Homeopathy4health

4 May 2008

Homeopathy ‘as effective’ as standard care for eczema

I know it’s been reported on other blogs but I thought I’d include it on mine as well, for completeness sake.

UK GP website Pulse reports:

Homeopathy is as effective as conventional therapy in children with eczema, concludes the first prospective cohort study to compare the treatments.

The German study in 118 children with eczema found conventional treatment by GPs was equally as effective as homeopathic treatment in relieving symptoms and improving quality of life.

Symptom scores, as assessed by patients or their parents at one year, were not significantly different, although physician scores for eczema signs and symptom scores were significantly improved in the homoeopathically treated group.

The authors said this trial in primary care provided good evidence for the use of homeopathy for the treatment of eczema and gave a ‘more realistic picture’ of eczema therapy than that seen in a placebo-controlled randomised controlled trial.”

The research is published in the latest issue of Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal. Which describes itself as:

“Complementary Therapies in Medicine is an international, peer-reviewed journal that has considerable appeal to anyone who seeks objective and critical information on complementary therapies or who wishes to deepen their understanding of these approaches. It will be of particular interest to healthcare practitioners including family practitioners, complementary therapists, nurses, and physiotherapists; to academics including social scientists and CAM researchers; to healthcare managers; and to patients.

Complementary Therapies in Medicine aims to publish valid, relevant and rigorous research and serious discussion articles with the main purpose of improving healthcare. The journal believes that good healthcare needs to be based on clinical judgement and the available evidence on what is safe and effective, integrating conventional and complementary therapies as appropriate.

Complementary Therapies in Medicine publishes a variety of articles including primary research, reviews and opinion pieces. Recognising that some forms of CAM present novel and complex interventions, the journal encourages the exploration of the methodology of research. It believes that researchers should always aim at employing high ethical and methodological standards, and also welcomes small or exploratory studies that make a contribution to the area. Well conducted studies with negative outcomes are also welcome if they inform patient care. The journal welcomes considered opinion pieces that reflect genuine disagreements but remain respectful of the views of others.

Each issue features original, high quality research on complementary medicine, an abstracts sections with details of recently published research of high importance, as well as information and experiences on intregrating complementary medicine into mainstream care.”

Sounds like my kind of journal.

Advertisements

33 Comments »

  1. Thanks for the heads up about this survey. Serendipitously I’m actually working on an eczema post myself comparing the proposed mechanism of action of conventional steroid creams vs homeopathy as I’m going through a nasty flare up myself.

    But anyway, a couple of things to consider about this journal. Peer review is only as good as the peers, every journal, even the crap ones, claims to publish proper research, once a complementary therapy is shown to work it becomes conventional, and so on. Remember there is a journal of Creation Science that makes all the claims this journal does so the credibility of a journal is not determined by whether or not you agree with it but with the quality of the articles it contains within.

    As for the paper, there is one glaring flaw that immediately strikes me. Eczema in young children improves over time regardless of treatment. All treatment does is lesson the severity of symptoms when they occur. As anyone who suffers from eczema knows that it comes and goes in cycles and almost certainly does not last continuously for the duration of a 12 month period. If I’m being sceptical, which indeed I am, I would say that all this paper suggests is that eczema declines over time in young children, a matter of established fact. It tells us nothing about the duration of each flare up of eczema which is of far greater relevance to establishing evidence regarding the effectiveness of homeopathy. Still I would welcome other people’s thoughts.

    Comment by gimpy — 4 May 2008 @ 6:48 pm

  2. Explaining away again…

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 4 May 2008 @ 6:59 pm

  3. Err, so you have a counter argument to mine then? Let’s be having it.

    Comment by gimpy — 4 May 2008 @ 8:05 pm

  4. Have you ever noticed that “explaining away again” is an argument that can be applied regardless of merit? Observe:

    “My car radio has vanished! Clearly the Rapture is upon us and only the consumer electronics have led truly selfless lives, serving mankind diligently until it killed them, whereas we humans have been exploiting our electronic bretheren. OH LORD, I REPENT! Look, I am turning off my phone in the middle of the working day just so it can have a rest!”
    “Or perhaps somebody stole your radio.”
    “Explaining away again…”

    Saying “Explaining away again” isn’t a counter-argument. It is an assertion that you should be defending with a counter-argument.

