Homeopathy and ……………Frogs

Posted on January 21, 2008. Filed under: Homeopathy and........Frogs | Tags: , , , , |

zoonet-frog.jpg  

A month ago Free To Choose Health’s weblog had a very funny satire about Ben Goldacre, Frogs and Frog Whisperers. You can read the satirical post here.  It seems the satire had more to it than understood at first blush. There has been an air tight replicated homeopathic study with frogs! “The effect of homeopathically prepared thyroxine on highland frogs: influence of electromagnetic fields”, can be read in its entirety here. I have also posted the abstract below. The delicious part is, the web site that published the study is called “Science Direct”! Chew on that awhile, Bad Science Boys!!

Abstract

Background: Previous experiments show that amphibian larvae are responsive to homeopathically prepared thyroxine.

Methods: We studied the effect of a highly diluted and agitated thyroxine solution exposed to various electromagnetic fields on metamorphosis in highland Rana temporaria. The devices tested were: microwave oven, mobile phone, airport X-ray, and a red light barcode scanner. Animals were treated either with homeopathically prepared thyroxine (10−30 parts by weight, 10−35 in the water in which the animals were kept), or analogously prepared blank solution, or analogously prepared thyroxine exposed to the electromagnetic field of one of the devices tested. Solutions were administered at 48 h intervals according to a standardized protocol.

Results: Animals treated with the standard test solution thyroxine 10−30 metamorphosed more slowly than the control animals, ie the effect of the homeopathically prepared thyroxine was opposed to the usual physiological effect of molecular thyroxine. The cumulative number of test animals that had reached the four-legged stage at defined points in time was smaller in the group treated with homeopathically prepared thyroxine at most of the points in time. This was found independently by all three research teams involved.

In contrast, this effect did not occur when the thyroxine solution had been exposed to the field of the early model microwave oven, or mobile phone. There was no difference between aqueous or alcoholic solutions were used, and there was, if any, only a small protective effect from aluminum foil. Airport X-ray and red light barcode scanning did not diminish the effect of the homeopathic solution.

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24 Responses to “Homeopathy and ……………Frogs”

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poor Goldi!!

Like other quackbusters Goldacre claims to write factually based and scientifically accurate articles about health, medicine and science either supporting scientists and doctors or criticising individuals involved in alternative or nutritional health care. Goldacre’s writing, however, actually reflects the ideology of powerful industrial, technological and political vested interests.
Goldacre who it is claimed is a Junior doctor working in a London NHS hospital is actually a clinical researcher working at the centre of New Labour’s Orwellian spin operation that puts a sympathetic gloss on anything shown to create adverse reactions from MMR to Wi-Fi, while at the same time undermining cost-effective and long tried alternative therapies such as acupuncture and homoeopathy. Goldacre is involved with public health researchers well known for trying to prove that those who claim to be adversely affected by pollutants in our modern high-technology society, suffer from ‘false illness beliefs’.

Cultural Dwarfs and Junk Journalism, investigates Goldacre’s role in industry lobby groups and puts another point of view in defense of some of the people whom he has attacked, belittled, satirized, castigated, vilified, maligned and opined against in his junk journalism.

This book is free and can be downloaded from the Slingshot Publications site: http://www.slingshotpublications.com

Friends…The above experiment is particularly interesting because prior to the above experiments on how various electromagnetic or radiational fields influence homeopathic doses of thyroxin, the researchers showed that 5 previous experiments had consistent results (homeopathic doses of thyroxin slowed down morphogenesis of tadpoles into frogs, primarily because crude doses of thyroxin speed up this process).

Does pretreatment with thyroxin (10-8 M) enhance a “curative” effect of homeopathically prepared thyroxin (10-30) on highland frogs? Results of a multi researcher study
Welles, S.U., Suanjak-Traidl, E., Weber, S., Scherer-Pongratz, W., Frass, M., Endler, P.C., Spranger, H., Lothaller, H.: Accepted by Research on Complementary Medicine / Forschende Komplementärmedizin 2007. Check it out yourself at:
http://www.inter-uni.net/forschung/downloads/komplementaer/a_2006_Welles_et_al_sub_TSWJ_does_pretreatment.pdf

For further info on research, go to http://www.homeopathic.com and to http://www.HomeopathicRevolution.com

I am very curious to see how the Bad Science people attempt to debunk this one since it has been replicated. This is airtight proof that a homeopathically prepared substance is active.

It shoots to bits any “null” preconceptions and all the bigotry around homeopathy for the last many years.

There’s not much point debunking the article, when it does such a good job of debunking itself:

“When data from all six experiments are pooled, differences are statistically significant at some but not all (3 out of 7) points in time: P(2)<0.05, P(3)<0.05, P(7)<0.01.”

How anyone can view that as conclusive evidence for homeopathy is beyond me.

Statistically significant at some… When it comes to the question of “are potentized substances just placebo?” it doesn’t take much. The existance of one black sheep proves that not all sheep are white.

John

But this isn’t a black sheep. To continue your analogy, it’s a small flock of sheep, glimpsed at a very long distance at twilight while they are moving, of which someone says some are white but three might might just look blackish in the right sort of light.

Now the Chest paper that you published on your blog is interesting and appeared to demonstrate a clear effect. If homeopaths are going to cite papers, they really should cite that ones that actually support their arguments rather than ones like this one which just make a whole lot of fuss about very little.

Now the Chest article you posted on your blog.

That kind of result would have heads turning in any other medical study. Except the amateurs and magicians are debunking it of course because it has to do with homeopathy. It would shake their rigid religious nihilistic belief in materialism only. I was waiting for the magicians to come in attempt to debunk this. Randini’s disciples are here!

“That kind of result would have heads turning in any other medical study.”

Assuming you are writing about the frogs … Anyone with even a basic understanding of statistics would see that the study provides very flaky results. Could you please explain how on earth you you could possibly regard those statistics as being ‘airtight proof’.

And I’m not a disciple of anyone, I have never met or spoken to either ‘Randini’ or ‘Randi’ (nor ‘Goldacre’ with whom you seem to be equally obsessed with).

I will try again and hope you have the honesty to not delete a simple question.

Where are the papers describeing these independent replications of this experiment?

I ask this because I do not believe they exist.

Andy, funny, you speaking of honesty. I did not post your earlier comment simply because I do not have time to do the research. So, now I post the comment because some one else may have the information at their finger tips.

Andy, You are implying and thereby accusing these researchers of fraud whereas the paper itself has researchers from 3 locations.

The spreading of this type of shit is very typical of you bad science people. Innuendo like this and trumpeting ridiculous assumptions like “Homeopaths are spreading AIDS”. Just what a good demagogue does.

Woodchopper,

Thanks for referring me to this study. I was not aware of it.
http://www.chestjournal.org/cgi/content/full/127/3/936

Would you therefore say, based on this study that homeopathy could possibly work????

Canard your name is appropriate. One definition of canard:

“An unfounded or false, deliberately misleading story.”

yeshomeopathy!

You said: “Andy, You are implying and thereby accusing these researchers of fraud whereas the paper itself has researchers from 3 locations.”

It might surprise you to learn that I think few in the world of alternative medicine are fraudsters. I just think they are mistaken. (with the odd exception, like the Obi chap I am writing about on my blog at the moment, and a few others who might appear in the coming weeks).

Now, as for these experiments, I think there is a lot of talk of independent replication of these results that is not justified. I can see no evidence of it.

Having three researchers ‘from different ‘locations’ is not independent verification. Independent verification happens when different labs use the techniques described in scientific papers to reproduce result and maybe then add to them. This is what scientific papers are for. To ‘train up’ a few mates and then get them to do your work for you is not independent verification.

What is happening here is that I see over interpretation of some mildly interesting results as if this is groundbreaking. We shall see what these results mean, but I bet when other labs truly do try to independently replicate these results, they will fail. Bad scientific technique is rampant in this type of study.

Hello Andy,

Well I liked your comment up until the last line which again either reveals something about what you really think or is a canard.

“Bad scientific technique is rampant in this type of study.”

AS well, did you look at the Chest study?

“Woodchopper,

Thanks for referring me to this study. I was not aware of it.
http://www.chestjournal.org/cgi/content/full/127/3/936

Would you therefore say, based on this study that homeopathy could possibly work????”

I wouldn’t say anything based upon one small study. As John P. A. Ioannidis has pointed out, most studies showing positive results are actually ‘false positives’. When other people try to independently replicate the experiment they can’t get a similar result. You can read all about it here: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1182327

Scientific enquiry works by taking those initial results (which often have small sample sizes and poor methodology) and subjecting them to rigorous examination. The most important component of which is independent replication. Those findings that are replicated and stand up to methodological scruitiny are accepted. The ones that don’t are not.

As for the Chest study, its the only one on homeopathy that I think is worth the trouble trying to replicate. It does show a statistically significant difference between the two groups. The main problem that I can see is the small sample size. Also, as I’m not a lung specialist I can’t really comment on other aspects of the study. But I shall ask around.

I read that it has moved to a phase two trial. If it can be independently replicated by several different labs with a much larger sample, and there are no flaws in the methodology, I would be happy to say that homeopathy works for people with that lung condition. As would every other scientist in the world.

The bar really isn’t that high. If homeopaths can demonstrate conclusive evidence that homeopathic remedies can cure people (or even alleviate their symptoms) then everyone will believe you.

The trouble is that the evidence presented, like that frogs study, has been so marginal that no one is going to take it seriously.

PS – as I mentioned over at John’s blog, another problem with the study is that the placebo control group appeared to be more sick at the start of the study compared to the group receiving homeopathy.

But anyway, lest wait and see if it can be independently replicated.

With the abundance of EXPERIENCES showing benefit with homeopathy and also these studies (albeit some of you would say “weak”) showing at least some evidence of benefit to come to a conclusion that homeopathy does not work simply shows a kind of intractable bigotry.

You can claim that the 300,000 or so homeopaths and the many professionals that are consumers of homeopathy are “delusional” but you would then have to make the same claim about surgeons who don’t go through the unusual steps that amateur debunkers suggest for the testing of homeopathy.

But Woodchopper, it is refreshing to see that at the very least you would consider the possibility of homeopathy working with this test replicated.

I have never suggested that people that use homeopathy are delusional. Having tried homeopathy on several occasions I’m happy to say that I believe that many people do benefit from it.

But, I believe that this is due to the therapeutic relationship between the homeopath and the patient. I have yet to see any evidence, from my own experience or others, that the contents of the pills make any difference.

“But Woodchopper, it is refreshing to see that at the very least you would consider the possibility of homeopathy working with this test replicated.”

Well what I wrote was “independently replicated by several different labs with a much larger sample, and there are no flaws in the methodology”.

In general, its not hard for someone to replicate a flawed experiment with the same methodology and get the same result.

But yes. That’s the same bar that applies to any other subject.

My personal observations and those of many of my friends contradict yours.

Since I have seen it work on babies and animals. In these cases, it was almost instantaneous and dramatic positive effect.

And in some cases one homeopathic remedy did not work but another did. I can say these different remedies were suggested by the same practitioner and not from one homeopathic practitioner but not another.

Laughing my socks off has just posted an excellent new post to counter some of the belief systems and bigotry in place that values conventional medicine as a rational and wholly evidence based system when it is not and the bias against alternative medicine that is frequently exhibited on blogs here and where homeopathy is attacked rather than embraced as a relief from some of the sicko stuff promulgated as medical treatment.

Laughingmysocksoff’s post information which he suggested showed that 46% of NHS treatments were unproven, and 74% have so many side effects that they have no benefit.

The reality is very different:

“The 46% of treatments which are not proven to be effective is 46% of all treatments for 240 common conditions – and very few are used in the NHS. The great majority are treatments used by alternative practitioners.”

Source here http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,2238067,00.html

Yep, laughing’s cutting indictment of the hypocrisy of conventional medicine was actually a criticism of CAM, including homeopathy.

Really you guys. If you want people to take you seriously you need to stop posting stuff which makes you look as if you don’t bother to read past the first paragraph.

Woodchopper,

Thanks for being so helpful and attempting to get homeopathy on the right track as far as the skeptics. I appreciate your concern.

I looked at these studies- the frog one and the Chest Journal, ( a prestigious journal would not publish something that isn’t good, especially when it is a homeopathic study) and they are fabulous studies! Don’t believe these people that are telling lies about homeopathy! It works- both from my personal experience, experience of friends and these studies!


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