Reader Comments

Post a new comment on this article

Magical medicine may not be scientifically valid.

Posted by sgreen1 on 23 Apr 2015 at 05:31 GMT

While interesting and carefully performed, this study appears to be fatally flawed, as it compares various combinations of 25 "medicines" to placebo and active treatment without considering the effects of the closer followup and personal attention required for IHT. Despite the long-standing popularity of homeopathy for virtually all types of illness, there has never been any good evidence of any treatment effect other than inadequately controlled "placebo." There is even less reason to hypothesize a medical effect, as the "science" of homeopathy has been long discredited.

Frankly, I am disappointed to see such careful effort expended in pursuit of magical remedies, and disappointed that PLoS has published inherently non-scientific work. Unless considered in the full context of what we know about homeopathy, this work could mislead those involved in the clinical care of depressed women. Many public health groups have expressed serious concern that homeopathy primarily benefits practitioners and may prevent patients from receiving optimal medical care.

In the interest of space constraints, I will only cite a few references from among the mountains of literature supporting concern over homeopathic "medicine" for the interested reader:

1. National Health and Medical Research Council. 2015. NHMRC Information Paper: Evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for treating health conditions. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council; 2015

2. Homeopathy: what does the “best” evidence tell us? Edzard Ernst Med J Aust 2010; 192 (8): 458-460.

3. Clinical trials of integrative medicine: testing whether magic works? Gorski, David H. et al. Trends in Molecular Medicine , Volume 20 , Issue 9 , 473 - 476

4. The Swiss report on homeopathy: a case study of research misconduct David Martin Shaw Swiss Med Wkly. 2012;142:w13594

5. "'High-dilution' Experiments a Delusion" J. Maddox, J. Randi, and W. Stewart, Nature, July 28, 1988, 334:443-47.

6.. Homoepathy and its kindred delusions. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1842) Boston: William D. Ticknor.

No competing interests declared.

RE: Magical medicine may not be scientifically valid.

ecmc2008 replied to sgreen1 on 24 Apr 2015 at 01:36 GMT

Those your references have biased conclusions. The Australian report has deep flaws in how the NHMRC had analysed the evidence on homeopathy, as you can read in [http://www.homeopathyoz.o...] and in [https://www.hri-research....].

The other references are also based on biased conclusions. Here are some references of clinical trials, in-vitro and animal studies. Are results of in-vitro studies also magic or placebo?

1. Belon P, Banerjee A, Karmakar SR, et al. Homeopathic remedy for arsenic toxicity? Evidence-based findings from a randomized placebo-controlled double blind human trial. Sci Total Environ. 2007 Jul 10.

2. Bell IR, Lewis DA, Brooks AJ, Schwartz GE, Lewis SE, Walsh BT, Baldwin CM. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2004 May;43(5):577-82.

3. Frei H, Everts R, von Ammon K, et al. Homeopathic treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled crossover trial. Eur J Pediatr. 2005 Dec, 164, 12, 758-67. 83

4. Belon P., Cumps J., Ennis M., Mannaioni P.F., Roberfroid M., Sainte-Laudy J., Wiegant F.A. Histamine Dilutions Modulate Basophil Activation. Inflammation Research, 2004, May, 53, 5, 181-8.

5. Eizayaga FX, Aguejouf O, Belon P, et al. Platelet aggregation in portal hypertension and its modification by ultra-low doses of aspirin. Pathophysiol Haemost Thromb. 2005;34(1):29-34.

Competing interests declared: I am the author of the article