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Video: Trial Design Challenges in Homeopathic Medical Research

Video Highlights

At the time of this video, Dr Elizabeth Thomson was the lead clinician and academic director of Bristol Homeopathic Hospital, UK.

  • Elizabeth’s main focus was on trial design. From running randomized control trials, she noticed that because their create an artificial setting, their findings could impact homeopaths.
  • Elizabeth and colleague, Claire, started to work on ways to reduce the impact of the researcher on the participants, whether they are the patient or the therapist. Claire has been working on a ZELLONS design study with 5,000 people with chronic pain to see if the introduction of an intervention reduces that pain.
  • Biggest challenge is the idea that the placebo idea is ‘nothing’ and so, not worth anything.
  • Studies have shown that expectations can open up people’s ability to self-heal. Further from that, studies have shown that even the expectations of the therapist impact on a person’s ability to heal.
  • While purists say that the placebo controlled trial is essential for proof of effect, Elizabeth believes that using many different trial designs is the best way for getting the most reliable results.
  • She has a lot of hope for homeopathy as the homeopathic community has stuck together through a time of hardships time while other structures and financial systems are breaking now down, including the NHS.
  • The biomedical model sees the body in parts while holistic approaches like homeopathy see the body as a whole. For this reason, the biomedical approach will be unable to sustain itself as the body is obviously a holistic system rather than just a collection of parts.
  • She believes homeopathy is moving into a time of growth and hopes the homeopathic community will be more involved in health prevention in more routine ways in the future.
  • She also supports conventional and homeopathic medicines being used in an integrative way so that the errors or excesses of each can be corrected for the benefit of the patient.

See below video: