Homeopathy and cycle helmets

This sub-forum all discussions about this "lively" subject. All topics that are substantially about helmets will be moved here, if not placed here correctly in the first place.
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horizon
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Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby horizon » 29 Jul 2015, 1:57pm

This is the second part of this thread viewtopic.php?f=15&t=98809&p=921790#p921790 and has to be located in this part of the forum.

There's a striking similarity IMV between the arguments for and against homeopathy and cycle helmets. Both give their users an obvious and immediate appearance of benefit. This is almost impossible to refute: the cause and effect experienced by homeopathy (as I described in the first post) is similar to the "helmet saved my life" experience of helmet users - self-evident and obvious proof.

The most common argument against homeopathy is that the little white pills contain no active substance. This is easily explained away by referring to an, as yet unknown, physical action. Similarly, helmet users claim that a layer of polystyrene must confer some benefit.

In fact the strongest argument against homeopathy (and by the way I love it to bits) is that its success cannot be replicated in large scale trials. That is effectively its death warrant. As I said, I love homeopathy and its approach to health but I would never try to defend it scientifically.

So back to cycle helmets. What ever anyone thinks about that layer of polystyrene, the success of helmets isn't reflected in large scale statistics. Both homeopaths and cycle helmet wearers question the validity of large scale studies but neither can deny that, overall, both the lttle white pill and a cycle helmet are, in effect, placebos.

So my point in these two threads is to suggest that if you wear a cycle helmet you should at least allow for the possibility that homeopathy really works and maybe try it out, ideally on your children.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby pjclinch » 29 Jul 2015, 4:17pm

Your analogy breaks down at the end where helmets are (notionally, at least) preventatives and homoeopathic medicines are (notionally, at least) curatives.

So the helmet is "just in case something bad happens" (with "something bad" unspecified but assumed to be within the capabilities of the lid) against "something bad had definitely happened" (where the extent of "something bad" is better known, as are alternative options of remedies).

Not that that invalidates the whole point, but it's not quite as clear cut in your last paragraph as it might be.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

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horizon
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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby horizon » 29 Jul 2015, 6:36pm

What I found really interesting was the importance placed on large scale trials by researchers and scientists. A one-off event is really of little scientific value - it can have any number of suggested explanations. And you can argue cause and effect until the cows come home. I'm not a scientist myself but discovered that researchers use large scale trials in order to replicate a result and determine whether there really is a beneficial effect, not just with drugs but wih anything. I'm not sure whether cycle helmet wearers are aware of both the significance, and lack of, large scale results. Most I presume will dismiss this inconvenient fact and continue to wear their helmet - much as in the same way I wil continue to use homeopathy. I just don't think helmet wearers are aware of what company they keep. :wink:
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby Cunobelin » 29 Jul 2015, 7:37pm

pjclinch wrote:Your analogy breaks down at the end where helmets are (notionally, at least) preventatives and homoeopathic medicines are (notionally, at least) curatives.

So the helmet is "just in case something bad happens" (with "something bad" unspecified but assumed to be within the capabilities of the lid) against "something bad had definitely happened" (where the extent of "something bad" is better known, as are alternative options of remedies).

Not that that invalidates the whole point, but it's not quite as clear cut in your last paragraph as it might be.

Pete.



There are those who would disagree and claim that Homoeopathy is just as much about prevention as cure

Homeopathic Remedies to Prevent Colds and Flu

Both of these remedies are most effective when you are first coming down with a cold.

Oscillococcinum is made from the liver of a goose. Geese fly great distances each year. They are exposed to many viruses in their travels, and build up immunity in their livers to each. By taking this remedy, you gain that immunity. It is safe to combine with prescription medications, for children or the elderly, and causes no drowsiness or stimulant effect. There are numerous clinical trials showing good results using this product. It is useful for intestinal flu as well. DIRECTIONS: Oscillococcinum can be taken every 12 hours to stave off a cold.

Influenzinum is made from the same flu vaccine substances that are prepared by the World Health Organization. It is updated each year and the substance is prepared in dilute quantities, and then homeopathically potentized. The remedy is used instead of a flu vaccine to stimulate the body’s defense system in order to resist the season’s flu strains. Its action boosts the immune system. DIRECTIONS: Influenzinum is useful after first exposure, in the early stages of a cold, or as a preventative. Recommended dosage is once a day for a month.

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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby bovlomov » 29 Jul 2015, 7:58pm

The success of homeopathy has been, in no small part, due to the failings of conventional medicine. As cunobelin says, lack of attention to prevention; but also lack of interest from GPs, drugs as a first resort, medicalisation of the human condition... and so on.

That's not to say that conventional medicine doesn't have its strengths, but I'd feel on firmer ground defending my choice not to wear a helmet than I would defending conventional medicine.

I'm not sure how helmets fit that model. If homeopathy is in some way 'sticking it to the man', then cycle helmets are 'sucking up to the man'. Also sucking up to the BMA, interestingly. Now I'm confused!

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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby pjclinch » 29 Jul 2015, 9:21pm

"When you are first coming down..." is after infection. Preventing something getting worse and preventing it, end of, aren't the same thing!
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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby horizon » 29 Jul 2015, 10:14pm

Helmets and homeopathy are difficult things to compare and I wasn't trying to make a point about prevention or cure: It was the parallel between the disparity between obvious evidence and lack of large scale statistical support. Helmets are controversial (at least on this forum) because the truth is unclear - it has nothing to do with personal preference for instance. It's hard IMV to find parallels and analogies with the helmet debate: I came across this one (homeopathy) when I was reading a critique of homeopathy and was struck by the similarity with the helmet debate. As a non-scientist or statistician I didn't realise how important the large scale study is and how it is used to replicate results.

