Monthly E-Newsletter December 2007
Latest News in Homoeopathy
New Delhi (PTI): Increasing inclination of people towards alternative medicine will drive the growth of homoeopathy, which is projected to grow at 25-30 per cent over the next three years to become a Rs 2,600-crore industry, industry body Assocham has said.
The current size of the homoeopathy market in the country is estimated at about Rs 1,250 crore. While the pharma industry would grow at 13-15 per cent, homoeopathy would register growth rates of 25-30 per cent on the back of growing number alternative medicine users, the chamber said in a statement.
"Homoeopathy has been effective in treating chronic aliments like arthritis, diabetes, obesity and respiratory, hair and skin problems," it said.
During 2006-07, an estimated 4-5 crore patients resorted to homoeopathic treatments and this is likely to grow to 10 crore in the next two-three years in view of its growing acceptability among the masses, Assocham President Venugopal Dhoot said.
Though homoeopathic treatments last longer than allopathic medication, an increasing number of people prefer the former since they do not have to worry about side effects, it said.
A new scholarly
written book describes hundreds of well-known and respected physicians,
scientists, politicians, corporate leaders, and literary greats who used or
advocated for homeopathic medicine. Eleven U.S. Presidents, seven popes, Sir
William Osler, J.D. Rockefeller, Charles Kettering, and C. Everett Koop are
among those famous people who were known to have benefited from homeopathy.
Perhaps most surprisingly is the evidence of Charles Darwin’s use of homeopathic
medicines and the significant results he received from them.
In the new book, The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy (North Atlantic Books, 2007), Dana Ullman presents strong evidence derived primarily from Charles Darwin’s own letters about the treatment he received from a homeopathic physician. Ullman suggests that Charles Darwin would not have lived long enough to have completed his seminal work, The Origin of Species, in 1859 if he didn’t get homeopathic treatment ten years previously.
It is well known that Darwin became very ill during his trip to South America in the late 1830s. His health continued to decline, and he was so ill that he couldn’t attend his own father’s funeral in 1848. He suffered from severe and constant nausea, heart palpitations, widespread boils, and trembling for 12 years, and by 1849, he had suffered from fainting spells and spots before his eyes for two years. According to Darwin’s letters, he was not able to work one day in every three.
Finally, in 1849, he sought the treatment from Dr. James Manby Gully, a homeopathic physician who owned a hydrotherapy spa. Although Darwin was skeptical of homeopathy, he obediently took the prescription of homeopathic medicines his doctor gave him, and within a month, his health was considerably better. Darwin didn’t have nausea for a month, gained some weight, took a seven mile walk (which he was previously unable to do), and then wrote to a friend, “I am turning into a mere walking and eating machine.” After just a month of treatment, he had to admit that Dr. Gully’s treatment was not quackery after all.
Ullman also has uncovered some of Darwin’s own experiments using extremely small “homeopathic” doses of various ammonia salts and watched their significant effects on insect-eating plants (Drosera rotundifolia). He was so shocked by his experiments that he had his son replicate them, and ultimately, he felt embarrassed to have to report on their surprising findings. Although Darwin provided details about the exceedingly small doses he tested, he never used the word “homeopathic” when referring to these experiments. He wrote, “I am quite unhappy at the thought of having to publish such a statement” about these results. An endorsement of homeopathy by Darwin at that time might have led to great antagonism against his new theories about life and evolution.
Many famous people benefited from Dr. Gully’s care, including Charles Dickens (novelist and writer), Alfred, Lord Tennyson (poet), Florence Nightingale (famed nurse), George Eliot (British novelist), Thomas Carlyle (Scottish essayist, satirist, and historian), Edward Bulwer-Lytton (British novelist, playwright, and politician), Thomas Babington Macaulay (first Baron Macaulay, poet and politician), and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce. Further, three prime ministers sought Dr. Gully’s care, including William Gladstone, Benjamin Disraeli, and George Hamilton-Gordon, as well as Queen Victoria herself. Hamilton-Gordon described Dr. Gully as “the most gifted physician of the age.”
According to Ullman’s book, other leading physicians and scientists who used and/or advocated for homeopathy, including Sir William Osler (the “father of modern medicine”), Emil Adolph von Behring (the “father of immunology”), August Bier, MD (the “father of spinal anesthesia”), Harold Griffith, MD (founding president of the World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists), Charles Frederick Menninger, MD (founder of the Menninger Clinic), and C. Everett Koop, MD (former Surgeon General of the United States).
Besides physicians and scientists, this book uncovers biographical information about many cultural heroes of the past 200 years, including various literary greats (Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott, Washington Irving, Goethe, George Bernard Shaw, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Gabriel Garcia Marquez), sports superstars (David Beckham and Martina Navratilova), musicians (Beethoven, Chopin, Wagner, Tina Turner, Cher), politicians (11 U.S. presidents, Gandhi, Tony Blair), clergy (seven popes and leading rabbis and Muslim clerics), and corporate leaders (JD Rockefeller, Charles Kettering).
Besides the personal stories from history and the present day, this book also reviews modern high quality clinical research and evaluates both positive and negative outcomes. Ultimately, the preponderance of scientific and historical evidence shows how the placebo effect is an inadequate explanation for the clinical results from homeopathic treatment. Ullman also reviews recent basic science evidence that provide new insights into how homeopathic nanodoses may have biological activity.
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Posted on November 19th, 2007
by Piyush Diwan
HIV positive rural women seeking treatment at local government hospitals suffer verbal abuse and forced abortions, claim a group of afflicted women.
The women from southern states like Andhra Pradesh and Kerala reported that doctors and paramedical staff verbally abuse the HIV+ women when they seek treatment at local government hospitals.
An HIV positive woman from Andhra Pradesh said, “In the entire district of Nalgonda, there is just one Anti-Retroviral Test Centre (ART) and there is a huge crowd of rural people trying to get their medicines. At some of these centers, women are being made to undergo forced abortions even in advanced stages of pregnancy when the national guidelines issued by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) clearly state that bearing a child should be entirely the mother’s choice.”
These women told that it would be much better if government provide medical facilities to HIV+ people through ART centers. Better training facilities should be provided to nurses and para-medical staff.
National Commission for Women (NCW) member Malini Bhattacharya, said, “The government needs to look into these complaints seriously to provide succor to these women.”
According to recent estimates by UNAIDS, Nearly 18 million women are HIV+ and India forms 38 percent of it. In India there are about 60,000 new infections every year.
In another issue, Britain doctors slammed homeopathy treatment for AIDS.
A seminar on homeopathy’s role in treatment of HIV/AIDS, organized by European Society of Homeopaths in UK on December 1, triggered the latest protests.
“People say homeopathy can't do any harm but when it is being promoted for HIV, then there is a serious problem,” said Michael Baum, professor emeritus of surgery at the University College London.
Baum and others criticized homeopathy treatment through the National Health Service, and some trusts also stopped NHS funding to centers using homeopathy.
Dr S P Singh, India's advisor on homeopathy, said, “We are preparing a strong reply. Just because homeopathy is a cheaper alternative to several surgical procedures, surgeons and pharma companies in UK are worried it might cut into their bread and butter.”
Dr N K Ganguly, DG (ICMR), said, “The homeopathy compound screened in vitro at NARI (National AIDS Research Institute, Pune) against HIV has been found to effectively kill the virus.”
Union health minister A Ramadoss said, “Homeopathy has very good treatment effect for certain diseases which are not amenable to treatment by conventional medicine. It is effective, safe, affordable and simple to administer.”
Currently, more than 100 million Indians depend only on homeopathy. UK’s homeopathy market 2007 estimated to be worth 38 million pounds.
Filed Under: Health News New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS)
Next time your pet dog or cat is taken ill, you no longer need to fret over forcing bitter allopathic medicines down its throat - just administer some sweet homeopathy pills instead.
Doctors at Dr. Batra’s, a leading chain of homeopathy clinics, are treating several animals through their sweet pills and liquids here for ailments like fever, diarrhoea or skin problems.
“We have been treating animals at the Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre (SGACC) in Delhi through homeopathy. Dogs, cattle and horses are responding well to homeopathy,” said Mukesh Batra, managing director of Dr. Batra’s positive health clinics.
“Homeopathy may take a little more time to cure but the effect is better. Our success rate in the animal centre is over 90 percent,” Batra told IANS.
Pragya Juneja, administrator of SGACC, said the centre had around 1,300 animals and birds like dogs, cats, horses, cattle, pigeons and peacocks … and all of them were getting homeopathy treatment as and when required.
“Over one year, we have been giving them such (homeopathy) treatment and are quite happy with the results. The best thing is that it’s easy for us to administer sweet medicines to our ailing animals,” Juneja said.
