracle.

'To this day, if I'm stressed or frightened about something, my little finger will occasionally itch, but no more than that.'

As she became won over by the effectiveness of homeopathic cures for her own ailments, Nadia turned her attention to Mark, who helps run their TV production company. 

'He's an asthma sufferer who used his nebuliser every day. I made him see Rachel and after a detailed discussion, she gave him a two-week course of pills and now he uses his inhaler once every fourth day at most.'

Nadia says her daughters Maddie, now seven, and Kiki, two, have never seen a GP and not had any childhood vaccinations. Rather, they consult the homeopath every few weeks.

'I see it as an MOT, if you like, or a pre-emptive strike. Rachel will prescribe a remedy to strengthen my immune system, for instance, so if I do get a cough or cold, it clears up quickly.'

But Nadia also acknowledges homeopathy will not solve everybody's problems. 'People used to get angry when I sang its praises, especially when I couldn't say what was in a remedy. So I've stopped being so evangelical.

'I'm not anti conventional medicine  -  and nor is Rachel. When Maddie had a chest infection, Rachel listened to her breathing down the phone and told me to go to hospital without delay. She was given a nebuliser, put on Calpol and it cleared up.

'Homeopathy might not be for everyone, but it works for me.'

 

The Independent   Friday 26th February 2010

Homeopathy: Tinctures or a trick of the mind?

This week, a Commons committee declared that the NHS should stop funding homeopathy, describing its remedies as no better than a placebo. Jeremy Laurance hears what the patients think ;                          

The Royal London Homeopathic Hospital may be under siege but the staff and patients remain relaxed. There has been no run on Gelsemium, the homeopathic remedy of choice for people paralysed by fear, in the pharmacy. Indeed, the only sign of trouble is the poster affixed to a pillar in the third floor waiting area alongside the stall selling Tick Tock redbush tea – the kind Precious Ramotswe drinks in The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

"Save NHS homeopathy", it says. Another poster urges supporters to join a lobby of parliament. Long before MPs from the cross party Commons committee on science and technology gave the thumbs down to homeopathy on Monday, people here knew what was coming. The remedies worked no better than a placebo, the committee said, and the NHS should cease funding.

It was a withering verdict but the hospital remains undaunted. There are no placards or demonstrators here. Just the usual crowd of patients – predominantly middle aged and female – that you find in any hospital waiting area. Supporters of homeopathy – practitioners and patients alike – are used to controversy and another bout of negative publicity, of which there is never a shortage, is not going to change their minds

 

Sunday Times 21 February

Debbie Moore, famous for being the first women to launch a company on the London Stock Exchange "Pineapple" the dance studio and clothing company was profiled in "Money".

When asked what's been your best investment ?

She replied - In my heath and my daughter's health. I do homoeopathic and complementary medicine. I don't believe in doctors who dish out statins and and antibiotics like sweeties.

Positive Homoeopathy News

The Health Minister in Northern Ireland decided on a soft launch for the results of the complementary medicine pilot project and has made the independent evaluation report available to download on the Department’s website. As well as an extensive report with detailed responses from patients, GPs and practitioners, using a validated
audit tool, focus groups and surveys, the report has made recommendations about the way forward.

http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index/hss/complementary-alternative-medicine.htm

The Results:

Following the pilot, 80% of patients reported an improvement in their symptoms, 64% took less time off work and 55% reduced their use of painkillers.

In the pilot, 713 patients with a range of ages and demographic backgrounds and either physical or mental health conditions were referred to various complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies via nine GP practices in Belfast and Londonderry.

Health improvement

• 81% of patients reported an improvement in their physical health

• 79% reported an improvement in their mental health

• 84% of patients linked an improvement in their health and
wellbeing directly to their CAM treatment

• In 65% of patient cases, GPs documented a health improvement,
correlating closely to patient-reported improvements

• 94% of patients said they would recommend CAM to another patient
with their condition

• 87% of patient indicated a desire to continue with their CAM
   treatment

Painkillers and medication

• Half of GPs reported prescribing less medication and all reported that patients had  indicated to them that they needed less

• 62% of patients reported suffering from less pain

• 55% reported using less painkillers following treatment

• Patients using medication reduced from 75% before treatment to  61% after treatment

• 44% of those taking medication before treatment had reduced their use afterwards

Health service and social benefits
 • 24% of patients who used health services prior to treatment (i.e. primary and secondary care, accident and emergency) reported using the services less after treatment

• 65% of GPs reported seeing the patient less following the CAM referral

• Half of GPs said the scheme had reduced their workload and 17% reported a   financial saving for their practice

• Half of GPs said their patients were using secondary care services less

Despite initial scepticism, the GPs involved were almost unanimously in favour after seeing tangible results. In 99% of patient cases GPs said they would refer the patient, or a different patient, to the scheme again and in 98% of cases GPs said they would recommend the service to other GPs. However, they also called for more information to help build their understanding of CAM therapies.

