PSYC 180 Lecture Notes - Antibody, Zyklon, Antigen

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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 17th 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
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
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 ; prospecting thinking about cause & effect
There is no such thing as an epidemic of cancer
Interventional Controlled Study study where the material to be tested and the assignment of subjects is
controlled by the investigator (clinical trials)
Oldest clinical trial is found in the Book of Daniel
Double Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study
Placebo a substance that has the same taste as the testable substance but no active substance
Placebo Effect if somebody believes that something will happen, the placebo will have an effect
Blinded Study subject cannot know which is the placebo or the active substance
Double-Blinded Study neither scientist nor subject knows which pill is which
Randomization ensure two groups are equivalent
Best randomization special phone connected to a computerized randomization programme
Meta-analysis - an analysis that combines the result of several studies to answer a set of related
Homeopaths say that the water has acquired the memory of the diluted substance (water memory)
Jacques Benveniste
A solution of an antigen, diluted to the extent that there were no chance of any original molecules left,
could still give rise to a biological response
There is no physical basis for such an activity
Study had not been double-blinded properly
Under controlled circumstances, the theory was a delusion
Homeopathic e-mail a homeopathic solution is connected to a computer, and it transfers its molecules
through another wire connected to the receiving end of the solution
How can one explain that some studies show some benefit for homeopathy?
Jadad score (the higher the number, the better the study)
Vaccines contain an inactivated form of the toxin-causing disease. They contain measurable amounts of
active substance, and give rise to the production of measurable amounts of antibodies
Meta-analysis has found that there is no benefit from homeopathy clinical effects of homeopathy are placebo
Oscillococcinum sued for misleading lawsuits because product essentially contains none of the advertised
Ethics Fritz Haber
Development of ammonia, chlorine gas
Institute for Chemical Warfare developed Zyklon B
Love and Scientists Marie Curie
Two Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry
Paul Langevin moved in with Marie Curie, but after a while couldn’t take the heat and left
Arrhenius told Curie to not get her prize because of the scandal with Langevin