I have to say Amanda Brown's information about Homeopathic Flu "Vaccines" was among the most disturbing things I've seen since I started blogging. As a result, I have this real urge to continue to point out the stupidity of homeopathy - so...
After writing the last blog entry about Amanda Brown "CHom", I sent her an email to see if she had anything to add. She has yet to respond. I'm doubtful that she ever will.
A comment on my blog referred to a Science Based Medicine article on Homeopathic Vaccines that appeared shortly after I posted my blog entry. I happen to be a big fan of Mark Crislip's writings and his podcast (http://www.quackcast.com/) so I was happy to see him cover the topic. It is well worth reading.
Below is a video with Ben Goldacre (http://www.badscience.net/) explaining Homeopathy. It is about a year old but does a good job of quickly explaining how it is supposed to work and the ethical question surrounding the use of Homeopathy.
Often people argue about the value of Homeopathy - since there is supposed to be absolutely nothing in it, the risk of Homeopathy, it is said, is none. 'If there is no risk but people can "feel better" by taking it, what is the harm?' Assuming that this statement were accurate (Homeopathic 'medicines' have been known to be adulterated or have been contaminated so the risk isn't "none".), however, REAL medicine isn't about making people "feel better", it is about actually making people "better". Feeling better is not the same as being better.
The argument of "what's the harm?", I would suggest, is a horrible one for a number of reasons but, without getting into that (yet anyway), when you consider the "replacement" of a vaccine with a homeopathic "treatment", the risks are real. The flu is real - it costs thousands of lives every year (in North America alone). Not everyone who comes in contact with the flu virus gets the flu and not everyone who gets the flu dies from it. Not getting the flu shot, however, means that you are at an increased risk of becoming infected and, as a result, falling ill. Taking "nothing" (replace "Homeopathic Remedy" with "nothing") can be harmful.
There are risks to Homeopathic "treatments" as well. If a person with a cold takes a Homeopathic Remedy and shortly after gets "better" it is possible that they will attribute the "healing" to the Homeopathic "treatment". It is often said that if you have a common cold, taking an over-the-counter cold remedy will result in the cold lasting only 7 days. Without taking the over-the-counter remedy, it would last about a week. The natural progression of the common cold is, generally, not altered by treating it with most over-the-counter products. The natural progression of the common cold is not altered by treating it with a Homeopathic remedy so the person giving credit to the Homeopathic "treatment" is wrongly associating the "remedy" with causing them to get better. This is where it can become a problem.
The next time the person feels ill then, as a result of what they might feel was a "successful" treatment of their cold, they may attend a Homeopathic practitioner instead of seeing someone who actually might be able to help. Delaying the treatment of, what could be, a serious illness can have real harmful effects. Also, taking a homeopathic treatment and "feeling better" while the disease continues to run rampant can further delay the real treatment.
Homeopaths should never be diagnosing a person - they, almost without exception, have very little (if any) scientific training and often no real-world clinical experience. The "school" that Amanda Brown claims to have "attended" offers clinical experience via DVD. Her "certificate" (whatever) is something that is achieved with only 20 weekends of study (500 hours total). (Oh, and over $9000!)
On browsing Amanda's website (she has since moved her website: http://amandabrownhomeopath.com/index.asp), you will come across her form for an "Initial Consultation" (her form is no longer online) - it is no wonder that most people who have seen a Homeopath will not talk openly about them. It's like Scientology - "tell us all of your dark secrets, it will only help you" and then when you try to leave the cult, "ummm, you do remember that form you filled out with all of your dirty secrets? WE wouldn't want anyone to find out about that, would we?" :)
I'm not saying that is what Homeopaths do but are you really going to tell some unregulated (and, in so many ways, uneducated) person about your medical history? The form asks you to list "medical conditions" that you have had in the past or that you currently have, including, "HIV/AIDS, Gonnerrhea, Syphilis, Parasites, Drug Abuse, Alcoholism, Cirrhosis, Miscarriage, Herpes (gentalia)" (and, yes, the spelling is how it is found on Amanda's form). Ready to sign up yet?
Update: See "A Bitter Pill to Swallow" by Edzard Ernst. (Posted today - November 8, 2010)