Science Fiction Fantasy  
Go Back   Science Fiction Fantasy Chronicles: forums > Discussion > Science / Nature

Science / Nature Messageboards for discussing all aspects of science, the environment of our world, and the scientific exploration of it.

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old 26th May 2010, 09:52 PM   #61 (permalink)
Luna tick
 
Moonbat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Devon
Posts: 1,999
Blog Entries: 1
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

The
Quote:
Homoepathic versus placebo therapy of children with warts on their hands: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial.
webpage had very little details, and actually said the homeopathic remedies were of a minimum factor of 1:1024 (or thereabouts) which seems a long way from the 1:10000000 that we are used to from most homeopathic remedies.
Moonbat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2010, 10:26 PM   #62 (permalink)
http://gratefuldaize.blog
 
StormFeather's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Kent
Posts: 756
Blog Entries: 110
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

I think that one of the problems that has been highlighted here, and on other threads, is that you can probably find a scientific study to back up pretty much anything. And as soon as one study is done, another comes along to contradict it.

Anyone remember that you shouldn't eat eggs because they contain a high level of cholesterol? But then you should eat several eggs a week because it's a different kind of cholesterol, and actually eggs are beneficial.

Or, and I saw this recently on The Story of Science on BB2, when Radium was first discovered by scientists, how it went into everything. You could buy radium water purifiers, radium toothpaste, even radium condoms - because the scientists thought it was an amazing new discovery and it was promoted as the latest, life preserving wonder.

And, more recently - Andrew Wakefield of the MMR scandal. His paper appeared in the peer-reviewed Lancet, as apparent scientific fact. He has since been discredited, along with all his research.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that you should probably take such things as untested, or even tested trials of anything (including conventional medicine) with a grain of salt (unless there are many comparable studies with proven results). What's 'truth' from a science perspective can change with subsequent discoveries. Or even the latest study done with a different criteria.

Science doesn't have all the answers - yet.
StormFeather is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2010, 10:42 PM   #63 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: New Zealand (Aotorea)
Posts: 560
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

Stormfeather

Science is about testing. Quoting the early use of Radium as a therapeutic measure is not a valid comment, since it was never tested scientifically for its health effects, at that time. Instead a bunch of idiotic enthusiasts marketed it vigorously without evidence.

A better example might be thalidomide, which was approved after testing. Sadly, the one test they did not perform on thalidomide was its teratogenicity. We know better today, and many teratogenicity tests are performed on all modern drugs.

There are also the occasional cases of fraud and cheating in science, such as Wakefield and the MMR vaccine. This does not apply to homeopathy testing, since we are looking at the combined results of hundreds of separate trials.

Homeopathy has been tested to within an inch of its life and is bogus. Even the theory of homeopathy is bogus. There is no way in science, or even in common sense, that it can work.
skeptical is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2010, 11:34 PM   #64 (permalink)
http://gratefuldaize.blog
 
StormFeather's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Kent
Posts: 756
Blog Entries: 110
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

Hi Skeptical

I'm not saying homeopathy is right or all other scientific research is wrong.

And you are right - I didn't give the best examples. But scientific truth does change as new discoveries occur. And it's not just about the tests, but about the scopes and limitations of such tests, and, perhaps more crucially, the interpretations of the results. Scientists are rarely unbiased. More often than not, they carry out tests, expecting the results to back up their findings so far. . . .

All I'm saying is that perhaps it's just me, but I take every latest 'scientific' revelation with a huge pinch of scepticism. The media hypes everything to the nth degree, and even on the internet you can find 'evidence' to support pretty much any theory that you care to believe.

There are still plenty of people who believe in Dr Wakefield. Despite everything to the contrary.

