On Idiosyncracy, Provings and Campbell’s soup.

No, this is not an advert...

No, this is not an advert…

On Idiosyncracy, provings and Campbell’s soup.

I was working with a nutritionist a long time ago, and our conversation turned to a recent scandal about food-poisoning from Campbell’s soup. There had been an uproar at the time, and the company countered with a statement that the risk was only one in ten thousand. “That’s all very well,” countered the nutritionist, “but it doesn’t help if you’re the one…” Continue reading

Which Witch-Doctors?

in consultation

a second opinion…

The Modern Witch Doctors

At least one thing you can be sure of – this won’t be a rant against homoeopathy – at least not against homoeopathy as taught by Hahnemann and Boenninghausen. But it takes me a while to get to the point. Caution: patience required.

Witch doctors are for the most part defined as those who profess to have supernatural powers, mutter magic spells, have lengthy and effective conversations with the devil and his minions where they always win, work with potions and portents and basically own all that is not in the here and now. Sort of. Continue reading

Only 25% of cases in the recent US measles outbreak were vaccine refusers

Article by Meryl Nass MD – view the original here

FACTS: Only 25% of recent US measles cases were vaccine refusers; there have been no US measles deaths since 2003; most of those with measles have been adults/ CDC

 A few facts about measles need to be told.  Measles is not rapidly expanding in the US or internationally, and CDC says the rate of vaccination for measles has been stable since 1994. (However, in some states, like Oregon, the number of vaccine waivers has tripled to 6% in about 10 years.  In response, last March Oregon tightened its rules for vaccine exemptions, requiring parents to be educated about vaccines before refusing.) The following comes exclusively from the CDC and WHO.
1.  No one has died in the US from an acute case of measles since 2003.  Because Snopes claimed this was a lie, I checked with the measles experts at CDC, who wrote me the following email today:

“Good Afternoon,Thank you for your inquiry regarding measles deaths.  Measles data available to the public can be found in www.cdc.gov/measles, MMWR (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/), and other publications such as those listed on http://www.cdc.gov/measles/resources/ref-res.html.The last documented deaths in the US directly attributable to acute measles occurred in 2003.  Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, we estimate that 3-4 million people got measles each year in the US, and 400-500 of those died (http://www.cdc.gov/measles/about/faqs.html).  Kind Regards,Division of Viral Diseases Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”

2.  Worldwide, according to the WHO, measles deaths were reduced by 74% between 2001 and 2010.
The majority of measles deaths occurred in India and Africa where not enough children are being vaccinated. India accounted for 47% of all measles deaths, followed by the entire African region at 36%…
“This is still a huge success,” study author Peter Strebel, a measles expert at WHO, told the AP. Strebel said the 85% vaccination coverage rate is the highest ever recorded. 
4.  Over half the cases have occurred in adults.  The median age of recent measles cases is 22.

“As of February 11, a total of 125 measles cases with rash occurring during December 28, 2014–February 8, 2015, had been confirmed in U.S. residents connected with this outbreak. Of these, 110 patients were California residents. Thirty-nine (35%) of the California patients visited one or both of the two Disney theme parks during December 17–20, where they are thought to have been exposed to measles, 37 have an unknown exposure source (34%), and 34 (31%) are secondary cases. Among the 34 secondary cases, 26 were household or close contacts, and eight were exposed in a community setting. Five (5%) of the California patients reported being in one or both of the two Disney theme parks during their exposure period outside of December 17–20, but their source of infection is unknown. In addition, 15 cases linked to the two Disney theme parks have been reported in seven other states: Arizona (seven), Colorado (one), Nebraska (one), Oregon (one), Utah (three), and Washington (two), as well as linked cases reported in two neighboring countries, Mexico (one) and Canada (10).

Among the 110 California patients, 49 (45%) were unvaccinated; five (5%) had 1 dose of measles-containing vaccine, seven (6%) had 2 doses, one (1%) had 3 doses, 47 (43%) had unknown or undocumented vaccination status, and one (1%) had immunoglobulin G seropositivity documented, which indicates prior vaccination or measles infection at an undetermined time. Twelve of the unvaccinated patients were infants too young to be vaccinated. Among the 37 remaining vaccine-eligible patients, 28 (67%) were intentionally unvaccinated because of personal beliefs, and one was on an alternative plan for vaccination. Among the 28 intentionally unvaccinated patients, 18 were children and ten were adults…

Viewed through proving: a sideways look at Oleander

oleanderHahnemann writes about Oleander: “It will be found to be if not a complete remedy yet an indispensable intermediate remedy in some kinds of mental derangements, e.g. absence of mind, and in certain kinds of painless paralysis, in eruptions on the head, and some external head affections.”

