War is bad. Stop it. Now back to homeopathy.

War is bad.  Stop it.  Now back to homeopathy.

Which pseudo-medicine is the most ridiculous? Pseudo-medicines are not like electrons. Only one electron can inhabit the same state at the same time, but many pseudo-medicines can simultaneously be called the most ridiculous. Like homeopathy.

Why even bother to evaluate the efficacy of homeopathy? Homeopathy is nothing. Based on prior plausibility and known reality, it is actually impossible to

investigate the effectiveness, safety and tolerability

of any homeopathic treatment. Clinical studies of homeopathy are the medical equivalent of dividing by zero, with the same imaginary results.

It doesn't stop a homeopathic company from paying one of its ex-employees and two current employees to test its product, CalSuli–4–02.

I am always amused when Big Alternative mimics Big Pharma. Perhaps since it is a homeopathic product the risk of bias is equally dilute.

The results were published as Effectiveness, safety and tolerability of a complex homeopathic medicinal product in the prevention of recurrent acute upper respiratory tract infections in children: a multicenter, open, comparative, randomized, controlled clinical trial.

A great sounding title, with all the important science words except for the key phrase "placebo controlled." They compared the product,  CalSuli–4–02

a complex homeopathic medicinal product containing four active ingredients: Calcium carbonicum Hahnemanni D6, Calcium fluoratum D6, Calcium phosphoricum D6 and Sulfur jodatum D12.

to a control homeopathic nostrum containing

five active ingredients: Gentiana D1, Aconitum D6, Bryonia D6, Ferrum phosphoricum D12, and Acidum sarcolacticum D12.

Although in reality a comparison of two placebos. One of the complaints often heard from homeopaths when their nostrums fail is that each treatment needs to be individuated. Except when they do not need to individualize as in this study.

They looked at the ability of two forms of nothing to prevent upper respiratory symptoms in children.

And they were the same. What a surprise. But it doesn't mean that either product actually caused the decrease in URI symptoms. As they note

Another limitation of the current study design was that it had not included a third arm, a control group with children that received no treatment or a placebo.

Not another limitation but the limitation that renders the study meaningless.  You can't credit effects to an intervention unless it is better than placebo.  As Billy Preston noted

Nothin' plus nothin' leaves nothin'
You gotta have somethin' if you want to have effects
Nothin' plus nothin' leaves nothin'
You gotta have somethin' if you want to have effects

I suspect they did some p-hacking to demonstrate that

CalSuli–4–02 led to significantly less URTI-related complaints and symptoms and higher treatment satisfaction and tolerability

Again, what a surprise. Those who foot the bill get the results they paid for, again mimicking big Pharma. So cute.

I suspect that the primary use of this study will be for advertising copy. It certainly is of zero utility to those who practice reality based medicine.

Oh. And to reiterate: War is bad. Stop it. There. I have done my duty.

Change.org petition: "Naturopaths are not doctors:...
Points of Interest 05/19/2016

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