Another nail in the coffin of Medicine's own Zombie reveals
Professor Paul Glasziou, a leading academic in evidence based medicine at Bond University, was the chair of a working party by the National Health and Medical Research Council which was tasked with reviewing the evidence of 176 trials of homeopathy to establish if the treatment is valid.
A total of 57 systematic reviews, containing the 176 individual studies, focused on 68 different health conditions - and found there to be no evidence homeopathy was more effective than placebo on any.
Still it persists, not only in the UK but also in the US. And a simple google search about health insurance payments for homeopathy will reveal that the homeopathy industry is very busy writing long winded explanations of how to con your insurance company into covering homeopathy.(Key trick: have your homeopath recommend a Nurse Practitioner which have prescription authority in many states, and who will write you a prescription for homeopathy along with a statement of medical necessity).
Professor Glasziou writes in his BMJ Blog:
One surprise to me was the range of conditions that homeopathy had been evaluated in, including rheumatoid arthritis, radiodermatitis, stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth) due to chemotherapy, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. What subsequently shocked me more was that organizations promote homeopathy for infectious conditions, such as AIDS in Africa or malaria.
One wag posted to the Blog comments:
Prof Glaziou, I've been washing a homeopathy bottle every day for the last month, but the residue just keeps on getting stronger. Any advice?
It's not false if the treatment costs more than the average placebo.http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-expensive-placebos-work-better-20150127-story.html [latimes.com]
In another test, 67% of the patients were judged “very good” or having “marked improvement” after they took the expensive placebo, compared with 58% of patients after they took the purportedly cheap placebo.
The pills had a strong placebo effect in both groups. But 85 percent of those using the expensive pills reported significant pain relief, compared with 61 percent on the cheaper pills. The investigators corrected for each person’s individual level of pain tolerance.
revious studies have shown that pill size and color also affect people’s perceptions of effectiveness. In one, people rated black and red capsules as “strongest” and white ones as “weakest.”
Placebos can work even if you know you're taking a placebo:http://www.nhs.uk/news/2015/07July/Pages/The-placebo-effect-can-still-work-even-if-people-know-its-a-placebo.aspx [www.nhs.uk]http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/placebos-work-even-when-you-know-10-12-23/ [scientificamerican.com](the second study with sugar pills might be flawed though, since sugar is far from an inert substance in my opinion).
 Perhaps researchers using sugar as a "placebo" is why placebos seem to be getting stronger in some cases: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26307858 [nih.gov]http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-34572482 [bbc.com]It's possible that more people are addicted/sensitive to sugar nowadays so more people experience the effect where the pain-relief from getting a sugar placebo is combined with the "addict relief" of getting sugar.
That is correct. The marketing is precisely what makes these treatments effective.
The problem is as Dunbal related in another fork of this thread: when people go to homeopathic remedies before they go to more effective medical treatments.
The problem is not that homeopathic remedies are marketed as better than placebos. They are better placebos -- for people who believe that they are. The problem is when homeopathic remedies are incorrectly marketed as better than non-placebo treatments.