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Old 27th November 2007, 08:23 AM   #1
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Dana Ullman's Homeopathy Studies Thread

Here is a thread where homeopathic research studies can be posted.

To qualify for entry they need to have their full bibliographic citation and a source where their full text may be obtained.

Any commentary must be based on having read the full text. Those choosing to commentate should be aware that an appropriate test may be made to check their veracity in this matter.
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Old 27th November 2007, 08:37 AM   #2
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Here's the last study that Dana posted today on the other thread:

Effect of Homeopathic Treatment on Gene Expression in Copenhagen Rat Tumor Tissues
Rajesh L. Thangapazham, N. V. Rajeshkumar, Anuj Sharma, Jim Warren, Anoop K. Singh, John A. Ives, Jaya P. Gaddipati, Radha K. Maheshwari and Wayne B. Jonas
Integr Cancer Ther 2006; 5; 350
DOI: 10.1177/1534735406294226

Complete PDF text here
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Old 27th November 2007, 09:02 AM   #3
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I think this is the one he means:

Can Homeopathic Treatment Slow Prostate Cancer Growth?
Wayne B. Jonas, et al.


Linda
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Old 27th November 2007, 09:56 AM   #4
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I'm not going to engage in commentary at this point and have not read any of these papers but he seems to have skipped this one;

Homeopathic Medicines Do Not Alter Growth and Gene Expression in Prostate and Breast Cancer Cells In Vitro
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Old 27th November 2007, 11:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by fls View Post
I've had a preliminary look at this. I have some queries.

Firstly, as active homeopathy preparations, they selected 4 different supposedly useful prostate cancer remedies out of 8 available. However, we are not told why these are thought to be useful in prostate cancer - do they help obviate side-effects of orthodox therapy, or do they help some other symptom, or are they meant to cure the problem? There seems to be little information on this and no explanation has been given as to why these 4 preparations were chosen, other than that they are claimes to treat cancer in clinics in India. (and their reference to a study in India is not available at the web address stated - reference 9)

Then, all 4 preparations are all used on the same individual animal - there is no attempt to see the effects of individual remedies - If the rat is in the homeopathy group, it gets all 4 remedies cycled on different days. I must ask why? If the authors wished to "examine potential mechanisms for action" as they said they did, why give the rats a cocktail of therapy? How will this help reveal a mode of action for homeopathy?

Secondly, controls were variously described as "tap water" or as "distilled water" (serially diluted). Active drug was either bought from a commercial company (3 remedies) or in one case made up by a selected homeopathic pharmacy. The source of control water is not clear, and there is no attempt to find a control that is identical to the appropriate homeopathic carrier, and therefore I wonder if there may have been other chemical/biological differences between controls and homeopathy. Ideally one should use controls manufactured at the same time as homeopathy preps and using identical methods.

Crucially, there is no attempt to use as controls any other homeopathic preparations that would be expected to have absolutely no effect on prostate cancer - for instance using a preparation that is good for say morning sickness, or headaches.

The lack of appropriate controls, and control solutions makes me suspect we are not seeing a difference that can be attributed to the anticancer effects of the homeopathic preparations but to something else.

Thirdly, there is no attempt to look for any dose-related (dilution) effect. As we all know, a 1000c preparation of carcinosin is very potent stuff! Why did the researchers not use a continuum of dilutions, say 10x, 1c, 50c, 100c, 500c and 1000c and assess the effects? They could have done this with their in-vitro study, easily. An ideal opportunity to check for this central tenet of the law of dilutions has passed them by.

I think the trial was well conducted in the laboratory sense, but with very poor methodology. I doubt that the differences seen can be described as attributable to homeopathy alone, and suspect something else might be confounding the results.

Finally, a note from the authors:
"Given a lack of mechanism to explain our findings, interpretation of these data should be done cautiously". They call for other studies to replicate their findings.

They also say in their introduction "There have been no high quality studies of homeopathy on the treatment of cancer".
(Are you reading this, James Gully?) Sadly, this trial doesn't seem to have bucked the trend.
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Old 27th November 2007, 12:22 PM   #6
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The study by Jonas was kicked around a bit before, here. Reading through the paper, there are several ways any break in blinding would lead to differences in assessment that could easily account for the differences. The assessment as to whether tumor was present, for example. And I suspect it may be possible to detect the difference between tap water and distilled water (I certainly can with my tap water), leading to a loss of blinding for those involved in the study.

It also wasn't clear from the description when/why they killed the animals and if all were killed, so the significance of time to killing or the tumor weight at time of killing is uncertain.

Yet another example of the 'best' that they can come up with - small, often trivial, rarely replicated effects.

