We are excited to have Rachel Roberts and Dr Alex Tournier as our Keynote Speakers at AHMC 2018.
Their contribution to the Australian campaign to overturn the NHMRC report has made Rachel and Alex household names in the Australian homœopathy community. It will be an honour to have them in Australia in person and to learn about their work at the Homœopathy Research Institute which provide much needed reliable and academically sound homœopathic research. They are as excited to be coming to Australia in October 2018 as we are to be hosting them.
Dr Alexander Tournier BSc DIC MASt Cantab PhD LCHE RSHom
Executive Director of the Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI), an innovative charity dedicated to promoting high quality research in homeopathy (www.HRI-research.org)
Alex has a 1st class degree in Physics from Imperial College, and a Master in Advanced Study in Theroretical Physics (a.k.a. part III) from Cambridge University. He wrote his PhD on the Biophysics of water at the interface with biological molécules at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Alex also trained in homeopathy at the Centre for Homeopathic Education, London and is a registered homeopath.
Alex worked for 10 years at Cancer Research UK (5th institute worldwide for molecular biology) as a researcher working on problems at the interface between biology, physics and mathematics. Alex founded the Homeopathy Research Institute in 2007.
Rachel Roberts BSc (Hons) MCH FSHom
Chief Executive of the Homeopathy Research Institute (HRI), an innovative charity dedicated to promoting high quality research in homeopathy (www.HRI-research.org)
Rachel has a first-class degree in Biological Sciences (Physiology) from the University of Birmingham. She graduated from the The College of Homeopathy, London in 1997 and practised privately as a homeopath until 2012. Rachel has lectured in homeopathy and medical sciences at various colleges in the UK and overseas. Her materia medica flashcards (the ‘Mat Med Cards’) were described as a ‘great contribution to homeopathy’. Rachel’s move from practice and teaching to the field of research began with the post of Research Consultant for the Society of Homeopaths from 2008-2012. She joined HRI in 2010 and now works for the Institute full time. In 2013 Rachel was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Society (FSHom) to acknowledge her outstanding contribution to homeopathy.
Is Homeopathy really that implausible?
It is often considered that a physico-chemical explanation of homeopathy would require a major rewriting of much of physics, chemistry and biochemistry. Yet, despite the fact that the bio-activity of homeopathic dilutions appears to fly in the face of modern science, such an upheaval might not actually be necessary. The aim of this presentation is to demonstrate that we can indeed formulate a plausible and testable theory of homeopathy based on current physics and chemistry.
We will start by going over the requirements made of an explanation of homeopathy, such as: memory of the starting substance, compatibility with the dilution/succussion process and finally bio-activity. We will then formulate a minimal a set of physical assumptions able to explain the experimental results found in homeopathy.
We will show how these assumptions are validated both from the theoretical physics and experimental physico-chemistry side. On the one hand we have, the theoretical predictions of Preparata and DelGuidice of the existence in water structures. These predict the formation of distinct water domains through the stabilising effect of electromagnetic oscillations. On the other hand, we will present a set of experiments from within and outside the field of homeopathy (Demangeat, Elia, Pollack and others). These experiments support the idea that water does form relatively stable structures under certain conditions and that these structures have electromagnetic properties, which could be at the root of the specific biological effects seen in clinical and animal studies.
Thus we will show that it is possible to formulate a plausible physico-chemical explanation of homeopathy based on current physic and chemistry. Crucially this formulation is testable, providing important parameters and suggestions for the design of future experiments.
Homeopathy: Beyond the Headlines
Damning headlines in the mainstream media repeat a single powerful message – that research has shown homeopathy to be nothing more than a placebo effect. Time and again influential individuals from politicians to comedians hammer home the message that there is ‘no evidence’ homeopathy works, damaging the reputation of the profession at an international level.
Meanwhile homeopaths claim repeatedly that there is ‘plenty of evidence’ to prove that homeopathy is effective, but it is simply being ignored.
This scientific debate around homeopathy has been raging for years, but has never been more intense than it is right now. Since March 2015 Australia has found itself at the frontline of this on-going battle, following publication of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) review on Homeopathy. This highly inaccurate report is the most recent example of the evidence on homeopathy being misreported, leading to the public and decision-makers being misled.
HRI has been proud to work closely with the Australian Homeopathic Association on the submission to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. This document initiated an investigation, aiming to hold NHMRC to account for bias, conflict of interest and scientific misconduct.
As multiple attempts to reduce access to homeopathy in various countries are being justified by reports such as this, which claim to have found a ‘lack of evidence of effectiveness’, clinical research is suddenly playing a vital role in shaping the future of the homeopathy.
With so much at stake, it is time to look beyond the claims made by both opponents and supporters of homeopathy. We need to take a truly objective look at what evidence really does or does not exist to demonstrate the clinical effectiveness of homeopathy, and to understand how a single evidence base can be perceived and portrayed so differently by those on opposite sides of the debate.