The end of Homeopathy

The end of homeopathy? – a very lengthy and critical article looking at the alternative medicine of homeopathy. 456 comments and counting. (via Mink Toast.)
After the birth of our son Adam, my wife was told to take Arnica C30 by nurses and doctors. After reading the post above, I searched for Arnica C30. The first result is a double blind test of homoeopathic arnica C30. The summary results aren’t encouraging,

73 patients completed the study, of whom 35 received placebo and 38 received arnica C30. The placebo group had a greater median age and the arnica group had slightly longer operations; nevertheless, no significant difference between the two groups could be demonstrated. We conclude that arnica in homoeopathic potency had no effect on postoperative recovery in the context of our study.

On to the links …

  • Christmas Spirit – lovely photo and story.
  • In the middle of November, Google changed the clickable area on Adsense adverts. Jonathan noticed a large drop in revenue, but I haven’t. Click through rate is much the same as before, although I did compensate by making the advert URLs more prominent.
  • Sometimes bosses misunderstand tech jargon, in amusing ways. Oh, don’t ask an engineer to talk to your class. He might be a bit blunt!
  • Google Analyticator is a small WordPress plugin that adds the necessary Google Analytics Javascript to your blog. It also has a neat JS function to track outbound links in Analytics. Just make sure you create two conversion goals, “/outgoing” and “/download” to do the tracking.
  • How many famous people?
  • Will the real Googlebot please stand?, you sit down. You’re a fake.
  • Jeff’s The Two Types of Programmers essay sparked such a response, he wrote a follow up. I definitely know a few 80% programmers. Many of the people I went to college with fall into that category unfortunately. No, none of them read this blog! 🙂

12 thoughts on “The end of Homeopathy

  1. You’re lucky you spelled it incorrectly in the title – the homeopathy storm troopers have Google and Technorati alerts set for any mention of it and would be all over you in no time at all.

    Ben Goldacre is doing us all a huge favour by continuting to highlight the problems with it. Prescribing Arnica is harmless enough and it can help as a placebo but those who claim cures for AIDS and protection against malaria should be thrown in jail.

    1. conor, you seem to be very misinformed, very angry and aggressive. try to calm down, for your own sake, and maybe re-educate yourself a little.

      1. After Carmel’s comment above I decided to find out what Mark was referring to by actually reading that page. Interesting reading although a bit too much for 9am in the morning here so I found this page and this one that explain the following:

        The laws of chemistry state that there is a limit to the dilution that can be made without losing the original substance altogether. This limit, which is related to Avogadro’s number (6.023 x 1023), corresponds to homeopathic potencies of 12C or 24X (1 part in 1024). Modern proponents claim that even when the last molecule is gone, a “memory” of the original substance is retained. A 30X dilution means that the original substance has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Assuming that a cubic centimeter contains 15 drops, this number is greater than the number of drops of water that would fill a container more than 50 times the size of the earth and a 30C solution would require a container more than 30 billion times the size of the Earth.

        For practical purposes, this means that “30X” and “30C” solutions do not actually exist, because it is not possible to create a solution in which one molecule of an original substance is dissolved in a container of water bigger than the Earth.

        So much for that 30C Arnica they recommended in the maternity hospital.

  2. 73 people taking a study is a joke, thousands of years of chinese medicine is more conclusive. Homeopothy works.

  3. There is absolutely no relationship between Chinese medicine and homeopathy. If you can’t understand the difference, it’s no wonder the diluted water charlatans are making so much money at the minute.

  4. The sad thing is that factual articles on the internet won’t kill off homeopathy. People seem to be into loads of nonsense besides homeopathy, such as acupuncture and `crystal healing’. The ultimate problem is that people don’t understand the need for clinical evidence and rather prefer to form their opinions based on anecdotes. (The previous commentator, `Damien O’D’ is a great example of this.)

    Did the doctor prescide a homeopathic treatment, or did the treatment the prescribed also happened to be available in homeopathic “it’s just water anyway” form? I would be quite angry if a medical doctor precribed me homeopathy..

  5. I find the article to be skewed heavily in one direction. For example, the placebo effect is discussed as it pertains to adults. However, if you bring infants into the equation, the placebo effect should have no effect whatsoever. After all, a 1 year old child doesn’t know the difference.

    And there are countless times I have seen where infants are healed through homeopathy, in which the placebo effect could have no direct impact.

    And let’s not forget that the mind is a very powerful healing tool. Monks have been shown to do amazing things with their mind, from healing to slowing their heart beats down to a handful of beats per minute. So if the majority of people taking something feel they are going to get better by taking it and they do, then mission acomplished.

    By the way Donncha, never been to Ireland, but going next year. Can’t wait.

    1. There’s a very simple explanation for babies and animals recovering after receiving homeopathic treatement. They do realise they’re being treated and respond positively. You might as well have given them sugar pills (or ground down sugar in the case of a baby).

      Hope you enjoy your visit to Ireland next year!

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