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Highlights from 20 Years of Basic Research in Homeopathy
05 February 2018 (online)
Basic research in homeopathy has made considerable progress in the past 20 years. Several models have repeatedly been tested in intra- and inter-laboratory replication trials, yielding good empirical evidence for specific effects of homeopathically potentized preparations. In some models, effects are quite consistent and reproducible; in others, effects seem to be modulated by confounding factors, but can be distinguished from false-positive results by the use of systematic negative control experiments.
There is also empirical evidence for the so-called Kolisko patterns, that is, the particular sequences of active and inactive potencies when investigating series of adjacent potency levels. The specific pattern induced by a particular potentized substance in a given experimental model still cannot be predicted, however.
The major challenge in homeopathic basic research is the lacking understanding of the mode of action of ultramolecular potencies, which also relates to the occurrence of the Kolisko patterns. Physicochemical investigations yielded some evidence for nano-scaled structures within liquid homeopathic preparations, but the nature of these structures is still unknown. To achieve scientific understanding and broader recognition, the advance in empirical evidence has to be complemented by the development of theoretical models that are amenable to experimental testing.
Some bioassays have already been applied to topics of pharmaceutical and medical interest, such as stability against electromagnetic radiation or sterilization procedures. Generalization of the achieved results to application in human medical practice is difficult at present, however, due to the lacking understanding of the mode of action. Nevertheless, the progress achieved in the past two decades gives cause for expecting substantial scientific advance in the coming years.
Keywords: Basic research, methodology, replication trials, Kolisko patterns, mode of action