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No. 82: Jul-Aug 1992

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Efficacy Of Homeopathy

Over the last several years we have been following the feud between the homeopathists and mainstream medicine, particularly the saga of J. Benveniste. Despite what the media writers say, homeopathy continues to produce positive results, as confirmed in the following item from the British Medical Journal:

"Many doctors do not believe that homoeopathy [sic] is an efficacious treatment as it is highly implausible that infinitesimally diluted substances retain their biological effects. It is also often said that homoeopathy has not been evaluated with modern methods -- that is, controlled trials. The first argument may be true, the second is not. [J.] Kleijnen et searched the literature and found 96 reports containing 107 controlled trials of homoeopathy. Most trials turned out to be of very low quality, but there were many exceptions. The results show the same trend regardless of the quality of the trial or the variety of homoeopathy used. Overall. of the 105 trials with interpretable results, 81 showed positive results of homoeopathic treatment. A complicating factor in such reviews, especially of controversial subjects such as homoeopathy, is publication bias. If the results of Kleijnen et do not reflect the true state of affairs, publication bias must be considered a great problem in evaluations of homoeopathy. In any event, there is a legitimate case for further evaluation of homoeopathy, but only by means of trials with sound methodology."

(Anonymous; "Clinical Trials of Homoeopathy," British Medical Journal, February 9, 1991. Cr. M. Truzzi.)

Comment. Of course publication bias applies to most of the subjects presented in Science Frontiers since we intentionally concentrate on mainstream journals. Even so, anomalies are ubiquitous!

From Science Frontiers #82, JUL-AUG 1992. � 1992-2000 William R. Corliss