Homeopathy
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  • 1. UBC SBM Homeopathy www.sbmubc.org
  • 2. UBC SBM Table of Contents • Famous Numbers • Homeopathy – History – Dilutions – Common misconceptions – Homeopathic vaccines – Examples – Ethics – Interesting facts
  • 3. Famous Numbers • There are lots of famous numbers: • Pi, or π, or 3.14 Pi is not: UBC SBM
  • 4. Famous Numbers • There’s also Avagadro’s Number: 6 x 1023 That’s the same as a six with 23 zeros! 600 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 That’s a BIG number! UBC SBM
  • 5. Famous Numbers Avagadro’s number is really interesting because that’s how many molecules of O2 there are in 22.4 litres - About 6 milk jugs Also called a “Mole” UBC SBM
  • 6. Moles • A mole of paper would make a stack to moon and back 80 billion times • A mole of seconds is about 19 quadrillion years UBC SBM
  • 7. Medicine and Homeopathy • The numbers are important! (more later) UBC SBM
  • 8. Medicine in 18th Century • Pre-scientific and often harmful – Bloodletting • The cure often worse than disease! • Doing “nothing” appears like good medicine UBC SBM
  • 9. History of Homeopathy • Invented by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796 – Germany • Was bothered by current explanation for how cinchona bark cured malaria. – “Strengthens the stomach” – In fact contains Quinine • kills malaria parasite UBC SBM
  • 10. History of Homeopathy • Decided to dose himself with cinchona – Palpitations – Anxiety – Trembling – NO fever (malaria causes very high fevers) • Concluded first tenant: “like cures like” – If two diseases with “similar” symptoms affect patient, the “stronger” disease cures “weaker” – Only experiment behind “like cures like” UBC SBM
  • 11. History of Homeopathy • Second tenant: Potentization – Serial dilutions and succussions (shakings) – Believed made remedy more potent • Not a single molecule remained UBC SBM
  • 12. History of Homeopathy • “Provings” – Healthy subjects given preparation – EVERY sensation, feeling, mood change, and physical change over days to months caused by preparation • No matter how trivial or vague • Example: “dreams which are not remembered” or “tickling sensation on the palm which obliges a person to scratch” UBC SBM
  • 13. History of Homeopathy • Materia Medica – Textbook of provings – 1300 recorded – Half before 19th century – 65 from Hahnemann • Randomized controlled trials: – “provers” not able to distinguish between homeopathic preparation and placebo UBC SBM
  • 14. Modern Homeopathy • Same core tenants – Homeopathic vaccines • Opposition to immunizations – “Nosodes” • Potentized diseased animal parts UBC SBM
  • 15. Homeopathic Logic • Example: A drug that wakes you up? • Does decaf coffee put you to sleep? ... • Lets look at dilutions – More fun with numbers! UBC SBM Dilute!
  • 16. Dilutions • Exactly how dilute does homeopathy go? • Listed as multiples of “C”. – C is diluted 100 times. – 2C is 100 x 100 = 10 000 times diluted. – Up to 200C ... • The “most potent” homeopathic dose is a dilution of 10400! (or a dose of 10-400) – A mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole mole UBC SBM
  • 17. Dilutions 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000000000000001 UBC SBM
  • 18. Dilutions • Some perspective: – How much of 12C homeopathic remedy would you need to get just 1 molecule of caffeine? – The ENTIRE Atlantic Ocean!!! – How many molecules are you getting in a pill? • Zilch. Nada. Zero. UBC SBM
  • 19. How do Vaccines Work? • Vaccines can be made several different ways: weakening the bug, killing it, using only some of its proteins, etc • What all of these methods do is allow your body to recognize part of the bug so that you can strengthen your immune system UBC SBM
  • 20. Homeopathic Vaccines • Has no molecule of the bug! • Your body cannot build an immune response • Homeopathic vaccines have been shown to not be effective to stop infection – Use proper immunizations! UBC SBM
  • 21. Misconceptions • Homeopathy is NOT naturopathy. – But often naturopaths practice homeopathy • All who trained in BC are taught it – Homeopathy = lots and lots of dilutions UBC SBM
  • 22. Examples • Oscillococcinum – Very popular as “flu treatment” or “vaccine” – Duck liver and heart diluted 10400 times – No evidence to work • “Neurexan” sleeping pill – Made from coffee! – Famously, people try to overdose on it • They can’t. UBC SBM
  • 23. Ethics • It is unethical to knowingly give a patient a placebo without telling them – Truth telling • Homeopathy has been shown consistently to be no different from placebo. • Therefore, it is unethical to not inform people that it is no better than placebo. UBC SBM
  • 24. Interesting Facts • James Randi offers a $1 Million prize to anyone who can prove homeopathy works UBC SBM
  • 25. Summary • Homeopathy started in Germany in 1700s, not thousands of years ago. • Belief that “like cures like” – At infinitesimal doses • No good evidence that it works • No scientific plausibility that it could work • Ultimately: Very expensive water UBC SBM
  • 26. References • Cullen W. Materia Medica. In: History of Homœopathy: its Origin; its Conflict, Ameke, WE (Eds), Gould & Son, London 1885. p.103. • Hahnemann, SC. Organon of Medicine, 5th ed, Dudegeon 1833. www.homeopathyhome.com/reference/organon/18.html#53 (Accessed on July 15th, 2012). • Fishbein M. The Rise and Fall of Homeopathy. In: Fads and Quackery in Healing, Fishbein M (Ed), Blue Ribbon Books, Inc., New York 1932. p.19. • Brien S, Lewith G, Bryant T. Ultramolecular homeopathy has no observable clinical effects. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled proving trial of Belladonna 30C. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2003; 56:562. • Walach H, Köster H, Hennig T, Haag G. The effects of homeopathic belladonna 30CH in healthy volunteers -- a randomized, double-blind experiment. J Psychosom Res 2001; 50:155. • Vickers AJ, van Haselen R, Heger M. Can homeopathically prepared mercury cause symptoms in healthy volunteers? A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med 2001; 7:141. • Vickers A, McCarney R, Fisher P, van Haselen R. Can homeopaths detect homeopathic medicines? A pilot study for a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled investigation of the proving hypothesis. Br Homeopath J 2001; 90:126. • Dantas F, Fisher P, Walach H, et al. A systematic review of the quality of homeopathic pathogenetic trials published from 1945 to 1995. Homeopathy 2007; 96:4. • Ernst, E. “A systematic review of systematic reviews of homeopathy”. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2002 Dec; 54(6):577-82 UBC SBM