I, myself, will continue to give my kids the arnica remedy as it seems to work. Yes, it's probably down to the placebo effect, or even the placebo-by-proxy effect of me believing that it will work on them. I'm happy to accept that. To be honest, I don't really care what the mechanism is. If it's something that calms them down, and through some method reduces the swelling - I will pay for it. I won't pay for things that don't work, however, and I have tried other things. (I have a GP who has given me free homeopathic remedies in the past - I tried them, they didn't work, so I don't use them anymore)

I thank you though, as you have made me consider my opinions in more depth - I may not agree wholeheartedly with what you're saying but at least I've considered it!
StormFeather is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th May 2010, 11:57 PM   #65 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: New Zealand (Aotorea)
Posts: 560
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

Stormfeather

As my name suggests, I firmly believe in the value of a little skepticism. That includes being skeptical about the discoveries of science. I am very skeptical about some of them myself.

The key is the amount and credibility of evidence. A single test, even when it follows the 'gold standard' may be wrong. When over 100 such tests are carried out by independent testers, and the results agree, then being over-skeptical is the same as being stupid.

On arnica, that is up to you. I would recommend an ice pack, since ice works very well on sprains and swellings, and this is backed up by numerous scientific tests. Arnica works as well as placebo, but not as well as an ice pack. Ice is also cheaper. As well as reducing swelling, ice is extremely good at reducing pain and discomfort - much more so than arnica. Neither ice nor arnica will, however, speed healing. That is just a function of time.
skeptical is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2010, 12:19 AM   #66 (permalink)
http://gratefuldaize.blog
 
StormFeather's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Kent
Posts: 756
Blog Entries: 110
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

Hi Skeptical,

You are very correct with regards to an ice pack. However - have you ever tried to hold an ice pack to a child?

I, personally, have had a variety of injuries that indicated ice as a remedy (such as sprains and burns - I'm not the greatest cook in the world but I try). I cannot stand to have an ice pack applied. For me, the pain of the cold is worse than the pain of the injury. Even on burns, I find the cold even worse than the burn in 90% of occasions.

I've qualified as a paediatric nurse , and I've done my first aid courses, so I know what to do in the majority of circumstances - but, I'm also practical. I have a son who can just about tolerate cold flannels, and a daughter who seems sturdy enough to withstand pretty much anything. The 'magic medicine' of the little white pills however, does go a long way to calm them down in the face of major bumps and bruises. On that basis alone (aside from the apparent (to me) lessening of swelling) - I will carry on giving them arnica as a remedy.

Last edited by StormFeather; 27th May 2010 at 12:47 AM.
StormFeather is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2010, 01:06 AM   #67 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: New Zealand (Aotorea)
Posts: 560
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

Stormfeather

On administering ice packs.

The way I do it is to put crushed ice (I have even been known to use frozen peas) in a plastic bag, and then put the plastic bag inside a cotton cloth exterior. Wrapping in a dish towel will do. The cotton stops the cold being painful.
skeptical is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2010, 02:51 AM   #68 (permalink)
Registered User
 
ColdBurn's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Washington
Posts: 21
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

i don't know from science or homeopathy, but I know this: peanut butter mixed with garlic will relieve a toothache, at least as long as you need to see a dentist.
ColdBurn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2010, 10:28 AM   #69 (permalink)
Senior Member
 
Boneman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: West Sussex
Posts: 4,454
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

Skeptical, you totally misunderstood me (and I'm trying to be a writer!!). I did not say that scientists should not do research into Homoeopathy. Of course scientists can do research into Homoeopathy, what I was trying (unsucessfully) to say, is that the scientific community deliberately and continually ignores research carried by Homoeopaths into Homoeopathy, and will only consider research carried out by scientists... As I think I said, the allopathic model cannot be applied to Homoeopathy, and to do so, is not only disingenuous, but it negates the scientific research itself, when that happens. So,

Quote:
The Lancet study included only randomised, placebo controlled, double blind clinical studies. This is the 'gold standard' for medical research - the very best test procedure. Randomised means the patients are divided into two groups using random selection. Placebo controlled means one group is fed placebo for treatment, while the other is fed the 'proper' therapy - in this case meaning homeopathic remedies. Double blind means that neither the patients, or the physicians delivering the treatments know whether each treatment is homeopathic or placebo. This is the very highest standard of testing.
of the 110 studies that the Lancet article looked at, how many of the 110 complied with the homoeopathic model?

