While contemplating the scienciness of homeopathy research and the time, money and effort wasted by misguided homeopathy researchers, I recently came across a paper which represents one such effort; it was published in the Journal of Analytical Methods in Chemistry in 2012, written by two Indian authors, one from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, West Bengal, and the other from a medical college associated with a local district hospital. Intrigued by the title claim of “Medicinally Active Ingredient in Ultradiluted Digitalis purpurea”, I decided to delve in.
The “alternative medicine” modality called homeopathy is popular in some parts of the world, especially some European countries (including Germany, where it was invented in the late 18th century; France; the UK), and in India and its neighbors in the subcontinent. Many Indian homeopaths are well-known amongst the global homeopathy-aficionado community, and there were over 250,000 registered homeopaths in India in 2010 – which is not surprising, considering that homeopathy enjoys official government patronage in India and is recognized as a valid system of medicine in that nation.
Holy pseudoscience, Batman!
Homeopathy websites (too many to list; I found the material for this post here) are all gleefully abuzz
today** with the following factoid – New Research From Aerospace Institute of the University of Stuttgart Scientifically Proves Water Memory and Homeopathy.
… the one I am going to describe really takes the cake: Australia-based Homeopathy Plus! is advocating the use of homeopathy to prevent and protect against meningococcal diseases. This is not merely burning, incandescent stupidity, but potentially lethal as well.
In the last post, I mentioned the conversation I had with my friend regarding homeopathic remedies. During this conversation was revealed the source of my friend’s strange and firm beliefs in this quackery. He presented several anecdotes about members of his family as living proofs of the benefits of homeopathy.
Very recently, I’ve had an occasion to cross swords with a close friend, a working molecular biologist, whose inexplicable belief in homeopathy flabbergasted me. I do know that we Indians have a culturally-conditioned, deep and abiding faith in many modalities of quackery, including homeopathy which is very popular in India. Nevertheless, I’d have expected someone like my friend, who has delved deep into the inner workings of cells, to naturally outgrow such infantile belief systems. Clearly, I was mistaken – but more about that later.
Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli is a common etiological agent of enteric diseases of young piglets. E. coli attaches to intestinal villi using surface protein adhesins, and subsequently colonizes, and proliferates in, the anterior small intestine; the production of enterotoxins results in clinical disease. The diseases manifest in two ways: