Lesley Regan’s Medicine Cabinet

Given the mountains of crap spewed at us everywhere we look by homeopushing gobshites, it was a refreshing change last week to see Professor Lesley Regan front this BBC TV programme exposing homeopathy for the poppycock it is.

Obviously, her task was not difficult. First, she allows a genuine homeopath, one Tony Pinkus, to demonstrate how the remedies are made. We see him add a drop of arnica to a test tube containing 99 drops of alcohol and then strike the test tube against a book 20 times. The solution is subsequently diluted one part in a hundred in several more test tubes (I think 12 in total). Pinkus, looking every inch the scientist in his white coat, explains earnestly,

As we progressively dilute and shake you can improve the effectiveness of the remedy and also take away the side effects so it’s a win-win situation

The more dilute the remedy, the potent it is of course. This will come as no surprise to anyone who read my earlier comprehensive post about homeopathy. What may be surprising is that Tony Pinkus is registered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, as is his coven, the Ainsworths Homoeopathic Pharmacy.

Pinkus comes up with the usual guff about like treating like and how he would give an onion-based remedy to someone with streaming eyes. Professor Regan, commendably, keeps a straight face all through this explanation, even when he asserts that the reason why homeopathy hasn’t been scientifically proven to work is that “we don’t have the werewithal in science as it is today to actually be able to do that but one day we will.” How do we know it works? “From experience,” is the predictable response. How dare this man presume to wear a white coat!

In fact, as the programme’s narrator tells us, loads of studies have been conducted into homeopathy and, courtesy of the programme, a “decade’s-worth” of these landed on the desk of poor David Spiegelhalter, Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge University, who proclaimed what those of us who take an interest in the subject already know. This is what he says about the studies:

A number of them have been very well done by good teams and published in reputable journals and they come up with some positive findings. But they tend not to be big enough. Even the good ones are just not big enough. When you start looking at the larger studies, the ones that have been properly randomised and blinded, then the evidence for homeopathy gets smaller and smaller and that means that if you did a really big study you might find there’s almost no evidence for homeopathy at all. For me, the evidence for homeopathy is not convincing.

Many of us already know why homeopathy appears to work for some people. Nevertheless, it’s worth quoting Dr Dylan Evans, author of Placebo: The Belief Effect who appears on the programme and puts it concisely:

The placebo effect is the power of a treatment to work just because we believe it works. All placebos can do is boost our own natural healing mechanisms. If something is beyond the capacity of the body to heal altogether then no amount of believing is going to change that. Homeopathy works very well for pain, for swelling, for nausea and for all the conditions we know to be placebo-responsive. That in itself suggests that homeopathy may be a pure placebo.

Homeopathic practitioners are experts in the placebo effect even maybe without realising it. They’ll use scientific looking procedures to prepare their remedies, they’ll wear similar looking scientific clothing, they will surround their whole practice with a sort of aura of science precisely to give it that sense of importance that will encourage the belief in the treatment and therefore the placebo effect.

Finally, on the premise that “if homepathy really is down to the placebo effect, Professor Regan ought to be able to create an equally successful remedy”, we see Lesley Regan set up a couple of wee experiments of her own. In the first one, she finds a few chronic insomniacs and gives each of them a bottle of sugar pills, tells them it’s a sleep remedy and sends them off to test it. It works.

In a nutshell, what the programme does is, firstly, reveal the sheer lunacy involved in the manufacture of homeopathy; secondly, it reveals that there have been many scientific trials of homeopathy and the weight of evidence suggests that any positive benefit is due to placebo; finally, to lend weight to the hypothesis that homeopathy only works because of placebo, Lesley Regan demonstrates the power of placebo on a small group of people, leaving the viewer with a choice between believing that homeopathy works because the ridiculous claims made for it (that dilution increases potency, that ‘like treats like’, etc) or it works because of placebo. Not perfect, but on the whole it’s nicely done.

There’s quite a bit more to see in the programme, which also looks at whether branded painkillers are better than generic ones, self-testing kits for disease prevention and herbal remedies, where we hear the usual idiotic comments from users about herbs being “natural” and therefore better. The progamme isn’t on youtube yet but UK viewers can watch it on the BBC website here.

What’s been the response from the quacks? Silence mostly, though I did come across one from someone who modestly describes herself as a leading nutritionist, by which she means she has a diploma from the notorious quack Patrick Holford‘s  Institute for Optimum Nutrition, and who somehow managed to miss the point entirely.

On her blog she writes of the programme,

The homeopathy study she did was on four people, all who had chronic insomnia. Instead of giving homeopathic remedies she used sugar pills. I’m wondering why she didnt just try the homeopathic remedies anyway. Perhaps she was worried that they might actually work! The placebo pill worked well on the insomniacs and homeopathy was branded as nonsense.

What homeopathy study? It is stated clearly that the experiment was set up to demonstrate the power of placebo. And no, having heard from the country’s leading statistician that the evidence for homeopathy is not convincing, I very much doubt that she was worried they would work. The reason she “didn’t just try the homeopathic remedies anyway” is that if the subjects had got a good night’s sleep after taking a homeopathic remedy, it wouldn’t prove anything. That is precisely the point made repeatedly in the programme about the need for homeopathy trials to involve a large enough group of people that any positive results are statistically significant. Got it now?

A further comment from this blogger:

What would have made far more interesting viewing would have been giving the homeopathy to young children or babies where placebo becomes a non factor.

It may have made interesting viewing but, again, what would be the point? Let me spell out the bleeding obvious one more time:

A scientific trial needs to be large if the results are to be statistically significant. It needs to be placebo-controlled to demonstrate that the remedy works better than placebo. It also needs to be randomised and double-blinded so that neither the practitioner nor the subject — or, in the case of babies, the subject’s carers — know whether they are getting the remedy or the placebo. Giving a few babies a homeopathic remedy — whether it appears to work or not — would prove absolutely nothing.


Why do animals and babies respond so well to homepathy if it is all in the mind?

They don’t. Actually there is evidence that the placebo effect works on animals but this question is a classic example of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, which I frankly can’t be bothered to explain again. It’s a shame Patrick Holford doesn’t include a course in logic and critical thinking in his nutrition school but I guess that if he did any student who completed it would refuse to buy into everything else he offers.


If a trial is backed by a pharmaceuctical company how can the trial be unbiased? We have no idea who paid for these research trials and that is key to how to interpret the results or any trial done on any medicine.

This is an important point, for it is true that trials tend to be biased in favour of whoever funds them and trials that suggest any kind of positive benefit for homeopathy tend to be funded by the homeopathy industry. However, it is not “key to how to interpret the results or any trial” — it is one factor to be considered together with all the other factors, such as the number in the trial, the blinding, the randomisation etc. The argument, promoted ad nauseum by scientifically illiterate quacks, that if a trial is funded by a drug company then the results can’t be trusted, is fallacious. Let me try to make this as simple as possible:

Not all conventional drugs work but many do. I’m certainly not claiming that every drug ever produced has been safe;  of course not, some have had catastrophic effects. But, in general, they work and, in general, as long as they are taken according to instructions, they are safe. To ensure that they are effective and safe, billions of pounds needs to be spend on research, development and testing. Who the hell is going to fund all this development, research and testing, if not the pharmaceutical companies? Would the detractors prefer that Big Pharma didn’t fund any trials at all?

The only other blog response to the programme I found was from the Yorkshire Centre for Classical Homeopathy, which is the rather grand name chosen by a couple of homeopaths with delusions of grandeur. At least they didn’t misunderstand the placebo experiment in the programme but their response was dishonest in a way that I find is typical of homeopushers:

She inferred that homeopathy does not undergo rigorous testing, for her information homeopaths were conducting double blind trials fifty years before conventional medicine and we continue to conduct rigorous trials (provings) on all our remedies ensuring that they are effective and above all safe to use…

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard homeopushers claim that double-blinded trials are no use for homeopathy because the remedies have to be “individualised” etc but this is the first time I’ve heard homeopushers claim their particular brand of quackery pioneered them! In the absence of any further explanation, it’s safe to assume that this claim is as untrue as the second claim about homeopathic provings being in any way useful, let alone “rigorous”. I give an explanation of what is involved in provings in my previous post on homeopathy. Just make sure you’re not eating or drinking when you read it.

The final comment from this pair:

Science really needs to catch up!

I was going to respond to this utterly moronic comment but on second thoughts, as it’s pretty obvious that what any of these bloggers know about science could fit onto an echinacea leaf, I don’t think I’ll bother.

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34 thoughts on “Lesley Regan’s Medicine Cabinet”

  1. So much hate Skepticat. Can I ask what you do? A simple question. I’m a homeopath. Nice to meet you.

    The virrulent hatred coarses through that long diatribe of lies and innuendo. Fair enough you’re entitled to your opinion but like many of your ilk you don’t approve of anyone that disapproves of yours.

    I tell you what I’ll pluck a common drug out of the air shall I……how about….ahhh..Asprin. Please I want you to provide me with clinical double blind placebo controlled trials that prove it works. A little job for you. Good luck with that really I mean they do exist don’t they or is it’s therapeutic use entirely dependent on clinical experience? Hmm how interesting. There you go your argument destroyed in one simple example.

    Please enlighten me about the placebo effect on all forms of medicine. I recall an experiment I saw on the goggle box where they performed knee surgery on a group of patients who allopathically required knee reconstruction. Those patients who simply had the surgeon slice open their skin across the knee felt exactly the same benefit as those who had the full invasive surgery. You see what I’m getting at?? Of course you don’t because you have that pathological disbelief. In your case a staggering amount of pathological disbelief allied with a staggering amount of arrogance. That’s not a healthy response. Maybe you should see a homeopath. 😉

  2. AJP

    You don’t say what you think aspirin hasn’t been clinically proven to be effective for (it has many uses), but even a five second search of Cochrane finds this meta analysis of 72 double-blinded, placebo controlled trials (n=6,500):


    “Single dose oral aspirin for acute pain

    Aspirin is an effective analgesic for acute pain of moderate to severe intensity with a clear dose-response.”

    This one meta analysis destroys your assertion.

    Even if there was no good evidence that aspirin works, what has that got to do with homeopathy not working?

  3. Regarding Aspirin I was referring to cardiovascular disease in particular coronary heart disease – aspirin’s use is so widespread but with so little evidence it actually works and there’s the rub.

    According to the BMJ Clinical evidence team as little as 13% of 2,500 of the most common treatments available on the NHS are proven effective. The largest body; 46% is classified as of ‘unknown effectiveness.’

    Do you see what I’m getting at Ms drug peddlar. 😉

    Penston states ‘Fewer than 5% of patients given treatment on the basis of large-scale randomized trials derive any benefit whatsoever.’


    Again the idea that there isn’t the research proving the efficacy of the homeopathic dose is a base lie. Have you looked at:

    Studies of homeopathic dilutions of Histamine modulating basophil degranulation. Replicated at numerous institutions.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15105967 and Flow-cytometric analysis of basophil activation: inhibition by histamine at conventional and homeopathic concentrations. Among others.

    For instance Lorenz et al , 2003 found ‘…an unequivocally inhibited basophil activation was documented in a
    partly optimized system with homeopathic dilutions of histamine (10-22M, 10-23M, 10-24M, and 10-25M histamine). Dilutions greater than 10-20M histamine (Avogadro’s number 6.02 × 1023) account for less than 1.36 molecules of histamine in the test sample, indicating a true homeopathic effect.’

    OR Effects of psychotropic drugs of different classes injected in super small doses. found at; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12881980?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=1&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

    OR Effects of antibodies against S-100 antigen in ultralow doses (Proproten-100) on acquisition of avoidance response in rats found at; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16134812?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=2&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed

    You see just because YOU say something is so and just because Professor Regan says something is so doesn’t make that a true reflection of reality does it. Afterall you’re just a simple housewife dedicated to finding and fighting for truth and justice right??? 😉

    Of course this brings me to this. Still keeping quiet exactly who you are or your qualifications I see. Why so? I guess I am forced to conclude you are blogging on behalf of a specific entity that does wish to remain anonymous. A pathetic state of affairs but one all too common in the present. Keep up the good work by the way. 😉

  4. I dont feel the need to justify or defend my qualifications to you as I have no idea who you are. You do seem very angry though. I will add that I have a 3 year degree in English literature, 10 years in financial marketing, a 3 yr diploma in Nutrition and am just finishing off a Masters degree in Nutrition – sitting beside me in the lectures are GP’s and nurses and I have had GP referrals for over ten years as the work I do is backed up by science. Sorry who are you again?

    Perhaps you need to do a course in anger management.

  5. Good review. Did you see the first one about LR’s diet clinic? It didn’t make the distinction between professional dieticians and so-called ‘nutritionists’ nearly clear enough, IMO.

