Homeopathy4health

28 December 2007

Sleep medication to treat a sleep-like state – treating like with like

The word ‘homeopathy’ is derived of two words: homeo denoting ‘similar’ and ‘pathy’ denoting ‘suffering’. Its principle is that of giving a substance which causes you to suffer from similar symptoms to your ailment, which you react against and cancel out your own symptoms.  It is reported this week that sleep medication has been found to rouse patients in a coma: it may be a simple case of homeopathic action.

Sleep medication offers hope to families of comatose patients « Health Sense

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42 Comments »

  1. How can it be a ‘simple case of homeopathic action’? In homeopathy not a single molecule of the original substance remains, in the case of the Zolpidem it is administered in 5mg tablets containing ~10^18 molecules of active ingredient. 10^18 vs 0, how can you possibly think that this could be homeopathy? Also Zolpidem works through a well studied biochemical interaction with GABA receptors. Biochemical, not ‘energy medicine’.

    Comment by gimpy — 28 December 2007 @ 9:07 am

  2. How can it be a ‘simple case of homeopathic action’? In homeopathy not a single molecule of the original substance remains, in the case of the Zolpidem it is administered in 5mg tablets containing ~10^18 molecules of active ingredient. 10^18 vs 0, how can you possibly think that this could be homeopathy? Also, Zolpidem works through a well studied biochemical interaction with GABA receptors. Biochemical, not ‘energy medicine’.

    Comment by gimpy — 28 December 2007 @ 9:08 am

  3. Sorry, but the dose of zolpidem was a perfectly conventional 10 mg. Nothing very homeopathic about that. In fact if the finding is confirmed it might be counted as triumph for real medicine, albeit a serendipitous and unexpected triumph.

    Comment by David Colquhoun — 29 December 2007 @ 3:55 pm

  4. What I am discussing here David is the principle of like curing like which is what ‘homeopathy’ means. You object to the amount of dilutions in homeopathic medicines which is not a factor here. The principle remains the same regardless of dilutions.

    Hahnemann also started with what he called crude doses and observed the effect of like curing like. Over time toxic/side effects occurred and so he diluted. He was not constrained by some pre-existing law and found serendipitous benefits from doing so.

    If this mode of treatment is taken up by medical science I would not be surprised if toxic side effects were also noted in due course.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 29 December 2007 @ 7:05 pm

  5. I think my earlier response to this got lost in your spam filter. I’ll repeat my key points.

    If we take DC’s quote of 10mg of Zolpidem as accurate then that 10mg will contain ~1.95×10^19 molecules. Which is, as I’m sure you will agree, massively higher than the 0 molecules present in a homeopathic remedy. Also Zolpidem works biochemically via the GABA pathway so there is no need to invoke concepts of ‘energy’ or ‘like with like’ to explain this effect. I don’t understand your point.

    Comment by gimpy — 29 December 2007 @ 7:28 pm

  6. Now I have found Gimpy’s posts in my spam.

    You are both showing your IGNORANCE about homeopathy that you berate liberally.

    I will repeat:

    Substances which CAUSE symptoms (sleepiness in this case) can be used to cure the SAME symptoms (a permanently asleep state). The medication causes initially MORE SLEEPINESS and the body’s need for homeostasis CANCELS it out and CANCELS it’s own sleepy state.

    So homeopathy is not just about molecules, you are obviously missing the point.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 29 December 2007 @ 8:21 pm

  7. homeopathy4health, but in homeopathy there is none of the original substance left. A homeopathic solution of Zolpidem would have 0 molecules while the 10 mg dose will have 19500000000000000000 molecules. Can you see the difference?

    Comment by gimpy — 29 December 2007 @ 8:25 pm

  8. Homeopathy started as treatment with crude substances. It is still homeopathic ACTION which is what I said in the original post and still HOMEOPATHY even if it is not diluted.

    Dilutions were done in order to reduce toxicity.

    More beneficial effects (not just pain and pathology: personality and characteristics) and relief of longer duration were noted at higher dilutions. Fewer doses were required and eventually no more needed to remove symptoms.

    I recommend reading: The Principles and Art of Cure by Homoeopathy by Herbert A Roberts M.D.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 29 December 2007 @ 8:49 pm

  9. This is a classic example of one of the thinking errors that homeopaths make – confirmation bias. This type of thinking is where positive evidence is leaped upon, no matter how slight, whilst negative evidence is ignored. So, a conventional medical discovery, with some properties similar to some aspects of hoemopathy, is grabbed as evidence, whilst all other conventional medicine is handily dismissed.

    To step back, homeopaths claim that like-cures-like is some overarching fundamental truth about how the body can be made to heal itself. But unfortunately, after 200 years of existence, there is no evidence that this assertion os nothing other than historical and wrong wild speculation.

    Comment by Andy Lewis — 30 December 2007 @ 10:27 am

  10. but homeopathy4health, even if like cured like homeopathy still wouldn’t work because there is no ‘like’ left after dilution. Do you really have no understanding of how Avogadro’s number applies to homeopathic dilutions are you being disingenuous?

    Comment by gimpy — 30 December 2007 @ 12:22 pm

  11. I repeat Gimpy: ‘homeopathy’ means ‘similar suffering’ it does not mean ‘dilution’. I have had Avogadro’s number explained to me, I and many others notice an effect despite this explanation. Other scientists are looking at alternative explanations as you well know e.g. water molecule structure

    Andy Lewis: sceptics call it ‘confirmation bias’ when they don’t like it. Have you looked at Lionel Milgrom’s papers btw perhaps you’d like to join the debate at: http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/4/1/7 – oh I forgot you don’t like ‘quantum’ stuff. Shame.

    There are other examples of like curing like without dilutions: quinine and malaria, chefs exposing minor burns to further heat, eating spices and drinking hot tea in hot countries.

    Perhaps science would like to do similar experiments based on the coma finding e.g. giving small doses of medication to lower blood pressure to people with low blood pressure and see if blood pressure increases? Perhaps then they would start the process of catching up.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 30 December 2007 @ 3:23 pm

  12. homeopath4health, look I’ve explained to you the above example bears no relation to homeopathy. Why can’t you understand that it is the drug molecules that are having an effect. If you dilute them out of existence then they cannot have an effect because they are not there.

    Perhaps science would like to do similar experiments based on the coma finding e.g. giving small doses of medication to lower blood pressure to people with low blood pressure and see if blood pressure increases? Perhaps then they would start the process of catching up.

    You mean so they could plot dose-response curves? Science has been there, done that, and found that, generally, the greater the dose the greater the effect.

    Comment by gimpy — 30 December 2007 @ 4:09 pm

  13. I expect they haven’t given medication to lower blood pressure to people with low blood pressure and measured the result.

    It’s Newton: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, isn’t that a universal law? Only the human body is capable of only a certain range of reaction. If a drug is given in a large dose it’s action will prevail over the counter-reaction. In a small enough dose the counter-reaction will prevail.

    Has medical science ignored the possibility of counter-reaction?

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 30 December 2007 @ 4:26 pm

  14. homeopath4health, what does Newton’s third law of motion, which applies to forces acting on a body of constant mass to affect its motion, have to do with dose-response curves?

    Comment by gimpy — 30 December 2007 @ 5:08 pm

  15. Orthodox medicine has not ignored the concept of “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. It has known about it for over 200 years and now calls it homeostasis. Gimpy does not know about it because he has very limited knowledge about medicine. He obviously has no knowledge about homeopathy if he says the things above.

    Isn’t the internet great. It gives total no-hopers the chance to feel someone is listening to them … while all the time people are thinking “Who is this idiot?”

    Comment by Ohreally — 30 December 2007 @ 7:30 pm

  16. Ohreally, while I’m no medical doctor I’d like to think I can distinguish the difference between Newtonian mechanics and drug interactions. It is clear that you and homeopathy4health cannot.

    Comment by gimpy — 30 December 2007 @ 8:09 pm

  17. Gimpy’s got a couple of life-saving certificates…that’s why he knows all about drug interactions…. 😉

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 30 December 2007 @ 8:26 pm

  18. Maybe so, but the eminent David Colquhoun is a Professor of Pharmacology so that’s perhaps why he knows all about drug interactions. But, I’ve always argued that it’s not a case of thrusting qualifications in a face to win an argument.

    Comment by gimpy — 30 December 2007 @ 8:38 pm

  19. Same old evasive nonsense!

    There once was a blogger called Gimpy
    Whose knowledge of science was skimpy
    When faced with defeat
    The posts would repeat …
    The posts would repeat …
    The posts would repeat …
    Which made skimpy Gimpy look wimpy!

    Comment by Ohreally — 30 December 2007 @ 9:50 pm

  20. While I am loath to join debates heading towards childish name calling, I cannot let it lie that 1) you conflate newtonian mechanics with bio-chemistry. the two just arent on the same page; and 2) newtonian mechanics is not some over-arching principle of science. It is a fundamentally incorrect part of physics. Homeostasis is an example of a feedback system, very different to ‘action-reaction’.

    Comment by hairnet — 31 December 2007 @ 3:37 pm

  21. I think it would be more accurate to say that in physics the concept of action and consequent reaction has been refined. In medicine there is an issue of double-think over action and reaction within a homeostatic system. Anatomy books state it as a fact, but pharmaceutical companies prefer to ignore it as a reality. This could be because it leads logically to homeopathy.

    Perhaps Gimpy is not a wimp, but insistently repeating something which is untrue, which a basic knowledge of homeopathy would show to be untrue, and which has been pointed out to be untrue, is not the behaviour of someone sensible or knowledgeable and it makes him look stupid. Also there is not a proportional relationship between dose-size and effect as was shown by S. H. Kon, ‘Underestimation of Chronic Toxicities of Food Additives and Chemicals: The Bias of a Phantom Rule’, Medical Hypotheses 4 (1978), pp. 324-329. His ignorance extends beyond homeopathy into other areas of science.

    Is it politer to put it this way rather than in verse?

    Comment by Ohreally — 1 January 2008 @ 1:35 am

  22. “I think it would be more accurate to say that in physics the concept of action and consequent reaction has been refined.”

    No, newton recognised that all forces come in pairs, this has nothing to do medicine. To invoke newtons law as a general concept connected with homeopathic action in medicine is shows a fundamental lack of intelligence when it is not withdrawn.

    You still seem to conflate newtonian mechanics with the seperate concept of feedback systems. One of these has a much more plausible application to medicine, the other is something very distinct.

    Comment by hairnet — 1 January 2008 @ 12:30 pm

  23. Ohreally, you can’t just randomly quote archaic concepts from one branch of science and apply them to another and quoting references from thirty years ago from a journal of dubious reputation is unhelpful. Homeostasis in an organism is a process under the control of an incredibly complicated system of cell signalling mechanisms that responds to external and internal stimuli. This process has nothing to do with Newtonian mechanics. You simply cannot conflate the two.

    Comment by gimpy — 1 January 2008 @ 1:02 pm

  24. If you jump to conclusions, you have only yourself to blame. At no point did I say that Newtonian mechanics could be applied to medicine. I said the “concept” of action causing an [equal and] opposite reaction has been in medicine for over 200 years, whether described in terms of primary and secondary action or of homeostasis. The recognition that intervention creates an opposing reaction in living organisms is extremely important, but does not form part of the basis for a theory of pharmacology … except in homeopathy.

    I am amused at being told that Newtonian mechanics comprises “archaic concepts”, especially by someone so wedded to concepts that are simply wrong that he cannot recognise a correction … three times over!

    Comment by Ohreally — 1 January 2008 @ 5:23 pm

  25. Ohreally, Newton’s ‘concept’ applies to his theories of motion it has nothing to do with homeostasis or homeopathy. I’m afraid I’m completely lost as to what your point is by jumping from Newton to pharmacology. What is your point? Are you using Newton’s very precise law as a metaphor?

    Comment by gimpy — 1 January 2008 @ 6:54 pm

  26. Frankly, this blog has descended to farce. By asking me to accept that the fact that some people in hot countries eat spicy food somehow supports homeopathy is just hilarious. Is this blog for real?

    And by invoking a complete Newtonian mechanics to explain the law of similarity is making exactly the same ridiculous mistake that Milgrom does with quantum mechanics – confusing analogy with theory.

    Comment by Andy Lewis — 1 January 2008 @ 7:23 pm

  27. Gimpy, are you totally stupid? Just read the series of posts from number 15 on. Better still read some books about medicine, about homeopathy and about other sciences.

    homeopathy4health brought in Newton’s ideas; I just pointed out that action and reaction ARE a fundamental part of the function of living organisms (known as homeostasis). If you cannot see the relevance of homeostasis to pharmacology, then I don’t know why you are bothering to take part in a discussion of medicine at all.

    Comment by Ohreally — 1 January 2008 @ 7:29 pm

  28. Ohreally, ahh I get it. I was just blinded by your science. I didn’t realise that when you take concepts from one branch of science and use them to describe another you don’t mean what you say and your definitions don’t matter.
    I can see the relevance of homeostasis to pharmacology, I’ve not got any problem with that. I am just clueless as to what Newton’s third law and homeopathy have to do with homeostasis. Care to explain?

    Comment by gimpy — 1 January 2008 @ 10:12 pm

  29. NO! Homeostasis is feedback mechanism. Action and reaction is not. I presume this incorrect link was raised to illustrate a point, please reword that point soon to avoid dragging this discussion down even further!

