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A View from David Appell

Homeopathy and the Placebo Effect

Homeopathy–the theory that there is medicinal value in solutions of great dilution (often diluted so far that there is not one molecule of the active ingredient left)–is nothing but a placebo effect, according to a new study in The Lancet….

  • August 26, 2005

Homeopathy–the theory that there is medicinal value in solutions of great dilution (often diluted so far that there is not one molecule of the active ingredient left)–is nothing but a placebo effect, according to a new study in The Lancet.

Swiss scientists compared the results of more than 100 trials of homeopathic medicines with the same number of trials of conventional medicines in a whole range of medical conditions, from respiratory infections to surgery. They found that homeopathy had no more than a placebo effect.

This is the fourth study nothing more than the equivalent of a placebo, according to The Guardian, but yet still homeopathy remains very popular in Britian and the US: “Around 42% of GPs in England will refer patients to a homeopath. In Scotland, where homeopathy has taken off to an even greater extent, 86% are said to be in favour of it.” That sure doesn’t speak well for the state of medicine in the UK. I’ve never had a doctor refer me to homeopathy, and would probably change doctors if one ever did.

Of course, with yesterday’s result that there are real, physical changes that occur in the brain even when taking a placebo, who’s to say if there isn’t some benefit to homeopathy. I guess you have to believe in it for it to work.

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