    Getting back to this article, the original paper is here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WCS-4MNRMYH-1&_user=10&_coverDate=02%2F29%2F2008&_rdoc=4&_fmt=high&_orig=browse&_srch=doc-info(%23toc%236746%232008%23999839998%23683255%23FLA%23display%23Volume)&_cdi=6746&_sort=d&_docanchor=&_ct=12&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=fc8a94b1382041f7ebc454ed854f0a68

    I notice that there is no placebo control group (although there is a placebo test group). If I was being cynical, which indeed I am, I would suggest that it would be a matter of relative ease to find a way of measuring eczema which wouldn’t show much of a difference between treatment and placebo, run a trial with no placebo control, and when the conventional (active control) and homeopathic (placebo test) groups don’t separate, declare that homeopathy is equally as good as conventional medicine. A placebo control group would test for this possibility, and there’s really no excuse for not including one in this kind of trial. It didn’t mention if it was blinded, either: the physician’s scores may be from a blinded independent physician or the doctor/homeopath administering the test products. In the latter case, the results are subject to heavy bias.

    I also notice that the trial was not randomised, which could potentially introduce a further placebo effect since all homeopathy patients would know they were getting a treatment they had chosen and believed would work. Furthermore there are (table 1) significant differences between the two groups which probably translate into lifestyle differences, which would then affect the groups differently, introducing uncontrolled- and tested-for confounding factors. It also causes a problem because it’s clear from table 2 that the eczema was significantly more severe in the homeopathic group at baseline. As far as I’m concerned, all of the above combined renders the two groups incomparable, and so like Gimpy I can’t trust the results of this study to say anything more than “eczema clears up”.

    My second favourite bit of this paper was the bit that said “eczema symptoms [were] assessed by the child (or parent) on a numerical rating scale (NRS) from 0 to 10”, and then cited a paper, as if this was a concept that required further explanation. My favourite bit was the p<0.01 result from table 1 which showed that uneducated people were more likely to ask for homeopathy. I also liked the sentence “after adjustment the trends became significantly different favouring conventional treatment (p = 0.030) … There were no relevant differences between the two treatment groups. However, eczema signs/symptoms as assessed by the doctors improved more under homoeopathic than conventional treatment”. That’s some pretty poor discussion.

    Honestly, this isn’t a very good paper. And even if it was, it’s an attempt to prove a null hypothesis, so you’d need a lot of other similar studies before this result was interesting.

    Hmm. This post turned out longer than I expected.

    Comment by Andrew — 4 May 2008 @ 9:37 pm

  5. ..and rather inpenetrable like so many scientistic interpretations and therefore as ‘believable’ as your ‘Rapture’ explanation (you have got a vivid imagination, therefore can we believe your interpretation?).

    A lot? A bit vague Andrew. How many?

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 4 May 2008 @ 9:58 pm

  6. Tell you what, I’ll rephrase my “rather impenetrable” comments (which are only so because you lack a scientific education) so you can understand them. If you don’t understand the above, then you shouldn’t be commenting on science at all, so let’s see if we can fix that.

    The statistical techniques used in studies like this work by disproving statements like “there is NO difference between remedy X and control Y”. That’s how statistics work, and that’s just maths and there’s nothing we can do about it. So rather than saying “these remedies are equally effective” the conclusion from this paper would be “we haven’t proved that there is a difference”. If enough people (exactly how many depends on the person you’re trying to convince) can fail to prove that there is a difference then people will probably accept that there isn’t one. If they’re good studies, which this one isn’t.

    First of all, table 1 says that the homeopathic group have, on average, parents with less education. They probably therefore have less money and live in a more deprived area. Probably they have a poorer diet. Any of these factors, and several more I’ve not considered, will affect the eczema to some extent. If the treatments were allocated randomly these factors would go away, but this was not done. Ironically, this study did not compare like with like.

    Second, there is no placebo control. It could be that this study measured eczema in such a way that current treatments wouldn’t look good. As such, the conclusion here isn’t “homeopathy is as good as real medicine” but “real medicine didn’t do any better than homeopathy in this particular test“. If you added a placebo control then you could say “homeopathy is better than placebo, and by a similar amount to conventional treatments”. This would of course require randomisation, because nobody would choose to have something they knew was a placebo.

    There are other problems with this study, but I think those are the biggest ones and the easiest to explain to a lay-person.

