Professor Regan’s Diet Clinic

After watching the second installment of Professor Regan’s diet clinic I am up in arms over the research she did regarding homeopathy. I’m not a homeopath, I’m a nutritionist but what I saw was seriously flawed media journalism.

Professor Regan put forward the case that homeopathy was little more than a placebo and the “research” she found was not good enough to put it in her so called diet clinic.

The homeopathy study she did was on four people, all who had chronic insomnia. Instead of giving homeopathic remedies she used sugar pills. I’m wondering why she didnt just try the homeopathic remedies anyway. Perhaps she was worried that they might actually work! The placebo pill worked well on the insomniacs and homeopathy was branded as nonsense. If she had used sugar pills on the second trial she did with painkillers one wonders if there would have been the same outcome. If the rugby players had been given placebo painkillers, would they have felt pain. Possibly not. So the whole point of this exercise makes no sense to me at all. We all know that placebo can work with all conventional drugs as well, so why did she choose to use it on homeopathy. What would have made far more interesting viewing would have been giving the homeopathy to young children or babies where placebo becomes a non factor.

The TV screen quickly flicked onto some of the research papers she was studying – I clocked one backed by Wellcome. If a trial is backed by a pharmaceuctical company how can the trial be unbiased? We have no idea who paid for these research trials and that is key to how to interpret the results or any trial done on any medicine.

Questions still unanswered were why do we still have a homeopathic hospital in London if it doesnt work? Why do animals and babies respond so well to homepathy if it is all in the mind?

The principle of like for like curing symptoms is used in conventional medicine for vaccines – why did Professor Regan find this so hard to understand?

You could argue that placebo could be used for all drugs and medicines – if the body thinks something will cure it, it usually will, as was proved by the rubgy players feeling less pain with the branded painkillers rather than the generic cheaper brands.

The final point I have to make before getting off my soapbox is the woman who took st johns wort whilst taking the contraceptive pill. The story was built up for us to think an awful side effect had occurred whilst taking the herbal supplement. We then found out what this side effect was…………and lord help us ….it was a baby!!! Yes it turns out that st johns wort reduces the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill. Well guess what – I have a friend who got pregnant while she was taking antibiotics and on the pill. Surely they could have come up with a better side effect than a lovely bouncing baby!! As a nutritionist I dont give st johns wort to my patients as it can be extremely toxic to the liver and very difficult to regulate the amount needed for each patient as there are so many varying kinds of low mood and depression. Isnt that more useful information?!!!

I would be interested to hear your views on this, and your experiences good or bad with homeopathy/herbal medicine and painkillers.

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10 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Martin Byrne said,

    Kate
    well said. The program was a joke, although not a bit funny. I have complained to the BBC about it and would suggest you do similar as nothing changes if we don’t.

    Kind regards

    martin Byrne

  2. 2

    katenut said,

    Thanks Martin. I might just do that!. Regards. Kate

  3. 3

    James said,

    We need more men to step forward and express their views. What about men and the male pill ? How much research has been done on them I ask ?

    As for painkillers…I’ve had a pain in my Knee for 3 weeks and I finally decided enough was enough so I went to the doctor. “Take ibuprofen my dear” said the wonderful lady! Bingo! It works FAB ..

  4. 4

    Spanky said,

    She made her descision NOT on her mini trial of insomniacs, but on the complete lack of evidence. I don’t care how homeopathy works, I’d be happy if it just worked better than placebo, which it doesn’t. Thanks to shows like this, the general public is waking up to this quackery. Great news!!!

  5. 5

    skepticat said,

    You’ve missed the point of the insomnia trial. I’ve responded to this post on my own blog here:

    http://skepticat.wordpress.com/2009/04/27/lesley-regans-medicine-cabinet/

  6. 6

    Moyra Cosgrove BSc Hons Nutrition said,

    Ben Goldacre does a great job of exposing bad science and attempts by the unscrupulous supplement industry to hoodwink the public. Patrick Holford is a good example of this – he and his band of brainwashed so-called nutritionists (ION). The likes of ION gives real, qualified nutritionists a bad name – such as “quack”. I am tired of explaining to people that ION simply wants to make money by selling them supplements that they usually don’t need. Homeopathy – well, there is simply no evidence of any benefit at all.
    Before berating the pharma industry for making profit (which is also the goal of the supplement industry and business in general), go and see ground breaking drugs being used to treat sick babies at places like GOSH. Good on Prof Regan for telling it like it is!

  7. 7

    AJP said,

    Hmm four out of five meta analysis of Homeopathic trials actually say otherwise Ms Cosgrove and one the one negative meta was found to be basing most of it’s findings on negative trials and excluding the positive, not to mention them not disclosing their outcomes naughty boys. You see I have no problem with a debate. Homeopathy is rather good at it when it’s given a fair chance. The trouble is lots of people lack that corinthian spirit of fair play among them Professor Regan and her devilish little hit piece.

    Clearly it has an effect on the less informed like yourselves Ms Cosgrove and I do feel ashamed for you as an alleged nutritionist. I feel ashamed for your colleagues who some may consider guilty by association as I find many in your field to be open minded and curious if not outright supportive.

    Let me enlighten you for a moment as you seem to lack the most basic of insights. Didn’t you read my message detailing the total lack of proof for all but 13% of treatments available on the NHS, according to the BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL. How is it you’re not up in arms about this factoid. For instance just how effective is chemotherapy and radiotherapy in curing cancer? Billions of dollars spent every year yet a miniscule percentage of cancers actually respond favourably and many lives are actually cut prematurely short for no good reason but to make vast and I mean vast sums of money. Why give chemotherapy to cancer sufferers when there is NO EVIDENCE for around 97% of them ever seeing any benefit from it??

    You see you haven’t a clue about anything but you think you do. That’s something you really need thelp with because you just come across as ignorant and indelibly stupid.

    Kid regards.

  8. 8

    AJP said,

    It is well known for haters of homeopathy or anything they don’t agree with to develop what is known in scientific circles as ‘pathological disbelief.’ No matter what evidence is presented in front of them they refuse to contemplate it because paradigm shifts are not in their make up. They will not tolerate dissent and have an unswerving faith in the rigidity of the mainstream. (A large percentage will go onto develop virulent cancers but that’s another argument). It’s the Galileo effect and it can be seen throughout science. Any scientist no matter how brilliant who challenges sacred cows is ostracised in the most vicious and intolerable way possible; Jacques Benveniste being a prime example.

    Unfortunately Ms Cosgrove as a square peg you fall squarely into your little square hole and that’s where you shall remain for eternity; rigid, intolerant and delusiional.

    That’s the nature of this beast I’m sorry to say. 😉

  9. 9

    Angela Pereira said,

    I have been fro some months trying to get hold of this programme of the BBC2, but unfortunately I seem not to be able to even contact the BBC2. I was by accident in England a the time of the programme and was really upset and irritate about it. I tried subsquently to get the podcast from the web page but couldn’t because I was not in England anymore. Today I am and I feel frustrated I cannot watch it anymore… anyway, I am glad I found this website, sicne it reassures me that I didn’t have aproblem with the English… indeed, I went back thinking maybe I didn’t understand the English, because her experiment is WRONG (BUT VERY BASICALLY WRONG!!) and just PROVES THAT sugar pills do not work for insomniacs. ANYTHING ELSE. I am puzzled how a woman that has published in her own field (infertility and so on) can first make such mistakes in research and second what is her legitimacy to talk about things she doesn’t know about to millions of people.

    And, BTW, if homeopathy worked as a placebo… how comes it works with children and animals??!!

    I have written an extensive prose about this programme, and intend to put it in the YOUTUBE. I’ll let you know when it comes out.

    regards.

    I am a researcher myself, follow homeopathy quite closely and have adopt it in life.

  10. 10

    Zella Harrist said,

    I always take herbal supplements because they are readily available and it is a more natural alternative to taking medications. .

    Most recent piece of content on our own web blog
    http://www.foodsupplementdigest.com/vitamin-d3-deficiency/


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