    Comment by hairnet — 2 January 2008 @ 11:17 am

  30. The link is that a specific stimulus type (e.g. an ingested substance) produces a specific reaction unique to that substance but qualified by the individualities of the organism. The degree of reaction is related to the form and quantity of the stimulus and to the sensitivity of the organism. So a specific action produces a specific reaction dependent on the nature of the action. In this respect there is a similarity with the mechanical relationship of action and reaction in Newtonian mechanics. It is not the same as the Newtonian law quoted at the start of this sequence, but it is not so dissimilar as to make the comparison irrelevant.

    Before you question the above, bear in mind that:
    1 Unique substances must produce unique effects in the same circumstances.
    2 The general similarities between organisms of the same species must define the overall pattern of the effects in that species.
    3 Unique individuals must have reactions within the overall pattern defined by their individual characteristics.
    4 The unique effects will be exhibited in the organism as a whole, because no part of the organism exists in isolation from the rest.
    5 The relationship of these factors is capable of analysis, although analysis may be complex. This can be achieved by testing the substance on a wide range of members of a species in order to find the general unique pattern as well as the individual responses.
    6 That done, you have the parameters for determining the specific reaction from a homeostatic organism of that species to the specific action of a substance.
    7 In the case of an organism already exhibiting a pattern of abnormal characteristics (signs and symptoms), there must be a relationship between this pattern and the unique patterns of reaction to substances.
    8 Successful pharmacology must be based on a consistent relationship between the patterns of reaction to substances and pre-existing patterns of signs and symptoms because if this relationship is random there is no foundation for a science of pharmacology:
    a) Because it means that substances do not have definable characteristics and so there can be no science of materials, or
    b) Because it means that complex homeostatic systems are not homeostatic but random in their responses which is a contradiction in terms.

    The consequence of carrying this process through in practice is that a law of action and reaction can be arrived at for homeostatic organisms. In terms of pharmacology the science turns out to be homeopathy.

    Comment by Ohreally — 2 January 2008 @ 11:03 pm

  31. Ohreally, any chance you can provide references for each of those statements? If just a single one of those statements is wrong then your entire argument falls down. Of course the very first statement that “Unique substances must produce unique effects in the same circumstances” falls down when you consider that a homeopathic remedy is not unique, it is mere water.

    Comment by gimpy — 3 January 2008 @ 10:18 am

  32. I’m afraid that only sounds like so much wishful thinking. you state many cause and effects but qualify none of them, are you really sure that what you are saying is not nonsense? Can you qualify the first point you make? What is a unique substance?, why must they produce unique results?

    Comment by hairnet — 3 January 2008 @ 4:46 pm

  33. gimpy and hairnet: from that level of ignorance you can rest assured that improvement in knowledge is your only possible option. I don’t teach kindergarten.

    Comment by Ohreally — 3 January 2008 @ 6:33 pm

  34. “the general unique pattern”

    Of all the complete gibberish spouted by Ohreally in this thread, this single phrase stands out as a perfect example of homeopath double-think.

    “1 Unique substances must produce unique effects in the same circumstances.”

    Says who? Do you really live up such a tall tree that you have no experience of two things causing the same effect? Consider: I have a sore throat. A nice cup of hot blackcurrant with a bit of honey dissolved in it can sooth my throat. So can a boiled sweet. Two different substances, same circumstances, same effect. I thank you.

    Comment by M Simpson — 4 January 2008 @ 8:06 am

  35. would you please indulge my ignorance and explain your first point anyway?

    Comment by hairnet — 4 January 2008 @ 10:26 am

  36. Hi, any chance of that explanation?

    Comment by hairnet — 6 January 2008 @ 4:25 pm

  37. No. “I don’t teach kindergarten.”

    Comment by Ohreally — 8 January 2008 @ 10:42 pm

  38. Ohreally, I can’t speak for hairnet but I consider myself reasonably intelligent and reasonably educated. I’m sure you pitch your explanation a bit higher than kindergarten and I would comprehend it.

    Comment by gimpy — 9 January 2008 @ 9:47 am

  39. I am currently in year 2 of an astrophysics mphys course, so like gimpy feel free to lay it on me.

    Comment by hairnet — 10 January 2008 @ 1:00 pm

  40. Gimpy, you have shown yourself to be no better educated and certainly no more intelligent than hairnet. If you were you could explain to hairnet the kindergarten facts.

    Comment by Ohreally — 10 January 2008 @ 2:31 pm

  41. Well I wouldn’t like to comment on my relative intelligence or education to hairnet but I can’t explain the facts if you won’t give us the references for your statements.

    Comment by gimpy — 10 January 2008 @ 2:39 pm

  42. I’m calling time on this thread as well. All further comments (other than mine!) will be deleted.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 10 January 2008 @ 4:07 pm


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