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Old 1st December 2007, 01:31 AM   #41
Badly Shaved Monkey
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Bump and,

I was just reading this,

http://apgaylard.wordpress.com/2007/...-secret-eight/

Never mind the issue of whether any homeopathy works, if you take the published data and really believe we are dealing with a therapy that is capable of working in some instances, do we see any evidence of the homs winnowing their pharmacopoeia to separate the good (or at least, not proven to be useless) remedies from those with strong negative evidence? No we do not.

As far as the homs are concerned, every remedy ever dreamt up is effective and does precisely what they claim it to do. It must be wonderful to be right 100% of the time. I wish I could just pull random medical ideas out of my backside and have them work every time. What are Pfizer and GSK playing at, sifting through thousands of 'discovery' compounds? If they just moved over to homeopathy everything would work first time.
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Old 1st December 2007, 05:39 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Badly Shaved Monkey View Post
As far as the homs are concerned, every remedy ever dreamt up is effective and does precisely what they claim it to do. It must be wonderful to be right 100% of the time. I wish I could just pull random medical ideas out of my backside and have them work every time. What are Pfizer and GSK playing at, sifting through thousands of 'discovery' compounds? If they just moved over to homeopathy everything would work first time.
Indeed.

And pace those perfect martinis, where the shadow of the vermouth bottle is allowed briefly to traverse one's glass (surely an example of homeopathy in action....?), you wouldn't even have to go to the trouble of synthesising the compounds themselves. You need merely project a pictorial representation of the structure of the NCE on to a vial of solvent, and Voila!
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Old 1st December 2007, 01:51 PM   #43
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Where is Brave Sir Dana?
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Old 1st December 2007, 11:18 PM   #44
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From the other thread:

Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
Paul Wilson’s defense of the Shang “comparison” doesn’t answer several important questions:

Shang self-selected the 110 conventional medical studies. Because Shang and Egger (his co-author) are known antagonists to homeopathy, how can anyone feel confident that they didn’t choose certain conventional trials that showed particularly positive results?
The written report states that the 110 conventional medical studies were chosen using a random number generator, and were chosen without knowledge of the trial results. If you wish to claim that all of the researchers are lying, it becomes a trivial exercise to dismiss the scant support for homeopathy with the same claim. Your other criticisms actually support the veracity of the report. If Shang had gone through and selected out the best conventional medicine trials, then they would have fared better in measures of quality.

Quote:
Ironically, the 110 conventional medical trials had only 9 that Shang defined to be of a “high quality.” Because Shang found 21 of the 110 homeopathic trials to be a “high quality,” this finding alone suggests that TWICE as many homeopathic studies were designed and conducted to a higher level of scientific investigation. Because Shang choose to generalize his conclusion from 6 conventional trials and 8 homeopathic trials, how come one of Shang’s conclusion wasn’t that homeopathic investigations are substantially more scientifically based?
There are only 110 homeopathy trials, out of thousands, that meet the standard of reasonable quality (controlled, double-blind, randomized). At the time of the study, there were 353,809 medical trials that met that standard. And the only real difference in measures of quality were in the area of “adequate concealment of allocation”; a minor characteristic which wouldn’t be considered substantive. So, how come? Because to do so would have been foolish.

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The most glaring error of the Shang analysis (and one that Paul Wilson purposefully chose to ignore, despite the fact that many homeopaths, including myself, have persistently pointed it out) is what was Shang’s results of comparing the 21 high quality homeopathic and the 9 conventional ones? Curious minds want to know. It is also intriguing to know that apgaylard highlighted that he uncovered the “missing 8 trials,” but curiously enough, he too completely ignores ask what were the results of the high quality 21 and 9 trials. The fact that Paul and apgaylard are obviously smart and scientifically-oriented people, their omission seems to be pre-meditated and purposefully secretive (not exactly good science at work).
Shang found that both the 21 homeopathic studies and the 9 conventional studies had substantial (and this time the word is appropriate) bias present. Who cares what the studies show? You cannot draw valid conclusions about the treatment in the presence of substantial bias.

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Why did Shang’s definition of large enough trials happen to include Wallach’s trial of 98, but not several larger trials that tested, for example, Oscillococcinum (there have been 3 trials testing this medicine in the treatment of influenza, but he only included one of the these 3 trials). Shang also only selected 1 of the 3 trials that Jacobs conducted on childhood diarrhea, and he didn’t include the pooled data from these 3 trials that have been published in a major pediatric journal…and he didn’t include her high quality study that was published in PEDIATRICS.
Because they were not higher quality studies, and because independent studies should be treated…well…independently.

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Just selecting the largest trials isn’t always the best way to evaluate whether homeopathy worked or not. While it is certainly true that sometimes there is one single medicine that can be effective in treating a specific ailment, homeopaths find that this is an exception, not the rule. For instance, Oscillococcinum seems to be effective in the TREATMENT of the flu, but not in its prevention. One of these large trials that was a part of the “magic 8” was one that tested one medicine (potentized thyroid hormone) for weight-loss. The fact that it didn’t work didn’t surprise anyone I know…and the negative result doesn’t disprove anything about the system of homeopathy.
The largest trials were selected because they were the least influenced by bias. If you continue to insist that large trials cannot be done in homeopathy, then I will continue to point out that it is difficult to draw conclusions from your little trials due to bias.

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There are many other sharp criticisms that I can give of the Shang article and of Wilson’s defense of it, but the above is simply a good place to start.
Really? But none of your complaints are valid.

Quote:
The bottomline here is that skeptics of homeopathy tend to be extremely critical of various homeopathic studies, but whenever “junk science” comparison articles, like Shang’s, suggest a negative result to homeopathy, the skeptics seem to forget their high scientific standards

I personally think that skeptics and advocates of homeopathy should join together to sharply condemn the Lancet for publishing this piece of junk science. Skeptics and advocates of homeopathy should join together to encourage high quality scientific investigations.
None of your criticisms stand up to scrutiny, though.
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Old 2nd December 2007, 12:44 AM   #45
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Links for the sepsis paper which Criticalist mentions:

Adjunctive homeopathic treatment in patients with severe sepsis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in an intensive care unit, M Frass et al., Homeopathy 94 (2) 75-80 (2005).

More to the paper on ‘Homeopathy in Sepsis in ICU’ than meets the eye, Kamal Patel, Homeopathy 94 (4) 213-214 (2005).
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Old 2nd December 2007, 01:08 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by shpalman View Post
Ah yes I see that I posted in the wrong thread. Sorry about that, and thanks for the link shpalman.
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Old 2nd December 2007, 01:10 AM   #47
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Actually I have the pdf of the entire article if anyone is interested, but Im not sure how I post a link to that.

Last edited by Criticalist; 2nd December 2007 at 01:11 AM.
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Old 2nd December 2007, 02:55 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Criticalist View Post
Actually I have the pdf of the entire article if anyone is interested, but Im not sure how I post a link to that.
Probably best not to, for copyright reasons and all that. (You'll be allowed to post links generally after 15 posts as it says in the PM you get when you join.)
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Old 2nd December 2007, 02:26 PM   #49
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Of course, what needs to be remembered at all times is that the pathetic bleating noises emanating from Ullman as he quibbles away at the minutiae of the Shang study is that the mere fact that he has to engage in such barrel-scraping tactics at the absolute margins of the statistical noise means that he has already lost the argument. Homeopathy is supposed to produce deep permanent cures for real diseases. The emperor is prancing about stark bollock naked and making a fuss about whether he is really wearing a transparent thong. Not a pretty sight.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 01:06 AM   #50
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Bump just for Dana
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Old 3rd December 2007, 01:49 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Badly Shaved Monkey View Post
Of course, what needs to be remembered at all times is that the pathetic bleating noises emanating from Ullman as he quibbles away at the minutiae of the Shang study is that the mere fact that he has to engage in such barrel-scraping tactics at the absolute margins of the statistical noise means that he has already lost the argument. Homeopathy is supposed to produce deep permanent cures for real diseases. The emperor is prancing about stark bollock naked and making a fuss about whether he is really wearing a transparent thong. Not a pretty sight.
I find it interesting how smoothly Dana went from "Perhaps, SOMEONE can finally tell us which were the 21 homeopathic trials and the 9 allopathic ones. Shang NEVER divulged" to general complaining about how the choice was made, based on apgaylard pointing out that the information has been available for two years.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 04:08 AM   #52
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Quote:
As for studies, the critique of the COPD study is simply too weak to have been published in a peer-review journal.

And yet you seem to be unable to state why it is weak. I don't think anyone is going to rely on your unsupported assertion.

Quote:
The worst thing that was said about the allergy research by David Reilly et al was that it was "isopathic" rather than homeopathic.

Try looking around the forum a little. There are so few "positive" studies of homoeopathy that the same ones get brought up over and over again. A recent discussion of some of Reilly's work started here, when a homoeopathy proponent's misquoting of the the name of one of the authors failed to prevent it being identified.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 06:37 AM   #53
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From the other thread:

Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
Friends,
It is interesting to note that no one on this list chose to acknowledge that the Shang comparison article is a classic example of data dredging.
Data dredging refers to a specific activity. Large amounts of information are collected, then the parameters of interest are chosen based on which fall furthest from the mean. Homeopathic studies are rife with examples - the childhood diarrhea studies where the very specific outcome just happens to coincide with the one point where statistically significant differences were found, the allergic rhinitis studies where the parameter of interest is suddenly changed at the end of the study when it is discovered that the parameter chosen a priori is not statistically significant, etc.

Shang et. al. is not an example of data dredging. The parameters were chosen a priori and the only information collected relates to those parameters. And they were those necessary to minimize chance and bias (randomized, controlled, double-blind), and to make the comparison fair for homeopathy (matched on the basis of disorder and outcome).

You have demonstrated (by failing to provide a single example otherwise) that homeopathy is used in situations where improvement is expected in the absence of effective treatment. And the tendency is to measure 'soft' outcomes. It would be unfair to compare that to medicine trials which achieve differences in hard outcomes in situations that would otherwise be unremitting. It would be like comparing the mortality rate in a group that consists of frail, elderly people (homeopathy) with a group that consists of a general population (medicine). What would be fair is to select out the frail, elderly people from the general population, and to take a sample from them for comparison.

Quote:
The only way that Shang would have gotten a negative result against homeopathy is by selecting the parameters he established...and because he previously contacted the Lancet and formally told him that his hypothesis was to prove that homeopathic medicines have no effect, he self-selected his parameters and his data to prove it.
That would not be possible as they did not have the information from other parameters available to them. The only information they collected was that based on their pre-selected parameters. Your criticism makes no sense.

Quote:
Is it interesting that he chose 98, not 100, subjects as his minimim definition for inclusion...just so that he could include a headache trial with a negative result.
At least one of you above acknowledged that s/he wondered why only 1 of the 3 studies with 300+ subjects was included in the trial. Linda asserted that the study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine was granted a high rating than the trial in PEDIATRICS. That speaks volumes about the rating system that Shang used.
No it doesn't. It says that while there is a trend for higher quality studies to be published in higher impact journals, there is variation on this characteristic. The rating system that Shang et. al. used is a standard system that is commonly used.

Quote:
Anyway, because the 3 trials were conducted with the same design, and even though this pooled data was published in a major pediatrics journal, Shang chose to ignore that (whooops).
Not a 'whoops'. To have done so would be unjustifiable. Pooling the data leaves the biases intact - the very biases that Shang et. al. are trying to avoid with their choice of larger trials. It would have been a gross error to include those studies.

Quote:
I loved Dr. Peter Fisher's response to the Shang work:
http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/3/1/145
His assertion below is worthy:
"Shang et al. (1) state that ‘eight trials of homoeopathic remedies in acute infections of the upper respiratory tract ... indicated a substantial beneficial effect ... sensitivity analyses might suggest that there is robust evidence that the treatment under investigation works. However, the biases that are prevalent in these publications, as shown by our study, might promote the conclusion that the results cannot be trusted’. They state that eight studies is too few to question their conclusion about the whole set of publications. Their conclusion about the whole set, however, was also based on eight studies. Is eight enough for a conclusion or not? Or does it depend on what that conclusion is?"
It depends on what that conclusion is. It's the difference between ruling-in an alternative explanation and ruling-out all other alternative explanations. Homeopathy is without any other evidentiary support. In order to prove that it is effective, all reasonable alternative explanations must be ruled-out. Ruling-in the possibility that the effects are due to placebo means that homeopathy studies fail to provide proof of effectiveness.

Quote:
And yet, Shang's final conclusion are based 8 homeopathic studies and 6 allopathic ones. Remember...the mission of this article was to compare MATCHED studies. Please someone tell me (us) how the final studies were matched in any way? Was one of the allopathic studies a test of a drug for weight-loss (as was done with the homeopathic studies)? Curious minds want to know...
That is wrong. The purpose was to compare matched groups. Your criticism is irrelevant.

Quote:
Come on...you folks claim to be good in evaluating data, and you've barely started to provide an adequate review of this comparison article. Go for it...
So far I have demonstrated that all your criticisms are invalid, erroneous or irrelevant. I'm happy to continue going for it. Next?

Linda
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Old 3rd December 2007, 07:03 AM   #54
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Linda has already done an excellent job picking apart Dana Ullman's assertions, but I wanted to say one thing about this statement of Peter Fisher's:

Quote:
"Shang et al. (1) state that ‘eight trials of homoeopathic remedies in acute infections of the upper respiratory tract ... indicated a substantial beneficial effect ... sensitivity analyses might suggest that there is robust evidence that the treatment under investigation works. However, the biases that are prevalent in these publications, as shown by our study, might promote the conclusion that the results cannot be trusted’. They state that eight studies is too few to question their conclusion about the whole set of publications. Their conclusion about the whole set, however, was also based on eight studies. Is eight enough for a conclusion or not? Or does it depend on what that conclusion is?"
Again, this is a misunderstanding of what Shang et al. were doing. With their subset of 8 studies of upper respiratory tract infections, they're showing that 8 studies was too few to look at bias in the studies. That's why they've done the study with 110 matched trials. By stating that 'their conclusion about the whole set, however, was also based on eight studies', Fisher is showing that he doesn't understand what Shang et al. did. Their conclusion was based on comparing the results of the eight best studies with the results from 110 studies. The beneficial effect reported for whole set disappears when you look at the best eight studies. The authors showed that bias could account for the positive reuslts reported in some trials of homeopathy. This is quite a subtle point, to be fair, but Fisher's criticism is not valid.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 08:16 AM   #55
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Shhh...Dana doesn't know this thread is here so we can say what we like behind his back.

Mind you, he could learn so much if he could just find his way here through the trackless wastes of the internet guided only, well I say only, by numerous specific invitations, exasperated demands and hyperlinks.

You can lead to woo to water but you can't make him think.

Don't worry, he'll never see that. He's too busy curing AIDS and keeping it secret.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 08:44 AM   #56
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What also gets missed in all this is that the comparison of the 8 homeopathy and 6 medicine trials was a small part of the overall analysis. Analyzing the 110 homeopathy and 110 medicine trials shows that both are subject to a similar, significant bias. And that the characteristic with the strongest association with this bias is study size, with all other characteristics (including study quality) attenuating and becoming non-significant when a measure of study size was taken into account. In order to see what effect this bias had on the results they did two things. They did a meta-regression to take the effect of bias into account (which left homeopathy with no treatment effect, but left medicine with a statistically significant treatment effect), and they looked at those studies which would have the least effect from bias (the 8 and 6 studies). In addition, the 110 medicine studies had significantly more heterogeneity than the homeopathy studies. That is, something made the medicine studies show greater variation in the results. This would make sense if in addition to the bias which was present in both studies, the medicine studies were also influenced by a real treatment effect.

So, by several different measure, there was a consistent confirmation of the idea that homeopathic trials do not demonstrate an effect beyond that of placebo and bias, whereas medicine trials do. Homeopaths don't mention the other analyses, though. They attack the only measure which superficially appears the weakest because it is based on a relatively small number of trials. However, even if you reject that analysis, you are still left with the other analyses that lead to the same conclusion.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 01:31 PM   #57
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I wonder why Ullman hasn't cited his own paper:"Controlled Clinical Trials Evaluating the Homeopathic Treatment of People with Human Immunodeficiency Virus or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome"?

(THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE, Volume 9, Number 1, 2003, pp. 133–141)

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Old 3rd December 2007, 02:42 PM   #58
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And here's a link to that: http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs...55530332122300
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Old 3rd December 2007, 02:49 PM   #59
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Try here: you missed an 8 off the end of that url.
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Old 3rd December 2007, 10:15 PM   #60
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Hey...can't you gave a guy a little break? It is challenging enough being ganged up by dozens of you. I'm glad that someone acknowledged some reality by calling me "Sir Brave Dana." Thanx.

For the record, I didn't previously mention my own AIDS article, nor have I made reference to many many other studies.

Also...you're not remembering: there is a simple reason that I have commented upon the Rao/Roy spectroscopy study, I do not know the answers to this very technical study, though I did correctly acknowledge the high respect that Roy's lab at Penn State University is known for. Whether you agree with him or not, please consider his body of work.

And pleeeeeze, don't expect me or any homeopath to provide free treatment to you as a "test subject." At the best (or worst, depending upon your point of view), you would lose your crediblity if homeopathy was helpful, and no one would consider a single case to be an example of anything.

Here's another one for you all...the walrus was Paul...arsenic poisoning is not a self-limiting condition:
http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/c...stract/2/4/537

Although this is a preliminary trial due to the limited number of people who agreed to be in the placebo group, it is a part of a larger body of environmental toxicology. Hopefully, there are people on this list who have an interest in this subject. Although prevention must obviously be the first priority, we must also consider ways to treat people who have already been exposed. Will homeopathic doses of environmental poisons be one solution to consider?

Just don't look at the clinical results, check out the liver enzymes between the treated group and the control group.
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Old 4th December 2007, 12:59 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
Hey...can't you gave a guy a little break? It is challenging enough being ganged up by dozens of you. I'm glad that someone acknowledged some reality by calling me "Sir Brave Dana." Thanx.
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Old 4th December 2007, 01:57 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Badly Shaved Monkey View Post
Snigger..
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Old 4th December 2007, 02:35 AM   #63
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Quote:
Dana Ullman, MPH

And pleeeeeze, don't expect me or any homeopath to provide free treatment to you as a "test subject." At the best (or worst, depending upon your point of view), you would lose your crediblity if homeopathy was helpful, and no one would consider a single case to be an example of anything.
Anyone else expect this response? I always get it or something else similar when I offer to try homeopathic remedies. In fact the more I get involved in discussions I am finding the same responses from all sides, supporters, homeopaths and professional bodies. "You'll lie about the results", "You can't be trusted".

But remember that since homeopathy treats the whole person you can't just take the first suitable remedy, history and personality has to be taken into account. So explain the huge shelves full of remedies in most pharmacy stores...

Plus, aren't we asking for a single case in the other thread (albeit with some constraints)? Sorry - I can't link yet...

Last edited by mattbee; 4th December 2007 at 02:38 AM. Reason: to add additional info...
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Old 4th December 2007, 02:36 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
<snip>

Here's another one for you all...the walrus was Paul...arsenic poisoning is not a self-limiting condition:
http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/c...stract/2/4/537

<snip>
Perhaps you can point to the section of the study which shows how they controlled for confounding variables, such as the amount and proportion of water from the two sources each of the subjects were consuming on a daily basis?
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Old 4th December 2007, 03:08 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
I'm glad that someone acknowledged some reality by calling me "Sir Brave Dana." Thanx.
Someone should put him out of his misery:

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Don't forget to post saying that you knew all along that was what they meant.

Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
For the record, I didn't previously mention my own AIDS article,
We know you didn't. You don't need to put what happened on the thread on "the record", the thread is "the record", don't you see how that works? But good attempt to make yourself look as though you're addressing a point without actually doing so.
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Old 4th December 2007, 03:30 AM   #66
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And in case he missed it...

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=BZwuTo7zKM8
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Old 4th December 2007, 03:35 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
Also...you're not remembering: there is a simple reason that I have commented upon the Rao/Roy spectroscopy study, I do not know the answers to this very technical study, though I did correctly acknowledge the high respect that Roy's lab at Penn State University is known for. Whether you agree with him or not, please consider his body of work.
And isn't that (almost) the entire problem. You are quick to laud a study merely because it supports your position, regardless of whether you have read it and even if you don't understand a word of it. This is why nonsense like Lionel Milgom's quantum bollox papers are so popular with homeopaths. They don't understand a word of it, and they don't care as long as it is "on their side".

And the fact that the author seems to have done good work before does not in any way negate the criticisms of this particular study. That's not how science works.
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Old 4th December 2007, 04:11 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
Also...you're not remembering: there is a simple reason that I have commented upon the Rao/Roy spectroscopy study, I do not know the answers to this very technical study, though I did correctly acknowledge the high respect that Roy's lab at Penn State University is known for. Whether you agree with him or not, please consider his body of work.
OK, we consider his body of work: that makes it even more sad that he is no longer able to put a scientific study together that holds up to the simplest scientific standards.

Was that what you meant?
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Old 4th December 2007, 04:38 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
Here's another one for you all...the walrus was Paul...arsenic poisoning is not a self-limiting condition:
http://ecam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/c...stract/2/4/537
Arsenic poisoning is a self-limiting condition once the source of the arsenic has been removed or reduced.

Quote:
Although this is a preliminary trial due to the limited number of people who agreed to be in the placebo group, it is a part of a larger body of environmental toxicology. Hopefully, there are people on this list who have an interest in this subject. Although prevention must obviously be the first priority, we must also consider ways to treat people who have already been exposed. Will homeopathic doses of environmental poisons be one solution to consider?

Just don't look at the clinical results, check out the liver enzymes between the treated group and the control group.
Excuse me? There is no control group for the liver enzyme measurements. And I told you this the last time you cited this study. Have you even read any of the studies you keep referencing?

Part of the study was double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled and involved measuring arsenic levels in the urine. It showed no difference between the two groups once you take into account that the arsenic levels in the urine were significantly higher in the control group before the treatment was even started. Sheesh.

The second part of the study had no controls. The results are what you would expect to see in the absence of any treatment in a group of people who are being extra careful about limiting their arsenic exposure.

This study provides no support for homeopathy.

Next?

Linda
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Old 4th December 2007, 06:04 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by James Gully
Also...you're not remembering: there is a simple reason that I have commented upon the Rao/Roy spectroscopy study, I do not know the answers to this very technical study, though I did correctly acknowledge the high respect that Roy's lab at Penn State University is known for. Whether you agree with him or not, please consider his body of work.
Hm, you seemed happy enough to claim the study as justification for homeopathy in the past. It does seem to be true that Rustum Roy is highly respected in the field of materials science. Sadly, that doesn't make his work on 'water memory' any less woeful. I've read some hopeless papers in my time, but I think that Rao et al. has a good claim on being the worst of the lot. As you're surely aware, the paper has been considered in great detail here.
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Old 5th December 2007, 09:50 AM   #71
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Here's Ullman just the other day on Comment is Free, talking about the 'highly significant' results of Rao et al. If you 'do not know the answers to this very technical study', perhaps you should refrain from touting it around as evidence for homeopathy.

He also states that the 'silica hypothesis' is scientifically sound, although it has no supporting evidence whatsoever.
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Old 5th December 2007, 05:00 PM   #72
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Homoeopaths frequently claim that critics of homoeopathy don't understand it. Projection.
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Old 7th December 2007, 09:03 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
It is interesting to note that skeptics love to mention that the above meta-analysis said, "we found insufficient evidence from these studies that homeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition." However, do they ever mention what the authors of that meta-analysis say was their definition of "sufficient evidence?" They said that there must be 3 clinical trials conducted by independent investigators.

In 1998 (a year after that meta-analysis published in the LANCET was published), a third such trial on Oscillococcinum was published. And by the way, this meta-analysis showed that patients given a homeopathic medicine had a 2.45 times greater chance of experiencing a therapeutically beneficial effect than those patients given a placebo.

Skeptics can no longer say that homeopathic medicines are proven to be effective in treating a specific condition.

If anyone is asked, does Oscillococcinum have an effect on influenza or influenza-like syndrome, one must say YES. I'll say it for Linda: but this is a self-limiting condition. Sure...but it is worthwhile to reduce the time YOU have the flu to make a cheap medicine without side effects? Yes...except for some of you who like to suffer.
The most recent meta-analysis does not support your claim.

And this is the absolute best that homeopathy has for evidence. It is the only evidence that comes even remotely close to the sort of evidence that supports medical therapies. And what does it say? At best, special water can shorten the duration of the flu symptoms by a few hours. After the hundreds of years of time and effort that has been put into homeopathy, all you can show for it is the possibility (and the possibility that this is all a fluke is still more likely than the possibility that special water had anything to do with it) that some people had relief from their aches and pains for a few hours.

You know what this means? The entire practice of homeopathy can be substituted with the advice to "take two aspirins and call me in the morning."

Quote:
As for that sepsis study...it is a tad ironic (again) that Mr Monkey says that this study doesn't count because the patients were also given conventional drugs. Yeah, Mr. Monkey that is right, but those patients who got individually chosen homeopathic medicines (chosen according to their own unique syndrome of severe sepsis) had a 50% (!) reduced mortality rate. Hey Linda, is this a "self-limiting condition?" Believing in reincarnation doesn't make it such.
I didn't call it a self-limiting condition. I said that people in the control group recovered, so that it would be foolish to assume that any individual couldn't have recovered unless they received homeopathy.

The sepsis study showed that if you take two heterogeneous groups of ill people and measure the number of deaths at various points in time over the next six months, that there is a good chance that at least one of those points in time will show a difference between the two groups. There's no reason to attribute that difference to homeopathy though, since it's exactly what you'd expect to see in the absence of any homeopathic treatment.

Quote:
Thank you. Yes...plants do have this hypersensitivity, and plants are so much more sophisticated that humans, so there is no way that humans can have this type or any type of hypersensitivity. Hmmm.

The irony here is that homeopathy is said to be based on SIMILARS, when a better term might be RESONANCE...and there is hypersensitivity from resonance (any music appreciators out there?).
That you have to resort to pseudoscientific drivel does not help your case.

Linda
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Old 10th December 2007, 11:52 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by fls View Post
The most recent meta-analysis does not support your claim.
Sorry, this meta-analysis says exactly what I said it does. I said that the Cochrane report called the results of the treatment of influenza "promising." I made it clear that its use in the prevention of the flu is not proven, though this has not been its use anyway.

In reference to "severe sepsis," you wrote
Originally Posted by fls View Post
I didn't call it a self-limiting condition. I said that people in the control group recovered, so that it would be foolish to assume that any individual couldn't have recovered unless they received homeopathy.

The sepsis study showed that if you take two heterogeneous groups of ill people and measure the number of deaths at various points in time over the next six months, that there is a good chance that at least one of those points in time will show a difference between the two groups. There's no reason to attribute that difference to homeopathy though, since it's exactly what you'd expect to see in the absence of any homeopathic treatment.
Hmmm. Did you say that you were an expert in statistics. Eeeks. First, just because some people survive a life-threatening condition does not mean that the entire condition is self-limiting. If that were true, almost ALL disease would be self-limiting (ergo, you've proven yourself: homeopathic medicines cannot be helpful for non-self-limiting conditions because such conditions are so rare). Cool.

As for the two groups...both groups had a life-threatening condition in which other studies show that 40-70% of the people die. In 6 months, 50% of those given the placebo died, while only 25% of those given a homeopathic medicine died. How you can say that these significant differences are just what you would expect from NO treatment is a statistical improbability (thus, the impressive p-value). These results not only show an effect, but they show some long-term effects of homeopathic medicines. Thank you. He shoots; he scores.

And now that I have your attention, I'm going for a 3-pointer. Here's what I posted earlier today at quackometer.

Below is an excerpt from my ebook, "Homeopathic Family Medicine: Evidence Based Nanopharmacology." I update this ebook every 3-4 months, adding new research.

This is a partial excerpt from the chapter on fibromyalgia. I know some of you will grunt when you see this diagnostic category, and yet, whether you believe it is a real pathology or just a common disease pattern, you will find two high quality studies, one of which was published in the BMJ and one of which was published in RHEUMATOLOGY (the journal of the British Society for Rheumatology). Some of the objective data (described below) was published in the International Journal of Neurosciences.

(You're not going to call these journals "junk journals" too, are you?)

The BMJ study was double-blind, placebo-controlled WITH a cross-over (you cannot do better than that). The second study is worthy of your attention because not only was there greater CLINICAL improvement in the homeopathic treated patients (some of you can call that "subjective," except when improvement in YOUR own symptoms is observed), the researchers also conducted EEG readings while the patients were given their dose or a placebo via olfaction. Yeah...this study will blow your mind...and maybe your nose too...

The syndrome of fibromyalgia includes a disparate group of physical and psychological symptoms, including pain and tenderness in a dozen or so sites, stiffness, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, abdominal or pelvic pain, diarrhea, memory and concentration problems, and various states of anxiety and depression.

The fact that this ailment is recognized as a syndrome is unusual for conventional medicine. In homeopathy, it is believed that ALL ailments are syndromes, that is, all disease is a constellation of physical and psychological symptoms and each patient has their own subtly different version of the disease. The fact that people with fibromyalgia tend to have sometimes slightly and sometimes overtly differing symptoms from each other is no significant problem for homeopaths because each person is observed to have his/her own syndrome of symptoms, no matter what disease doctors diagnose them to have.

Because people with fibromyalgia tend to have distinct and unusual symptoms, this actually makes it easier for homeopaths to treat them successfully. However, homeopaths have also observed that a small percentage of people with fibromyalgia are so ill and their immune system is so compromised that it is difficult for homeopaths to provide effective treatment.


Scientific Evidence

Researchers in England found that patients with fibromyalgia were (obviously) a varied group with differing symptoms but that there was one homeopathic medicine, more than any other, that seemed to be indicated for a certain sub-set of fibromyalgia patients (Fisher, 1986). This medicine, Rhus toxicodendron (also called Rhus tox) was found to be indicated in 25% of fibromyalgia patients.

The researchers found 30 patients who seemed to fit the symptoms of Rhus tox, and they were given a homeopathic dose of this medicine, 6C (this dose is considered a “low potency,” that is, it is a dose that generally does not have long-term effects). The researchers found that there was a significant degree of improvement in the reduction of pain and tender points and improved sleep when the subjects were taking the homeopathic medicine, as compared to when the subjects were taking a placebo.

The results of this experiment were so significant that the researchers found that there was a 5 in 10,000 chance (P<.005) of this occurring from chance.

This study, therefore, strongly suggests that homeopathic medicines can be effective in reducing the pain and tender spots and in improving sleep in some patients suffering from fibromyalgia.

In addition to this study, a more recent study published in the highly respected journal, Rheumatology (published by the British Society for Rheumatology) also found statistically significant results from homeopathic treatment. Researchers from the University of Arizona in collaboration with homeopaths conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial with 62 fibromyalgia patients (Bell, Lewis, Brooks, et al., 2004). Patients were randomized to receive an oral daily dose of an individually chosen homeopathic medicine in LM potency (or a placebo). Patients were evaluated at baseline, 2 months, and 4 months.

The study found that 50% of patients given a homeopathic medicine experienced a 25% or greater improvement in tender point pain on examination, as compared to only 15% of those who were given a placebo experienced a similar degree of improvement (P=0.008). After 4 months, the homeopathic patients also rated the “helpfulness of the treatment” significantly greater than did those who were given a placebo (P=0.004). It is therefore not surprising that the study also showed that the average number of remedies recommended by the homeopaths was substantially higher to those in the placebo group as compared with the real treatment group.

One special additional feature of this trial was that the first dose of medicine was given by olfaction (by smell) and that both groups were monitored with EEG. The researchers found that there was a significant and identifiable difference in the EEG readings in patients who were given the real homeopathic medicine as compared to those given the placebo (Bell, Lewis, Schwartz, et al, 2004a).

Each patient had three laboratory sessions, including at baseline, at 3 months, and at 6 months after initial treatment. The researchers found that the active treatment group experienced significant increases in the EEG relative alpha magnitude, while patients given a placebo experienced a decrease in this measurement (P=0.003).

The combined evidence of clinical improvement along with objective physiological response from the homeopathic medicine makes the results of this trial of additional significance.

REFERENCES:

Bell, IR, Lewis, DA, Brooks, DJ, Schwartz, GE, Leis, SE, Walsh, BT, and Baldwin, DM, Improved Cilnical Status in Fibromyalgia Patients Treated with Individualized Homeopathic Remedies Versus Placebo, Rheumatology, January 20, 2004:1111-7.

Bell IR, Lewis Ii DA, Lewis SE, Schwartz GE, Brooks AJ, Scott A, Baldwin CM. EEG Alpha Sensitization in Individualized Homeopathic Treatment of Fibromyalgia. Int J Neurosci. 2004;114(9):1195-1220.

Peter Fisher, Alison Greenwood, EC Huskisson, et al., “Effect of Homoeopathic Treatment on Fibrositis (Primary Fibromyalgia),” BMJ, 299(August 5, 1989):365-6.


So, Linda, is this drivel too, and are these journals drivel, and is everyone but you and your buddies on this list drivel? I think that the problem is that some people have a problem in seeing patterns.

A 3-pointer and I was fouled on the shot.
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Old 11th December 2007, 01:43 AM   #75
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Originally Posted by fls View Post
And this is the absolute best that homeopathy has for evidence.

"More research is needed". We've been hearing that since Kleijnen et al, if not longer. After all, they've only had a couple of hundred years...
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Old 11th December 2007, 02:24 AM   #76
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James Gully disputes Linda's precise statistical analysis. One would presume that he knows something about the subject (well he wouldn't be one of those pseudoscientists who just pretends he knows stuff, or exaggerates statistics for his own purposes, would he....?)
Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
The results of this experiment were so significant that the researchers found that there was a 5 in 10,000 chance (P<.005) of this occurring from chance.
Errr....Ooops!
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Old 11th December 2007, 02:48 AM   #77
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Originally Posted by Deetee View Post
James Gully disputes Linda's precise statistical analysis. One would presume that he knows something about the subject (well he wouldn't be one of those pseudoscientists who just pretends he knows stuff, or exaggerates statistics for his own purposes, would he....?)


Errr....Ooops!
Should he be more embarrassed by his incorrect calculation, or by his incorrect description of what a p-value means?

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Old 11th December 2007, 03:41 AM   #78
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This could explain the results the fibromyalgia studies:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/538449

Quote:
Fibromyalgia (FM) patients with larger pain fluctuations are more likely to respond to placebo, and those responses might be enough to cloud the results of placebo-controlled clinical trials, Dr Richard E Harris (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) reports in the November 2005 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism

"These results have direct implications for drug trials in FM and perhaps broader implications for other pain syndromes," Harris writes. "To counteract or control for this effect, one could either stratify participants based on baseline pain-variability index [PVI] or even remove individuals with high pain variability prior to randomization."
Here's the first referenced study by Dana:

http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.o...print/keh111v1

The unadjusted differences in table 2 on page 5 do not look particularly impressive.

ETA: In Table 1 it shows that the homoeopathy group had higher scores on Tender point pain, POMS depression and POMS anger-hostility than the placebo group at baseline. In Table 2, the placebo group's score on the Tender point pain had not changed by much, but the two POMS scores increased. After treatment, the homoeopathy group's POMS scored dropped to values similar to the placebo group's POMS score at baseline. It would seem to me this study observed natural cycles in the variables it measured, and the effects can be explained by regression to the mean.
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Old 11th December 2007, 06:25 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
Sorry, this meta-analysis says exactly what I said it does. I said that the Cochrane report called the results of the treatment of influenza "promising." I made it clear that its use in the prevention of the flu is not proven, though this has not been its use anyway.
This is what you said:

"Skeptics can no longer say that homeopathic medicines are proven to be effective in treating a specific condition.

If anyone is asked, does Oscillococcinum have an effect on influenza or influenza-like syndrome, one must say YES."

I assumed the first sentence was a typo, otherwise we could all end the conversation in agreement. The meta-analysis does not support your claim that Oscillococcinum has an effect on influenza. It was qualified as "might".

Quote:
In reference to "severe sepsis," you wrote

As for the two groups...both groups had a life-threatening condition in which other studies show that 40-70% of the people die. In 6 months, 50% of those given the placebo died, while only 25% of those given a homeopathic medicine died. How you can say that these significant differences are just what you would expect from NO treatment is a statistical improbability (thus, the impressive p-value). These results not only show an effect, but they show some long-term effects of homeopathic medicines. Thank you. He shoots; he scores.
Badly Shaved Monkey has provided a demonstration that shows statistically significant differences can be expected most of the time if your initial group shows heterogeneity in the absence of any differences in treatment, such as special water. I have also experienced this problem in actual practice (except that I recognized it was a problem I needed to deal with rather than manipulating it to my advantage to claim something that isn't true).

But now you have another problem. Here you are claiming that the effects of homeopathy are long term. That they don't show up in the short term is something to be expected. However, your fibrositis references all depend upon homeopathy having no long term effects, as they are all cross-over studies. If you have any suspicion that the effects carry over from one treatment period to another, you cannot analyze them as though they do not.

So you face a choice. Either cling to your sepsis study as proof of homeopathy's effectiveness or your fibrositis studies, but they cannot both be true.

Quote:
The BMJ study was double-blind, placebo-controlled WITH a cross-over (you cannot do better than that). The second study is worthy of your attention because not only was there greater CLINICAL improvement in the homeopathic treated patients (some of you can call that "subjective," except when improvement in YOUR own symptoms is observed), the researchers also conducted EEG readings while the patients were given their dose or a placebo via olfaction. Yeah...this study will blow your mind...and maybe your nose too...

