Research: VALLANCE, Medical Scho

Listed in Issue 34

Abstract

VALLANCE, Medical School Registry, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London, UK reviews (149 references) the evidence for the efficacy of homoeopathy . He writes that 40% of GPs in the Netherlands practise homoeopathy, and that with over 100 homoeopathic medical schools, homoeopathy is practised in India, and that in the UK, 42% of GPs refer patients to homoeopaths.

Background

Methodology

Results

Two recent meta-analyses indicated that homoeopathy has added effects over those of placebo. However, despite this evidence there is a backdrop of considerable scientific scepticism, mainly due to the ultra-high dilution (UHD) of homoeopathic remedies, such that there are no molecules of the original substance present in the final remedy. The author suggests how the scientific community could respond to this challenge and writes that evidence has been conducted upon a diverse range of homoeopathic assays, including immunological, physiological, behavioural, biochemical and clinical. UHD effects has attracted the attention of physicists who have speculated upon their physical mechanisms. The author includes a critique of several experiments which formed the Benveniste affair, sparked off by the Nature article suggesting the existence of UHD effects of IgE upon human basophils. The author states that this is a paradigm example of how a controversial phenomenon can divide the scientific community and argues that there is as yet insufficient evidence to drive rational scientists to a consensus view regarding UHD effects, even if they possessed knowledge of all the evidence. Difficulty in publishing high-quality UHD research in mainstream conventional journals precludes a fair assessment of UHD effects. However, given that the existence of UHD effects could revolutionise science and medicine, the author argues that possible UHD effects warrant serious investigation by conventional scientists and serious attention by scientific journals.

Conclusion

References

Vallance AK. Can biological activity be maintained at ultra-high dilution? An overview of homeopathy, evidence, and Bayesian philosophy. J Altern Complement Med 4(1): 49-76 Spring 1998.

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