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Extensive research questions the benefits of homeopathy

An American-Swiss team that reviewed 110 medical studies that sought to investigate homeopathic remedies found no convincing evidence that the treatments worked better than placebos.

Avi Blizovsky

Extremely dilute solutions are used in homeopathic medicines
Extremely dilute solutions are used in homeopathic medicines

A leading medical newspaper attacked homeopathy this week saying that homeopathic medicines are no better than dummy medicines. The Lancet magazine stated that the time for further research has passed and that doctors should be honest and firm with patients about the lack of benefits of homeopathy.

An American-Swiss team that reviewed 110 medical studies that sought to investigate homeopathic remedies found no convincing evidence that the treatments work better than placebos. Those on the side of homeopathy insist that their medicine, which operates on the principle of treating like for like, does work.

For example, a patient who has an allergy, for example, the user of homeopathic medicines tries to fight the allergy with doses diluted to almost zero of an agent that may cause some of the symptoms. The debate about homeopathy has been debated for years. In 2002, the American magician James Randi offered a million dollars to anyone who could prove, under controlled conditions in the laboratory, that homeopathic medicines can really heal people. So far no one has been able to pass the initial tests.

According to Prof. Matthias Egger from the University of Bern and his colleagues from the University of Zurich, as well as a British team from the University of Bristol, homeopathy has no evidence at all. They compared 110 trials and examined the effect of homeopathy versus placebo using 110 trials of equivalent drugs in conventional medicine, for the same disorders or diseases.

Among the trials they compared were treatments for asthma, allergies and muscle problems, which are big problems and which are small problems. For both homeopathic and conventional medicines, the lowest-quality small trials showed more and stronger effects than larger trials. However, when they looked at only the large, high-quality trials, they found no convincing evidence that the homeopathic remedies were better than the placebo. "It is difficult to prove a negative but a large number of studies about homeopathy simply did not show such differences." Prof. Iger said. "And this compared to clear differences in trials that tested conventional drugs."

He said some people reported feeling better after homeopathic treatment. He believes that this is true because homeopaths spend a lot of time and attention to detail. "This has nothing to do with the little white medicine." said.

"The research was biased"

In this way, Lascent also reported on a draft report on homeopathy that is about to be released by the World Health Organization, according to which many peer-reviewed studies have been able to prove that homeopathy is superior to placebo in controlled trials. Moreover, the report claims that homeopathy is equal to conventional medicine in the treatment of diseases, both in humans and animals. Prof. Edzard Ernst, a specialist in complementary medicine at the Peninsula School of Medicine in Exeter, UK, says that the World Health Organization's report seems biased because they only cited studies that showed a positive result. said.

A spokesman for the homeopathy school said: "Many studies have proven that homeopathy has a better effect than placebo. This is accepted and many researchers know that double control experiments in which some subjects are given a placebo is not a suitable research tool to test homeopathy.

In the United Kingdom (and in Israel) it is possible to use homeopathy as part of the health insurance. Some argue that it should be more available, while others argue that it should not be offered at all. In 2000, the Science and Technology Committee of the British Parliament published a report on complementary and alternative medicine. The report states that "any branch of alternative medicine that has specific claims regarding the ability to cure specific diseases must provide proof of the ability to do the above beyond the placebo effect.

For news at the BBC

8 תגובות

  1. What a waste of research - you don't have to be very smart to understand that homeopathy is false.
    What is shocking is that in Israel they advertise a "homeopathic vaccine" for polio, an advertisement that is clearly against Israeli law.

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