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The Validity of Experimental Symptoms in Homoeopathic Pathogenetic Trials: A Comparative Appraisal of the Number and Quality of Symptoms in Placebo and Verum Groups
05 February 2018 (online)
The validity and clinical significance of experimental symptoms produced during homoeopathic pathogenetic trials (HPTs) are unclear. Within the context of arguments for ‘entanglement’ and other field effects, the similarities and differences between experimental symptoms produced by respective verum and placebo/blank groups have been a particular area of contention, leading some researchers to argue for the inclusion of ‘placebo’ experimental effects within the final (‘verum’) materia medica. By contrast, some have argued that there are differences both in the number and quality of symptoms produced by the two experimental groupings that provide a basis for the discrimination of an overt ‘verum’ effect, which is not compromised by the elimination of ‘placebo’ symptoms.
The author describes and compares the journal entries recorded by respective verum and placebo participants in the pre-administration and experimental phases of three placebo-controlled, double-blind HPTs in terms of the number of entries recorded, the quality of symptoms within respective phases, and the validity of ‘verum’ experimental symptoms in comparison to those of the ‘placebo’ group. Within these comparisons, he further outlines a method for differentiating the quality of symptoms within respective groups and between individual provings in terms of ‘retention’ and ‘density’.
The comparisons reveal consistent and clearly discernible differences between verum and placebo experimental symptoms, both in number and quality. The author presents an argument for the defining nature of the verum experimental symptoms and the implementation of a systematic and preferentially ‘eliminative’ mode of materia medica generation.
Keywords: Homoeopathic pathogenetic trials, provings, experimental effects, quality of symptoms