20 years ago: The British Homoeopathic Journal, July 1986 page 1
20 years ago: The British Homoeopathic Journal, July 1986 page 2
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20 years ago: The British Homoeopathic Journal, July 1986

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  • SOCIAL AND HISTORICAL

    hic

    what needed to be done to make the bicentennial truly

    century, when homeopathy spread widely despite erce

    cause for hope, a new danger was the pan-European

    the other half. They reported statistically signicant1

    backs for both these methods, which limited the

    analysis of results, using non-parametric statistical

    ARTICLE IN PRESS

    Homeopathy (2006) 95, 187189r 2006 The Faculty of HomeopathyNorwich, NR14 6JT, UK.E-mail: dgland@talk21.comthreat from regulating authorities, as the recent with-drawal of product licence of Pertussin had shown.Fisher concluded that the one sure defence against thiswas to develop homeopathy, widen its ranges andmake its results more certain.

    1. The selection for study of a disease which lacks apathological denition, but is dened purely in termsof its symptoms (brositis was chosen).

    2. The use of a restricted range of remedies selected tocover the range of symptoms of the disease (Arnica,Bryonia and Rhus were used, all in 6c; and eachprescription was scored for goodness of t).

    Three pages deal with experimental detail andCorrespondence: ST Land, 8 High Bungay Road, Loddon,opposition, and compared it with the stagnation whichhas occurred since; largely because of the progress inmedical science, but also because of complacency inhomeopathic circles and dependency on receivedknowledge. Although advances in physics had given

    demonstration of homeopathic effectiveness; the rstbased on the prescriber, the second on the limitationsof the remedy.In an attempt to obviate some of these problems, the

    present study had two main features:auspicious. He referred to the successful, if stormy, rst results. However, the present author described draw-20 years ago:The British Homoeopat

    ST Land

    8 High Bungay Road, Loddon, Norwich NR14 6JT, UK

    AneweditorDr Peter Fisher introduced himself briey as the new

    editor of the Journal, and paid tribute to both of hisimmediate predecessors: Ralph Twentyman for build-ing the Journals reputation as the leading interna-tional English-language journal at a difcult period forBritish homeopathy; and Anthony Campbell forintroducing critical intellectual and historical rigourto the Journal. The new editor now appealed for helpfrom colleagues in further developing the Journal. Hesaw the need to establish an element of peer reviewwith a panel of referees for articles, and of reviewersfor books. He also wished to recruit colleagues fromabroad to contribute short pieces on importantdevelopments affecting homeopathy in their countries.In his editorial, Fisher spoke of the 190th anniver-

    sary of homeopathy that year, counting from thepublication in 1796, in Hufelands Journal, of Hahne-manns classic Essay on a New Curative Principle;and suggested that it was a good moment to reect onNovel design for clinical trialThis paper by Peter Fisher is entitled An experi-

    mental double-blind clinical trial method in homoeo-pathy: use of a limited range of remedies to treatbrositis. It describes a novel and perhaps useful wayof dealing with the central problem in producingacceptable homeopathic research results; which is thedifculty in equating homeopathic methodology(based on symptomatology and individual treatment)with orthodox (based on pathology and standardizedtreatment). The author cited the experimental ap-proaches which had already been attempted forrheumatological conditions, so far always pathologybased: the open-ended type used by Gibson et al,allowing a free choice of remedy and potency; and thesingle remedy used by Broster et al, in a speciedpotency. The results of the second Gibson trial arereported in this issue. Both of their experimentalgroups were given orthodox treatment, but homeo-pathic treatment was added to one half, and placebo toJournal, July 1986doi:10.1016/j.homp.2006.05.006, available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com

  • the importance of integrating the different activities; mixing economic, political, legal and medical incen-

