In July Jacqueline Smith won a grant from the the Manchester Homeopathic Clinic to attend the HRI conference and GHP helped to fund her travel costs, as it was seen as directly relevant to our ongoing pilot and future mental health research in Ghana.
As GHP Coordinator I appreciated the chance to meet, for the first time, individuals from other homeopathy projects in Africa and representatives from key homeopathic organisations such as EECH and the British Homeopathic Association. The studies presented ranged from mental health and malaria to respiratory tract infections and cancer. There were papers on the ethics of conducting homeopathic research and provings (homeopathic pathogenetic trials) and also on laboratory based trials involving the use of animals – I chose not to attend the latter but results were made available in plenary sessions on the last day.
Most of the trials presented appeared to show statistically significant results. The closing presentation was by fellow Glaswegian and well-respected researcher Robert T. Mathie who, with colleagues, had completed a meta-analysis of available homeopathic research up to 2013. He reported their validity as generally poor and encouraged more stringent adherence to protocols and validity measures. He stated that the best research to undertake for the purposes of credibility on homeopathic terms were Random Controlled Trials of individualised homeopathic medicines.
Petter Viksveen of the University of Sheffield presented the results of such a trial – Homeopathy in Self-reported Depression: a pragmatic Randomised Controlled Trial. Results were statistically significant in those accepting the offer of homeopathic treatment in addition to their usual care alone. Outcome measures used were the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and the Generalised Anxiety Disorder( GAD-7), with results being measured at 6 and 12 months.
Interestingly, but not surprising, the most prescribed remedies were Nat Mur and Ignatia; with potencies of 30c and 200c used most often.