Mod+ UPCOMING INTERVIEW: DR. LARRY MALERBA

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by alex.tsakiris, Nov 27, 2014.

  1. Alex

    Alex New

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  2. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Just in case anyone is wondering what Malerba's views on homeopathy actually are, check out:

    http://spiritsciencehealing.com/category/homeopathic-medicine/

    Where there are several articles by him on this topic. I haven't yet read them myself, but may have more to say when I have.
     
  3. malf

    malf Member

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  4. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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  5. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I think I am a lot more comfortable with the idea of homoeopathy than with the idea of paranormal crop circles :)

    David
     
  6. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Hi Alex,
    I've been using homeopathy since 2002 with success. It's not a miracle cure, just like Aspirine or Maalox, but it got the job done, without nasty side effects.
    Also a typical homeopathic cure will probably last longer than an allopathic one, especially for recurring symptoms so it may look less appealing for today's standard. Hopeopathy usually doesn't just shut down symptoms, most of the times it resolves the problem. It did it for me twice and I have seen it for other people, including some nasty, 20 years old recurring allergies, where doctors had no clues besides pumping anti-histamine drugs.

    There's also one major misconception with homeopathy: that there is no active principle because the number of molecules of remedy is < than Avogadro's constant. This is partially true.
    Many remedies on the market (probably the vast majority) use homeopathic potencies that are way above such constant. In particular most modern remedies use an "harmonization" of both low (less diluted) and high (more diluted) potencies.

    Next time you get a pounding headache try 3-4 globules of Chamomilla 5C, every 15-20 minutes and see what happens. Similarly if you have an upset stomach try Nux Vomica 5C or Arsenicum Album 5C. Usually for casual issues they are very effective. For long standing problems it's better to talk to an homeopath so that he can customize the remedies and potencies.

    Those that I have cited, at that potency, all contain the active substance, so from a mainstream scientific point of view they aren't even controversial.

    The homeopathic remedy is relatively dose independent. If you take 3 globules or 30 it won't make any difference, in contrast to regular herbs and drugs. It is a signal. So the trick is re-sending the signal over and over again to modulate the response towards the health problem.

    Also keep an eye on "Biologic Medicine" a relatively new scientific field of medicine that proposes LDM (Low Dose Medicine) ... doesn't this sound like LENR? You change the label and keep the same concept, but you save the face :)

    There have been some very interesting meetings in Italy and other European countries with physicist Giuliano Preparata, Giuseppe Vitiello, Emilio del Giudice and Nobel prize winner Luc Montagnier. These are theoretical and nuclear physicists, not hippy dippy new agers :)

    E.g.:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilio_Del_Giudice
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuliano_Preparata
    http://www.brainspace.eu/abstract/vitiello.php

    And this is the program of the "Water Conference" that gathers all sorts of experts to explore the amazing properties of water, including the controversial "memory" that is postulated by classical homeopathy:
    http://www.waterconf.org/conference-program/

    And one more interesting bit here:
    http://www.waterconf.org/jacques-benveniste/

    Looking forward to the interview :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
  7. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I have only used homoeopathic medicine once - for some horrible muscle problems that turned out to be caused by the statin that had been prescribed by my doctor to keep me well :)

    David
     
  8. Alex

    Alex New

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    sure... but if there's too much wacky uber-skeptical stuff I may toss the Mod+ flag on there.
     
  9. Alex

    Alex New

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    great post... exactly the kind of stuff I was looking for. thanks for educating me.
     
  10. Alex

    Alex New

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    With Larry's permission, here is our initial email exchange (reads bottom up):

    On Fri, Nov 28, 2014 at 4:18 AM, Alex Tsakiris <alex@skeptiko.com> wrote:
    Great Larry. I really can't tell you the number of times I've meandered into a topic with a set of well-formed beliefs only to be shown a completely different way... I'm totally open to this being the case with Homeopathy.

