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Highland amphibians and high potencies: a 20-year metamorphosis
29 December 2017 (online)
In the late 1980s, the Austrian biologists Christian Endler and Waltraud Scherer–Pongratz, based at the time at the Zoological Institute of Graz University and the Boltzmann Institute Graz, picked up a long-forgotten line of research on amphibian metamorphosis and homeopathic potencies.[ 1 ] Rather than merely replicate König's original experiments conducted in the 1920s, using metal salts they chose to study amphibians' response to that most amphibian-specific hormone thyroxine.[ 2 ] This was a bold innovation in the field of fundamental homeopathic research.
Their experimental approach was isopathic: metamorphosing frog larvae, especially those from highland biotopes, such as were mostly used, are exquisitely sensitive to thyroxine. Their physiologically elevated thyroxine level puts them in a state referred to as thyroxine stress. The idea was that this might make them particularly responsive to thyroxine potencies. And the bet came off. First results were published in 1991, with thyroxine 30× clearly slowing down activity and metamorphosis speed in animals from highland biotopes of Rana temporaria, the common European frog.[ 2,3 ]
Since then, working in their own or others' laboratories, the team have varied the core parameters in different versions of the original experiment, some with promising, others with unfruitful or contradictory outcomes.[ 4 ]
- 1 König K. On the effect of extremely diluted (“homeopathic”) solutions of metal salts on development and growth of tadpoles. Zschft Ges Exp Med 1927; 56: 881-893.
- 2 Endler P.C., Pongratz W., Van Wijk R., Kastberger G., Haidvogl M. Effects of highly diluted succussed thyroxine on metamorphosis of highland frogs. Berlin J Res Hom 1991; 1 (03) 151-160.
- 3 Endler P.C., Pongratz W., Kastberger G., Wiegant F.A.C., Haidvogl M. Climbing activity in frogs and the effect of highly diluted succussed thyroxine. Br Hom J 1991; 80: 194-200.
- 4 Endler PC. Homeopathy research – an expedition report. An old healing system gains plausibility. firstname.lastname@example.org Graz 2003/Expedition Homoeopathieforschung. Ein altes Heilsystem wird plausibel. Maudrich, Wien, 1. A. 1998, 2. A. 2006.
- 5 Zausner C., Lassnig H., Endler P.C., Scherer W., Haidvogl M., Frass M. et al. Die Wirkung von “homöopathisch” zubereitetem Thyroxin auf die Metamorphose von Hochlandamphibien. Ergebnisse einer multizentrischen Kontrollstudie. [The effect of “homeopathically” prepared thyroxine on the metamorphosis of highland amphibians. Results of a multicentre control study]. Perfusion 2002; 17: 268-276.
- 6 Lingg G., Endler P.C. Highland amphibians – recalculation of raw data from 1990 to 2010 on the effects of highly diluted thyroxine. Int J High Dilution Res 2011; 10 (37) 311-324.
- 7 Interuniversity College. Pilot trial aimed at an independent replication of a study on the possibility of influencing the speed of metamorphosis of amphibian larves by means of homeopathically diluted thyroxine (10e-30) by G. Bach, on suggestion by KIKOM, Bern University. Report to the Government of the State of Styria, Graz 2011.
- 8 Harrer B. Independent replication experiments on a model with extremely diluted thyroxine and highland amphibians. Homeopathy in press.
- 9 Guedes J.R.P., Ferreira C.M., Guimaraes H.M.B., Saldiva P.H.N., Capelozzi V.L. Homeopathically prepared dilution of Rana catesbeiana thyroid glands modifies its rate of metamorphosis. Homeopathy 2004; 93: 132-137.
- 10 Carrasco S., Ferreira C.M., Bonamin L.V., Souza W., Goldenstein-Schainberg C., Parra E.R. et al. Ultra high dilution of triiodothyronine modifies cellular apoptosis in Rana catesbeiana tadpole tail in vitro. Homeopathy 2011; 100: 220-227.