Homeopathic pathogenetic trials produce more specific than non-specific symptoms: results from two double-blind placebo controlled trials.

School of Social Sciences and European Office of the Samueli Institute for Information Biology, University of Northampton, Northampton, UK.
Journal of Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 2.81). 08/2008; 22(5):543-52. DOI: 10.1177/0269881108091259
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We conducted two parallel, blinded homeopathic pathogenetic trials conducted at two different sites to determine whether symptoms reported by healthy volunteers were significantly different for homeopathic remedies than for placebos. Study 1 used a two-armed design, testing ozone against placebo. Study 2 used a three-armed design, testing ozone and iridium against placebo. We found significantly more remedy-specific symptoms in provers taking ozone or iridium than in provers taking placebo in the three-armed trial and in both trials pooled for ozone and placebo. We, therefore, conclude that homeopathic remedies produce more symptoms typical for a remedy than non-typical symptoms. The results furthermore suggest a somewhat non-classical pattern because symptoms of one remedy appear to be mimicked in the other trial arm. This might be indicative of entanglement in homeopathic systems.

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    ABSTRACT: Introduction it is assumed that, as measured during randomised placebo-controlled trials, specific and non-specific effects of an intervention do not interact with each other, and are simultaneously observable. It is argued this assumption means the results of RCTs (particularly for complex interventions, such as homeopathy) are treated too simplistically. Purpose of study to examine if a complex intervention's specific effects and non-specific effects are complementary (in a sense derived and generalised from quantum theory), i.e., correlated sets of observables from an RCT, in which both are necessary to achieve a more complete understanding of the efficacy of an intervention. Methods building on earlier work, and based on the properties of Abelian and non-Abelian algebras, a mathematical argument is developed, which is used to examine the nature of the relationship between a complex intervention's specific effects and non-specific effects as observables from RCTs. Results the mathematical argument suggests that it is essentially incorrect to assume specific effects and non-specific effects of a complex intervention (as measured during an RCT of a complex intervention) can be separated into simultaneously measurable, non-interacting sets of observables. Conclusion this calls into question not only the legitimacy of conclusions drawn from RCTs, but also the blinded observational stance of the RCT protocol (which currently justifies - and is justified by - a reductionist approach to the efficacy of complex therapeutic interventions). Indeed, such RCTs might well be demonstrating a Heisenberg-type Uncertainty between the specific effects of the intervention and the non-specific effects of the consultation, as complementary observable parts making up a whole irreducible phenomenon: the therapeutic process.
    European Journal of Integrative Medicine 06/2014; · 0.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Homeopathic Pathogenetic Trials (HPTs) are a pillar of homeopathy, a key source of the symptoms characteristic of a particular homeopathic medicine. Homeopaths choose homeopathic medicines by comparing these remedy pictures with the symptoms the patient is presenting. Thus, recognition of these symptom sets underpins the clinical practice of homeopathy. Objective To test whether HPTs generate consistent and recognisable sets of symptoms in consecutive trials. Design Practising homeopaths, blinded to the homeopathic medicine under investigation, were given the set of symptoms generated during an unpublished HPT and asked to identify the homeopathic medicine used. Homeopathic trial substance Ozone, prepared by homeopathic method to the ultramolecular dilution of 30c (10−60 dilution), was chosen at random from twenty potential medicines. Results Seven practising homeopaths were asked to make three guesses as to the identity of the remedy. Initially from the full list of possible remedies (N = 2372). Two of the seven homeopaths guessed the identity of the remedy correctly (p < 0.0001). Subsequently, when their choice of possible medicines was restricted to a list of 20, the same two homeopaths selected the correct medicine, however none of the other practising homeopaths did so (p = 0.2). Discussion The selection of the correct homeopathic medicine from the unrestricted list (N = 2372 medicines) by two homeopaths is noteworthy given that the homeopathic medicine used during the HPT was diluted well beyond Avogadro's number and would not be expected to produce any detectable or recognisable symptomatology. Possible reasons why the remaining five homeopaths did not guess correctly are discussed. Conclusion The results show that practising homeopaths may be able to correctly identify a homeopathic medicine from the set of symptoms generated during an HPT. This suggests that such symptom pictures generated by taking an ultramolecular homeopathic medicine are recognisable and specific to the substance taken. Since identification of the remedy was based on past HPT information held in the materia medica, this demonstrates that HPT-generated symptom pictures are reproducible, thus validating the HPT methodology. These promising preliminary findings warrant replication; possible improvements to the trial design to be incorporated in future studies were identified.
    Homeopathy: the journal of the Faculty of Homeopathy 01/2014; 103(2):108–112. · 1.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Placebo appears to be a real neurobiological phenomenon that has evolved through the selection pressure to be able to heal ourselves. The complex language and social structures of humans means that we can attribute meaning to therapeutic encounters with culturally sanctioned authority figures and we can use our attachment to such figures to generate hope for recovery. Different mechanisms may be involved in the neurobiological aspect of placebo including anxiety, learning, conditioning as well as individual genetic variation. Examination of the published work shows that while some trials do seem to indicate a specific mode of action for homeopathic remedies other trials do not and this is an issue that needs to be addressed at the trial design stage. A clinical trial that includes both a placebo group and a non-participating control arm is the most powerful design for separating the non-specific and polymorphic placebo effect from the specific effects of trial medication. The control variables in a trial of homeopathic medication should also include the process of consultation as this may assume a meaning for the individual that can also be associated with a placebo effect.
    JRSM short reports. 08/2013; 4(9):2042533313490927.

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