Unbelievable. The BMJ hosted a written debate on homeopathy. The side for homeopathy blathers on about various studies and meta-analyses and mostly just vaguely suggests positive results; when they get specific, the best they can say is that homeopaths use fewer antimicrobials. And their summary is truly ignorant.
Doctors should put aside bias based on the alleged implausibility of homeopathy. When integrated with standard care homeopathy is safe, popular with patients, improves clinical outcomes without increasing costs, and reduces the use of potentially hazardous drugs, including antimicrobials.
We should set aside the fact that there is no mechanism to allow water to magically retain the power of non-existent molecules? I cannot do that, sir. I also cannot set aside the ludicrous rationales provided for the medical utility of plain old water, which suggest that homeopathic practitioners are gullible fools.
The side against homeopathy could be better; the ‘for’ side is admitting that their mechanism is hand-waving and jiggery-pokery, but that trials show that it actually works. The ‘against’ side mentions that the controlled studies shoot it down, but could use more details.
Numerous trials have tested the clinical efficacy of homeopathic remedies. Their results depend critically on the study design: uncontrolled studies almost invariably yield positive findings (for example, Spence and colleagues’ observational study), whereas this is not true for the most rigorous of the 250 or so controlled clinical trials (such as a study in headache by Walach and colleagues).
Accompanying the debate is an online poll. The alt med known-nothings have been hard at work.
Meanwhile, while a pointless debate goes on, the University of Toronto has had a course taught by a homeopathic anti-vaxxer on alternative medicine. No longer, fortunately.
University officials have said that the course will no longer be taught, and that Landau-Halpern is no longer part of the staff. But how she made it into the U of T in the first place remains an open question, though Gunter pointed to one explanation: Landau-Halpern happens to be married to the dean of the university’s campus that held the course.
And the University of Minnesota still maintains a den of quackery called the Center for Spirituality and Healing, and the university medical center offers a vaguely non-judgmental description of homeopathy.
Homeopathy is thought to create a healthful balance within the body. It is also thought to unlock the body’s natural power to heal itself.
Right. And the Earth is thought to be flat, by some.