Schwabe News Volume 1 | Issue 2 | December 2010
Homoeopathy faces controversies because of its high dilutions beyond Avogadro’s number such as 30c and 200c (1060 and 10400 respectively). This study has demonstrated the presence of nanoparticles of the starting materials and their aggregates even at extremely high dilutions, using market samples of metal-derived medicines from two reputable manufacturers in India. Researchers 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. The confirmed presence of nanoparticles challenges current thinking about the role of dilutions in homoeopathic medicines. They have found that the concentrations reach a plateau at the 6c potency and beyond. Further they have shown that despite large differences in the degree of dilution from 6c to 200c, there were no major differences in the nature of the particles (shape and size) of the starting material and their absolute concentrations (in pg/ml).
Homoeopathy, a common form of alternative medicine worldwide, relies on subjective patient reports for diagnosis and treatment. Polysomnography (PSG) offers a modern methodology for evaluating the objective effects of taking homoeopathic remedies that clinicians claim exert effects on sleep quality in susceptible individuals. Animal studies have previously shown changes in non rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep with certain homoeopathic remedies. In this study, young adults of both sexes (ages 18-31) with above-average scores on standardized personality scales for either cynical hostility or anxiety sensitivity (but not both) and a history of coffee-induced insomnia have participated. At-home polysomnographic recordings were obtained on successive pairs of nights once per week for a total of eight recordings (nights 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23). Subjects (N=54) received placebo pellets on night 8 (single-blind) and verum pellets on night 22 (double-blind) in 30c doses of one of two homoeopathic remedies, Nux vomica or Coffea cruda. Subjects completed daily morning sleep diaries and weekly Pittsburgh sleep quality index scales, as well as profile of mood states scales at bedtime on polysomnography nights. Verum remedies significantly increased PSG total sleep time and NREM, as well as awakenings and stage changes. Changes in actigraphic and self-rated scale effects were not significant. The study demonstrated the feasibility of using in-home, all-night sleep recordings to study homoeopathic remedy effects. Findings are similar though not identical to those reported in animals with the same remedies. Possible mechanisms include initial disruption of the nonlinear dynamics of sleep patterns by the verum remedies.
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