Homeopathic preparations are not an alternative to vaccines and will not protect against diseases like measles, say Canadians doctors and scientists.
Photo Credit: CBC

Homeopathic ‘vaccines’ do not work, say scientists

Share

Scientists and doctors say homeopathic preparations sold as alternatives to vaccines are a dangerous distraction and should be taken off the market. Immunization has become a hot topic in Canada since several measles cases have cropped up, mostly among people who have not been vaccinated.

‘Science says it is total nonsense’

Homeopathic remedies are described as greatly diluted forms of bacteria or viruses that are supposed to protect against illnesses caused by them. “Of course, science says it is total nonsense,” says Ariel Fenster, a professor of chemistry and founding member of the Office for Science & Society at McGill University.

Listen

He says homeopathic remedies are so diluted that they rarely include a single molecule of the original substance. Among them are nosodes, sold by some naturopaths, homeopaths or chiropractors as alternatives to vaccines even though the government department Health Canada has ordered the packages to be labelled “this product is not intended to be an alternative to vaccination.”

null
Leaving homeopathic nosodes on the market is dangerous, public health experts say, adding they should have to meet the same rigorous standards of efficacy as do traditional drugs. © CBC

Public confused

One problem, says Fenster, is that the government assigns code numbers to homeopathic products without requiring proof that they are effective. Manufacturers only have to prove they have been used in homeopathy in the past.  Since so-called DIN numbers are used for conventional drugs which must meet rigorous standards, the public is confused, he says,  and assumes both classes of products are effective.

Discredited study still inspires fear

Some Canadians fear traditional vaccines because they can’t forget a study linking them to autism, even though that research has been thoroughly discredited by several rigorous studies and its original author.

null
McGill Prof. Ariel Fenster says there are not two sides to the story about vaccination and “there is science and there is nonsense.”

‘There is no both sides of the story’

The way the news media handle the issue of vaccination is also problematic says Fenster. Western journalists are obliged to provide balanced news coverage and feel pressure to present both sides of any given issue.

“But in this case there is no both sides of the story. There is science and there is nonsense,” says Fenster. “You can’t give them equal weight. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that homeopathic preparations do not work. You cannot give a voice to a homeopath and say ‘well maybe they have a point.’”

Share
Posted in Health, Internet, Science and Technology, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*