The reason I included the research into the warts was because it actually complied with the homoeopathic model, using individualised homoeopathic treatments, rather than a blanket selection of one remedy for all. But you could dismiss this as only being one case. Trying to find more research from the scientific community that is carried out correctly, is like looking for the preverbial needle in a haystack.

But there's a somewhat different take on a review of Randomised Controlled trials at the Faculty of Homoeopathy. These are Doctors, not
Quote:
snake-oil vendors and self-obsessed confidence tricksters
as Peter Graham puts it.

Quote:
Between 1950 and 2009, 142
Quote:
randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in homeopathy have been reported. This represents research in 74 different medical conditions. Of these 142 trials, 63 were positive, 11 negative and 68 non-conclusive.
A meta-analysis published in The Lancet in 1997 included 186 placebo controlled studies of homeopathy, from which data for analysis could be extracted from 89.4 The overall mean odds ratio for these 89 clinical trials was 2.45 (95% confidence interval 2.05–2.93) in favour of homeopathy (individualized treatment, single or complex homeopathic medicines, or isopathy). Even after correction for publication bias, the results remained statistically significant. The main conclusion was that the results “were not compatible with the hypothesis that the effects of homoeopathy are completely due to placebo”.
Go to www.facultyofhomoeopathy.org/research/

Quote:
The Lancet is a peer reviewed journal with very high standards.
By Skeptical

And it says that: The main conclusion was that the results “were not compatible with the hypothesis that the effects of homoeopathy are completely due to placebo”. So it's not just me, the Lancet says it... you didn't tell us that...

Must be an error? Here's what Science-Based Medicine has to say on that:

Quote:
What is also at issue, however, is the integrity of the published peer-reviewed medical research. Again – there is not the expectation that peer-reviewed research will always get the answer right. In fact, the published research stands as an important record of error – the blind alleys, red herrings, false correlations, and erroneous conclusions that are part of the history of science.
However, error should not include scientific fraud, or science that is thoroughly misrepresented
www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=3716

So, if science-based medicine does not have an expectation that peer-reviewed research will always get the answer right, how the hell can we?

Is science thoroughly misrepresenting the 110 cases that Skeptical talks of? Unless one has access to the full research paper, and can analyse each of those 110 cases,(to see whether those papers applied allopathic principles to homoeopathic research) then it is impossible to say.

So, if you fall back on a belief that the Lancet article was fact,(when you have no way of proving it) then at least come out and say that it's your belief. Perhaps what you should have the courage to say, is this:
By Skeptical
Quote:
I believe Homeopathy has been tested to within an inch of its life and is bogus. I believe even the theory of homeopathy is bogus. There is no way, at the moment, in science, or even in common sense, that I believe it can work.


Shall we look at acupuncture next? 'Twas dismissed by Science-Based Medicine for millenia until Melzack and Wall's research... now hundreds of thousands of Doctors use it, and research has shown its efficacy...

Last edited by Boneman; 27th May 2010 at 11:13 AM.
Boneman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2010, 03:03 PM   #70 (permalink)
author of novels
 
Stephen Palmer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Shropshire
Posts: 1,760
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boneman View Post
Shall we look at acupuncture next? 'Twas dismissed by Science-Based Medicine for millenia until Melzack and Wall's research... now hundreds of thousands of Doctors use it, and research has shown its efficacy...
Tattooing 5,300 Years Ago | TattooSymbol.com
Stephen Palmer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2010, 09:28 PM   #71 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: New Zealand (Aotorea)
Posts: 560
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

Re acupuncture

I have a friend who is a doctor treating members of the public. He decided to give acupuncture a go. He did a special training course for converting qualified doctors into qualified acupuncturists. His trainer said that "acupuncure is very forgiving", meaning that they should not get too worried about inserting needles into the wrong place.