    I love the way quacks and people with mickey mouse qualifications talk about “hate” and “anger” whenever someone makes even the smallest criticism of quackery. Is there a homeopathic remedy that would make them grow a thicker skin, I wonder?

  6. And, btw, mr homeoquack, as it shows in the programme, a professor of statistics who doesn’t earn his living from peddling either pharmaceuticals or quack remedies looks at ten years worth of homeopathy trials and says that there isn’t significant evidence for homeopathy. A homeopath pointing to a handful of small trials he think show a positive benefit does nothing at all to undermine that. Nice try, though.

  7. AJP

    I don’t have easy access to PuMed at the moment, but even if aspirin hasn’t been shown to be effective in preventing cardiovascular disease, what’s that got to do with the dearth of evidence that homeopathy works? That’s the crux of the issue: does it work?

    Patients do die from conventional medicine and I never come across anyone who denies that, so that’s a bit of a diversion as well.

    What is frequently completely ignored is the vast, vast numbers who are living today because of advances in conventional medicine. In Hahnemann’s time, average life expectancy was well under 40. It is now more than double that and be in no doubt that that has nothing whatsoever to do with homeopathy, reiki, reflexology, TCM or anything similar woo, but has everything to do with knowledge of viruses and bacteria (something Hahnemann knew nothing of), which have increased hygiene and the tremendous medical advances there have been which have not only prolonged life, but reduced so much suffering and pain.

    And I’m sure the unnecessary personal insults don’t exactly help this discussion, do they?

  8. katenut has “a 3 yr diploma in Nutrition and am just finishing off a Masters degree in Nutrition”.

    You’re not a regulated and qualified Dietitian, then?

    As Dara Ó Briain said: a Dietitian is to a nutritionist as a dentist is to a toothiologist.

  9. Strange I don’t think I’ve ever heard a ‘lady’ use the word ‘gobshite.’ No matter I just ripped you to shreds with a fine list of evidence and I know you haven’t looked at it just as you know absolutely nothing about homeopathy just like Professor Regan. Didn’t I say ‘Nice to meet you.’ I had no idea that qualified as anger. I can only imagine you’ve been taken aback by someone actually confronting your rather inflamatory language. Homeopath’s don’t deal with hate but we face plenty of it and you clearly qualify on that count.

    Of well you have that old ‘pathological disbelief.’ Your mind is set and nothing is going to change you. I sincerely hope I never get to your stage of wilful ignorance. You know absolutely diddly squat about the subject but you think your opinion is the only opinion. I called you arrogant. I think you qualify for that. Oh most definitely you qualify for that. Where does that leave you. Think about it for a moment. You see the homeopath’s high and only mission is to restore the sick to health and we have a damn fine record of doing so. That’s why the elite have always used homeopathy. From the Royal family, the Rockerfeller clan, Gandhi, Goethe, Twain, Gabriel Marquez, Hilary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Yehudi Menuhin, Dickens, Yeats, Bernard Shaw, Salinger; many of whom I deeply disaprove of but they all use and have used homeopathy. Many of them not outwardly because in many respects in terms of the elite they don’t want the treatment for the masses, something which I abhore. Anyhow the list is endless. Maybe they do it just for the hell of it.

    Oh and by the way I have seen two new patients the last couple of days who watched the the Prof’s program. I guess bad publicity is better than no publicity. You think with prescription drugs conservatively being the third highest cause of death behind heart disease and cancer may have something to do with that?

    When they see a pharmaceutical company Bayer found out their factor 8 products were contaminated with the AIDS virus they took them off the market in the US. and dumped them in Europe, Asia and Latin America where they were given to child haemophiliacs.

    I know you find it funny. You’re probably chuckling about it right now. This is the reality and the people I speak to; my patients who I have an 80% success rate of getting back to health, don’t like it ONE bit which is why they are deserting their GP’s surgeries in their droves and they’re refusing the vaccinations and the anti depressants.

    What’s the next step. Compulsory vaccinations. Compulsory medications. At some stage this is going to be on the agenda don’t you think. It’s Soma out of brave new World. That drug mafia panacea is not going to happen, mark my words.

    How ironic you claim to be ‘Resisting the world of endarkenment.’ Purlease 😉

  10. Brilliant replies. How do you expect to learn anything when none of you even look at the examples I posted. Aren’t you even remotely ashamed you voice an opinion based on ignorance.

    The BMJ finding as little as 13% of treatments on the NHS are proven effective. 13%???

    ‘Fewer than 5% of patients given treatment on the basis of large-scale randomized trials derive any benefit whatsoever???’

    I know you’re not remotely interested because you live in your own little bubbles and nothing is going to move you. It’s a reflex response and it’s the way you were all taught at medical school.

    By the way nutrition. Love it. Superb subject to be teaching people and medical professionals especially as most of them are utterly clueless about it because prevention never is on the agenda is it.

    By the way Veterinarian coined the term vaccinosis when treating little cute labrador puppies. Do any of you Allopaths think there’s an equivalent level of vaccines that is safe to pump into a precious little baby who’s immune system is hanging by a thread with all the other vaccines you pump into them. What is it; 40, 50, 60? How much aluminium and thimerosol and formaldehyde can a kid take. Any research been done on it? Any? Biggest experiment ever conducted on the human race. Nothing?

    Didn’t think so.

  11. I’ll repeat what I said in my previous comment in case it wasn’t clear: I don’t have easy access to PubMed, so I can’t read the papers.

    Now, you linked to the ABSTRACTS of several papers, not the whole paper (which is only available to subscribers on payment of a fee) but I prefer to read the whole paper before passing comment, don’t you? It gives a far better understanding of the research and results.

    Also, I would want to look at ALL relevant papers, not just any cherry picked. Not that you would have cherry-picked them, would you?

    Again, the ad hominems aren’t helping much.

  12. LOL sure. Ad hominen attacks. Just having a bit of fun chump. Making you aware of a few home truths and let’s face it there’s nothing like it. It’s great turning the mirror towards the accusor. Don’t you like what’s being reflected back Zeno?

  13. Fun? Isn’t health a serious subject? Why do you feel the need to pepper your comments with insults that simply detract from anything you are trying to say?

  14. Come on don’t you see how ridiculous you’re sounding. You’re criticising someone for responding sarcastically to someone who was sarcastically criticising him, essentially.

    Of course you don’t understand. 😉

  15. You weren’t sarcastic, you were insulting! Can you do it without the sarcasm/insults and just argue your case? Look how much we’ve wasted unnecessarily talking about this when we could be discussing homeopathy.

  16. Ahh bless. I refer to the original post…gobshite, homeopushers…quack…moronic. All wonderfully expressive words and I would support her right to say what she likes because that’s the ttype of character that I am. As for my replies there’s is certainly nothing that any sane person would classify as insulting by any stretch of the imagination.

    Anyhow back to your point about life expectancy I have a little problem, nay a big problem. You see if you analyse the facts the hypothesis falls apart. Let me explain.

    All life expectancy improvements in the west can basically be put down to the near irradication of child mortality for conditions like cholera and dysentry and malnourishment; all conditions that people in industrialised areas particularly had to face. The thing is all of those conditions were irradicated through a basic clean water supply and the end of squalor that was prevalent in British life till suprisingly recently. In terms of vaccination the incidences of all of these conditions whether they be measles, rubella, whooping cough, had been decimated through simple hygiene measures long before the vaccines became popular. We’re talking about 95% irradication. All you have to do is look at the graphs. The panacea of vaccination as curative is a fallacy; a base lie.

    Now for the trump card. Once a person reaches the age of 70, from that point onwards, in 150 years people are living on average ONE SOLITARY YEAR LONGER. In 150 years of supposed medical advancement, people are living one more year than in the times of child slavery, workhouses and deadly working practices.

    You see how it works. Hygiene and clean water has NOTHING to do with the allopathic mafia. To quote ‘It’s sanitation stupid.’ 😉

  17. AJP

    You certainly insulted Skepticat, but you also insulted me with your comments at 10:10 and possibly the one at 9:32 (it’s not clear who it is aimed at).

    However, I’m prepared to ignore them in the hope we can have a sensible discussion without any sarcastic, demeaning, snide or otherwise unhelpful comments.

    The question is: are you up to it?

  18. Hilarious. No I really want to get your answer here. Was the original post sarcastic, demeaning or snide in anyway. I really need an answer here because I really don’t think I wish to continue this debate unless you acknowledge that. If the answer is no you need to take a very long hard look at yourself because that would reveal a staggering pathological level of selective blindness.

    Humanist?? Urr….you? 😉

  19. You’re at it again!

    You have presented some evidence, which would be interesting to discuss, but you insist in surrounding it with invective and it looks every bit like an attempt to evade the real issues.