Scientific Evidence

Researchers in England found that patients with fibromyalgia were (obviously) a varied group with differing symptoms but that there was one homeopathic medicine, more than any other, that seemed to be indicated for a certain sub-set of fibromyalgia patients (Fisher, 1986). This medicine, Rhus toxicodendron (also called Rhus tox) was found to be indicated in 25% of fibromyalgia patients.

The researchers found 30 patients who seemed to fit the symptoms of Rhus tox, and they were given a homeopathic dose of this medicine, 6C (this dose is considered a “low potency,” that is, it is a dose that generally does not have long-term effects). The researchers found that there was a significant degree of improvement in the reduction of pain and tender points and improved sleep when the subjects were taking the homeopathic medicine, as compared to when the subjects were taking a placebo.

The results of this experiment were so significant that the researchers found that there was a 5 in 10,000 chance (P<.005) of this occurring from chance.

This study, therefore, strongly suggests that homeopathic medicines can be effective in reducing the pain and tender spots and in improving sleep in some patients suffering from fibromyalgia.
The researchers performed a faulty analysis. When an appropriate analysis was performed, there were no statistically significant differences found. I am surprised that you don't seem to be aware of this.

Quote:
In addition to this study, a more recent study published in the highly respected journal, Rheumatology (published by the British Society for Rheumatology) also found statistically significant results from homeopathic treatment. Researchers from the University of Arizona in collaboration with homeopaths conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial with 62 fibromyalgia patients (Bell, Lewis, Brooks, et al., 2004). Patients were randomized to receive an oral daily dose of an individually chosen homeopathic medicine in LM potency (or a placebo). Patients were evaluated at baseline, 2 months, and 4 months.

The study found that 50% of patients given a homeopathic medicine experienced a 25% or greater improvement in tender point pain on examination, as compared to only 15% of those who were given a placebo experienced a similar degree of improvement (P=0.008). After 4 months, the homeopathic patients also rated the “helpfulness of the treatment” significantly greater than did those who were given a placebo (P=0.004). It is therefore not surprising that the study also showed that the average number of remedies recommended by the homeopaths was substantially higher to those in the placebo group as compared with the real treatment group.
If you look at table 2 in this study, you will see that there are no statistically significant differences between the two groups on any of the measures. The researchers elected to adjust the values for some of the differences in baseline measures, and it is the adjusted values that show statistically significant differences. That these two analyses lead to divergent results weakens your ability to draw conclusions from the data. And it invalidates any claims of certainty.

Quote:
One special additional feature of this trial was that the first dose of medicine was given by olfaction (by smell) and that both groups were monitored with EEG. The researchers found that there was a significant and identifiable difference in the EEG readings in patients who were given the real homeopathic medicine as compared to those given the placebo (Bell, Lewis, Schwartz, et al, 2004a).

Each patient had three laboratory sessions, including at baseline, at 3 months, and at 6 months after initial treatment. The researchers found that the active treatment group experienced significant increases in the EEG relative alpha magnitude, while patients given a placebo experienced a decrease in this measurement (P=0.003).

The combined evidence of clinical improvement along with objective physiological response from the homeopathic medicine makes the results of this trial of additional significance.
I don't have access to the full text of this study. Until I see otherwise, I have to be suspicious that this study suffers from the same problems as the other two. And I find this line confusing - "...sniff alpha-1 and alpha-2 increases at 6 months versus baseline [did not correlate with] clinical outcomes in the active group." Are they saying that the EEG findings were unrelated to the clinical outcomes? Wouldn't that weaken the idea that the homeopathic treatment influenced either outcome?

Quote:
REFERENCES:

Bell, IR, Lewis, DA, Brooks, DJ, Schwartz, GE, Leis, SE, Walsh, BT, and Baldwin, DM, Improved Cilnical Status in Fibromyalgia Patients Treated with Individualized Homeopathic Remedies Versus Placebo, Rheumatology, January 20, 2004:1111-7.

Bell IR, Lewis Ii DA, Lewis SE, Schwartz GE, Brooks AJ, Scott A, Baldwin CM. EEG Alpha Sensitization in Individualized Homeopathic Treatment of Fibromyalgia. Int J Neurosci. 2004;114(9):1195-1220.

Peter Fisher, Alison Greenwood, EC Huskisson, et al., “Effect of Homoeopathic Treatment on Fibrositis (Primary Fibromyalgia),” BMJ, 299(August 5, 1989):365-6.

So, Linda, is this drivel too, and are these journals drivel, and is everyone but you and your buddies on this list drivel? I think that the problem is that some people have a problem in seeing patterns.
Humans see pattern wherever they look, even when there is no connection to the elements. I think the problem is that while we recognize that the appearance of a pattern does not necessarily mean that there is a connection, many people have trouble letting that idea go. The "patterns" that you attribute to homeopathy are the same patterns that we expect to see from chance, bias (including cognitive), and a little fraud. There doesn't need to be a true treatment effect from homeopathy to generate the pattern that we see.

Quote:
A 3-pointer and I was fouled on the shot.
Two of these studies were outright negative. One study showed "significant" results that would be expected at least 50% of the time in the absence of treatment effects. That you consider this a "slam dunk" reflects very poorly on the veracity of your claims.

Linda

Last edited by fls; 11th December 2007 at 06:26 AM.
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Old 11th December 2007, 07:05 AM   #80
Ivor the Engineer
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How did the fibromyalgia studies Dana just provided make it into peer-reviewed journals?

Shouldn't the peer review process ensure the conclusions of the study are supported by its results?
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