Replication study concerning the effects of homeopathic dilutions of histamine on human basophil degranulation in vitro

Institute for Immunology und Allergology, Inselspital, University of Berne, 3010 Berne, Switzerland.
Complementary Therapies in Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.55). 07/2005; 13(2):91-100. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2005.04.003
Source: PubMed


Various investigators have observed significant effects of highly diluted histamine on human basophil degranulation in vitro, compared to corresponding water controls. However, active and inactive dilution levels differed in most studies.
We aimed to reproduce former studies with flow-cytometry using rigorously controlled experimental conditions to minimise confounding factors.
In seven independent experiments, basophils of the same human donor were incubated with diluted histamine (up to 10(-34)M) or water controls and activated with anti-IgE antibodies. Basophil activation was determined by using bi-colour flow-cytometry. Experiments were blinded and performed with a randomised arrangement of the solutions on microtiter-plates.
Histamine at the dilutions 10(-2)M and 10(-22)M was associated with a significant inhibition of basophil degranulation (p=0.018, Wilcoxon signed rank test) of 23.1% and 5.7%, respectively, if compared to "diluted" water treated in an identical manner. However, if all controls were pooled, only histamine 10(-2)M had a significant effect. Significant effects were seen for row numbers of the microtiter plates.
We were not able to confirm the previously reported large effects of homeopathic histamine dilutions on basophil function of the examined donor. Seemingly, minor variables of the experimental set up can lead to significant differences of the results if not properly controlled.

Download full-text


Available from: Stephan Baumgartner,
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Weather radars are used to measure the electromagnetic radiation backscattered by cloud raindrops. Clouds that backscatter more electromagnetic radiation consist of larger droplets of rain and therefore they produce more rain. The idea is to predict rainfall rate by using weather radar instead of rain-gauges measuring rainfall on the ground. In an experiment during two days in June and August 1997 over the Italian-Swiss Alps, data from a weather radar and surrounding rain-gauges were collected at the same time. The neural SOM and the statistical KNN classifier were implemented for the classification task using the radar data as input and the rain-gauge measurements as output. The rainfall rate on the ground was predicted based on the radar reflections with an average error rate of 23%. The results in this work show that the prediction of rainfall rate based on weather radar measurements is possible.
    Neural Networks, 2004. Proceedings. 2004 IEEE International Joint Conference on; 08/2004
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ne of the most debated points in the scientific discus- sion about homeopathy is the hypothesis that highly di- luted substances—homeopathic potencies—may exert spe- cific remedy effects. Such an assumption is still quite provocative for many scientists and physicians, especially in the case that the dilution level exceeds ubiquity or Avo- gadro number. Beyond these limits, the probability of hav- ing molecules physically present that are relevant for a specific drug action is almost zero. Therefore, mother- tincture-related effects of high homeopathic potencies most probably imply some sort of ultramolecular pharmacology with laws and basic concepts that still need to be understood. Empirical basic research into homeopathy aims to de- velop simple laboratory systems to detect and demonstrate the presumed specific effects of homeopathic potencies. However this task is not easy to accomplish. Again and again the effects found in one laboratory are difficult to reproduce at another location. Here a recent example is discussed and possible consequences are outlined. The basophil degranulation model was introduced into
    The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 11/2005; 11(5):771-2. DOI:10.1089/acm.2005.11.771 · 1.59 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we review research on homeopathy from four perspectives, focusing on reviews and some landmark studies. These perspectives are laboratory studies, clinical trials, observational studies, and theoretical work. In laboratory models, numerous effects and anomalies have been reported. However, no single model has been sufficiently widely replicated. Instead, researchers have focused on ever-new models and experiments, leaving the picture of scattered anomalies without coherence. Basic research, trying to elucidate a purported difference between homeopathic remedies and control solutions has also produced some encouraging results, but again, series of independent replications are missing. While there are nearly 200 reports on clinical trials, few series have been conducted for single conditions. Some of these series document clinically useful effects and differences against placebo and some series do not. Observational research into uncontrolled homeopathic practice documents consistently strong therapeutic effects and sustained satisfaction in patients. We suggest that this scattered picture has to do with the fourth line of research: lack of a good theory. Some of the extant theoretical models are reviewed, including placebo, water structure, silica contamination, energy models, and entanglement models. It emerges that local models, suggesting some change in structure in the solvent, are far from convincing. The nonlocal models proposed would predict that it is impossible to nail down homeopathic effects with direct experimental testing and this places homeopathy in a scientific dilemma. We close with some suggestions for potentially fruitful research.
    The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 11/2005; 11(5):813-29. DOI:10.1089/acm.2005.11.813 · 1.59 Impact Factor
Show more