    ARTICLE IN PRESS

    20 years agoST Land

    188

    Homeopaclinical practice, education, academic study andresearch, making them mutually supportive. Withinthis pattern, data collection would be justied,enormously benecial and funif it could be maderelevant, creative and stimulating, and most of all,rewarded by feed back.The author outlined the ve possible functions of

    data collection; audit, research, renement of clinicalpractice, development of material medica and reper-tory, and the servicing of the decision support systemby the development of an expert system. He saw thelast function as a highly sophisticated and as yetremote use of a computer, but one which woulddepend on good data collection. In the nal section,the author dealt with the appallingly difcultchallenge which this presents if the project were to bemade universally relevant and useful, and discussed allmethods. Homeopathy produced a signicant im-provement, but only when the prescribed remedy waswell indicated.In his conclusions, the author suggested that

    experimental design of this type may be capable ofyielding data on the actions of individual remedieswithout the necessity for very large-scale trials. Theycan also provide evidence about the specicity ofremediesthe most striking nding of this trial is thedemonstration of the narrow spectrum of homoeo-pathic remedies; and that the whole area of trialmethodology in homoeopathy requires further inves-tigation. It may be that the main use of the hybridtype of design which we have described will be forpilot studies to dene promising areas for furtherinvestigation.2

    Data collectionJeremy Swayne presented a paper Data collection

    and research in homoeopathic medicine to a BritishHomoeopathic Research Group Meeting. He intro-duced it with a strong condemnation of the state ofhomeopathy at the time: The prevailing sadness thataccompanies my enthusiasm for homoeopathic medi-cine is that it is such a mess. He spoke of inconsistency,confusion, wooliness and complacency; and theuncritical acceptance of the repertory and materiamedica, where there ought to be a living and evolvingmatrix of practice and experience, retaining only thebest of the old. It was necessary to look carefully,comprehensively and critically at what we were doing.Although temperamentally unsympatheric to tech-

    nology, the author saw the computer as essential; butwas concerned that so many resented the intrusion ofaudit and mechanization into their clinical practice,and sensed a widely felt resistance to academic work ingeneral practice. To answer this, he recommended ashort paper by John Horder in the British MedicalJournal (BMJ 289; 27 October 1984). Swayne stressedthytives.5

    Champion of HomoeopathyThe Life of MargeryBlackie. By Constance Babington Smith

    After expressions of appreciation to the RoyalFamily and members of the Royal Medical Householdfor their help and support, the book is then dividedinto three parts. Part 1 traces her life as far as thesetting up of her practice in Kensington, and describesthe deep relationships she developed with friends andmentors. Part 2 starts with her Presidency of theFaculty and describes her enormous efforts in the eldof education as Dean of the Faculty, with her ferventinsistence on classical homeopathy. It also gives lovelytouches about her personal tastes and private life atCastle Hedingham. Part 3 covers the period as RoyalPhysician; but also the loss of those close to her, andthe points which must be considered for the creation ofdata sheets.3

    A second paper on this subject is entitled Informa-tion technology and the future of homoeopathy byDavid Witko. This author was obviously highlycomputer literate, providing a good complement toSwaynes concerns to encourage the less enthusiastic.Witko appeared keen to press ahead with implement-ing the possibilities of the computer. He likewisediscussed points for creation of a database, butdescribed the development of an expert system as along-term rather than a remote objective! Hedescribed the expert system, giving an illustration ofhow it might be used. He mentioned a group which wasforming to develop these methods, and gave an addressfor contacts.4

    Book reviewsDPTA Shot in the Dark by Harris L Coulter andBarbara Loe Fisher

    This is a comprehensive review of the experiencewith pertussis immunization in the USA. There is somebias; Coulter has an interest in homeopathy, and thereare over 100 cases of alleged vaccine damage. Never-theless, the reviewer considered that the writersattempted to give a balanced view of this controversialsubject, referring to over 300 books, articles anddocuments, listed in an extensive bibliography. Heconcluded Although this book is clearly relevant tothe US public at large, and written in a styleappropriate to that readership, the British healthprofessional would be foolish to dismiss it on thesegrounds. In the very least it combines more informa-tion about pertussis immunization than any singlework of which I am aware; and further points out theshortcomings of many of the conclusions drawn fromthe major studies affecting medical consciousness onthis issue today. The more socially conscious readerwill nd examples of the entangled consequence of

  • the catastrophe of the 1972 Trident air disaster.Finally, there is her award of the CVO in 1979,retirement, and last days at Castle Hedingham.6

    Classical Homoeopathy by Margery Blackie. Edited byCharles Elliott and Frank Johnson

    In the preface, the editors state that the material inthe book is drawn from Margery Blackies teachingand writing over the whole span of her career. Thereviewer, RAF Jack, a friend of Dr Blackies, haswritten a long and enthusiastic review. He noted thatthe editors had taken pains not to obtrude any of theirown views or