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Australia Medicine

Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients 408

jones_supa (887896) writes "Homeopathy is a 200-year-old form of alternative medicine based on the principle that substances that produce symptoms in a healthy person can be used to treat similar symptoms in a sick person. The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia has officially declared that homeopathic remedies are useless for human health. The body today released a guide for doctors (PDF) on how to talk to their patients about the lack of evidence for many such therapies. Doctors will also be told to warn patients of possible interactions between alternative and conventional medicines. On top of that, the council has produced a 300-page draft report that reviews the evidence for homoeopathy in treating 68 clinical conditions. It concludes 'there is no reliable evidence that homoeopathy is effective for treating health conditions'.

Representing the opposite viewpoint, Australian Homeopathic Association spokesman Greg Cope said he was disappointed at the narrow evidence relied on by the NHMRC in its report. 'What they have looked at is systematic trials for named conditions when that is not how homeopathy works,' he said. Homeopathy worked on the principle of improving a person's overall health and wellness, and research such as a seven-year study conducted in Switzerland was a better measure of its usefulness, he added. There are about 10,000 complementary medicine products sold in Australia but most consumers are unaware they are not evaluated by the domestic medicines safety watchdog before they are allowed on the market."
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Australia Declares Homeopathy Nonsense, Urges Doctors to Inform Patients

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  • by mspring ( 126862 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:33AM (#46703967)
    But won't telling the patient "the facts" diminish the placebo effect?
    What would maximize the placebo effect?
    Is using the placebo effect always bad practice?
  • Homeopathy Works (Score:2, Interesting)

    by goruka ( 1721094 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @09:42AM (#46704075)
    And is a scam at the same time. I've met homeopaths who were certain that It didn't really work, but have seen a great deal of patients recover from terrible illnesses only because it helped them not give up, or worked very efficiently as a placebo. Where I live, to work as homeopath, you need am university degree in medicine so It's not really that the practitioners don't know what they are doing, and will often send patients to a real doctor when they see imminent danger or can't see results.

    By the same logic, Astrology should be banned, as it probably affects human relationships in an even more negative way.
  • Re:Homeopathy Works (Score:2, Interesting)

    by goruka ( 1721094 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @10:19AM (#46704419)

    And how is that an improvement over giving them a medicine that beside a placebo effect of identical magnitude additionally causes direct pharmaceutical effects? Since when do these two effects clash?

    Your answer makes sense, but you lack the whole picture. Homeopathy doesn't work like that.
    Homeopathy is not just the "fake medicine", as most articles you read on the internet work. There is a whole theatrical performance. It works like this:

    1) The "doctor" asks for a few questions about your problems, your dreams, your social life, family, etc.
    2) He has a book where each of the things you mention (or the closest one) have an homeopathic ingredient listed
    3) He correlates and finds an ingredient that appears the most in the issues that you mentioned. He will show it to you.
    4) He will ask you to buy a medicine with that ingredient.
    5) However, before leaving, he will warn you that it's possible that he might have given you something that is too strong, and will explain you that you have to dilute it a little (or do something like that, I don't remember) to mitigate the effects of an overdose.

    So, the reason why it works as a placebo is because it's designed to be convincing, not because you are drinking water.

  • by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Wednesday April 09, 2014 @11:33AM (#46705087)
    You can confirm this yourself by simply asking a believer how it works. You'll get a long oration about how water "remembers" what was in it. I've done it and it's great for laughs. Especially when you start using that word hated by all homeopaths, "How?"

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner