Open Mind: Has Water A Memory?

There was a discussion thread on Indian Group on alternate therapies. While some facts and arguments made against such alternate therapies were valid (including the fact that cutthroat quacks make full use of it to fleece gullible and ignorant), I found that position didn’t make any allowance for things yet unknown, little known, and more importantly for probable unknowns even in the stuff we seem to think we know completely. I therefore attempted to point out that homoeopathy has given remarkable results in several cases personally known to me when everything else or several other treatments failed. Instead of rigid doctrinaire position, I said a more pragmatic approach based on one’s own experience would be best for everyone. The reply I received to my message has triggered this post.
The main point of my message was missed. Judge for yourself what works best for you is what I wanted to stress. Or as Deng Xiaoping had famously said in support of his proposition to have Capitalist Economy with Socialist polity (whatever that may mean), “I don’t care what colour the cat is so long it catches mice”. Since I have seen homoeopathy work well for some people after everything else has failed- and not in what are called psychosomatic cases, I suggested an open mind on the issue. I can cite more testimonies, but they won’t work in the face of a position that has ring of finality, and won’t count as peer reviewed scientific evidence. Homoeopathy’s empirical theory may be faulty, but if it works even in some cases then it is a duty of a true enquirer to find Why? Even allopathic medicines do not work in every case. When new drugs are approved in clinical trials for efficacy, the cut off is based on statistical models (did the drug give *desired* results better than control group or placebo effect, and were toxicity effects within acceptable limits?). WHO and national drug approval authorities have had to direct pharma-companies to withdraw approved and marketed drugs when it became known they cause more harm than help, or worse, are simply of no use. Just like Credit Ratings agencies who get paid by those whom they rate, the entire apparatus (doctors, technicians, administrators) involved in clinical trials is paid for by pharmaceutical companies most often. Therefore, just like Credit Rating agencies, the clinical trials too may be compromised, and sometimes are. The point is that allopathy and established modern medical practices too deserve healthy skepticism, and homoeopathic results, when they are demonstrably there, should not invite ridicule. On this point it would be interesting to have a look at Designer Disease : “I am Wrong”, and I strongly urge readers do. There is undoubtedly great need of good research in Homoeopathy, Ayurveda, and such other therapeutic methods. However, why research funds, the demands for which are huge, populate only certain fields of medical enquiry and not others is a question for separate study.
Good Science demands a healthy dose of skepticism at everything else, but above all at itself. Established science has in many instances resisted evidence that contradicted popular theories, until it was no longer possible to hold on in the face of mounting evidence and a maverick, who came along to postulate a model that better fitted the new evidence. Astonishingly, established science not seldom behaves in this regard like religion, and claims just like religion ownership over some *transcendent, immutable laws*.  Though it is quite fashionable to talk of “laws of nature”, I prefer the humble approach of calling them models, imagined by humans, about how the nature works. What Newton called the gravitational force became later for Einstein simply the property of Space-Time continuum and curvature (again whatever that means). While the model of space, galaxies, stars and planets, and what holds them together changed, Universe and Nature continued about their business quite unmindful. Model’s modesty holds the awareness that they are fallible, unlike the *majesty of infallible God* that “Laws” invoke. Those haunted by the uncertainty of what is really happening at the largest (universe, galaxies, background radiation) or the smallest (subatomic zoo, Schrödinger, Heisenberg, Higgs boson) scale of the universe are acutely aware of this, but not those like us who deal with seeming certainty of everyday physical or chemical world.
The suggestion to test administering of attenuated solutions of tobacco or fatty foods to cure lung cancer or excess of low density cholesterol is indeed novel. But if it is proffered simply to ridicule the observation of Samuel Hahnemann, then let me cite equally *absurd observation and experiment* conducted by Dr. Edward Jenner (not the first to do so- inoculation/variolation was practiced in India, China, and some others part of the world long before the 18th Century) to inject cowpox ooze to protect from smallpox. (BTW, Rhinoplasty too was practiced in India much before Europeans). Since Avogadro’s *principle* (sic, that actually deals with gas volume and moles, relevant here is Avogadro’s Constant) is mentioned here to negate the validity of high dilutions of Homoeopathy –for which I hold no brief, I assume the scientific experiment is known too that undid the formidable reputation of French immunologist Jacques Benveniste, whose experiment came to be called, Water Memory, and whose findings were published in respected science journal Nature in 1988. That experiment was subsequently *disproved*, but gave unexpected fillip to partisans of homeopathy and still continues to evoke excitement. Same Wikipedia articletalks of another experiment: “An independent test of the 2000 remote-transmission experiment was carried out in the USA by a team funded by the United States Department of Defense. Using the same experimental devices and setup as the Benveniste team, they failed to find any effect when running the experiment. Several “positive” results were noted, however, but only when a particular one of Benveniste’s researchers was running the equipment. “We did not observe systematic influences such as pipetting differences, contamination, or violations in blinding or randomization that would explain these effects from the Benveniste investigator. However, our observations do not exclude these possibilities.””. While the study honestly conceded that one experimenter did obtain *several positive results* and gave her a clean chit for not fudging results, it did add a catch-22 caveat; though concerned experimenter was under observation to detect *these possibilities*, the fact that any such possibilities were not observed doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. Call it abundant caution or awareness of fallibility, but this remarkable observation is of particular consequence as we shall soon see. A takeaway from this experiment is that both opponents and proponents of homoeopathy have high stakes in any experiments that prove or disprove that water has memory of a substance or anything else it was in contact with earlier, even when diluted far beyond the possibility of physical presence of the substance as mandated by Avogadro’s Constant. Below I present the evidence I discovered today in defense of water-memory.
An Article in New Scientist, I would like to mischievously call it, *Natrum Mur puzzle*, in deference to example given of homoeopathic natrum mur medicine and for the fact that it was actually studied in the experiment: “Yet a paper is about to be published in the reputable journal Physica A claiming to show that even though they should be identical, the structure of hydrogen bonds in pure water is very different from that in homeopathic dilutions of salt solutions. Could it be time to take the “memory” of water seriously?… When Swiss chemist Louis Rey used the method on ice he saw two peaks of light, at temperatures of around 120 K and 170 K. Rey wanted to test the idea, suggested by other researchers, that the 170 K peak reflects the pattern of hydrogen bonds within the ice. In his experiments he used heavy water (which contains the heavy hydrogen isotope deuterium), because it has stronger hydrogen bonds than normal water. Aware of homeopaths’ claims that patterns of hydrogen bonds can survive successive dilutions, Rey decided to test samples that had been diluted down to a notional 10-30grams per cubic centimetre – way beyond the point when any ions of the original substance could remain. “We thought it would be of interest to challenge the theory, he says.
Each dilution was made according to a strict protocol, and vigorously stirred at each stage, as homeopaths do. When Rey compared the ultra-dilute lithium and sodium chloride solutions with pure water that had been through the same process, the difference in their thermoluminescence peaks compared with pure water was still there (see graph).
Second bit of striking evidence came from a video posted on various sites, titled Water Has a Memory or Scientists investigate water memory. It is also on Youtube.
Somehow, neither sites, Odewire(catch line: News For Intelligent Optimists) and Worldmathaba, did not invoke confidence. I wondered if the reputed name of “Aerospace Institute of the University of Stuttgart” has been treacherously used by confidence tricksters. Further Google search threw up a slightly longer version of the same video evocatively titled, Unser Wissen ist ein Tropfen, or Our knowledge is a drop.
It was a short step then to find the original source in German. The correct name of the institute is *Institut für Statik und Dynamik der Luft-und Raumfahrtkonstruktionen Universität Stuttgart* (the institute) or in Google translation, *Institute for Statics and Dynamics of air and space structures University of Stuttgart*. Last year in September, at the Water Symposium organized at Bad Füssing, the institute presented a paper, Hat Wasser ein Gedächtnis? (Has Water a Memory?). The brochure of the full event on page 6 and 7 announces the details of institute’s presentation. Regrettably, the brochure is in German, but persevering enquirers may use their typing skills and Google translate to know the contents. This bolstered my confidence that this news is not an internet fraud. As I proceeded, I found more information in German here. Google translation makes a very poor reading, but I will still share it for what it is worth.