However I could suggest that the helmet may be viewed as a placebo: wearing one can make you feel safe even though it has no connection with factual reality. Given that it is all in the mind, I think that helmets are therefore a reasonable candidate for the placebo effect.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby kwackers » 30 Jul 2015, 8:30am

I wore a helmet once, over time any traces of it on my skull and hair have been diluting.
It's now more protective than you can possibly know...

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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby pjclinch » 30 Jul 2015, 8:36am

And if it does go wrong, and you end up in A&E...

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horizon
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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby horizon » 30 Jul 2015, 11:14am

Now for Mitchell and Webb on cycle helmets:

Here, put this highly ventilated, brightly coloured, very lightweight, fashionable-looking piece of polystyrene on your head. There you go - safe as houses.

The belief system is roughly the same I would say.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby [XAP]Bob » 30 Jul 2015, 11:36am

kwackers wrote:I wore a helmet once, over time any traces of it on my skull and hair have been diluting.
It's now more protective than you can possibly know...

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby Phil Fouracre » 10 Aug 2015, 11:39am

Love the Mitchell and Webb. Reminded of my first visit to herbalist, asked her jokingly what the difference between herbalism and homeopathy was. Her reply, 'herbalism works' :-)
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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby Psamathe » 10 Aug 2015, 12:13pm

horizon wrote:What I found really interesting was the importance placed on large scale trials by researchers and scientists. A one-off event is really of little scientific value - it can have any number of suggested explanations. And you can argue cause and effect until the cows come home. I'm not a scientist myself but discovered that researchers use large scale trials in order to replicate a result and determine whether there really is a beneficial effect, not just with drugs but wih anything. I'm not sure whether cycle helmet wearers are aware of both the significance, and lack of, large scale results. Most I presume will dismiss this inconvenient fact and continue to wear their helmet - much as in the same way I wil continue to use homeopathy. I just don't think helmet wearers are aware of what company they keep. :wink:

I understood that large scale trials were particularly important in medicine as for many conditions people will spontaneously recover by themselves. How many will probably depend on the condition. So if somebody gets ill, you give them a totally ineffective treatment and they get better it may be that they would have got better anyway so the case indicates nothing. But do a trial with 5000 being given the ineffective treatment and the other 5000 being given a placebo and the different recovery rates can then indicate an effect - as the spontaneous recovery would be statistically similar between both groups. And when subject to such scrutiny, homeopathy is shown to be a waste of time/dangerous (hence we end up with members of the Royal Family pushing taxpayers money into pursuing it !!).

Ian

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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby meic » 10 Aug 2015, 12:56pm

homeopathy is shown to be a waste of time/dangerous

How come otherwise right minded scientists suddenly throw out their scientific principles when inflamed by the sight of homeopathy or helmet deniers?

So how exactly can a tiny sugar pill be dangerous? Does dissolving it in your mouth cause an onset of dental caries?

Is there perhaps a double blind study that has been done which shows the dangerous effects of these sugar pills or are such standards of proof only required from others?

Again as for homeopathy being SHOWN to be a waste of time, the homeopaths have always refused to participate in double blind studies on the ethical ground that it would deny 50% of sufferers treatment. The tests then conducted by scientists with a heavy bias against homeopathy were, even to a casual observer, not conducted in line with the homeopathic way.

A fatal flaw of the tests was that the scientists refused to treat according to patient type (the homeopathic method) and treated by illness the type (at that time the pharmaceutical method). Interestingly since that the pharmaceuticals have now themselves adopted the (then despised) patient profiling using gene profiles. :lol:

So regardless of whether homeopathy works or not (and common sense says it doesnt) the so called scientific proof against it is far from scientific and a disgrace to those of us who like honest, fair science.
On the other hand the homeopaths have created (like religions) an untestable hypothesis. :mrgreen:

Only a pretty poor excuse of a scientist gets suckered into constructing false/fake proofs against it, which brings us back to the helmet debate, as Horizon says the similarity is there, normally rational people (on both sides) are willing to throw science out of the window and be governed by bias, common sense and emotion.
Yma o Hyd

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Re: Homeopathy and cycle helmets

Postby Psamathe » 10 Aug 2015, 1:55pm

meic wrote:
homeopathy is shown to be a waste of time/dangerous

..
So how exactly can a tiny sugar pill be dangerous? Does dissolving it in your mouth cause an onset of dental caries?
...

Dangerous in that the hope of a homeopathaetic cure working can make some "enthusiasts" discontinue conventional treatment. So where a conventional treatment might have saved them, that chance is rejected in favour of the "diluted sugar pill" - meaning they are less likely to recover.

i.e. when I (and others) refer to the danger it is not the danger of diluted sugar pills but the danger of discontinuing proved treatments. And it does happen - one of my distant family members was suffering and rather than follow conventional treatments she instead searched the internet and decided a "dietary solution" was the answer so for years went through avoiding various types of food (and when it didn't work, more internet searches and a different type of food stopped, etc.). Fortunately (as the condition is not fatal) now she is following proper medical treatments and her life is a lot easier.

Ian