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Here you can find news about developments in Europe that are important for homeopathy, news from the European homeopathic community and from the ECH itself

The whole news archive is available below

Nobel laureate Montagnier takes homeopathy seriously

In a truly remarkable interview published in SCIENCE magazine of 24 December, Professor Luc Montagnier, a French virologist who co-discovered HIV and who won the Nobel Prize in 2008, describes his newest work that has significant implications on homeopathy.

Montagnier, who is also founder and president of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention, makes the following strong statement for homeopathy and homeopathic doses: "I can't say that homeopathy is right in everything. What I can say now is that the high dilutions are right. High dilutions of something are not nothing. They are water structures which mimic the original molecules."

In a study that was published in 2009, Montagnier demonstrated that some bacterial DNA sequences are able to induce electromagnetic waves, even at high aqueous dilutions up to 10^-18. This study was an important contribution to the growing evidence base in fundamental research with direct relevance to homeopathy.

Montagnier will take on the leadership of a new research institute at Jiaotong University in Shanghai and plans to study the phenomenon of electromagnetic waves produced by DNA in water. His research team will study both the theoretical basis and the possible applications in medicine.

In the interview Montagnier says that he cannot pursue this research in France because he does not have much funding there. Because of French retirement laws, he is no longer allowed to work at a public institute. But there is another reason as well. When he applied for funding from other sources, he was turned down. Montagnier argued that there is a kind of fear around this topic in Europe.

In this context he refers to Dr Jacques Benveniste, a French physician/scientist who conducted research on homeopathic doses. Montagnier regards him as a "modern Galileo." "Benveniste was rejected by everybody, because he was too far ahead. He lost everything, his lab, his money. … I think he was mostly right, but the problem was that his results weren't 100% reproducible." "I am told that some people have reproduced Benveniste's results, but they are afraid to publish it because of the intellectual terror from people who don't understand it."

Is Montagnier worried that his colleagues will think he has drifted into pseudoscience? He replies adamantly: "No, because it's not pseudoscience. It's not quackery. These are real phenomena which deserve further study."

The whole interview is available at the website of Science magazine.

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New CAM-quest database launched

The Carstens Foundation in Germany has created a database designed as a search tool for people interested in responsible information on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

The aim of CAM-quest is not to rate clinical studies, but rather to demonstrate that a huge body of clinical research in the field of CAM does exist. The database includes research studies in nine therapy categories – acupuncture, anthroposophy, ayurveda, bioenergetics, homeopathy, manual medicine, mind-body medicine, phytomedicine and TCM – and searches can be made by disease, therapy and study design.

The CAM-quest ’quick search’ function provides a fast and easy way to find clinical research which assesses alternative treatments for many common diseases.  However, there is also the option of an ‘expert search’ which allows you to carry out a comprehensive search in CAM clinical research literature, including access to a large number of German homeopathic case reports.

The website presenting the CAM-quest database is currently available in English, French, Dutch and German, but will eventually be translated into all of the European languages.

The database is accessible at www.cam-quest.org

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Homeopathy Research Institute founded

The recently founded Homeopathy Research Institute aims to promote and facilitate high quality research in the field of Homeopathy. The Institute has gathered some of the world's experts in Homeopathy and Complementary and Alternative Medicine research to form their Scientific Advisory Committee.

The Homeopathy Research Institute promotes research in the field of homeopathy by:

  • Facilitating research projects within international academic institutions
  • Providing a peer review process for research proposals submitted to their Scientific Advisory Committee.

They aim to facilitate research which explores different aspects of homeopathy, such as the effectiveness of homeopathy in daily practice, effectiveness in treating key pathologies and the physical properties of homeopathic preparations. They also aim to inform health professionals and the general public about research in homeopathy through the provision of:

  • An online homeopathy research database
  • A free quarterly newsletter covering various homeopathy research topics.

The HRI has established a research database, which comprises randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of homeopathy that have been published in peer-reviewed journals up to 2009. Other such RCTs will be added in due course, and the database will be updated on an ongoing basis to remain a current resource.

The website and the database are accessible at http://www.homeoinst.org

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Database on clinical research in veterinary homeopathy launched

The first database on clinical research in veterinary homeopathy was recently launched. It contains all available literature information on original studies in the field of veterinary clinical research in homeopathy and provides all interested people with a large data-pool to perform intensive literature research.

