Posts tagged ‘double-blind trial’

In recent days, a controversy has arisen regarding the validity of Homoeopathy, following “The Lancet” journal publication of a Swiss study which says that Homoeopathy has no more effect than a placebo. For information of readers, a placebo is a pill or tablet without any medicinal value, given just to please a patient, as it usually has a beneficial effect on the patient’s mind. According to this recent controversial study, meta-analysis was carried out on 110 previous studies of double-blind trials in Homoeopathy, and similar analyses were carried out with placebos and with conventional medicine. Their findings stated that while conventional medicine trials showed distinct results, the trials on Homoeopathy did not fare any better than the placebo trials.

Truth needs no defence, and the patients who have seen the clear benefit of Homoeopathic treatment in their own cases or in the cases of their loved ones, will certainly not give any value to this study, however, in the interest of staving off wrong information and wrong findings, we do not wish to remain mute witnesses to this entire drama.

There are several points which are to be raised here.
Firstly, let us understand what a double-blind trial is. Giving an example in simple terms, in a double-blind trial, if there are 100 patients, 50 of them will receive placebo and 50 will receive the chosen medication, the patients will not be told what they are receiving, and the scientist/doctor who is administering the medicine will also not know whether it is placebo or medicine, only the controller of the trial will have a record of who gets what. The results are then analyzed. Now such trials are perfect for conventional medicine, because they have specific medicines for a particular diagnostic condition, hence it is apt to see how the chosen medicine fares for that condition in a trial. In Homoeopathy, we do not treat diseases based on their medical diagnosis, but remedies are chosen based on the individualizing features of each case, hence 100 patients of, say, high blood pressure, may probably need 100 different remedies, each patient receiving a remedy to suit him/her best. Once this is understood, it is easy to comprehend that the double-blind trial method is simply not suitable for a study of Homoeopathy. If the efficacy of Homoeopathy needs to be analyzed, it has to be done on cases which are under Homoeopathic treatment, according to the laws of Homoeopathic practice where the remedies have been chosen for each patient according to their individuality.

The second point which needs to be cleared is about the Homoeopathic medicines themselves, where sceptics time and again, have stated that in the highly dilute state, there can be no medicinal activity left. Let us make it clear, that the manufacture of Homoeopathic medicines is not just a process of dilution, but a process of dilution with potentization at each step along the way. Potentization involves strong vibrations being imparted to the medicinal liquid, whereby medicine releases energy into the diluent liquid and the diluent liquid then carries the energy which later on gets imparted to the patient. As further proof, spectrophotometry analysis of high potencies show distinct differences from a plain non-Homoeopathic solution. Recently, the Bio-Medical Instrumentation Department of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), in Mumbai, have created an instrument called Medical Analyser, which is able to show distinct effects of Homoeopathic remedies even in the higher potencies, and though the instrument is in its early days, it has also been able to identify the remedy in some tests. We of the Homoeopathic fraternity, look forward to participating in further studies with the Medical Analyser, in collaboration with BARC.

The third point raised in the Swiss study, was that whatever benefit people claim to receive is due to the holistic approach, the detailed talking and the sympathetic approach that Homoeopathy adopts. However, there is no question of this sort of approach being used in cases of infants and animals, where despite the lack of ‘talking’, Homoeopathy always shows great results.

Homoeopathy has been in existence for over 200 years and has been growing by leaps and bounds especially in recent decades, and will continue to grow so long as patients continue to benefit.

September, 2005.