  • Does Experimenter Influence the Water (Memory)? Each experimenter, called here auftropfenden(can anyone tell what it means?) person, takes “test water” in “test syringes”, and puts 14 drops each on two “test slides”. The auftropfenden person stays in place until water droplets on slides dry off. Several persons participate at the same time in the experiment. “The comparison shows that the dried droplet images from any Auftropfenden person have great similarity in structure and color, while the pictures of various people in general differ significantly”.
  • Effect of X-ray Radiation on Human Saliva. An employee of the institute, who was going for dental X-Rays, took three samples of his saliva in syringes- just before X-Ray, immediately after, and two minutes later. On return to institute after two hours, same procedure of 14 drops to a slide for each sample was followed, and images taken after saliva-droplets had dried off were studied. These droplets images showed remarkable differences between samples and remarkable similarities within sample.

Healthy skeptics have been encouraged to give “Constructive comments on the interpretation of the images are welcome, please write to dialog@weltimtropfen.de”.

Finally I ferreted out this 57 pages report from the same Institute and I share it below. Again it is in German language, but mercifully it essentially shares many slides from its various *droplets imaging *experiments. The German comments could once again be translated using Google translate, which is what I did. I do not think the institute asserts that it has incontrovertible proof that water does have memory. But it definitely seems to think that it has scientifically verifiable evidence, which seems to suggest that water may have memory in the absence of a better explanation. I prefer the position that is hesitant to pronounce final judgments conscious of the fact we have still to learn a lot, to a one that shows unperturbed certitude, which comes from a thought that there is nothing more or significant to learn at least in some matters. Over to the report, Has Water A Memory? 
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17 Responses to “Open Mind: Has Water A Memory?”

