20 years ago: The British Homoeopathic Journal, July 1986

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<ul><li><p>SOCIAL AND HISTORICAL</p><p>hic</p><p>what needed to be done to make the bicentennial truly</p><p>century, when homeopathy spread widely despite erce</p><p>cause for hope, a new danger was the pan-European</p><p>the other half. They reported statistically signicant1</p><p>backs for both these methods, which limited the</p><p>analysis of results, using non-parametric statistical</p><p>ARTICLE IN PRESS</p><p>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.</p><p>1. The selection for study of a disease which lacks apathological denition, but is dened purely in termsof its symptoms (brositis was chosen).</p><p>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).</p><p>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</p><p>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</p><p>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</p><p>ST Land</p><p>8 High Bungay Road, Loddon, Norwich NR14 6JT, UK</p><p>AneweditorDr Peter Fisher introduced himself briey as the new</p><p>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-</p><p>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-</p><p>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</p></li><li><p>the importance of integrating the different activities; mixing economic, political, legal and medical incen-</p><p>ARTICLE IN PRESS</p><p>20 years agoST Land</p><p>188</p><p>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</p><p>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</p><p>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</p><p>Data collectionJeremy Swayne presented a paper Data collection</p><p>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-</p><p>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</p><p>Champion of HomoeopathyThe Life of MargeryBlackie. By Constance Babington Smith</p><p>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</p><p>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</p><p>Book reviewsDPTA Shot in the Dark by Harris L Coulter andBarbara Loe Fisher</p><p>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</p></li><li><p>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</p><p>Classical Homoeopathy by Margery Blackie. Edited byCharles Elliott and Frank Johnson</p><p>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 opinions, so that only Dr Blackies voiceis heard. The task of sifting through a vast amount ofmaterial took over 3 years; sadly, Frank Johnson diedthe day before publication; this issue contains hisobituary.The editors summarize the book as follows: The</p><p>rst part describes the thinking behind homoeopathyand the principles on which the successful homoeo-pathic prescription is basedy The major constitu-</p><p>quoted: In gardening terms I compare my highpotencies to a shower of rain and my low potency tothe watering can that I must use occasionally on somecorner of the garden in order to weather a criticalstage. The book is full of such illustrations, of tit-bitsof information and aphorisms, and of interestinganecdotes.Finally, the reviewer made two timely comments</p><p>about Dr Blackie, with examples of each point: She isrefreshingly honest about her limitations of knowledgeor experience in homoeopathy; and Writing with theauthority of her life-time experience in homoeopathy,she is not afraid to challenge great authorities likeKent, and unashamedly debunk long cherished, butinaccurate teachings of the pasty..Hopefully this approach may help subsequent</p><p>teachers and authors to follow suit.7</p><p>References</p><p>ARTICLE IN PRESS</p><p>20 years agoST Land</p><p>189individually or differentiated within groups of relatedremedies. This is followed by the symptomatic treat-ment of illness or disability, analysing each of theremedies that may be of value, and distinguishing theparticular circumstances in which one remedy is likelyto be indicated in preference to another. The nal partis a compact materia medica, summarizing 111 of theremedies already described.Dr Jack referred to the balanced approach which</p><p>runs all through the book: both in her insistence on theuse of conventional medicine when appropriate; and inher use of potencies. It appears that she regularly usedlow potencies, although being one of the rst andgreatest advocates of high potency prescribing. He1 Gibson RG, Gibson SLM, MacNeill AD, Watson W. Homo-</p><p>eopathic therapy in rheumatoid arthritis: evaluation by double-</p><p>blind clinical therapeutic trial. Br Hom J 1986; 75: 148157.</p><p>2 Fisher P. An experimental double-blind clinical trial method in</p><p>homoeopathy: use of a limited range of remedies to treat</p><p>brositis. Br Hom J 1986; 75: 142147.</p><p>3 Swayne J. Data collection and research in homoeopathic</p><p>medicine. Br Hom J 1986; 75: 157161.</p><p>4 Witko D. Information technology and the future of homoeo-</p><p>pathy. Br Hom J 1986; 75: 162164.</p><p>5 Coulter HL, Fisher BL. DPTA Shot in the Dark. London:</p><p>Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovitch, 1985 ISBN: O-15-126481-3.</p><p>6 Babington Smith C. Champion of HomoeopathyThe Life of</p><p>Margery Blackie. London: John Murray, 1986.</p><p>7 Blackie M. Classical Homoeopathy. in: Elliott C, Johnson F</p><p>editors. Beaconseld: Beaconseld Publishers, 1986. p. 320.tional remedies are then studied in detail, eitherHomeopathy</p><p>20 years ago: The British Homoeopathic Journal, July 1986A new editorNovel design for clinical trialData collectionBook reviewsDPT--A Shot in the Dark by Harris L Coulter and Barbara Loe FisherChampion of Homoeopathy--The Life of Margery Blackie. By Constance Babington SmithClassical Homoeopathy by Margery Blackie. Edited by Charles Elliott and Frank Johnson</p><p>References</p></li></ul>