A. Siddique, hospital assistant at SGACC, said homeopathy was effective in treating fever, vomiting and diarrhoea among dogs and monkeys.
“Common cold and blood in animals’ stool can also be treated through such alternative mode of medicine,” he noted.
Siddique said the centre treated over 30 animals a day, including injured stray animals brought by civic authorities.
Tushar Kapoor, a homeopathic doctor who visits SGACC, said different kinds of infections, skin problems and renal failure cases in animals were responding well to homeopathy.
“In case of kidney failure, heart problem and arthritis in animals, we are giving doses of homeopathy as a supplement to allopathic doses. Arthritis is a common problem in animals like pet dogs, monkeys and horses, and its encouraging to find that they are responding well to homeopathy,” Kapoor added.
A doctor from Anand in Gujarat recently treated a lion in the Delhi zoo that had developed swollen legs and pus in them.
With the tiny, sweet, wonder pills showing good results, animal lovers can now not only hope for a healthier life for their pets but also face less problems while administering medicines.
The pilot study and the randomised placebo controlled clinical trial of homeopathic medicines on HIV infected, conducted by the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy have been successful in making HIV infected persons symptom-less and thus prolonging their life .These studies sponsored by the Department of Indian Systems of Medicines and Homeopathy were conducted at the Regional Research Institute of Homeopathy, Mumbai and the Clinical Research Unit of Homeopathy, Chennai.
About 652 HIV infected including the 100 registered under the randomised controlled clinical trial were administered Homeopathic Drugs like Lycopodium, Phosphorous, Natrum – MUR, Lachesis, Sepia, Nitric Acid, Marc-sol, Pulsatilla in the potency of 30 to 100 M for varying periods till 1997. After a period of 3 to 16 months many patients gave non-reactive response to ELISA and some gave negative response to western blot test indicating the effectiveness of the therapy.
In addition, the clinical trial revealed significant improvements in CD4+ T cell count, the lymphocytes whose number decreases drastically in HIV infected, reflecting the immuno-modulatory role of these Homeopathic medicines.
In view of these findings the Central Council of Research in Homeopathy is planning to establish a Central Research Institute in NOIDA. Also, a Central HIV Research Laboratory at New Delhi has been made functional with an assistance of Rs.25.25 lakhs from NACO.
The formulations of Indian Systems of Medicines and Homeopathy can only prolong the life of the HIV infected and make them symptom-free. This is because these systems treat only the symptom and not the cause of the disease.
It may be noted that the Siddha System of medicine has been successfully tried on HIV patients in Tambaram TB Hospital at Chennai. Also, a Mumbai-based NGO, ARCON is conducting clinical trials of some ayurvedic preparations on HIV patients.
The clinical research
literature in homeopathy is more positive than Ben Goldacre prefers to admit in
his article “Benefits and risks of homoeopathy”, published in The Lancet on 16
November . Goldacre claims “Five large meta-analyses of homoeopathy trials
have been done. All have had the same result: after excluding methodologically
inadequate trials and accounting for publication bias, homoeopathy produced no
statistically significant benefit over placebo.” However, a more complete and
unbiased assessment of the research evidence gives a very different perspective:
Three of the 5 meta-analyses that Goldacre cites did not reach the negative conclusion he implies, while the other 2 reports have limited interpretation. The first paper assessed 105 trials, 81 of them positive . The authors concluded: "the evidence of clinical trials is positive but not sufficient to draw definite conclusions". The reviews for the European Commission concluded that homeopathy was more effective than placebo (P < 0.001) [3,4] though “the strength of this evidence is low because of the low methodological quality of the trials” (P = 0.082 for the highest quality sub-group of just 5 trials) . The fourth analysis focused on trials of individualised homeopathy only, and thus did not represent the entire research evidence . The most recent review narrowed its analysis to just 8 homeopathy trials compared with 6 in conventional medicine ; the negative findings were strongly affected by one particular Arnica trial .
