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A major challenge in basic research into homeopathy is to develop bioassays that yield consistent results. During recent years various studies have been reported that successfully used healthy plants (e.g., wheat, peas, duckweed) as test organisms.
Stannum metallicum 30x (or D30) is an ultramolecular preparation. It contains tin from the starting material in a nominal dilution of 10^−30 (8.4 × 10^−30 M). This preparation was compared to water 30x (or D30), that is, water that has undergone 30 analogous steps of dilution and agitation.These ultra-molecular dilutions are the main cause of scientific scepticism surrounding homeopathy because they are diluted beyond the point at which theoretically any molecule of the starting substance is present.
In a series of 15 independent experiments, evaluation of the resulting biocrystallograms with computerized texture analysis yielded highly significant differences between the two groups, i.e. there were some specific biological effects of Stannum metallicum 30x on the germinating cress seedlings, compared to water 30x as control.
Experiments were performed independently in two laboratories in Denmark and in the Netherlands and were fully randomized and coded (blinded).
The biocrystallisation method seems to be a promising complementary outcome measure for plant bioassays investigating effects of homeopathic preparations.
Baumgartner S, Doesburg P, Scherr C, Andersen J.-O.(2012) Development of a Biocrystallisation Assay for Examining Effects of Homeopathic Preparations Using Cress Seedlings. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Article ID 125945, doi:10.1155/2012/125945 [PubMed]
All European countries with a minimum of 5 million habitants were initially included for which any data about CAM use in children were published in the last 10 years (29 countries), then expanded to include 2 smaller countries. Corresponding authors from these publications were contacted in each country, and they were asked to provide information about paediatric CAM use in their countries.
Limitations created by a lack of representative studies, varying definitions of CAM use, and what qualifies as CAM in different countries was partially overcome by integrating local experts to summarise information available only in the national language and provide their perspectives about CAM availability, quality, use and popularity in their countries using a semi-structured questionnaire. Local and international published surveys were summarised, and the prevalence of CAM use was extrapolated.
Data from 20 European countries were available, representing 69% of the European population. Some data about CAM use by the general population were available for 90% of the examined countries, whereas peer-reviewed published surveys were available for only 60%. The authors extrapolated that 56% (range: 10—90%, adjusted for population size) of the European population in general had used CAM at least once in the past year. Surveys in CAM use by children were available for 55% of the investigated countries. The extrapolated prevalence of CAM use by children in Europe was 52% (range: 5—90%, adjusted for population size). Paediatric CAM experts reported an increasing awareness for and use of CAM in healthcare institutions.
Conclusion: This precursor for further surveys indicates that CAM appears to be popular not only among adults in Europe, but also for children. Development of a pan-European definition of CAM use and CAM therapies are required to achieve surveys comparable between European countries. Additionally, more research investigating the efficacy and potential adverse effects of CAM therapies is needed because of increasing CAM use by children in Europe.
Zuzak TJ, et al. Use of complementary and alternative medicine by children in Europe: Published data and expert perspectives. Complementary Therapies in Medicine (2012), doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2012.01.001
It is not just the fact that the size of the present domestic homeopathy market has been placed around Rs 27,580,000,000 (395 million Euro), but that with a 30 per cent annual increase, it will reach Rs. 46,000,000,000 (659 million Euro) in a few years. These figures place India second to France in the ranking of the homeopathy market.
Other facts and figures make the role of homeopathy very impressive. With a hundred million people in the country totally committed to homeopathy, it is expected that the number will go over 160 million in three years. Right now, there are 500,000 registered homeopaths and every year there are 20,000 more being added. There are 185 homeopathic colleges in the country, and 11,000 homeopathic hospital beds.
According to D.S Rawat, the Secretary General in ASSOCHAM, people turn to allopathy (= conventional Western mainstream medicine) only in emergency situations. But in chronic illnesses like skin and hair disease, respiratory problems, obesity, diabetes, homeopathy, although said to be slow, offers sure treatment.
The main factors that make homeopathy popular are the affordability of the treatment and the personalized interaction doctors have with their patients, which the World Health Organization also acknowledges.
Although countries like Britain continue to be critical of the approach, this 250-year old treatment regimen has become very popular, especially in India.
Source: MedIndia - Network for Health
ASSOCHAM - Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
The Wilseder Forum has a unique status in the current homeopathic scenery of Germany. It was established in 1992 to bring medical students closer to homeopathy, because at that time medical curricula at universities did not pay any attention to homeopathy. Around 650 students attended the Forum in the past ten years. The Forum provides the opportunity to discuss the work of the various university working groups. These working groups are comprised of medical students who would like to have a good and critical look at homeopathy and convene several times a year.
The Forum is a 3-day event taking place twice a year. In addition to workshops dealing with the university working groups, the Forum offers the possibility of a more in-depth study of homeopathy to all interested medical students. It is an event run by students for students. The students themselves determine the main focus of the programme. For each selected topic speakers are invited for scientific lectures and plenary discussions.
The Wilseder Forum was initiated by the Karl and Veronica Carstens Foundation, a foundation established by the late President of Germany Karl Carstens (1914-1992) and his wife Veronica Carstens MD (1923-2012). The main objective of the Foundation is the integration and broader acceptance of homeopathy and complementary medicine in today's medical community.
A European survey has shown that more than a third of cancer patients in Europe use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), to increase their body's ability to overcome the disease, to enhance their health and well‐being, to feel empowered, and to alleviate physical and/or psychological distress.
Emerging evidence from scientific studies suggests that several CAM therapies may address pain, fatigue, and psychological distress and improve quality of life in cancer patients. Because of the growing interest in CAM by patients, academic cancer centres are exploring ways to integrate such care into a conventional cancer treatment system.
Prof Dr Dobos, Professor of Internal Medicine and Chair of Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the University of Duisburg-Essen Germany and Dr Madeleen Winkler, an experienced anthroposophic medical doctor and general practitioner from Gouda, in the Netherlands, (speaking on behalf of Prof Dr Harald Matthes, Charité University Berlin, Germany) made presentations outlining the role of CAM in the prevention and treatment of cancer, and the benefits of integrating CAM and conventional approaches. Ms Heidi Brorson, a representative from the Norwegian Cancer Society and cancer league made a presentation on how they work with and advise cancer patients about using CAM as part of their cancer treatment plans.
MEPs Sirpa Pietikäinen of MEPs for CAM and Alojz Peterle representing MAC, the MEPs Against Cancer, co-chaired the meeting. They concluded the meeting with a call to the European Commission and the European Parliament to actively support the greater integration of CAM into the healthcare of EU citizens, particularly with regards to the prevention and treatment of cancer including empowerment of patients in self-care and to iron out inequalities in the use of CAM across Europe. They also called for greater investment in research into an integrated approach into the care and treatment of patients with cancer.
More information, including documents and presentations can be found here.