Skip Navigation Links
 



                     


 



   
    Learn More     Subscribe    
Join Now!      Login
 
 
 
FREE HEALTH
NEWSLETTER
 
 
Medicial Mistakes Quiz
How many people each year suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death after a hospital visit?
 
 
 
 
W
hat Doctors Don't Tell You
 

In Defense of 'Disproved' Homeopathy

© What Doctors Don't Tell You

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled What Doctors Don't Tell You by What Doctors Don't Tell You . View all columns in series

The exercise they were engaged in was what's called a meta-analysis. This is a useful tool in standard medical research, because it pools all the clinical data about a particular medicine or treatment, in order to quantify its overall benefit or effect. In theory, the entire process ought to be objective, but in practice it's not. The "rules" of meta-analysis allow the quality of the individual bits of data to be taken into account, thus compromising the objectivity of the process.

The 2005 Swiss study on homeopathy is a case in point. The researchers initially analyzed 110 trials, and found "a beneficial effect", i.e., homeopathy worked. However, they decided to reject 102 of these trials as being of inferior quality. Among those rejected were eight trials on upper respiratory tract infection, whose findings were so positive that the authors decided "the results cannot be trusted". Ultimately, therefore, their final meta-analysis was confined to just eight studies, which unsurprisingly, showed no beneficial effect of homeopathy.

"This was a dubious and biased study," says Dr Peter Fisher, clinical director of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. "If they had chosen nine or even seven of the very best trials, they would have got a positive result." That was the headline criticism levelled at the Swiss study, but there were many others-"lack of transparency", "did not follow accepted guidelines", "unacceptable lack of detail", "false conclusions based on false premises" were some of the adverse comments from a wide variety of experts (Lancet, 2005; 366: 2081-6).

The critics' general thrust was that the theoretically dispassionate meta-analysis process had been hijacked by a group of medical researchers with a strong bias against homeopathy from the outset. Indeed, the Swiss authors admitted their prejudice in black and white, commenting that homeopathy seemed "implausible", and that any positive clinical findings could be explained by "bias in the conduct and reporting of trials". Fortunately, in the last few years, there have been a number of less prejudiced tests of homeopathy, and these offer good evidence that it works.

More meta-analyses
The first truly comprehensive review of homeopathy was done about 16 years ago by a team of experts at Limburg University in Holland. It was a two-year study, funded by the Dutch government, which wanted an independent assessment of homeopathy's effectiveness.

The researchers unearthed a total of 105 clinical trials satisfying the basic criteria of being "controlled", i.e., in which homeopathy was compared to a placebo (a dummy pill). Of these, 81 trials showed a positive result in homeopathy's favour.

Although the researchers criticized the "low quality" of most of the trials, there were "many exceptions". This enabled them to conclude that "homeopathy can be efficacious", and so is probably justified "as a regular treatment for certain conditions" (BMJ, 1991; 302: 316-23).

Eight years later, seven medical researchers from the University of Munich carried out a very similar exercise, concluding that 89 trials of homeopathy (out of 185) were suitable for analysis. They computed that homeopathy gave a "pooled-odds ratio" of 2.45, meaning that the clinical benefits were more than twice as good as a placebo.

They concluded with a modestly expressed double negative: "the results are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo". In other words, homeopathy works (Lancet, 1997; 350: 834-43).

Add your comment   CONTINUED      Previous   1  2  3  4  Next   
About The Author
What Doctors Don’t Tell You is one of the few publications in the world that can justifiably claim to solve people's health problems - and even save lives. Our monthly newsletter gives you the facts you won't read anywhere else about what works, what doesn't work and what may harm you in both orthodox and alternative medicine. We'll also tell you how you can prevent illness.......more
 
Share   Facebook   Buzz   Delicious   Digg   Twitter  
 
 
 
 
 
 
From Our Sponsor
 
 
 
 
 
 
Featured Events
Wellness Inventory Certification Training
     September 16-December 16, 2014
     Teleclass, CA USA
 
Additional Calendar Links
 
Wellness, Feeling, dimension!

Search   
Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Find a Practitioner       Healthy Products       Bookstore       Wellness Inventory
Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Wellness Center       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
Free Newsletter      What Doctor's Don't Tell You      Stevia.com      Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Privacy Policy     Contact Us

Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.