Most importantly, Goldacre failed to cite one of the largest meta-analyses, which showed homeopathy can produce significant benefit over placebo. Published in The Lancet 10 years ago, Linde and colleagues analysed 89 trials and found a mean odds ratio of 2.45 (95% confidence interval, 2.05–2.93), in favour of homeopathy . When considering just those trials of “high quality” and after correcting for publication bias, the findings actually remained statistically significant. The main conclusion was that the results “were not compatible with the hypothesis that the effects of homoeopathy are completely due to placebo”. In further analysis, the authors clarified that higher quality trials were less likely to be positive than those of lower quality, though the difference from placebo remained statistically significant until analysis was restricted to just five trials . There was insufficient volume of evidence to enable conclusions to be drawn about the efficacy of homeopathy for any specific medical conditon.
Moreover, Goldacre chooses not to report findings of systematic reviews that did in fact focus on research in particular medical conditions. Seven of 17 such reports to date have been positive for homeopathy: childhood diarrhoea ; influenza ; post-operative ileus ; seasonal allergic rhinitis [13,14,15]; vertigo . Eight of the other 10 reviews were non-conclusive [17-24]; 2 were negative [25,26].
Medical journal slams popularity of homoeopathy in India
Friday November 16, 10:29 AM
London, Nov 16 (IANS) Even as homeopathy gains popularity in India, it is coming under pressure in Britain, with a proposed seminar on its role in the treatment of HIV/AIDS sparking protests.
The seminar, organised by the Society of Homeopaths and scheduled to be held here on Dec 1, has invited criticism from Michael Baum, professor emeritus of surgery at the University College London (UCL), according to the medical journal The Lancet.
The Lancet has also slammed the growing popularity of homeopathy in India.
'People say homoeopathy cannot do any harm but when it is being promoted for HIV then there is a serious problem,' Baum is quoted as saying in a two-part special report in the medical journal.
Baum and others had sent a letter last May to all primary care trusts in Britain to voice concern about homoeopathy treatment through the National Health Service (NHS).
Seemingly in response, one trust stopped NHS funding for the Tunbridge Wells Homeopathic Hospital, one of five that provide homoeopathy treatment on the NHS.
Despite this, says the report, homoeopathy remains popular with the public, with the 2007 market estimated to be worth 38 million pounds ($78 million). This figure is expected to rise to 46 million pounds in 2012.
Baum believes the public backs homeopathy in the belief that it is herbal medicine.
'Although many herbal medicines are unproven, they, unlike homoeopathic remedies, have scientific plausibility,' he said.
Several studies, including one by The Lancet, have shown that the clinical effects of homoeopathic remedies are placebo effects.
The report also focuses on the thriving homoeopathy industry in India, where an estimated 100 million people depend solely on this form of therapy for their health care.
It refers to the case of a man who sold his tractor to pay the Rs.150,000 to pay for a miracle homoeopathic cure for HIV, which had no effect.
The report quotes S.P. Singh, the Indian ministry of health and family welfare's advisor on homoeopathy, as saying homoeopathy has no given side effects.
'Homoeopathy has a biological effect, and all homoeopathic medicines are therapeutically proven,' he said.
The report notes that India is 'arguably unique' for the extent to which it has recognised homoeopathy as a legitimate system of medicine, adding that the boom is being driven by wealthy Indians who see it as a route to well being.
In a related comment, Ben Goldacre of the Guardian newspaper, a medical doctor, said homeopathy raises serious ethical issues.
'When a health-care practitioner of any description prescribes a pill which they know is no more effective than placebo-without disclosing that fact to their patient-then they disregard both informed consent and their patients' autonomy,' he wrote.
He said homoeopaths irresponsibly undermine evidence based medical interventions to promote their own remedies, and points to evidence of homeopaths undermining public health campaigns.
Goldacre added that alternative therapy journals hardly ever publish negative studies. 'An observational study which amounts to little more than a customer satisfaction survey is promoted as if it trumps a string of randomised trials,' he said.
Despite all this, Goldacre concluded that 'to ban homoeopathy would be an over-reaction, as placebos could have a clinical role'.
'However, whether the placebo effect is best harnessed by homoeopaths will remain questionable until
Two days mega conference “HOMOEOVISION-2007” was organized in Tilak hall auditorium of Nagar Nigam located at Sigra, Varanasi on 17th & 18th November 2007. This was the never seen gathering of Homoeopathic stalwarts, Scientists of different disciplines, doctors as well as students under single umbrella for the first time in Varanasi, successfully organized by “The Homoeopathic Medical Association of India” Varanasi Unit under the dynamic leadership of Dr. S. P. Singh, Dr. V. K. Pandey and Dr. S. K. Singh. This conference was attended by more than 600 delegates from all over the country.