2010 March

Jan's column: theorising?!

by Jan Scholten


A study about the use of homeopathic remedies in the prevention of diarrhea in young pigs, has recently been published in the Netherlands. The study was double blind, also called Randomized Clinical Trial (RCT). The result was definitely positive and could not be explained away as placebo. 

Professor Savekool reacted to the result with these words: "There are examples of proven clinical effectiveness of some homeopathic remedies but there is not a single physical-chemical mechanism known that can explain homeopathy scientifically." This is a typical reaction for many scientists but this is not a scientific reasoning. The facts are the facts and any theory that cannot explain the facts is limited or wrong. In the case of physics and chemistry, the theories are just too limited to be able to describe the homeopathic results. Physics and chemistry lack the scope to explain homeopathy. 

Of course, professor Savekool tries to explain the results away by suggesting that the selection was not random, the groups were too  small, and so on with similar arguments. As a scientist, however, he should be intrigued by a result that does not fit existing theories and repeat the study to find out if his arguments are valid or not. Unsurprisingly, this is not done at all.  

We see the same phenomenon in the 7 meta-analysis about homeopathy. All results show that homeopathy cannot be explained away as placebo and recommend that more research should be done but then, there is no research coming on. No money is generated for the research and proposals for research are regularly blocked by ethical committees arguing that it is unethical to try an unproven healing science on patients! 

Science in these kind of reactions is far away. Scientists should become very interested, when seeing a fact that does not fit in with their theories. These phenomena have always led to new discoveries and theories; unexplained experiments are the most promising. Of course, there can be mistakes in experiments and a thorough analysis will show that the facts were not real. That, however, has to be determined. In other words, even more research is needed.   

Let us, as homeopaths, not do the same and deny facts that do not fit existing theories but build theories on existing facts.


Categories: Columns
Keywords: column, theories, facts, research

Showing comments 1 to 10 of 12 | Next | Last

Posts: 12
Scientific attitude...?
Reply #12 on : Mon March 22, 2010, 21:21:04
As I've read the article Jan refers too as well, I was indeed intriged by the fact that a well known scientist is not having a scientific attitude while reflecting on the results of the study. I wonder if he would have reacted the same way if it would have concerned any other medicine or when the word 'homeopathic' would have been erased from the study.
Scientific attitude is being curious to know what is behind the results, and not questioning the outcome because you don't BELIEVE in the method used.

Posts: 12
Reply #11 on : Fri March 12, 2010, 08:18:42
this is the free abstract of the study:
Background: The use of antibiotics in the livestock sector is increasing to such an extent
that it threatens negative consequences for human health, animal health and the environment.
Homeopathy might be an alternative to antibiotics. It has therefore been tested in
a randomised placebo-controlled trial to prevent Escherichia coli diarrhoea in neonatal
Method: On a commercial pig farm 52 sows of different parities, in their last month of
gestation, were treated twice a week with either the homeopathic agent Coli 30K or
placebo. The 525 piglets born from these sows were scored for occurrence and duration
of diarrhoea.
Results: Piglets of the homeopathic treated group had significantly less E. coli diarrhoea
than piglets in the placebo group (P < .0001). Especially piglets from first parity sows gave
a good response to treatment with Coli 30K. The diarrhoea seemed to be less severe in
the homeopathically treated litters, there was less transmission and duration appeared
shorter. Homeopathy (2010) 99, 57–62.

Posts: 12
link for Klaus
Reply #10 on : Thu March 04, 2010, 03:14:23
Dear Klaus
You are right, the 'Savekool study' cannot be found on Google for Dr Savekool did not do the research, he only responded to it, as you can read in the column! You can, however, find the study mentioned by Jan under its correct name: "Homeopathy as replacement to antibiotics in the case of Escherichia coli diarrhoea in neonatal piglets," by I Camerlink1,*, L Ellinger2, EJ Bakker3, and EA Lantinga, at www.sciencedirect.com. Enjoy the read, it's an excellent research paper. Patricia
Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 23:20:15 by mache  

Posts: 12
Reply #9 on : Tue March 02, 2010, 09:54:31
Sorry that I tried to search the Study - I could not find it. Savekool's study is not to be found with google. So what? As homoeopaths we quickly believe everything without proving it.
Klaus Löbisch
Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 10:03:24 by mache  

Posts: 12
our prejudices and our limitations
Reply #8 on : Tue March 02, 2010, 00:27:18
A closed attitude to new thinking, insights and ideas pervades homoeopathy, just as it does orthodox medical science. In Australia, the more adventurous prescriber can be shunned professionally, despite reliably good clinical outcomes. This is a great set-back for our profession. On the other hand, I have always been dismayed at the lack of curiosity shown by conventional medical colleagues when mutual patients do well on homoeopathic treatment. This is especially so when chronic cases, which orthodoxy has failed and the patient has suffered greatly, subsequently finds relief with homoeopathy. But Jan is correct - somehow we do not recognise the same blind prejudice within our own ranks.

To address Dr. Kleber's point - I believe that what is lacking in homoeopathy is sufficiently well-trained personnel. The method is excellent, the practitioner fails the method when we fail to relieve the patient's suffering. Adequate training not only in the medical sciences and up-to-date materia medica and a good grasp of homoeopathic theory, but also good training in psychological medicine is needed for adequate practice.

I see the application of various psychological approaches to case analyses in the new homoeopathy championed by practitioners such as Jan Scholten and Rajan Sankaran - and these expansive approaches further liberate the homoeopathic method, so that it can become more successful and give relief to more and more patients. I do think however that we need to keep exploring why it is that these micro-doses do what they do, and that this exploration is not solely about the mechanism of action of these dilutions but about the profound subtleness of the human body-mind - which is 'met' by the refined dose.
Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 01:06:53 by mache  

Posts: 12
Jan's column: theorising?! Dr. Kleber
Reply #7 on : Mon March 01, 2010, 23:49:38
"The problem of homoeopathy is not missing acceptance by university-medicine, the problem is that homoeopathy fails in many cases. If majority of homoeopathic treatment in serious conditions would succeed, most people would leave established medicine."
How to explain that a patient, an elderly woman of 72 years of age, had a left eye infarct and had everybody telling her that the eye is lost and that the other one can get it too. A prescription of elaps LM 6 saved her eye-sight. After one year she still sees from the left eye. Is that not a serious condition?
Last Edit: March 02, 2010, 00:20:19 by mache  

Posts: 12
theory vs practice
Reply #6 on : Mon March 01, 2010, 23:34:41
Dr Kebler I think is saying that homeopathy needs to progress to "sell" itself. This is why I think Jan tells us not to fall into the bias that hyper-critical scientists do, so we as practitioners can bring homeopathy as close to its full potential as possible. When we're exposed to a method or clinical data that has in fact produced a nice cure, we need to test the methods and data for ourselves as well as we can to advance the practice. Most of us know the awesome results we can get, and so we need to advance our skill. These RCTs simply show ultra-diluted doses have some effect even using deterministic science that is hardly a fitting research design. But we as homeopaths know of way more awesome effects that will bring the recognition with time, and we just need to keep our own bias in check. Meanwhile science will catch up with the mechanism at some point.

Posts: 12
Theorizing vs. Proof
Reply #5 on : Mon March 01, 2010, 21:09:19
I disagree with Dr. Kleber's assessment that the problem is that homeopathy fails in many cases. We certainly have much progress to make, but in my opinion homeopathy already produces superior results to allopathy for many people's health problems at it's current level of development.

But this really isn't the issue. It's not about how much evidence there is or isn't. It's about the resistance of the current medical and scientific establishment to theories that challenge the status quo. They don't even want to consider them. Whether we have enough proof for homeopathy is a business issue, not a scientific one. There is plenty of evidence to warrant major scientific research, if they weren't afraid of it.

We homeopaths have a similar problem. We are also having difficulty coping with new theories. Some of us would rather stick to "safe" polycrest homeopathy that seems easier to sell to the world. As a whole, we homeopaths tend to either take or leave new theories and methods. We struggle very much to see new developments as theories that need to be considered, tested, struggled with, improved, and integrated. It's hard to expect the opposition to be scientific when we are afraid to be. This is important because homeopathy "sells" on scientific and health merits, not on business potential.

Posts: 12
Homeopathy is a science.
Reply #4 on : Mon March 01, 2010, 20:42:04
We breathe and it is impossible to stay without air and for that matter oxyzen. But has any one seen the air with naked eye? Something which is keeping us alive but unseen cannot be claimed as not existing. Similarly if the modern investgative science cannot understand the meaning of matter and infinitesimal presence in a homeopathic remedy it should not be construed that Homeopathy is a plecebo. Dr. Jan rightly says that there is a lack of scientific work which can prove the efficacy of homeopathic medicine. LONG LIVE HOMEOPATHY.

Posts: 12
Jan's column: theorising?!
Reply #3 on : Mon March 01, 2010, 19:47:04
I beg to differ with Jan. I think Jan is side tracked from real issue. The said thing is not a real issue. I do not know how the homoeo povings are done on animals and try to prove validity of what is in the Organon. By giving importance and support to such aspects we are not only failing to convince the world community to use Homoeopathy with mankind but only exposing the valid provings on humans to invalid criticisms. We have enough provings & records for that. Need of the hour is to explain that our method of provings and our method of treatment are different from that of allopathy. We can ask the challenger to become the prover or follow the method in the way our great master George Vithoulkas countered Mr. James Randi.

We need real masters like Vithoulkas who can take head on the WHO and the Allopathic gang.
Last Edit: March 01, 2010, 20:06:15 by mache  
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