Homeopathy in Cuba

The year started with very positive news about homeopathy:

 “Cuba prevents an annual epidemic outbreak of Leptospirosis among 2.5 million people using homeopathic prophylaxis” (for those of you who are homoeopaths: they used a nosode of Leptospirosis).

[Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. In humans it causes a wide range of symptoms, and some infected persons may have no symptoms at all. Symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, severe headache, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, and may include jaundice (yellow skin and eyes), red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or a rash. If the disease is not treated, the patient could develop kidney damage, meningitis (inflammation of the membrane around the brain and spinal cord), liver failure, and respiratory distress. In rare cases death occurs.]

Two doses were given over a period of 7-9 days, which brought down the indicence of infection to ten people with no fatalities.     Below is a copy of the summary of the paper by the authors; the paper was presented at the International Meeting on Homeoprophylaxis, Homeopathic Immunisation and Nosodes against Epidemics , 10-12 December 2008 , at the Havana Convention Centre.

Homeoprophylaxis: Cuban Experiences on Leptospirosis     Dr. Concepción Campa, Dr. Luis E. Varela, Dr. Esperanza Gilling, MCs. Rolando Fernández, Tec. Bárbara Ordaz, Dr. Gustavo Bracho, Dr. Luis García, Dr. Jorge Menéndez, Lic. Natalia Marzoa, Dr. Rubén Martínez.  

“The Finlay Institute is a centre dedicated to development and production of vaccines; we also bring our WHO qualified facilities for all homeopaths and homeopathic medicine. The Finlay Institute acts as supporting institution for research, production and development of high quality homeopathic products." However, according with the social objective addressing prevention of infectious diseases, we are focused on homeo- prophylaxis as strategy to attenuate the impact of preventable diseases on developing world, the ones that need it the most.

Thus, development and evaluation of nosodes, appears to be our main approach to fill up the breakthrough on current conventional strategies based on vaccination. Similarly with vaccination interventions, massive applications of prophylactic nosodes give rise to a greater impact on population health compared with individualized therapies. In addition, the easy administration and low economics resources needed, become this alternative really suitable and accessible for developing countries and almost the best for emergency situations comprising epidemic outbreaks and natural disasters. The Cuban experiences of massively administrated nosodes supports it use as promising solution to confront epidemiological dangerous situations.

On October November 2007, three provinces of the eastern region of Cuba were affected by strong rainfalls causing floods of big areas and several damages to sanitary and health systems. The risk of leptospirosis infection raised extremely dangerous levels with about 2 million of peoples exposed to potentially contaminated water.

Considering this situation, the Finlay Institute prepared a leptospira nosode 200 CH using 4 circulating strains and following international quality standards. A multidisciplinary team travelled to the affected regions to conduct the massive administration of the nosode. Coordinated action with public health system infrastructures allowed the administration of a preventive treatment consisting in two doses (7- 9 days apart) of the nosode to about 2,4 million of people (4,8 million of doses). The coverage of the intervention rose up to 95% percent of total population of the three provinces at risk.

The epidemiology surveillance after the intervention showed a dramatic decrease of morbidity two weeks after and a reduction to cero of mortality of hospitalized patient. The number of confirmed leptospirosis cases remains at low levels and below the expected levels according with the trends and rain regimens.

A reinforcing application was given after the hit of the hurricane IKE but using the nosode diluted up to 10 MC.

Strict epidemiologic surveillance is carried out on this provinces. Up to date result will be presented.

The results supported the design of new strategies for leptospirosis control. This experience could be extended to other diseases and other countries. The Finlay Institute is offering our facilities and specialists to spread this alternative to all regions needing emergent alternatives for epidemic control and prevention".

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