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PSYC180 Lecture - Homeopathy.docx

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McGill University
PSYC 180
Amir Raz

PSYC180 Lecture: March 15 – Homeopathy Wishful science  Deception relatively rare, but self-deception can happen. Scientist is so convinced of his theory he’s blinded to anything else  N-Rays Story Homeopathy was started in the 17 century by Samuel Hahnemann  chewed on Peruvian bark and developed a high fever  At high doses, quinine causes symptoms of malaria; at small doses, it is used for treatment “Provings” – what would happen when he took large amounts of a particular substance  Diary of mental, physical, emotional sensations when ingesting various dilutions of “remedies” Belladonna  hot, flushed skin and dilated pupils; diluted forms of belladonna should be used to treat high fever with staring eyes Arsenic  burning gastric pain, vomiting, diarrhea; diluted amounts of arsenic should be used for the treatment of stomach ailments Homeopathy is based on the theory of similarity (if a substance gives rises to certain symptoms at high doses, the substance should treat the symptoms at low doses) Allopathy – if certain symptoms develop, you must use different substances to negate their effect Evidence-Based Medicine  Effectiveness proved beyond the natural healing process and beyond the placebo effect Hahnemann was only interested in symptoms, not the causes, nor the physiological process responsible for the disease  Decided that the more diluted a solution becomes, the more effective the remedy (law of infinitesimals)  Venom of bushmaster snake causes circulatory problems, diluted should be used to treat circulatory problems 30x = this preparation has been diluted by a factor of 10 to the 30 (equivalent to 1 drop in 50 times the volume of the earth 30c = this preparation has been diluted by a factor of 100 to the 30 (equivalent to 1 drop in 30 billion times the volume of the earth) Succussion – hitting substance on a leather surface supposedly energizes the solution 2 different forms: multi-ingredient homeopathy medication/single ingredient homeopathy Homeopathy is safe  was used during the cholera outbreak in 1854 (first case of epidemiological studies) Holistic medicine: rather than treating the disease, you treat the person People have become disenchanted with conventional medicine, and distrustful of the pharmaceutical industry. CAM treatments affect 70% of the population. Does homeopathy offer additional effects beside the placebo effect?  Observational study – study where the assignment of subjects is not controlled by the investigator (retrospective or prospective)  Retrospective – thinking back
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