My friend found this was totally correct. Indeed, he let himself get more and more careless, and ended up sticking needles into all the wrong places, and still getting exactly the same results as he did initially, when very careful about where to insert. At the end, he realised that the results were totally due to suggestion, and he dropped acupuncture altogether.

Since he told me about this, I have read several reports of research into acupuncture. It is difficult to set up a 'placebo' as a control for tests of acupuncture, since the patients know damn well when they are being stuck and when they are not. So researchers tend to use needles stuck in the 'wrong' places as controls. The inevitable conclusion is that it does not matter a damn where the needles go. This casts a serious pall on the efficacy of acupuncture, apart from the power of suggestion or placebo effect.

My conclusion is that acupuncture has all the validity of homeopathy, meaning none at all apart from placebo.

Boneman. You should not use the term 'allopathy'. In terms of modern medicine, it has no meaning. It was coined by the inventor of homeopathy as an insulting term for orthodox medicine, and has meaning only as an insult. Initially, it meant any treatment not directed at symptoms. Since orthodox medicine is directed at the cause of disease rather than the symptoms, then that was accurate. However, meanings change and it now just means orthodox - an insult when used by those who practice fakery.

Apart from that, your post is just so wrong that it is not worth my time and effort to challenge. Clearly, you are a supporter of so-called 'alternative' medicine. Arguing with you is like arguing with a Mormon who denies that Joseph Smith was a criminal (which he was).

The good scientific data showing homeopathy does not work is available, and in abundance. However, spurious web sites arguing the opposite are in even greater abundance, and this is an argument that cannot be won, as long as you persist with your 'alternative' enthusiasm.
skeptical is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2010, 10:56 PM   #72 (permalink)
http://gratefuldaize.blog
 
StormFeather's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Kent
Posts: 756
Blog Entries: 110
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

Going to throw my hat into the ring again!

I have never had any direct experience of acupuncture, so what I'm about to state is anecdotal- much the same as skeptical's Dr friend who trained in acupuncture.

My boss suffers from chronic back pain due to inoperable curvature of the spin. About 18 months ago she went through one of her periodic bouts of the pain becoming extremely acute and unmanageable. She was off work for 3 months, and only managed periodic attendance for the following 3-4 months. Part of the reason she was off for so long was that the medication she was given was so strong that she was unable to function as a coherent adult. At times, she lost the ability to communicate, couldn't understand her surroundings, and had to be hospitalised for her own safety.

As a norm, when the situation was just chronic, she takes a mix of painkillers, including opiates and nsaids. These don't always have the desired effect.

After the last bout, someone (and I'm not sure if this was from the healthcare community or one of her friends) suggested that she tried acupuncture. Initially reluctant, she did give it a go. She now goes weekly, and has been able to siginificantly reduce her standard pain medication since her first appointment. She hasn't had an acute attack in the last year, and would have normally had one or two occasions where she would be in enough pain to prevent her working (she's nearly 40 and has had this all her life so is fully aware of what is normal for her)

Now, I haven't studied acupuncture so I really don't understand it all that much. I'm prepared to believe that the results are totally due to a patients own perceptions and expectations. Maybe it's just because the person receiving treatment is actually taking time out to put themselves first in a normally hectic lifestyle. Maybe, it actually works. I can't say.
But, for whatever reason, it seems to work for some people.

I'm not a fan of anyone taking any form of medication for longer than is absolutely necessary, especially if it can escalate into dependancy and/or addiction. If a person is able to reduce their drug use by a considerable amount through acupuncture, then I think that, in itself, has some merit. Don't you?