  1. Viswa Ghosh Says:

    Sadanand,Your blog is very well written. While, I too stand, more firmly with Xavier on issues of quackery and homeopathy – this medicinal practiced hasn’t helped me personally at all – but with some skepticism I have accepted good results that others have had from homeopathy. My own brother-in-law had been diagnosed with eye-tuberculosis which modern medicine proved unable to cure after a few years of therapy. Finally, as a last effort, I had personally got him an appointment at the Shankar Netralaya in Chennai – which too had failed to cure him. When everything failed and he was losing vision in one eye, for some reason he tried homeopathy – purely out of a last ditch effort. Miraculously, his eye got cured over 4 to 5 years.Was it the homeopathy medicine? OR, was it the body’s own self-healing capacity that was now working more powerfully without any external trigger (the immune system was able to fight back)? OR, was it purely psychosomatic? The correct answer or answers is unknown to us. Whatever the color of the fur, the ‘cat killed the mouse’.This brings me to the point about “psychological reality” – an appropriate term used by historian Dr. Debi Prasad Chattapadhyaya (DPC) – to explain the various fertility rites that existed and still exist across civilizations and cultures. Abanindranath Tagore records many of these in his “Banglar Brotokotha” (literal translation: Vrats of Bengal).For instance, we know of accounts of communal sex amongst many tribes before they went (go) out to the fields to till the land, or sow, or harvest the crops. The idea was to transfer human fertility to the soil in order to obtain a bountiful harvest. (Reverse has also been practiced – to transfer the fertility of mother earth to humans – especially to someone who is unable to conceive.)The point here is, even though we ‘know’ that fertility powers cannot be transferred from humans to the soil, nonetheless the harvests proved to be more bountiful as a result of the rituals / rites, which led to the established practices of such rites over centuries.DPC’s “psychological reality” explains the causal relation between two events that are quite obviously unrelated. If the mind feels that something will work, it is more likely that that something will work. The belief / faith generates the emotional and mental energy (and drive) to perform better and work harder. Hence, the tribes would be energized into working harder in the fields leading to a more bountiful harvest. (Of course, the scientific mind would also say that this didn’t work every time and, hence, the practice should be questioned. Better methods and practices ought to be applied to obtain bountiful harvest and food security for the tribes. None can question this.)However, “psychological reality” also works – especially in an era when science was in its proto-scientific form (also, referred to as shamanism or magic). And, even today, as we try to know more we realize that we really know very little. Given such a situation I would agree with Sadanand that a healthy skepticism is important even in science and, in some cases, proto-science.Viswa

  2. Xavier Williams Says:

    Part- IDear Patwardhan,There are too many problems with alternate therapies in general and with Homeopathy in particular.1. The memory of water theory first formulated by Jacques Benveniste in 1988, underwent thorough trials under the aegis of none other than the BBC who roped in the famous skeptic James Randi to supervise the proceedings. Priliminary trials proved that there must be some substance to it.. However deeper inquiries thoroughly discredited the theory. Consequently BBC had this to say *The news that the number of prescriptions for homeopathic medicines written by GPs in England has nearly halved in just two years coincides with the 20th anniversary of a seminal scientific paper on the subject. (Memory of water)* See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7505286.stm Even if the water has memory of all things it has come into contact with how does it selectively act only in accordance with the name on the label? Now Homeopaths use reasonably pure water – there is no 100.0000% pure water as it dissolves even glass and other materials used to contain it. But at the time Hahnemann started the Homeopathic cult water could not be purified to any reasonable extend and it contained all kinds of impurities some of which are themselves medications in Homeopathy. Thus water contained common salt which is bottled and marketed as Natrium Mur in Homeopathy. Similarly Nux Vomica is native to India and the waters coming into contact with Nux Vomica trees would retain memory of Nux vomica. Another important medication in Homeopathy is quinine which is found in the bark of the Chincona tree in S.America. So the waters of South America must have extensive memory caches of quinine, sodium chloride and other minerals which are used as medications as well as the memory of the substance on the label. Thus the water in any river or sea will have memories of thousands of substances it came into contact with. There are many Homeopathic medications which are like chincona and Nux vomica are of natural origin and found in various parts of the world. How does the water choose to remember only the name on the label and reject all the memories of all other substances it has come into contact with? You have mentioned that water retained the memory even after it was frozen into ice. If so it could retain the memory after conversion into vapor, clouds and rain. If so all the water on earth would retain the memory of all the substances in the world over millions of years rains and vaporization. Consequently all the waters in the world would work as panaceas for all the diseases and we would not need any Homeopaths to prescribe things. In fact we ourselves are two thirds water and each of our bodies are caches of memories of substances all over the earth.2. Another thing is quality control. How can the quality of Homeopathic formulations be monitored when the active ingredients are non existent and so cannot be put to quantitative or qualitative analysis? This would mean we would have to take the manufacturer's word for it. If the manufacturer decides to short circuit all the laborious processes involved in the manufacture of Homeopathic medications and bottles plain water or tincture and then sticks on labels of the various medications with various potencies how would we detect the foul play? How would would me make out the difference between a genuine manufacturer of Homeopathic medicine and a shady one?3. 15C potency medications and 30X potency medications are essentially of the same dilution of 1 gm in 10^30. How would we differentiate between the two. The same goes for 300C and 600X potencies.Continued