Farringdon (1847-1885) brings an example of a case (bold is mine):

“Once I succeeded in curing a case of headache with Oleander. It was some years ago. The patient was a young lady. The headache was relieved by forcibly looking cross-eyed. Looking up the materia medica, I found that Oleander had pain in the head relieved from looking sideways. That was why I prescribed the remedy.”

Only one thing: the modality of looking sideways in the proving is not related to pain in the head, and is only presented as an aggravation, not an amelioration. The symptom is in the Eyes and Vision section:

  1. On looking sideways, without turning the head, as if blackness would come before the eyes.[Gss.]

It is not clear when the amelioration to head pains from looking sideways entered into the picture, but it’s clearly stated in Boenninghausen’s (1785-1864) Therapeutic Pocket Book.   Oleander appears in two points in the original proving symptom rubric Aggravation, Vision, Looking Sideways, alongside Belladonna (three points) and Spigelia (deux points – sorry, two points*), and also appears in Amelioration, Vision, Looking Sideways, where it holds the fort alone with 3 points.

* [overdose of the Eurovision on British TV in the 70s… now where’s the cure for that, I wonder…]

To add a little more background to this conundrum…

– Herring (1800-1880) states – “Headache improved by looking cross-eyed”, although he does still include the “darkness before eyes when looking sideways”.

– John Henry Clarke (1853-1931), in his Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, also mentions both the aggravation and amelioration from looking sideways, as do others.

– Boger (1861-1935), in his Synoptic, includes only the amelioration from “looking sideways”.

– The Boger-Boenninghausen repertory, under “generalities” includes both the aggravation (Oleander in 2 points, alongside Gels (2), Bell (3) and Con. Spig and Thuj all in one point), and the amelioration with Oleander again flying solo in 3 points.  In the vision section, the aggravation only appears, and in the inner head Oleander stands alone in amelioration from looking sideways, and does not appear in the aggravation in this section.

Perhaps the answer is indicated in Hughes’ (1836-1902) cryptic comment regarding Hahnemann’s proving in his Cyclopaedia of Drug Pathogenesy: “Contains 542 symptoms from self and five others…” The proving included in the currently used version of the Materia Medica Pura contains approximately 352 – but it is clear more symptoms were known  to Boenninghausen, and probably to others at that time.

Why have I bothered with all this, you may wonder.  To tell the truth, at some stages during the writing of this post I found myself wondering about it too.  I feel this issue is just a small example of how helpful it would have been if everyone would have quoted their sources.   In a minor attempt to bring order into how we see those sources, I’ve started including birth and death dates for homoeopaths quoted here, and will continue to do so in future.

I’ve hammered away at this point before, in true IHM style.  In order for homoeopathy to have any credibility and produce reliable, consistent results, we must work with elements that are as certain as possible.  This forces a reliance on primary sources, and on those who were closest to those primary sources, simply to find some of those certainties.  Because of Boenninghausen’s closeness to the original proving with its full complement of symptoms, his work can be seen as more solidly reliable with reference to use of primary sources (the poor Baron, he didn’t have Kent to rely on…yes, I’m being sarcastic…).

So, rather than following the new, polished and gleaming paths which take us perhaps as far back as Kent and through the shiny, useless baubles of personality imbued homoeopathy, I find myself wending my way through dusty cobwebbed stairwells, looking for past certainties regarding provings and clinical work because not enough reliable, reproducible work is being done in the present.

The Kentian Call of the Constitutional Remedy

runner - constitutional

constitutional: a walk or a run, ultimately bringing you back to where you started…

The Kentian Call of the Constitutional Remedy

A theory of everything (ToE) or final theory, ultimate theory, or master theory is a hypothetical single, all-encompassing, coherent theoretical framework of physics that fully explains and links together all physical aspects of the universe. (Steven Weinberg. Dreams of a Final Theory: The Scientist’s Search for the Ultimate Laws of Nature. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.)  (thank you, Wikipedia…)

Continue reading

Case of pain in the hip joint

The following is a case of pain in the hip joint presented by Gary Weaver on the main Institute for Homoeopathic Medicine site blog.  I have presented both Gary’s initial case presentation and the follow-up published by Gary the next day. Continue reading

Case-taking and analysis: “knowing” versus “thinking”

Cogito ergo erro...(sorry, Descartes)

Cogito ergo erro…(sorry, Descartes)

As homoeopaths we must be aware of perhaps the no. 1 pitfall in analyzing a case.  And once you notice it – it cannot remain un-noticed.

Homoeopathy is not a therapy based on hunches or intuitions.  It is a therapy based on observation of fact, and knowledge.  Just go back to the Organon aphorism 3 – or simply consider the obvious.  The homoeopath’s job is to observe and elicit the information about the disease (case-taking), to know what is curative in remedies (knowledge of provings, poisonings and clinical experience), and to find the appropriate remedy, administering it with appropriate potency and dosing. Continue reading