The 'Veterinary Clinical Research Database in Homeopathy', or 'VetCR-database' for short, having approximately 200 entries of randomised clinical trials, non-randomised clinical trials, observational studies, drug provings, case reports and case series, enables researchers and veterinarians, sceptics and supporters to get a quick overview of the status of veterinary clinical research in homeopathy and alleviates the preparation of systematical reviews or may stimulate reproductions or even new studies. It is free of charge and open to all interested veterinarians and researchers.

Most studies were published in English and German. Data were extracted on the bibliographical data, clinical field, design of study, type of homeopathic treatment, type of control and blinding, species, intervention, number of animals, outcome, application of high potencies and prophylactic applications. By far the most studies involved gynaecological conditions in cattle, including infertility and MMA syndrome (mastitis-metritis-agalactia). More than 50% of the studies are randomised clinical trials.

Most of these studies were motivated by and interesting for economic considerations (cost reduction, production increase). The general aims are, on the one hand, the improvement of meat and milk quality, the reduction of postpartum infertility and of the calving-to-conception-interval, the increase of the number of offspring and its survivability and the diminution of diseases, especially mastitis at drying-off, and on the other hand, the reduction of use of chemical therapeutics (especially antibiotics), to lower the chemical load of meat and milk and to reduce treatment costs.

Many promising results suggest that homeopathically supported health concepts in organic and conventional meat production and dairy herds are suitable to decrease chemical therapeutics input. However, there are also studies showing no positive effect after homeopathic treatment. Therefore, further research and reproductions, accompanied by systematic reviews and meta-analyses, are necessary.

The database is probably far from being complete. Readers are therefore encouraged to notify the Karl and Veronica Carstens Foundation of missing studies.

The database can be entered here.

 

Reference
Clausen J, Albrecht H (2010) Database on veterinary clinical research in homeopathy. Homeopathy, 99:189-191 [PubMed]

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Homeopathic and antibiotic treatment of mastitis don't differ that much

A recent clinical control trial conducted by researchers at the department of Animal Nutrition and Animal Health of the University of Kassel in Germany studied the effectiveness of the classical homeopathic treatment strategy in cases of mild and moderate bovine clinical mastitis in comparison with antibiotic and placebo treatments. The trial was financially supported by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection.

To reduce the use of antibiotics in organic livestock production, European Union Regulations stipulate that homeopathic and herbal medicines shall be used in preference, provided that their therapeutic effect is effective for the species of animal and the condition for which the treatment is intended. The use of chemically-synthesised allopathic medicinal products may only be used under strict conditions, when the use of homeopathic and herbal medicines is inappropriate.

Studies from research groups in the United Kingdom and Germany show that 34–51% of clinical mastitis cases in dairy cows were treated with homeopathic medicines, although only a few papers have been published so far on using homeopathy as a treatment strategy in mastitis therapy.

In the recent trial a total of 136 lactating dairy cows with 147 affected quarters from four herds in Germany were randomly allocated to three treatment groups. The cows were examined on days 0, 1, 2 and on days 7, 14, 28 and 56 post initial infection to assess clinical signs. Simultaneously, with the exception of days 1 and 2, quarter milk samples for laboratory examinations (bacteriology, somatic cell count) were collected to assess bacteriological and cytological cure rates. On days 28 and 56, treatment strategies did not differ significantly with respect to the clinical outcomes and the total cure rate in cases of bacteriological negative mastitis (n=56). In cases of pathogen-positive mastitis (n=91), the cure rate after 4 and 8 weeks was similar between the two treatment strategies, homeopathy and antibiotic treatment, but the difference between the homeopathic and the placebo treatment at day 56 was significant (P<0.05).

The authors conclude that the results indicate a therapeutic effect of homeopathic treatment in cases of mild and moderate clinical mastitis and that the homeopathic treatment strategy in these cases therefore might be an alternative to the use of antibiotics. However, independent of treatment strategy and bacteriological status, the total cure rate was on a low level, revealing limitations in the effectiveness of both antibiotic and homeopathic treatment strategies.

Reference
Werner C, Sobiraj A, Sundrum A (2010). Efficacy of homeopathic and antibiotic treatment strategies in cases of mild and moderate bovine clinical mastitis. Journal of Dairy Research, doi:10.1017/S0022029910000543 [PubMed]

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