    But can you leave all the insults behind? Yes or no? Are you interested in a decent civilised discussion or do you just prefer to throw insults?

  20. Homeopathy is a cult, a crock of shit and its promotion is a social evil which is responsible for people dying. Homeopaths are charlatans and judging from the comments on this blog, they are also fucking morons.

  21. LMAO You’re a hater and you persist in evading the question I asked you. Let me explain something to you. I have bent over backwards trying to give you information and in many respects educate you. I have provided you with my valuable time. I have provided you with immensely impressive links. I have given you the true nature of life expectancy and provided you with evidence of a duplicitous degenerate medical mafia. All I have got out of you is a constant diatrible about some mythical offense I seem to have uttered and a total refusal to acknowledge how I may have been offended by the original post.

    Subsequently I have discovered exactly why you’re so irrational. You’re a professional hater. I make it my professional duty not to even attempt to debate with someone with such a virulent negative energy.

    I love a good debate when the opposition actually offers anything back. You have given me absolutely nothing.

    I’ll leave you with your new little friend. Good night and keep taking the drugs. 😉

  22. AJP said “I just ripped you to shreds with a fine list of evidence and I know you haven’t looked at it”

    What part of the comment from David Spiegelhalter didn’t you understand? Read it again, slowly. He looked at a *decade’s-worth* of trials on homeopathy. Some of those showed positive results for homeopathy. The bigger and better quality the trial, the smaller the evidence for homeopathy. The overall picture is that THERE IS NO GOOD EVIDENCE FOR HOMEOPATHY. This was said by a man who has no axe to grind either for or against homeopathy. You make your living from homeopathy so of course you are going to claim there is “a fine list of evidence” even if you don’t actually link to this evidence as you claim. (Reports of trials are no use if they’re not actually accessible for people to read). You’re the one who’s been ripped to shreds, chump.

    ” just as you know absolutely nothing about homeopathy just like Professor Regan”.

    Actually there’s quite a good article on this site about homeopathy. Read it, you might learn something.


  23. Point one I have never heard of David Spiegel whatever his name is. Is he someone I should be aware of. Is he a medical professional. Is he a homeopath. No to either question I believe. In terms of him not having an axe to grind how in God’s name could you draw such a conclusion. What trials did he include? What what his criteria for excluding some trials? In fact do you know ANY acts concering how he came to his conclusion?

    Of course you don’t. If his findings are so conclusive why in hell hasn’t he published his findings. Are you suggesting to me this is evidence? A televisial program. LMAO. Are you insane?

    It was a documentary by a hideously biased organisation (BBC) that has consistently made programs attacking homeopathy, that has banished all alternative therapies from it’s own website and consistently ridicules all mention of the negative effects of vaccination. The program gave no right of reply and was a hit piece; not even a subtle one.

    There have been FIVE META ANALYSIS of homeopathic trials and only one has concluded against homeopathy working at a level above placebo. That negative meta (Shang et al, 2005) was conducted with ludicrously skew wiff criteria, was unbalanced and selected only the negative trials. Mr. Mathias Egger who conducted that meta also refused to release much of his methodology. I can only assume Spiegel has a similar problem.

    You know you really ought to get some real evidence. A televisial program is not evidence. Your original response was childish and highly offensive to the hundreds of thousands of people who see a professional homeopath every year. I feel ashamed for you as an alleged nutritionist. I feel ashamed for your colleagues who some may consider guilty by association as I find many in your field to be open minded and curious if not outright supportive.

    Anyway the allopathic profession itself lacks proof for large swaths of treatments. They even admit it themselves.
    Didn’t you read my message detailing the total lack of proof for all but 13% of treatments available on the NHS, according to the BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL. How is it you’re not up in arms about this factoid. For instance just how effective is chemotherapy and radiotherapy in curing cancer? Billions of dollars spent every year yet a miniscule percentage of cancers actually respond favourably and many lives are actually cut prematurely short for no good reason but to make vast and I mean vast sums of money.

    Is this progress. Do you see how I turn the tables. It’s really not difficult at all. 😉

    Have a lovely day people.

  24. Oh and by the way the fact you cannot access PubMed is not my problem. That is your problem and I find it laughable you can claim to have knowledge of medicine without it! For shame. 😉

  25. You’re an even bigger chump than I thought, AJP.

    1. I am not and have never claimed to be a nutritionist. I guess reading people’s comments properly before trying to respond to them and making sure you’re responding to the right person is just too difficult for you.

