He lost interest

You probably saw about the meta-study of all the studies the other day that found – surprise! – that homeopathy is as worthless as it says on the tin. The guy who chaired it did so much meta-studying he got bored.

Professor Paul Glasziou, a leading academic in evidence based medicine at Bond University, was the chair of a working party by the National Health and Medical Research Council which was tasked with reviewing the evidence of 176 trials of homeopathy to establish if the treatment is valid.

A total of 57 systematic reviews, containing the 176 individual studies, focused on 68 different health conditions – and found there to be no evidence homeopathy was more effective than placebo on any.

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine based on the idea of diluting a substance in water.

According to the NHS: “Practitioners believe that the more a substance is diluted in this way, the greater its power to treat symptoms. Many homeopathic remedies consist of substances that have been diluted many times in water until there is none or almost none of the original substance left.”

But why would more water than there is in the known universe have power to treat symptoms? Unless the symptoms are all thirst, I suppose. But I don’t grasp the basic principle that more dilution equals more power. Dilution should make the power less, not more. If you dilute coffee it doesn’t make you more awake. I suspect a practical joke lasting centuries here.

Writing in a blog for the British Medical Journal, Professor Glasziou states:

“As chair of the working party which produced the report I was simply relieved that the arduous journey of sifting and synthesising the evidence was at an end.

“I had begun the journey with an ‘I don’t know attitude’, curious about whether this unlikely treatment could ever work… but I lost interest after looking at the 57 systematic reviews which contained 176 individual studies and finding no discernible convincing effects beyond placebo.”

Poor guy. It does sound deadly boring.

H/t Omar

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