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Homeopaths: fallacies, lies, and dangerous advice

Posted in Journey Through a Burning Mind by Skepdude on April 13, 2009

Since this is the World Homeopathy Awareness Week, I might be spending more time on this particular well of credulity. I will also re-post my piece from last year’s WHAW. But today, I’ll be talking about Melanie Grimes, a homeopath who writes for HealthNews as a health “expert”. The irony though is painful -you will soon see that if “expert” was to be used in the same sentence as Melanie, then that would be: “Melanie Grimes is the exact opposite of a health expert“. So let’s start the fun, shall we?

I had a look at 3-4 of her articles*, and I can assure you they are filled with fallacious arguments of the worst kind; a very bad understanding of modern scientific research; misrepresentation or outright ignorance of the relevant scientific literature; and propagation of very dangerous homeopathic beliefs as to what their pet therapy can treat (from cancer to diabetes, it’s all there).

Starting with her piece on this year’s WHAW (starting slowly with some common stuff):

Homeopathy provides an effective and gently way to treat allergies. Using potentized medicines, homeopaths prescribe minute doses to treat both the acute reaction to allergens, as well as the cause.

I hope you have spotted that subtle piece of misinformation: “minute doses”. It’s not minute doses actually. It’s non-existent doses usually. The most common potencies of homeopathic remedies are 12C and above -a dilution so high that no molecule from the original substance remains in the remedy!

But the most interesting claim is that homeopathy is effective for allergies. In fact, this is a very common claim of homeopaths but is there any evidence to back it up? Readers of this blog already know the answer: no.

A quick search in PubMed brings up some relevant reviews [1][2][3], none of them recommending homeopathy (or CAM in general) for diagnosing or treating allergies. Quoting from “Systematic review of complementary and alternative medicine for rhinitis and asthma”[1]:

Some positive results were described with homeopathy in good-quality trials in rhinitis, but a number of negative studies were also found. Therefore it is not possible to provide evidence-based recommendations for homeopathy in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, and further trials are needed. A limited number of studies of herbal remedies showed some efficacy in rhinitis and asthma, but the studies were too few to make recommendations. There are also unresolved safety concerns. Therapeutic efficacy of complementary-alternative treatments for rhinitis and asthma is not supported by currently available evidence. [emphasis mine]


2 Responses

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  1. Sodium Ascorbate : said, on October 31, 2010 at 8:57 AM

    alternative treatments that are based on natural and organic stuffs are the best :

  2. Condenser Dryer said, on November 22, 2010 at 5:49 AM

    you can say that alternative medicine is cheaper too and usually comes from natural sources ~”;

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