Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Another conversation I was involved in that demonstrates how a woo-meister moves the goalpost, The original, brief conversation concerning homeopathy quickly devolved into the following.
After my mention of the Avogadro constant being surpassed (next post), my adversary continued with this.
Which produced the following,
I actually found that comment quite offensive,,,lol.  Which then produced more  citation to this Banerji Protocol and the gentleman behind it.  Dr. Prasanta Banerji.

While I again wanted to include my full response, space would not allow me.  Whether my adversary actually reads the citations remains to be seen; no response has been had from my last posting concerning Measles Math.

Since you disregard the Avogadro constant, addressing the links you provide concerning homeopathy is a waste of my time.  I do not believe in homeopathy and ignoring the Avogadro constant violates the principles of chemistry, pharmacology, and the laws of physics by diluting their starting remedies to nonexistence.

You first provide a paper with a sample size of n=14, I provided a meta-analysis of 1800 individual papers on 225 studies looking at the treatment of almost 30 conditions performed by the Australian government. https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/cam02a_information_paper.pdf

As I mention most homeopathic results can be assigned to the placebo effect as well as regression to the mean.  There may be other technical issues but without examining each study independently, I can't make a serious judgment. I will focus on just two.

While the NIH citation you provide is notable, the reference cited for this claim is not a peer-reviewed article. It’s merely cited as:  PB Homoeopathic Research Foundation, Kolkata, West Bengal, India,,,.  Banerji, in essence cited his own work with no known follow-up being performed.
In the above paper, a thorough patient history is lacking as well as the obliteration of the Avogadro constant:  200C of Kali Carbonicum or 30C Condurango are noted among other treatment remedies.  The solvent is unknown for the dilution.

Based on this case review, until shown otherwise I personally would avoid the treatment modality.  And that brings me to a second paper of Banerji's, Cytotoxic effects of ultra-diluted remedies on breast cancer cells.  For this I am going to refer to breast cancer researcher, Orac for analysis of said paper. http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/03/04/a-homeopathic-bit-of-breast-cancer-scien/
Basically, it’s a test of homeopathic remedies against breast cancer cell lines in a dish that claims differential toxicity aginast [sic] breast cancer cell lines compared to normal breast cells and claim that homeopathic remedies did just as well as cytotoxic chemotherapy.
While again a copy-pasta would be rather large, I find his conclusion apropos.
I think the entire problem with the paper can be summed up with this figure, which shows the effect of these remedies on cell viability:
Notice how each remedy and the controls are graphed in little bar graphs for each cell type. This makes it very difficult to compare directly effects of each remedy at each dose compared to the solvent control. Really. Click on the picture and see if you can easily tell whether the differences shown look significant. You can’t. Moreover, no statistics are provided to tell you whether the differences might be significant. Worse, however, look at the solvent-only control groups. Do you see what I see? The solvent is killing the cells, up to 50% of them! Not only that, but the normal control cells appear to be more resistant to the effect of the solvent, with very little effect seen. In fact, by the lack of a clear dose-response curve for the solvent-only control, with the measurement fluctuating around a point slightly lower than that seen with no solvent added, you can get an idea of the variability of this assay from well to well, which is quite a bit. The cynic in me thinks that the data were graphed this way intentionally, to obscure just how weak it is, but the angel in me will attribute it to gross incompetence.
If I had reviewed this paper, I would have insisted for the figure above that all the data for each cell line be graphed on a single graph, with a dose-response curve clearly indicated for each and error bars, along with proper statistical analysis for a dose-response effect showing that there were significant differences between the effect of the homeopathic remedies at each dose compared to the solvent control. All that the above figure shows is that adding 10 μl/ml of 87% alcohol has a significant effect on cell viability for the cancer cell lines. They have not shown in any way that I can tell that any of their remedies have a significant effect on cell viability compared to the alcohol solvent alone. As I’ve said time and time again, anyone can kill cells in a dish with alcohol or bleach or any number of other nonspecific solvents. That does not mean that this study shows that these homeopathic remedies are as “effective as paclitaxel” (a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent in breast cancer) against these cells. All it proves is that the solvent at the doses used can nonspecifically kill cells and that perhaps the normal cells are more resistant to the alcohol.
Finally, I can accept that perhaps a 3C homeopathic dilution might have an effect on cells. There could be an actual drug remaining there. However, 30C and 200C homeopathic dilutions leave nothing behind, and there is nothing in this paper to show that there is an effect above and beyond solvent effects from either of these remedies. Come to think of it, there’s nothing in this paper to show that the 3C homeopathic dilution really has any effect above and beyond solvent toxicity effects. Put it all together, and this is a EPIC FAIL on the part of the peer reviewers and the editors.
I recommend you read his analysis, as well as the included citation he provides. http://scepticsbook.com/2010/02/14/a-giant-leap-in-logic-from-a-piece-of-bad-science/

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