    2. I have not said anything about medicine nor have I claimed to know anything about it so that’s a straw man.

    3. Actually, the fact that I, along with the most of the rest of the general public can’t access PubMed papers *is* a problem for you if you are going to persist in this futile exercise of claiming there is good evidence for homeoquackery.

    So a homeopath claims there are trials showing positive benefits. What a surprise. But those trials aren’t available to Joe Public to examine. How convenient. I know from experience that homeopaths are frauds and liars so your claiming something that I can’t check for myself isn’t worth shit, frankly.

    4. If you don’t know who Spiegelhalter is, you obviously didn’t read the blog post carefully or follow the links before having your tantrum over it. Anyway, you seem unable to grasp a very simple point: DS is statistician at one of the top universities. That means he’s an expert in analysing statistical data. Unlike you, he doesn’t need to con vulnerable people to make a living. He already has a perfectly good living. That’s what ‘not having an axe to grind’ means. The BBC is not funded by Big Pharma either. What a dickhead you are.

    I’m going to say this one more time: A leading INDEPENDENT statistician is given TEN YEARS WORTH of homeopathy studies. He says the smaller studies show positive benefits but the bigger the trial the less good the evidence. He says he finds the evidence for homeopathy unconvincing. That’s good enough for me. A quack claiming there is good evidence but not being able to show it is not good enough for me.

    And that’s all there is to it.

    So tough shit, conman.

  26. No you don’t get it. 4 out of five meta analysis say homeopathy works. The one that didn’t has been exposed as biased. Meta is the gold standard in effect that measures trial data by allopathic standards. Meta analysis is in effect the dogs bollocks.

    A televisual program is a televisual program. It doesn’t hold the same water as a meta analysis (I can’t believe I’m even having this conversation with this imbecile). Claiming it does means you’re essentially the dumbest person ever to grace an internet blog.

    Now go sit in a dark room keep taking the drugs and don’t come out….ever. 😉

  27. Blimey. It didn’t take long. A simple search of Bugsy Spiegelhalter brings up the fact he’s taking a risk roadshow through schools. In an interview with the Telegraph he then inexplicably brings up his (wait for it) opinion on vaccines and autism and then his opinion (negative) on homeopathy.

    The article is unclear whether he is teaching impressionable children about how he thinks homeopathy is nonce sence (more than likely) but it certainly shows a particular prejudice against the divine therapy.

    Either way this basically demolishes the theory that he doesn’t have an axe to grind as clearly he does.

    You know it almost pains me being right so often. Almost but not quite.

    Now is the Autumn of our discontent.


  28. You’re not a homeopath, you’re just a troll. Nobody can be as stupid as you’re pretending to be.

    DS ‘inexplicably’ brings up his opinion on homeopathy? No, he brings it up as an example of people not being able to use statistics.

    From the article you link to:

    “He described the meals, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine scare, in which one discredited study claimed to find a link with autism, and dubious claims made about alternative medicines like homeopathy as good examples of people failing to use their statistical sense.”

    This is the problem with your whole argument. You are absolutely unable to accept that you can be wrong about homeopathy so you’re strategy is to accuse anybody who disagrees with you about it of of being biased. It is absolutely beyond your comprehension that some people are more intelligent, can think more critically and have a better understanding of science than you do.

    I think you’re stupidity has given you a massive inferiority complex and that’s why you resort to trolling all over the web.

    Goodnight, troll.

  29. Actually I am a homeopath and you just can’t accept being wrong you poor deluded child. It’s that old pathological disbelief again isn’t it. The more times you get proved wrong the more you rail against the world, the more you believe your deceitful little life actually means something, the more you believe your lies.

    You said he didn’t have an axe to grind. I find out he actually does and you claim he’s just using it as an example.

    The google search is such a wonderful tool don’t you think.

    I have news for you…You’re whole life is worthless because you lack reason. I have utterly destroyed your every argument but you continue to dig yourself deeper into that rat infested hole.

    Just keep digging. 😉

  30. Why are any of you bothering to respond to this idiot? He’s just trotting out the same old garbage because he thinks that if you repeat a lie often enough somebody, somewhere will believe it.

    The evidence he refers to isn’t particularly impressive (as I pointed out in a previous post) e.g.

