There’s quite a debate going on in the scientific community these days. The topic happens to be whether a rather controversial clinical trial should take place.

At first, this deliberation might seem odd, considering all evidence these days is benchmarked on clinical trials. Yet the actual test agent for the study is something that, shall we say, is a little…

fightControversial…

It’s about a vaccine, which probably doesn’t sound all that troublesome. But when you think about the nature of the vaccine, you might appreciate why this is such a hot topic…

homeopathybanner3It’s homeopathic…

For those who don’t know, homeopathy is essentially a practice of dilution. A particular chemical, such as a plant chemical or a microbial toxin, is diluted, usually in a combination of water and alcohol.

This probably doesn’t sound all that controversial. But when you think about the actual amount of dilution that occurs…

dilutionsThere’s a reason to be skeptical…

You might think this one fact might derail the entire concept of homeopathy. But according to many believers, this concept of ultra-dilution is actually a goal. For them, the more dilute the chemical, the more potent it gets.

potencyEssentially, less means more…

The concept of a stronger pill with less medication may seem counter-productive. Yet in some areas of homeopathy, this is desired. Some practitioners wish to have all the medication removed through dilution. For them, the real activity comes not from the chemical but rather…

waterThe Memory of Water…

This is perhaps the most ludicrous aspect of the homeopathy assumptions. Mind you, there is some science behind this notion. We know water can change its shape based on the presence of a chemical. But, as soon as that object is removed, say through dilution, the water returns to its normal behaviour within milliseconds…

memory
(Liquid has a very short memory.)

So, with all this in mind, it’s not surprising the response of many people upon learning there is a proposed homeopathy vaccine trial was…

noMind you, they are not the Clinical Trials regulator…

As a result, the trial is still going to happen. If you wish to read about it you can find the information here: Homeopathic Vaccine Trial

In terms of the debate, one can understand why the idea of allowing this trial to go ahead may seem like a waste of time and money. As some have said, this also may lend undue credibility to homeopathy. For those fully in the duck-adjective corner, this trial simply should not happen.

On the other hand, there are people who rely on clinical trials to be able to provide information to the public. Granted, in the case of homeopathy, there are more than enough reasons to doubt its effectiveness. Yet, having that clinical trial data would be incredible helpful and add strength to the messaging.

There is, however, one slight risk going through with the trial…

rightWhat if Homeopathy Does Work?

It’s a valid question even though we pretty much know the answer. Yet, as any good scientist will tell you, one must be ready for this possible outcome.

While I feel there will be absolutely no positive results from this clinical trial, I have put together a few possible reasons to explain why the hypothesis – homeopathy doesn’t work – could be wrong.

The first is called the Kirkwood-Buff Theory and it uses not mathematics, but thermodynamics to explain how chemicals react at very high dilutions. As the dilution gets higher, chemicals tend to aggregate together at the atomic level. They cannot be seen or detected using standard methods but they are there. How this theory works is incredibly complex but if you wish to read about it, you can find an excellent article here: Kirkwood-Buff Theory.

The second is the observation of this theory in action. When certain chemical composites are put into saline solutions, they tend to leach into the solution in incredibly small quantities. You can see them using biophysical techniques such as infrared spectroscopy. But, if you use visual techniques, such as electron microscopy, you see nothing. You can read more about this phenomenon here: Composite Materials and Saline Extracts.

Finally, there is norovirus. As little as one of these infectious villains can send us for a three day trip down the rabbit hole…

toilet(Make that Toilet Bowl)

Considering the dilution effect of food, water, and then the actual harsh conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, infection should be impossible. Yet it still occurs.

As you might expect, I’m looking forward to the clinical trial and the results. For me, at least, there will be some evidence to provide comment. Of course, whatever the results end up being, there is a good likelihood the debate over this controversial practice won’t end. Homeopathy has been around for hundreds of years. It’s doubtful one clinical trial is going to put an end – or alternatively raise its credibility – to any great extent.

What do you think of the clinical trial? Do you feel it should go ahead? Let me know your thoughts…

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