    The press release says that this model offers “a more realistic picture” than a randomised, placebo controlled test would. As a rule, you can safely ignore any study done by someone who says things like that, because those people don’t understand the scientific method. Curiously, they are invariably big fans of alternative medicine.

    Comment by Andrew — 5 May 2008 @ 11:31 am

  7. ..much better.

    Your Rapture moment was a combination of sci-fi and religious themes, very interesting. It’s curious that sciencey types like the fantasy of sci-fi, well you’ve got to let your imagination rip somehow, I suppose.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 5 May 2008 @ 3:41 pm

  8. We’re still waiting for a counter argument or do you accept the flaws in this paper?

    Comment by gimpy — 5 May 2008 @ 3:54 pm

  9. homeopathy4health – you did not answer my question. What conclusions do you think you can draw confidently from this study and why?

    Comment by Andy Lewis — 5 May 2008 @ 9:25 pm

  10. So you agree that the flaws in the paper render it unhelpful to pro-homeopathy arguments?

    Comment by gimpy — 6 May 2008 @ 9:51 am

  11. So are you going to defend this paper or retract your endorsement? Journalistic integrity would seem to require one or the other.

    Comment by Andrew — 6 May 2008 @ 3:48 pm

  12. Well you are all very worked up about the study! I’ve had my say I’ve allowed you to have yours (and I don’t have to), it’s been published in a GP online magazine, I don’t see why I should retract it. I am not a journalist. I did retract my support for a previous post as it seems there were genuine concerns about the integrity of the organisation.

    I am happy to allow your reasonably presented comments on the study, and don’t forget Andrew that ordinary people read this blog so do write for them not just for sceptics.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 7 May 2008 @ 8:56 am

  13. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Vowel!!

    Comment by Vowel — 19 June 2008 @ 8:14 pm

  14. Andrew’s comment about the self-referral of patients focuses on the idea that the homeopathy patients might be biased in their impressions of improvement. This is a very flawed argument, because the allopathic patients were also self-referred. Why assume that homeopathic patients are likely to exhibit a bias in favor of their treatment and that allopathic patients won’t? This is a completely misleading argument.

    Granted, the conclusion should be that there is no proven difference. So? The real implication of the study, then, is that patients treated homeopathically get results that are just as good as those treated allopathically – but without the risks of drugs, which are significant in the case of eczema treatments. That is a strong argument in favor of homeopathy, even given equal results.

    The lack of a placebo control is unfortunate. However, it has nothing to do with the relative results between homeopathic and allopathic treatment. It may prove that placebo is less or more effective than either, or that it’s irrelevant. That, though, has no bearing on whether homeopathically treated patients had better results than allopathically treated ones.

    Comment by Heidi Stevenson — 25 July 2008 @ 9:31 am

  15. Why assume that homeopathic patients are likely to exhibit a bias in favor of their treatment and that allopathic patients won’t?

    I don’t. Both will be biased.

    Without a control group, we have no way to know if the trial was even measuring what it claimed to at all: we know that real medicine can treat eczema, because we’ve done RCTs that prove it. That’s why they’re allowed to sell it. Without a control, it’s perfectly possible that the study was not effective in assessing eczema response to treatment, and therefore ANY two modalities you cared to compare would appear to have similar efficacy. That, to me, is a far more likely explanation than the existence of hitherto unknown-to-science and otherwise undetectable “vital forces” and unexplained “memory of water” effects.

    If there was a placebo control that registered a poorer recovery rate then that hypothesis could be ruled out and we would have some evidence that homeopathy worked as well as real medicine. But that wasn’t done, so the conclusion drawn from the paper in the title of this post cannot be justified.

    Comment by Andrew — 25 July 2008 @ 3:40 pm

  16. “…we know that real medicine can treat eczema, because we’ve done RCTs that prove it.”

    You may believe that, but it’s hardly something that anyone who has actually read some of these randomly controlled trials would agree with. Most of them were paid for by the corporation that wants to sell the drugs for profit, and the results showed that fact. So-called RCTs were used to “prove” that SSRIs are effective, but the truth is that they are neither efficacious nor safe. If you want to trust that sort of “trial”, then go for it. But don’t expect others to buy into trash science.

    Now, back to placebos: If, as you say, the drug regimen had been proven effective, then no placebo would be needed to compare the supposedly effective drug with another modality. After all, you have claimed that the drugs treatment is effective and proven to be so. If you wish to make that claim then you cannot then say that a placebo is necessary to compare something else to it. According to you, the drugs are effective. Therefore, a placebo should not be needed to compare another modality against them.

    Yes, both groups will be biased, and both will be biased in exactly the same way. Both will believe in the method chosen. Thus, the two groups are equivalent, especially in light of the fact that other factors about them were roughly equivalent, too.

    Comment by Heidi Stevenson — 26 July 2008 @ 4:45 pm

  17. You may believe that, but it’s hardly something that anyone who has actually read some of these randomly controlled trials would agree with. Most of them were paid for by the corporation that wants to sell the drugs for profit, and the results showed that fact. So-called RCTs were used to “prove” that SSRIs are effective, but the truth is that they are neither efficacious nor safe…

    Of course they were funded by the manufacturer! Who else cares enough to run that trial? I work in exactly that area (albeit not for eczema) and that’s how it’s supposed to work. If they do it fraudulently then rival companies repeat the work, find out what really happens, and then take action. It’s all about reproducibility. If you want to provide even one actual example of a bad study then please do. I presume you know of many, since you have written (though not published) an article claiming that homeopathy is actually better than real medicine in this area. If you can convince me that eczema medicines don’t work then I’ll happily alert Trading Standards and complain about the manufacturers on my blog (and of course point out that this trial then proves homeopathy doesn’t work either), but the fact that the manufacturer funded a study to test their own product just shows prudence. You’d whine a lot louder if taxpayers had to foot the bill.

    Sure, it’s impossible to find every risk, and it’s possible that sometimes ineffective medicines slip through. It’s not perfect, but can you honestly believe that all or most drugs tested by the manufacturers are dangerous or don’t work?

    Now, back to placebos: If, as you say, the drug regimen had been proven effective, then no placebo would be needed to compare the supposedly effective drug with another modality…

    Oh, sure, if you want to collapse all efficacy information into a single binary “works/doesn’t work” checkbox. You can’t just say “this drug ‘works’, therefore whatever test we choose do is bound to come up positive”. In real life it’s more complicated than that. Maybe it was tested in a 12-week trial on really bad eczema and is now being used in a 1-week trial of mild eczema. I don’t know anything about eczema, but I bet that that can’t be usefully summarised in a “eczema/cured” checkbox either. Manufacturers make more specific claims than simply “yep, this works”, and they do it because there are rules about that kind of thing — for exactly this reason.

    Yes, both groups will be biased, and both will be biased in exactly the same way. Both will believe in the method chosen. Thus, the two groups are equivalent, especially in light of the fact that other factors about them were roughly equivalent, too.

    I refer you to table one of the paper, where it is shown that there is a highly significant difference in the education levels of the parents. This implies a corresponding difference in income and therefore levels of deprivation. The groups are not the same.

    Comment by Andrew — 26 July 2008 @ 7:41 pm

  18. Now we have the whole story of why you believe that pharmaceutical drug trials can be trusted. You work for them. The idea that it’s okay for trials to be paid by the manufacturer is an obvious conflict of interest, and the results have been disastrous, over and over again.

    The harm done by statins is enormous. The harm done by antidepressants and neuroleptics is enormous. The basis for which they were determined to be efficacious is, at the very least, dishonest. Statins’ effectiveness has been based on the idea that lowering cholesterol prevents heart disease, something that has never been documented. SSRI and SNRI antidepressants are based on the idea that there is something wrong with serotonin reuptake – never documented (in spite of the cute trick of naming the class as if it were true). The basis for which neuroleptics is based is equally wrong, the assumption that destroying brain function can ever be considered a proper treatment for schizophrenia.

    Yes, I do believe that the vast majority of pharmaceuticals are dangerous. Just look at lists of the so-called “side effects”.

    By the way, the study does not show that eczema drugs don’t work, nor does it make that claim. That was not the point. It was a comparison of the two modalities – homeopathy and allopathy. The most salient point of the study can be seen in the graphs, where the trend at the end is clearly positive for homepathy and negative for allopathy – a point that the authors should have focused on.

    I’m not going to convince you and you aren’t going to convince me. Your purpose in being here is to act as a shill for the pharmaceutical industry. I act to represent an alternative view. If you feel good about what you do, go ahead. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

    Comment by Heidi Stevenson — 27 July 2008 @ 12:28 pm

  19. P.S.

    No, I wouldn’t whine if taxpayers footed the bill. That’s who should pay for it, as long as there are steep penalties – not just monetary, but jail time – for anyone trying to influence the results.

    Comment by Heidi Stevenson — 27 July 2008 @ 12:41 pm

  20. Heidi, I suggest you read Andrew’s commet again. Particularly the bit where he says:

    [if trials are done] fraudulently then rival companies repeat the work, find out what really happens, and then take action. It’s all about reproducibility

    This makes clear that even if a company has felt compelled to commit fraud they will be found out when somebody tries to reproduce the experiment. Just out of interest can you list any homeopathy research where the results have been replicated by other researchers independent of the original research?

    You also don’t address the fact that the majority of pharmaceutical research is carried out by researchers funded by governments, charities or university endowments rather than business interests. This basic research informs the strategies used by the big pharmaceuticals to develop new products but is wholly independent of them.

    Your comment about side effects are naive in the extreme. Any alteration of a biochemical pathway, which is what pharmaceuticals do, will have a knock on effect. The key point is that the side effects of pharmaceuticals are less severe than the effect of not treating the disease in the first place which is why they are approved or, when new evidence comes to light, retracted. Homeopathy has no side effects because it does not do anything.

    Comment by gimpy — 27 July 2008 @ 1:40 pm

  21. PS I have never taken money from a pharmaceutical company, invested in nor accepted any form of payment or favour from one.

    Whereas you rely on homeopathy for a living and have a vested interest in ensuring that it is not rejected as a sensible treatment modality. Who is the shill now?

    Comment by gimpy — 27 July 2008 @ 1:42 pm

  22. Now we have the whole story of why you believe that pharmaceutical drug trials can be trusted. You work for them. Your purpose in being here is to act as a shill for the pharmaceutical industry. … If you feel good about what you do, go ahead. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

    That’s quite a serious accusation. Are you prepared to back up with evidence your assertion that I am endangering lives by selfishly promoting harmful drugs in order to protect my employers (or at least the people you wrongly inferred employ me) from criticism, or is that going to stand as baseless slander? Or are you going to apologise?

    This whole thing hinges on the rather quaint Narrativium-powered world of wooly thinking where tabloids and alternative medicine practitioners have a habit of living, a place where the veracity of a claim depends not on the truth or evidence but on the source and their ‘interests’. It’s why the fact that Wakefield’s experiments were all rubbish didn’t bother the anti-MMR crowd one bit, but when people started raising ethical concerns that grabbed their attention as if it made any difference to the results at all.

    The idea that it’s okay for trials to be paid by the manufacturer is an obvious conflict of interest, and the results have been disastrous, over and over again.

    No, they haven’t. You’ve come up with one example. One. We could stroll together through any branch of Boots and we could look at hundreds, thousands of different medicines. You say, oh, but statins are bad, and I say sure, but Shipman was bad and that doesn’t mean we can’t trust doctors. Hitler was bad, that doesn’t mean we can’t trust Germans. You can’t characterise all “allopathic” drugs (a wrong word invented by homeopaths to describe something they didn’t understand) on the basis of one example that didn’t work — which if I had the time I’d research more fully to make sure you’re not misrepresenting even that one. If that was okay, then I’d dismiss you, because you’re a practising homeopath and we all know that homeopathy kills people over and over again.

    Yes, I do believe that the vast majority of pharmaceuticals are dangerous. Just look at lists of the so-called “side effects”.

    I think it belies an alarming amount of magical thinking to imagine that there could possibly exist a substance to which our bodies react by healing themselves without reacting in any other way. If they could do that, surely they’d just do it without the drug? It’s an intervention: our bodies have an amazing system in place to heal, but it can’t always work and with careful manipulation we can make it more efficient. Survival rates for virtually all disease has improved almost immeasurably since the advent of modern medicine. Certainly all pharmaceuticals can be harmful, but with a few unfortunate exceptions I don’t think it’s fair to call them “dangerous”.

    If you live to 70 then die from badly administered medicine, then bear in mind as you lie there that there were times before the modern understanding of the human body when you’d have been lucky to hit 40 in the first place.

    By the way, the study does not show that eczema drugs don’t work, nor does it make that claim. That was not the point. It was a comparison of the two modalities – homeopathy and allopathy. The most salient point of the study can be seen in the graphs, where the trend at the end is clearly positive for homepathy and negative for allopathy – a point that the authors should have focused on.

    That effect had a statistical significance level of p=0.447. That means that you would expect to see an effect that large by pure random fluke, assuming no difference between the modalities, 45% of the time. That’s about half. It’s hard to imagine a less notable result. Focussing on which modality that probably-random effect happened to favour would have been incredibly dishonest, much like you are when you claim that “the trend at the end is clearly… negative for allopathy”, which is a flat out lie. Both treatment groups’ eczema scores improved by amounts which cannot be separated. Furthermore, the overall quality of life score improved more for the conventional treatment than for homeopathy — and that was significant (although the flaws in the trial rather step on it).

    Why do you feel the need to comment on the quality of scientific research when you can’t even read a simple paper?

    No, I wouldn’t whine if taxpayers footed the bill. That’s who should pay for it, as long as there are steep penalties – not just monetary, but jail time – for anyone trying to influence the results.

    That’s interesting, but I can’t see many people being happy to fund research for a new drug when there are already lots available for the same disease.

    Comment by Andrew — 27 July 2008 @ 2:01 pm

  23. I was quite clear that I represent a certain point of view. It was never hidden. You stated that you work in “exactly that area” in a context that clearly implied you work for or in association with pharmaceuticals.

    First, you say that homeopathy doesn’t do anything. Then, you say that homeopathy kills. You can’t have it both ways. Perhaps bad advice has killed, but homeopathy has not.

    Bad drugs with terrible side effects: statins, neuroleptics, SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, beta blockers, steroids, synthetic retinoids, synthetic hormones, cholinergic agents. I can go on. These drugs are used commonly. The question is not so much which drugs are unsafe, but which are safe. The safe list is exceedingly short. (I don’t know of a single one. That includes aspirin.) Yes, they are dangerous. If you don’t think so, do some checking outside the pharmaceutical literature. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a place, but the risks are far greater than acknowledged by either pharmaceutical firms or most physicians.

    Even if the trial’s results had been that homeopathy didn’t work as well, the lack of negative effects surely should be weighed against the risks associated with steroid use, which cannot be considered either minor or rare. Steroids are the drugs of choice for treating eczema. Their effects can last for a lifetime. By treating eczema with steroids, you are risking diabetes, asthma, and a host of other problems. Especially if one believes that homeopathy does nothing, which is certainly better than nasty side effects, and that eczema is a temporary thing, then it makes no sense to use them.

    To the person who suggested that the claim that rival pharmaceuticals do trials to try to prove the competition’s products don’t work or are dangerous: Really? Show me some, other than attempts to show that their products work better than the competitions’, which is not the same as doing trials to demonstrate that their competitors’ products don’t work as claimed.

    Comment by Heidi Stevenson — 27 July 2008 @ 5:20 pm

  24. I was quite clear that I represent a certain point of view. It was never hidden. You stated that you work in “exactly that area” in a context that clearly implied you work for or in association with pharmaceuticals.

    I work in the area. I contribute to trials of products, which I think mostly aren’t classed as drugs. My direct employers do not manufacture anything at all. It wouldn’t matter if they did.

    First, you say that homeopathy doesn’t do anything. Then, you say that homeopathy kills. You can’t have it both ways. Perhaps bad advice has killed, but homeopathy has not.

    Not doing anything does kill when the person has a terminal but curable disease.

    Bad drugs with terrible side effects: …

    You set the bar for “safe” at an unreasonable level. If you want to tinker with your body’s internal chemistry then you have to accept that it’s going to carry some small risk, just as any work you do on a car engine might damage it. You’d be a fool to think otherwise.

    I notice homeopathy always claims to get around this rather basic fact of life. I’d love to know how.

    If you don’t think so, do some checking outside the pharmaceutical literature.

    Such as where? The tabloids, or the propaganda from the lucrative “alternative medicine” industry? Seriously, where do you want me to read? I can’t think of anywhere more trustworthy than the scientific journals, which at least have checks to ensure the conflicts of interest aren’t allowed to run riot. I’d love to see newspapers take that approach. No, they’ll publish any old nonsense that’s put on the wire.

    To the person who suggested that the claim that rival pharmaceuticals do trials to try to prove the competition’s products don’t work or are dangerous: Really? Show me some, other than attempts to show that their products work better than the competitions’, which is not the same as doing trials to demonstrate that their competitors’ products don’t work as claimed.

    It is if you include a placebo arm, which is pretty standard practice, for all the reasons I posted earlier, and that you chose to ignore.

    But I don’t think I’ll bother doing any legwork to impress you with trial references. I doubt you’ve ever been a member of any institution with enough scientific merit to warrant having a subscription to read them anyway, and I don’t see why I should do research on your request when you’ve utterly failed to back up even a single one of your claims with any kind of a reference. Let’s not forget that at least one of those claims is still standing as baseless slander against my integrity. One day you’ll say something like that to someone more highly strung and end up in court.

    Comment by Andrew — 27 July 2008 @ 9:10 pm

  25. “Not doing anything does kill when the person has a terminal but curable disease.”

    Andrew, SSRI’s were found in one meta-analysis to have no clinically significant effect. If someone kills themself while taking them, has the SSRI killed them, as it was “not doing anything”?

    Comment by Kitty — 27 February 2009 @ 4:04 pm

  26. Andrew’s comments are no longer allowed on this blog. This is because he has a tendency to write opinions based on logic and not from experience or facts. He is a programmer by profession.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 7 March 2009 @ 10:45 am

  27. h4h, that’s the funniest thing you’ve ever written. Am I to assume that only illogical arguments based on experience and facts are allowed?

    I had a bad egg this morning, therefore it rained.

    Comment by gimpy — 7 March 2009 @ 1:55 pm

  28. You can’t present opinion on logic alone.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 7 March 2009 @ 2:31 pm

  29. h4h said: “You can’t present opinion on logic alone.”

    It looks like Andrew (and Gimpy ) are presenting facts and rational argument based on logic, not opinions.

    Comment by zeno27 — 7 March 2009 @ 7:33 pm

  30. How can a “fact” be based on “logic”? What’s your definition of “fact”?

    Comment by ez — 8 March 2009 @ 12:31 am

  31. Eh? You misread what I said. I didn’t say a fact was based on logic: it’s the rational argument that’s based on logic.

    Comment by zeno27 — 8 March 2009 @ 12:39 am

  32. Oh, I see, it was facts (separately) and rational argument based on logic (separately). My apology.

    I still think, however, that the notion of “rational arguments” is somewhat misleading as any logical string starts with assumptions which might or might not be correct, and therefore the “answer” which is found at the end of the said logical string might or might not be correct as a result, even if the logical “operations”, if you like, are all “calculated” correctly. At the same time – and for the same reasons,- these rational arguments, which thus remain a theory, mind you, might be consistent or not with the actual facts. SO when you see some reasoning leading to some observed facts being consistent and others not – you have to check your premises, after you have checked the logic. Would you not agree with that?

    If, however, you choose to ingore the facts that are not consistent with your theoretical arguments, then you are at risk of overlooking faults not only in your logic, but in your initial assumptions, axioms, that is.

    And as Andrew (this probably is not true for Gimpy, though) has no direct knowledge of any facts related to wide-scale application either of conventional treatments or homeopathy – except for personal experience which you like to call “anecdote” and something not to be relied on – I would tend to agree with H4H’s judgement.

    Gimpy, on the other hand, has lost any credibility in my personal eyes after I discovered a comment on the gimpyblog saying that Gimpy is not convinced in benefits of organic-grown foods vs commercial/GM foods – have they ever tasted them? Unless they have completely lost all senses of taste and smell, they would not fail to note that while “conventionally” grown fresh produce tastes as straw and is almost inedible without excessive flavouring, organic vegetables are really delicios, especially fruit. While I can understand reservations against homeopathy, the cautious attitude towards organic foods, especially considering that some 150 years ago all food was organic, is simply ridiculous. But that’s my opinion, of course.

    This is just to explain my view, and as this is not related to the topic here I think I’ll refrain from further posting here.

    Comment by ez — 8 March 2009 @ 3:24 am

  33. Thank ez, you explain it very well.

    Discussion closed on this blog.

    Comment by homeopathy4health — 8 March 2009 @ 12:23 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: