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Homeopathy (Christopher Biow) wrote:
 > (George M. Carter) wrote:
 >> (Christopher Biow) wrote:
 >[concerning homeopathy]
 >We have plenty of research being done on non-pantentable and
 >patent-expired drugs. The paucity of research on homeopathy has more to do
 >with the implausibility of the claims and the manner in which evidence of
 >the claims has faded when subjected to controls. As a funds grantor, I'd
 >much rather spend on something that has a higher probability of producing
 >medical benefits.
 Are you talking about the United States alone here? If so, I agree
 that perceptions of "implausibility" has driven decision-making rather
 than evidence too many times. As to describing research in
 non-patentable and patent-expired drugs as being in "plenty," I
 dispute this notion. It may be true moreso of off-patent drugs, but it
 is precious little in non-patentables.  Even on things like
 nutritional interventions for which there is plentiful evidence of
 impact on progression of a variety of disease-states. Still, I am
 encouraged that there is certainly a trend toward more vigorous,
 controlled investigations. Bigotry is slowly giving way to
 investigation--whether that bigotry be the testimonial-touting pusher
 of alt/comp or the jaded medical physician.
 [Various stuff snipped; thanks for the citations. I'll check them out,
 although if you have more specific cites than the "several months" for
 the other Nature articles, that would be great.]
 >last resort--not promoted for use in lieu of proven alternatives. At that
 >point, I would not discourage a patient from using highly speculative
 >herbals, for example.
 This may be a mistake. Waiting until near death to start many
 alternative/complementary approaches (herbal, nutritional, etc.) in
 cancer is probably a bad idea--at least insofar as those interventions
 for which some evidence exists of efficacy. Most (but by no means all)
 nutritional and other interventions are slower acting. They may well
 serve as critical adjuncts (or in some cases, superior alternatives)
 to the traditional cut, burn and poison (surgery/radiation/chemo).
 The Ganzfield effect and telepathy? That's a new one on me. I'd love
 to see the research on it!
 I agree re some analgesic value to acupuncture. Perhaps there are
 other areas of use research has yet to reveal.
 >As pointed out elsewhere, the placebo effect cannot be dismissed with
 >animals. Double-blinding, controls, and replication are still essential.
 I believe Knipschild's criteria were stringent and required
 double-blinding, controls and possibly randomization to be included in
 his team's meta-analysis. The research he reviewed was done primarily
 in Europe.
 [regarding the placebo effect-]
 >That's a broad enough statement to be unassailable. However, I fear that
 >such examination, if conducted in a non-scientific manner, may generate
 >little more than dead trees.
 Agreed. I'm really not clear on what the most appropriate methodology
 would be to begin studying this. First, however, I think it would help
 to delineate if there are different kinds of placebo effect or
 identify types that arise under different circumstances. Some
 literature, I believe, exists.
 I'm not going to tell you homeopathy is real or not. I just don't
 believe (so far) your dismissal of all the studies that have been done
 any more than I wholeheartedly embrace the claims made for various
 therapies. (Aconite for injury I find intriguing).
 In any event, I need to review the cites you provided and perhaps see
 if I can find other data that support or refute the notion of