  3. Xavier Williams Says:

    Part- II4. Instead of conducting a double blind test as suggested by Agrawal – which is much easier said than done – I would propose the following. I will furnish 50 bottles of Homeopathic medications with their labels masked. Agrawal can pick 25 of those and tell us what the medication is along with the potency. If he can do that I shall pay him One Lakh rupees. If he cant do that he would have to pay me the same amount. In fact his wager is open to anyone who cares to pick up the gauntlet.5. As for conducting double blind tests http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy has this to say: "The efficacy of homeopathy has been in dispute since its inception. One of the earliest double blind studies concerning homeopathy was sponsored by the British government during World War II in which volunteers tested the efficacy of homeopathic remedies against diluted mustard gas burns.[138] No individual preparation has been unambiguously shown by research to be different from placebo.[5] [139] The methodological quality of the primary research was generally low, with such problems as weaknesses in study design and reporting, small sample size , and selection bias . Since better quality trials have become available, the evidence for efficacy of homeopathy preparations has diminished; the highest-quality trials indicate that the remedies themselves exert no intrinsic effect.[18] [21] [52] :206 A review conducted in 2010 of all the pertinent studies of "best evidence" produced by the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that "the most reliable evidence that produced by Cochrane reviews fails to demonstrate that homeopathic medicines have effects beyond placebo."[140] "Do we now have to reinvent the wheel with another double blind test?

  4. Sadanand Patwardhan Says:

    part-IDear Shri Xavier,1. I think it is not fair to shy away from experiment the way Shri Agrawal has suggested on the specious plea that to conduct a double blind test (DBT) is much easier said than done. It was not Agrawal incidentally who had suggested DBT, but I. You may propose difficulties you see in conducting DBT and let us see if those can be addressed to the satisfaction of all concerned.2. The type of experiment you have proposed may be better addressed to Chikramane PS, Suresh AK, Bellare JR, Kane SG. Source Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Only restriction would be all samples you put forth for study must be metal derived homoeopathic medicines (eg. Plumbum). This shouldn't reduce the rigour of your experiment. quoteNo hypothesis which predicts the retention of properties of starting materials has been proposed nor has any physical entity been shown to exist in these high potency medicines.Using market samples of metal-derived medicines from reputable manufacturers, we have demonstrated for the first time by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction and chemical analysis by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES), the presence of physical entities in these extreme dilutions, in the form of nanoparticles of the starting metals and their aggregates.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20970092unquoteThere is another research paper at the same website by Chirumbolo S titled Molecules and nano-particles in extreme homeopathic dilutions: is Avogadro's Constant a dogma?. quoteExtreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21784325unquote3. The objections you have raised about homoeopathy and some references you have provided (I encountered these while searching material for my reply), I am familiar with for long. And let me add that these objections merit serious consideration. If you read my post, you may have noticed that it was not about homoeopathy -that was incidental, but the certitude of your *scientific position*. The references I provided were not about homoeopathy, but scientific experimental results that were inexplicable and bore uncanny resemblance to proposition of homoeopathy. Even the references provided above are not about homoeopathy but the certainty surrounding Avogadro's Constant, which nano-technology experiments seem to be challenging. There is enough material to suggest that even what looked like valid objection to homoeopathy need to looked upon with doubt. That doesn't mean homoeopathy stands validated, but the objection may be invalid, or it simply means Avogadro's Constant may no longer be used effectively to traduce homoeopathy.Continued…

  5. Sadanand Patwardhan Says:

    part-II4. **"Do we now have to reinvent the wheel with another double blind test?** This was the question you had asked at the end, and my unequivocal answer is yes. Whatever evidence we have proffered here to support our points is bookish knowledge. In fact most people parrot science, yours truly included, not much different from the way religion minded parrot their books. An illiterate auto mechanic makes use of deductive logic, conducts experiments, to find fault with even science or engineering graduates' vehicles brought to him for repairs. The educated on the other hand have never used science beyond applying limited known methods to limited known set of chemicals to determine which one is in hand at the moment in Chem-Labs. Therefore, I am genuinely interested in re-making the wheel, because it will be the first wheel that I had made. Experiential knowledge is unparalleled and here is an opportunity to do something about it. If Agrawal fails, he will have to give up advocating homoeopathy and you will be proved correct. If he succeeds, then at least a doubt would be planted in your mind about your sure position. In the end all of us would be wiser and whatever the outcome we will be gainers. 5. If this debate helps to realize the truth that there is no finality to human knowledge and ignorance, then it would be worth its while.6. In case you are motivated to read in full the links provided above, which are behind a pay-wall and you may have to use a small fraction of the reward you are offering to get them, then please share it with us. Sadanand Patwardhan

