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Last Updated: Monday, 21 November 2005, 06:33 GMT
New study is boost to homoeopathy
Homeopathy has long been controversial
A study at Bristol Homoeopathic Hospital shows over 70% of patients with chronic diseases reported positive health changes after treatment.

More than 6,500 patients took part in the six-year study with problems such as eczema to menopause and arthritis.

The biggest improvements were seen in children - 89% of under 16s with asthma reported improvement.

Of the group, 75% felt 'better' or 'much better', as did 68% of eczema patients under 16.

The results come just months after a study in The Lancet concluded that using homeopathy was no better than taking dummy drugs.

These results clearly demonstrate the value of homeopathy in the NHS
Dr David Spence

The Swiss-UK review of 110 trials found no convincing evidence the treatment worked any better than a placebo.

The row over homoeopathy has been raging for years.

The therapy is based on the principle of treating like with like.

For instance, someone with an allergy, for example, who was using homeopathic medicines would attempt to beat it with an ultra-diluted dose of an agent that would cause the same symptoms.

Dr David Spence, Clinical Director and Consultant Physician at Bristol Homeopathic Hospital and Chairman of the British Homoeopathic Association, a co-author of the new study, said: "These results clearly demonstrate the value of homeopathy in the NHS."

All the patients were referred by their GP or hospital specialist and many had tried conventional treatment first without success.

Professor Matthias Egger, of the University of Berne, who worked on The Lancet study said the study was weakened by the lack of a comparison group.

He also questioned the validity of the way the study recorded improvements in patients' conditions.

"Patients were simply asked by their homoeopathic doctor whether they felt better, and it is well known that in this situation many patients will come up with the answer the doctor wants to hear."


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