Homeopathy 2015; 104(04): 250-256
DOI: 10.1016/j.homp.2015.10.001
Original Paper
Copyright © The Faculty of Homeopathy 2015

Amphibians and ultra high diluted thyroxine – further experiments and re-analysis of data

Peter Christian Endler
1   Interuniversity College for Health and Development Graz/Castle of Seggau, Austria
Waltraud Scherer-Pongratz
1   Interuniversity College for Health and Development Graz/Castle of Seggau, Austria
Bernhard Harrer
2   Patienteninformation fuer Naturheilkunde e.V., Berlin, Germany
Gerhard Lingg
1   Interuniversity College for Health and Development Graz/Castle of Seggau, Austria
Harald Lothaller
1   Interuniversity College for Health and Development Graz/Castle of Seggau, Austria
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Received23 March 2015
revised30 June 2015

accepted05 October 2015

Publication Date:
23 December 2017 (online)

Background: A model of thyroxine and metamorphosis of highland amphibians is frequently mentioned as an example of experiments on extremely diluted substances in discussions around ‘homeopathy’.

Methods: The model was scrutinized by reanalysing the results of the initial researcher A and a second researcher B as well as of 5 external researchers C between 1990 and 2013. Rana temporaria larvae were taken from an alpine highland biotope. The test solution was thyroxine 10−30 (T30x), tetra-iodo-thyronine sodium pentahydrate diluted with pure water in 26 steps of 1:10, being agitated after each step. Analogously prepared water (W30x) was used for control. Tadpoles were observed from the 2-legged to the 4-legged stage. Experiments were performed in different years, at different times of season, and their duration could vary. Frequencies of 4-legged animals, effect sizes and areas under the curves (AUCs) were calculated and regression analyses were performed to investigate possible correlations between year, season, duration etc. Experiments were in line with animal protection guidelines.

Results: The total set of data A + B + C as well as subsets A (initial researcher, N = 286 + 293), B (second centre, 965 + 965) and C (5 external researchers, 690 + 690) showed an effect of extremely diluted agitated thyroxine reverse to that known of molecular thyroxin, i.e. test values were below control by 11.4% for A, 9.5% for B and 7.0% for C (p < 0.001 for each of the subsets). The effect size (Cohen’s d) was >0.8 (large) for both A and B and 0.74 (medium) for C.

Conclusion: Although a perfect reproducibility was not obtained, this paradoxical phenomenon was generally consistent in different observations. Correlations were found between details of laboratory handling, as well as environment temperature, and the size of the results.

  • References

  • 1 Endler P.C., Pongratz W., van Wijk R. et al. A zoological example on ultra high dilution research. Energetic coupling between the dilution and the organism in a model of amphibian. In: Endler P.C., Schulte J. (eds). Ultra High Dilution. 1994. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publ; pp 39-68.
  • 2 Bellavite P., Chirumbolo S., Marzotto M. Hormesis and its relationship with homeopathy. Hum Exp Toxicol 2010; 29 (07) 573-579.
  • 3 Fisher P. Does homeopathy have anything to contribute to hormesis?. Hum Exp Toxicol 2010; 29 (07) 555-560.
  • 4 Endler P.C., Pongratz W., Kastberger G., Wiegant F.A.C., Schulte J. The effect of highly diluted agitated thyroxin on the climbing activity of frogs. Vet Hum Toxicol 1994; 36: 56-59.
  • 5 Cazin J.C., Cazin M., Gaborit J.L. et al. A study of the effect of decimal and centesimal dilutions of arsenic on retention and mobilization of arsenic in the rat. Hum Exp Toxicol 1987; 6: 315-320.
  • 6 Fisher P., House I., Belon P., Turner P. The influence of the homeopathic remedy plumbum met. on the excretion kinetics of lead in rats. Hum Exp Toxicol 1987; 6: 321-324.
  • 7 Just J.J. Protein bound iodine and protein concentration in plasma and pericardial fluids of metamorphosing anuran tadpoles. Physiol Zool 1972; 45: 143-152.
  • 8 Endler P.C., Lüdtke R., Heckmann C. et al. Pretreatment with thyroxine (10e-8 parts by weight) enhances a “curative” effect of homeopathically prepared thyroxin (10e-13) on lowland frogs. Res Compl Med 2003; 10: 137-142.
  • 9 Welles S.U., Endler P.C., Scherer-Pongratz W. et al. Pretreatment with thyroxine (10e-8) and the effect of homeopathically prepared thyroxine (10e-30) on highland frogs – a multi-researcher study. Res Compl Med 2007; 14: 353-357.
  • 10 Endler P.C., Pongratz W., Smith C.W., Schulte J. Non-molecular information transfer from thyroxin to frogs with regard to ‘homeopathic’ toxicology. Vet Hum Toxicol 1995; 37 (03) 259-260.
  • 11 Endler P.C., Schulte J. (eds). Ultra High Dilution: Physiology and Physics. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.; 1994.
  • 12 Endler P.C., Thieves K., Reich R. et al. Repetitions of fundamental research models for homeopathically prepared dilutions beyond 10e-23: a bibliometric study. Homeopathy 2010; 99: 25-36.
  • 13 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.
  • 14 Zausner C., Lassnig H., Endler P.C. et al. The effect of “homeopathically” prepared thyroxine on the metamorphosis of highland amphibians. Results of a multicentre control study. Perfusion 2002; 17: 268-276.
  • 15 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) suggested by KIKOM. 2011. Graz: Bern University; Report to the Government of the State of Styria.
  • 16 Harrer B. Replication of an experiment on extremely diluted thyroxine and highland amphibians. Homeopathy 2013; 102: 25-30.
  • 17 Harrer B., Endler P.C. Highland amphibians and extremely diluted thyroxine – pre-experiment storage at low temperature (4°C). Res Proc IUC 2013; HAR/A: 1-2.
  • 18 Kiefer P., Lingg G., Endler P.C. Lowland amphibians – recalculation of data on the effects of diluted thyroxine. Int J High Dilution Res 2012; 11 (38) 3-18.
  • 19 Endler PC. Homeopathy research – an expedition report. An Old Healing System Gains Plausibility. Graz: edition@inter-uni.net 2003/Expedition Homöopathieforschung. Ein altes Heilsystem wird plausibel, Wien: Maudrich 1998, updated edition 2006.
  • 20 Gosner K.L. A simplified table for staging anuran embryos and larvae with notes on identification. Herpetologica 1960; 16: 183-190.
  • 21 König K. Über die Wirkung extreme verdünnter (“homöopathischer”) Metallsalzlösungen auf Entwicklung und Wachstum von Kaulquappen. Z Gesamte Exp Med 1927; 56: 581-593.
  • 22 Panos M., Rogers R., Stephenson J. Thyroidinum: a proving (Hyganthropharmacology). J Am Inst Homeopath 1964; 57 7/8 197-207.
  • 23 Beauvais F. Emergence of a signal from background noise in the “memory of water” experiments: how to explain it?. Explore 2012; 8 (03) 185-196.
  • 24 Walach H. Generalized entanglement: a new theoretical model for understanding the effects of complementary and alternative medicine. J Altern Complement Med 2005; 11 (03) 549-559.
  • 25 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.
  • 26 Guedes J.R.P., Carrasco S., Ferreira C.M. et al. Ultra high dilution of triiodothyronine modifies cellular apoptosis in Rana catesbeiana tadpole tail in vitro . Homeopathy 2011; 100: 220-227.
  • 27 Bellavite P., Marzotto M., Olioso D., Moratti E., Conforti A. High-dilution effects revisited. 2. Pharmacodynamic mechanisms. Homeopathy 2014; 103 (01) 22-43.
  • 28 Bellavite P., Marzotto M., Olioso D., Moratti E., Conforti A. High-dilution effects revisited. 1. Physicochemical aspects. Homeopathy 2014; 103 (01) 4-21.
  • 29 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 Homeopath J 1991; 36: 56-59.
  • 30 Schulte J., Endler P.C. (eds). Fundamental Research in Ultra High Dilution and Homeopathy. Kluwer Academic Publishers.; 1998.
  • 31 van Wijk R., Wiegant F.A.C. Physiological effects of homeopathic medicines in closed phials – a critical evaluation. Homeopathy 2015; 104: 292-294.
  • 32 Muller J., Pet W., Reatsch Pet. et al. Repeatability of measurements of galvanic skin response – a pilot study. Open Complement Med J 2013; 5: 11-17.
  • 33 Schulte J., Endler P.C. Update on preliminary elements of a theory of ultra high dilutions. Homeopathy 2015; 104: 337-342.
  • 34 Righetti M. Aims of homeopathy research, 1994 and 2015. Homeopathy 2015; 104: 343-344.
  • 35 Mathie R.T. Controlled clinical studies of homeopathy. Homeopathy 2015; 104: 328-332.
  • 36 Walach H., Teut M. Scientific proving of ultra high dilutions on humans. Homeopathy 2015; 104: 322-327.