  6. Kaushal Narayan Agrawal Says:

    Part-IHere under I have attempted to create a better understanding about Homoeopathy.Understanding Homoeopathy:To begin with let us be clear that, Science means quest for truth and not to discard something what is not understood. It means that when an observable fact cannot be explained through the existing knowledge of various principles, one has to try and find explanation for those facts/observations through further research/scrutiny rather than deny the observation itself.The physicists the world over have still not been able to explain the creation of this universe out of nothing and they have been researching over it for over 100 years. There is however no explanation yet as to how various galaxies are being created as observed in deep space through the Hubble telescope. The experiments at CERN wherein they claim to have come close to finding the 'God Particle', is in the same direction.Homoeopathy has also thrown open one area of research for the mankind to find what exists beyond the molecule/atom/neutron/electron et cetera. The fact that Homoeopathic Remedies in high potencies like 30 C or 200 C, which physically contain not even a trillionth of a trillionth of a molecule, have shown they are capable of creating an effect on the biochemistry of human beings (experiments on animals have also been made with positive impact), the obvious question arises as to what is that in any substance beyond the known particles and the way it gets activated by the process of potentisation.While the Homoeopathic Principle as was discovered by Dr Hahnemann was in respect of remedies for human beings, demonstrating that there was something beyond the known principles of biochemistry, later several experiments have been conducted in the field of chemistry also. One such experiment was conducted in France that lasted over two years sometime in the 80s, but the skeptics decided to close down the experiment as they were unable to explain how a catalytic agent when applied in a potentised form with no physical substance in it could start a chemical reaction. Research in the field of chemistry may still be ongoing albeit secretively because of the immense potential of the process of potentisation. What homoeopathy has demonstrated is not against the known principles of chemistry or biochemistry but it is certainly beyond them and is a matter of further research.continued

  7. Kaushal Narayan Agrawal Says:

    Part-IIMay I also bring out that a lot of research has been done in homoeopathy and it is a misinformation that there is no scientific basis for it. Firstly the curative aspects are determined by Provings, which are done by using mostly the potency 30 C on a few healthy normal human beings. As anybody with a bit of scientific background will know that physically speaking such a dilution can only have 1 millionth of a millionth of a molecule of that substance and since a molecule is not considered to be divisible there would be nothing physically of that substance in the dilution. However when this potentised substance is administered in gradually increasing doses the persons under experiment start getting fever and various other symptoms which are carefully noted down. After the symptoms stabilise, the administration of the remedy is stopped and the persons are given an antidote and some rest. Thereafter the symptoms which are found common to all the subjects are regarded as the guiding symptoms for prescribing that remedy. Such Provings have been done during the last over hundred years all over the world with the same result when done with the same substance.Those who decry the efficacy or even the reality of potentisation do so out of lack of knowledge and a lack of willingness to understand that human knowledge is far too limited and the unknown domain is far too large when compared with the known domain. For such nonbelievers I suggest the following. One may try and take Glonoine 200 C, one ml at a time with a tsp of water, three times at an interval of 15-30 min and see what it does. 200th potency means 10 to the power minus 401. So there is nothing physically except alcohol and water. (Let the person be under the supervision of a qualified homoeopath so that when the symptoms of an acute heat stroke start appearing, one should get a proper antidote). However in minuscule doses the same Glonoine 200 C is a very effective curative for heat stroke. A similar experiment can also be tried with Cantheris 200 C, which is a very effective cure for burning and cutting during urination, which comes in drops. However when the same Cantheris 200 C is taken in very large doses can create those symptoms in a healthy person.Homoeopathy is too vast a subject and the above is only a glimpse for those who have little knowledge about it so that they may further research into the subject.Kaushal Narayan

  8. Sadanand Patwardhan Says:

    Dear Shri Agrawal,You have put forward the understanding of homoeopathy, but what is important is that test of the pudding is in eating.Has homoeopathy been tested in large samples, say group of 100 persons each in test and controlled groups suffering from same element? Have the results been statistically significant to eliminate chance or placebo effect? In medicine, theoretically, for every medicine there are phase I, II and III ever expanding trials, and not just a single experiment. [I remember a study that challenged this testing method's claim to be scientific on scientific grounds. I will have to dig for it, but let us leave aside that and return to accepted wisdom]. This is how current science judges whether claims are accepted or rejected. If homoeopathy has not done this, then it stands mighty suspected.In India, especially in eastern states, homeopathy has a fairly large constituency of medical colleges, teachers, students, homeopathic practitioners, and above all patients. Rarely, in my knowledge, in acute or life threatening conditions do the patients flock to homoeopaths. It is in cases of allergy or chronic problems that believers in homoeopathy seek treatment from its practitioners. Doubters would have one believe that all those who seek out homoeopaths are fools. The number is too large to believe doubters' claim; so many people cannot be stupidly going and spending their valuable money for so long. Many are repeat patients, and not newcomers, who blissfully fall prey to some trickery. And all those who go are getting cured on mere placebo effect is also too hard for me to swallow.But that is where the tale hangs in balance, which for me tilts one way or other based on most current experience.Sadanand Patwardhan

  9. Sadanand Patwardhan Says:

    Dear Viswa, Thanks for injecting in to the discussion Dr. Debi Prasad Chattapadhyaya (DPC), who was an original thinker in the tradition of great D D Kosambi, and for taking the trouble to read my post. In my under graduate student days, some 38 years ago, I had an opportunity to meet him in a group consisting of our small Marxism study group. It was a refreshing meeting and I recollect him telling us that the study of ancient Indian history should be pursued through materialistic traditions of long lineages like Ayurveda, temple architecture, and so on; and not just interpretations and reinterpretations of religious texts. The interesting example of the belief in transference of human fertility to soil fertility has its reverse application too. In every *Hindu wedding* that I have seen from many states rice is used to bless the couple; and bride when she enters married home the first time is to knock a pot full of grains so that they fall on the floor. This reverse transference at work. Almost a homoeopathic believe that could be called, **Similia Similibus accentua**. Your elucidation of psychological reality was engaging, and I would like to point out it is practised by every individual to keep sanity. Every individual’s self image is nothing but psychological reality, which will have many points of divergence from the hypothetical objective reality of self, which is out there but unknowable. If this sounds crazy, then I must point out that the myth of *Strictly Objective Observer* imagined by the 18 and 19 century science on the lines of strict duality of Judaic god (separate from HIS creation) was demolished in 20 century with the advent of Quantum Mechanics and Copenhagen interpretation. QM and CI held that the fact of observing affects the observed Quantum phenomenon. The famous thought experiment of Schrödinger's cat amply demonstrates this. Frankly speaking I am very uncomfortable with and suspicious of QM and Sub Atomic particle zoo, and do not comprehend it at all. One reason is that the modern physics of the smallest end of the scale uses a language that almost sounds metaphysical –a fact exploited to publish best seller books by some very smart writers by reinventing *Godism*. Other reason is that when the world of experience looks so orderly and simple, why are the models of it so absurdly probabilistic and immeasurable? When we are told and we believe that science is all about taking precise measurements, then why can’t we simultaneously measure both position and momentum? Or How does light behave like a particle (photon) or wave depending upon what we measure? I draw solace from the fact that I am with Einstein, who declared his discomfort in a famous statement, *God doesn’t play dice*. If Homoeopathy is a myth like God, then some convincing explanation has to be found to explain its survival for two centuries, which in case of God is unnecessary because he caters to some deep felt psychological need in most people.

  10. Kalpana Mehta Says:

    About the science of Allopathic trials less said the better. And here I speak as a health activist of 27 years of experience. These trials are fraught with conflict of interest and collection of data that invariably favours the drug companies.Secondly phase I is a trial of toxicity – Homoeopathy does not have to undergo this as the doses have no chance of being toxic.Phase III is also done to discover the rare side effects which is very important for allopathy because of the numerous side effects. Phase II is done for dose determination and effectiveness and in Homoeopathy always conducted.Yes proof of the pudding lies in eating. Like an engineer I was also suspicious of this white saboodana pills but only once in my life I had a urinary infection and when the syptoms disappeared after one day of treatment the sceptic in me was not satified and I repeated the urine test to find no sign of infection ramaining.This was in the eighties. Since then I have tried it systematically on my own daughter as she was growing up and with success. So when we started health care work systematically we developed a first aid kit and it is being used by many for many emergency situations with great success.In our own clinic in emergencies we have had good results.This is not to say that I do not use allopathy and at times even my homoeopath advises me to switch over the point is that in denouncing outright we are being dogmatic and relying on the handouts of pharma company reps on whom a majority of doctors base their practice.So simply try it and experience the healing power of little white pills and question what goes on in Allopathy – read 59th Report of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare and you will be shocked to know what you have been trusting so far.Kalpana

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Kalpanaji,I am indeed happy to learn your valuable experiences. I may add that I have been using Homoeopathic remedies for the past 39 years and I have not even once consumed any Allopathic medicine in this period. I had typhoid in 1985 (pretty severe one as indicated by the Vidal test) and throat and other infections on a number of occasions but I did not use any antibiotics. I do not use any common allopathic medicine for even a headache. I don’t know if you are aware that the term allopathic or allopath was coined by Dr Hahnemann himself to distinguish the homoeopathic system he had created. He used the terms antipathy as well as allopathy, the prefix allo- or anti- being synonyms. Home remedies is another area which is very valuable and doubly useful for freedom from common ailments on one hand and saving health from the use of chemical drugs on the other. Home remedies directly enhance and strengthen our immune system, while just the opposite happens when we use man made chemical drugs/substances.However I am not suggesting that everyone should always do the same as I have done to totally avoid allopathic medicines but I do say with my life-time experience that Antibiotics should be avoided. I am not alone in this view. There are highly experienced medical professionals in USA and Europe who say so. Originally I too was very skeptic about homoeopathy and used to make fun of it as is being done by some people now and I don’t feel surprised. I only wish the people to be open minded and not discard something only because it goes beyond their understanding. Rather they should have firsthand experience of it.K Narayan

  12. Sadanand Patwardhan Says:

    Dear Shri Agrawal, If you are seriously suggesting that antibiotics should be especially avoided, then what you may like to do is take on say 100 cases of willing tuberculosis patients, that too not XDR or TDR cases, for treatment and show the efficacy of homoeopathy in successfully treating them. Such experiment may also be conducted under the aegis of the department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. This would facilitate independent validation and peer view. TB is an incipient but deadly scourge affecting our country. I personally too do not pop antibiotics at the slightest opportunity, I don’t remember the last time I had any, but doctors have been merrily prescribing antibiotics even when they are not indicated on the specious plea of avoiding, just in case, secondary infection. Even vaccination, especially the mass type (pulse polio), has been abused, there are cases of vaccine derived of diseases, However, to say antibiotics (or vaccination) shouldn’t be be used at all is bit hard to swallow. Here is a look at vaccination juggernaut headed by Bill and Melinda Gates’ foundation:http://satark.blogspot.in/2012/02/vaccination-panacea-or-pandora-s-box.htmlHere is an excellent article by Dr. Anant Phadke, trained in allopathy, practitioner of pragmatic medicine, and a well know health activist in Pune on pulse polio.http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/polio-eradication-a-dubious-claim/article2837352.eceOn pentavalent vaccine and Pulse Polio here,http://in.groups.yahoo.com/group/Satark/message/1412 This should be food for thought for those with iron clad faith in modern medicine and big-pharma, but those of non-allopathic streams should also be circumspect in their pronouncements.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Patwardhan,I am forwarding to you some observations by Dr.Manoj Komath – he has a doctorate in pharmacology and works as a research hand with the Kerala government. He is far more more knowledgeable than you or I are about such things.Xavier William———- Forwarded message ———-From: Manoj KomathDate: Mon, Jul 8, 2013 at 12:44 AMSubject: personal mailTo: Xavier WilliamDear Xavier William,I had been going throught the work of IIT people – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20970092There is something wrong with their very study. As they tell "….No hypothesis which predicts the retention of properties of starting materials has been proposed nor has any physical entity been shown to exist in these high potency medicines"….That means the homeopathic (market) samples they analysed were heavily adultrated with metal contaminant (if it were pure and truly diluted, as per the Homeo manufacturing techniques, this result should not be obtained). Nor their finding endorse the therapeutic effect of that particular 'medicine'… ( because it has to be given to a patient to observe the effect as per the tenets of Hahnemann).This result could be reported to the Drugs Controller General (DCGI) so that he can ban the homeo medicine (there are certain guideline to sell homeo medicines in India, and this is a clear evidence of adultrated medicine).Another confusion they create is regarding nanotechnology and Avogadros Number. By theory, Nanotechnology cannot over-ride the fundamental Avagadros constant. Nano particles are aggregates of atoms/molecules. The synthesis of nano-particles starts from the Avogadros principle and Avogadros number had never been challenged !-Manoj

  14. Sadanand Patwardhan Says:

    “….No hypothesis which predicts the retention of properties of starting materials has been proposed nor has any physical entity been shown to exist in these high potency medicines”. I had deliberately included preceding line from the abstract. Shri Katoch’s conclusion *There is something wrong with their very study*, if made based on the extract from the abstract, then it is wrong. Has Katoch accessed the full paper behind the pay wall or are his observations based only on the abstract? The starting sentence is merely a disclaimer that their findings should not be used to justify *Homoeopathic hypothesis* and the authors are not claiming any such *homeopathic* results either. The second conclusion drawn by Katoch is unwarranted too *That means the homeopathic (market) samples they analysed were heavily adultrated with metal contaminant (if it were pure and truly diluted, as per the Homeo manufacturing techniques, this result should not be obtained)*. The market samples of metal derived homoeopathic medicines were drawn and therefore they were “obviously ”expected to have *metal contaminant*, which is what manufacturer is supposed to have done during the manufacturing process. The researchers were trying to find out if any proof of these starting materials (metal derived substance) could be found in the homoeopathic metal derived medicines at dilutions of 10^30 order. And they have concluded, Yes! : They discovered “the presence of physical entities in these extreme dilutions, in the form of nanoparticles of the starting metals and their aggregates”. Since Shri Katoch is a pharmacologists with a government and thinks, “This result could be reported to the Drugs Controller General (DCGI) so that he can ban the homeo medicine (there are certain guideline to sell homeo medicines in India, and this is a clear evidence of adultrated medicine)”, you should definitely urge him to follow up on his suggestion. With this straightforward material it is difficult to understand from where Katoch has synthesised his observations. If he has seen the full paper and based his conclusions on that, then please ask him to share the report with us.

  15. Xavier Williams Says:

    Part-1Patwardan,There are many huge problems associated with your proposal.A sample survey is not a simple thing as you make out. First you have to find people to experiment with. There are standards set up by ISI and others on sampling. But I do not know whether there are any guidelines for determining the number of people to participate in the survey. What is mentioned often as random sample is not really random. There is a method to the randomness just as there is a method to some madnesses and neither you nor I know about creating random samples of people to be subjected to the experiment.Then we have to determine the number of materials to be put to the test. Just taking the material suggested by Agarwal will not suffice. We would have to have other remedies as well as placebos to be included. I do not know how many red herrings or placebos should be included in such surveys.The people undergoing the test have to be divided into as many groups as there are samples. Then the samples have to masked and numbers used instead of the labels and these have to be transferred to other bottles with corresponding numbers.Then all the people in the experiment should be retained through the duration of the experiment and so on. This is why I said it is easier said than done.

  16. Xavier Williams Says:

    Part-IIProfessional double blind tests have been conducted and all of them have conceded that Homeopathy is placebo.In science the onus of proof falls on the proposer. You have suggested that my suggestion of finding the ingredients of a 50 samples should be entrusted to IIT or who ever. It is not I who have to prove that Homeopathy is false. Instead it is Agarwal and the homeopaths who have to vindicate their claims through IIT or other authorities who are upto it since the onus of proof falls on him and homeopaths to vindicate their claims.Instead of Agarwal and me slugging it out, it is more logical to take things to a higher level. India being one of the leading manufacturers of modern medicines in the world, there must be many surveyors in India who are competent to conduct surveys such as double blind tests. Let the Homeopathic association or whoever is their apex body approach these surveyors and submit themselves to the tests that modern medicine submits to. Hiding behind the label of alternate medicines and the immunity it provides is in itself an admission of guilt by the alternate therapists.Read any article on alternate medicines and one the thing all of them they say is that there is no modern medicine and alternate medicine. Instead, whatever that cures is medicine. All tests such as the double blind tess are conducted only to ensure that the medicines work. Consequently if Homeopathy and other alternate therapies are confident of their stuff let them prove it by professional tests instead of claiming special privileges under the banner of alternate medicines.There are many sites like mims.com on the net giving info on modern formulations. It explains what the contents of each prescription are, how they act as a remedy, its reactions and other important details. Is Homeopathy or any alternate therapy in a position to supply such info on their remedies?We know that it was alchemy that led to the development of modern chemistry and that it was astrology which led to the development of modern astronomy. In the same way Homeopathy has contributed much to the development of modern medicines. In this connection it was the provings first used in Homeopathy which led to professional tests and surveys such as blind tests in the world of modern medicines. And just as alchemy and astrology have been relegated to the dust bin of history as superstitions, it is time Homeopathy is also relegated to the dustbin of history as a quackery.

  17. Sadanand Patwardhan Says:

    Dear Shri Xavier William,1. You proposed the experiment with 50 homoeopathic medicines, I pleaded make them only metal derived medicines, and ask IIT team to conduct the experiment because they already seem to have done that kind of experiment. Now you are telling me onus is on Agrawal.2. You are obfuscating the whole issue. Drawing a Random sample is not a great task let me assure you. CSO/ Statisticians do it all the time. But what Shri Agrawal has suggested is according to me simple to implement.-You and I will be the test subjects.-Agrawal will give names of five pharmacies/ manufacturers in the town where we meet. His recommended medicine in given potency would be bought by a third party from one of those selected pharmacies of recommended brand alongside placebo.-Agrawal will administer the medicine to one of us and placebo to another. All three of us would be ignorant of who is taking what.-Then see what happens?-May be the moderator of this group, Shri Navendu, if everyone trusts his neutrality, could act as the third party. I am O.K. with him. I do not know him personally or for that matter Xavier or Agrawal.3. If one of us develops the symptoms that Agrawal beforehand tells consumer of medicine would and moderator confirms that the person with symptoms was indeed the consumer of medicine, then all of us would have to give up any certainty we harbour that homoeopathy is nothing but crap.Sadanand Patwardhan

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