    I'm especially open to the idea of Homeopathy being an entry point into an alternative method of healing that's different from conventional Western medicine.

    A

    On Thu, Nov 27, 2014 at 8:53 PM, Dr. Larry Malerba <docmalerba@gmail.com> wrote:
    OK, sure, you can post it if you think it best.
    And I've attached a digital copy of Green Medicine. Chapter 15 The Alchemical Key is a less conventional, more esoteric take on homeopathy.
    I will join in on the thread when I perceive an opening that's appropriate for me.

    Thanks Alex, looking forward to our talk.
    Larry


    On Thu, Nov 27, 2014 at 3:37 PM, Alex Tsakiris <alex@skeptiko.com> wrote:
    Hi Larry... I totally get where you're coming from. At the same time, these are exactly the kind of issues we try and wrestle to the ground on Skeptiko.

    For example, I just interviewed John Michael Greer, who happens to be a Druid, but also has some fascinating ideas about technology and the myth of progress. We could have confined the conversation to his ideas about industrialization, but everyone listening would have been -- WHAT ABOUT THE DRUID THING?

    I think the same goes here. We can talk about all that other stuff, but if we don't address the controversy surrounding Homeopathy listeners won't be able to hear anything else.

    BTW I think this would be a great addition to the thread. With your permission I will post it there.

    Alex


    On Thu, Nov 27, 2014 at 9:55 AM, Dr. Larry Malerba <docmalerba@gmail.com> wrote:
    Hi Alex,
    It was not my expectation that the interview would be a referendum on homeopathy. Literally all my ideas regarding philosophy of science have their origins in my homeopathic experiences of treating patients for the past 25 years. They come from the intersection of my conventional medical training with my practical experiences as a homeopathic physician. It’s always puzzling to me that people who believe in just about anything, including psi phenomena, have a hard time with homeopathy. To me, it highlights the reality that many people are willing to entertain all sorts of far out notions intellectually, but when the rubber hits the road, they are still materialists at heart. It also illustrates how most people are inordinately influenced, whether they want to believe it or not, by our contemporary scientific and medical worldviews.

    If you want my real take on homeopathy I can send you a chapter from my book, Green Medicine, which equates it to alchemy. I am more than willing to discuss homeopathy if it is treated respectfully but I am concerned that this not become an opportunity to shred it on the air. It is too dear to me to expose it to the kind of scientistic bigotry (I’m not accusing you of that) that it has been subject to over the past 200 years. Please let me know what you think, I’d appreciate some clarification.

    BTW – let me know if you want copies of either or both of my books (just give me a mailing address).
    Best,
    Larry


    On Thu, Nov 27, 2014 at 12:05 PM, Alex Tsakiris <alex@skeptiko.com> wrote:
    Hi Larry... thx for the links. I've had a chance check out some of it. great stuff. I'm not totally sold on homeopathy, but am open to learning more. Of course, I'm completely in line with you on philosophy of science issues.

    I'd like to post a forum thread announcing our interview and inviting listeners to post questions. I'd love to have you join this conversation, but it's not a requirement. Here's the thread: http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/upcoming-interview-dr-larry-malerba.1491/

    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Alex
     
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  11. fls

    fls Member

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    My perspective is similar to Dr. Malerba's. It seems a bit strange to find people who balk at homeopathy, when their thought processes have brought them to belief in psi and 9/11 conspiracies. I understand the desire not to turn this into a referendum on homeopathy or evaluations of evidence. But realistically, the strength of the evidence for homeopathy is better than it is for many of the beliefs defended by Alex and others, such as belief in psi. And in a forum where personal experience carries weight, it is reasonable to expect that pretty much anyone can have the experiences reported by Bucky and David.

    I suspect that the reason people here have mentioned some residual skepticism about homeopathy (excluding non-proponents) is because of unfamiliarity with the information which is used to support the idea. This seems an ideal opportunity for Skeptiko fans to be informed in a way which feels comfortable to them.

    Linda
     
  12. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Hi Dr. Malerba,

    If you're reading the thread, let me say that as one of the Skeptiko regulars, I have an open mind about homeopathy. I tried it once, and it didn't work for me, but in hindsight the homeopath I happened to see (also a regular doctor) didn't endear himself to me: for a start, he hardly listened--I couldn't get a word in edgeways. It may not have worked more because he wasn't a good practitioner than because homeopathy isn't effective.

    I've been reading recently about EZ water, and it does seem that there's another phase of water; there's also Jacques Benveniste's and Luc Montagnier's work on the possible memory effects of water. Of course, such work has come under heavy fire from diehard sceptics, but for what it's worth, I'm persuaded there could be something to it, albeit there might be a lot more investigation to be done.

    I note that there are many conventionally-trained medical practitioners who are also homeopaths, and that in itself is interesting. Maybe part of the stimulus for them to try it is disillusion with conventional approaches and treatments, and if so, that's a view shared by many people without medical training. Reading what I've been able to find out about you on the web, your general conclusions about the current state of science as a kind of new religion that is closed to ideas not receiving its imprimatur is something that is constantly discussed on this forum and there are many here, including me, who would agree with that.

    However, we are a broad church; the forum isn't called Skeptiko for nothing. Those of us open to unconventional ideas can (hopefully constructively) closely examine claims even in areas we tend to accept, and our opinions aren't monolithic. I begin with a broad sympathy for homeopathy, but also a certain amount of scepticism about some other "New Agey" approaches to healing. It's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff with those, I'm afraid.

    I suppose one elephant in the room is the placebo effect. We all know that pills containing completely inert ingredients, as well as mock surgical procedures, can result in effective and in some cases even permanent cures. What makes me laugh is that conventional practitioners accept the effect is real, and may try to rubbish alternative medicine by saying it's all down to placebo effects. At the same time, there is the decline effect associated with conventional drug treatments, indicating that some kind of placebo influence may be initially in play when a new treatment is made available. And, of course, we don't actually know what causes the placebo effect, which in my understanding has to be bettered quantitatively for a drug to be released onto the market (leading to concerns in my mind about statistical procedures, cherry-picking and file-drawer problems).

    Which brings me to the psychological aspects of medical treatment. There's a system that includes at least the treatment, the patient, and the practitioner, which last brings a variable degree of caring involvement to the process. I suspect that in general (notwithstanding my disappointing experience in one particular case), homeopaths tend to be more sympatico. If so, this might be at least as important as the treatments prescribed.

    Based on your extensive personal experience, I wonder how much you would put down to the caring nature of the practitioner, and how much to the remedy prescribed--would a remedy be as effective regardless of the degree of involvement of the practitioner? You may care to regard that as a rhetorical question here, but it's surely something I'd be interested to hear Alex explore. After all, I suspect that entirely conventional medical practitioners might have differing degrees of success with patients even where the same remedies are dispensed. How do we separate out the three elements of the system and assess the relative effectiveness of each?
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2014
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  13. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    I'm surprised to see you post that. Not that you don't get it but that you deem that important. Is there still part of your thinking that equates "getting it" with actuality. As much as current mythology (aka modern science) denigrates homeopathy there is a wealth of testimony to its efficacy.
     
  14. DocMalerba

    DocMalerba New

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    First let me say “thank you” to all for your interest in this topic. I’ve always found it tricky to discuss the issues raised by homeopathy without getting bogged down into answers to questions about what it is and responses to skeptics’ demands for proof.

    The very essence of homeopathy is that it is results oriented. It has very stringent criteria regarding the nature of a successful prescription. It is not like a drug that targets a specific symptom or set of symptoms. It assumes that real healing involves the resolution of most if not all symptoms on all levels (mental, emotional, physical) in a lasting way over the course of time. It is not easy to do homeopathy but the results, when successful, are striking and beyond what any psychotherapeutic or placebo effect can consistently produce. For example, when I treat a child with asthma, sleep difficulties, a hot temper, a fear of the dark that prevents him from sleeping alone at night, and a fear of water that stops him from learning how to swim, my expectation is that by the end of treatment all of these problems will have resolved, if not completely, then almost so. Given accurate prescribing, this may take anywhere from a month to six months to a year to accomplish, and it is done so without the need for ongoing medication. This kind of result is routine to an experienced practitioner. Although it is possible to get partial results, if full resolution of symptoms is not accomplished, it is not considered a successful outcome.

    Contrast this to conventional medicine which, in my opinion, is so wrapped up in mechanisms of action, proofs supposedly provided by research, diagnostic disputes, and rational explanations, precisely because its therapeutic options are so limited and the results so weak. It keeps docs occupied with activities that make them feel knowledgeable and professional.

    More important to me are the issues that such a phenomenon raises. It lays bare the obvious fact that conventional medicine is severely hampered by its antiquated metaphysical beliefs: materialism, mechanism, objectivism, conformism, dualism, and so on. To be able to shed these –isms would be to free it from the dogma that prevents it from helping patients in ways that are inconceivable to most of us. The most profound issue that it raises is the influence of mental, emotional, and spiritual factors in the development of disease. Perhaps we can talk about it more during the interview but, suffice it to say, most physical illness starts on a deeper plane and tends to manifest later on the physical. Of course, regular medicine deals only with the physical and, as such, is usually too late on the scene, so to speak.

    Homeopathy is far from perfect. Successful outcomes require knowledge, experience, cooperative patients, and often have to contend with the suppressive nature of drugs and surgeries, which can commonly cause setbacks in the overall progress of patients.

    To answer some of the issues raised by comments so far: Providing rationalist evidence of proof via the mechanism of action of homeopathy (water memory, hormesis, etc) is beside the point to me. I’m more concerned with the powerful lessons that the practice of homeopathy brings up. Like, how unresolved grief sometimes leads to rheumatoid arthritis or hyperthyroidism. Or how disease manifests in remarkably predictable patterns. In other words, the odds are pretty strong that a jealous person with a sharp sarcastic tongue who is afraid of snakes will likely develop sleep problems and a predominance of symptoms on the left side of the body. Or, a driven person with high ambitions who is sensitive to cold weather and craves coffee is likely to develop indigestion, constipation, and low back pains. These patterns are the clues that lead to successful prescriptions.

    The placebo argument is usually put to rest by the fact that infants and animals respond just as well as any adult to a well-chosen remedy. Placebo, to me, is conventional medicine’s way of downplaying, renaming, and removing all mind-body phenomena from the discussion. Anything that can’t be explained in material mechanistic terms is dumped into the placebo category. Of course, white coats, stethoscopes, MRI machines, cathedral-like hospitals, and billions of dollars in funding are the most powerful placebos of all.

    As to the claim that there is no research to back up homeopathy, this is just a meme propagated by homeopathy haters. There is a good bit of research and much of it provides results considered “statistically significant.”
    Anyway, I hope this helps and I look forward to talking with Alex.
    Peace,
    Larry
     
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  15. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    Thank you. As one who realizes that there is a lot that can only be accessed outside of the conventional/materialist/objective paradigm I look forward to reading your interview.
     
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  16. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I think science has been forced to research homoeopathy more seriously because it represents a direct economic challenge to orthodox medicine. This has generated some evidence for these treatments. Most of the subjects we discuss are more or less ignored by modern science. I somehow doubt that a serious study (not suggesting for a second that RS's study was other than serious) of dogs knowing when their owners were returning, would come up with no evidence.

    It is because a lot of people care about homoeopathy that it would be impossible to perform Wiseman's trick in that field.

    David
     
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  17. malf

    malf Member

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    OK. I'll come at this from a slightly different perspective. Think carefully about the similarities between homeopathy and placebo. Belief and suggestion. Hypnosis is occurring here and is the key to understanding the process (IMHO).
     
  18. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I'd say all those processes probably have a ψ component. Look for example in Irreducible Mind for examples of hypnotically induced telepathy. Homoeopathy clearly must involve a ψ component if it works, and the placebo effect seems to be mind over matter, but medical research simply has to take it into account to get any consistency in its results.

    David
     
  19. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    I wanted to add a little bit more about my previous post, especially for what concerns so called "modern homeopathy" or homotoxicology, theorized and founded by German physcian H. H. Reckeweg.

    As I alluded to in my previous post I find it fascinating how mainstream science can violently attack some ideas (such as cold fusion and homeopathy) only to return to the same ideas a few years later and pretending there is no hypocrisy.

    To prove my case let's start with Dr. Umberto Veronesi, eminent Italian oncologist, founder of the European Institute of Oncology... a big shot in the field, professed atheist, mainstream scientist, woo woo free :)
    In Italy he has founded the "Umberto Veronesi Foundation", a high profile research institute promoted by internationally renowned scientists including 11 Nobel prizes that sit in the Honor Committee, which aims at advancing high profile medical research and offer research scholarships for promising new therapies. Not only for oncology but for all other fields of medicine.

    Now that I've set the background here's an interesting article from the Veronesi foundation that appeared last year:
    https://www.fondazioneveronesi.it/a...sse-dosi-meno-tossiche-ma-ugualmente-efficaci

    It's in Italian, sorry, but you can google translate it. In essence the piece describes with a certain emphasis the potential of a new approach in medicine, called low dose medicine (LDM), to trigger the immune defenses not only against ordinary or chronic problems but also for tumors such as lung cancer.
    The article continues by citing the exciting evidence of a preliminary study done at the university of Torino, using low dose Interleukin-12 (IL-12) which is able to modulate many subsets of lymphocytes and restore a depressed immune function.

    Finally the article concludes that, if confirmed by other studies, the LDM approach could be effectively used in cancer therapy and for cancer prevention.
    The original study can be found here:
    http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=22309

    And here's another very similar study, with the same conclusions:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23552371

    The stunning hypocrisy

    In the article from the Veronesi foundation it is clearly stated that low dose medicine has nothing to do with homeopathy. Let's make sure we're clear here: this is real science, not "hocus pocus". The casual reader must be informed that medicine doesn't deal with disproved nonsensical superstition. :D

    Unfortunately the casual reader, and probably the informed one too, is not aware that this sort of low dose remedies with immunomodulatory effect have been proposed and used in homotoxicology way before anyone coined the evocative "Low Dose Medicine" term. Immune therapy in modern homeopathy is in fact done via signaling molecules such as low dose interleukins (e.g. IL-12), interferons etc... using dilutions such as C4, which is well above the dreaded Avogadro threshold.

    What is even funnier is that some people in the homeopathic community has integrated the LDM terminology in order to avoid the stigmata of calling spade a spade:
    http://www.amazon.com/Low-dose-medi...E4IE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417264423&sr=8-1

    For more info about Dr Reckeweg and the origin of modern homeopathy see this outline:
    http://sueyounghistories.com/archives/2010/03/12/hans-heinrich-reckeweg-1905-1985/

    More interesting material, from a veterinarian point of view:
    http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/May-2010/Homotoxicology-Rise-To-Rationality/

    cheers
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2014
  20. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Super post, Bucky. I hadn't heard about LDM before you mentioned it. Maybe it's hypocritical and face-saving, but a part of me thinks so what? A rose by another name smells just as sweet, no? If they have to save face but the end result is effective medicine, does it matter? It might, I suppose, if they try to proprietise LDM and run it the same way as Big Pharma: get it regulated and base it all on dilutions of orthodox drugs, trying to regulate out traditional remedies. But if not, and this stuff works, does it really matter?
     

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