Skeptical - I'm genuinely curious as to whether your friend felt that any actual harm was being caused to his patients, either when he did things correctly or when he became more careless? You say that the results happened no matter where he stuck the needles. If the result was the postive one that would have been expected had he done it correctly - is that still a bad thing?
StormFeather is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2010, 11:36 PM   #73 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: New Zealand (Aotorea)
Posts: 560
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

Stormfeather

Acupuncture can cause serious harm, but only if the practitioner is careless. Needles must be sterile, or they can transfer disease, including fatal disease. There are cases of people with hepatitis after acupuncture, and much larger numbers of cases of lesser harm coming from transfer of infection to acupuncture sites.
A LARGE OUTBREAK OF ACUPUNCTURE-ASSOCIATED HEPATITIS B -- KENT et al. 127 (3): 591 -- American Journal of Epidemiology

My doctor friend said that acupuncture was a very lucrative game. He could charge $50 to $100 per session, and there was nothing expensive to cover. (Being a doctor, I doubt he ever used non sterile needles). The thing is, that the benefits of acupuncture, being all in the mind, are temporary. Acupuncture patients therefore return frequently. Each such patient will pay his/her acupuncturist several hundred dollars per month. Given a few hundred patients, such regular income adds up!

One of the factors that works for alternative practitioners of all ilks is the simple reality that most illnesses tend to get better over time. I know someone who had bad back pain. After a few days of this, she prayed for relief, which gradually came over the next few days. She now preaches that she was healed by prayor. I have tried to tell her that back pain normally runs a course of up to a week, and the prayor had nothing to do with it, but you cannot overcome religious faith with logic.

Your friend who tried acupuncture and got relief was probably in that position. While acupuncture is quite capable of delivering relief via the placebo effect, its more dramatic results come from the fact that most people get better regardless of treatment.
skeptical is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2010, 11:56 PM   #74 (permalink)
http://gratefuldaize.blog
 
StormFeather's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Kent
Posts: 756
Blog Entries: 110
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

Fair points and something to consider.

I obviously didn't make myself clear. My boss was born with curvature of the spine - I can't remember which type, probably scoliosis. This is not a temporary condition, has been with her all her life, and will be until the day she dies. It causes her constant pain, to a greater or lesser degree.

Now, I take your point that the 'relief' that acupuncture may provide - albeit a self-induced, placebo kind of effect - is temporary. However, the relief provided by a painkiller is also temporary, and long-term use of strong painkillers can lead to all kinds of problems in their own right.

Given her circumstances, where the pain is not temporary and will never clear up by itself, if I was in that position, I'd be willing to give acupunture a go. Especially given that she's a single parent, and her last acute bout, where she had to be hospitalised for her own safety, meant that she couldn't care for her child, and that since having acupunture she hasn't had any acute bouts for the last 12 months.
StormFeather is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th May 2010, 12:26 AM   #75 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: New Zealand (Aotorea)
Posts: 560
Re: Homeopathy is Witchcraft

Stormfeather

The power of the mind is pretty damn potent. Acupuncture is a treatment that has its greatest effect on pain. It is good for arthritis, headaches, back pain etc. However, it cannot aid in problems with genuine organic causes. Acupuncture never cured appendicitis, or any serious infection. It never stopped cancer, or sped the healing of injury.

Acupuncture has its greatest effect in those conditions that respond to suggestion. Mainly pain and discomfort. However, it cannot cure the underlying causes of pain.

There was a very interesting article a few years back in Scientific American about the placebo effect. Apparently, in about 30% of the population, this can be quite potent, and result in substantial reduction of pain. For those who are susceptible to the placebo effect, it can be quite potent.

So should you use acupuncture instead of painkillers? My answer is no. The reason is that acupuncture is limited in its effects to placebo, which means only 30% get maximum benefit. Painkillers will have the placebo effect also, but have the added advantage that they are genuinely effective in stopping the pain impulses in your nerves. Thus, they work for everyone, and work twice as well for those who repond to placebos.
skeptical is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 09:03 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2 ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.