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Homeopathic Pathogenetic Trials: Trials and Tribulations and a Potential Way Forward
05 February 2018 (online)
Homeopathic pathogenetic trials (HPTs) are the pillar of homeopathy. For the purpose of scientific argument, one needs to show that the symptoms experienced by volunteers are specific for the remedy and ideally different from what placebos would produce. I will present some experiences in my own research. It was only by giving up the idea of a subtle, causal ‘signal’ that I succeeded in establishing a new paradigm. This can only be applied for testing already known substances. It uses a three-armed approach and two different studies, in which one of the testing arms use the same remedy, and the other arm uses different remedies, and one is placebo. All testing is double blind. Volunteers take the substances. After the symptoms are verified, they are taken into a database. The database is decoupled from single individuals and handed over to a materia medica expert. Only this expert will then receive the information about which remedies were tested, but not the individual code. The materia medica expert then decides for each symptom, whether it was typical for remedy A, remedy B, or atypical. This can, in the end, be aggregated to the number of symptoms typical for remedy A, typical for remedy B or atypical symptoms, in each of the groups, thus yielding a simple numerical score. In the final analysis, two parts of the study are aggregated, but only the arm with the remedy that was identical in the two studies will be evaluated; the other data will be discarded. After positive piloting, we found significantly more remedies typical of symptoms in the remedy group than in the placebo group. This result was replicated in a second study. The preconditions and potential pitfalls will be discussed along with the theoretical framework behind them.
Keywords: Homeopathic remedy provings, pathogenetic trials, double blind