On October 31st – WDDTY released the November issue of their magazine. As expected, it was a ‘cancer special’, carrying the front page head line ‘New Light on Cancer’. The apparent ‘new light’ may refer to an article about homeopathy titled ‘Like Water for Chemo’. This article was written by Bryan Hubbard, the co-editor of WDDTY who refused to answer my emails when I questioned him about the accuracy and truthfulness in his writings. The way Bryan writes in this article is actually quite amusing. It reads like he knows it’s a load of bullshit but is desperate to draw out any minute piece of evidence he can find to make it all sound plausible.
“Doctors call it “nonsense on stilts”, and professors of medicine have been bullying government and health authorities to stop offering it on the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), while scientists say it is implausible, if not impossible, as it breaks every law of science they know.”
Why do these people always say that as soon as anything negative is said about their profession it’s ‘bullying’? Accept criticism, learn from it and improve. I will probably never understand why this is but the number of people banned from fair and open discussion on WDDTY Facebook page speaks volumes. Anyway, yes, it is nonsense on stilts, it is implausible, it is impossible and it does break every law of science we know. Spot on.
“Homeopathy is everyone’s favourite whipping boy, and if it does clear up a snuffly cold or minor headache, it’s all due to the placebo effect: it’s just mind over matter, and people merely think it’s making them better. Any active ingredient in a homeopathic remedy is diluted sometimes thousands of times, so any effect must be entirely in someone’s imagination.”
Thanks Bryan – I could not have worded it better myself.
“That makes perfect sense, assuming our understanding of physics and human biology is complete. But judging by how it is used in India—where doctors routinely use it even for life-threatening diseases like cancer—we perhaps have a little way to go yet.”
We still have a lot to learn about physics and human biology, but not so much that it would reverse our entire understanding of everything we’ve ever known about the universe.
“The Indian doctors have found an unlikely ally in the US government’s National Cancer Institute, which has been so impressed by the way cancer patients have responded to homeopathic remedies that they want to see more research carried out.”
Were they though? Are they? I have heard WDDTY spill this so many times, yet never read anything that suggests the NCI are interested. Search for ‘Homeopathy’ on the NCI website and it’ll link you to the NCCAM page where the first thing it says is “There is little evidence to support homeopathy as an effective treatment for any specific condition.”
“Everyday miracles are carried out at several homeopathic clinics in Kolkata (Calcutta) in India, and it was there that American researchers went to see the work for themselves. One member of the research team, Dr Moshe Frenkel, who was at the time working at the MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) in Houston, was astounded by what he witnessed. “I saw things there that I couldn’t explain. Tumours shrank with nothing else other than homeopathic remedies. X-rays had shown there had been a lesion on the lung and a year after taking the remedy it had shrunk or disappeared.” Still sceptical, or perhaps fearing he was the victim of a medical variant on the Indian rope trick, Dr Frenkel went back to his laboratory at MDACC and decided to test the homeopathic remedies on a culture of breast cancer cells. The protocols were as rigorous as they are for when Frenkel and his researchers test a new chemotherapy drug.”
Dr Frenkel is well known to be an avid supporter of not only homeopathy but many other quack alternative treatments through his group Interactive Oncology Consultants. So you have to accept that his quoted opinions are bias. The study WDDTY is referring to has been covered before in March 2012 and I spoke a little about it here.
“Eight scientists from MDACC tested four remedies—Carcinosin 30C, Conium maculatum 3C, Phytolacca decandra 200C and Thuja occidentalis 30C—on two human breast-cancer cell lines. Around 5,000 cells were exposed to the remedies and to a placebo—the solvent without the active ingredients of the remedies—for periods of between one and four days. The experiment was repeated three times. Two of the remedies—Carcinosin and Phytolacca—achieved as much as an 80 per cent response, indicating they had caused apoptosis, or programmed cell death. By comparison, the placebo solvent achieved only a 30 per cent reduction, suggesting that the homeopathic effect was more than twice that of a placebo.”
The methodology and results from this study have been heavily criticised before by others. Essentially, the study is not well carried out. There has been no statistical analysis of the data carried out. Therefore ANY conclusions drawn in the paper cannot be backed up with data. It is complete lunacy that the paper made it through peer-review. Then there is the problem I raised before regarding the controls. Your control should not be killing 30% of your cell. If that’s the case you have a major problem.
And please WDDTY – stop saying that the control is a placebo. THEY ARE CELLS IN A DISH. It’s a VEHICLE CONTROL not a PLACEBO. AHHHGGGHH.
“Not believing the results, his colleagues insisted on an immediate second trial and in a different laboratory—and the same results came back”
Where are these results? Where is the paper?
“If you come to a different conclusion, why not publish a paper saying it doesn’t work.” That was several years ago and still no paper has appeared.”
This is because no research lab wants to waste tax payers’ money on it and a similar study was conducted earlier in 2006 and showed the complete opposite.
As I read on, I came to realise that this article IS the article from March 2012! Nearly word for word. I am confused. I thought there was going to be some revealing new evidence into the efficacy of homeopathy that was going to wake up the sceptics. Just another lie from the charming people at WDDTY I suppose. You can read more of my de-bunk from the March 2012 article here so I don’t have to write it all again.
Did I just get trolled by Lynne McTaggart?