Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Another thing that does not exist: homeopathic effectiveness

New support for an old fact: homeopathic remedies are no more effective than placebo.*
Homeopathy is not effective for treating any health condition, Australia’s top body for medical research has concluded, after undertaking an extensive review of existing studies.
Homeopaths believe that illness-causing substances can, in minute doses, treat people who are unwell.
By diluting these substances in water or alcohol, homeopaths claim the resulting mixture retains a “memory” of the original substance that triggers a healing response in the body.
These claims have been widely disproven by multiple studies, but the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has for the first time thoroughly reviewed 225 research papers on homeopathy to come up with its position statement, released on Wednesday.
“Based on the assessment of the evidence of effectiveness of homeopathy, NHMRC concludes that there are no health conditions for which there is reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective,” the report concluded.
A quarter of a century ago, there was quite a stir when Nature published a paper alleging an effect ("the memory of water") which might support homeopathy, but subsequent investigation failed to replicate those results.

*On the other hand, particularly for self-limiting conditions, placebos can be surprisingly effective in helping people feel better.

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