    “There is some evidence that homeopathic treatments are more effective than placebo; however, the strength of this evidence is low because of the low methodological quality of the trials. STUDIES OF HIGH METHODOLOGICAL QUALITY WERE MORE LIKELY TO BE NEGATIVE THAN HELOWER QUALITY STUDIES. Further high quality studies are needed to confirm these results. Cucherat M, Haugh MC, Gooch M, Boissel JP. 2000, (16 studies)”

    “The results of our meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo. However, WE FOUND INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE FROM THESE STUDIES THAT HOMEOPATHY IS CLEARLY EFFICACIOUS FOR ANY SINGLE CLINICAL CONDITION. Further research on homeopathy is warranted provided it is rigorous and systematic. Linde K, Clausius N, Ramirez G, Melchart D, Eitel F, Hedges LV, Jonas WB, 1997 (89 studies)”

    Linde’s follow up paper in 1999 concluded that,

    “in the study set investigated, there was clear evidence that studies with better methodological quality tended to yield less positive results…it seems, therefore, likely that our meta-analysis at least over-estimated the effects of homeopathic treatments.”


    So much for the gold standard.

    Time to move along now folks. Nothing here to see.

  31. Linde et al (1997) noted ‘With the more conservative random-effects model for combining
    results, in all cases, our selection process, quality assessments, choice of statistical methods, and sensitivity analyses imposed increasingly stringent criteria on the hypothesis.’

    After analysing 89 trials Linde et al (1997) found a mean odds ratio of 2.45 (95% confidence interval, 2.05–2.93), in favour of homeopathy.

    . After publication bias Linde (1997) describes the difference between homeopathy and placebo action as ‘…substantial and statistically significant.’

    Refering again to Linde 97;

    Peter Fisher (2008. P.985) ‘In fact only one of the large meta-analyses of clinical trials of homoeopathy included correction for both publication bias and trial quality, and it showed that the effects of homoeopathy remained significantly greater than placebo when these, and other, corrections were applied singly or in combination.’

    Boissel (1996) cited by Cornelli et al (2002, p.30) notes ‘The null hypothesis that homeopathy has no effect can be rejected with CERTAINTY.’

    Now that’s cleared up let me state I don’t like RCTs. In fact many in the scientific community don’t like them either. The RCT is not the bringer of light the medical profession claim it to be. It bases its hypotheses on a mythical identikit patient. They are hugely expensive and homeopathy research doesn’t have the money to conduct large scale trials anyway.

    Penston (2005) who states ‘Fewer than 5% of patients given treatment on the basis of
    large-scale randomized trials derive any benefit whatsoever.’

    I like real world observational studies. They reflect what the patient feels and homeopathy has INCREDIBLE results.

    It is through observational studies that the overwhelmingly positive nature of homeopathy can be perceived clearest. A 70-80% favourable outcome has been experienced by thousands of homeopathic patients as detailed in multiple peer reviewed observational studies in real world situations. This view has been supported in the work of Bell (2007)

    A good example being Von Wassenhoven (2004) where from a total of 782 patients, 89% felt their physical condition had improved in comparison to 13% after their previous conventional treatment.

    Plus it’s cost effective. The massive observational homeopathic study (6500 patients) Spence et al 2005; a six year observational study in Bristol found over 70% of patients had health benefits over a wide range of conditions with particular emphasis on asthma and eczema cases. In terms of evidence for the worth of homeopathy within the NHS this is the true gold standard. We have a real world study where GP’s have referred patients after the failure of conventional treatment to control symptoms. The cost effectiveness in terms of reducing expensive treatment, if multiplied across the country would lead to a considerable saving.

    Anyway the multitude of in vitro studies I quoted further up the page prove beyond doubt that potentisation beyond avogadro’s number does have a biochemical effect. It’s been proven.

    Game over. Accept you’re wrong and move on. I’m getting embarassed for your ignorance. 😉

  32. What I like to do is live a life of health and vitality by eating well, exercising every day, making sure I receive Chiropractic every week, take no medications, not getting vaccinated, drinking pure water, taking wholefood supplements/fish oil/probiotics, no smoking or alcohol and making sure I treat my body with respect.

    When a chronically ill skeptic tells me that my lifestyle is quackery, I only feel sorry for them being trapped in a belief system that suppresses their quality of life. It’s not my job to change that belief system.

    I like the fact that it is a free world and I get to choose what I do with my body.

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