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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
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.
Clausen J, Albrecht H (2010) Database on veterinary clinical research in homeopathy. Homeopathy, 99:189-191 [PubMed]
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.
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]
They used polysomnography (PSG), which can distinguish divergent findings, if present, between subjective sleep complaints and objective all-night sleep recording assessments in certain types of insomnia.
The authors refer to multiple studies on healthy animals that have shown measurable effects on sleep of three different homeopathic medicines at potencies prepared to a dilution past Avogadro’s number (Histamine, Coffea Cruda, and Nux Vomica) compared with placebo. In these studies each medicine at a 30c potency altered sleep patterns notably with differential effects on electroencephalographic delta frequency (0.5– 2.5 Hz) power during sleep, while other investigators have demonstrated effects of Nux Vomica 30c on alcohol-induced sleep time in mice.
The authors argue that the relative lack of objective measures to evaluate homeopathy in human subjects has thus far hindered advances in both clinical care and research. Polysomnography, in their opinion, can offer a potentially valuable tool for homeopathic investigations.
In this trial young adults of both sexes (ages 18–31) were included with above-average scores on standardized personality scales for either cynical hostility or anxiety sensitivity (but not both) and a history of coffee-induced insomnia. At-home polysomnographic recordings were obtained on successive pairs of nights once per week for a total of eight recordings (nights 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23).
Subjects (N = 54) received placebo pellets on night 8 (single-blind) and verum pellets on night 22 (double-blind) in 30c doses of one of two homeopathic medicines, Nux Vomica or Coffea Cruda. Subjects completed daily morning sleep diaries and weekly Pittsburgh sleep quality index scales, as well as profile of mood states scales at bedtime on polysomnography nights.
This study demonstrated that the homeopathic medicines significantly increased PSG total sleep time and NREM, as well as awakenings and stage changes. Findings are similar though not identical to those reported in animals with the same medicines. Possible mechanisms include initial disruption of the nonlinear dynamics of sleep patterns by the homeopathic medicines.
Bell IR et al (2010). Effects of homeopathic medicines on polysomnographic sleep of young adults with histories of coffee-related insomnia. Sleep Medicine, doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2010.03.013
The response clearly states that ‘local NHS and clinicians, rather than Whitehall, are best placed to make decisions on what treatment is appropriate for their patients – including complementary or alternative treatments such as homeopathy – and provide accordingly for those treatments.’
Dr Sara Eames, President of the UK Faculty of Homeopathy states: ‘As a doctor who practices homeopathy on the NHS, I know homeopathy is an important part of our health service helping tens of thousands of patients annually, a majority of whom have not been helped sufficiently with conventional treatments. I am pleased to see the government, contrary to the recommendations of the Science and Technology’s report, agrees that homeopathy has a place in the NHS and offers choice to both patients and local purchasers of healthcare.’
‘I am pleased to see that the government’s response embraces patients’ right to make informed choices about healthcare,’ notes British Homeopathic Association Chief Executive, Cristal Sumner. ‘This response makes it quite clear that this choice includes complementary medicine and homeopathy more particularly, which is a welcome affirmation to all current and potential patients across the UK.’
To see the full government response click here.
To see commentary on Science and Technology report click here.