Saturday, 12 April 2014

Yet another lengthy investigation concludes that homeopathy is useless

Australia’s main body for health and medical research, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), has recently conducted an extensive review of the “evidence for homoeopathy in treating 68 clinical conditions”. Predictably, it concludes “there is no reliable evidence that homoeopathy is effective for treating health conditions”.

No surprise there, but hopefully another nail prepared for the coffin of homeopathy, should drug stores develop of conscience and/or people ever stop getting taken in by utter crap.

The figures are scary, though. According to the news.com.au:

Australians spend almost $4 billion a year on complementary therapies like vitamins and herbs and almost $10 million on homeopathic remedies.

That's $10 million wasted. $10 million dollars that could have been spent on actual medicine. And I shudder to think how much of that $4 billion is wasted on complementary therapies with zero benefit, or worse - probably most of it. To put that figure in context, it is over five times the entire NHMRC 2013/14 budget of $771.2 million for health/medical research funding.

Perhaps the most revealing part of the article was the response of the homeopaths themselves:

However, Australian Homeopathic Association spokesman Greg Cope said he was disappointed at the narrow evidence relied on by the NHMRC in its report.

“What they have looked at is systematic trials for named conditions when that is not how homoeopathy works,” he said.

Homoeopathy worked on the principle of improving a person’s overall health and wellness, and research such as a seven-year study conducted in Switzerland was a better measure of its usefulness, he said.

I’m sorry… what‽ Homeopathy is based on the (utterly discredited) 200-year-old notion that “substances that produce symptoms in a healthy person can be used to [effectively] treat similar symptoms in a sick person”. This is not the principle of “improving a person’s overall health and wellness”, this a principle of targeting specific named symptoms with specific substances. Specific substances that are then diluted far beyond the point that any molecules (or “memory” thereof) remains in the solution (which is then often dropped onto a sugar pill), but specific substances that cause specific symptoms nonetheless.

Mr Cope is right about one thing, though: homeopathy does not work by treating named conditions. Homeopathy does not work.

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