Individualisation and High Dilution
27 July 2018 (online)
This issue of Homeopathy explores two important aspects of homeopathy, at polar ends of the spectrum of the scientific issues raised by homeopathy. One cluster of articles looks at individualisation and prognostic factors for response to homeopathic treatment. These are vital issues to homeopathic clinical practice, which is often highly individualised so that different patients suffering from nominally the same disease may receive different treatments. The methodology to explore highly individualised treatment is not well developed. At the other pole, we publish three basic science articles looking at the role of water structure in the vexed question of how homeopathic high dilutions exert their effects.
One method of examining the effect of individualised therapy is the N-of-1 method. In an N-of-1 trial, patients receive active and placebo treatment alternately and in random sequence, with a washout period between treatments to allow the patient to return to baseline. It is particularly suitable for patients with chronic stable conditions or who undergo short-lived ‘assaults’, such as cancer chemotherapy. David Brulé and colleagues from Ontario, Canada, made a heroic, but ultimately failed, effort to apply this method to homeopathic treatment of cancer-related fatigue. They screened 68 patients, but only four consented to join the trial, and only one completed the study. Furthermore, there were multiple confounding factors. They conclude that the study of this design was not viable in this context.
- 1 Brulé D, Balon J, Zhao L, Seely D. An N-of-1 feasibility study of homeopathic treatment for fatigue in patients receiving chemotherapy. Homeopathy 2018; 107: 196-201
- 2 Bagchi S, Nayak C, Rutten L. , et al. Assessment of likelihood ratio for four contact dermatitis symptoms of Vinca minor. Homeopathy 2018; 107: 209-217
- 3 Macías-Cortés EDC, Llanes-González L, Aguilar-Faisal L, Asbun-Bojalil J. Response to individualized homeopathic treatment for depression in climacteric women with history of domestic violence, marital dissatisfaction or sexual abuse: results from the HOMDEP-MENOP study. Homeopathy 2018; 107: 202-208
- 4 Almirantis Y, Tsitinidis K. Ultra-high dilutions and homeopathy: Can they be explained without non-local theory?. Homeopathy 2018; 107: 189-195
- 5 Guedes JRP, Bonamin LV, Capelozzi VL. Water-related mechanisms proposed for storing and transmitting homeopathic information: putative links with biological responses. Homeopathy 2018; 107: 172-180
- 6 Kokornaczyk MO, Scherr C, Bodrova NB, Baumgartner S. Phase-transition induced pattern formation applied to basic research on homeopathy: a systematic review. Homeopathy 2018; 107: 181-188