Why study implausible health modalities?

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1409533_82080632Dr. Heather Boon, Dean of the University of Toronto s School of Pharmacy, is planning a study to examine the use of homeopathic preparations to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). But nearly one hundred scientists and physicians have signed a letter questioning the validity of such a study.

Dr. Joseph Schwarcz, chemistry professor at McGill University, published both a commentary and the letter sent to Dr. Boon urging her to explain her rationale for wanting to study a form of treatment that has already been the subject of numerous studies. None found that homeopathy could reliably be considered effective.

Homeopathy is a modality invented by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, back in the 1790s, well before the scientific basis of medical treatment was established. He thought that to cure a disease, one must treat it with a remedy that causes the same symptoms. This was followed with the concept of extreme dilution and shaking supposedly to potentiate the treatment s efficacy. But we now know that such dilution leaves nothing of the original compounds in the solution. They contain just water.

Yet this is the modality that Dr. Boon proposes to study; could she really think that it could have any effect other than a placebo effect on children with ADHD? It s hard for us, and obviously for the many signatories of Dr. Schwarcz s letter to believe.

ACSH s Dr. Ruth Kava had this to say It s inconceivable to us here at ACSH that a professor of pharmacology really could think there was even the slightest chance that a homeopathic remedy could be effective against any disease. While an 18th century physician might be excused for believing in this so-called treatment, no such leeway can be extended to a supposed scientist in the 21st century!

ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom says, I find it inconceivable that anyone with even the slightest knowledge of chemistry could do anything but laugh at homeopathy. It violates pretty much everything in the field, especially regarding dissolution. Perhaps they should just take the grant money and dissolve it in nitric acid. At least something real happens. Do not try this at home.