Homeopathy 2018; 107(03): 181-188
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1649521
Review Article
The Faculty of Homeopathy

Phase-Transition-Induced Pattern Formation Applied to Basic Research on Homeopathy: A Systematic Review

Maria Olga Kokornaczyk
Society for Cancer Research, Hiscia Institute, Arlesheim, Switzerland
International Research Group on Very Low Dose and High Dilution Effects (GIRI), Dornach, Switzerland
,
Claudia Scherr
Society for Cancer Research, Hiscia Institute, Arlesheim, Switzerland
,
Natalia Borisovna Bodrova
International Research Group on Very Low Dose and High Dilution Effects (GIRI), Dornach, Switzerland
,
Stephan Baumgartner
Society for Cancer Research, Hiscia Institute, Arlesheim, Switzerland
International Research Group on Very Low Dose and High Dilution Effects (GIRI), Dornach, Switzerland
Institute of Integrative Medicine, University of Witten-Herdecke, Herdecke, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Funding The study was funded by institutional sources only.
Further Information

Publication History

22 January 2018

26 March 2018

Publication Date:
16 May 2018 (eFirst)

Abstract

Background Methods based on phase-transition-induced pattern formation (PTPF) are increasingly used in medical research. Frequent application fields are medical diagnosis and basic research in homeopathy. Here, we present a systematic review of experimental studies concerning PTPF-based methods applied to homeopathy research. We also aimed at categorizing the PTPF methods included in this review.

Materials and Methods Experimental studies were collected from scientific databases (PubMed, Web of Science, Russian eLibrary) and from experts in the research field in question, following the PRISMA guidelines. The studies were rated according to pre-defined scientific criteria.

Results The review included 15 experimental studies. We identified seven different PTPF methods applied in 12 experimental models. Among these methods, phase-transition was triggered through evaporation, freezing, or solution, and in most cases led to the formation of crystals. First experimental studies concerning the application of PTPF methods in homeopathic research were performed in the first half of the 20th century; however, they were not continued in the following years. Only in the last decade, different research groups re-launched the idea, introducing new experimental approaches and computerized pattern evaluation techniques. The here-identified PTPF methods are for the first time proposed to be classified as one group of methods based on the same basic physical phenomenon.

Conclusions Although the number of experimental studies in the area is still rather limited, the long tradition in the application of PTPF methods and the dynamics of the present developments point out the high potential of these methods and indicate that they might meet the demand for scientific methods to study potentized preparations.

Highlights

• Pattern formation induced by phase-transition is a self-organization process yielding a fascinating variety of forms.


• Research successfully applied pattern forming processes to identify specific effects of potentized preparations.


• In this review, we identified several different pattern-forming methods applied in 12 models.


• Pattern formation was induced by evaporation, freezing, or solution.


• Recent developments point at a high scientific potential of this synthetic approach.