Linda
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Old 27th November 2007, 03:19 PM   #7
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Also, we seem to have been vouchsafed no comment whatsoever regarding Dana's pride and joy study, the one he promised us would shake our world-view to its foundations when it was published, and which he returned to the forum to trumpet about when it finally came out. Rustum Roy's stuff, of course (Sunday name "Rao et al. 2007")

Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
I will be curious which ones of you will be smart enough to formally apologize for your antagonism to homeopathy, though many flat-earthers died believing in their silly beliefs.

I had previously alerted you to some forthcoming research on homeopathy, and it has now been published. Poor Ben Goldacre has decried that he doesn't have access to the journal ("Homeopathy") that is published by Elsevier, but heck, such is the catch 22 when skeptics insist that we publish in peer-review journals and then bemoan the fact that they cannot access them without going to a proper library to read them.

<snip irrelevant argument from authority about some other writings of one of the featured authors>

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/14754916
--the table of contents of a special issue on "the memory of water" in the journal, HOMEOPATHY, published by Elsevier.

Well, what a shame. By the time Dana appeared with that, we'd all got hold of the full-text article and had not only found it quite shockingly incompetent, but been inspired to submit a letter to the editor of the journal to that effect, which has been accepted for publication.

I think my next comment, after Dana had ignored our feedback, is worth repeating here.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
James/Dana, you still haven't offered any comment on the critique we offered of Rustum Roy's UV spectroscopy publication. You accused us of having no "scientific chops". That post contains a pukka letter to the editor of the journal, signed by 3 PhDs and a nearly-PhD, demolishing Roy's presented data. We asked for your reaction. So far, none has been forthcoming.

You see, every time we look in detail at a publication which is being lauded by the homoeopathic community, in an area where we have particular expertise, we find the same thing. It's rubbish. Now not everyone is an expert in every aspect of science that has been used to prop up the mouldering corpse that is homoeopathy, so not everyone can critique every paper at the drop of a hat. But every time we assemble expertise in the right area, in this case UV spectroscopy, we find something so incompetently executed and presented that the possibility of deliberate misdirection or even fraud presents itself rather forcefully. Not one paper have I ever seen where the relevant experts were left saying, well, that's interesting....

Grow up, why don't you?

Rolfe.

That's the point. Every time you or some other homoeopath (like Xanta of blessed memory) comes up with a prize citation, we wearily plough through it and find the same old same old. Bad design, bad execution, conclusions not supported by evidence, cherrypicked data and so on.

You promptly drop it like a hot potato and find something even more obscure to crow about. Until that's demolished in its turn. (Indeed, you don't even drop the things that have been discredited, you just stop referring to them in present company - I note you were still praising Roy's work in the Grauniad blog.) Most of the time you don't even seem to have read the papers you're promoting, and I have to say I think even if you did you'd be struggling to understand what they were saying - just like you didn't realise that a reference to "ICU" meant the patients were in an intensive care unit until BSM pointed it out to you.

So are you going to make this game worth our while and actually present something with some substance to it, which you yourself have read in its entirety, fully comprehend, and are prepared to defend? Cos if not, well, it's all getting a bit tedious.

Rolfe.
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Old 27th November 2007, 03:38 PM   #8
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Yes, I agree with Rolfe on that one, I'd really like to hear Dana's comments on the shipwreck that is Roy's paper. He was so full of himself when he told us about it.

We might even need to start another clock running on how long he is going to evade comment on poor old Professor Roy's paper.
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Old 27th November 2007, 03:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by fls View Post
The study by Jonas was kicked around a bit before, here. Linda
Good heavens!

Someone give me some aricept, fast.

I commented on this paper in March, and couldn't even remember doing so.


(PS - I give a linky, so as to boost my Pharma-mole income)
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Old 27th November 2007, 04:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Deetee View Post
Good heavens!

Someone give me some aricept, fast.

I commented on this paper in March, and couldn't even remember doing so.


(PS - I give a linky, so as to boost my Pharma-mole income)
I wasn't going to say anything....



Linda
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Old 28th November 2007, 02:26 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
What is interesting and unusual about THIS study was that only ONE homeopathic medicine was given, without individualization of treatment. The results of this trial surprised me, but this medicine is known to cause (and cure) thick tracheal secretions like those with advanced COPD.
I thought you wanted to reject all studies that weren't properly individualised. Please try to at least pretend that you are going to have a consistent set of principles. One might almost think that you just pull these judgements from your fundament to suit the need of the moment.

Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
this medicine is known to cause (and cure) thick tracheal secretions like those with advanced COPD.
"known"? Please provide the objective evidence that such is the case. Even at its most generous reading this paper did not find a 'cure' of anything. This is like your general statement that Oscillinoccinum was "effective" against flu because one parameter in one study was marginally statistically significant with a lower bound on its confidence limit of 86 minutes reduction in the total length of the bout of flu.

I watched the DVD of Memento yesterday. The problems of dealing with someone suffering from anterograde amnesia reminded me very strongly of this discussion.

Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
My previous reference to another trial also at the University of Vienna Hospital on patients with severe sepsis found a 50% reduced mortality rate in patients who were given an individually selected homeopathic medicine, as compared with those given a placebo. The only critique that was given to this trial was that people should avoid Vienna is the normal death rate for severe sepsis is 50%, even though the literature normally find that the death rate for this serious condition is between 40-70% (is this condition adequately beyond self-limiting?).
Small numbers. Unreliable data. Sepsis is such a heterogenous condition that small number studies are worthless except as pilots. You should be able to tell that fact simply by looking at the survival rates you reported yourself. If the range is 40-70% so there is no way that a small study could reliably report any change for better or worse in that rate. Let's await a replication with larger numbers.

Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
A small but significant study of people with brain cancer was conducted in association with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas (one of the most respected cancer research centers in the world), and it was published in the prestigious journal, International Journal of Oncology). Fifteen patient diagnosed with intracranial tumors were treated with Ruta 6X and Calcarea phosphorica (calcium phosphate) 3X (Pathak, Multani, Banerji, 2003). Of the 15 patients, 8 of the 9 glioma patients showed complete regression of tumors; 1 of 3 with meningioma showed complete regression and 2 of 3 showed prolonged arrest; 1 with neurinoma showed prolonged arrest; 1 with craiopharyngioma and 1 with pituitary tumors both showed complete regression.

Providing further verification of the benefits of Ruta graveolens was an animal study (Preethi K, Kuttan G, Kuttan, 2006). An extract of Ruta graveolens was found to be cytotoxic to Dalton's lymphoma ascites (DLA), Ehrlich ascites carcinoma (EAC) and L929 cells in culture (IC100 = 16mg/ml) and also to increase the lifespan of tumour bearing animals. The extract further decreased solid tumours developing from DLA and EAC cells when given simultaneously with elongation of the lifespan of tumour-bearing animals. A homeopathic preparation of Ruta graveolens (200c) was equally effective. Neither was effective for reducing already developed tumours. The Ruta graveolens extract was found to scavenge hydroxyl radicals and inhibit lipid peroxidation at low concentrations. However, at higher concentrations the extract acted as a prooxidant as inhibition of lipid peroxidation and scavenging of hydroxyl radical was minimal. These data indicates that the prooxidant activity of Ruta graveolens may be responsible for the cytocidal action of the extract and its ability to produce tumour reduction.
These researchers also conducted several laboratory experiments in which one or both of these homeopathic medicines showed induction of survival-signaling pathways in normal lymphocytes as well as the induction of death-signaling pathways in brain cancer cells (this means that these medicines improved immune function and increased the body’s ability to kill cancer cells). The researchers also note that one of Ruta’s active ingredients is Rutin, which is know for having anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities and for reducing oxidative damage. The researchers also provide additional detail about the therapeutic benefits from calcium phosphate.

Pathak S, Multani AS, Banerji P, Banerji P., Ruta 6 selectively induces cell death in brain cancer cells but proliferation in normal peripheral blood lymphocytes: A novel treatment for human brain cancer. Int J Oncol. 2003 Oct;23(4):975-82.

Preethi K, Kuttan G, Kuttan R Anti-tumour activity of ruta graveolens extract. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2006 Jul-Sep;7(3):439-43.
Haven't looked at the full papers yet and will reserve comment until I have done so. I'll just note in passing that, once again, to suit your convenience you have dropped again concerns about lack of individualisation. Which is it to be, Dana? Do we look at all studies whether individualised or not? If we are to accept non-individualised studies on equal terms then do you drop all objections to considering these studies. That would set you apart from many homeopaths who are very keen to latch onto that as an excuse to reject many negative studies.
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Old 28th November 2007, 02:49 AM   #12
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Here's the first paper;

http://www.virtualtrials.com/pdf/ruta6.pdf

Can't find the full text of the other one at the moment and haven't got time to look at either in detail at the moment. Please could someone have a look. Thanks.
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Old 28th November 2007, 03:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Badly Shaved Monkey View Post
Here's the first paper;

http://www.virtualtrials.com/pdf/ruta6.pdf

Can't find the full text of the other one at the moment and haven't got time to look at either in detail at the moment. Please could someone have a look. Thanks.
I looked at the part involving treatment of the brain cancer patients. It's not blinded, there are no controls, and there isn't any information given that would allow you to guess what we'd expect to see in the absence of the homeopathic treatment. One cannot conclude that homeopathy had any effect based on that information.

I read through the other parts quickly. The thing that sticks out is that there's no mention of any blinding. It is unsurprising to see that evaluations done by people with a particular result in mind show that result. But you cannot conclude that homeopathy had anything to do with it when the evaluation wasn't blind.

Linda
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Old 28th November 2007, 05:00 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Badly Shaved Monkey View Post
As Linda says, there was no blinding. Apart from that, the trial doesn't seem to be testing homeopathy as it is described by the homeopaths that we encounter on these forums. If there hadn't been any positive result, I'm sure homeopaths would have been quick to dismiss it, for the following reasons:

- The remedies were very low potencies: Ruta 6 (10-12 concentration) in combination with calcium phosphate 3x (10-3 concentration). These are nowhere near the sort of potencies that I see most homeopaths using. Why was no attempt made to test higher potencies (i.e. lower dilutions), that should, according to homeopathic principles, be more powerful?

- Remedies were not individually adjusted to specific patients. This argument is used by many homeopaths (see for example Jeanette Winterson and Denis MacEoin quoted in this thread) to demonstrate that this sort of test is useless, since it doesn't test "real" homeopathy.
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Old 28th November 2007, 05:26 AM   #15
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Certainly it's not really a homeopathic potency. There will certainly be actual mother tincture present, though we have debated the actual likelihood of biologically significant effects at these concentrations.

To be fair to Dana, I did ask for impressive cures and this paper does make such claims. But it falls between two stools. As a research paper there are no controls. As an attempt to present impressive individual cases they are insufficiently documented. In particular the cases were diagnosed "based on radiology and/or
histopathology." That immediately rings alarm bells. The diagnoses were cited in specific histopathological terms. That is not possible if the diagnosis was only made by radiology, whereas the description says "and/or" implying that histology may not have been done for some patients. That's a bit fishy and would have prompted me to question the authors if I had been acting as a scrutineer.
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Old 28th November 2007, 07:46 AM   #16
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In the other thread, DUllman said

Quote:
And the COPD study...the worst that Orac had to say about it was that the study didn't mention homeopathy in the title of the article and that he was personally shocked that this study made it past the IRB.
Funny that. Cos I thought the worst he had to say about it was:

Quote:
First, there were only 25 patients in each group, which is a pretty small number for anything other than a pilot study. You have to remember that, when studies are small, spurious results are more likely to occur. At first glance, the patient characteristics in this table appear pretty well balanced. At first glance. Actually, this is a good example of when statistical nonsignificance doesn't necessarily mean clinically nonsignificant. For one thing, the stage of COPD in the control group was higher than that of the treatment group (1.20 0.5 versus 1.08 0.4, p=0.178). This seems very odd, because both groups are listed as having mild COPD by this criteria, given that the COPD stages run from 0 to 3, with 0 being normal lung function and 1 being the least severe. If the average COPD stage for each group was close to 1, then why did the patients have such difficulty coming off the ventilator? Something's odd there, since the mean FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 second) was 54.0 5.3% in the potassium dichromate group and 52.4 5.5% in the control group, both of which are very close to the range of stage 2 COPD (FEV1 between 35% and 49%). In other words, it would seem that most of the patients were bad stage 1 patients.
A more interesting difference, however, and potentially more likely to influence the results of the study comes when you look at the number of patients who were on home oxygen before being hospitalized and developing respiratory failure. In the control group, 9/25 patients were on chronic home oxygen, whereas in the potassium dichromate group, only 5/25 were on home oxygen. Leaving aside that both numbers seem very high for two groups whose COPD scores are 1.2 or below given that it's usually patients with stage 3 COPD who require home oxygen, it is clear that the control group had nearly twice the number of patients who were on home oxygen before admission. This seems inconsistent with a small difference in in the COPD score, and the low COPD scores seem inconsistent with such severe exacerbations. After all, the definition of stage 1 COPD is:
Often minimal shortness of breath with or without cough and/or sputum. Usually goes unrecognized that lung function is abnormal.
Essentially no patients with stage 1 COPD need home oxygen. Ditto stage 2 COPD, which is defined:
Often moderate or severe shortness of breath on exertion, with or without cough, sputum or dyspnea. Often the first stage at which medical attention is sought due to chronic respiratory symptoms or an exacerbation
By the measurements listed, the average patient in both groups had at worst slightly worse than stage 1 COPD, which makes it odd indeed that 36% and 20% of the control and potassium dichromate groups, respectively, were on home oxygen. Let's just put it this way. Needing home oxygen is a good marker for one of two things: either more severe COPD or other concurrent lung conditions. Those four extra patients on home oxygen could potentially account for the longer time to extubation and longer length of stay in the hospital in the control group. We can't tell if they do or not because the data isn't presented in such a way to allow us to do so. It's possible that the differences in patients on oxygen before admission made a difference. It's also possible that this is just a spurious result from a relatively small study. Or, it's possible that it might be correct and there might really be an effect, but this latter scenario is unlikely given the flaws in the study and the fact that no homeopath has yet explained a mechanism by which something like homeopathic potassium dichromate might do a single thing to eliminate secretions--or anything else, for that matter.
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/20...ringeicu_1.php
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Old 28th November 2007, 08:39 AM   #17
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The other paper is at http://www.apocp.org/journal_of_canc...n_volume_7.php

Anti-Tumour Activity of Ruta Graveolens Extract, K C Preethi et al
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Old 28th November 2007, 11:25 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Badly Shaved Monkey View Post
Here's the first paper;

http://www.virtualtrials.com/pdf/ruta6.pdf

Can't find the full text of the other one at the moment and haven't got time to look at either in detail at the moment. Please could someone have a look. Thanks.
Why if this therapy is so successful, has the research not yet been replicated, or the therapy found its way into every oncologists standard armoury? Does Orac know about this paper?

I haven't given the trial any medical scrutiny as yet (a job for Orac?), but I note with interest that the authors run their own Homeopathic Research Foundation in India. They promote the "Banerji Protocol" of therapy, which they freely admit is not classical homeopathy (since there is no individualisation).

Seems like the "Banerji protocol" is a real panacea - read how it cures Dengue fever, Jap B encephalitis, malaria, and dwell on the ramifications of how it cures people who get ill on lunar landings. You see, as they explain, it appears that
Quote:
the moon has no magnetic field, hence problems of dispersion, solubility, absorption, availability at tissue level, metabolism and excretion of drugs, including recycling problems and disposal, do exist. Thus, in such a state, and in view of the factors referred to above, the use of conventional medicines has its limitations.
It seems that the Banerjis feel this will be useful when the lunar research base is in operation.

I wonder if NASA has any inkling that conventional drugs were inneffective in low/zero gravity? Shouldn't someone let them know, in case they actually want to build a lunar base?

PS - found a video link to this research.. Can't view it so no idea if its any use to man or beast. I do see it's over an hour long tho.
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Old 28th November 2007, 11:55 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Badly Shaved Monkey View Post
Certainly it's not really a homeopathic potency. There will certainly be actual mother tincture present, though we have debated the actual likelihood of biologically significant effects at these concentrations.
There's no succussion either, it seems:
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Ruta Q, the mother tincture extracted from R. graveolens according to homeopathic pharmacopia, was diluted to Ruta 1 by adding 1 ml of Ruta Q to 99 ml of absolute ethyl alcohol. One milliliter of Ruta 1 when added to 99 ml of alcohol made Ruta 2. Similarly, Ruta 6 was prepared by performing more serial dilutions.
So what chance is there for the homeopathic magic to kick in?

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Old 28th November 2007, 11:57 AM   #20
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I couldn't find anything stating whether or not any of the patients were receiving other treatment. Is this info in there anywhere?
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Old 28th November 2007, 02:40 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Professor Yaffle View Post
I couldn't find anything stating whether or not any of the patients were receiving other treatment. Is this info in there anywhere?
I couldn't find it. The information given is inadequate to confirm that the diagnoses were correct, or that the course of disease was any different from what you'd expect in the absence of treatment. Other benign conditions can have the same appearance on CT. Meningiomas and gliomas can be asymptomatic. The patients could have received other forms of treatment. As is, it doesn't serve to tell us that anything remarkable or unexpected happened to these patients.

The means of diagnosis and follow-up, the length of follow-up, and the types of conditions were so heterogeneous, I suspect that these were simply patients pulled from their case files long after the fact.

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Old 28th November 2007, 03:54 PM   #22
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As a general point on the various homeopathy papers I've seen recently, my impression is that the statistical methods employed often seem to have been chosen after the fact to try to tease out the teeniest bit of significance from otherwise noisy data. Call me old-fashioned, but one of the first things I remember learning as a neophyte researcher is that the point of stats is to show that what seems at first sight to be significant, ain't. Caution is the watchword, so you use the simplest analysis you can get away with, rather than trying lots of methods until you get the answer you want. Is there an expert statistician around who can comment on the statistical methods used in these papers?
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Old 28th November 2007, 04:11 PM   #23
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Ultracrepidarian, welcome. And you're darn right too. One of their favourite tricks is very simple though. Just do lots and lots of t-tests and sure as God made little green apples, you'll get a couple or so coming out at p<0.05. Then you crow about your "significant" findings. You get all these tests by measuring lots of variables, and doing that at as large a number of time points as seems practical. I'm sure there's one out there that trumpets the "significant" effect of some shaken-up water on childhood diarrhoea because the verum group had one fewer loose stool on one day of the trial (day 3 I think), but not on the preceding or subsequent days. Similarly, diluted-out-of-existence duck liver apparently shortened the duration of influenza significantly - by about an hour and a half! These are significant findings, you know, so they prove homoeopathy can cure these conditions!

That's when they do statistics at all, that is. The Rao et al. paper we were discussing claims to have made sufficient measurements that they should have been able to present a decent statistical treatment of their findings. However, instead they just threw away 80% of the data and presented "typical" (or was that extreme? - the same traces seem to do duty for both) results and just wave vaguely that there are "differences". A particular bugbear of mine, a study of (alleged - the diagnoses were very suspect) Cushing's disease in dogs and horses didn't make any measurements at all - no lab work was done whatsoever, to go with the no control group and the no blinding and the no defined endpoints and the no ethical approval as far as I can see. The researcher (in the loosest possible meaning of the term) just announced at various times after beginning the treatment that the patients seemed a bit better. One way of avoiding criticism of the statistics I suppose.

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Old 28th November 2007, 04:18 PM   #24
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Now I was scanning down the thread, and I was right. No sign of DullMan anywhere. Dana, why don't you want to debate these papers? I have to say I won't even look at them until he engages in some meaningful dialogue about them, and quoting what other people said doesn't count. You see, I'm not at all convinced he's actually read them, his habit is just to quote an abstract and imagine that we'll all fall at his feet.

But before then, I want Dana's comments on our letter to Homeopathy about the Rao paper. You were full of yourself when it was published, and even before. So, you must be familiar with the content (hah, who am I kidding!). So, do you have no response to our detailed demolition of the data presented? Are you going to ignore this completely, apart from muttering on another forum that you're still right about it being great work?

Come on, first show some scientific chops and assess our critique of Rao (you should be proud, it was at least partly your championing of the paper that stimulated us to examine it closely enough to be able to make such a detailed refutation and submit it for publication). Then we can move on to these other papers - one at a time, please.

You have read them, right?



Right?




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Old 28th November 2007, 05:28 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by fls View Post
I looked at the part involving treatment of the brain cancer patients. It's not blinded, there are no controls, and there isn't any information given that would allow you to guess what we'd expect to see in the absence of the homeopathic treatment. One cannot conclude that homeopathy had any effect based on that information.

I'm afraid I commented (or rather ranted) about that on the other thread, only having access to the abstract (my Acrobat is playing up again). I said just about what you said here, but took much longer to say it. And what do you think was the chance these patients had no conventional treatment if they were really in a cancer centre in Houston?

Sorry, I'm a bad person, but I was trying to make the point that this study didn't fit the criteria either. I'll try to look at the full text tomorrow, but I don't feel like taking much trouble until Dana gives us his feedback on the very first paper he was pimping. Dana, do you agree now that the Roy data (Rao et al.) are spurious, or do you want to tell us in which respects you disagree with the letter we wrote?

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Old 28th November 2007, 06:26 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm afraid I commented (or rather ranted) about that on the other thread, only having access to the abstract (my Acrobat is playing up again). I said just about what you said here, but took much longer to say it. And what do you think was the chance these patients had no conventional treatment if they were really in a cancer centre in Houston?
The patients were in India. Which is why I suspect that they were simply part of one of more homeopath's case files.

Quote:
Sorry, I'm a bad person, but I was trying to make the point that this study didn't fit the criteria either.
It doesn't. The documentation is too poor. For example, they state that they determined remission by clinical exam and/or serial CT scans. But they only state that one of the patients had serial CT scans, suggesting that in the rest it was based on symptoms. They state that diagnoses were made by radiology and/or histopathology. But I must admit that I don't have any confidence that any more than one tumor was biopsied (in order to make their statement true), and the rest were guesses based on CT (I hope. I also wouldn't be surprised to discover that some diagnoses were based on plain sella turcica radiographs.). I also have no confidence that what a homeopath means by "advanced" is anything similar to what an oncologist means.

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Old 29th November 2007, 04:13 AM   #27
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Study from the other thread which belongs here....

Originally Posted by fls
Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
The COPD study at the University of Vienna Hospital and published in CHEST (2005) is one such good piece of research despite what minor critique has been given to it. Although some weak critique was made about the treatment group and the control group were not perfectly comparable, there was not statistical difference between the groups,
However, I previously performed a power analysis, and there was a 70% chance that any significant differences between the groups would be missed. But I already told you this.

Call it weak if you like. It's sufficient to account for any differences in outcome without bringing magic water into it.

Linda
Originally Posted by JamesGully View Post
Hey Linda...
Below are some of the differences between the treatment group and the control group. On which data was your power analysis made?
That's a silly question considering that a) I told you the power analysis was made on the comparison of the groups before treatment, and 2) there's no point in doing a power analysis when you find a significant difference (well, there is, but it's not relevant); it's done when you don't find a significant difference.

Quote:
The amount of tracheal secretions was reduced significantly in group 1 (the homeopathic treatment group) (p < 0.0001). Extubation (the removal of obstructive mucus from the lung with a tube) could be performed significantly earlier in group 1 (p < 0.0001). Similarly, length of stay was significantly shorter in group 1 (4.20 +/- 1.61 days vs 7.68 +/- 3.60 days, p < 0.0001 [mean +/- SD]). This data suggest that potentized (diluted and vigorously shaken) Kali bichromicum 30C may help to decrease the amount of stringy tracheal secretions in COPD patients.

In this study, all patients underwent a trial of extubation, but none (!) of the patients in group 1 had to be reintubated or needed even noninvasive ventilation to improve breathing. The amount of secretions remained stable and did not increase for patients in group 1. Also, the blood gas analyses after extubation remained stable in group 1. In contrast, four patients in group 2 had to be reintubated due to deterioration of blood gas analysis that was caused by tracheal secretions of grade 2 or 3.
All of these differences (nice of you to fail to mention those outcomes that did not show any significant difference) are expected when you have a few patients that have more severe disease and more co-morbid disease in one group but not in the other. And a detailed look at the data presented in the study shows that to be the case, as outlined above by Orac. And your claim that those differences were trivial because the groups were not significantly different at the start, has a 70% chance of being wrong (as per my calculation above).

Linda
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Old 29th November 2007, 03:55 PM   #28
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Bump. C'mon, Dana!

You know, in spite of dissecting all these papers with a jaundiced eye, I still say we're too trusting. Time and time again homoeopaths come out with some statement, and we immediately react with the assumption that at least the facts are true.

Every single time Dana has declared that Darwin was a homoeopathy fan, the inital reaction has been, well, so what? Along the lines of Newton being used to support astrology, or Linus Pauling to support vitamin C. Great men have their little blind spots, so what?

But it wasn't true. Darwin was a thoroughgoing homoeopathy sceptic, as actually reading Dana's sources makes clear. (And the best he can do when this is pointed out is to claim that there is still some Deeper Source Before the Dawn of Reason that proves him right all along). It took Mojo checking up to reveal that one.

Even here's we're not really alert for and prepared for people who lie as constantely and as casually as many of the homoeopaths have been shown to do. And dana takes full advantage of that.

So really, if he says it's daylight outside, at noon, I'd still step out to check.

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Old 30th November 2007, 01:33 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Darwin was a thoroughgoing homoeopathy sceptic, as actually reading Dana's sources makes clear. (And the best he can do when this is pointed out is to claim that there is still some Deeper Source Before the Dawn of Reason that proves him right all along).

I've invited him (in the appropriate thread, of course) to post references or links for these sources that "adequate homework" would have revealed. No sign of them so far.
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Old 30th November 2007, 05:32 AM   #30
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On t'other thread, Dana Ullman wrote:

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I am STILL waiting for someone (!) to speak in defense of the Shang "study." Waiting...waiting...
I'll speak in defense of it. I think your criticisms are incorrect and misguided. The eight studies of homeopathy that were deemed large and of high quality are identified in Lancet 366, p. 2083, in the authors reply to published comments on their original article. You can find a lot more on this here.

Also, you seem to be concerned that the study uses 8 homeopathic trials out of 105 to conclude that homeopathy shows no benefit beyond placebo. This is the whole point of the study: to compare the complete set of homeopathic trials with the ones that are large and of good quality. This allows the authors to strip out the effects of poor study design and bias. In other words, the original 105 papers contain a number of lousy studies from which no useful conclusions can be drawn. When these studies are excluded, homeopathy shows no effect.

You also claim that the study did not test what you call true homeopathy, using individualised remedies. In fact, the study includes 18 such trials, of which 2 were deemed to be large and high quality. The study also divided homeopathic trials into four types (clinical, classical and compex homeopathy, and isopathy). The study found that there was no significant difference in effect between these four types. That is, your classical homeopathy is no more effective than any other type of homeopathy.

More on me blog...
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Old 30th November 2007, 06:04 AM   #31
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He won't answer, Wilsontown. He doesn't want to discuss these papers. He only posts them as a smoke screen to hide the fact that after 200 years of practice, and ever so many poorly or non-documented anecdotes of miracle cures, this supposedly complete system of medicine does not have one single properly-documented case report of a patient suffering from a non-self-limiting condition recovering following homoeopathic treatment alone.

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Old 30th November 2007, 06:14 AM   #32
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Yes, I don't imagine there will be any useful reply. Still, he did bother to criticise the paper, so it seems worth rebutting the criticisms. Especially as they're criticisms that are quite commonly made of Shang et al.

If only he'd apply the same critical stance to Rao et al. and their memory of water nonsense, or the Chest study he keeps going on about.
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Old 30th November 2007, 06:54 AM   #33
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Indeed. (Nice blog article, by the way.)

There's a particular piece of veterinary homoeopathic drivel which homoeopaths like to boast about. It even got its author in front of the TV cameras as part of the Horizon programme, complete with All Creatures Great and Small musical accompaniment. It's a train wreck in normal scientific terms, but it's an even bigger train wreck in homoeopathic terms. BSM tells me that a homoeopath once rejected a negative-result paper he mentioned because it wasn't individualised and so on. BSM then mildly pointed out that lack of individualism was common practice, and cited Elliott in that respect. So, if the homoeopath was going to reject another paper because of lack of individualisation, then surely Elliott had to be rejected too? The homoeopath replied, no, that was OK because he had obtained a positive result, so obviously whatever he'd done had worked!

Dana, like so many homoeopaths, is at the same game. Anything that has the word "homoeopathy" in it (even if it really isn't homoeopathy) and describes a positive effect is fine, great, a superb piece of work. But as soon as anyone finds anything negative, out come the criticisms that are held to invalidate the paper - criticisms one finds could be levelled with equal justification against his pet studies!

As you so rightly said in the blog piece, there's pretty much no such thing as a perfect study. Everything can be criticised to some extent or another. The question is, are the criticisms of sufficient seriousness to cast doubt on the conclusions of the study? For that, we have to read the paper carefully and critically. Good authors will often actually include in the text mention of what they feel might be imperfections in the study. I've noticed homoeopaths leaping on any tiny little quibble in basically well-conducted studies and announcing that this completely invalidates them - when of course it does not. I remember one negative study which had a small point of concern regarding the blinding - which nevertheless had almost certainly not been broken. Frustrated homoeopaths leaped on this to denounce the study. Er, how might a problem with blinding have caused a potentially positive result to become obscured, tell me that?

The main point of course is that, if even a tenth of what homoeopaths claim anecdotally has any basis in reality, why in 200 years have they not managed to build up a decent body of published evidence to support their claims? Nothing's perfect, but even a decent number of respectably-performed studies without fatal errors, showing an effect, would have been bound to get someone's attention.

But where are they? Nowhere.

Rolfe.
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Old 30th November 2007, 09:17 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by wilsontown View Post
I'll speak in defense of it. I think your criticisms are incorrect and misguided.
and they will also be repeated endlessly.

Ullman is doing the same now as they have done for some time with the Linde meta-analysis, which is to continue with a misguided criticism long after the misconception has been cleared up by the authors.

But this is homeopathy and homeopaths never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Or, to look at it another way, it's homeopathic duckspeak, a reflex response to criticism that exits via the typing fingers when a criticism is detected by the visual system without any tedious detouring via higher thought areas of a normal human brain.

Functional decerebrates can always find work as homeopaths.
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Old 30th November 2007, 09:27 AM   #35
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Quote:
Nice blog article, by the way.
Cheers!

Quote:
and they will also be repeated endlessly.
Yes, you're probably right. Still, it seems worth a try.
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Old 30th November 2007, 09:39 AM   #36
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I think Rolfe called the International Journal of Oncology "second rate".

It is not;

http://www.bioscience.org/services/impact15.htm

With reference to the proper Royal Naval official rating system this journal would be the equivalent a rotten pedalo stuck in the marshes of Chatham.
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Old 30th November 2007, 09:47 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Badly Shaved Monkey View Post
I think Rolfe called the International Journal of Oncology "second rate".

It is not;

http://www.bioscience.org/services/impact15.htm

With reference to the proper Royal Naval official rating system this journal would be the equivalent a rotten pedalo stuck in the marshes of Chatham.
Hint: Start your search at the very bottom.

Linda
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Old 30th November 2007, 09:51 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Badly Shaved Monkey View Post
I think Rolfe called the International Journal of Oncology "second rate".

It is not;

http://www.bioscience.org/services/impact15.htm

With reference to the proper Royal Naval official rating system this journal would be the equivalent a rotten pedalo stuck in the marshes of Chatham.
What does that say about the journals "BRAIN AND COGNITION" and "PLANETARY AND SPACE SCIENCE"?
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Old 30th November 2007, 10:36 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Badly Shaved Monkey View Post
I think Rolfe called the International Journal of Oncology "second rate".

It is not; ....

Point of information. I called it "crap".

Wonderful what you realise when you see an actual paper as opposed to an abstract. Almost anyone can make an abstract look presentable. Once you see the full text, however, things get a lot clearer.

Or not.

Quite clever to use a respectable-sounding journal title, though, rather than something like the Proceedings af the Society for the Abolition of Cancer, which would ring bells right away.

Then all it needs is some comedian appending the word "prestigious" to it, and they're off!

Rolfe.
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Old 30th November 2007, 03:12 PM   #40
Rolfe
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Bump again for Dana.

Dana, please give us your thoughts on our letter to Homeopathy? Do you still maintain that Roy's work supports your case? If so, why?

Rolfe.
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