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Swiss government report providesrobust scientific evidence that homeopathy is clinically effective, cost-effective and safe

A comprehensive and authoritative research study by Swiss scientists has offered an unambiguous endorsement of the evidence base for homeopathy as a clinically effective system of medicine.*

Their report, part of a Swiss government evaluation of complementary and alternative medicines, gives a massive boost to the growing body of research underpinning the therapeutic effects of homeopathic medicine.

The Society’s research consultant Rachel Roberts said the report also dismissed the claims of the only major systematic review ever to conclude that homeopathy’s effects are due to placebo, the controversial Shang meta-analysis, published in the Lancet in 2005 and heralded as “the end of homeopathy”.

Even though that study attracted criticism from international researchers due to its poor quality, both in terms of the methodology used and how the study was reported, it has been widely quoted by anti homeopathy campaigners as “proof’ that homeopathy is placebo.

Rachel, who is also the chief executive of the Homeopathy Research Institute, said: “This is great news for scientists who are committed to objective and accurate reporting of homeopathy research, as well as for the six million people in the UK who choose to use homeopathy as part of their healthcare.

“For too long anti-homeopathy campaigners have got away with using this flawed paper to unjustly damage the credibility of homeopathy and put pressure on decision-makers to cut homeopathy services. Being able to draw a line under the issue of the Shang paper will allow us to return to a more open, rational debate about homeopathy and its evidence base.”

The authors of the 234-page report, known as the Swiss Health Technology Assessment (HTA), exhaustively reviewed the clinical research in homeopathy (both systematic reviews and the original clinical studies). It includes a summary of 22 systematic reviews of clinical trials in specific medical conditions, 20 of which show a positive direction of evidence for homeopathy (with five of those 20 showing clear evidence of effectiveness).

The report also concluded that there was sufficient supporting evidence for the pre-clinical (experimental) effects of homeopathy and that, when compared to conventional therapies, it offers a safe and cost-effective treatment.

Alex Tournier, executive director of the Homeopathy Research Institute, said: “With the publication of the English translation of the HTA report, we hope that the debate will finally move from the question, ‘does homeopathy work?’ to the more pressing questions of ‘how does homeopathy work?’ and ‘what conditions can homeopathy treat effectively and cost-efficiently?”

Click here to download Swiss report key facts
Click here to download article by Alex Tournier PhD

* ‘Homeopathy in Healthcare: Effectiveness, Appropriateness, Safety, Costs’ by Gudrun Bornhöft and Peter F. Matthiessen (Editors). 2011. ISBN 978-3-642-20637-5

Nobel prize winner Luc Montagnier speaks out positively about use of high dilutions in homeopathy

In recent years, Prof Luc Montagnier – a virologist who won a Nobel prize in 2008 for his role in discovering HIV – has moved into the field of high dilution research i.e. investigating the properties of samples diluted beyond the point at which you would expect any molecules to remain in the sample. In a recent interview for Science magazine (www.sciencemag.org, 6 January 2011) he announced that he will soon be moving to the prestigious Jiaotong University in Shanghai to open a new research institute bearing his name, which will be dedicated to continuing his work on the electromagnetic properties of dilute DNA fragments.

In this interview, entitled ‘French Nobelist Escapes ‘Intellectual Terror’ to Pursue Radical Ideas in China’, he discussed both his work and the reasons for such a move at the age of 78, which include what he describes as the “fear around this topic” in Europe.

When asked, “Do you think there’s something to homeopathy…?” he replied, “I can’t say that homeopathy is right in everything. What I can say now is that the high dilutions are right. High dilutions of something are not nothing. They are water structures which mimic the original molecules.” As this is the most controversial aspect of homeopathy, this comment by such an eminent scientist will be of interest to both sceptics and supporters of homeopathy alike.
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Montagnier’s findings suggest that under the right conditions electromagnetic signals can be transmitted from test tubes containing the diluted DNA sample, to a test tube containing only water, and that when enzymes which copy DNA molecules are then added to this water they behave as if DNA molecules are present, producing new DNA molecules. This ‘teleportation’ effect of the DNA, coupled with the high dilutions of the initial sample have attracted much controversy.

Aspects which relate directly to homeopathy are the fact that serial dilution and agitation of the DNA sample is necessary for the electromagnetic signals to be generated (the same method used to manufacture homeopathic medicines) and that these signals are detected at dilutions as high as 10 -18 when molecules of DNA would no longer be present. Although Montagnier has not been able to demonstrate effects at the higher levels of dilution used in many homeopathic medicines, his work in an important step in demonstrating biological effects of ultra-molecular samples.

A recent editorial in New Scientist entitled ‘Why we have to teleport disbelief’ quotes the sceptical reactions of several scientists to Montagnier’s work, but this is to be expected with such potentially ground-breaking work. As theoretical chemist Jeff Reimers of the University of Sydney, Australia stated in this article, “If the results are correct, these would be the most significant experiments performed in the past 90 years, demanding re-evaluation of the whole conceptual framework of modern chemistry.”

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