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Posts Tagged ‘Homeopathy Awareness Week’

The King’s New Medicine: on the soporific effect of homeopathy

Posted by apgaylard on June 10, 2011

This is the story of the King’s new clothes.

Now there was once a king who was absolutely insane about

new clothes and one day, two swindlers came to sell him what

they said was a magic suit of clothes. Now, they held up this

particular garment and they said, “Your Majesty, this is a magic suit.”

Well, the truth of the matter is, there was no suit there at all.

But the swindlers were very smart, and they said,

“Your Majesty, to a wise man this is a beautiful raiment

but to a fool it is absolutely invisible.”

THE KING’S NEW CLOTHES, From the film “Hans Christian Andersen” (1952)

 It’s Homeopathy Awareness Week (HAW) again in the UK from the 14th to 21st June.  This is an annual publicity campaign run by homeopathy organizations and a potion maker.  It’s an attempt to convince potential customers that homeopathy is useful for something significant.  The two main problems are: there is no real evidence that homeopathy can help with any specific health issue, and they are peddling magic pills that typically contain no medicine.

This event always gives me a strong sense of déjà vu: after failing to produce any proper evidence for being able to help with women’s health (2010) and hay fever (2009), this year it’s sleeplessness (insomnia).

The campaign’s website, ‘heal through homeopathy’, highlights the undoubted importance of the topic by claiming that, “… sleeplessness … affects an estimated 77% of people in GB.”  However, according to a National Health Service (NHS) publication, “Sleeplessness – A Self Help Guide” the figure is around 30%.  Perhaps the homeopaths are overstating the problem?

A summary of a recent YouGov poll* put it this way:

“The majority of the British public need between six and nine hours’ sleep a night to feel fully rested, according to a recent survey. 43% claim they need 6-7 hours and another 33% of the population stated they require 8-9 hours to feel fresh the following day. This appears to be consistent with the hours of sleep the public normally get with a huge 79% claiming they get between 6-9 hours each night. However, almost one in five respondents (18%) state that they get a just a maximum of five hours of sleep a night and just seven percent claim that they feel fully rested with this amount.”

This seems to suggest that a smaller percentage of the population feel they are not getting enough sleep than the homeopaths are suggesting.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in homeopathy | Tagged: , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

False positives?

Posted by apgaylard on June 15, 2009

bigstockphoto_homeopathic_medicine_788631George Lewith, Michael Dixon and Peter Fisher had a puzzling letter in The Guardian yesterday, defending homeopathy.  One of the odd things in the letter was the contention that, “out of six reviews of the scientific evidence carried out by the independent and respected Cochrane Collaboration, two are cautiously positive and four inconclusive.” 

This description bears little resemblance to what they actually say.  As you read these excerpts from their plain language summaries just remember that these gents are not appealing for more research, but for ongoing funding to treat patients at the UK taxpayer’s expense. 

Here is what the six reviews actually say.  Try and see if you can spot the two that are, “cautiously positive” (emphasis mine).  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in homeopathy | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Homeopathy Awareness Week and hay fever

Posted by apgaylard on May 15, 2009

bigstockphoto_Sneeze_1643312This year Homeopathy Awareness Week (14th to 24th June) will focus on hay fever.  The event is being promoted by the British Homeopathic Foundation, a charity closely connected with the Faculty of Homeopathy, the UK’s organisation for medical doctors who also practise homeopathy. 

Their website encourages people to “trust homeopathy”.  So, decided to improve my personal awareness of the evidence that homeopathy will do anything to help this unpleasant seasonal complaint. 

After all, given that this event has the backing of actual doctors – albeit homeopaths – I would expect this campaign to some serious evidence behind it.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in homeopathy | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »